Hello. Just some clarification about the imperious curse. Yes it is true that Harry can resist it to some degree. Imperious is defended against by mental fortitude (or in Harry's case pure stubbornness.). In my story confundus (in humans) causes an inability to focus your thoughts and therefore can't defend against the curse. Crouch knows Harry would be able to defend against it because of his class, so he used confundus to make sure that Harry would do as he wished. Plus, since Harry had only been under the curse once he did not have to practice to try and throw it off. Especially since he did not know it was coming, like he had in class. All these factors made it so that he could be under control.
Crouch was one of the teachers outside the maze. He searched out Harry and found him not going to the portkey so imperioused him. He followed him as an invisible entity. He had Harry ask Cedric to come with him for a specific reason, as you will soon find out. Harry had to end up in the graveyard. That was Crouch's one and only goal. Sorry for those who felt it shouldn't happen but it needed to. As for Cedric surviving the ordeal . . . . Well . . . um. . .
Harry gasped as his back hit hard ground. He tried to breath but he couldn't get air past the balloon that had swollen in his throat. Panic made his heart pound, a heavy thrashing rattling his sore ribs. He tried to stand but the ground moved and shifted under him, the last bits of the confundus slowly leaving his brain.
"Harry?" Cedric asked, pushing himself up onto his knees. "Do you think that this is the next part of the challenge?"
"No." Harry shook his head wildly. "No we shouldn't be here!"
"I was under imperious!" Harry shouted, gagging slightly when his stomach tried to make a surprise appearance.
"Imperious?" Harry managed to lookup into Cedrics bewildered face.
"We have to. We have . . . we have to go." He grunted, shakily getting to his feet. "We can't be here. It's not safe. The portkey . . . got to go." The words come out wobbly as he looked around for the chalice. There was a loud clatter off in the distance. Harry glanced around, desperate to find the source of the noise. For the first time he noticed that he was standing in a cemetery. The area was dark. Not dark in the way that was caused by the sun being down. No, it was the kind of dark that was formed by perpetual cloud cover and the general dismal air that surrounded the area.
Both boys whipped around at a second noise. Behind one of the tombstones a covered shape shuffled forward. Harry winced as a sharp pain pierced his forehead.
"Bind them." A rattling voice commanded. The hooded figure whipped his wand. Harry grunted as a force grabbed the back of his robes, pulling him back. He was thrust into a tombstone, slamming his head into the white marble. Ropes danced around him twisting around him tight. The rough binds dug painfully into his arms and chest. He swung his head around wildly, searching for Cedric. He was in a similar predicament except there was a rope that had wormed its way through his teeth, gagging him.
"Who are you?" Harry demanded as the cloaked figure approached him. The person didn't say anything. Instead he began waving his wand around. A cauldron grew from the air, crashing to the ground with a calamitous rumble. It was as large as a bathtub, the deep black of the onyx was so dark it blended into the background. Water poured into the cauldron already steaming hot. With a quick whip a fire burst from under the pewter cauldron, illuminating the scene with a terrifying glow. Slowly the person who was doing the magic lowered his hood.
"Pettigrew!" Harry growled. He wiggled against his bonds. The weasel-y man just took a moment to look at the Gryffindor but turned away. He shuffled away behind a tombstone, bowing down to lift something into view.
At first Harry thought it was an infant, the creature swaddled like a baby. However it wasn't. Thin spindly arms reached up to grab onto Wormtail. The skin was red and wrinkly. It gave the impression that it was covered in blood. The face was deformed, scrunched and misshapen. Red eyes turned onto him, piercing Harry deeply. He watched as Wormtail lifted the squirming creature, rolling it into the cauldron and the boiling water. Immediately a plume of steam rose into the air.
"Bone of the father, unknowingly given. You will renew your son!" Pettigrew incanted dramatically. The ground that Harry was sitting on began to shake. From the dirt rose a bone. It was stained brown over time the foot long bone floated and past his face, travelling over to the cauldron. Hovering above the roiling water the bone suddenly crumble into dust, drifting softly into the potion like snow. A sickly green flashed into the air. Harry cringed away but could not move.
Pettigrew pulled out a knife, silver and shining. He raised his left hand, letting it hover over his own wrist. There was a long pause as Harry wondered what he was going to do.
