Birth of a Nightmare Man
Summary: Prequel to The Nightmare Man. How did Harry Potter become a feared lord from ancient times? Here we'll see the start of it.
Warnings: Violence, gore, evil!Harry and Twisted!Harry. Seriously, for quite a bit he's not friendly at all with humans. Be warned.
Disclaimers: I don't own Harry Potter nor do I make any money writing this or any other fanfiction.
The prequel of The Nightmare Man is finally here!
Enjoy reading, everyone.
Voldemort was dead. Celebrations were held all over Britain. The Dark Lord had been defeated! They hailed people fighting in the final battle as heroes. And of course, the greatest hero of them all; Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, the great headmaster of Hogwarts, Order of Merlin First Class, the Supreme Mugwump and the Chief Warlock. He had defeated not one but two Dark Lords in one century, and he took it with grace. He spoke warmly of his allies, and wished for a long, peaceful time now when the war with the dark side of magic was finally over.
Only he wasn't the hero. The one who had actually killed Voldemort, saving people from a lot of misery, was a person whose name was not spoken of at all. Harry James Potter was the Prophecy Child but was declared the next Dark Lord within the first two hours of his final defeat of Voldemort and therefore, as the celebrations took place, he was in a cell at Azkaban.
Harry was glad he still had most of his priced possessions on his person, that he hadn't let Hermione hang onto them but he couldn't use any of them. His wand was gone, the map was useless here and his broom couldn't get him through the thick steel bars. He couldn't use any wandless magic either, thick chains around him preventing the use of magic. He pulled his robe closer against the cold that seemed to seep from the walls itself.
He didn't understand why he was there. Albus Dumbledore had always supported Harry, always been behind him and ready to step in and aid when he needed help but now that same man had declared Harry Potter insane, and evil. He had pointed at Harry and said he was the next Dark Lord.
Why would he do something like that? Did he wish to take the fame for himself? Albus didn't have to throw Harry into prison for that; he would've given the man that and settled down somewhere far away from people.
Harry heard surviving Death Eaters screaming in their cells; at him, at nothing, at the dark that closed up around them. He didn't speak. There was nothing to say to them, but he was sure their screams would drive him mad. There was no way anyone could hold him here without a trial, like they had done to Sirius.
Or could they? From what Harry had seen, the public worshipped Albus Dumbledore as if the sun rose from his arse. They would listen to what he said, and what he had said earlier was enough for Harry.
He wasn't insane. He wasn't evil. But if Albus Dumbledore wanted the rest of the world to think that, he only needed to say it. Could he really be so cruel? Harry choked back a sob and buried his face in his arms. Were all those kind words a lie? How could a man lie so smoothly, how could he look like he cared?
Had he even done the right thing, killing Voldemort? The man was insane yes, but… Harry felt tears soak his robe and clenched his teeth.
People outside, free people, celebrated the death of a tyrant. Harry James Potter was beginning to regret that he was the one who actually killed that tyrant.
Albus Dumbledore sat in his office, having declined the post as the new Minister by saying he belonged at Hogwarts as long as the staff would have him. They were all thrilled to have him stay.
He looked over a photo, a young Harry James Potter and sighed. It was a sad fate for the last of the Potters. Albus had calculated that Harry would die fighting Voldemort, and the final blow to Voldemort would be dealt by Albus himself. But Harry hadn't died, and it was too much of a risk to let him remain free. That didn't mean he wanted Harry to be where he was now, this young child he had watched grow up into a young man.
"Oh, Fawkes…" he said, leaning back and looking at his Phoenix. "Harry should have been at peace now, with his parents and their friends. Not in a cell at Azkaban."
Perhaps he could arrange for something different, something that kept Harry locked up but in a better place than that. When the magical world in the United Kingdom had begun to heal from Voldemort's dark power. It would take a few years, but Albus could put in a good word for the lad, if Harry behaved. Surely he would behave, surely he would forgive Albus when he had had time to explain why he felt the young man had to be locked up.
It took three days before George Weasley came to his cell. Harry didn't move when a chair was put down in front of his cell, or when George came and sat down. They sat in complete silence for a few minutes before George said:
"Dumbledore called for a meeting yesterday."
"He said he had tried to take control over your vaults."
