Author name: Ruskbyte
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Note: I intend for this to be a truly dark story. Unlike Midnight Avatar, which did not quite live up to my expectations, this is going to be a hard hitting story where I will not be pulling any punches. Things might turn out all right for our hero in the end, but for the most part you can expect mature and controversial themes; language, violence, abuse, sex, rape and so forth. Some humour might occasionally seep into the story, as it is want to do, but I am intending to keep this story a departure from any of my previous works.
~ Breaking the Chains ~
I was insane.
It's curious how I can say those three words so easily. Isn't it?
The frightening thing is; I'm not really all that sure about the "was" part. D'you think that possible? An insane man who thinks he's sane who's worrying that he might actually be insane, but only imagining that he's sane because...
This would have worried me. Years ago it would have. But not now. Not really.
I can't really say how long I was insane for. A day. A year. A decade. A lifetime. It's all very relative, the way time passes when you're insane. I don't really have any clear memories of when I was not exactly in my right frame of mind. Any frame of mind for that matter. It is like an old, almost forgotten dream from when I was a child. There were some moments of lucidity during my time of madness, but they were few and far between. They did not last long either, only a few minutes, although again time passes in strange ways here.
Where is here?
Truth be told I have absolutely no idea where this place is. I can tell you its name, oh yes, I know its name well. It's a funny thing really, names. Take You-Know-Who for example, or perhaps even The-Boy-Who-Lived, or even better He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (I love that one). Wizards (and witches - we can't forget the fairer sex now, can we?) tend to place great importance on names.
Voldemort, yes, I'm not afraid to say it. Nothing can scare me anymore. Nothing. Not even the much feared Dark Lord, You-Know-Who. But back to names and the significance magic folk always attach to them. Voldemort is supposedly such a terrible and dastardly figure that they cannot bring themselves to utter his name out of the fear for him.
I wonder what they call me? Have I become reviled and abhorred enough to deserve some special name instead of what my parents christened me?
I hope so.
This place I am stranded on. It has a name. A name that strikes fear into the hearts of all those who hear it. The fear of this little island is so strong that people almost breathe its name in a whisper rather than say it normally. I don't understand why they haven't bothered coming up with some idiotically original way, a euphemism or whatever, for saying it.
The Dark Island.
The Cold Place.
The home of Nightmares.
The home of the Dementors.
Az. Ka. Ban.
Three syllables. First syllable. Sounds like-
Y'know, I'm really beginning to wonder if perhaps I really am insane. It seems like a reasonable explanation for everything. I keep finding things that would have once amused me boring. Totally and utterly boring. Inconsequential. Pointless. Of course, at the opposite end of the spectrum, I find hilarity and boundless humour in things that I never would have found funny before.
Before I came here that is.
Before I was sent here.
Before I was raped.
No, no, not my body. The Dementors aren't equipped for that. No, it was me that they raped, that they tore apart so mercilessly. Me. My thoughts. My mind. My memories. My soul. Me. I was barely even conscious when the Aurors dragged me into my cell, tossing me inside with what I'm certain was excessive force. They thought I was guilty. They punished me for it.
Then they came for me.
All of them.
The other prisoners must have been delighted.
Every Dementor on this miserable island seemed to invade me then. It was not like before. This was not the tortuous recollection of my worst memories. This was the brutal, unremorseful, unending destruction of who I was. The sun had not even set on my first day in this prison and I had already been driven completely and utterly insane.
But I'm better now.
Everyone and everything else on the island is dead.
But I'm better now.
Better. Yes. I was insane and now I'm not.
At least not totally.
I want to laugh. I want to throw back my head and roar with laughter as I contemplate how my mind was torn apart and cast into the depths of the Stygian abyss. An abyss from which I have only now begun to awaken. Drawing the tattered remains of my broken life, my broken mind, my broken soul, back into a working whole.
I do not know how long I have been here.
It could have been a day.
Or a year.
Or a decade.
Or even a lifetime.
I do not know. I was insane for most of it. All of it really, if you discount those scarce few minutes (maybe hours) where I was aware of where I was and why. I spent most of those brief moments laughing or crying that I doubt anyone realized I was temporarily sane. Not that anyone save the Dementors ever bothered to check.
I don't remember anyone coming, but then again I wasn't really all there at the time. Still not. Not really. I wonder what they would have thought?