"Flesh of the servant, willingly sacrificed, you will revive your master." There was a disgusting squelch as the knife cut through flesh and bone. Harry gagged, turning his face from the scene. He clenched his eyes shut, but the image of red and white was seared onto the back of his eyelids. He heard the whimpering moans as the Pettigrew tried to get over the pain. He kept his eyes shut until he heard Wormtail moving. When he opened his eyes the man was shuffling towards him, hand clenching the bloody stump that was where his used to be. There was a muffled shout from off to the side. Cedric was shouting through his binds, eyes wide with fear and panic.
Pettigrew sneered as he raised his knife again, making a threatening motion at the other boy before turning back to the Gryffindor. He had wrapped a piece of cloth around the stump to stem the blood. One of the ropes jerked, forcing Harry's right arm out from behind him.
"Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken." Pettigrew began to recite, lifting the knife towards his skin.
"STOP!" Labryinth lashed out, sinking his fangs into Wormtails forearm. Pettigrew howled, whipping his arms away. The comforting weight of his scaled friend left as the snake was pulled along with the newly injured arm, falling to the round when he finally released his fangs. Wormtail reached to grab the wound but was only able to press his stump against it. With an angry growl he swung his wand at the hissing snake.
"No!" Harry shouted as the silver body was propelled off into the darkness of the coming night. Pettigrew retrieved his knife again.
"Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe." He recited again, forcefully. The knife separated his skin, releasing the blood beneath it. A crystal vial was placed at the edge of the wound, collecting the blood.
"Stop." Harry moaned, struggling to get away but the ropes were alive and keeping him still. Pettigrew limped off. He shuddered as he moved, pale and sweating from the venom that was leaking through his veins. He overturned the bottle into the cauldron. Slowly the blood trickled down the crystal, streaming into the giant cauldron. There was a flash so bright Harry thought it was an explosion. When the bright baubles that stained his eyes finally faded he could see a tall figure standing the cauldron. What stood in the steaming water looked like a man, but had the presence of an animal. Its skin was pale, a greyed white that reminded Harry of a corpse. The limbs were long and spindly, tapering down into spider like fingers which were held out in a demand. Pettigrew whimpered as he rushed forward with a bundle of cloth. The man clothed himself slowly, with the bearing and grace of nobility. He stepped out of the onyx cauldron, still not facing Harry.
He tried not to gasp when the man finally turned to him. His eyes were scarlet and the pupils were slit like a cats. His nose had blended into his face, leaving openings like a reptile. The worst part, perhaps, was that you could still see the man beneath it. That handsome boy that Harry had seen second year seemed to be sitting underneath that chalky white skin. There was still that little bit of humanity left and that was scary. To know that this monster had once been a man.
"Harry Potter." He hissed, thin lips pulling into a wide smile. Over to his side Pettigrew had fallen to his knees.
"Master . . . please!" He begged, presenting his stump.
"I need a wand." He sneered. Pettigrew pointed to over to Cedric. Voldemort turned to the pale HufflePuff. Cedric began to struggle against his bonds. Voldemort stepped towards the boy. He pulled the rope out of the boy's mouth. "Do you know who I am boy?"
"N-no." He stuttered. Voldemort smiled wide.
"I am Lord Voldemort." He laughed as Cedric squeaked. Harry struggled, trying to thrash out of his bonds. "A HufflePuff, so weak. Loyalty is a good trait but they are too scared to be good minions. Your house used to be warriors like the Gryffindors but you became nothing more than simpering bleeding hearts filled with mudbloods. He has a good wand?" He turned back to Pettigrew.
"Yes. Crouch said that he was pureblood and powerful. He was the original Hogwarts Champion. Considered the best in his year by the cup." Pettigrew whimpered. "But he isn't powerful enough to fight you my lord."
"Perfect." He purred. The spidery fingers reached past the ropes and pulled out the boy's wand. Cedric whimpered trying to move his body away from the questing hands.
"Ash and Unicorn hair. Yes very powerful. But very light. It should last long enough for me to retrieve my old wand. You said that they have it?" He was addressing Pettigrew.
"Yes master! Avery has retrieved it from the ministry. Please." He motioned again with his stump. Voldemort raised a pale finger, stopping his minion from talking again.
"First this wand will learn its new master."
"My wand will never choose you as its master." Cedric said, finally pulling together enough confidence to talk back to the newly risen Dark Lord. "Wands choose the wizard. It will never choose you."
