Usual Disclaimers Apply.
This story branches off from midway the Chamber of Secrets.
Masquerade of the Damned
-n. A commodity served to a citizen as a reward for his allegiance, money and personal service.
Tick tock, tick tock. The clock chimed. The world stopped.
The sudden stillness of the night did nothing to calm his frazzled nerves. It all became quite clear now, even through the haze. "I… I-" From below, he heard voices, calling out for him. He looked elsewhere. He took a sharp intake of breath. Her drunken mass still trapped him, and she wouldn't let go even if he begged her to.
And he took a lungful of air. He pried the hands off his neck, and next came the body, falling in a soft thud to the ground. He wiped away the sticky fluid that had managed to land on his face. He edged away from the wall, away from her.
He forced himself to look anywhere but those glassy eyes of hers. He knew, that it wasn't possible for her to be looking at him, but he had the unnerving feeling that her dead eyes were following him, staring at his soul. He flinched when her eyes promptly shuttered close. The footsteps grew closer, pounding. The doors opened.
"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?"
Harry pressed his hand against his chest, his breathing uneven, his heart pounding. The two screamed and rushed at him, overcome by the same rage that fueled all… this.
"D- Don't! Don't come near me or you'll end up like her!"
They still came, eyes mad in a way that promised him vengeance. And although he thought he might deserve it, he wished they would stop glaring at him like that. They soon did. The glasses broke, and he heard the wood splinter as both was thrown over the balcony.
Why, why, why, why, why, why?
Vernon and Petunia lay on the floor, unconscious. He pulled at his hair. This was a nightmare.
This wasn't real.
He would wake up right now and he would laugh at himself for ever thinking he would do such a thing. There was so much red! He was scared that he was enjoying this.
His unstable mind settled on kicking both bodies for good measure. A sick smile found its way on Harry's face while the front doors opened in response to his wishes. The cold night air sent his skin prickling. There was liberating freedom beneath all of it.
A loud crack to his right sent him stumbling to the ground. Aurors? They found out!He had to leave. Now! He had to- "CALM DOWN!"
Five wands were pointed at him. They were going to kill him. They were going to-
"Harry Potter! By the decree and order of the Ministry, you are hereby being arrested for the following crimes. Underage magic, homicide, and a breeching the Statute of Secrecy. You can either come willingly-"
He urged his magic to shield him, sending wave upon wave of defensive magic while he frantically willed his legs to move.
"Stun him!" Two Aurors were left standing. It would be so easy now.
He dodged curse after curse while running down the peaceful village of Surrey, his footsteps too loud. Thump. Thump. Thump. A car skidded to halt and crashed to the wall. "There he is!" His breathing sped up erratically. The wall beside him was shattered by a stray dull yellow colored light. He bit back a scream and scrambled away. He reached an alley and hid himself, hoping desperately that they wouldn't find him
"Where is he?"
The light on the post lamp exploded. It caught him by surprise and he tripped, landing heavily on his face. He used his hand to push himself up and took off across the playground, past a house, toward the next street.
Sadly, he never got that far. A red light hit him from behind. The world was flooded with inky blackness. His last thought was that of denial. Marge never died. A dream. Everything.
"The Boy-Who-Lived, Turning Dark?"
Ron's eyes went wide while scanning the article. "This is rubbish. Who would ever believe this shit?"
Molly choked on her meal and glared at him.
"Sorry mum, it's just that…" He trailed off, not really knowing how to finish that sentence without losing his appetite.
Ron looked back at the front page. A muggle was sprawled out on the ground. The chest down to the stomach was hollowed out as if it had exploded. The innards lay exposed. There were bones that jutted out at in a horrible angle. An insect or two flittered past. A few bits of flesh scattered here and there. Skin dangled along the edges, drenched. There was a lot of black- blood.
Harry would never do this. The thought itself made him feel ill. To the left, there was a photo of a straight jacket- clad figure, his face blood splattered. Harry was sitting at farthest part of the cell, glaring.
…Harry Potter as the wizarding Hero. The Ministry of Magic was met with pure disbelief when they made it known that Harry Potter was arrested two nights ago charged with of the following crimes: underage magic, failure to uphold the statute of secrecy and worst of all, murder. "I think the boy snapped. You know, fame and all." said an Auror who wishes to remain unnamed. What could have spurred our hero to commit such a crime? Upon further investigation, we found out that…
No appetite left at all.
