AN: Hello, lovely readers! Now, I know I have published this story before, and I got so many lovely reviews from y'all! However, since first publishing this story I have developed a lot more as a writer, and looking back I think this story could be made A LOT better. Thus, I have decided to enlarge and re write this story. My bestie, TheCrownedLioness, is on board too, so it will be a joint project.

Do enjoy and please review! We'd love to get your comments.

Prologue

Doctor Dana Langston walked down the insipid hospital hallway to the blessed coffee machine. She was about to end her 72 hour-long shift, and keeping her eyes open had become a herculean task by itself. She hissed at the overly-bright lights that illuminated the corridor, finding them abrasive enough to bring on one of her migraines. The extreme January cold didn't help to make her feel better, either – it crept under her clothes, spreading across her skin like the lacy tide on a frigid winter beach.

There was a blizzard raging outside, one so strong that the familiar sight of New York's dirty streets had been almost erased. Dana could see so from the transparent double doors that were a few feet away from the coffee dispenser, and part of her wished she could be snuggled under the warm covers of her bed, reading a book and having some hot cocoa. She looked at her clock – it read 3:00 am, almost time to go home... Well, she'd probably have to wait until the blizzard had toned down a bit, no one in their right mind would go out during it!

The smell of substandard coffee soon loitered inside the ward, and after tucking her change inside her pocket, Dana finally allowed herself to sit down on one of the homogeneous plastic chairs that were lined against the dull beige walls. She focused her tired eyes on the flickering screen of the old TV set hanging from the ceiling; the commercials had begun – short, attention grabbing and required no intellectual effort to be understood. If she was lucky, she'd be able to spend the last half hour of her shift sitting there, without needing to move – after all, her patients were already stable and asleep, and there had been no emergency calls. She really needed a rest, for she could already feel the pain of one of her tension headaches radiating around her entire head; she needed to close her eyes, just for a second, and wait until the Tylenol she had taken a few minutes ago made effect.

Dana had almost dozed off when she heard a faint rapping noise coming from nearby. The blows were paused, and seemed to be progressively losing strength, and it took a second for her exhausted mind to even register that the noise coming from the glass doors in front of her. She lazily stretched in her chair before opening her eyes.

The sight she came across with made the much needed adrenaline course through her overworked body.

Just outside the door, there was a blonde woman lying on the cold, hard ground. Judging by the intense shaking, her blue lips and the lack of colour on her face, she was probably suffering from hypothermia – which was not surprising considering she had ventured into the blizzard wearing only oversized flannel pyjamas, slippers and a robe. She did also look malnourished and far too skinny for her height – not to mention the protruding bones that were easily distinguishable despite the clothes she was wearing.

Dana immediately sprung out of her chair, ran to the doors and dragged the semi-conscious woman inside the hospital. Although the doctor was horrified by her clearly life-threatening condition, she knew exactly what she had to do. She swiftly took her cardigan off, and then proceeded to wrap the woman with it, thereby beginning the long and tedious process of raising her body temperature.

"Hannah!" Dana screamed, "Hannah, get your ass over here immediately!"

A petite, brown-haired nurse rushed into the ward, and gasped in horror when her eyes saw the poor woman that Doctor Langston was holding against her body. "W-wha- what happened? Did she get here walking?!"

"Yes, she did! She is suffering from Hypothermia! Go get me all the blankets you can lay your hands on! Then bring a gurney and doctor Jacobs."

The nurse nodded and ran away to complete the instructions she had been given by the winded doctor, who was now looking for a pulse. Luckily she found it – it was faint and paused, but it was there.

"Holy shit..." Dana muttered to herself the moment she removed the drenched pyjama pants. There was a trail of uncountable bruises and abrasions all over her legs, which the doctor soon discovered were mirrored on her arms and torso. "Who did this to you?"

The doctor hadn't expected an answer, hence her being startled when the woman laying on her lap opened her eyes and began talking. Dana couldn't understand her, for the woman's voice was low and faint... As though it were trying to escape from a prison deep within her frail body.

"Who are you, miss? Do you know where you are?"

"B...Babcock," the woman choked out. "I... C.C. Babcock."

"Your name is C.C. Babcock?" the doctor tried again, sighing in relief when she spotted Hannah bringing lots of fluffy blankets with doctor Jacobs hot on her heels.

"Y-yes... I was k-kidnapped... 23rd of May..." C.C. whispered before closing her eyes once again.

Dana's head was reeling. Had she just said 23rd of May? That was 8 months ago! "Miss Babcock, please, open your eyes," Dana pleaded as she, Hannah and Doctor Jacobs placed the woman on the stretcher and used the blankets to bundle her up.

"Call Niles... I... wanna... Niles..." C.C. rambled, not opening her eyes. She was too tired, and very much in pain – a nap, she thought to herself, she needed a nap. Everything would be fine after she'd had a nap.

"Who is this person? Miss Babcock? Speak to me!" Dana ordered her, pushing the gurney through the long hospital corridors.

"Niles... Sheffield butler... I... need him...call Niles... I need Niles."

She was finally safe – or well, as safe as she could be considering what had happened. C.C. welcomed the darkness that was slowly consuming her, and Niles was the last thing in her mind's eye before she fell into oblivion, finally losing the battle to remain conscious.


'Another nightmare' Niles thought when he found himself sitting on his bed, gasping for air. Nightmares had been a common occurrence ever since C.C.'s disappearance eight months ago; he still blamed himself for that...

The last time he had seen her was when he had woken up in a hospital bed after his heart attack. His cruel prank had been what had made the blonde socialite flounce out of his room after having smacked him with the bouquet of flowers she had bought for him. He remembered he had been quite pleased with his joke... until the woman had never reappeared at the Sheffield's mansion.

No one knew what had happened to her nor where she was, and every day Niles had prayed to see her standing at the other side of the door, wearing one of her haughty smiles and looking as radiant as always. But as months went past and there were no clues of her whereabouts, Niles feared that she'd either never return or that the police would eventually find her body.

Guilt was eating him up like a raging fire engulfs dry wood, scorching the little hope that his heart was desperately trying to hold on to. He had cried over her so many times, he had wanted to scream and kick and scratch until she reappeared... but she hadn't.

He was lucky that the phone had woken him up, for the nightmare he had been having was the worst yet. He rubbed his eyes and scrambled for the phone, wondering who would be inconsiderate enough to call at 5 o' clock in the bloody morning.

"Sheffield residence?" he rasped.

"Yes, my name is Doctor Dana Langston, from Lennox Hill hospital. Am I speaking to Niles Brightmore?"

Niles' heart skipped a beat. Hospital?! What had happened? "Yes, this is him speaking."

"Excellent. You are listed as C.C. Babcock's emergency contact, and we need you to come down immediately."

Had Niles been standing up, he would have surely collapsed onto the ground. He could feel the bottom of his stomach dropping and cold sweat running down his back. "Did you just say C.C. Babcock? She is there?! W-what happened to her?"

There was a silence at the other side of the line for some seconds, something that gave him the clue the news he was going to hear weren't going to be nice...

"Yes, she's been admitted here. She arrived barely two hours ago, by foot and suffering from severe hypothermia – which was no mystery seeing as she was clad only in flannel pyjamas. We don't really know what happened to her, but I must insist on you coming here before we discuss her medical condition. The good news are that she's alive."

Niles dropped the phone to the floor, pearly-shaped tears gliding down his wrinkled face. His head was swimming, and a thousand and one questions presented themselves in his mind. Whatever had happened to her had been bad, and although he was afraid of what he'd found once he had made his way to the hospital...

She was alive.

And that's the only thing that mattered.