Rita Skeeter stumbled out the back door of the Hog's Head.
The wind chilled her pale skin and whipped her long dark-green cloak around her. She ran a manicured hand through her tight blond curls, straightened her knee length acid green dress and adjusted her lace-top white stockings.
She was feeling distinctly worse for wear after one too many drinks. Although she almost never drank so much it was a special occasion.
Rita had finally been promoted from freelance work to a permanent position on the paper after her first major piece had been a huge success. The current edition of the Daily Prophet was practically flying off the shelves.
The attack on the Aurors Frank Longbottom and Alice Longbottom was probably the juiciest story since the fall of He Who Must Not Be Named.
It wasn't just that Longbottom's had been very popular… or that they had been tortured into insanity by Death Eater's after the whereabouts of their master.
And it wasn't that most of those involved in the attack were still very much at large… something the ministry was frantically trying to remedy.
It wasn't even that two of the Death Eater's involved in the attack… Bellatrix Lestrange and her husband Rodolphus Lestrange… were almost as feared as their master.
The truly scandalous part of the story… was that one of the Death Eater's was the son of a ministry employee. And not just any ministry employee. The Head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement himself.
Yes. She had been very lucky to get such a juicy story. But now she just had to concentrate on putting one foot ahead of the other…
She took a few unsteady steps and cursed loudly as her black, stiletto boots sunk several inches into the snow.
Suddenly she heard the soft crunch of footsteps in the snow behind her.
"Look who it is darling…" said a low venomous hiss of a voice. A husky, distinctly feminine voice. She tried to walk a bit faster… but the heeled boots stubbornly refused to move through the snow any quicker.
"Ah…" said a deep, rich, raspy voice. It was masculine and a lot closer this time. "That little blonde reporter who likes writing nasty lies about people…" the wizard continued. The witch laughed… a high, mad sound that sent a shiver down Rita's spine.
"Shall we teach her a lesson?" asked the witch, sadistic pleasure clear in her raspy voice. The wizard let out a low cruel chuckle. "Of course my dear" he replied silkily.
Rita's breathing sped up and she felt adrenaline flood through her body. Fear helped her to break into a half-sprint, half trudge through the snow.
The last thing she heard was the witch's mocking laughter… before everything… went… black.
A voice. Feminine. Husky. Mocking. Piercing her mind like a barb and slowly bringing her up from unconsciousness.
A weak groan escaped her lips as she became aware of a throbbing in her skull.
After pain came memory. She remembered having one two many drinks in the Hogs Head. Stumbling out the back door into the Alley. Hearing voices behind her. A woman and a man. Talking… about her. And she remembered trying to run away. After that she couldn't remember anything.
From what she could tell she was sitting slumped in a chair. She tried to move her arms then her legs but they appeared to be bound to the legs and armrests of the chair.
Panic surged through her as she realized she was tied up, banishing the grogginess though not the weakness. Her head was clear but her body was still sluggish. She couldn't even muster the strength to really struggle against her bonds.
Who could have done this to me? She thought. And why?
With what felt like a ridiculous amount of effort she managed to open one eyelid a crack. All she could tell was that the room was dark, lit by a soft flickering light that she guessed came from a candle or a fireplace.
"I think she's waking up pet…"
Another voice. Masculine this time. The same rich, raspy voice from the Alley. Fear tightened her stomach as she realized she had been knocked unconscious and abducted by the pair from the Alley. And she didn't have to know the identity of her captors to guess that she was in very deep trouble.
She slowly inched her eyes open, worried what she would see but unable not to look.
The room was about the size of a large guest bedroom. It looked like one too. The furniture was sumptuous but simple, and there was nothing in the way of personal possessions. Not only that but everything matched in a way that screamed interior decorator.
The only furniture was a huge four-poster bed, a large old-fashioned wardrobe, a chest of drawers... and a plush crimson couch.
A couch which her captors were lounging on… watching her like a pair of cats watching a small bird.