In an exclusive interview with Harry, he confessed that he didn't actually know why it happened. "It just did," Harry spoke quietly, "I thought she was going to kill me." The boy laughed at this. "I killed her instead." When asked if he hated his muggle relatives, the boy refused to…
"Ron, I'm afraid that what the papers are saying are true."
…might have another dark wizard on our hands. "He'd gone berserk, took down three of my men. If he hadn't been panicking, we would have probably lost him." said Frank Davis, Captain of the operation to retrieve Mr. Potter fomr his relatives. The muggles that had glimpsed the horrifying spectacle were obliviated and Harry Potter's relatives had their memories modified. "It was the best course of action." Davis followed.
Harry Potter will remain imprisoned in the lower security levels of Azkaban at the time being for an indefinite date until the ministry court trials…
Ron looked back at his father with a scandalized half-shocked glare. Arthur wiped his mouth with a napkin. "Well, part of it."
Fred and George, not normally interested in whatever the Prophet had to say, took the paper from Ron and he wasn't surprised to see the disbelieving looks that shot across their faces.
Molly scraped her plate a little louder than usual. She sighed.
The twins shared a look while Ron listened to his father ramble about his thoughts on the matter. How can he just sit there as if he's not affected at all? Ron refrained from speaking, knowing that they all had their reasons.
"It was an accident. Harry's a good kid, we all know that." Arthur sipped his coffee and had a faraway look on his face. "There's nothing we can do but accept it." He paused and added as an afterthought, "The Ministry is holding the trial tomorrow."
Ron told his dad he was going to come. Fred and George said the same. The rest were silent.
"Of course, we all go. You better pack up."
He nodded and excused himself from the meal, feeling drained. He hoped Harry was alright. His feet led him towards the balcony. It overlooked the numerous pyramids that were scattered across the sand. There was blue above. There was yellow bellow. He wondered how something so plain became something extravagant. He was going to miss it. His thoughts turned back to Harry.
Ron could see the pieces floating around his mind. Killing was an unforgivable crime in the Wizarding world. Exposing themselves to muggles rendered punishment, expulsion even, in Hogwarts. He felt horrible knowing that there was a chance that Harry could gain a permanent pass to Azkaban in the process.
His musings were disturbed when a black express raven flew past him. It landed on the railings of the hotel easily, shaking the dust off its feathers. The gleaming eyes stared at him and for a while it stayed like that before extending its leg, simultaneously tilting its head back in what Ron thought was a challenge. Giving it a wary glance, he took the proffered letter and found out it was from Hermione.
He ripped it open while walking back towards the living room. Ron took a pack of owl treats from one of the numerous bags that scattered across the room and fed some to the raven.
I don't know how to start this but I guess I hope you're doing fine. I'm fine and like I told you, Rome was great. I was on my way to France with my mother when the paper got to me. I still can't believe it's true but still, the nerve to call Harry a dark wizard!"
Hermione rambled about what she thought about the whole case and caught herself when she admitted that Harry did hold a deep grudge against his relatives.
"…This must be one of the reasons the ministry is giving to help convict him of murder. Honestly, that's why I prefer muggle law to Wizarding Law. The Ministry's too corrupt for its own good.
Since this is accidental magic, we can testify that murder was not Harry's intention. From the two types of Accidental magic, this falls more to Casus than Careo, that is, if Harry didn't plan the murder, which I'm sure he didn't. Harry's magic acted on its own because he thought he was in danger. Self-defense..."
Ron stopped pacing with worry when he read that. He continued to read the letter. Hermione was more concerned with what was going to happen to Harry after the case. After pondering about it, he sighed.
"…I'm aware that the ministry is going to hold the trial tomorrow. I'll see you there.
He wondered how Hermione knew that. Ron grabbed a quill and pulled a parchment from his father's stack. He scrawled a note about him and his family being at the trial and added absentmindedly that Ginny's condition seemed to be getting better. By some miracle, the healers had managed to ensure that Ginny wouldn't turn into a squib as Snape had cruelly theorized. He joked about having his vacation cut off but "anything for Harry" wasn't it? He owed him that much.
He discarded the notion of sending his best mate a letter. Hermione kindly informed him that Harry would most likely not be able to read it. If he was that worried, she said that Dumbledore would be there to back Harry up, "If worse comes to worst."
He quickly tied the message on the leg of the raven and it took off. He then stared at the bags on the sofa. "Riiight… pack."
The air was damp, musty, disgusting. He had been tricked. Harry gripped the sword tighter.
"What did you do to her?" Harry's voice echoed through the length of the chamber. The numerous statues of snake hissed back at him in amusement.