"Wands may choose the wizard, but that does not mean they will not bow to a new master." Voldemort explained, rubbing the wand through his fingers. "You just have to show it that you are more powerful than its will. Avada Kedavra!"
Harry's world lit up with green as the curse barreled towards the other boy. There was a ringing in his ears and he realized that it was himself screaming. The air around them turned cold and heavy with the darkness that surrounded the curse. Just as fast as it was there it was gone. Cedric was still sitting in his binds. At first glance he looked completely normal. Just frozen like a doll. The only things that showed that he was not living was his eyes.
Those eyes were going to haunt Harry, and he knew it. The glassy orbs were cold and dull, unlike anything he had ever seen before. Movies, shows and pictures did no justice to the real image of lifeless eyes. He was unable to look away, his entire being desperately searching for any little bit of life that may still be there. It was all gone. Faster than a blink everything that made Cedric a human, made him a person, was gone into the ether. Harry could feel the tears coursing down his face as he stared at the corpse that had once been a person. He only looked away when Voldemort sighed in pleasure.
"Come Wormtail. I will reward you now." Pettigrew shuffled forward on his knees. Cedrics wand was raised, hovering over the bloody stump. The cloth was banished. Harry could feel his stomach rising as he saw the bloodied flesh that looked like it was already starting to rot. Above the wound the wand began to sway. An amorphous stream of silver escaped the wand, coming together in a formless ball. Slowly the ball began to twist and shape itself into a hand. When it finally stopped it floated onto the wrist, molding onto the stump and leaving only a thin line that separated skin from silver. Pettigrew stared as the fingers flexed and moved. He reached for a twig, turning it into dust as he squeezed it.
"Thank you master. Thank you!" He leaned down to kiss the hem of Voldemort's robes.
"The pain you felt was punishment for your disloyalty. The thirteen years that you abandoned me. However, you did return to me. May your loyalty never waver again, Wormtail." He purred, the threat hung heavily in the air. Harry shuddered at it. "For an additional reward of procuring me a proper wand and a bit of fun," He glanced over to the now lifeless body. "I will also heal your bite. You should never be so careless again in underestimating your enemies."
Wormtail whimpered happily as he raised his wand again. The swollen bite was tapped with the wand. Harry noticed that the ash wand had a large crack down the side of it, the white of the unicorn hair peeking through. The incantation he used was lyrical, a soft A Capella song that was beautiful but haunting. At the end of the spell the wound glowed and the wand splintered a bit more. But the bite was no longer as swollen and Pettigrew was gaining color again.
"Such a light wand. It can barely handle these few dark spells. It will probably only last through one more. Perhaps it is time to call the loyal among us to my side? It is time that they see their master. What do you think Potter? Would you like to see how many of us still remain?" He looked at Harry, acknowledging him fully for the first time.
"Fuck you!" Harry shouted, struggling against his bonds. He glanced at Cedric before turning his glare at Voldemort.
"So vulgar. It is good that you have some fight left in you. I would hate for my followers not to have a show or to think that I was defeated by such a coward." He purred. He motioned to Pettigrew again. The rat man pushed up his sleeve, revealing the dark mark. Voldemort placed the wand on the mark.
"Morsmorde." He hissed. The mark turned pitch black as Wormtail screamed. Cedrics wand splintered into pieces with a sharp crack, leaving nothing but a few shards of wood and a grey, lifeless piece of hair. Voldemort looked satisfied.
"You surprised me Potter." He interrupted the silence as they waited. "To think that you kept such a powerful snake with you. I knew you possessed the power to speak to them but I never thought a Gryffindor would possess the power to bend them their will." He purred, letting his gaze wander over Harry.
"He was my friend." Harry grunted, trying to keep his gaze to prove he was not scared. Inside he was terrified. Cedric was dead and he was moments away from being surrounded by Death Eaters. His chances of survival, which had been small before, were dwindling down to nothing. He was already outnumbered two to one and soon it would be even worse. His only ally was off somewhere in the cemetery. He could only hope that the Labyrinth was okay and making his way back.
"A friend." Voldemort said in a condescending amused tone.
"Yes." Harry hissed back. Voldemort leaned forward, his face centimeters from Harry's. He smelled of rotten mint, and his breathe was hot.
"You are a fool Harry Potter." He sneered. "You will die a fool."
