Voices, voices. Cold, cold. Screams, screams. Mommy, Daddy, Harry. Cold, cold. Dark, dark. Hurts, hurts.
The boy lay in the corner of the dark cell, shaking from the cold, the hunger, and the pain. His dark hair was matted against his forehead from sweat, and in his chest there was the deep rattle of illness. On one side, there was a wall; on the other three, there were gates he could see through. Against the one cold stone wall he lay, shivering and crying; but never did he make more than a small sound, because that would bring more pain, and even he understood that concept. More pain and more suffering-
The boy gasped and closed his eyes tightly, shutting his world off even farther. The Dementors were coming again, and with their shadowy, imaginary voices he knew he would fall deeper and deeper into despair. Deeper, deeper into nothingness, into feeling nothing and being nothing.
Deeper, deeper. Nothing, nothing. Hurts, hurts.
Harry Potter was the world's savior no longer.
Harry's screams shook the silence of Azkaban prison, as the Dementors had already left the high security ward and all that could be heard beyond them was the insane mutterings of other prisoners. But Harry had fallen victim to what he had always tried to avoid- sleep had come and claimed its prisoner, and now the nightmares were the enemy he was running from.
Harry's body shook once more, and without a conscious thought his hands reached up to grasp the scar on his forehead. A scream ripped through his lips, pain-filled and tormented- a scream that went beyond just feeling; it was fear, and pain, and longing, and desperation, all wrapped into one. A scream so full of agony that it couldn't be described by words alone; but Harry lived it, and so Harry screamed, and screamed, and screamed.
Because all he could do was remember, and his only wish was that he could forget.
"Where's Harry? Where's Harry?" Lily cried playfully, putting her thin hands in front of Harry's face and waving them happily. "Where is he?"
Harry cried out happily, "Here, Mommy! Right here!"
Lily smiled, and picked Harry up in one huge swoop, flipping him into the air over her shoulder. She danced around playfully, swinging him around, Harry's joyful laughs filling the air.
Lily's scream pierced the air, and it was all Harry could do to sit and watch. He couldn't do anything- he didn't know magic, and he was a small boy. He watched the bad man come through the house, his wand pointed out menacingly, right at Mommy's heart- he had heard screams downstairs, were those Daddy's? Why wasn't Daddy here, helping Mommy fight this bad man?
A green light filled the air, and he knew no more.
Harry remembered crying, and he remembered being hugged gently by an old man, who told him everything would be okay, he was a good boy, and not to worry. Harry hadn't believed him.
For awhile, all he lived through was loneliness. Until Dark Magic had been discovered in him, and he had been thrown into a hellhole he had been told was called Azkaban.
He remembered that day.
"Freak!" The word was screamed at him, and Harry shook with fear. He had already been slapped enough times to realize that something was wrong, deadly wrong- Mommy and Daddy had never, ever hit him, but Mommy and Daddy were gone now, weren't they?
More words had been screamed, and he hadn't caught them all. But Harry knew they all meant the same thing. He was nothing. He was no one. No one wanted him, and no one would love him- ever. He wasn't deserving of life. He was nothing, and he was bad.
Being thrown into a cold, pitch-black room had been bad enough. Harry had always hated darkness. But then- two huge men had come in after him, smiling menacingly. Their bodies had just been lit up by the now- shutting door; and then, Harry had heard the one word he had come to hate more than any other.
Pain, earth-shattering pain- for what seemed to be an eternity, a millennium- it surpassed Harry's knowledge of what life, and pain, could and was- and he seemed to forget everything, in that moment in time- because the pain was everything, and there was nothing else. How could there be?
There was, in all reality, nothing but the darkness, the cold, the fear, the hunger, and the pain.
And Harry knew it would never, ever change.
Harry's screams still hadn't slowed, she mused. Usually his nightmares only lasted a few minutes, if that- and then he would wake himself up and cry for a good ten minutes, before withdrawing back into himself. But this time- the screams had been going on for a good five minutes now, and showed no signs of stopping. This worried her.
Bellatrix Lestrange had always hated children, and had never treated them fairly- but little Harry was different, and hearing his screams always stirred something in her she didn't quite understand.
"Child!" Her hiss pierced the still, cold blackness of the cells, and she leaned her dirty face against the grate between their cells. She had been pretty, once. She couldn't quite remember.
"Child! Wake up, Harry! Wake up!" Bellatrix's voice got increasingly louder as she saw the hopelessness of her situation. She was just about to give up when Harry gave a final shake, and those beautiful emerald eyes opened.
"Bella?" He whispered sleepily, wiping away his tears quickly, embarrassed. "What-"
"You were screaming again," she whispered urgently. "Nightmares."
Harry nodded slowly, sighing and rubbing his arm gently. There was dried blood on his arm, as usual; ever since the first day, the torture had never stopped. He couldn't, and didn't, understand what was wrong with him.
After all, why tell a prisoner what their crime was?
As the memories of what he had dreamed about came flooding back, Harry couldn't hold back the tears. He looked hard at the woman in the next cell before whispering out a "Thank you, Bella…". He moved back into his corner and curled up in a little ball, his sobs just audible.
Bella watched the retreating form of the little boy, and felt her heart squeeze. She was a hateful person- she was mean, and horrible, and cruel, and she had no problem admitting it- she knew she even deserved to be in this hell- but Harry didn't. Harry had done nothing wrong, and he was suffering.
In all truth, she didn't know how much longer he would survive.
Harry is about eight years old. Voldemort's downfall was when he was about one or two, and Lily and James died. He was thrown into Azkaban at about age seven, when Dark Magic was discovered in him. He's about eight now.
This story will not be slash. There may not even be any pairings involved.