Tom poked the still face with Harry's wand. "To this girl?" Tom paused. It seemed as if he was at a loss to explain himself. Harry was not convinced. Tom shifted to his knees and tilted the pale face of the girl to the side. It would work better if the Weasel-ette was facing Harry.
Tom stood up and playfully shot Harry the same smile that accounted for his charm. Harry took a step forward.
"I'm draining her, Harry. So that I can live. You'd like that, wouldn't you?"
Harry had one moment of indecision, before lunging for the traitor in front of him.
Tom lazily waved the wand and it shattered Harry's left hand. The sword fell with a clang. The basilisk swung its tail, in an attempt to subdue his master's friend. Harry found his back colliding with Slytherin's statue. He slid unto the water, disoriented.
He tried to stand up, but fell to his knees soon after. Coughs raked his throat. He distantly knew that he had broken some bones.
It seemed that he had, once again, failed in whatever task that had been given to him. Fawkes trilled a soft, pathetic song that did nothing to help his condition.
He painfully watched the bird struggle. The Basilisk hissed at the new-born phoenix and used its massive tail to crush it. It laid a bloody splat on the floor, but it was still trying to stand up. Tom shot the Avada Kedavra curse, disposing of the cadaver and sighed.
"Why did you do this?" Harry asked, in between coughs. He was aware that without his wand and the sword, he was at disadvantage.
"Why do you even ask?" Tom hurled back with that ever-sarcastic drawl.
Harry lowered his head.
"Harry, Harry, Harry." Harry felt himself shudder when he heard the slithery feel of his name in parseltongue. "You should have known better. Such a gullible fool you are, Harry."
Tom flicked the wand and Harry heard his Hogwarts robes tear. It came with a particularly nasty gash starting from his collarbone to his hip. Tom was observing the boy struggle for breath, when a thought entered his mind.
Harry carried a piece of his soul, did he not?
Then this victory could not get any sweeter.
The green eyed boy knew he was going to die. He was going to bleed dry and Tom would enjoy every second of it.
"No, I don't intend to kill you yet… Harry… that would be a waste… but I do intend to kill this blood traitor over here." Tom seemed lost in , his eyes glazing over with a gleam of madness.
"Unless, of course..."
Harry shook his head. He collapsed with a thud, the water splashing with him. He laid there, his head at the foot of the statue of Slytherin, while trying to gather his thoughts. The water slowly started to turn pale pinkish red.
There was this buzzing silence while lights flickered and spun. There was also pain, but that didn't compare to what his thoughts were shouting at him. Through the nausea, he could hear the faint whisper of Tom's words and those words kept him awake.
"No… no… don't kill her, please…"
He reached out, trying to catch hold off something but his body wouldn't move. He hated feeling so helpless. It reminded him of the time he had spent locked in that horrid cupboard. There was no light. No food. There was scantily-maintained life. There was pain.
Tom smiled at the way Harry's hands seemed to be calling out for him. One he had broken so the boy would release the distasteful sword, while the other he would use for the ritual. He grasped Harry's right hand with a thoughtful look, noting that the boy was starting to turn paler.
He might have overdone it again – not that it mattered.
"Tom, please... don't do it."
"Resorting to begging, Harry? But, I suppose. There's a price though… would you be willing to die in her place?"
Harry bit his lips and tried to focus on Tom. Take Ginny's place...? He felt blood leaking out from him and ignored the sting.
"She would die Harry." Tom said with barely controlled glee. Harry felt helpless. Godric's sword was far from his reach. It was unsaid that he only had one choice in the end… at least one of them would live.
What did he have to lose? He wasn't afraid to die.
"I've given you a choice… now tell me – which is it?"
"I… Ginny… I want her to live…"
The world became a blur. He could see that Tom was drawing on the ground, using his blood. He was levitated on the center of the circle. Dark tendrils of magic tangled around him and it sunk deeper. They latched onto his consciousness.
"I will grant you your every wish, Harry."
Everything disappeared. From the pain and torment, to all the smiles, his friends, mentors, all his memories. All that was left was a shadow of what had been Harry. Without a name. Just a small will, a minute ounce of awareness. Yes. Yes. Yes.
And he was chasing after them. But they were gone. He gave up. Is this what they felt like? Was he dead? But he could still see. Who? The man was beautiful, and the man was touching him with a shiny thing, on his face, on his hands, everywhere.
He could not comprehend what it meant when something was carved into his flesh. There was water. He raised his hands to his face. There was water on his eyes?
His hand was held over his heart. A pair of lips touched his.