Of course being a woman her eyes went to the man first. Tall, dark and handsome didn't quite do him justice.
Dark piercing eyes were set in one of the most striking faces she had ever seen. Lightly tanned skin, high cheekbones and a perfectly shaped, unbelievably sensual mouth.
Dark, wavy rather messy hair framed that striking face, ending at his shoulders and there was stubble on his chin.
Yes. He was undeniably beautiful. But those eyes. Those eyes scared her. There was no mercy in them.
A shock of recognition went through her as her eyes turned to the woman. She knew those heavy lidded dark eyes, that flawless porcelain complexion, that wild, ebony mane of hair… that full pouty mouth that was so often curved in an expression of disdain.
Bellatrix Lestrange grinned wolfishly as she saw the spark of recognition in Rita's eyes.
They had gone to school together. Not that they had ever exchanged more than a few words in a row despite being in the same house and year… but Bella wasn't that kind of person you could forget any more than you could forget a hungry tiger. They would both eat you.
Rita shivered slightly despite the heat radiating from the blazing fire.
"Awww look… she's shivering" Bella drawled in a mocking, babyish voice. "Your reputation precedes you my dear" said the beautiful man in a velvety purr. Suddenly Rita realized he could only be Bella's husband, Rodolphus Lestrange.
Abducted by the notorious Lestrange couple. Deep trouble didn't even come close to describing her situation.
She would not however give them the satisfaction of knowing how much they scared her.
"Of course your reputation precedes you" she said in her haughtiest tone. "Bad news travels fast" she said cheekily. Bella scowled and Rodolphus snickered.
"So this is the infamous Miss Skeeter… said that velvety voice as Rodolphus scrutinized her. "She doesn't look so tough without her savage quill" he drawled contemptuously. Bella chuckled nastily.
"She's quite cute though don't you think?" Bella purred. "Pretty face… smooth creamy skin… full, perky breasts… a tight round ass…" Bella said slyly. Rita's cheeks flushed slightly with embarrassment as the two of them shared an amused, rather lascivious look.
He looked Rita up and down. "She is pretty. Of course I can't see enough of the body to judge accurately" he said wickedly. A rather feline grin spread over Bella's face.
"That can be rectified…" Bella purred, sliding up her skirt to reveal a slender, shapely leg… and a silver knife in a sheath on her thigh. Rita swallowed nervously as Bella drew the weapon.
Bella got to her feet and walked slowly towards her, movements as graceful and sinuous as the tiger Rita had once likened her too. Rita thought how strange it was that this petite, almost delicately beautiful woman could be so damn scary.
The eyes thought Rita. They're as merciless as her husbands… and there is something in them… not … quite… sane…
Rita couldn't help flinching as Bella pressed the cool flat of the blade against her cheek. She ran it down her face and the side of the blonde's neck… enjoying her trembling. Then with lightning quickness she cut through one of the straps of Rita's dress.
Rita jumped slightly as the blade came within a hairs-breadth of her skin.
"What the hell are you doing?" Rita snapped angrily, her fear forgotten for a moment as she realized Bella really intended to undress her. Bella looked like she was about to laugh at the look on the blonde's face.
"Is this how you get your kicks? Kidnapping innocent people?" Rita spat.
"I would hardly call you innocent…" Bella said in a wicked, disdainful voice. Rodolphus smirked.
"Neither would I" he said silkily. "That article she wrote about us wasn't very complementary was it darling?" he said, tone light but with a sinister edge to it.
"Indeed it wasn't" said Bella in a mock-petulant voice. "What was it she called me dear?" she went on. "A deranged psychopath who would kill you as soon as look at you?" she said in a silky but decidedly pissed-off voice.
"That's right. And I believe she called me a 'swaggering, self-absorbed Frenchman who is a savage as he is single-minded'" he drawled venomously.
She felt the icy chill of fear creeping back over her. She should of known something she had wrote would come back to bite her on the ass. Maybe quite literally her mind added as she saw the mixture of desire and disdain on their faces.
Fuck she thought. Double fuck.