Would they feel glad that I had been destroyed by my captors?
Would they feel satisfaction that justice had been served?
Would they feel pity, as if I were a wounded animal?
Would they guess that I, however briefly, knew where I was?
The most dreaded wizarding prison in the world.
I was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban for a crime.
A horrible crime.
Several horrible crimes actually.
The rape and bloody murder of Padma Patil.
The bloody rape and murder of Parvati Patil.
It must have been a twin thing.
See? My sense of humour is warped.
The murder of the Rubeus Hagrid, the half-giant caretaker and keeper of grounds and keys at Hogwarts.
It was the Killing Curse that did it. Avada Kedavra.
The torture of Professor Sybil Trelawney under the Crutiatus Curse to the point that she was driven irreparably insane.
Not that anyone should've been able to tell.
There were thousands of witnesses. Well, perhaps hundreds. Er, maybe a dozen or so. At least for the murder of Hagrid. Nobody saw me kill the Patil twins, but I was apparently caught with my trousers down (literally) just as I was leaving the Prefect's Bathroom where I had ended their miserable existences in an orgy of blood.
From what I hear I ran, fleeing at a pace they could not match. I burst into the Great Hall, whereupon I sent poor Hagrid to the next great adventure. A flash of green. A rush of death. I ran out the hall and was outside, escaping into the forest, before his body hit the ground. They say I was caught an hour later, emerging from the forest in a drunken stupor. I don't really remember all that much.
Dumbledore was angry.
Nobody realized that silly bat of a Divination professor had been done in until she wandered into breakfast the following day, babbling as though she were out of her mind. Of course, eventually they realized that she really was out of her mind. After listening to her insane ramblings they discovered that I must have been the one who had tortured her so horrifically.
And so I was tried, convicted and sent to Azkaban.
Nobody listened to my pleas of innocence.
Nobody stopped to consider that I was telling the truth.
Not my allies.
Not my friends.
Not even my fucking owl.
Fitting I suppose.
I've always been alone.
Even with my "friends" by my side.
I wonder what they would say or do if they saw me now? For that matter, I wonder what anyone would say if they could see me. Little me, emaciated to the point of being a skeleton held together by parchment thin skin, white as porcelain. The only living creature on what was once the island of Azkaban.
An amusing tale it is, how I regained my sanity. More or less. Sometimes I think less. Some part of me is still broken. Oh yes, indeed. The tale. Tail? Tale. Story. Saga. Legend. Amusing in every detail. Provided you're me and not somebody else. Of course, if you weren't me and were somebody else then you wouldn't find it amusing because you'd also be dead along with everyone else.
The Dementors were tired of me, I suppose. They could no longer drain any sustenance from my shattered mind and soul. I was no longer of any use to them. Much like those who sentenced me to rot in this hell. Which probably explains why they decided to give me a kiss. I think I even have a vague memory of it. Or I could have hallucinated the entire thing. Either way, the results were pretty much the same.
If I ever work it out I'll probably not be the first to know. That's how my life works, y'see. Nobody ever tells me anything about what's going on. Dumbledore would probably be able to guess what changed me, but wouldn't tell because I'd be "safer not knowing". Voldemort might guess as well, but would then try and kill me for being a threat to him.
Delicious irony that is. Me, a threat. It's like dropping a Muggle nuclear bomb on top of some poor sod's head, detonating it and then saying it's a threat to his health.
Of course it's not gonna be a threat to his health, it's gonna blow him into fucking atoms is what it's gonna do!
And fuck the rest of the shite-kicking ponces!
In case you haven't noticed - I'm feeling a wee bit bitter.
Of course, if you'd been wrongfully imprisoned in the seventh ring of Hell for only the rest of the world knows how long, you'd also be a tad miffed.
Y'know... I'm thinking I should bugger off this sodding slagheap of an island before somebody from either the Ministry of Magic, the Order of the Phoenix or perhaps even Voldemort's Death Eater's shows up.
Twould be best, don't you agree, that they believe nobody survived.
What d'you mean what am I talking about? Survived? Oh. Oh. Sorry, got off track there. It was the Dementor's fault you see. They tried to give me a kiss. The Dementor's kiss. They wanted to suck my soul (screwed up as it was) (as it is) out of my body and then probably kill the empty husk left behind. Shit, for all I know they were probably planning on chopping my soulless body into teensy bitsy pieces and feeding me to the other prisoners.