'Pain, beyond anything he had ever known, tore open his soul. He could feel it in his eyes, taste it on his tongue. It came searing up from his feet, to his neck, his arms his hands, spreading in a wave of intensity that left him writhing on the floor. It lasted for what felt like an eternity. As sudden as it was, it came with the slow downward spiral of his thoughts. His memories came next, slamming into him repeatedly until he had everything back.
And yet he was still alive.
His eyes opened. He involuntarily closed them when the harsh glare of light hit him.
That memory again. He would never forget it.
"Good, good. You're awake then."
He craned his head to the side, seeing a rough outline of the man that was talking to him.
He winced upon using his voice. He remembered. He had been arrested, hadn't he? Two days ago. Everything came to focus when someone placed his glasses back on him.
He observed the room, noting the heavy drapes that covered what he supposed were windows. The room was done with a touch of eastern and western styles. It was all chosen for its value, expensive and crisp. A lamp here, a desk there, a collection of books on the far left, several drawers to the far right, a huge ornate door between them, a coffee table before him, two long delicately embroidered couches, Persian rug. There were artificial lights hanging from the domes above. Paper planes were scuttling about. The room was impeccably spotless and polished. Despite this all, it felt bland.
"Where am I?"
He resisted another wince when he inquired of the man who he supposed owned the room. He was around forty, a bit fat, wearing a black cloak, club tie, and had gray hair. He had an air of pleasantness that was dampened by the sour taste of arrogance that probably came with the silver spoon inside his mouth. A pureblood? Harry thought he should know him from somewhere.
He tried to move but it soon dawned on him that he was stuck on the couch.
"Ministry of Magic, my office. Here, let me help you."
The man pointed his wand at him and Harry was surprised when the fastenings on the straight jacket were removed. He propped himself up, stretching his aching muscles and muttering a quick thanks.
The man smiled kindly. Harry watched him take a seat on the opposite couch. The man snapped his fingers and an elf appeared. He ordered a few snacks, some golden biscuits and pumpkin juice. He added, as an afterthought, his favorite rum and cold water. The elf bobbed its head enthusiastically and vanished with a pop.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Let me introduce myself. I'm Cornelius Oswald Fudge, Minister of Magic."
'So that's why he's so familiar.'
"What do you want with me?" Harry knew he shouldn't be here. He should be inside his cell, waiting for 12 noon, tomorrow. The Minister opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted by the door opening. In came a striking man with platinum blonde hair and gray eyes that seemed to smolder in their intensity. He acknowledged Fudge with a nod pierced Harry with a stare.
"What's he doing here?"
"Don't be rude, Harry." Fudge shifted all his attention to the head of the Malfoy Malfoy clan. "Lucius. I'm sorry for calling you this late."
"Always a pleasure, Cornelius. I see you've told the boy?" Harry blinked.
The food arrived, and Fudge motioned for Malfoy to sit. Fudge shook his head.
"He doesn't know yet."
"Sir, may I?"
Harry pulled the sleeves of the jacket higher so that he could use both of his hands. He went straight for the water and felt
long awaited relief as his parched mouth was filled with blissfully cold liquid.
Fudge inquired after Malfoy's business and family. Harry tuned out the conversation. He took a bite of the biscuit and praised whoever baked it.
The two adults exchanged more pleasantries.
"You haven't answered my question." He didn't look at them but he could feel Malfoy's annoyance for interrupting their talk.
"Forgive me Harry."
He poured himself a glass of rum and offered some to Malfoy who politely declined the offer. If Cornelius was offended, he didn't show it. Harry waited for a reply while biting his biscuit. He was beginning to think that all the food was for him. He wouldn't mind. He was very hungry.
"You are aware that your trial will be held here, tomorrow?"
Harry nodded. He reached for another biscuit, drinking another glass of water afterwards. He couldn't stop the satisfied smile from spreading across his face. However, his mind had fleeting moments of doubt. What did the Minister want with him? He scoffed at the idea that this was just going to be a 'getting-to-know-you' chit-chat because he doubted that criminals had that privilege, especially with the Minister.
"Tell him Cornelius." Lucius prodded, lazily leaning on the chair. Fudges cleared his throat and Harry momentarily stopped eating to give all his attention to the man.
"You see, the council believes that you are innocent."
"Then why did you arrest me?"
Innocent? He couldn't believe it. He had murdered a muggle and they were saying that he was innocent?
"Ah, it's simply ministry protocol. The trial will proceed whether or not you think it is necessary." Fudge swirled the liquid inside his glass around. "All you have to do is accept, and admit to the crimes you have committed." When Harry thought about accepting the crime, he couldn't help but remember all the blood. He shuddered.
