All he wanted was some peace all to himself. He didn't ask for much, regardless of how the Dursleys treated him. Day in and day out was the same routine. Get up, sneak a meal, do chores, avoid Dursely and his gang and get back to the house before the sun went down. Rinse and repeat. It was bad enough that what little contact with the Wizarding world he had was not great. The few letters Hermione and Ron sent were frustratingly vague.
Harry felt the frown grow on his face, and he rocked forward on the swing. Okay, maybe he should have kept his temper in check, but he was angry. Angry at the Ministry spouting lies about him, at his friends for keeping secrets, and the events of last year. Hands gripping the chains of the swing, he huffed and shook his head. He shouldn't be here. He should be trying to find Voldemort and stop him. The chains dug into his palms as he fought off a wave of grief.
Voldemort was the reason Cedric was dead. Harry took a few deep breaths and found himself staring up into the sky. It wasn't like he could leave Privet Drive without someone noticing. At least, no one was out and about so late. The air was cooler compared to the sweltering heat from earlier.
"Hey Freak, what are you doing? Looking for some 'magical creatures'?"
He recognized that voice. The little good mood he was trying to foster vanished. Harry rolled his eyes at the taunt and noticed Dudley with his friends making their way into the playground. Really, couldn't he get a break? He stood just in case and folded his arms as they stopped a few paces away from him. One upside was the slightly nervous look on his cousin's face. Whatever persuasion tactic he tried didn't deter them. Well, there went his somewhat quiet night.
"Don't ignore us! What? Can't talk, or are you just scared?" one of them jeered, the group laughing as if he said something clever.
Harry barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes as he made a note of his escape routes. They might not be bright, but they outnumber him. He ignored their continued taunts with silence and raised an eyebrow at Dudley. To his credit, his laughs wavered, and he might have paled just a little more. He couldn't use magic on them. What they didn't know wouldn't hurt, would it? A smile worked its way onto his face, and he tried to look as innocent as possible. Whatever expression was on his face unsettled the group, and they looked ready for a fight.
"I dunno, maybe I'm just thinking of what spell of using on you guys. Fancy being a toad? Cockroach? There are so many choices." he said as his smile grew into a smirk.
That only made the group angrier except for Dudley. He turned white as a sheet and gave Harry an edgy look. Harry tried not to laugh as Dudley tried to persuade them to lay off. Not that he was having much luck if the looks on their faces were any indication. The intelligent thing to do would be to run while they were distracted. Nodding to himself, he started to walk slowly back towards the street to make a run for it. It was getting late anyway, and it was likely almost midnight.
Any other plans flew out the window when the world suddenly turned green around him, and pools of what could only be blood dotted the streets. A gasp of shock left him at sight in front of him. Was he sick? Oh Merlin, was it his eyes? The silence of the group unnerved him, and he turned around to see what happened to them. Instead of an unruly gang, four tall black coffins stood in the place where they had once been. Were they in the coffins?
He took out his wand and willed his hands not to shake, trying to figure out a reason. It had to be magic. What other reason could there be? Okay, he was not freaking out. Harry took to the sidewalk and kept his wand in his hand, a familiar cold chill sliding down his spine. Faint screams tickled the edge of his hearing as dark shrouds flew down from the skies. He cursed and took off like a shot with approaching Dementors at his heels.
This was not good. Harry couldn't stay out in the open, something freaky was happening with the world, and he couldn't use magic unless he wanted to risk expulsion. The heavy feeling starting to weigh on his back as the Dementors followed him, and he tried to think of a plan. This was Voldemort's work. Harry skidded to a halt and stumbled into an alleyway, hiding behind a dumpster to catch his breath. There was no way he could defeat a Dementor, no less a group of them without magic. The choice made, Harry kept as quiet as possible and waited for the creatures to fill the alleyway before thinking of the happiest memory he could muster.
Dazzling white light filled the alleyway as the Dementors screeched, fleeing into the air to escape. He lost sight of the Dementors flew as they flew over the building and into the green-tinged sky. A sigh of relief left him as the adrenaline rushed out of him, nearly taking him off his feet. The danger passed, or at least, so he thought—something cold and slimy wrapped around his ankle and yanked him down to the ground. The air left his lungs and left him stunned, staring at the yellowish moon casting sickly shadows in the alleyway. Harry gathered himself with another Patronus charm on his lips when he saw what was holding him. A blue mask stared down at him from a shadowy gelatinous mass. It contained no expression as it dragged him closer to the mass as if to consume him.
