Disclaimer:Harry Potter and Co. belong to J.K. Rowling and others, not including me. I do not make money off of this fic. Resemblance to real persons or places are purely coincidental.
Many thanks to Shivani/Grazhir andSpellwinder forbeta-reading this and pointing out some logic issues. : )
Warning: Contains graphic torture/violence. This is not a happy little fanfic.
"No, please! Please have mercy!!!"
Distant laughter answered his plea and the hood over his face was given a playful tug. He tried to stifle his groans, clamp down on his terror, and stop the useless pleading then; all it got him was another kick in the shins. He groaned, which earned him another pleased laugh. His tormentors probably didn't know it, but all the bones in his legs had long since been crushed to tiny splinters. He was no longer able to stand on his own, probably never would be, and the knowledge was horrible. Even though he knew perfectly well that he had no future outside this prison camp. Though, of course, he had not seen even the camp itself since the day he arrived.
Deprivation of sensory input, they called it: his eyes covered by the hood pulled so tight around his throat that breathing became an effort; his ears covered, as well, so all sound was dimmed to near silence; nothing to smell, not even the piss running down his legs when to his own embarrassment he lost control of his functions after hours and hours of standing completely still (a common means of torture when he had still been able to stand), with his arms held out to the sides. Though, truth to tell, he had no way of knowing just how many hours it had been—he was not granted a sense of time, after all.
His sleep was regulated not by his inner clock, but by when his body would shut down again. Deprivation of sleep was another torture he was almost constantly submitted to. All of his skin was wrapped up in clothes, the only sensory stimulations he still got were the frequent "harmless" kicks in the shins, or the throbbing of his arms that were tied up above his head most of the time.
At first, he had cursed his tormentors, had threatened dire retribution. He had still been hopeful then. By now, he knew there was no way out for him. This hell he was trapped in could very well be all he would know for the rest of his life. And he yearned . . . he yearned to die.
Yet he knew he could not.
He was not allowed to die, not yet, not for a long time. Death was not his to choose. It had to be granted, whenever they saw fit; whenever they determined he had been punished enough.
He prayed for death. He, who had never believed in God, never let religion or morals stand in his way, was desperately calling to a God he knew would only condemn him to Hell for his sins.
But really, wouldn't that be better than where he was now?
Harry cried in his sleep. He sobbed; he thrashed around and got tangled in his sheets. Sweat covered his brows, his torso, his every inch of skin. The pillow was soaked with it - or maybe that was from the tears spilling liberally from both his eyes. Finally, after long minutes of suffering, he woke up and promptly emptied his stomach all over himself.
"Where is he? Bloody hell, man, tell me! Where the fuck have you put Voldemort?!"
Minister Scrimgeour did not know what could possibly have happened to induce this situation, but he sure knew he had to get himself out of it, soon. Harry Potter, adored hero of the entire Wizarding World, was currently leaning over his desk, holding him by the lapels of his robe and furiously shaking him while he yelled and yelled at him. "Potter," he managed to bite out, "unhand me this instant!"
Potter seemed to finally realize that he was manhandling the Minister of Magic. No blush stained his ghostly pale face at the realization, but he did let go of the minister.
"What is all this about?" Scrimgeour tried for a condescending tone to make up for the earlier loss of dignity, but the slight quaver in his voice paid quit to that attempt.
"I. Need to know. What happened to Voldemort!" Potter snapped in barely controlled rage.
"But you do know." Scrimgeour was honestly puzzled.
"What I know, " Potter explained slowly as if to a small child, "is that I destroyed all of his horcruxes save the one within me last year; that Voldemort was captured and tried while I was out; and that he must be alive and in prison somewhere. What I want to know is, where!"
Scrimgeour was still pretty bewildered by the Boy-Who-Lived's odd behavior. "I assure you, Mister Potter, that he is no longer a danger. He will pay for his crimes against our world until the day you die, at which time we will dispose of him also. You drained him in your last fight, Potter; he is no longer even a proper wizard."
