"The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he is on."
― Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Dark Water by Pseudonymous Entity
Summary: When Harry and Ron steal the flying car things go horribly wrong. Harry Potter is nearly killed, and ends up lost and alone in the Forbidden Forest. When he emerges it is with a greater respect for magic, and for his life. But this year? He isn't the only one making a comeback...
AN: Let me know if you want to see what happens next. I'd really like to show you.
ANx2: Still alive. Promise.
Ever Yours, Pseu [The Clever, Magnificent and Ridiculously Good Looking]
"No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become.
No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell.
There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side.
Or you don't." ― Stephen King
It happened quickly. Or seemed to.
One minute he is flying through the air with Ron and the sky is darkening, but they can see the light of the castle, and they're smiling at one another. So certain they'd gotten away with it. It smells of old leather and Mr Weasley's cologne inside the car, along with some sweat which mostly likely came about from the two of them when the car had tipped precariously over the Hogwarts Express a few hours earlier. Ron unlocked his seat belt and made a show of stretching, like he'd done some serious physical work. Really, all they'd done was managed not to kill themselves -or anyone else- while flying a stolen car. Terrible, but still really cool.
It was a moment of childish relief and excitement.
"Alright, now we slow her down and aim for grass. We'll just coast along until we stop on the grounds. It's pretty dark now I don't they'll see us." Ron said confidently.
He pushed down on the brake, and when he was satisfied he stepped off the pedals and let go of the wheel. Trusting his own proclamation
Ron turned around and leaned over the seat until more of him was up in the air then on the ground. His fingers stretched out, trailing along the back of the car until he found some unseen thing. The tips of his fingers disappeared into the fabric and then came out. It was latched Harry realized. Ron pulled and a flap of some kind came down to reveal the end of the car. Grinning, Ron shoved himself forward a bit more to grab hold of the handle to his trunk.
Then, there was a lurch. Harry felt suspended in air even as his seat belt dug into him and the car jerked into reverse. Ron came flying backward over the seat, the steering wheel and smacked into the windshield.
A faint tinkling etched itself faintly in the air, causing the hair of Harry's neck to stand on end. "Ron?"
"I'm alright…" The car jerked again and this time it tilted vertically into the air and continued instead of suddenly stopping.
Ron's trunk came barreling forward in response, Harry's was caught at an angle and rocking ominously. Ron cursed and shut his eyes. The trunk came to a halt with the seat pushed half over on itself. Harry thought some of it must be torn. Broken.
"What's happening?" Harry asked. His chest still ached from the sudden lurch and his head was spinning from the backward spiral they were in.
Ron squinted an eye open. "Must be the willow."
"Willow?" A freaking tree was doing this?
The unseen forces playing with their car like a toy swooped them down and then up in a jagged loop-de-loop. Harry put his feet up against the dash and braced himself, trying to keep from choking on his seat belt. Ron was flung into his truck with a groan and then back into the window shield. The tinkling sound was back. This time, Ron heard it too. Eyes wide, breathing raggedly, Ron turned over his shoulder to see a crack making its way across the windshield. And then another. And another.
"Don't…just don't move Ron." Said Harry.
Which was alright advice at first. But the constant random jolting of the car had dislodged Harry's trunk which, with a noise like dry leaves, came sliding down and into Ron's truck. This unstuck it and now loose it slides up and over the bent seat. Ron crossed him arms in front of his face at the last minute. It didn't matter. The windshield beneath shattered just as the trunk reached him and both boy and trunk fell through the open space.
Harry saw only a glimpse of his friend falling toward earth at an alarming rate. Then he was whipped away as a streak of gray green came from nowhere and wrapped around his middle then thrust his way and onto the grass four yards or so away. Harry saw the figure that was Ron in the darkness duck his oncoming trunk before the car which Harry was still very much strapped into went flying the opposite direction. This time there were no loop-de-loops and no sudden stops.
The mysterious and dangerous willow tree had grown bored with its toy and tossed it aside.
Harry shut his eyes against the stinging wind blowing through the non-existent windshield, and clung to the side of the car and his seat belt, willing the dizziness in his head to dissipate. Or the car to just stop moving. Or both.
As the car steadied and Harry was able to open his eyes as more than a squint he realized the car was moving of its own volition. It was still a flying car after all, and there was no one in the driver's seat to tell it to stop. Through the empty space in front of him Harry could see trees rushing away from him and the lights of Hogwarts growing smaller in the darkness. He needed to steer the car back in the right direction.