Anyways, as I was saying, they made a mistake. They tried to do me in. Apparently nobody told them that people who try that tend to regret having made the attempt. I remember this god-awful ugly head, with no eyes and a gaping, toothless maw, coming towards me.
Then the world went white.
After that it went black.
I don't know how long I sat here, in the centre of the glassy crater that now covers the entire island. The prison itself is gone completely. Not a stone left. The rocks have all melted and the sand is fused into a seamless sheet of black glass. Slowly, like a bubble rising from the bottom of the deepest trench in the deepest ocean, I returned.
Rising out of the abyss that had claimed my sanity.
It was not easy.
It hurt almost as much as getting raped did.
There was all consuming pain.
I've never know anything else.
It's a distraction.
I can overcome it.
I no longer need or desire it.
I used to, but learnt that it is transient.
What others feel when they look at me.
What I feel when I think of them.
My classmates and "friends".
They doubted me.
They betrayed me.
That is who I am.
Who am I?
I was different then.
I am different now.
I am powerful.
I have a lot of it. Now. I don't no where it came from. It's not mine, so I'm not really sure how it got inside of me, but I'm not complaining. Maybe it's the Dementors. Maybe I killed them (can you kill something that isn't truly alive?) and drained their powers into me. Maybe I sucked the life out of everything on the island, including the other prisoners, and then scoured them from the face of the earth.
Maybe I'm still insane, but don't really realize it.
Of course, if I was - would I be able to tell?
I have to get out of here though. That much I know. Somebody has to have noticed that Azkaban is no longer on the map. Any map. It would not do for them to find me here. No no no, it would not. Yes. Already they fear and despise me, despite the blood I spilled for them.
Lots of blood. Mine. My blood.
If they discovered that I had destroyed their precious little prison, it would only make them dread and loathe me more.
Azkaban's an island.
I need to fly away.
Perhaps I will become a fish?
It would be easy. I don't need a wand anymore. Not now. Not after. I don't need to say anything. No incantations. No chants. No silly Latin words. I don't need to gesture my hands. No claps. No swishes. No flicks. All I have to do is want what I want and it happens.
Getting from where I lay to the shore is not easy. My legs have not seen much use in my tenure here. They have atrophied and become too weak to properly support me. I don't use them. My magic can carry me. Maybe I will fly away. But I want to swim. The water. I want to feel the water all around me. Clean. Cleaning me.
I need a bath too. I stink.
But that will come later. Now I must leave.
I'm off the island now. What was once Azkaban is behind me as I lazily drift out over the sea. Levitation was one of the first things I learned at Hogwarts. Feathers. It was difficult at the time. For an eleven year old. I needed my wand. I don't need a wand now. I don't need anything.
I drop into the water.
Fuck! It's cold! Fucking cold! Fuck, fuck, fuck!
The shock has managed to jolt me out of my distracted daze.
I'm awake. I'm sane. I'm slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean. I lost a lot of air when I hit the water, surprised by the penetrating cold. My lungs are beginning to ache. I must act quickly. Change into some sort of sea creature. Then swim to shore.
No, I immediately reject that idea. Dolphins are kind, gentle and playful creatures. I am no longer kind. The world showed no kindness to me. I am no longer gentle. The world did not treat me gently. I am no longer playful. The world stole my playfulness when I was a child.
The perfect mindless killing machine. No, that would not suit me. Regardless of what anyone may believe I am not a killer. I have never taken a human life, though my time in Azkaban has stripped me of any conscience that might prevent me in the future. I could kill now, yes, without hesitation or remorse.
But I am not mindless.
Obviously the lack of air is starting to weaken my already shaky awareness. All around me is dark now, I've sunk deep beneath the waves while contemplating what form to take. I no longer have the luxury of time to think about it. I must change into something that can survive here quickly or die without properly regaining my freedom.
An orca. A killer whale. I should have thought of it. It's so obvious in hindsight. Massive and powerful. Sleek and fast. Intelligent and cunning. Black and white. Rare. Dangerous.
Just like me.
It's easy to surface in this form. Barely two strokes and I'm breaking the surface, sucking in life-giving air. I briefly consider retaining the shape, but including gills so that I can make the entire journey underwater.