Confusion and fear engulfed him as he attempted to free himself. Throwing whatever spells he knew didn't affect it. Things started to turn for the worse when a jet of fire knocked the monster away.
"Harry! Thank Merlin, I made it." A hand pulled him onto his feet, and he found himself staring at an unfamiliar face. "Dumbledore sent me. Hold on tight and don't let go." Harry opened his mouth to ask who exactly saved him when the world twisted, and he felt the sensation of being pulled through a straw.
Wind, the smell of the forest, cold dirt, the cloying scent of blood, and too many other things bombarded his senses. Ryoji didn't realize how much he missed such mundane things as wind. The sea of the Collective Unconsciousness didn't need worldly sensations for those who dwelt within it. Teal eyes looked around with wary confusion and took in the masked figures picking themselves off the ground, the odd symbols underneath him, and the unpleasant sight of the moon bearing down on them. The green haze in the air and the coppery smell invading his sense shocked him. The Dark Hour was back? How?
His fists clenched in preparation to fight, and it was then he realized. His body felt off in a way he couldn't decipher. Reaching up to see if he still had his scarf, Ryoji froze at the sight of striped pajamas. This wasn't his Ryoji Mochizuki body; no, it was his Pharos body. There were too many confusing things going on until Ryoji wanted to grip his hair and scream. What did that entity do to him? Impressions of getting ripped apart, delighted laughter as tentacles burrowed into his body and unmade him.
He shook his head - which was a mistake as his vision spun - to dispel his thoughts. The figures around him were speaking, but he paid them little attention. Ryoji rolled carefully over and flinched when he bumped into a warm body. Relief filled him as he managed to sit up, seeing his friend on his back and breathing. Makoto shouldn't be breathing, but he was alive, and that was enough. He maneuvered Makoto onto his back and recoiled at what he saw. Tears pricked his eyes at the blood coming out of his friend's face, dripping sluggishly out of every open hole it could find.
He tried cleaning it, and all it resulted in it was a bloody shirt. With a grunt of effort and weak muscles, he wrapped gentle arms around Makoto and held him close. He was dead weight in comparison to his young body, but he couldn't let go. No matter how many times he whispered his name, Makoto didn't wake up. The only evidence he was alive was the fluttering of his heart and soft breathing. Ryoji held back his tears as he nuzzled his head against his, the weight on his shoulder a small comfort. Footsteps and crunching grass made him pause, and he found himself staring at a strange-looking man.
He tightened his grip on Makoto as he gave him a wary look. He smelled of Death and reminded him of one of the more humanoid Shadows. Whatever he wanted couldn't be good.
"I expected something more than a teenager and a child. The weird snake man had to be alluding to how the Dark Hour altered the world. Is this your doing?"
He looked around at the other figures and frowned, deciding to be cautious with his words. Was he the one to bring them back to the world of the living? No doubt this snake man was the boss, and he was going to be careful. He knew he didn't strike an intimidating figure, but he could pull off mysterious and unnerving. A smile worked its way onto his face, and he tilted his head. He made a show of looking around before giving the man his full attention.
"That would be telling, mister. Why would I cause the world to be something that it's not?" Ryoji narrowed his eyes as Voldemort gave him a calm look.
Unbeknownst to him, mask-dotted tentacles rose into the sky before forming into a tan-skinned man. He wore a plain white mask, golden crown atop of loose auburn curls, dressed in a pinstripe suit with expensive shoes and pea coat. Silence reigned for a brief moment as the man stretched and walked over to Voldemort, hand extended for a shake. As he passed, he lifted the mask to show Ryoji a grin, and it widened into a smile with too many teeth as the child flinched. Voldemort stared at the eerie man before realizing this was the entity he was seeking.
"You made the most wonderful wish, child of man. A wish that will bring so much horror and destruction that I could not help but heed it. Especially when you have crafted such a circle, I will help you by giving you control over the Shadows. I ask for nothing in return as I only want to see this world become something infested with unimaginable terrors." He chuckled at the gasps from the other humans as he summoned a Cowardly Maya with a flick of his hand. A snap of his fingers and a black butterfly button appeared in the palm of the Dark Lord's hand. "Let me introduce myself as it seems I got too excited. I am Nyarlathotep the Vile, the embodiment of chaos, and I am excited to see what you will do with my assistance."
