It's an irrational fear, it follows me like my shadow
And it's screaming, horrific screams that try to rend my soul
It's after me, calling out for my blood
The hatred, the lust for the hunt, the desire for pain
A relentless nightmare is chasing me, its smile holding no peace
I'm running in the rainy twilight, frantic tears running down my face
But I'm in denial
I'm trying to outrun the inevitable
It was raining again.
It seemed to always be raining nowadays.
The young dark-haired teen sat on a chair near the window of his small room, his face against the cool glass, watching as the heavens cried, the tears falling down to earth. The rain splattered on the surface of his window and as they slid down the slick surface of the glass, the reflection made on his face gave him the appearance of crying, tears running down his pale cheeks. But he was not crying. There were no tears left to shed anymore. And those were not his tears.
It had only been a few days since he, Harry Potter, had been deposited once more into the ever-caring hands of the Dursley family of Privet Drive. They had taken the warning from Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody to heart and more or less treated him well. He received three decent meals a day, was not required to do as many chores, and was given space. Plenty of it. Harry did not attribute the change to some altruistic change of heart towards him. No, it was cowardice. They were afraid of Voldemort: it showed in the lines of Petunia's face, the purple quality that seemed to be Uncle Vernon's primary skin color as of late, and in the fearful large mass that was Dudley. It was the threat of those wizards at the station. It was not out of love or concern for him.
Then again, when was life so generous to him? Family, it seemed, was a thing that was and would forever be out of his reach. His parents were taken away, and now Sirius. Almost his entire life, since he was dropped off to the Dursleys, he had been dreaming of someone to take him away from their mind-numbingly mundane life. When he was thirteen, Sirius provided that hope, the hope that he would leave and actually have a family of his own, not living through Ron and the Weasleys. A parent of his own, a guardian he could trust implicitly with everything, someone who would accept him no matter what, and guide him. The basic thing that the Dursleys could and would never be.
But now, Sirius too was taken away. And here he was, in the same place as he started. Alone.
It was the beginning of July and the heat had failed to descend upon Surrey, or much of England for that matter. Only rain, from monotonous and depressing gray clouds, fell. The news was always harping warnings about possible flooding and the various troubles that it was causing. Harry, though, did not complain. It largely reflected his mood these days and saved him the trouble of slaving in his aunt's garden. Though it was more than likely that he'd have to work harder after the rain ceased. Too much rain could be just as bad for plants as too little.
In a month's time, he would be sixteen.
Sixteen. He would almost be an adult.
That is, if he survived until then.
And begins again. The endless review of the painful memories of his short life. Even to himself, the person whose mind and memories these belonged to, it was getting old. But they still haunted his unconscious mind, preying on him like a ruthless ravaging beast, his suffering stemming from the shackles of the past. It was during these times he was in the most pain, the worst agony. So many things that had happened…that could've gone better if he had just thought through everything just a bit more…the blood of innocent people on his hands, their deaths achieved by either loving or hating him, in the end his very existence bringing the cruel termination of their lives.
The beast was close, the hot breath of the predator brushing against the back of his neck, making his entire body tense and rigid in fear. It was not the fear that one felt when confronted by something more powerful or greater than oneself, such as Harry felt in the Department of Mysteries during the duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore. This was completely different. This was the terror of something even larger, a cross between human madness and animal savagery. He could just imagine the white fangs of the beast sinking into his neck, effectively breaking the bone and the arteries, killing him in one swift instant in time, the proof of how fragile life was of a mortal being.
Abruptly, the beast moved away and the feeling subsided. The veil of memories before his eyes shattered, the shards flying up to the air, catching a kind of red light as they rose and fell, it all then fading suddenly to pitiless black. Relief immediately flooded him, a rare and brief smile flitting across Harry's face for moment.
It was short-lived. What was revealed to be behind that wall of pain was hardly something to be relieved about. His expression immediately fell to shock, then apprehension. In this dream world of his, in this field of his mind, he backed up several steps, away from the intruder.
Lord Voldemort stood there, as if it were a normal outing to the park, as if he owned the place where he stood. Red eyes gleamed in the dark, a thin smirk gracing a pale snake-like face. A crimson aura surrounded him, distinguishing his black-robed figure in the obscuring shadows. He had no wand in his hand, his arms folded across his chest in an appraising manner, spidery white fingers tapping his upper arm in a nonchalant fashion.
"I'm surprised, Harry," Voldemort hissed, though he thought he could detect something…pleased in his tone. "It isn't very productive to mope now, is it? Not when there are more…pressing matters to deal with, eh?"
"What do you want?!" he demanded. "You do enough to me in reality, I don't need you in my mind!"
The Dark Lord just laughed gaily, as if the teen had just said a joke. "Me? What do I want? Immortality and rule over everything, of course! Haven't you figured out that is the highest ambition to achieve and make real? The ideal ambition for the Heir of Slytherin? Come, I had you thought out as much more intelligent than that!"
