A/N: Welcome to my new story! Thanks to everyone for their reviews of Half Animal Half Man. This story will be fairly short chapter wise, not more than six or seven. Review!!
The spray of the water from the broiling black sea hit the three figures on the boat. The boat cut through the water unnaturally considering the size of the waves. The continent was a gray line on the horizon behind them and the island they were approaching was not visible yet.
The lead figure was at the front of the boat, blue eyes peering forward in to the mist. His long white beard was tucked in to the belt around the waist of his robes. Albus Dumbledore, Leader of the Light, sighed yet again during this quite unwanted journey. The other figures were hunched in the center of the boat, avoiding as much of the sea's stinging spray as possible. The male, a tall young man with dark red hair had his arms circled around the body of the shorter female. She had short bushy hair that was currently hidden as she tried to tuck her head and face further in to the man's shoulder.
Ron tightened his grip around Hermione before calling to Dumbledore. "Albus, how much longer is this trip?" The older wizard continued to peer forward for a moment before turning back. He sat wearily in front of the young couple.
"Not much longer Ronald." Serving to prove him prophetic, a dark island slowly approached through the thick mist. Azkaban Island was a legend in the Wizarding World. Its origins were unknown, as well as those of the nightmare creatures that inhabited it, Dementors.
Hermione sniffled a bit as she recalled why they were here. She certainly realized the irony of it. Exactly 9 years and 364 days ago, her former best friend Harry Potter had been convicted of rape and murder. Exactly fifteen years before that, Harry's parents had been killed while Harry had banished the Dark Lord Voldemort to the ethereal realm.
Now it was October 30th, 2006, a day before the 25th anniversary of the end of the First War. Its victor was currently suffering deep within the hold of Azkaban. Hermione shuddered again as she recalled the worst day of her life.
Hermione and Ron ran through the halls of Hogwarts, checking the classrooms as they went. The students had been secluded to their dormitories but Ron and Hermione had been released due to the nature of the emergency. The Head Boy and Girl, as well as the Prefects, were also searching the castle. Ginny Weasley had disappeared. She had been studying for her OWLs when she had slipped out of the Common Room. Moments later, Dumbledore entered and told Ron and Hermione that Snape had reported plans to attack Ginny through his spy in Hogwarts.
The teachers, various members of the Order of the Phoenix and students were flying through the halls searching for the young redhead. Hermione absently wondered where Harry was; since the death of his godfather, Harry had withdrawn in to his studies, ignoring his friends. He had since mastered Occlumency but everyone noticed the dark bags under his eyes and his constant absence in the Great Hall.
Hermione and Ron skidded to a stop in front of the portrait of Barnabas the Barmy. Across the hall, the door representing the entrance to the Room of Requirements was visible. Very few students knew how to open the room: four in fact. Ron ran off to get Dumbledore while Hermione approached the door carefully.
She opened it and slipped inside. She turned from the door and whitened, sinking to the floor. Ginny Weasley lay on the bed, naked and clearly dead. Hermione crept over to the bed and felt for a pulse. Ginny's neck was cold and still. There was blood all over the bed and Ginny's body. The door crashed open and Ron entered with the teachers behind him.
"GINNY!" Ron ran to the bed but Hermione grabbed him. Dumbledore waved his wand and sighed when Ginny's vitals appeared, all zeros. Ron burst in to tears, joining Hermione.
"Oh dear…" McGonagall's voice broke them out of their silence. She was standing on the other side of the bed and looking at something underneath the blanket. She threw back the blanket to reveal Harry Potter, naked from the waist-up. He was sleeping peacefully which according to Ron, was pretty rare.
At that moment, Harry awoke and blinked his eyes. He fumbled around and fixed his glasses, which had slid awkwardly down his nose. His face brightened when he saw Ron and Hermione but it quickly fell in to his now-typical scowl. "What's going on?" He glanced over and saw Ginny.
"Holy shit! What happened to Ginny?" His face darkened as he saw her brutalized body. Ron screamed and jumped on Harry, wrapping his hands around his neck.
"WHAT HAPPENED? WHY DON'T YOU ANSWER THAT POTTER!?" Hagrid pulled Ron off Harry who coughed for a moment. Dumbledore stepped forward but the door slammed open again. Ravenclaw Prefect Terry Boot flew in followed by Minister Cornelius Fudge and ten Aurors.
"Headmaster! I just remembered! I saw Harry Potter with Ginny…" He fell silent as he saw the scene. Fudge shoved by him. The minister took in the scene and held back his triumphant smile.
"Well this is solved! Aurors, arrest Harry Potter for the apparent rape and murder of Ginevra Weasley." Dumbledore could only stand aside as a silent but glaring Harry Potter left the room surrounded by Aurors.
