Boy-Who-Lived-No-More: Prizoner of Azkaban
Written July 3, 2007
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and subsequent domains. I am not making any profit.
Summary: CHARACTER DEATH. What if the knack for close calls fails? Sometimes success can only be brought about by loss. PoA AU/One Shot
Harry cleared the dark tree line and ran to kneel by his godfather's side. "Sirius? Sirius Black?" The boy shook the gaunt man's shoulders. He appeared all right, only unconscious. The waves on Black Lake lapped the at the shore mere meters away from them. Harry sat on his heels and did his best to focus on the sound while he tried to slow his breathing and frantically beating heart.
Pettigrew, the traitor, had escaped when Professor Lupin had turned into a werewolf when the full moon had shown itself. However, Harry's first priority was to get his only remaining family to safety. He thought briefly of Ron and Hermione, but knew that he could trust Professor Snape to take care of his friends.
Harry considered his options for a moment. Would he get the mobilicorpus spell right even if he'd never done it before? Perhaps he could carry the man. He looked skeletal, but then escaped convicts didn't come across food all that easy. Perhaps it would be best to leave man and go get help. Harry immediately buried that idea, not only was there a werewolf on the loose, but the dementors were still searching for their Azkaban escapee.
He would have to carry him and he needed hurry. The air grew cold around him. It was June, yet he could see his breath. His brow furrowed and he looked up, eyes searching the night sky with fear.
Bright moonlight reflected off of the surface of the Black Lake. He could easily spot the Dementors. There were hundreds them! The Dementors circled above him and his godfather, homing in on their prey.
Harry gulped down the panic he began to feel and readjusted his grip on his Holly wand. Somehow he didn't think the Patronus charm he'd been working on with Professor Lupin was going to cut it.
He started shaking his godfather again, "SIRIUS! GET UP!" The man whimpered and started thrashing as the dementors drew nearer. Harry's lightening bolt scar stood out violently on the boy's incredibly pale forehead as tried to wake the man before it was too late. "OH PLEASE, GET UP, GET UP!"
Even though Severus Snape would never associate himself with the "courageous Gryffindors", he would also never allow anyone to think him a coward.
Nevertheless, facing down a transformed werewolf was not in his job description. Not to mention he had had a rather traumatic incident with this very same werewolf when he was a youth. Still Professor Snape was rather proud of the fact that his first instinct had been to protect the children.
As soon as the Professor Lupin had changed into a werewolf, he lunged hungrily at the students. Potter was standing next to Weasley near the Whomping Willow and his quick reflexes pulled his best friend back out of reach of the wolf's fangs.
Granger had been closer to the monster and turned around to run only to trip over a root. She slammed to the ground and the beast's lunge overshot her, but quickly recoiled, ready to strike again.
Snape shot a spell that was very bright at the werewolf's eyes. While the beast was temporarily blinded he pulled the girl to her feet and pushed her next to her friends behind him. Luckily, the werewolf didn't try to go through him to get to the Golden Trio; Black had transformed into some sort of dog and was attacking it.
It was ironic that Black was actually being of use and keeping the beast distracted. The first time Snape had faced the werewolf it was because Black at lured him there. Right now, he just needed to get the students back to the safety of castle, hopefully unnoticed.
Harry darted underneath his arm. "Potter! Get back here," hissed the Potions Master. Of course the blasted dunderhead ignored the command.
At the same moment Black was thrown away from the beast. Both creatures disappeared into the Forbidden Forest with their own injuries from the brief fight.
"Sirius," cried the boy after the Grim-like dog. He disappeared quickly into the brush and thick trees in the same direction of the animagus Black.
The Professor yelled, "Potter! Get back here right now!" It was useless, the boy never considered his own safety. The boy was going get killed if he continued to always be this reckless.
Snape turned around and inspected Weasley and Granger. Weasley was trembling and continued to look paler by the minute. His leg had a temporary splint for the broken bone, but he'd needed it looked at as soon as possible. Snape lowered him to the ground.
Beside them, Granger was fiddling with her necklace. "Blast!"
"Language Miss Granger," he admonished. He pointed his wand at Weasley and cast the mobilicorpus spell. The redheaded boy floated in the air as if on a stretcher.
Granger sighed, "I'm sorry, Professor Snape. It's just that the time turner Professor McGonagall gave me broke when I fell." She handed over to the Snape.
"A time turner is not easy to break," he snarled. "Come, we need to get Mr. Weasley in the castle."