Harry made no reply, just settling for a sullen, dull emerald stare. There was no point in pushing the intruder out of his mind now. It was far too late for that. All he could settle for was fortifying blocks he had made on the more important and crucial segments of information that he knew. Such as…the prophecy.
"What was that about the prophecy, Harry?"
"Nothing," was the stoic reply, he had settled for not meeting the other's eyes.
"True, it soon will be nothing," came Voldemort's drawl. "Because now it is absolutely positively nothing. Just the ramblings of a mediocre seer."
Harry's eyes turned back to the Dark Lord and he automatically was hit with the intense red glare. "What are you talking about?"
"Ah, you don't know? Well, I doubt that old fool knows either, so it is of no great concern. Tonight was the night of an extremely rare arrangement of the stars known as Eclipse Saturna. Only happens once every millennium or so. If an old dark ritual is made under this celestial rarity, a prophecy can be made void." Voldemort grinned in triumph. "That's the wonderful thing about dark magic – it can do anything if you have the right knowledge and resources. Whatever that prophecy was, it is now worthless. My life is no longer bound by the strings of fate." A pause. "And I can assume, neither is yours."
He averted his eyes again. Was it possible? When it came down to it, Voldemort had never lied to him. Manipulated him, of course, but lied? He couldn't recall a situation where he had met the evil monstrosity and was deliberately given false information. Harry tried not to think of the irony of the situation: his enemy was most of the time truthful, those who were supposed to be his allies weren't.
"So, I'm offering a chance to you again. To join me."
Harry's head snapped up in shock. What was really going on here?
"You can get rid of them all, you know," Voldemort gleefully hissed. "They are all just using you. None of them would even give you the time of day if you weren't the exalted Boy-Who-Lived. Why else would they never tell you anything? Why else would they entrap you with those despicable muggles?" He spat out the word 'muggles' as if it were a dirty word contaminating his mouth. "I've seen what happened. Your mind was quite open for me the last time we met. Do memories of a cupboard hit any nerves, Harry? Poorly fitting hand-me-downs and endless bullying? What of the endless verbal abuse and neglect? If Dumbledore had seen this all – and he has – why would he keep you there?"
Harry couldn't answer, trying to stop himself from thinking down that line, not wanting to play into the hands of this murderer. The darkness around him was getting ever more suffocating to him.
"Think about it, Harry."
Harry sat up in his bed, wide awake, covered in a cold sweat.
It was raining yet again. Murky gray-black clouds covered the sky in a thick blanket, the heavy rain coming down hard, puddles that were made just the day before overflowing, a river of water rushing down the streets into the sewers below. In clothes that were altogether much too big for a teenager with as small a frame has he had along with a yellow slicker that could probably shelter three normal sized people from the downpour comfortably, Harry walked out of 4 Privet Drive towards the local store. A sharp crack announced the leaving of the guard assigned to watch him. The teen, nevertheless, kept going. He just had to wait for another few minutes, to hear that telltale popping sound, and he would be once more under the watchful eye of the Order.
He refrained from thinking his true opinion of the guards…babysitters.
Dudley needed eggs. And whatever 'Diddy-duddy-dums' wanted, 'Diddy-duddy-dums' got. It was unfortunate that none of the other burly delinquents that made up the gang of 'Big D' Dudley Dursley didn't know of his home life. And judging from the huge muscles that made up Dudley's body now, the violent and frequent mood swings, as well as one of the most severe cases of acne that Harry had ever seen in his entire life, Dudley was definitely doing something wrong (which wasn't in itself very unusual). If Eloise Midgen had compared her face with Dudley's present complexion now, she probably would be quite satisfied with her looks and wouldn't go so far as to curse her nose off. Harry had suspicions of Dudley possibly using steroids – he was trying to be a boxer, but when did Dudley ever have the conviction to ever try? Some champion.
The few people out on the muggle street avoided Harry as if he were the plague, giving him disapproving looks while keeping their distance. The story that he was a budding criminal and a hoodlum was still going strong, apparently. Harry ignored the looks and stares, concentrating his mind on only obtaining what Aunt Petunia 'needed' and that was that. He knew he looked sick enough, with his bedraggled hair and dark circles beneath his eyes, but he didn't want to actually get sick.
It was at the crosswalk when it hit him.
That fear that had been haunting his dreams ever since he had returned from Hogwarts. The one whose presence filled Harry with a greater terror than anything he had felt before. The beast. It was closing in on him. Right now. Fast.
And he knew if he approached it, that he couldn't win.
Paying no attention to the other passerby near him, the thought of Dudley's eggs and his domestic mission flying completely out of his head, Harry did what he felt was the only option. He couldn't wait for help. It would be too late. His instinct was screaming for action; already, he could feel the adrenaline to help him.
Harry took off running, the wind flying in his face, the worn trainers slapping the hard pavement and splashing water everywhere. He needed to get away. Before that terror sunk its teeth into him for real.