"What concerns me is where to place you afterwards." Fudge took a small sip on his beverage and put his right hand on his chest. "I would never allow you, as an upstanding member of this society, to be placed back with those muggles. They abused you and as such you will be removed from their care."
"You… You told them I was," Harry choked. "-abused?"
Fudge noticed the slightly hurt look the boy had and for once, he pitied the boy. "It is now a known fact. Nevertheless, the issue still stands and Lucius here has made a generous offer of temporarily taking over the task until you have made a suitable decision."
He heard a chuckle inside his head. Harry retreated a little before an idea sparked in his mind.
"How about emancipation?"
Fudge's smile wore thin.
"I'm afraid not. Even though you are the heir to the Potter fortune and as it is, the Potter Head, you cannot claim such rights until you are of legal age."
"The Weasleys then?"
Malfoy's mouth curled in distaste.
"Not a good choice. They are poor. The Weasleys have far too many children and they wouldn't be able to attend to all your needs. I have a list of candidates, if you are willing to leaf through it."
As if Malfoy would have been able to. Harry groaned inwardly. He couldn't think of anyone else.
Harry did not move for a while.
"Would you rather stay in a muggle orphanage for the time being?" Malfoy drawled.
Harry's eyes dilated a fraction.
"I… I don't know."
"You have until tomorrow to decide." Fudge said, checked his watch and looked at Harry, then checked his watch once more, before draining his cup entirely. He filled the glass with the same reddish-yellow liquid.
The chips were down. What are you going to do?
A chill came over him when Tom's voice forced him to consider the long lasting effects of his ignorant decision.
Lucius raised an elegant eyebrow. He watched the boy card his hands on his unruly hair. Oh, he enjoyed making the boy squirm.
"Yes, Harry?" Malfoy said. "I…" You don't really want to stay in the orphanage and you don't want to go back to those muggles. He paused, not quite sure what made him agree with Tom. "This is just temporary- am I right? So…" He trailed off, not willing to continue the train of thought. He would have to live with Draco. Harry's eyes flickered red for a moment and he could see the pleased smirk on Malfoy's face.
"Brilliant! I think I have the contracts here. Wait for a moment."
Fudge waved his wand and summoned three scrolls from one of his drawers. They flew over the table and spread open.
"Read the contents. If you want to change or add a condition then tell me and I will do what I can." Harry leaned over the table. He was taking another bite of his biscuit when he felt a small flare of pleasure dance around him. He grimaced and bit his lower lip to prevent a moan.
He's happy. What the hell is he doing?
'M.C. no. 612
Ministry of Magic
(Approved under Article XV Section 5)
This is a Magical contract that entitles a wizarding child the privilege of selective guardianship in any case that the parent, blood relative, godfather or godmother is or are proven insufficient to cater to the needs of the child.
The agreements (subject to change) are as follows.
The guardian is given the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the child.
The guardian must cater to the child's needs (clothing, water, food, lodging, education, etc. See Article XV section 1-3 for more details).
The guardian is entitled the right to act upon any decision he or she thinks is necessary for the child's betterment.
The guardian is not allowed to attempt sexual acts with his or her ward, nor is he allowed to do so even with the child's consent, due to ethical means.
The guardian is not allowed to give any form of undue punishments.
The guardian, unless given express permission of either the ministry or the child, is not allowed to use the child's financial assets (if there are) for any purposes except education.
The child is given freedom to declare his or her guardian unfit if the guardian violates any of the above agreements.
The child is…'
Harry scrolled down the form and noticed that the agreements were fair enough and none of them would do him harm. What the hell.
"How do I sign?"
Fudge tossed him a quill.
"It signs with your blood."
He wrote his name above the line and winced at the tiny ant like bites that spread across his right wrist. He nevertheless signed his signature above his name. He did this three times. He returned the quill to the minister, who signed his name as the witness, then Lucius, as his new guardian.
A thin cord of light settled around Harry and Lucius.
"All done then."
The scrolls rolled by themselves. Fudge gave one copy to Lucius and kept the other two on his desk. He took another look at his wristwatch and that was when Harry felt the world shudder violently.
"Time delayed potions, great isn't it?"
Their voices thundered in Harry's ears, a thousand times louder than normal, and he hastily clamped his hands on his ears. Lucius pointed his wand at him and Harry felt himself relax. He sagged back into the couch.
"What did you do to me?"
He growled accusingly at the two smug men.
"You have nothing to be worried about."