"I know that!"
"What has you so concerned, then?"
Potter closed his eyes, seemingly praying for patience. Scrimgeour was annoyed at Potter's mannerisms, though at the same time, he appreciated the young man trying to reign in his temper. He was not keen on becoming a victim of the legendary Potter fits. Finally, Potter ground out, "I want to know—need to know!—where Voldemort is, because I had another vision."
Scrimgeour gasped. He knew about the connection between the Boy-Who-Lived and the Dark Lord; it had been vital to their victory in the war. Potter had reluctantly agreed to work together with the Ministry after Dumbledore's death. He had kept them informed of his visions. Sometimes they had shown Potter how the Dark Lord tortured his servants or made evil plans, but mostly Potter had had to witness the Death Eaters' attacks on muggles, squibs and members of the Order of the Phoenix. Had something happened to give the Dark Lord back some of his powers? Had there been more than the horcruxes guarding him? Was that why Potter was standing before him, pale as a ghost and nearly out of his mind with anger and . . . was that hurt? Anxiety? Nausea?
"Has the Dark Lord broken free of his prison!?"
"No!" Potter sounded increasingly annoyed, which boded ill for Scrimgeour's re-election. Potter could easily lose him all public support. The wizarding world viewed Potter as their sole savior and was more or less prepared to follow where he led. It was a good thing, thought Scrimgeour, that Potter never displayed any inclination at all to do so.
"Voldemort is still in that prison of yours, never fear," Potter spat. "He couldn't get out of there even if he were still sane enough to try."
Baffled, Scrimgeour frowned at Potter. "Then why are you upset?"
"Because it's inhumane! I had to witness how he's treated there, and believe me, never, in all the years of watching Voldemort commit his petty war crimes, have I seen cruelty to rival this. It's . . . it's. . . ." Potter paled even more, a thing Scrimgeour had not believed to be possible a minute ago, and suddenly grabbed the waste box from under the desk. Scrimgeour disgustedly averted his nose and eyes as Potter retched and coughed into the tiny bin.
"Not even in the Dark Ages," Potter rasped after vanishing the mess, "have wizards been as cruel as this. Muggles might have, I don't know." Contrary to what students at Hogwarts were told, Potter must have heard about the unedited History of Magic in his on-going Auror training; for in truth, the medieval witch hunt had not been any more harmless for magical people than it had been for those poor muggles that had fallen prey to their peers. Only rather advanced witches and wizards ever knew how to wandlessly freeze flames; or apparate while bound or otherwise constrained. Even those who might have managed an apparation despite their immobility would have run a high risk of splinching themselves, the stress making concentration rather impossible.
Most of the populace indeed did burn on the pyres, drown in the rivers, or find their end in another of the numerous ways muggles devised for disposing of 'evil witches' back then.
The magical folk had lashed out at muggles in retaliation and diminished their numbers by curse after curse. The muggles called it the Pestilence.
Muggles also to this day believed themselves responsible for the Crusades, when actually, setting them up to slaughter each other had been a way for the wizards to get a reprieve from the fighting against an enemy so much stronger in numbers.
Eventually, a popular warlock had convinced wizardkind to pull back from the muggle world completely. Tired of the fighting and wishing for peace more than anything, wizards and witches all over the world had quickly agreed to go into hiding, and since then the wizarding world had kept its secrets from the muggles and been better off for it.
"This is so much worse than anything I've ever seen Voldemort do," Potter panted, and Scrimgeour was shocked to see a tear trail down his deathly pale face. "It's not just punishment for his crimes, Scrimgeour. Please, get him out of there. Bring him back!"
"Potter! We are talking about the man who killed your parents!"
The minister could see how the public would react if he denied Potter his wish, since apparently their saviour was suffering as much from You-Know-Who's punishment as the dark wizard himself. Still, he was not prepared to simply give in. Not least since he had no idea what else to do with the fallen Dark Lord.
