Title: Slow Death
Summary: After being abducted by a servant of Lord Voldemort, Harry begins to deteriorate both physically and mentally. Can he be saved?
Disclaimer: Not making a dime off of this story, not gonna take the credit for the great characters. Don't sue.
The night brought a strange quiet to number four Privet Drive. It was a hollow, moonless night. Darkness seemed to swallow everything it could touch.
Despite his best efforts a young wizard tossed and turned on his limp, overly abused mattress. He was totally restless and even though he was utterly exhausted sleep refused to claim him.
Harry turned over onto his side. He was soaked with sweat and his scar felt like a red-hot coal as it burned fiercely on his skin. Gently, he reached up and fingered the lightning shaped mark on his forehead and pressed his sweaty palm to the tingling skin in an attempt to calm the unpleasant sensation. He knew that nothing he did would work, this was one of the things in his life that he just had to wait out.
Harry tried to ignore the searing heat from his scar. Whatever was the matter someone else would have to deal with it. There wasn't much that he could do about anything in his present situation. He was both locked in his room and restricted from using magic when he wasn't attending Hogwarts.
It was nearly two hours later when Harry had started to doze peacefully. A small noise snapped him to alertness and he sat upright in his bed. He reached instinctively for his glasses. He slipped the spectacles onto his face even though it was pitch black in the bedroom and he couldn't see a thing anyway. Harry sat quiet and listened hard. Several seconds passed and there had been only silence.
Just as Harry was about to try and relax, he heard a small thumping sound. Somebody was coming up the stairs and they were heading straight for his little prison.
The Dursleys surely wouldn't be up at this time of night, Harry thought to himself. No, someone strange was in the house.
Harry quietly flicked on his desk lamp and quickly he retrieved his wand from its hiding place beneath a loose floorboard in his room. The young wizard could hear the whispered unlocking charm forcing the bolts that kept him a prisoner in his uncle's home to unlock.
The boy knew that he had no escape except to fight. He knew all too well the consequences for using magic outside of school, but he knew he'd be forgiven for using it in self-defense if he could prove it. He hoped that the Ministry of Magic would spare him the displeasure of expulsion from Hogwarts and a snapped wand.
Harry cast his disarming spell just as the door opened wide enough to expose the intruder's black cloak. Harry gasped in disbelief, he had missed his target entirely.
"Now, now, Potter. That's not very wise, all things considered."
Harry instantly recognized the cool, condescending tone hidden beneath the security of the thick, dark cloak.
"You?" Harry stammered, although he wasn't really all that surprised. The man in the cloak advanced a step. "No! You stay back!"
Harry raised his wand and threatened to use it if the man persisted.
"You'll have to put your wand away, Potter. I'm afraid that you must accompany me. My Master wishes it."
Although he couldn't see to be sure, Harry knew that the man under the cloak was wearing a cruel sneer. Not waiting to be attacked Harry cast another spell and was horrified at how easily it was sidestepped.
"Stupefy!" the cruel voice called out, a dark surge of power quickly found its mark. Harry dropped lifelessly to the floor as his uncle cursed at him to stop making such a terrible amount of noise.
Four Weeks Later:
Harry painfully regained consciousness at his uncle's home, he was back in his small room. How he'd gotten there he didn't know. Where he'd been and what he'd experienced over the past four weeks he couldn't say. The last thing he remembered was waking up because of the unpleasant fire of his scar. Everything else had been lost to him. Harry was grateful to be back in familiar settings, but why felt as though he'd been away he didn't recall.
Harry started to drift off again, ignoring the dull thud that pulsed in his skull. There was no point to paying the pain any mind, since he would get no amount of sympathy in his uncle's home. Harry released a fatigued sigh as he allowed his bone-weary body an attempt to rest.
"No! Please, I don't know anything! No! Don't!!" Harry screamed and thrashed violently in his troubled sleep.
A nightmare, and it was a fresh one. Voldemort was thankfully not present in this dream, but another familiar figure dressed in a dark cloak was there. The dark figure wanted answers, answers that Harry could not give even if he had wanted to.
Vernon Dursley woke with a start. Was that who he thought it was? Hadn't he just gotten rid of that freak? Why had Potter returned? Probably too lazy and complacent to make it out in the real world, Vernon thought. Things had probably gotten too difficult and Potter decided that he'd made a mistake running away. The boy had returned just as he'd left. Without permission.
Vernon stormed furiously into Potter's unusually unlocked bedroom. He grabbed the screaming boy by the shirt collar, yanked him upward and shook him roughly awake.
"You shut up this instant! I'll not have you rousing the entire neighborhood with your thoughtless racket! You lazy Boy! Why did you have to come back?! We were just getting used to the idea of never seeing another freak like you again!"
Harry had stopped screaming the moment he'd been jostled awake. He gripped his uncle's tight fist that twisted the boy's battered t-shirt like a choke chain. Harry struggled to pull himself up enough to be able to breathe. The young boy gasped both in fright and in effort, he was completely covered in a sleek night sweat. Once Vernon realized that the boy had become quiet he suddenly released his vise grip and allowed the weak boy to drop roughly back to the mattress.