The trial was public and quick. Fudge, claiming control of the suspect, had administered a potion to Harry that subdued him and left him in a fog. Harry's wand, using Proiri Incantatum, revealed many uses of Crucio, Avada Kedavra and Imperio. The entire Weasley family was convinced outside of the twins, both of whom were sure that Harry would never do that to Ginny. The final straw came when Veritaserum was given to Harry. His face contorted in surprise before he fell in to the normal fog.
Fudge stood smugly. "Veritaserum has been administered by Court Potions Master Devon Ambridge." A short fat woman who looked vaguely familiar nodded briskly to Fudge. "What is your full name?"
"Harry James Potter."
"Who are your parents?"
"James Potter and Lily Evans Potter." These questions were proof of the authenticity of the Veritaserum.
Fudge nodded and proceeded with the actual questioning. "Did you kill Ginevra Weasley?"
"Yes." Mrs. Weasley broke in to sobs at the answer. All the Weasley boys' faces fell.
"Did you rape Ginevra Weasley?"
Harry struggled for a moment, linking eyes with Hermione before he settled. "Yes." Now Ginny's older brothers started growling, glaring icily at Harry. Only the twins seemed restrained, eyeing Harry carefully.
Fudge grinned evilly. "Are you a supporter of the Dark Lord?"
"Yes." The answer came out and the antidote was administered. Harry slumped in his seat while the courtroom burst in to angry yells and threats. Dumbledore maintained his composure but his mind was raging as he finally believed that Harry Potter, his protégé and Hero of the Light, had betrayed them all. Clearly, the Light was doomed.
Fudge cleared his throat and motioned the crowd to silence. "Harry James Potter, you are found guilty. You are sentenced to life in Azkaban within the Permanent Prisoners Floor." An intake of breath was heard as Harry sentenced to residency within the most notorious floor of Azkaban. It was deep down on the lowest level. Only the worst criminals were sentenced there. The two last people sent there were Sirius Black and Bellatrix Lestrange, one of whom had escaped while the other was still there.
Aurors entered and escorted Harry away. The courtroom burst in to whispers and the Weasleys were escorted from the room
Fudge had announced to the world that Harry Potter was Voldemort's right-hand man and the Dark Lord was crippled without him. Over the next couple weeks, Fudge was seemingly proved right as Voldemort fell quiet, no attacks. Soon the weeks stretched in to years. The only mystery was the disappearance of various members of society. Fudge was impeached then killed a few years after Harry was imprisoned and Amelia Bones was elected Minister.
Hermione shook her head and cleared the memories. She slipped tighter against Ron while watching Dumbledore.
The Headmaster was lost in his own thoughts, reviewing the ten years since Harry had been imprisoned. The Order had grown but the original members had certainly suffered. Less than a year after Harry's imprisonment, the Burrow was attacked during the school year. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were both killed. Ron had just turned 17 and became an adult. The only good result was that the remaining Weasley's came together. Bill and Charlie returned to England immediately and Percy approached his brothers and was welcomed back. The twins seemed sobered but resolute in their opinion that Harry was innocent. Percy had remained at the Ministry while Ron joined the Aurors upon graduation. All five sons had joined the Order and were some of the most active members.
Dumbledore shuddered slightly as he recalled Arthur and Molly's charred corpses. The Death Eaters hadn't even entered; they had set up wards surrounding the Burrow and set it alight. The Order didn't even know until hours later when Remus was planning to stop by.
Two years after that, the Order was pushed to the brink of oblivion. Surprising Dumbledore, Remus and Tonks had organized an attempted breakout of Harry from Azkaban. Surprising everyone further, they were assisted by Fred, George, Fleur and Victor Krum. Both Tri-Wizard participants had joined the Order after graduating. Both had been quite vocal in their belief of Harry's innocence though no one thought the Bulgarian boy or the French girl would do anything besides quietly talking in the corner. Victor was killed in the defense of the fortress but the others were all caught. They were, ironically, sentenced to life in Azkaban.
Mad-Eye Moody died less than a year later in combat. Dumbledore's eyes blazed with anger as he recalled when he had been told that Moody, after a lifetime of fighting dark wizards, was struck down by friendly fire in a disorganized ambush of a supposed Death Eater hideout. The news of Moody's death spread quickly through the Wizarding world and Fudge was impeached soon after by a vote of no-confidence by the Wizengamot. Amelia Bones won a landslide vote for Minister against Dawlish Dale after Dumbledore had refused to run once again.
A Dark Mark was found over Fudge's house two days later and Delores Umbridge had disappeared. Most assumed she had been kidnapped but a few in power held suspicions that she had played a role in Fudge's demise.