The mall was crowded, filled with milling shoppers going to and fro making their purchases. At the large fountain that dominated the center of the main floor, Harry collapsed into one of the benches. Throwing his head back, he tried to catch his breath, panting hard, the rainwater dripping off his clothing and wetting the faux-wood material of the seat. No one could see him – not with the large crowd of people surrounding some new artist. Hopefully, the mass of spectators would shield him from view, long enough for whatever it was to give up pursuing him…at least for now.
He was completely unprotected. He knew his wand would not do much good against whatever it was. Neither was an Order member nearby. No, he had taken off from Privet Drive too fast for one of them to realize that he was gone. In all likelihood, whoever was on watch today figured that he was in his room again, safe from any harm or injury.
What a preposterous presumption, wasn't it? When didn't he get in some kind of trouble?
The noise surrounding him was muffled and stifled in an otherworldly way, as if he were listening from under water. It then faded to silence. Everything stopped. No one…was moving. Morbidly curious of the cause, Harry strained his eyes to see what was going on. Everyone's eyes, the gazes of all who were in the mall, in every store, on every floor, were fixated on one thing…
A tall older-looking man stood, seemingly unconcerned with the number of eyes fixated on him. His weathered face was lined in plain rage, ragged gray-brown hair cut neatly, silver hairs at his temples. His clothes were ordinary muggle ones – a long coat, a plaid shirt, and khaki pants, an outfit that he would expect regular man to wear. The man appeared ordinary…absolutely ordinary. The kind of man that Uncle Vernon would invite over to have drinks with.
Dark eyes were glimmering in the bright overhead lights; rage and hatred were the only sparks of life that showed in those tortured depths.
He looked ordinary. But Harry knew better.
This man…he was the thing that was chasing him. The one that filled him with terror. The Beast.
"It's all your fault," the man whispered into the hush, seeing only Harry in the multitudes around him. "IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!"
The fountain behind him exploded, water gushing everywhere, soaking him to the bone. The crowd lost their hypnotized state with the startled scream of a woman. With that as a signal, the mall erupted into chaos. People began running for the exits, trampling and shoving each other in their rush to leave. The grills of the food court exploded, fire starting to spread to other areas, noxious smoke filling the air.
In the pandemonium, only two remained where they were. Harry could only stare in shock at all going on around him, unable to move from where he sat. His hair was plastered down due to the water, black soot dirtying one side of his face.
"It's all your fault," the man repeated again. "Because of you!" He began to walk forward, each step he took angry and purposeful, and his voice short and angry. "They're all dead. Evelyn, John, Roselle, they're all dead because of you!" Pipes rose forcefully from the cement, spewing boiling hot steam as he passed. The man passed through it, unburned and unblemished, as if it were nothing. Harry couldn't move his body even if he tried. The spell was already cast.
It was too intense. His heart was pounding in his ears. A dismal rapid thud, the quick beat of destiny's end. Distantly, he felt the malevolent presence that was Voldemort in his mind. But he paid no attention to the Dark Lord for once, confronted with something altogether more powerful and horrifying.
"Your existence, your pitiful existence! You and the Dark Lord!" he spat. "It is because of you that everyone is dying, innocents who have done nothing wrong, and because of you, they fall to the green light of death!" Somewhere above him, the heavy stone and glass roof of the now deserted mall thundered dangerously, loud sirens now shrieking in the air. "My family all died, due to you!" A twisted, deranged grin twisted his face. "You will see. You will see! You will see why when I was called, I was given the name of Nightmare!" As Harry looked on, frozen, the man began to laugh, an appalling laugh that rang through every crevice of the ruined building.
It was then, suddenly, that he stopped. His face contorted from its gleeful expression to that of shock, staring at the ground with fright. With a snap, Harry realized he could freely move again. As he stood up, the violent quakes sent him sprawling to the floor, ripping through the worn jeans, badly scraping his legs. Beneath his body, the ground continued to shake forcefully, so much so that he could not get up without falling again. The cement was breaking apart, pieces flying up into the air.
Equilibrium was shattered.
Trying in vain to get to his feet, Harry found the man staring dumbly at the ground, completely balanced and standing, as if the earth beneath him were not moving at all. "Why?!" he heard him screaming. Screaming at the ground, as if it had done him some great wrong. "Why won't you let me-"
And after a flash of red flame and the sound of glass shattering, everything in Harry's vision went black.
This is Tears of Twilight, a dark, angsty 6th year fic. Of course, it seems slightly confusing now, but that is now things do begin. Events begin to clear up gradually as the story continues. The significance of the person named Nightmare will be revealed in the next chapter, as well as what happened to Harry after the collapse. Though this story will be continued, it probably would not be updated as quickly as the Elemental series fics. If you have any questions, you can e-mail me or ask on my Yahoo!Group (link found in my profile).