He whimpered at the words and he watched as a silvery liquid was poured down his throat. He choked midway.
"-Which is perfectly safe."
"Let's ease you in a more comfortable position."
There was no answer.
He tried again. There was only a blank void. He searched for the tendrils that connected him to Tom. He tugged on them, but to no avail. Not to be deterred, he followed it desperately.
He submerged himself within the dark essence and tried to tear apart the blocks Tom seemed to have forgotten to hide. He watched in slow motion as the minister's lips curled and froze. For a moment everything stopped, supended in time. The was a shift and the world swirled in a myriad of colors, then stopped. He had found Tom.
It dawned on Harry that they were not alone. Seven masked figures were kneeling on the floor, prostrating themselves around the person he was looking for. Graveyard. Another ritual.
Tom cracked open an eye, his hand momentarily leaving the water it had been submerged in. A ghostly image was settled above. There was only muted silence.
"Why weren't you answering me Tom?"
He drew closer, past the cloaked men. What he saw next made him sick. There, in front of Tom, was a little girl. Her chest was carved open, and her mouth was open in a horrified scream. Before he could see anything more, the morbid scene was swallowed by the shadows.
Tom turned to him.
"What were you doing with her?" Harry whispered.
"There a few things better left unsaid. You wouldn't really want to know what I am doing with that filthy little girl, don't you?"
Harry flinched. Tom beckoned for him to come closer.
"Why were calling for me, Harry?"
"I wanted to… I"
He ignored the overwhelming urge to tell Tom the truth.
Harry shook his head.
Harry stubbornly ignored the bond. It always lulled him into a false sense of security. Whatever daze his potion-imbibed induced in mind was promptly snapped by what he saw. He tried to will himself to disappear but somehow it didn't work. Why had he sought him out? Why had he called for him? Tom wouldn't be able to help him. He knew that.
Tom glided towards him. He backed away.
"Why are you so desperate to leave? I heard you screaming my name. Is my little Harry, dare I say it, scared?" Tom purred.
Harry stood frozen while Tom closed his arms around him.
"Calm down. Isn't this what you wanted?"
To feel protected?
He stayed there. His body betrayed him and his hands went around the man, holding him as if his life depended on it. Tom's presence slowly helped his wildly beating heart return to normal and he? -hated it.
Tom smiled cruelly.
He shut his eyes tight.
"Tell me your name."
"Tell me your mother's name."
He realized that his eyes had been open the whole time head been searching for Tom. They stung.
"Tell me your Father's name."
They moved on with the most mundane questions. He felt like an outsider on his own body and focused his attention on the black feather quill that seemed to write everything that they said. There was also a small orb that was filled with swirling grey, blue and white wisps sitting atop the marble desk.
This detachment from himself momentarily allowed him to relax. He would feel the words come out of his mouth. He would use his tongue. Answer the question. That was all. At that moment it felt so good to answer them one by one. So good it was like chewing the most delectable candy. What was next? What was-
But that's what it was. Momentary.
"Is it true that you're a parselmouth?"
They already knew that.
"Is it true that you opened the Chamber of Secrets?"
Harry fought desperately. The implications that surrounded the statement made him understand what this was all about. The minister seemed eager to hear the answer.
"Trust us Harry, this is for your own good."
It went downhill from that.
They confirmed his inner desires for murder. They asked him all the details of his abuse. They…
Once they were finished, Fudge fed him the antidote. It left the world crisper, brighter, his head clearer. Everything was too bright. It felt as if he was stripped naked. A whimper escaped his throat while he pretended that the wide circular buttons on the couch were the world's greatest discovery.
Fudge had the gall to help him up, but he swatted the hand away. Fudge was undeterred however, even for the small frown on his face. "We've decided to move you from Azkaban, such a dreary place. I've prepared a room for you at the top floor. Lucius will accompany you there."
Room? Not a cell?
Harry tried to stand up by himself but he stumbled forward. Lucius caught him just in time. The Malfoy aristocrat put his hand on Harry's shoulder to steady him.
He wasn't aware of it, but a steady line of tears were starting to fall from his eyes. Malfoy frowned at this but fixed a sneer on his face. Cornelius chuckled. "I'll see you tomorrow then."
"Good bye, Cornelius. Come with me, Harry." Malfoy replied, leading the distraught the boy towards the door.
"Remember, twelve noon. Yours will be the third case. Take Care, Harry."