"Vaults, as in plural?" Harry said. "Wow. I didn't know that. Why?"
"Something about… I don't know, something about getting something ready."
"Well, the goblins didn't buy that."
"No?" Harry finally looked up.
George looked like he hadn't slept at all, and if he had managed to catch a nap he had done it still dressed. Harry wasn't sure which one of them looked better at the moment.
"He tried to argue with them but goblins, ey… they just flat our refused. Mum scolded me for laughing at him."
"George, what are people saying about me?"
"That's the thing. They aren't. It's like you don't exist."
"Oh…" This time it was fainter, and Harry stared down at his shoes. "What about Hermione and Ron? Were they in on it? In on Dumbledore's little plan of saying I was evil?"
"I think it caught everyone by surprise, but they… Harry, don't think about them anymore."
"So they agreed with him? For what? Did he promise Hermione more knowledge? Did he promise Ron money? They were my friends!"
"Then they weren't very good friends, mate. But you still got me. Everyone else may have turned but not me. I won't."
"Why is he doing this?" Harry asked. "Dumbledore, why is he doing it?"
"Beats me, he won't tell. But they can't hold you here without trial."
Harry knew they could.
"They held Sirius for twelve years," he said out loud. "I'm not evil. I'm not insane, George, so why am I in here?"
"I'll get you out," George said and came closer, looking around for guards. "You hear me, Harry? You're good, so I'll get you out."
"You're nothing compared to Albus Dumbledore, George. They won't listen to you."
"Hey… watch me. I can be loud."
"You've just lost Fred," Harry said. "They'll say it's a phase."
"I don't know who you are referring to, but 'they' can say whatever they want," George said. "It's true, I just lost Fred. That means I will hold on tighter for the people I care for, and in this case, it's you."
"Molly won't be upset you're visiting an insane man? Or am I the next Dark Lord in her eyes?"
"Forget about her. I don't live under roof; I don't abide to her rules."
Harry came closer, leaning his head against the bars. George stretched out a hand and touched his hair, then strokes a thumb down his cheek.
"Have you eaten anything?"
"They come with food," Harry said. "I'm not interested."
"You have to eat, Harry. The Dementors are coming back, you need your strength."
"Oh joy… the icing on the cake."
"I'll bring chocolate next time."
"You're coming back?"
Damn, Harry hated the sound of hope in his voice but he couldn't help it. He was starved for anything nice, and George was… he wasn't lying, why would he waste his time if he didn't like Harry?
The first month came and went, the second as well and Harry wasn't free but he had learnt a few things. He learned where the cell was the warmest because the summer outside clearly never entered Azkaban. He learned how to tune out the screaming. He knew when they came with the food, it was better if he hid because the guards certainly remembered him; they had even cursed him when he was too close to the bars. They called him evil, echoing Dumbledore's words until Harry saw red.
But he never acted out. He was finally learning patience, something he had always lacked in his life. It was amazing what prison life did to a person. He even missed people he had no idea he would miss, like Snape. Snape was a mean bastard but at least he never hid behind a mask like Dumbledore had done.
Harry had also thought of killing Dumbledore, and learnt he could frighten himself with his own mind. He was certain he wasn't evil, but the fantasies of killing Dumbledore made him feel… satisfied.
He had also learnt that George truly was his friend. The redhead came every other day, bearing small gifts as food and candy, and also bits and bobs he could hide from the guards.
Lately he had begun to bring a Muggle chess set with him, and this time was no different. They set the chess up on the floor, where they both sat and began to play.
"Ron and Hermione are getting married," he informed when Harry thought over his next move.
"What, has he made her pregnant already?"
George snickered and smiled at Harry.
"Yeah, he actually did."
"Oh, gross. I don't want to hear about them having sex, ever."
"Then don't ask," George replied. "Anyway, I went to their little celebration dinner, and it was hell. Be glad you were here with the Dementors, they'd make better company."
"Actually, they are good company. You learn to ignore the raspy breathing after a while, and I thought they would smell bad but I think it's actually the prison itself that reeks."
"That is so scary I don't know what to say. I gotta get you out of here before you start to, I don't know, bang your head against the bars."
"That would be Rabastan Lestrange," Harry said. "I don't know why he's doing it."
