DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter and all other locations and characters belong to J.K Rowling

Dying Flames

Azkaban stood cold and silent upon its dark island; forbidding to all who gazed upon it and a hell to those within it. However it no longer held the madmen and murderers it had been constructed to hold. Within its walls stood those who fought against the Dark Lord and his supporters. Individuals who were not content to follow His rules and His standards were tucked away in cages where their cries went unheard and the light dimmed from their eyes. Those who opposed the darkness and had fought with the light found themselves behind bars; left to watch as the wizarding world was brought to its knees then forced to rise beneath a new reign.

Upon entering the cold walls, individuals found themselves standing in utter darkness. Forced to wait until the strongest doors known to wizarding kind were opened; then into the main range which lay as dark and forbidding as the prison itself. The only thing to do was stand in the darkness and wait until their gaze was caught by the brilliant light at the end of the main hall; which drew all individuals no matter whether they were prisoner or visitor. The light called; promising protection to those who followed it and sought out its warmth. Drawn towards the light; prisoners would peer into the light and cry with the hopelessness of their situation while visitors smiled bitterly at the sight that had hindered this movement so many years before.

Centered between four intersecting halls; a cell stood. Created to contain the one thing feared by darkness, its light was a reminder that there was no hope for those behind bars. Steel shone beneath the many orbs of light that floated gracefully around the bars. Reaching from the cold stone floor to the unseen ceiling; bars guarded that which was most feared. A reminder to those who still thought that the light would manage to rise from beneath the suffocation of the darkness; any that held hope would find their breath frozen within their lungs. Those four walls of bars held Harry Potter from freedom while the collar around his neck bound him from battle.

He was kept like a prize animal in a menagerie. Harry Potter was given rather plush accommodations when one considered the atmosphere of the prison. Thick emerald carpet protected his feet from the cold stone floor, and a plush king size bed protected his back from the pains that came with sleeping on stone. If he refused to eat he was force fed; if he wouldn't bathe, it was done for him. Like a prize stud, he was kept where all could see him and remember past feats and victories; along with the reminder that enclosed here there was no hope for him to chase the darkness away.

Sitting silently within the bars of his cage, Harry Potter watched the comings and goings of Azkaban. Pureblood families came to collect those gifted to them by the Dark Lord; slaves to serve them in any manner they could think of. Families had at first been caged together; perhaps the one moment of happiness that had been had within the prison walls. Then they had been collared, their magic bound to them and stopped from fighting against their captors. Spells placed upon the collars prevented them from using their magic or killing themselves in an attempt to be free. The final spell was a linking charm that bound all the collars together; when the wearer of one collar was spelled so were the other members of the family. One member of the family was always kept in a cell; collateral for the others that had left to work within the wizarding world. If the family that was out chose to run in a desperate attempt to escape; the remaining member was brought forward and killed. They would always be dragged into the only light in the prison and forced to look into the jaded eyes of their Saviour; reminded of the one person that could have saved them from death and imprisonment.

So Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, was forced to watch those he should have saved die. While they looked at him with hate for his failure, he could only say a prayer for their souls and those of their family. He would not turn away from their suffering; enduring each death calmly and adding another piece of his failure to the pile he sat upon. The only moments when he felt no grief, guilt or pain, were those spent within unconsciousness or in his animagus form. Stalking his confines gracefully within the body of a panther; he felt nothing save the anger at being caged. The panther felt no fear or guilt at surviving while those around him suffered and fell into the hopelessness the prison inspired. If even the calmness of the panther couldn't sooth him, he would wrap his hands around the magicked bars of his cell. Feeling the powerful currents of confined magic burn deep into his palms he would allow his mind to sweep him into the darkness; giving him one of the few reprieves from the guilt he felt.

However the most dreaded of times were those when the Dark Lord would grace the prison with his presence. Death Eaters would drag him from his cell and attach a steel chain to his collar. Always the Dark Lord would greet him with the same line, 'How are you today Harry?' The first time he had chosen to answer the question sincerely he had found himself under the effects of the Cruciatus curse. Since then he chose to stare blankly at his captor; pretending that the question was meaningless when all he wanted to do was scream in anger and pain. The Dark Lord was usually content to drag him around the prison, delighting in the expressions on other prisoners faces. Laughing in savage glee as they cursed not him but their Saviour with their current predicament; he delighted in walking his pet around the halls of the massive prison.

So Harry Potter was forced to sit within his bright cage, like a sole emerald upon display for the entire world to marvel over. Hoping that this time it would be one of his friends that sought to rescue him; that perhaps there was still some hope left for the wizarding world. That even the slightest glimmer of hope could replenish his depleted spirit and give him the strength and will to fight against the bonds that restrained him from aiding those beyond his bars. Only the smallest flicker of recognition that none of this was his fault that he had tried to save them from the dark. All he needed was the smallest flicker of acceptance within the eyes of someone perhaps that would rekindle his dying flame.

Currently I'm happy to leave this story as it is; unless you would like me to have poor Harry rescued from Azkaban. And if so, who should be his rescuer?