"What about Harry, Professor? And Sirius?" The girl's eyes were fierce and determined. It was the same look Lily Evans had when concerned for one of her friends. She wasn't moving. The man shook the thought of his dead classmate away.
The longer they stayed here, the more time the werewolf had to come back and finish them off. "Once Mr. Weasley is safely within the halls of Hogwarts, we will conduct a search for Mr. Potter." A piercing cold swept past them. Snape shuddered as he was reminded of some of his darkest moments.
He looked up at the sky, "As for Black, the dementors are searching for him." Hermione gasped as many of the icy dementor figures floated through the sky towards the Black Lake.
They cold, deathly dementors drew closer. Harry clenched his eyes shut and tried to bring forth his happiest memories. "Expecto Patronum!" His glowing Patronous shot from his wand. It took the form of a stag and the animal immediately charged the nearest dementor. The creature screeched in pain and was disabled. Then the stag charged the next dementor.
At first Harry thought he was successful. It wasn't until the Patronus was on its fourth dementor that Harry noticed it was fading. After the seventh dementor, the spell was reduced to a useless glowing wisp of air.
The horrid memories began again, very rapidly. He cancelled the remnant of that spell and cast it again. "Expecto Patronum!" As the Patronous used its antlers to charge and attack the dementors, Harry saw that they were completely surrounded. The stag was overwhelmed despite its valiant efforts.
A shadow crept over Sirius' face covering it in darkness. A dementor had leaned in and was start to remove Sirius's soul. The Dementor's Kiss. It was nothing like a kiss in any manner at all except that all of his godfather's life energy was leaving his body through his mouth and into the dark hood where a mouth would be on the foul creature if it had a face to begin with.
"No! No, Sirius, no!" Harry tried to hit the dementor and hold onto his wand at the same time. It was ineffectual. His patronous had removed ten more dementors before fading this time, but there were still innumerable more. Where were they coming from? Surely they couldn't have all been on the Hogwarts grounds? "Fight it, Sirius, fight it! Don't leave me, Sirius!"
The light that was Sirius' soul exiting his body became less and less… and then there was no more. The thrashing had stopped, and Sirius' body continued to breathe and he still had a pulse.
Harry could convince himself that his godfather was still alive. He really wanted to believe it, but the tears started to fall anyway. Quietly, the green-eyed boy whimpered, "Sirius, no…" He couldn't deny the truth. Sirius Black was as good as dead.
An anguished scream of loss rent the hollow quiet of the night.
"I don't see why McGonagall saw fit to allow you special treatment. Time turners are rare and valuable and certainly not a child's plaything." He scowled at the carelessness of his colleague. It was just asking for trouble. He looked back to see if the girl was listening. She was cradling the remains of the broken gold hourglass and looking at the ground, sniveling as she walked. It was getting damn annoying. "It is unlikely you'll be considered responsible for it's destruction."
That small statement shut the girl up. He continued to skillfully glide Ron in front of him. The boy was mumbling something about 'worm tail', 'scabbers', and a 'rat'. He ignored the unintelligent blabbering and continued speaking, "Damage like that can only be possible from excess use causing deterioration. The large amount of magical energy that is used in that very small vessel puts a strain upon the standard protection charms originally placed on it." They were nearly at the entrance doors.
"Eventually, those spells will deteriorate and allow the time turner to be susceptible to damage or destruction if they are not regularly updated. The Ministry of Magic is responsible for upkeep of its equipment, not 2nd year students." They finally reached the doors.
Snape pushed them open and once they were all through, internally debated whether to lock them or not. If he locked the door, he would keep the werewolf from entering, but also Potter, who was still out there somewhere.
Half a dozen pairs of footsteps ran in their direction and Snape spun gracefully on his heels away from the door. Leading several teachers and the school nurse was Albus Dumbledore. "Headmaster," addressed Potions Professor with much relief.
Albus Dumbledore turned on his sparkling, gleaming eye charm and proceeded to annoy his staff including the Potions Professor. Severus was doing his best to explain the situation, but Albus already had a pretty good idea of the state of affairs.
It wasn't what he had originally planned, but if young Harry Potter were successful, Albus would still have a favorable outcome. If he weren't, he'd definitely be successful with two Harry's running around thanks to the time turner Harry's friend, Miss Granger had. He had subtly suggested the time turner to Minerva McGonagall and the over-achieving student at the beginning of the year for just such a purpose.
