Disclaimer: Characters are not mine. They are the intellectual property of JKR.

We shall find peace. We shall hear the angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.

Uncle Vanya – Anton Chekhov

Third week September, 2016

Excerpt from A History of the Wizarding Penal System, annotated by the archivist of the Strafdenken Institute in Hamburg.

The now historic escapes from Azkaban Fortress in both 1993 and 1996, once they became common knowledge, left a shamefaced Department of Magical Law Enforcement the task of explaining the lapse in security.

It would seem that the excuse the wardens gave, namely that they were not informed that Voldemort was at large and planning a war against wizarding-kind, did not stop an investigatory committee from firing the top three men for failure to complete the objectives for which they were hired.

Politics at its finest.

In the next five years the make-up of the administration of Azkaban was to change four more times before becoming what we recognise as today's prison. Arguably, the wizarding world has never cared to distinguish between the punishment of capital crimes and those of the more mundane misdemeanors, and has treated all those convicted with the same standards.

High security risks have always been housed is a separate wing, but records remaining from the time of Sirius Black's escape failed to show a significant difference in the watchfulness of the jailers.

And so it was that, by the time the investigation into the negligence of the wardens took place in 1999, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement had begun its reevaluation of prisoner transfer and containment procedures at Azkaban Fortress.

It was then, and still remains, that the prison's most distinguishing feature (apart from its island locale) continued to be its primary defense against escape: namely, the Dementors. Although it was in mid-2002 that Minister Dumbledore outlawed the use of the Dementor's kiss as corporal punishment, nothing has prevented the Minister from utilizing them as guards. One does not wish to delve into the presumably messy business of what was done as a stop-gap to keep the Dementors from following their natural (if disturbing) instincts. Presumably the issue of long term sustenance for these creatures has been addressed as there have been no reports of prisoners whose souls have gone missing.

The common witch or wizard has no interest in the unsavory details of how their communities are protected from these convicts so long as the Dementors serve their purpose ably. For who else could unobtrusively keep a wizard drained of his magic sufficiently to prevent wandless feats of desperation and escape? And with no lasting effects?

It is said that this effect, which drains the wizard of magic and happy thoughts, is only temporary, and once a wizard is removed from the Dementor's influence may recover. After they have undergone a convalescence, their magic will begin to slowly regenerate. They are left with only the lingering memory of constant despair as a reminder of their atonement for their actions. It is theorized that the process is similar to the maturation of wizarding children during the years before their adolescence. A witch or wizard isn't born with their full magical potential; one needs time to grow into one's strength.

This assertion is conditionally accepted by those who have inquired into the workings of the Dementors; for who could believe that the havoc wrought by Black's escape had been the work of a wizard without his magical faculties intact?

The newest contributions to the penal system came near the turn of the millennium. It had been the brainchild of a mid-level Muggleborn who, it was said, was inspired by the methods of our magic-impaired brethren. Every wizard (or witch, in these modern times) under maximum-security was fitted with an enchanted wristband. From what can be gleamed from second-hand sources, it would seem that the magical bracelet, once in place, apparates the subversive to his (or her) own cell block in Azkaban. Should the individual manage to absent himself from this location, the band would immediately reactivate and return him to where he belonged. In theory, the rumours told, the removal of this band upon one's release frees the wizard from such a bind and the apparition effect reverses to return this wizard to the location of his capture and arrest.

We have been unable to substantiate these claims at this time. The Aurors were quick to seize the patent for the band and safeguard it from falling into the wrong hands. The reversal process is also untested as the subversives now housed within Azkaban are under life sentences and are not to be released.

This past decade has given rise to the common opinion that no one ever leaves Azkaban alive and sane…

End except.

One opinion, in fact, that had remained unchallenged until the day Harry Potter paid an unscheduled visit on Minister Dumbledore at his home in Bristol.

Taken to bed, he had called his young protégé to his side with the gravest of news. The press had naturally appeared outside the front gates, hoping for another front page story of some momentous joint venture between two of the world's most famous wizards. Anxiously they waited to catch sight of the two together again as their targets remained, in congress, behind closed doors for nearly two and one-half hours. The lights of the house flickered briefly at quarter of nine in the morning just before the Boy Who Lived stepped out to somberly meet the press. Flash bulbs popped in rapid succession as the news was announced.

Albus Dumbledore was dead.

AN: Well here it begins- my oft mentioned 'Plot'. I wanted to get it up and started before the new book came out and I had more canon to ignore. I'm several chapters in, so updates will be slow depending on how much rewriting the admins have me do. (and depending on how much I work on my other fics).

After three years of SS/HG fic, there is very little that isn't cliché or done to death. Hopefully I've managed something interesting here, even if it went more on the angsty side than I anticipated. I promise; only a few chapters of back-story and unhappiness before it lightens up.

I began this in October to prove to myself that I could write something substantial, something that wasn't just smut. I know how this will go, and it is to please myself, but I hope you enjoy it just the same.

Credit where credit's due:

I've taken Shiv's characterization of Dumbledore in her De mortuis… one step further. Love you, Shivlet.

manic was writing (having not spoken to her in years, she may still be) a similar fic with our boy and Azkaban, Fugue State. But I think we're both going in different enough directions that any similarities are superficial.

Lastly, and more obliquely, the idea for this came after reading Hayseed's Dark Gods… . I think it only provided inspiration, but if I unconsciously borrowed something, I apologize and will happily credit her with genius.