"Brother's dead, sister-in-law's dead, his lord's dead… what else is there for him to do?"
"Are they giving you hell for killing Voldemort?" George asked, gesturing at the other cells.
"Seeing as I'm no better than them to the rest of the world, they've given up. Do you realize I've thought up ten different ways of killing Dumbledore?"
George glanced at him, then down at the board. Harry knew George was winning but didn't mind. Playing chess should remind him of Ron but it didn't. Maybe it was because it was a Muggle set and it couldn't talk back at him.
"Only ten ways?"
"You're not… scared?"
"You want revenge, Harry. Two months and not a word. It's like he's forgotten you. Hell, everyone's trying to forget the war. Mum hasn't said Fred's name. It's like she's denying he ever existed."
"Well, he did exist," Harry said. "I'm insane, but I'm pretty sure I didn't hallucinate your brother standing by your side all those years."
"Yeah… I'm going to checkmate you again, you know."
"I'm bad at chess."
George smiled a bit.
"And it has nothing to do with the fact you're gobbling down some fine Hogsmeade chocolate?"
Harry crammed even more into his mouth and smiled so his chocolate-covered teeth showed.
That didn't help but Harry shrugged and tried to save his king, a futile move and they ended up resetting the board, Harry beginning.
"Harry, stop chewing your own hair."
"Could've fooled me."
Harry knew he looked like shit, his hair longer and untamed. It was filthy, like Sirius' had been the first time he saw the man, and he was also growing a beard. He didn't like it, it itched, but it wasn't like Harry was given many opportunities to get rid of it. Showers were once a week, under supervision and they weren't allowed anything sharp. If Harry trusted any of the guards, he'd ask them to shave it for him. But as he didn't, they might as well just cut his throat and call it an accident, he was left growing a bloody beard.
They didn't even touch him, the guards. The only one who touched him was George. Harry had never been hugged a lot in his life but now he was yearning for it. He wanted contact, a body against his own, warming him from the outside in.
"How are you doing with the Dementors here?"
Ever since the Dementors came back the human guards were seldom there by the cells, preferring their cosy offices far away from the creatures and the screams.
"They're fine," Harry said. "It gets a bit chilly is all. They haven't even gone near me."
"Really? That's weird; don't they live on making others miserable?"
"Maybe they're just waiting. Check."
"Oh, nice move. Did you copy one of mine?"
They played for another half-hour and George began packing the Muggle set away. The visiting hours were over soon, but before he could rise up Harry grabbed his wrist.
"Do you get searched when you leave?"
"These people don't ever search me," George said. "Why?"
"What you've brought me are acceptable losses, but in case they search me…"
His shrunken broom, the map, everything he had managed to keep away. His link to normalcy and a life he was sure to never get back; he gave them all to George.
"I want them safe. They're not safe with me. But they will be with you."
"They are your things, Harry… it's your sanity I'm holding."
"Yeah, and it'll keep me sane knowing they are safe with you."
George put them away and sighed.
"I don't want Dumbledore to be suspicious that I'm trying to get you out. He's been quiet about you but I don't trust him to not stick his nose in the moment I try something."
"That would be quite unfortunate."
"Have you tried speaking up for yourself?"
"If by speaking up you mean trying to holler at the guards, then yes. I did it a few times but they aren't listening. They certainly aren't taking someone from the Ministry here to question me. Is Dumbledore running the Ministry?"
"No, actually he and the Order aren't that involved. I guess they want to show they are all for a new Ministry."
"They'll have someone there."
"Naturally," George said, "but for now the Ministry is run by witches and wizards who are not in the Order."
Harry didn't expect the visit from Dumbledore but made no movement to get closer to the bars. He preferred it in the shadow, hidden behind his bed as he stared at the man who was responsible for throwing him in prison in the first place.
Albus Dumbledore looked healthy, clad in magenta robes and a grave look on his face. Was there a lie there? Of course there was. Harry knew looking into his eyes would allow Albus entry into his thoughts so he kept them averted.
He didn't reply.
"Harry, I am so sorry that you are in this position."
"You put me in this position," Harry replied, then bit down. The anger simmered just under the surface. Keep a lid on it! He knew better than to blow up. It never helped, never. Well, it did blow up Aunt Marge once, literally… that was fun.