This form is fine as it is.
My eyes aren't that good though, here in the air, but I can sense the land. It will not take long for me to cover the distance from the island to the mainland. It's at the very edge of the horizon, yes, but not a strain for my current shape. It's a good thing I shed away the weak and malnourished condition of my human form.
When I reach land I will change back, but it will be easy to change and yet retain the perfect health and fitness I now enjoy.
This is fun.
I never liked swimming. But it's actually not that bad now. Of course, after possibly years of being confined in Azkaban, any outside activity is a bliss. This is amazing, so pleasurable to feel. The water sluicing over my think, rubbery skin. I don't know if I should be able to feel such acute sensation, but I don't really care. It's almost orgasmic. Better even. If I were still human right now I would have a hard-on that could break down Hogwarts' stone walls.
I briefly contemplate "polishing my wand" (as young wizards call it) when I reach land. It had been over a week since I had last had the time to do so before I was arrested. Then, in the very brief two days that included my very brief trial, I was literally chained to a wall. Then, for a time I know not how long, I was in Azkaban.
Basically, I'm horny and need to get off.
But first I need a safe haven. I need a place to rest. I need to gather my strength. I need to learn what has happened since I was imprisoned. I need to decide what to do next.
I also need decent food.
Preferably with a strong drink.
Brandy? They're supposed to give people brandy when they faint.
Skimming just below the surface I can see the mainland looming up in front of me. The shore is little more than a pile of rocks and stones. I will definitely not be enjoying myself when I hit land for the first time. I increase the pace of my strokes, wanting to get it over with quickly, and crash through a breaking wave and slide halfway up the beach.
Shit, I hate being right. That hurt.
Changing back into human form I kneel there for long minutes, the waves lapping around me. I did as I intended and now my body is fit and healthy. As it was before I was framed for those crimes nobody believed me innocent of. It's a good feeling, but while my legs are strong once again, it has been a long time since I last used them.
I feel like a baby. Learning to walk again.
I did it once before I can do it again.
Half an hour of stumbling and trying to achieve the proper balance. It's beginning to come back to me now, though I'm hobbling around. Kind of like I used to after spending hours on my broom during Quidditch practice back at Hogwarts.
I was a Seeker.
I haven't thought of that game in years. Or however long I was crazy. Could an insane person have an interest in sports? I wonder who won the Cup after I was expelled from the school and banished to Azkaban?
I hope it was Slytherin.
Green's a nice colour.
Better than red.
I don't like red. Bad memories. Good memories. More bad though.
By now I'm almost walking properly. It's not made any easier by the lack of shoes. For the first time since I awakened I notice the clothes I'm wearing. Clothes. Hah! Rags would be a better description. I don't even have to think about what I would rather be wearing. The frayed, tattered and disgustingly filth encrusted material transfigures into a decent shirt, coat and pair of jeans without any conscious thought on my part. Socks and shoes complete my outfit, making me feel almost civilized.
Civilized. Hah. Heh heh heh. I am not civilized.
Not any more.
Not ever again.
All that is left to tell of my time in prison is my long and matted hair, which obscures my hazy vision as I make my way further inland. I must have been away for some time if my hair grew so long, past my shoulders, while I was insane. There's also an annoying itch all around my cheeks, jaw and lips. A beard I'd imagine. I reach up and confirm it. A couple of inches from the feel of it. By the time my hand has dropped to my side again, I'm clean shaven and my hair has been cut to an acceptable length, keeping it out of my face.
There is a road up ahead of me. Following the coastline. No signs. No cars. It could be miles to the nearest town. It's starting to rain. Large, fat drops which will no doubt be followed by a torrential downpour that will soak me through and through.
I go to Aberdeen.
It only took a second. Less even.
Apparation is possibly the greatest advantage wizards have over Muggles. I don't know how to Apparate. I was arrested in the April of my sixth year. I never had the chance to learn how. But I don't need to Apparate to go where I wish. It was a simple matter of moving from wherever I was to where I am now. Very simple.
Heh. Too simple.
It's not raining here, but there are clouds from horizon to horizon. Just a matter of time I suppose. Enough to find a place to stay until I sort myself out. Sort myself out. Into a house? Where would that raggedy old hat put me this time? Does Hogwarts have a house for people whose main personality trait is burgeoning madness?