What he hadn't counted on was the Prisoner of Azkaban, Sirius Black. "Albus, are you listening to me?" Severus demanded urgently.
The old man raised his hand in a calming gesture. "Yes, my dear boy. Have the others go with you to-" he paused as if listening and everyone in the entrance hall silenced. There was a faint anguished cry coming from the Forbidden Forest.
"Did you hear that," someone whispered the question to Minerva. That didn't sound like a scream that would come from a werewolf's victim.
Albus turned back to Severus and gave him a knowing look. "You'd better get going. Harry might need a bit of rescuing." Severus looked rather angry, but he motioned to the assembled professors and opened the entrance doors once again.
Filius, Hagrid, Sprout, and Minerva followed him quietly. Before Minerva could step outside, Miss Granger left Mr. Weasley's side and called after her Head of House. "Professor McGonagall!" The stern woman paused and turned. "Before you go, I wanted you to know that the time turner was broken when Lupin transformed." Minerva nodded not unkindly, but seriously and then slipped out the door.
Panic began to set in behind the Albus' twinkling eyes. He hadn't had time to call off the dementors yet. Now the time turner was no use. There was also a werewolf on the prowl. Harry couldn't even save himself, literally, if things went wrong.
"Albus, I'm going to take Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger up to the infirmary. They'll both be right as rain in no time." Madame Pomphrey announced to the Headmaster. She glanced up when he didn't answer right away. "Are you alright, Albus?"
The old man pulled himself together. "Yes, I'm fine Poppy. I'm going to join the others in looking for Harry." As he started towards the Forbidden Forest he really started to worry for Harry for the first time.
Harry tried to cast one more time, "Expecto Patronum!" It didn't work and Harry curled into a ball next to Sirius' body. He had expected the dementors to go away after giving the Kiss to their target, but they remained. He could feel their cold hunger, drawing out all of the happiness from within him.
The only memories left were of his godfather dying in his arms, his parents' being murdered by the Dark Lord Voldemort, green light, screaming.
"Harry!" Someone was calling for him. The forest and lake turned to black. He could only remember the fear, the pain, the death of his parents, Sirius, the pain in his scar, burning, green light, loneliness, people calling him, his parents? His friends? The green flashes grew brighter, the darkness and cold consumed everything else.
His body felt cold, the coldest at his extremes, the fingers and toes, and spreading to the rest of his body. The green light flashed and an evil wizard laughed. His mother was screaming, "Harry!" He couldn't feel his toes now. He couldn't feel his fingers. It was spreading. He wished he could call back to her…
How cold this green light was, how much colder the darkness. More darkness than green. More screaming, more fear…
Peter Pettigrew was frightened. He had been safe for many years. He had been afraid of Voldemort and still was even now that the Dark Lord had been defeated many years ago. Pettigrew had betrayed his friends to his master, but since then James had been dead, Sirius was in Azkaban, and Remus had retreated into a self-imposed exile. He had been safe.
He had been safe and well cared for as well. He probably would have kept on being a fat, happy rat if everything hadn't gone so wrong. But, now he was scared.
At least he had escaped, for now. Harry could have easily let Padfoot and Moony kill him on the spot. The boy was too nice and let him live. He owed a life-debt to Harry. He wouldn't think of it now. Right now he was a rat and he needed to focus if he wanted to make it out of the Forbidden Forest alive.
There was a path on the other side of the Black Lake that lead out of the Hogwarts area without going through Hogsmeade. It mostly used by magical creatures to avoid the wizard population. He would follow that out.
Pettigrew scuttled to the Lake and started following it around. He didn't make it far before he squeaked in fear. There were hundreds of dementors. They surrounded two figures on the ground. One was Sirius, who wasn't moving, and the other was Harry. The boy was sitting up, but suddenly he fell to the side and curled up.
Wormtail felt his blood oath. The boy had saved his life, now he must save the boy's. The rat ran faster than his human body would have probably been able to do. He was nearly there. It was very, very cold. The Dementors didn't see the rat until the he had already passed them. Pettigrew was afraid.
He reached Harry and Sirius. Harry's soul was leaving his mouth, being pulled into the depths of the dementor's hood. Several voices from the forest were calling and searching for Harry. The boy's green eyes were dull and beginning to dilate. Pettigrew didn't know what to do or how to wake him. He bit Harry with his little rat teeth hoping to shock him awake. It didn't work.