Harry may very well have managed to do this if two very specific things hadn't happened one after the other. First, the car ran out of fuel. Harry knew this because the car decided to drop three yards causing his heart to nearly fly out of his chest. Second, the sudden drop dislodged one of Harry's feet -still firmly pushed against the dash- it slipped from the dash and hit the steering wheel. The car was sent into a spin.
Harry swore as he had never sworn in his life. Swearing was more Ron's thing. Thankfully, his red-headed friend had taught him enough to spew out a few choice words. Harry's fingers reached for the metal release on the belt frantically, eyes tearing from the stinging wind. He had to get control of the car.
The Gryffindor tugged and yanked on the belt, scraping his fingernails. It was jammed. Think Potter.
As if in answer to the call an idea popped into his head. Leaning back and angling himself Harry kicked his feet out toward the steering wheel. It was hard to do so now with the force of the car swinging wildly around. The toe of his shoe caught the steering wheel. Harry stretched and shoved his foot farther up and crossed his other leg over it and held. It pulled on his knees and legs hard and Harry nearly let go. Finally, the car stopped spinning but its velocity kept it going sideways for a bit before it began to move forward. This dramatic change in direction had an unfortunate side effect. It slowed the car too quickly. Increasing its descent.
Gulping in air Harry tried to calm himself down enough to think and think quickly.
Looking ahead Harry could see that he was much farther away from the castle then he wanted to be, far over the forbidden forest. A glimpse of reflecting moonlight alerted him to the location of the lake. On the other side of it were the Hogwarts grounds. If he could only get to the other side maybe he could land it on the grass, use the slow loping hills of the grounds to slow it down. Like Ron had planned to do.
Only without the imminent threat of an involuntary crash.
Harry pushed with his feet too aim the front of the car toward the lake. At where he was guessing it would be based on the reflections he saw. It wasn't a smooth return. It seemed to him that every few seconds the car dropped another half-meter. The trees were getting too close to fast. He tried to calculate the likelihood of survival if he crashed into the trees. Going off the last one the car ran into Harry was gonna go with not great.
It was sudden. Everything stilled, seemed suspended. Frozen. Then the car dropped, plummeted, seven meters. Trees were directly in his line of sight. And they were scratching, jolting the sides of the car. Tossing it like a ping pong ball. Or so it seemed to Harry. Just as suddenly the car broke through the trees. The lights of Hogwarts, tiny in the distance were visible for one tragically hopeful moment. The car tilted vertically wrenching the comforting sight of Hogwarts away and replacing it with the inky, almost invisible depths of the lake. Harry barely registered the change before the car's front end slammed into the lake and then bounced, flipped end over end, and plunged backward and upside into the lake.
Harry's head had smacked against the side of car pretty hard. Freezing water pouring over the sides of the up ended car, through the empty windshield space brought him back to clarity enough to flail his body and kick his legs. Harry's scream was cut off with lake water, choking him. Pressing in on him from all sides, filling the car, dragging it and Harry down into the depths and away from the surface. Painfully conscious that he was drowning Harry squeezed and pulled and hit at the release on his belt, his tears adding to the water killing him.
The latch popped off, the belt flew away from him in the force of the water and Harry found himself being whipped around with it. His body spiraled and flipped around in the water surging around the car until he couldn't remember which way was up. He twisted and tossed, at the mercy of the vicious water until he felt an upward force, too fast. He smacked head first into something very hard. His body was pushed into and around the object. That's when his leg broke the surface first.
Harry flung his arms around trying to right himself. Cold air hit his face in the brief instance it broke through. Harry gulped in air involuntarily and brought in just as much water as air and was tugged in a roll once more. Harry reached out instinctively for whatever it was he'd hit and grabbed on tight when he felt it. Harry's arms and shoulders snapped tight and pulled.
He took the moment to pull himself against the floating thing in the dark, pull himself enough to put his chin on the top of it and keep his chest out of the water. The object bobbed along but was sturdy. His trunk, Harry thought. It floats. Good to know. Freezing, exhausted, it was all Harry could to hold and, body wracked with shivers, and watch the lights of Hogwarts off in the distance. Teeth chattering, Harry turned his head to look behind him. At the shore only five yards away maybe, the bank, and the brush and the trees that came nearly to the water, all cloaked in shadow.
He was on the wrong side of the lake.
"You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there." ― Edwin Louis Cole
AN: Thoughts? Comments? Theories? Limericks?
ANx2: Shall I post more?
Ever Yours, Pseu