A few years after, close to six years after Harry's imprisonment, Snape disappeared. He never returned from a summons from Voldemort and Dumbledore assumed the worst.
A few years passed and Voldemort seemed to disappear. Occasionally one would hear stories of Death Eaters appearing in Asia or the Americas but most dismissed those as rogue terrorist groups.
The Order had recruited a large amount of Hogwarts students from Harry's generation. Katie Bell, Angelina Johnson and Alicia Spinnet had all joined through their friendship of the Weasley twins. Sadly, Angelina was killed by Death Eaters and Katie and Alicia had disappeared less than two years ago.
Yes, the Order had gradually increased in numbers but the true members, the inner circle of Dumbledore, had been strained mightily. Ron and Hermione were now two of his most trusted advisors along with Kingsley Shacklebolt and McGonagall.
The final blow against the Order had been the disappearance of Professor Flitwick from his summer home in Wales. He had disappeared in the previous summer, less than four months ago.
The boat striking the dock softly brought Dumbledore from his mind's eye. Dumbledore stepped off the boat and reached down a hand and lifted Hermione up followed by Ron. The three warriors of the Light walked silently down the dock and the mist slowly dissipated until it was at a manageable level. They reached the rocky ground and proceeded up the beach. The waves crashed furiously around them as the beach where they landed jutted out narrowly from the main island. Dumbledore walked in front, followed by Hermione and Ron was last, keeping one eye on Hermione, ensuring she didn't slip in to the raging waters.
They finally reached the mainland but they weren't completely there. The strip of land just ended in a staircase cut in to the edge of the rocky cliffs, ascending around the side of the island. Dumbledore sighed and stepped on, leading the way. The staircase was narrow and slippery and more than once, Hermione and Ron almost slipped off. Charms were present to keep people from slipping off but the feeling of vertigo was still very much present. They continued up the winding staircase around the cliff wall until they completed a full circuit around the island and reached the entrance courtyard.
It was small, only twenty or so feet long, ending in large, imposing metal doors. The arch above bore writing, carved in a blocky rough script.
ABANDON ALL HOPE – ALL YE WHO ENTER
Hermione and Ron shared a look and a simultaneous shudder. Dumbledore, who had come to Azkaban before, read the sign but managed to contain his reaction. He was widely thought of as the most powerful Wizard on Earth but the prison always evoked some reaction from him.
The reaction was harder to contain this time. He couldn't begin to imagine the horrors Harry faced. And now, Dumbledore had come as soon as the news hit. Harry Potter, former scourge of the wizarding world, had been framed. In an incidental revelation, Terry Boot was found to be a Death Eater. A prank at his office Vanished his robes and revealed his Dark Mark to a roomful of Aurors. He was quickly arrested and subjected to Veritaserum from Dumbledore's own stock.
After the normal questioning, the Aurors prepared to arrest him but Dumbledore used his political clout to be allowed to ask some more questions. On a complete hunch, Dumbledore had stepped in.
Terry's face was glazed over as the Veritaserum influence took hold once again. Dumbledore stepped forward and pursed his lips in thought. After the initial batch of confirming questions, Dumbledore stepped forward and looked Terry in the eye.
"Were you a Death Eater when Ginevra Weasley was murdered?" The question provoked some whispering among the gathered, which included the inner circle of the Order which included the four remaining Weasleys and Hermione.
"Yes." Dumbledore closed his eyes and prayed to Merlin, Allah, Yahweh and every other deity he could think of that his hunch was incorrect.
"Did Harry Potter rape and murder Ginevra?" The silence afterwards was palpable and Dumbledore crossed eyes with Bill.
"No." The air rushed out of the courtroom at Terry's pronouncement. The Weasleys sat in their seats, numb and silent. Dumbledore exhaled the breath he didn't know he had been holding.
"Who did? Tell the entire story as you know it." Dumbledore sat back in his seat, and steepled his fingers, attempting to portray a calm leader.
"I waited until Potter and Weasley were alone and I snuck behind them. They had been walking in the hallway, holding hands and I saw Potter kiss her cheek. I followed them to an empty hallway but a door soon appeared. Right after they entered, I knocked them both out with stunners and brought them to the bed. I stunned Potter multiple times before awakening Weasley. I raped her and used Potter's wand to torture her and kill her. I stunned Potter one more time and slipped out quickly. Delores Umbridge tampered with the Veritaserum to force Potter to answer it as Fudge and she wished." The courtroom was silent as Terry's forced confession ended. He was given the antidote and sat back, his eyes wide as he realized that he was in trouble.