"Hundreds of innocent muggles—"
Potter snorted. "Innocent my arse!"
Scrimgeour frowned deeply. "Potter, you can't simply assume that all muggles are bad just because you've seen some of them acting less than laudable. . . ."
"I know that, too!" Potter was visibly coming to the end of his rope, once again. "Listen, Scrimgeour. I will say this once, and I hope we can come to an agreement. I will not tolerate this any longer. I simply will not! Is that clear?"
"Bloody terrorists", the soldier grumbled as he passed yet another figure clad in ragged prisoner's garb; his round through the prison camp was uneventful as always. He would drop a few scathing words here, trade a joke or two with his buddies there, and finally go and bother his favorite victim.
The soldier didn't know what the man had done, actually. This prisoner had been picked up at the scene of a terrorist attack and refused to breathe a word about how he got there or even about what he did for a living. Questioning this particular prisoner was sort of fun; instead of breaking under all the restrictions they inflicted upon him and finally telling the truth, the odd man had started telling the most fantastic stories. Some of them actually made for some good entertainment, especially since they got to punish the terrorist bastard after each of those lies. Recently, however, the man had been talking less and less. Now, he just screamed and begged for mercy. That was alright, though. They could very rarely get that much of a reaction out of anyone else, so the man was still more entertaining than most others.
Sometimes, he wondered why the man reacted so desperately to the least punishments; a kick to the shins was barely reason enough to howl like a beast in pain, was it? There were guidelines, after all, as to what was allowed to be done to a prisoner. Of course, since the man was not a prisoner of war, there was no need to stick to the usual codes. Terrorists, and by extension anyone suspected of terrorist activity, were outside the usual laws according to the government. That gave them quite a wide range of methods to choose from to break a man. Still, the boss had said to only inflict 'minor punishments like a kick to the shins'; so, a kick to the shin it was.
Our soldier, of course, did not do the maths about what 'a simple kick or two' delivered to a man's legs would do to the bones underneath if there was not one soldier, but several, dishing out such 'harmless' punishment daily.
Whistling cheerfully, he approached the man who was once again tied upright to the wall. Sleep was a rare commodity for most of their prisoners. After all, the soldiers themselves had to be constantly on alert in the war zone; why should the bastards that had forced them into this stupid war fare any better than them?
With another kick to the shins, he alerted the man of his presence. A whimper was his reward. The soldier loosened the prisoner's bindings; the man fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes. He lay huddled in a heap until the soldier dragged his head up. "So, ready to tell the truth now?"
"Please, please, oh God, don't hurt me! Please, I'll tell you anything, just say what. . . . Oh, please. . . !"
The soldier was just about to give the man another kick to the legs for good measure when a loud crack from behind him diverted his attention.
"Crucio!" A beam of light hit him and he fell down to the floor in unbearable pain. It ended shortly after, leaving him a mess on the floor beside his prisoner. He was barely coherent enough to watch a dark-haired man in a dark coat bending down to unhood his prisoner.
"Tom. . . . Voldemort, it's me. Harry Potter," the man said softly.
"Oh God," the prisoner sobbed, "I am sorry for everything, but please, please kill me now!"
"I cannot do that without killing myself, Tom," the man calling himself Potter mystically answered. "Drink this; it will help." He held an odd glass container akin to an old fashioned bottle to the man's lips. The prisoner had difficulty swallowing, but eventually he fell asleep in the man's arms.
Potter straightened to several more cracks.
"Take their memories," he instructed the new arrivals. The soldier on the floor drifted in and out of consciousness, but it seemed to him that a white mist was flowing from both him and his prisoner. Then, one of the men produced a stone basin and suddenly, scenes from the prisoner's day-to-day life were playing like a movie in the air above the stone basin. The soldier would no doubt have admired the neat technology were he not drawn in by the events he was witnessing.