I appeared in an alley, away from any prying eyes. I may be a little touched, but I'm not stupid. Stepping out into the street I spot a Muggle banking machine a little further up and on the other side. I turn and start walking in the opposite direction, using my newfound abilities to move several thousand Pounds worth of notes into the inside pocket of my coat without having even taken a step towards it.
But I need the money and personally I think the world owes it to me.
That might have been one of my mistakes you know.
I should have charged for my services.
Hah! I must be getting better, reclaiming more of my fragile sanity, if I can joke about my rather problematic past. But I guess it's either develop a sense of humour or slip back into madness.
The first human being I have seen since the Aurors locked me in Azkaban and threw the key into the nearby ocean. He's a Muggle I can tell. Not a whiff of magic coming from him. About as Muggle as you can get. From the look of things I'd say he's some sort of businessman. Something pompous and arrogant. The kind of person I despise.
"Sir? Excuse me?" I ask. I scarcely recognise my voice. Those three words are the first I have spoken since the judge declared me guilty. Ordinarily I would have avoided this man, who looks at me as if I were shit on his soles of his shoes, but he has something that interests me.
A newspaper. Still folded up. Tucked under his arm.
The Daily Prophet?
No, he's a Muggle.
Very droll and professional.
"What is it?" he asks. Yes. Pompous and arrogant. I want to hurt him. Kill him. I resist the urge to strip the skin from his flesh, boil his blood within his veins and crush his bones to dust. It's not easy. Then again, my life has never been easy. I move to stand closer to him. Smile thinly. He must feel intimidated since he takes a step back.
I ask him for the time, not really looking at him, but rather the newspaper. I lean to one side to see the date. The man is clearly unnerved by my manner. He glances at his wrist and tells me that is a bit after eight in the morning. I ignore him, focusing on the date instead.
I've been away for three years and a couple of months. Funny that. It seemed longer, yet at the same time, so much shorter. I look into the businessman's eyes. He's afraid of me. I can tell. I can smell the colour of his fear shouting around him. It tastes good.
Without another word I turn and continue on my way. I don't really know where I'm going, but I think a hotel or something. Anyplace with a soft bed and a bath. Yes, a bath. I want to soak in a nice, hot, scalding bath.
I don't really need to bath - my magic has made sure I'm perfectly clean. Squeaky clean in fact. But I want to enjoy my freedom and I've always heard people talking about the satisfaction of a nice hot bath. It's supposed to relieve tension.
I'm still horny. Maybe later, after the bath, I'll go to a pub or somewhere and pick up a Muggle girl. Actually I'm not sure I have the social skills to pick up a blade of grass at the moment. I've been insane for three years. Even if I had been sane, Azkaban does not exactly promote a lot of social interaction. Not that I was any good at it before I was cast out.
It doesn't matter though. I don't need to interact with a women get her to follow me wherever I wish her to. My magic can bend her will to mine as easily as that blade of grass I can't pick up. It wouldn't even be illegal, since I don't need to use the Imperious Curse. I'm beyond using such pathetic methods. So mundane. Rape? I don't know, nor do I care. I was sent to Azkaban for such a crime. Amongst others.
I was innocent.
Not any more.
Perhaps I will do it just to spite them.
Petty revenge? Maybe. But as I said; I don't particularly care. I no longer consider myself bound by the morals and strictures that others follow.
I've managed to walk a couple of blocks before I jerk to an abrupt halt.
I didn't notice. Not at the time. Lucky, or I might have caused the stuck up business man to shit in his expensive tailored trousers. I was more interested in the year than the rest of the date. But now I realize just what today is.
Oh the irony.
I've spent three years in Azkaban. I no longer care what people think of me. I lean against the nearest wall and laugh until the tears are streaming down my face. If there is some supreme being, other than myself as I now am, controlling the fate and events of the universe, then this is conclusive proof that whoever it is has a sadistic sense of humour.
Today is a very special day indeed.
It has nothing to do with the fact that I escaped from Azkaban not even an hour ago. Only the second person to do that. It has nothing to do with the fact that I can do anything I want just by thinking it. Sometimes without thinking it. It has nothing to do with any of that.
It has everything to do what happened twenty years ago today.
Today is my birthday.
My name is Harry.
I used to save the world.