Dumbledore sat back in his seat and couldn't hold back anymore. He buried his face in his hands. He could vaguely hear Hermione weeping behind him. The Weasley boys were silent as they realized what happened. Terry Boot had been sentenced to the Dementor's Kiss and it had been administered three days later.
Dumbledore, Ron and Hermione had headed to Azkaban as soon as the pardon papers had been prepared.
They passed under the arch and even Dumbledore couldn't contain his shudder as they entered the boundaries of the prison. Thousands of years of Dementors and prisoner screams had seemed to imbibe the very walls in the prison with a terrible presence. The walls and ground seemed to exude a chilling, haunting aura. The strongest and bravest wizards were known to be reduced to tears upon entering the legendary fortress.
They approached the cast-iron doors and entered silently. Immediately, Dumbledore was forced to raise his Occlumency barriers to full strength as two Dementors immediately met them. The air grew frigid and the water in Dumbledore's beard crystallized in to ice that weighed his head down slowly. Ron and Hermione crumbled to the ground as the Dementors met them. The dark cloaked creatures paused for a moment before backing away slowly. The Dementors went back to their spot on the far side of the room. Ron and Hermione rose to their feet as Dumbledore brushed the ice from his beard. Even as they moved away, Ron and Hermione were still shuddering in place.
An old grizzled Auror sat behind a desk. Dumbledore approached him and cleared his throat. "We have full pardon papers for Harry James Potter." Dumbledore reached in to his robe and pulled out the scroll and handed it to the guard. He read it quickly before sliding it in to a tube which sucked it away in to the wall.
The guard leaned back in his chair. "Permanent Prisoner Section, Cell Z-999." Dumbledore gaped before shaking his head slowly. Hermione caught the motion and stepped forward.
Her voice was shaky and weak from the Dementors. "Albus…what's wrong?" Hermione shivered as she finished.
The Headmaster's voice was shaky. "The cells are ordered numerically, starting with 1 and ascending to 1,000 and alphabetically, going from A-Z. The closest cell to the surface is A-1. Across the hall would be A-2. The next two would be A-3 and A-4. It goes on in that matter."
Ron and Hermione shared a look before Ron spoke. "So Z-999…" Dumbledore nodded and sighed.
"Would be the lowest cell in the prison, and reportedly hadn't been used in hundreds of years." Hermione's eyes clouded with tears and Ron clenched his jaw. The guard's voice attracted their attention.
"They will escort you to Prisoner A54931." His pale skeletal finger pointed at the two Dementors. Dumbledore, Hermione and Ron looked back and forth between the Dementors and the guard. Finally Dumbledore sighed and stepped away.
The Dementors led them down a hallway of cells. The prisoners in these cells were very low-security and were only in Azkaban for a couple years. The Dementors rarely approached their cells and through the barred window, they could be seen lying peacefully if not a bit ragged.
At the end of the hallway was a set of spiral stairs were carved in to the stone leading down and up. There were ten floors up, floors A-J. The floor below the ground floor was K, the one below that was L. The final floor in the depths of the fortress was Z floor, also known as Permanent Prisoners Floor.
The Dementors led Dumbledore, Ron and Hermione down the stairs slowly. Ron and Hermione walked behind Dumbledore, hiding behind him to escape the awful effects of the Dementors. The three human's steps echoed around the stone staircase spookily. The Dementors glided soundlessly, their gasping, skeletal breaths the only sounds the creatures of darkness made.
Finally they reached the bottom of the staircase. The Dementors led them down the bleak hallway. Very few of the cells were inhabited and those that were, were still and shown no sign of life, their prisoners motionless and insane.
Finally, they reached the end of the hallway and the Dementors pointed a shaking hand to the door at the end of the hallway. The Dementors floated away, forcing the three humans to shrink against the wall to avoid contact with them.
The two wizards and one witch turned and faced the door. They observed it quietly, taking in the rust that built over the hinges. The square hole in the door had three vertical bars in it. Spider-webs had built over the bars, nearly obscuring the view in to the cell.
With a shuddering breath, Dumbledore extended his wand in to the hole in the door. With a resounding click, the door creaked open and dust fell in a cloud from the hinges. Ron and Hermione coughed heavily while Dumbledore swept away the smoke with a wave of his wand.
Dumbledore met Ron's eyes, then Hermione's. All three nodded simultaneously and Dumbledore opened the door. More dust rose up from the ground while more dust and dirt fell from the ceiling concurrently. The walls seemed to shake slightly as the door was opened. Dumbledore waved his wand again but the dust remained and they were forced to wait until it settled naturally. When it finally did, the view in to the decrepit old cell was seen. The only sound was the thump of Hermione's body as she fainted to the ground.
A/N: Well, here's the first chapter! It feels really short and will almost certainly be the shortest chapter in this story by far. Please review!