Disclaimer: this story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
This chapter is dedicated to the lovely Breese. Happy Birthday!
Play My Game
Chapter Five – Sea of Darkness
"Wormtail, stop right there!" Harry bellowed from one end of the grey corridor, to the resident rat (and the only one, as dear Nagini often complains – not that she helps the matter, seeing as as those would be her snack). Peter stiffened visibly and turned slowly around.
It was the third day of being in Voldemort's body, and they – or rather Voldemort – decided that it was time to alert the Death Eaters that he was 'fine'. Personally, Harry thought his little minions would be better happier if he would just rot away. In any case, being each other wasn't pleasant. Voldemort insisted Harry learned to dress, act, hell, even move like him. He was far from perfect, but they decided they would attribute any slip to post-ritual weakness. The dress choosing, though, had been an adventure in itself. Harry refused to wear blood red (even though it was a Gryffindor colour, it was blood red) or Green and Silver. Finally, they had agreed on a black robe with silver trimming. Harry was satisfied to note that the combination made him look even paler and more emaciated than usual.
"Yes, Master?" His voice trembled, as if he was expecting the Cruciatus any minute now. Harry resisted the urge to do just that.
'Walk slowly up to him. Or better yet, stroll,' he heard Voldemort's voice in his head.
'I know. I'm not stupid.' He could feel Voldemort biting back a sarcastic comment.
Harry squared his shoulders and plastered a fake 'I-am-an-insane-Dark-Lord-and-want-to-torture-you-to-death' smile he hoped wasn't too cheerful, and strutted forward. Wormtail trembled expectedly,and gnawed on his lower lip. That was not exactly a pleasant sight, given the state of his teeth.
'Are you contemplating kissing Wormtail?' askedVoldemort amused.
'I'd rather kiss Snape's arse, thank you very much.'
'Really, I'll kindly inform him once we've got out of his mess. He might just appreciate your ... services.'
'Get your mind out of the gutter, your pervert!'
'You were the one who said you wanted to kiss his arse!'
'It was figure of speech! Of course, you in your dark lordship glory would never have used such a normal human thing!'
'Are you sure? He does have a veryfine arse, you should know. And he is a fabulous kisser.'
Harry did not answer, but he was quite sure Voldemort could feel his disgust. Quite clearly, he assured. The Dark Lord answered it with a wave of amusement and suddenly a picture appeared in Harry's mind: Snape spread-eagled on the floor, naked and quite aroused. The customary limp, greasy hair obscured his face.
Harry gagged and choked, willing the image out of his mind. Voldemort, the bloody bastard, was laughing. Harry tried to think of anything but that, and sent the image of pink bunny-rabbits and flowers over the link, in return. Voldemort only laughed harder.
Wormtail was watching him partially concerned, though he had a glint of something in his eyes. Probably hoping you'd have a fit and will soon unfortunately kick the bucket...
Trying very hard to ignore Voldemort, he levelled his best evil death glare at Wormtail, who promptly began to squirm. He scowled in distaste at the pathetic rat.
"Wormtail, shshow me your mark," he hissed imitating the Dark Lord.
"Y-yes, M-master, prompt-tly Master, im-m-mediately Master," Peter fumbled around on the oversized sleeve of his traditional black Death Eater robes with his silver hand. Of course, the sleeve was too much to lift with one single hand if you didn'traise it.
Harry rolled his eyes and brandished his wand with an exaggerated flourish that would have made Lockhart proud.
"Do you require help, Wormtail?" he asked, casually twirling the yew wand between his long, skeletal fingers. A strange satisfaction coursed through him when Wormtail squeaked terrified and practically ripped his sleeve off. I only wanted to help him magic it away; if he wants to do it the hard way, it's not my fault, Harry thought gleefully.
'I'm not that sure you wouldn't manage the Cruciatus, kitten.'
'Considering that my existence may depend on it, I do hope I can, Tom, or are you having so much fun being a parasite in my body that you forgot that? '
Harry gripped Wormtail's outstretched forearm roughly, and pressed the tip of Voldemort's wand against the Dark Mark. Concentrating on the Inner Circle, as Voldemort had told him to, Harry felt the dark power flow through him, his hand and his wand. It felt very good...