There was a loud crack as a person appeared at the edge of the cemetery. The figure was cloaked completely in black, all the way down to the black gloves. The mask he wore was bright white and reminiscent of a skull. The figure dropped to its knees and shuffled forward. Voldemort had moved back to stand in the center of the clearing. He allowed his follower to kiss the hem of his robes before settling out on the edge of the clearing. There was a rapid fire of appartation as a dozen people appeared. Each one fell to the ritual of kissing the hem and joining the circle. Harry tried not to shudder as the expressionless masks all turned to stare in his direction.
"My people." Voldemort hummed. He spun to take in the circle. He sneered as he watched his followers shuffle like naughty children. "How few you are. There used to be hundreds and now there are only a dozen. I know my most loyal are now imprisoned. And those who have betrayed me have fled and will be hunted down for their crimes. But where does that leave you. Hmm, Lucius?" He stopped in front of a mask. Harry glared as the mask dissolved, revealing the pale face of Lucius Malfoy. The man lowered his head.
"My Lord. I was merely waiting for your return. I saw fit to put myself in a better position in the Ministry so that when you did return you would have unimaginable access to your enemy."
"Crucio." Voldemort smiled as the man fell to the ground. He screamed in agony, writhing on the ground. "Do not take me for a fool Lucius. You sought your position because you wanted the power. You all assumed that you would never see me again. That the boy had defeated me."
Harry's body sang with pain as a crucio found its way to him. Every bone burned, every nerve shot. His skin felt like it was being flayed off millimeter by millimeter. He didn't hear his own screaming or feel his own tears. His entire world was enveloped by the agony. Just as soon as it started it stopped again. When the tears cleared from his eyes the Dark Lord was standing in front of him, an inscrutable expression on his face.
"You all know of course, that they claimed this boy to be the one who defeated me that night. That time in which I lost my powers and my body I had attempted to kill him. It was not by his power that I lost mine. His mother had tried, in vain, to barter for his life. She then died trying to protect him. She unwittingly provided him with a protection. One that I could not have predicted. I had not believed her to be powerful enough to perform such old magic. Her sacrifices left traces on him which prevented me from touching him." He reached out his pale fingers until they were hovering just an inch from his scar.
"Such old magic . . . I was a fool to forget such things. It is no matter now. The magic I used was much older and much more powerful. Her protection is now mine. I can touch him." The fingers pressed against his forehead. There was an almighty pressure that beat down on his brain. Voldemort's magic as cold and heavy as it pushed its way into Harry's head. He tried to fight it but could not, a blanket settling over his minds, filling him with dread. Then it was gone.
"Avery! My wand!" He demanded, turning away.
"Speaker." A quiet hiss came from his left. Harry turned and saw Labyrinth slowly slithering his way towards him. The snake would stop when anyone turned towards them.
"Labyrinth." Harry whispered back. He pulled against his bonds.
"Where is Severus?" Voldemort boomed, after accepting his wand. Harry ignored Pettigrews simpering reply about how he never showed up.
"My bite did nothing. I am sorry. I still have venom." The little snake bargained.
"Don't." Harry vehemently shook his head. "If you try again they might kill you this time instead of just blasting you away."
"Smells of death here. We must go."
"I don't know how to leave."
"The cup of magic is close."
"How close?" Harry tried to talk out of the side of his mouth. Voldemort was still talking. Of course he was. He was extolling the values of those who were in prisoned for his cause. He was talking of the extermination of those with dirty blood. Harry tried not to sneer at the Dark Lord. Labyrinth crawled up his body, letting his cool weight rest around Harrys neck. He tucked himself under the collar of the robes. The Gryffindor could feel his tongue as it poked out to taste the air.
"The length of two oak trees that have lived for a long time. To the east. Behind the bloody rat." The snake tried to elaborate. Harry craned his head to look past Pettigrew. About two hundred feet away there was a slight glimmer. When the glow didn't fade Harry realized that the cup must have flown off in that direction when they had hit the ground. It was resting behind the headstone that Cedric had been tied to.
"Stand Potter and present your wand. We will see if you truly are the savior of the light." Voldemort purred. The ropes loosened and Harry stood on shaking feet. His wand was in his hand. The Death Eaters stepped closer, forcing the circle in tighter. He took in a deep breath. The acrid air was burning his lungs. He closed his eyes and tried to push away doubt. There was nothing he could do to avoid this.
It was time to get angry. If there was any person who deserved his ire it is the bastard that was standing before him. If he was going to have to fight to the death then he was going to make it entire inconvenient for the madman.
Fucking bring it.