The limping man was gone. She was still here though. The same dirt, the same bruises, the same dried blood, the same smell… and shackles. Her body was still bound. How long had it been? The chains lengthened themselves and she dropped to the floor. She allowed her tongue to lick the moist ground. It would come soon. A tiny sliver of light came from a small flap at the door. A tray of food was pushed in, her small source of light extinguished soon after.
She crawled forward, her throat aching for relief, mouth begging for taste. She was so near to it! But the shackles were straining and she screamed in frustration.
She strained her hands and choked while trying to grasp the tray. A dry chuckle came from her mouth once her hands managed to pull it back. She devoured the little bit of food that had been given. She soon finished. Time passed and she lay there, unmoving.
Her chains took her away from cold floor and held her back, plastered to the wall.
A small whimper escaped from her lips. She vowed that here would come a time where she'd be the one causing the pained sounds. She would all make them all scream! She could faintly remember it – faintly, but it was still there- the power she had felt and the absolute ecstasy that was the dark arts. As if on cue, a tingle came from her mark, and then it began burning.
She thrashed, banging her head on the wall in the process.
She knew the time would come soon. She was the most loyal of them all, and through her suffering, she would be rewarded. But she wanted to be there with him… it was the cruelest torture to be kept away from her master. She started choking on her breath and allowed the last bit of sanity she had left slip away.
"Aha… Haha… HAHAHAHAHAHA!"
Moody wrenched his eyes from the sight. Bellatrix Lestrange joined the chorus of laughs and screams that echoed across the tower, each individually noise degenerating into a discordant sound. He was disgusted by it. However, although the inhabitants were all obviously insane, the prison wasn't enough. It wasn't enough punishment for all the lives the prisoners had taken. His hand involuntary went for his eye, remembering the incident – twelve years ago.
No… it wasn't enough.
He walked down the stairs, eyes well acquainted with the torches that accompanied his rounds, although he could never get used to the loss of his sense of time.
Albus wanted to interrogate a few death eaters and his request had been granted an approval by the board. It had taken a little less than a week. It proved how much power Albus held. Dolohov, Lestrange… He could not understand what the man gained from the knowledge the interviews gave him, seeing that none had any idea of what it was all about, although Moody could swear there was something. It made him wary. For the greater good.
He kept walking along the stone corridor.
Who would've thought the Dark Lord kept a diary?
He reached the end of the corridor and took a moment to observe the cell of Antonin Dolohov when his magical eye sensed something peculiar. There it was again. The floor shook and he almost stumbled but quickly righted himself. Magic? What are they doing?
A large bang came from overhead, violently shaking up the entire tower, which brought him running back up. Paranoia surged through him. Something had gone wrong. He told himself that Azkaban was impenetrable. Nobody could enter and nobody could escape.
Soon enough though, he was proven wrong. He could hear the alarms sounding even from down below. He took out his wand from the holster on his arm and steadied his grip, opting for a dueling stance. A flock of dementors glided past him and he caught his breath.
His eyes saw movement from his right and he fired off a stunning spell – only to miss by a hair's width.
"No! No, Alastor! It's me!" The figure put his hands up in defense, panting. His eyes were closed.
He advanced upon the figure and barcked out a demand for his name and a question that only the person should know. For a moment, he was about to cast another curse when Dedalus Diggle answered his question.
"What happened here?" Alastor flinched when a cheerful sing-song voice came from the cell of the mad bitch. He hoped someone would strangle her. A stream of aurors came running down, passing them and hollering for orders – to find him. The things they shouted at each other caused a slight niggling suspicion to pipe in the back of his mind. Dreading the suspicion would be confirmed, he managed to ask,
He swore again. Then, he turned to the matter at hand.
"What are you doing here?"
Diggle gave him a nervous but conspiring look. "I don't think this is the right place to talk about it. I'm here because of you-know-what." Diggle passed him a small pouch. "Open it." Moody gave him a weird look.
Diggle muttered accio and a broom came rushing at him. Moody lopened the pouch, seeing that Diggle seemed impatient. More obscenities found their way out of Moody's mouth upon seeing what was actually inside. He stared shocked at the blood-stained locket, knowing who actually owned it. The pouch opened wider and a black ball fell to the ground, followed by a few miniature pictures. A chain dangled.
"Careful…" Diggle motioned and pointed his wand at the smoky black ball, one of the many troubling things they found at the site. He put them back inside the pouch and closed it. "The ministry kept this a secret. They didn't want the public thinking that they're back or that they're still alive. It would've been inconvenient …a wise move on their part." He gave a wry look. "Andromeda won't be happy…"
"They're finally moving." Moody said in an irritated undertone, in a way that clearly screamed that he refused to believe it.