'Enjoying the Dark Arts, are we, kitten?'
And he did. He never expected it t feel so maddeningly satisfying.
Wormtail was whimpering.
Voldemort laughed even more.
It was addicting, overpowering, as if drowning in a sea of honey, filling his senses, filling him ... nothing mattered anymore...
Voldemort stopped laughing.
'Potter, Potter – Oh, for Salazar's Serpent! Harry! Get over it!'
Harry ignored the small, inconsequential voice in his head. It didn't matter. Wormtail screams were so musical, harmonious ... the small summon was not enough.
'Stop, Potter! You don't have control!'
Never enough. Harry drew back, a slow, deliberate, serpentine movement his body was so accustomed too. He wasn't aware that his eyes burned bright red, or that the corridor was humming with dark magic, only of the blazing need...
Wormtail creamed in pure agony, sliding to the floor. Harry held the curse, fascinated by the rhythmical spasms of the body, fuelled the pleas and screams, intoxicated by the power of being in control, by the knowledge that he was the master-
Suddenly, Harry jerked back, reeling in shock, pupils dilated. What happened?
Wormtail was lying motionless on the cold stone floor, robe half opened, blood pooling under him, out of his mouth and ears. His eyes were wide. His wrist lay draped acrosshis mouth.
'Stupid child! Have you never ever cast a dark spell before?'
'I ... no. NO! Oh Merlin! What was that!'
'Why did you think the dark arts are forbidden? Why do you think they cannot be used for the proverbial good? Because of a few stupid Ministry rules? Or maybe because they are misunderstood?'
"Wormtail, get out of my sight!" he bellowed, ignoring him.
Wormtail didn't even twitch. He was most likely unconscious. Most likely. Harry was sure of this. He was.
"Ennervate!' Nothing. "Ennervate! Wake up, you thrice damned rat! Ennervate!" he cried, half-horrified. Why wasn't he waking?
'You held him under the Cruciatus for almost fifteen minutes! He's either insane or dead.' Voldemort said flatly. 'Hmmm, he never was one that could withstand it long. At least we won't have to worry now about you not being able to cast it'
Harry ran to Pettigrew's side, gripped his shoulders and shaking him for all it was worth. His left hand fell down from his mouth and Harry drew back revolted.
Pink flesh and red blood and white bone...
That was all there was left of the wrist. Wormtail had bitten it to lessen the pain; he had shredded it to lessen the pain.
The blood under him hadn't come from his mouth, but from the arteries in his wrist.
'See the true side of the Boy-Who-Lived. You are not much better than I am. Can you not feel the dark calling out to you? Once you have cast a Dark Curse once you will hunger to do it again. Again and again, until all that remains behind is an emotionless killer. Let the darkness devour you, if you desire! But you, unlike I, are not strong enough to control it.'
Wormtail, Peter Pettigrew was dead.
'You feel horrified of what you have done, horrified of the power you used, horrified as it has caused you pleasure that you still long to feel. You long to feel the dark safety, the sweet honey ... and you are afraid, afraid you may hurt your friends, afraid everyone will reject you. You are afraid to be alone, and you are afraid to accept its solace. Yesssss, I know what you are feeling Harry. I know because I went through the same thing. But I, unlike you, accepted and learned to control it.'
He, Harry had killed him. With Voldemort's hand.
'Yes, I feel all this in you. What I do not feel in you though, is remorse. You are horrified and afraid of what you have done, but you do not feel remorse. You ashamed of the act itself, of the act of killing, but not of killing a person... or this particular person.'
And he wasn't sorry to have gotten rid of the one who had betrayed his parents, the one who had brought Voldemort back and the reason Harry couldn't have lived with his Godfather instead of the Dursleys.
'The Death Eaters must already be there. Clean up and go.'
For once, Harry complied. He cast a Cleaning Charm to remove the blood from his robes and a Bubble Charm around Wormtail's corpse so the smell wouldn't spread. He shoved it aside as he walked past. A house-elf would get rid of it later.