"Boy, you had better not make another sound, because even if Petunia says that you have to stay, I still control this house. You'll find yourself out on the street so fast-," Vernon paused mid-rant and took in his nephew's features. The boy's appearance was absolutely awful, even Vernon took notice, but by the faraway look in the boy's eyes Vernon knew Harry wasn't paying him any mind anymore.
Vernon turned away to leave, he felt slightly better having just vented on the Potter boy. Vernon locked Harry in his bedroom and then Vernon went back to his own room to a peaceful sleep.
Harry managed to keep quiet, but he didn't allow himself to go back to sleep as he would have liked. He knew that sleep would bring nightmares with it and then he would risk losing his home. Even if it was an unhappy home, it was the only home he had ever known.
It was several hours later when Aunt Petunia pounded viciously on Harry's door and screeched at him to finish cooking the breakfast.
Harry let a sigh of disappointment escape his lips as he moved to get dressed. The boy sat up and put his bare feet on the floor. He found his shoes and socks and automatically slipped into them. Harry stood up and swayed dizzily on his feet. His vision went dark for a moment and he quickly sat down on the edge of the bed before his knees had the chance to buckle.
Harry could feel his swimming head settling after a few seconds. With a breath of determination the young wizard stood and headed for his recently unlocked door. Harry stumbled wearily downstairs and made his way toward the kitchen.
The boy made his way to the stove where bacon and eggs had started cooking. Harry caught a good whiff of the warming food and felt his stomach lurch violently. He stumbled backward from the food feeling nauseated. He clamped a hand over his mouth to keep from vomiting.
"What are you doing?" Aunt Petunia snapped, glaring angrily at her nephew.
Harry's face had completely drained of all the healthy color he'd had left in his face. He had been pale before and was paper white now. Harry stared blankly at his aunt and felt his balance begin to falter. Harry reeled as his stomach boiled angrily. His eyes widened and he clamped his other hand over the first as he tried to stifle a heave. Harry turned away from his aunt and raced to the bathroom. He slammed the door shut and barely made it to the toilet before he could not restrain his stomach any longer.
Twenty minutes later his bout of nearly dry heaves had subsided. Harry flushed the toilet and washed his face with cool tap water. He dried his pale face with a freshly laundered towel that was certainly not intended for his use.
A loud banging on the bathroom door caused the boy to start. He set the now damp towel on the edge of the sink and looked himself over in the mirror. He looked as bad as he felt, but he really didn't seem to feel any concern about whether or not he would get better.
"Potter! You've been in there long enough! Come out of there at once!" Vernon's voice pierced clearly through the barrier of the bathroom door in a threatening tone.
Harry shook his head dejectedly and slumped out of the bathroom to face his relatives and their demands of him.
After several long hours filled with less then kind words and a seemingly endless list of chores, Harry felt weaker then ever. He was standing over a sink of hot water dismally scrubbing dirty dishes.
Harry reached into the hot water and pulled out a white glass plate. He scrubbed it clean without thinking about it and moved to set it carefully in the opposite sink to be rinsed off.
Vernon Dursley bristled as he heard the sound of glass shattering in the kitchen. He stormed toward the kitchen with heat building in his face and his voice box.
"What in blazes are you doing, boy?!" Vernon shouted furiously as he saw the shards of pearly white glass glittering happily at him from the kitchen floor. As he entered the kitchen fully, he could see his nephew was sprawled out on the floor in a small puddle of soapy dishwater and pieces of glass.
"Bloody Hell!" Vernon cursed as he approached the boy and shook him by the shoulder. "Wake up boy! I'll have none of your shenanigans now!"
Harry's eyes fluttered open on command for a moment and he slurred out an apology. Vernon picked the small boy up under the shoulders and dragged him upstairs to his room. The entire trip up the stairs Vernon cursed the young boy and ranted about him being contagious.
Harry woke a few minutes later to find himself in his bed and his unhappy uncle towering over him.
"I don't want you here while you're diseased," Vernon stated matter of factly. "I'll not have you spreading your sickness to the rest of us. You're going to write those freaky friends of yours and ask to stay with them."
Harry nodded only half coherent and glanced toward Hedwig's cage. Thankfully during his absence the owl had been free to come and go through his bedroom window. The window had once been barred shut. Thanks to the Weasley brothers Vernon had decided against barring the window a second time. Harry often left the window open to allow the owl free rein.
Harry found a piece of parchment and scrawled a quick message explaining things to his friend Ron. He tied the brief note to Hedwig's leg and she took off with an excited hoot.
"I'll not have you dying in my home! You can die with your own kind," Vernon growled menacingly, which Harry tried not to hear as he stumbled back toward his bed.
"What if I can't find anyone to stay with?" Harry asked softly, almost hoping for a shred of mercy from his uncle.
"You'd better hope that they take you in, because you won't be staying here much longer."
'Oh, I expected as much from you,' Harry thought to himself, his uncle's harsh words had little effect.
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