"Yeah." Diggle fumbled for something in his pocket. "-been quiet for a long time… Here's the sock." Diggle tossed a worn sock and Moody stared at the offending choice of portkey while Diggle managed to chuckle. "You stay here. I'll check on Harry."
Dedalus gave him a salute and wished him luck before mounting his broom and saying goodbye. It occurred to him that if Diggle would be checking on Harry, he would have been going down to the bottom of the tower, but he could not see Diggle flying down as he was just a dot in the distance. It was true then that Harry wasn't inside the tower anymore. The minister was pulling strings again. It was not his problem though.
He continued climbing the stairs and ignoring the panicking guards and aurors. He wanted to know how Black had done it.
He let the boy leave the confines of his mind with the pleased smile on his face. Soon Harry would be completely seduced by the power of the bond and he would find himself devouring the price, all for himself. Back in the dark ages, the ritual was used to bond the willing slave eternally to the caster. It was only slightly different from Persephone's marriage bond, in a way that the caster was given complete control over the mind, body and soul of the slave, at the small cost of losing a portion of the slave's sense of reality, which he was perfectly fine with.
He resumed on the task at hand. He had attempted to do this once, and only once because the risk was too great, the recovery slow. Yet, he is attempting to do the same thing today, because it was simply the most efficient way of dealing with this particular obstacle, regardless of the consequences. He was willing to overlook the said consequences.
He wriggled his hand searching for the organ once more. The small girl stopped screaming when he finally removed the heart from her chest. She fell to the ground, dead. Tom thought that the child should be comforted by the fact her death would contribute to his revival.
It was almost complete. He closed his eyes and felt. The chanting rose higher, invoking a primal sense of wildness inside him. The touch melted onto his skin and the sweet smell of dark magic crept around him in a teasing manner, before viciously seeking entrance and sending his mind into a state of euphoria. There was infinite pleasure.
He shakily laid the still-beating heart upon the circular mass of water and waited for the circle to start glowing. The water rose higher and glowed green. A swirling mass of black appeared and it encased them as if a long lost lover, once more reunited, hiding them from the rest of world. Inside the dome, the world burned in fiery green embers.
A jolt told him he may now proceed. Magic needn't have words. He expanded his senses, spreading his awareness little by little. He flitted through grass, past forests, over mountains, searching, searching extensively for his kindred soul. It was like playing God, being omnipotent and omniscient.
He had once attempted this by himself and had only felt a brief wave of lust and longing but it had never been enough to make him lose control. However, the pure raw power he gained in offering a fresh sacrifice and intricately connecting seven other souls to him was a challenge he had never encountered before. Witches and wizards had gone mad, whether it was because of the power, or of what they learned or saw, he did not know. He did know it was an incurable intoxication, much more potent than any other, and he had proven his insanity for ever attempting it, not just once, but twice.
Beads of perspiration settled on his brow. It was difficult a task. He had allowed himself to act as the conduit to the pure mass of power that was being summoned. He briefly opened his eyes to see how the others were fairing and inwardly laughed when he saw they wore the same, if more obvious, arousals. Their eyes gleamed green, shot through with black and yellows. He longed to see another color, red.
The seconds seemed to slow, unhurried until-! A waning presence flitted past him. He moaned. The water flashed and it reflected an image of what he was searching for. He pulled on the image, drawing as much as possible, searching for a connection. He saw the water churn. The water boiled red. A wave of dark magic so uniquely like his met him and drew back, feasting in delight.
Tom laughed victoriously. He won! He could taste it in the air. The cogs were finally moving to his pace. Everything had gone according to plan. He fell to the ground panting from his breath while he felt his other soul leech from the magic that sustained the ritual. He recovered quickly and stopped his laughter. The screams of pain from those around him served a welcome music to his ears. The Dark Mark seared them, marred their skin, as clear as ever.
"It is I."
I got the definition from the Devil's Dictionary written by Ambrose Bierce, slightly altered but still the same. Yes, this is the second revision of the story since I had this sudden bang of inspiration to rewrite a few and add some, all because it wouldn't leave my mind. I sincerely hope this wouldn't happen again.
If you are wondering what the last scene was all about, it's called "scrying". It allows a person to locate, watch, or, in some occurrences, grant some form of communication between two beings. I am basing this from what I've read from other books and sources and added more details.
Thank you to my betas, Crim and Anna.
Constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated.
Word count: (approx) 7515
Draft Started: March 3, 2008
Draft finished: April 29, 2008
Revised: May 10, 2008