Perhaps as a human he'd have more success. As soon as Wormtail transformed into a human he collapsed unconscious from the dementor's presence. One leaned in as if to give a kiss…
They were in the forest near where the boy had disappeared. Snape didn't think the others were too concerned about the werewolf. He certainly was and kept a look out for both it and the Gryffindor brat. When the others started calling out Harry's name, it took him a while to convince the other teachers that that was a bad idea. It was a very bad idea, as it would just draw the werewolf to their location.
The teachers worked silently and the farther they went along, the colder it got. While Professor Flitwick tried another tracking charm, Snape wondered towards the lake. He wanted to get clear of the trees and see if any of the dementors were about. They would be searching for Black and Potter was likely to also be in his vicinity.
There were dementors in the sky, but they were floating away. The chill lingered. Looking down he saw three figures on the shore. They weren't moving.
The Potions Master swept to their side and saw that it was indeed Sirius Black and Harry Potter. Without thinking he shot up red sparks to alert the others. Then he tried to identify the other man. Snape was surprised because if he wasn't mistaken it was Peter Pettigrew. He thought Black had killed the man. He turned back to the body of his student.
Snape reached over and shook Harry's shoulders. "Potter. Wake up, Potter." The Professor immediately checked Harry's vitals. He had a slow pulse and was breathing. Snape pointed his ebony wand at Harry, "Evenerate! Come on, Harry."
As the other teachers scrambled down the beach, Snape opened the boy's eyelids and cast lumos. There was no contractions or any reaction at all. Flitwick moved around him checking the vitals on Pettigrew and Black. Snape looked up and saw that all of the dementors had left the area and the sky was clear.
McGonagall knelt down on the other side of the other side of Black and Harry. The air was warming up again, but the Potion Master's body remained chilled. He looked at the Harry's Head of House, dark eyes glinting oddly in the moonlight. "I think he's been kissed. They've all been kissed…"
The faculty had been listless the rest of the night. Most of them waited in the Great Hall when they didn't have anything to do. The house elves somberly served them coffee. Albus Dumbledore had been inconsolable and stayed holed up in his office only letting in MLE investigators.
The MLE had been called in to examine the soulless bodies. One by one, they called a professor aside to question that night's events. Ron and Hermione had also been questioned in the infirmary, but no one had yet informed them of the fate of their friend.
Around 3:30am, the MLE announced positive identification of Peter Pettigrew. Severus Snape marveled that Black might have actually have been innocent for once. It would be likely that he would be cleared of all charges, unfortunately after death.
Speaking of which, Snape was considering what they might do to the living, but soulless bodies. They had been brought up to the castle, but placed in an unused classroom just down the hall. They could let the bodies be, or they could kill them since there no soul. He wondered if it was the same as death or if Harry still lived in some form in the belly of a Dementor. There was so little known about the dark creatures.
The Potions Master slowly paced the Great Hall with a strong cup of coffee. At about 4:30am, a Ministry official approached him. The man had official documents for the termination of the dementor-kissed bodies. He asked the Potions Master for an appropriate poison to do the job.
Severus opened his mouth to berate the dunderhead about his lack of mental faculty if he somehow thought that some deadly items like that would ever be kept at a school for children. The words wouldn't come out though, so he closed his mouth. The sallow faced man nodded once before striding silently out of the hall, cloaks billowing less enthusiastically than normal.
Severus was thinking too much. The bodies were going to be killed. Then in a few hours the student population would be wake up and be informed of the night's tragedy. Not to mention that someone, probably himself, had to go find Lupin and inform him of the deaths once the sun came up and he was human again. The werewolf would be devastated. Sirius' name would be cleared, but wouldn't make up for the reality that both his and Harry's souls had been sucked out by Dementors.
In his dungeon, Severus hunted through the locked potions cupboards. He clenched at the jars a little too tightly when he picked them up to inspect their contents. It wasn't too long before he was pushing over other potions and crashing them to the floor. He smashed a few more and even hurled a jar of cockroaches against the wall.
When he was done, he was breathing heavily. He calmed down and straightened out his hair and robes. He walked over the mess he made and unlocked a drawer. Dementors had sucked out Harry's soul. Carefully, he pocketed the poison and headed back upstairs. It was a day that not even Severus saw worth facing.FIN
AN: I really didn't want to write this vignette, but I felt I really needed to before I could allow myself to start writing the GoF vignettes. It was really difficult as there are still too many questions about what Dementors are and what they do. Also, I based this off of the events in the movie because that is what I could remember and my HP movies and books are unreachable on the other side of the country.