"You must understand why I'm doing this. I am not doing it to torture you, Harry."
"You just planned to kill me. Or rather, have Voldemort kill me. I guess you're not used to have plans backfire on you."
"Harry, a part of Voldemort must live on inside of you. That is why I had to make this terrible decision."
Voldemort wasn't inside of Harry. Voldemort had killed Harry, had actually killed him and Harry knew he shouldn't have come back. He should have gone on one of those trains, gone to his parents and Remus and Sirius…
But he hadn't. He had left Voldemort's soul piece on that white platform and returned to life. He had made a choice to remain alive, but what a life he had now.
"Harry? Please, look at me."
He wasn't that stupid.
"I am trying to figure out a way to get Voldemort away from you, strip his influence from your poor mind. Then you'll be free."
"He lives in you, in your scar…"
"He doesn't," Harry said but it fell on deaf ears. He tuned out Dumbledore's voice and hummed quietly to himself, scraping at the wall.
The cold air informed him the Dementors were closing in. He turned his head to see them crowding Dumbledore and his little pack of followers.
"Harry, I will come again. In the meantime, I have promised Molly to protect George from Voldemort."
Harry shut his eyes, clenched his teeth until he tasted blood. They couldn't take George away. He couldn't let them see the rage that would produce so he began to dig his nails into his arms. The pain from that and his mouth was enough to distract him until Dumbledore was gone.
George didn't come by. Harry felt like he wanted to bang his head against the bars like Rabastan did. He wanted to shout and scream, demand George back because the days passed so slowly but they passed anyway and before he knew it, he hadn't seen George for nearly four months.
By that time he was sitting staring into the wall, barely responding, hating the time he had to leave his cell and be watched the guards as he showered. He was so docile they even let him shave once. He nicked himself four times, because he had never shaved before, and the sharp pain was bliss.
With no George to give him sweet and play Muggle chess Harry did nothing. He cradled the things George had smuggled to him, held them in his hands and slept with them by his side. He had been in prison for six months and he was already going mad.
Then one day he got sick. It was getting colder outside, meaning the prison was freezing. His robes were worn down and he heard the rattling of his own breath. The guards left some potions that he didn't take.
On the fifth day he was so weak he couldn't sit up. He lay on the floor and saw a Dementor come up to his cell. There it stopped, wrapping long, rotten fingers around the cool bars.
"What?" he got out. "What do you want?"
He was caught in a coughing fit after that, and by the time he calmed down the Dementor was by his side… holding one of the potions, cork unscrewed. It tilted its head as he stared up at it, and then the Dementor picked his head off the floor and tipped the potion into his mouth. Harry swallowed on reflex and felt the warmth spread through his limbs. The pain in his chest eased and he sat up more properly.
"Why?" he said, voice still scratchy but stronger than before.
The Dementor made a sound. He had never heard them making sounds before, and realized he didn't hear his mother's voice cry out. His worst nightmare wasn't present, and he was less than a foot from a Dementor.
It reached out a hand, curling it around his shoulder and pulling him closer. Harry should be afraid. But he wasn't. Instead he leaned against the gaunt chest and while the Dementor wasn't warm, he didn't get any colder. He wrapped his arms around the thin body and exhaled slowly. The Dementor's hand was now over his back, a steady pressure and he was finally touching something living after four months.
It kept making sounds though, the Dementor and Harry realized it was actually talking and it was talking to him.
"I don't understand," he said. "I mean, your language. But do you understand me?"
The Dementor nodded, its eyeless face and gaping mouth close to his. Harry felt none of the fear he had felt before.
"Can you Dementors leave Azkaban?"
Again, a nod.
"Will you leave Azkaban, just for a short while, to find someone for me?"
The Dementor rasped out a sound. Harry took it as a 'yes', and so he sent out a Dementor to find out how George Weasley was doing.
Why would the Dementor talk to him? Or well, try to talk to him? Harry lay on the ragged cot and tried not to think too much about it, as he already had a headache. He was still sick; one potion didn't solve all of it.
He was sleeping when he felt a nudge against his shoulder. Opening his eyes he was greeted by the sight of the Dementor from before very close to his face and he sat up. The Dementor moved to follow him and then held out a parchment.