Seen out of context, there seemed an unreasonable amount of shin-kicking, laughter, and begging going on. But that couldn't be right, could it? He'd only come by once or twice a day, so it was impossible that. . . . But no, that was Jake, not him . . . and Rob . . . and his other buddies. . . . He had known the others also had an affinity to this particular prisoner, but surely, they hadn't also come by every day? Good Lord, maybe the man hadn't been faking at all. Their treatment of him looked a whole lot worse from the outside.
Obviously, the odd men who had just popped in were of the same opinion.
"This is outrageous!" one of them was spluttering, while another was looking at the prisoner with pity. "How dare those muggles treat one of us like. . . ." another was complaining.
"Well, you did give him to them," the man who had hurt the soldier, Potter, said in a very resentful tone of voice. "Care to explain to me why?"
An older man looked at him apologetically. "Arthur Weasley got one of those telly-view things to work in his home just prior to your defeat of You-Know-Who," he explained nervously. "He saw a report about some island prison somewhat like Azkaban on it . . . and about that other prison, this one here. He suggested it, said it would serve You-Know-Who right. Remember, he killed two of the Weasleys' sons."
Yes, Harry did remember.
He also remembered how Mister Weasley, known to all as a fanatical collector and admirer of all things muggle, had suddenly become disenchanted with the muggle world in the final stage of the war. Harry had attributed it to the stress of the war against Voldemort at the time, but he now suspected that Mister Weasley must have seen something like what he had encountered here. . . .
"Wait. Does that mean you had nothing to do with their behavior?"
Scrimgeour looked at him quizzically.
"No Imperio?" Harry expanded. "No compulsion to treat this prisoner worse than the others?"
"Well, no. . . ."
"Does this mean—" Harry shot a glare at the soldier lying on the ground in front of him "—that all the prisoners are treated like this? Answer me, man!"
The man on the floor gave a non-committal grunt.
Harry shivered. Pain lashed through his body—his or Voldemort's, he could no longer tell. Seeing his enemy's trials and torment first in the vision, then even more of them in the pensieve, and to feel it all through his scar because of his proximity to the Dark Lord had driven him to the brink of madness. "Minister, do you think such behavior should be allowed to continue?" he asked lowly.
Scrimgeour, of course, only gave a helpless, "Well, we don't meddle in muggle affairs since the middle ages. . . ."
And Harry snapped.
"Maybe it's bloody well time that changed!"
His eyes flashing, Harry gathered his magic in his bare hands. His scar was pulsing, his whole body was suffering from the pain and the shame. . . . Nothing, nothing could ever have broken Voldemort, he had thought. To see this proud man wetting himself, crawling, begging . . . it was all too much. No one deserved that, no one, and it was time the muggles learned as much.
Harry didn't care that muggle technology had advanced since the middle ages. He didn't care that there were too few wizards to survive another war against muggles. He didn't know that with the Weapons of Mass Destruction currently held by most of the more 'civilized' muggle regimes, mankind in its entirety would be wiped out if just one of them lost his nerve in the face of a supernatural enemy. He only cared about the injustice he saw—the brutal lack of morals, compassion, and, not least, the utter lack ofcare.
Harry was raging. Lightning flashed and the ground was shaking. He never heard the ministry officials disapparating. He just sank to his knees and gathered the unconscious Voldemort up in his arms. Then he let go of his magic.
His anger lashed out at the muggles all around him. It tore through them, ripping them apart like so much meat. He heard fabric being reduced to shreds and walls collapsing.
When Harry opened his eyes, he was standing in the middle of a deep crater. To all sides, he could see nothing but desert. With a growl of satisfaction, he disapparated.
And thus the Final War between muggles and wizards had begun.
Umh, bit darker than what I usually write. Feel free to set me straight, but that is the impression I have of recent politics of certain superpowers... I just really, really dislike the disbanding of basic human rights, no matter the excuses. Howlers and other reviews very welcome. - Dime
On a related note, you might be interested in reading this now (though, of course, events as portrayed in this fanfiction do not claim any resemblance to actual occurrences):
www . en . wikipedia . org / wiki / Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse (with underlines between the words)