Disclaimer - Question - who would believe that I own these characters? Answer - only a hermit!

Timeline/Cannon/Fannon: AU from the fifth book - no Horcruxes

Warnings - torture of various characters, though not explicitly detailed. Slash. Character death at the start and eventually at the end [not that one, the other one! The one with the eyes! Oh, and Harry and Snape become friendly with each other [it will make sense when you read it… I hope…

Author notes - this is a Harry/Ron pairing - please be clear on that. Don't get halfway through and start flaming me about Harry other pairings, because it's Harry/Ron ok? PS - some of the characters might seem out of character in parts of this… ok, a lot of this… it doesn't work otherwise 

Beta's note – I have suffered!! Boy have I suffered!!

The Mage and the Potions Master

will to live

Given the look on Uncle Vernon's face, Harry thought it wise to release Hedwig at the station and tell her to meet them at Privet Drive. Mad Eye Moody's threat would work for a while, but in the meantime it had angered his uncle and Harry didn't want to run the risk that Hedwig bore the brunt of that anger. His uncle would reason that Harry himself couldn't be touched for the moment, but the threat wouldn't protect his owl. After the debacle at the Ministry Harry couldn't bear to see another innocent hurt because of him.

For a moment he thought he saw his godfathers face reflected in a store window, but Harry had been seeing flashes of Sirius from the corner of his eye ever since he had killed him and he ignored it now as a matter of fact. He knew that it wasn't normal, but reasoned bitterly that he'd never been normal and as long as he knew that the flashes were just wistful thinking on his part he wasn't in any real trouble.

The car full of Muggles was silent as they drove, something that finally registered with Harry. Even though he was a teenager Dudley was incapable of getting into a car with his parents and sitting quietly. The teen had progressed beyond whining for sweeties, though he did regress now and then, and usually moaned about wanting a new game, more money or more clothes. It was as though Dudley reasoned his parents couldn't get away from him here and used any journey as prime nagging time. Harry usually kept a mental score card of the argument, knowing that his aunt and uncle would cave in at the end, but intrigued to see how long they would hold out for each time. There was none of this today and a glance at his cousin showed the smug expression that he usually wore after he had won some concession from his over indulgent parents. Harry wondered if his aunt and uncle had capitulated on the ride over, but a glance at the front of the car showed that his aunt bore a similar smug expression and Harry realised with a shock that his uncle was practically giggly with glee.

Harry looked out of the window once more, a feeling of foreboding crashing over him. This was not the road to the house in Surrey; in fact he'd never seen these crumbling warehouses before. He knew they were still in London because they'd only been travelling for a short time, and a glance overhead showed him enough water fowl in the air to be near to the Thames, in fact probably near to one of the many wharfs he had heard about once, that dotted the industrial part of the rivers flow.

"Where are we?" Harry's demand was met with silence and he reached for his wand. Decree or not, he would defend himself however he had to. Voldemort did not play patty cake and neither could Harry afford to. If his uncle was under the Imperius curse then Harry had no chance of reasoning with him, nor would threats against Petunia and Dudley help, and hexing the man while he drove was a sure-fire way to cause an accident.

The car pulled through a slumped pair of iron gates and around the side of a large brick building, its purpose unclear. It was in fairly good repair though, and Harry sensed that it was still in use. The car pulled to a stop in an open space, but before Harry could even blink the air around it shimmered and grey robed Death Eaters appeared, casting off their disillusionment charms and pointing their wands at the car.

"Accio wand!" the command came from none other than Lucius Malfoy, and Harry's wand burst through the window beside him to be caught deftly by the patriarch of the Malfoy dynasty.

"What have you done?" Harry's voice reflected his betrayal. He knew that they hated him, but to be actively handed over to the Death Eaters by his family was something he'd never considered, not even in his nightmares.

"Rid my family of you once and for all, boy," Vernon gloated, "Your little reign of terror is finally over."

The door was wrenched open and Harry fought, kicking and punching, twisting desperately to free himself. He bit and clawed, spat and writhed as more and more Death Eaters surged forward to hold him down. Someone shouted the stunning spell but Harry's will to live, to escape, was such that somehow he denied its power over him, sending the red spell ricocheting away into the crowd.

"Run! Run! They'll kill you!" even their betrayal didn't matter in the light of what these so called superior beings would do to his Muggle relatives. The Dursley's laughed at him, and Harry caught a glimpse of Dudley straining for a better look at him as he was dragged free of the crowd and hit hard across the back of the head. Instantly his arms and legs became leaden and his vision ballooned sickeningly. Harry slumped to the ground, his voice torn from him, his spirit still screaming a terrified denial. The spell incarcerous tied up the woman that cast it, and petrificus made a statue of the man. Spell after spell flew at him, but none made it anywhere near him, rebounding solidly upon the caster instead. Finally someone simply conjured metal shackles and fastened his wrists tightly behind him. Feet flew into his ribs and legs, the Death Eaters kicking him savagely in retaliation for his struggles even as he curled weakly into a protective huddle. A foot thudded into his temple, darkening his vision and making his stomach lurch.

"We'll let my Lord deal with you," the high voice of Lestrange called the others off, warning them that their master would not appreciate his prize being overly damaged.

"Well then, we'll be off!" Vernon's cheerful call made Harry want to cry. Firstly because they were the words of a man who could have been a father to him, had his heart not been hardened and his mind so closed from the very moment Harry arrived on their doorstep, and secondly because it attracted the attention of the breathless Death Eaters.

"I think not," Malfoy almost panted, "After all, there are ways to extract information about our little deal today from what you laughingly refer to as your mind. There is only one way to prevent our little secret from coming completely to light. Besides, this way I don't have to actually pay you any money - not that I intended to you understand."

"What?" Vernon paled a little, his eyes dragging towards Harry almost against his will. He had thought to be rid of an unnatural burden on his family, but after the vicious display of Death Eater temper he was beginning to realise the danger he courted. Malfoy laughed and snapped Harry's wand in two, throwing the pieces on the ground in front of him. He felt the wand die, and wanted to be sick.

Harry wept silently as the Death Eaters descended upon the car. His relatives screamed for a very long time.

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