It was from George.
First of all, mate, can you tell that bloody Dementor to not wake me up by breathing into my face? I nearly had a heart attack!
I'm being monitored by Dumbledore's people, saying it's for my own good. Don't worry, I'm trying to get past them.
PS. Seriously, another way to wake me up, alright? I'm gonna have bloody nightmares!
Harry crushed the parchment against his chest and fell down on the bed again. He felt the tears escape, didn't care. George was safe, he would come back. No matter how long it took, George would come back.
When George finally came to Azkaban, Harry hadn't seen him in over eight months and he had almost been in prison for a full year.
The conditions were worse than ever and Harry hid from the guards. They had taken to curse him occasionally in the showers so he hadn't taken one in weeks. His beard was roughly shaved due to the Dementors smuggling a razor blade to him, sometimes a bowl of water so he at least could wash off his face.
He looked over and saw George, fresh and healthy, kneeling on the cold ground of the prison and hands on the bars. Harry crawled over and touched one of George's hands.
"Hey," he said. He pushed back some of his filthy hair and continued, "Sorry if I reek."
"The guards like to torture the prisoners. I'm no exception."
"They can't do that!" George hissed.
"It's not like anyone listens to the prisoners anyway," Harry said. "You look good."
"You look like shit."
They had exchanged notes over the months they hadn't seen each other, Dementors eager to assist Harry in any way. He wasn't surprised by it anymore, although he still didn't get why they were helping him.
"How did you convince Dumbledore to let you come here again?"
"I didn't. I just went. I'm sure they'll interrogate me once I get out of here. Dumbledore seems convinced you're a Horcrux."
"Well, I'm not. I left Voldemort's soul piece there, in death. Or limbo, I don't know. It's not in me anymore, and I did try to tell him that when he came around but… he didn't listen."
"He thinks Voldemort will take over you."
"I don't care what he thinks. I hate him. I hate him, and Ron and Hermione and their bloody fake friendship. They abandoned me, they could've fought for me… Hermione, you know how she gets when she fights for something? Even Voldemort would back off but she hasn't lifted a finger to help me, has she?"
"No… she hasn't."
"I hate her then," Harry said. "I'm going to kill them."
"Bit more quiet, please. I don't want any guards hearing you say that, it'll make it harder to get you out!"
George took Harry's head in his hands, thumbs smoothing over his filthy hair.
"Just calm down, alright? I can't imagine what it's like to be locked up in here, but calm yourself down."
"I don't know what to do, George. I missed you so much."
"I missed you too. And seriously, mate, Dementors? What the hell?"
"They like me," Harry said, almost dreamily.
One of the Dementors came closer. George moved a bit but the Dementor merely slunk inside Harry's cell and rested its' head against his shoulder.
"Is that thing… I don't know, doing its version of a purr?" George wondered.
"That or it's coughing up a lung, I don't know," Harry admitted.
"This world is weird," the redhead concluded. "I mean it. I don't like this new world."
"Is Dumbledore controlling the Ministry?"
"Oh, no, he's not. Actually, the Ministry is so far out of his control it's almost scary," he said. "I think if I make the right moves, I can get their attention about their real hero not getting a trial, and maybe it'll make Dumbledore seem insane instead. If there's proof you're no longer a Horcrux, then that means Dumbledore threw you, an innocent teenager into Azkaban and didn't look back."
"That would make him look rather bad," Harry said. "I like it. But I'm not letting him get away with it."
"I can't exactly blame you for that."
Harry used to be scared of his own mind when he thought about killing those he had called friends. Now he wasn't scared. He felt giddy thinking about it, and he thought about killing a lot. An awful lot.
"George, I mean it. If you get me out, you have to know the consequences," Harry said. "I will kill people. I don't think I can stop myself from doing that. I'll kill them for putting me in here."
George looked him in the eye, and there was no hesitation when he said:
"So kill them."
The start of a new journey. Possibly a very dark journey but oh well…
Chapter two: Harry is learning the language of the Dementors. George finally manages to get the Ministry's attention that Harry Potter never got a trial, and that Dumbledore has been lying about it.
Look forward to it!