Characters: Alice Longbottom, Frank Longbottom
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Length: 1000 words
Summary: Very little is known about the night the Lestranges, along with Crouch Jr., tortured Frank and Alice Longbottom to the point of insanity...
Note: Originally written for a drabble contest at hogwarts_elite. First place winner.
"Ready, love?" Frank Longbottom asked his wife, who was bent over their one-year-old son's little bed, tucking him in with a smile on her face. Alice Longbottom straightened up and smiled fondly at her husband.
"I need to get my cloak. Is your mother here already?"
Just then, the doorbell rang.
"That'll be her," Frank said, turning on his heel. Alice took one last look at her son and followed him out of the room. She took her cloak from a peg on the wall and shrugged into it, greeting her mother-in-law with a smile.
"If he wakes up, there are milk bottles in the basket near the bed, I've charmed them to keep warm for a few hours. We'll be back soon."
Francesca Longbottom nodded and strode into the living room. Alice and Frank bid her goodbye and headed out for their nightly walk around the estate. The Longbottom Estate in Lancashire had two houses -- a large one where Frank, Alice, and Neville lived and a smaller one where Frank's mother lived.
"It's such a blessing that she can come over at nights, isn't it, dear?" said Alice, hooking her arm through her husband's.
"And Neville loves her so much!" piped up Frank, turning to smile at her.
They walked silently along a path leading to the forest that occupied most of the estate. Forests were special to the Longbottoms: they had first become friends when Frank chased an eleven-year-old Alice into the forbidden forest at Hogwarts and they barely escaped a wild Venomous Tentacula. They'd shard their first kiss under the canopy of the same forest when they were in their sixth year. Frank had proposed to Alice in a clearing of the forest that covered Longbottom Estate.
Alice smiled at the memory. On their nightly walks, they made a point of walking past that clearing. That's where they were headed now as well. The forest was thick around and above them. It was a warm and lazy summer evening, already dark, crickets chirping everywhere. The fresh scent of leaves and thistle permeated the air and Alice took a deep breath, enjoying the aroma.
A loud crack came from somewhere behind them and Frank stopped abruptly, drawing his wand. Alice's Auror training kicked in and she drew her own wand as well. Surely Frank didn't think anyone could harm them here? Her husband was tense beside her -- his glittering eyes darted to and fro, searching the shadows around them. Alice's stomach gave a lurch and she was filled with a sense of terrible foreboding, though her rational side struggled to convince her that there was nothing to worry about, they were safe, the war was over--
"Expelliarmus!" yelled several voices from all around them. Alice's wand shot out of her hand and she saw that Frank's had, as well -- but not before sending up a shower of red sparks.
The air was filled with several shouts of "Petrificus Totalus!" and "Incarcerous!" and Alice saw Frank topple to the ground beside her as her own hands and feet were bound with invisible ropes. She fell down, heart racing in her chest, wishing she could do something... anything. The only thing she could think about was Neville, and whether he was safe back at the house.
Dark figures were emerging out of the trees around them -- Alice counted four. Their faces were hidden by hoods with holes for the eyes and mouth. No. They were Death Eaters. Alice struggled against her bonds, but it was no use, she knew. She felt herself lift off the ground and float through the trees to the same clearing where Frank had proposed four years ago.
The Longbottoms were thrown on the ground in the centre of the clearing and the four masked figures descended on them.
"Thought you were safe, did you?" one of the Death Eaters said in a low, raspy voice. Alice thought she knew that voice, but she couldn't figure out from where.
"Crucio!" screeched a woman's voice, and Frank began to writhe and moan. Alice screamed.
"Down, Bella," the raspy one said. "What have you done with our Dark Lord, wretches? Speak!" He turned to Alice.
Alice stared up at him fearfully. "He's... dead," she choked, glancing over at her husband, whose breath was coming in short, ragged gasps.
"Liar! Crucio!" screamed the woman -- Bellatrix Lestrange, Alice knew -- again, and terrible pain tore through her body like wildfire, causing her to scream without realising it.
"Bella, control yourself!" the raspy Death Eater barked. Bellatrix laughed, tearing off her hood and staring down at Alice, a cruel smile playing across her lips. She was enjoying this, Alice realised.
"Please... he's gone, we don't know where he is! Don't hurt her!" Frank yelled.
"Don't like that, do you? How about another? Will that make you talk? Crucio!"
Alice screamed again as the searing pain ripped through her. She felt like she was being torn from limb to limb while horrid creatures with sharp teeth feasted on her insides. Her entire body shook under the curse and Alice felt something salty, coppery, and warm trickle out of her mouth.
It went on for hours. They kept demanding to know where Voldemort was, and any pleas that he was really gone fell on deaf ears. Frank was no longer reacting to the Cruciatus curse, Alice realised after a while. He lay limply on the ground, eyes closed, his skin pale and clammy with sweat. Fresh tears welled up in her eyes as she wished in vain for someone to come and help them, and she was barely conscious after yet another Cruciatus curse hit her.
Suddenly, shouting came from behind them and with four cracking sounds, the Death Eaters were gone. Alice fought unconsciousness as she waited, then Alastor's disfigured face was looming up above her. "Alice! Are you all right? Who did this? Who was here?"
"Bellatrix... Lestrange..." Alice gasped. "Neville..." And she remembered no more.