Voldemort gave the button and the creature a look, a murderous smile coming onto his face. This was his destiny. He gripped the button tight and decided to make his first order. He sent them to attack Potter with the Dementors and chuckled at the blind obedience. This was better than having to negotiate with Dark creatures. More efficient.
Taking a close look at Nyarlathotep, he ordered Lucius to give the entity whatever he needed. The entity didn't look shocked that he was getting an escort. He seemed downright thrilled and excited as they Apparated away. Now, he could focus on his other problem. The teenager was no doubt a Muggle though it made little sense that he summoned him. The child was an exception. Those eyes and the power that rolled off its form were unnatural. The way the child held the unconscious boy told him what route he needed to go.
"Child, I believe you. However, you are something like my new acquaintance. I can feel it. I will give you an option. Serve the Dark Lord, and I will see that your companion is well taken care of. If not, you will not leave this clearing alive." Voldemort said with a false tone of friendliness.
Ryoji glared at Voldermort and tightened his grip on Makoto as the man pressed closer. "I refuse. You are in leagues with something that will bring the Fall, and I will never help you." he snapped, tensing as wands pointed in his direction.
"A shame. You would have been useful." Voldermort raised his wand with a sneer, prepared to kill them both.
With what little power he was able to reach deep into himself, Ryoji cast Tafuri. The torrent of feathers blinded the Death Eaters, and when the air was finally clear, the only evidence that the two were there was the smudged summoning circle. Voldermort felt rage bubble forth, and he shouted for his followers to scout the area and bring him their bodies back. He knew the child couldn't have gotten very far with his dead weight. In the meantime, he had more important things to do.
Escaping would be much easier if he had any inkling of where they were. Ryoji curled his body around Makoto the best he could, grunting in pain as they tumbled down. A tree stopped their momentum, and he hit the bark with a muffled cry. Pain shot up his back, and he hoped he didn't break anything. If he did, maybe he could have bypassed the hill. Mud and leaves covered them both, but Ryoji could care less. He took a few minutes to situate Makoto in his lap and make sure the foilage hid them. Makoto was too pale for his liking, even if the bleeding stopped.
He pressed his hands to his eyes until he saw spots. This wasn't anything like last time. What were they supposed to do? The Great Seal broke, and Makoto wouldn't wake up. Hell, they were alive, and that was an issue he could panic over later. The snake man - Voldy or whatever - tried to kill them with pointy sticks, some weird summoning ritual brought back this Nyarlathotep, and Dark Hour was back. The Fall would come.
Ryoji knew that with every fiber of his being. How would they stop it? He let his hands busy themselves in Makoto's hair instead. They needed to research and plan.
"Please, Makoto, wake up. You're the leader, y'know. I-I don't think we're even in Japan. Those people spoke English, and that doesn't narrow down where we are." He tried to keep his voice as soft as he could, trying to stay calm. "We're not supposed to be alive."
The unfortunate truth of his own words made him keep a tight lid on his overwhelming emotions and stare up at the full moon. She did say that the Fall would eventually come. A resigned laugh bubbled out his throat. She was right, after all. The sounds of the forest filled the silence as he tried to think of what to do. He wasn't sure how long it was, but he must have fallen asleep. The only reason he woke was that someone with light was standing in front of them. A curse left him at seeing it was one of the cloaked people and tried to look as menacing as possible.
"I am not here to hurt you, child. On the contrary, I am here to offer you a safe place. Somewhere away from Voldermort." the cloaked man said with a stern voice.
Ryoji paused and looked down at Makoto, and bit his lip. That could be a lie. He narrowed his eyes at the pale-faced man with his greasy hair and, frankly, intimidating aura. He wanted to refuse just like he did with the snake man. Both of them needed medical attention. Besides, he was a sitting duck with no mana to spare. There was only one choice.
"Promise me you'll help us. I-we," Ryoji found he couldn't find the exact words and settled for a nod instead. If it were a trap, he would give his life to protect the Messiah. The intimidating man was silent as he took out his pointy stick and waved it at them with some weird words coming out of his mouth. The floating without wings startled him, but he tried to keep calm. When the man touched his shoulder with careful movements, Ryoji closed his eyes as the man muttered something about numbers and a palace. The next thing he knew was that the forest was gone, and the world twisted around for an unknown destination.