Harry entered the Meeting Chamber, wich was adjacent to the Apparition Point Chamber (the only place in the whole Manor you could enter by means of either Portkey or Apparating), separated by a brief corridor, heavily warded with various Dark Mark Detection Spells (of Voldemort's own creation, of course). Anyone without the Dark Mark, besides Voldemort himself and anyone directly keyed to the wards, would be sent to a remote part of the dungeons where the Dark Lord kept Nagini's brood and food.
'Well, the little ones need more substantial nourishment than those few small rats Nagini manages to find,' he had said as Harry was surveying the plans for the layout of the building. In turn, Harry had to tell him (or rather show him mentally) Grimmauld Place's map. Fair enough. The Order would be immensely satisfied to know about Voldemort's Manor, and since Grimmauld was – and still is – under the Fidelius, its design did not truly matter. Yet.
In any case, the Meeting Chamber was a large, elevated room with an arched ceiling. The windows were obscured and ancient mosaics adorned the otherwise grey walls, although they were only to be seen when the flickering torchlight reflected on a stray tile – when it was just eerie. Two doors led into the chamber, one of which was a secret passage, activated by pressing a certain body-part of a man in a mosaic that showed a nice little torture scene. Disgusting.
In the middle of the chamber was a raised dais with a grand throne on it, (obviously) meant to impose. The Death Eaters themselves, who had been talking in hushed voices, silenced immediately and gathered in a perfect half-circle around the throne when Harry sat down.
Simultaneously, they bowed and straightened.
It was just plain creepy. Each one of them, dressed in black hooded robes that blended perfectly with the semi-darkness around them and white masks looked like Death personified. Harry half expected them to pull out identical scythes.
He recognised Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape in the lot. Besides Lucius Malfoy was a figure who had a distinctly softer jaw line and more feminine lips than the others had – most probably Bellatrix Lestrange. He suppressed the urge to curse her with the Cruciatus (but only because he was remembering what happened not five minutes ago). Better be calm, he told himself, you can slip poison into her drink later. To Lucius' right was a free space where – Harry gulped inwardly – Wormtail should have stood.
'Greet them and inform them that Wormtail tragically got lost in the dungeons.' Got lost in the dungeons, exactly.
Harry amused himself for a moment with the thought of greeting the Death Eaters with a 'Hi, guys. How are you?', but discarded the idea when he remembered that Voldemort's version of it, which he would use as a payback, would be Crucio-ing everyone ten feet radius.
"Good evening, my faithful," he smirked as sinisterly he could and looked around the circle, his gaze resting longer than necessary on Snape. Snape, for his credit, did not react. He deliberately shifted his gaze to Wormtail's empty spot. "Wormtail, alas, will not be joining us anymore henceforth. He tragically got lost in the dungeon"
"Master, they smell afraid," hissed the small snake Cheira from his wrist. Voldemort suggested bringing her with him since he did not know any Legilimency, while she could smell emotions in the very air.
'Good. What now?'
"Master," said Lucius Malfoy, bowing again. "If I am allowed to ask, what happened? We," he motioned around the circle "were profoundly concerned for your lordships welfare."
"This human hisses fake."
Harry let out a laugh, half hissing it in Parseltongue.
"If you say so, Lucius, then I might endower in believing you. The Ritual I have told you about failed, as your son ought to have already informed you of. However, it did not remain without fruits. As it is, I would have called you sooner, but I was ... indisposed" Harry retold the misdirection with a smoothness that came from exercising in front of a mirror.
"Master, if I may-"
"No, you may not."
Lucius stiffened shortly, but went back to his place.
"Human angry, human wants to know. Stupid human."
'Did you tell the little lie?'
'Good, now ask for anything new.'
'How long does this meeting have to last?'
Voldemort didn't answer him.
As it turned out, the Death Eaters were particularly talkative that evening and Harry couldn't resist casting the Cruciatus again. This time he managed to hold it for about half a minute before the Darkness threatened to overwhelm him. It had been enough, though. Bellatrix screams would be in his pleasant dreams for months to come yet.
Still, he wanted to cast it again, soon. It just felt ... well, you couldn't exactly call it good, but rather enjoyable. Voldemort was amused.
A/N: Well, I liked this chapter more than I liked the others, though it seems a bit rushed. The title is somewhat corny, but I couldn't resist.