Title: Uncrowned Lord of Azkaban
Story Summary: At the end of first year Harry is arrested for killing Quirrell. In Azkaban he befriends the Dementors, meets his godfather, institutes a regular poker game and ponders the question of a Dementor Union. Crack!fic. Obviously.
I read All the Dementors of Azkaban a couple of weeks ago, and somehow it combined with an utter lack of sleep to produce this.
UNCROWNED LORD OF AZKABAN
Harry stared up at Azkaban prison with a foreboding feeling, as water sloshed into the boat.
Perched atop an inhospitable piece of rock jutting out of the sea was a tall dark castle. The Aurors called it a fort, but it was clearly a castle.
It didn't look like a nice place. Harry thought about leaping out of the boat and trying to swim for it, only there were two Aurors in the boat with him and Harry didn't really know how to swim anyway, plus he was in manacles.
"I seriously didn't kill my defence professor," Harry tried half-heartedly. "At least, all I did was grab his face."
The problem with being famous for defeating Voldemort, Harry had found, was that people didn't really believe you when you said that he'd been possessing your teacher, who you didn't really meant to die, honest.
"Whatever," said Auror with Receding Hairline, who'd heard Harry's story before. Harry frowned sadly.
"Here we are," sneered Big-Nosed Auror, as the boat pulled up to the little jetty where two more Aurors were waiting. "Welcome to Azkaban. Have a nice life."
Because of that Harry waited until he was out of the boat, then said,
"Everyone thinks your nose is truly huge, you know."
As Harry was led away Big-Nosed Auror swelled angrily while Auror with Receding Hairline turned purple trying not to laugh.
It was boring in Harry's cell. There was a lumpy mattress and worn blanket in one corner, and a chamberpot in the other, and the rest of the cell was bare and stony and damp. The other prisoners seemed to be mental, yelling and moaning at all hours of the day and night. Harry tried to talk to the man in the cell next to his, but he started shrieking "DRUMS DRUMS DRUMS DRUMS!" and banging his head against the wall, and for some reason the other cell next to Harry's had a dog in it.
Every now and then people in weird fluttery cloaks went gliding past like Morticia Addams, and every time they did the other prisoners moaned or went silent, and the air turned cold.
Harry was curious.
"Hi," he called out the next time one went past. "I'm Harry."
The cloaked person paused, and turned towards Harry. Their cloak swirled around them like mist.
"Cool cloak," said Harry, impressed.
Thanks. The voice was chilly and simply appeared in his brain.
"How do you make it do that?" Harry asked. It was even more awesome than the way Snape's robes billowed as he stalked over to you like a bat of doom. Or something.
The person stared at Harry for a minute.
You are a very strange child.
They went gliding onwards.
A bowl of porridge and a squishy spoon arrived in Harry's cell several hours later. Harry wondered about the spoon, until he saw the drums bloke trying to stab himself in the head with his own.
In the other cell the dog had been curled into a ball on top of its mattress, but at the appearance of food it changed shape. Harry watched in surprise as a mass of tangled hair and skinny limbs unfolded itself and approached the bowl.
"That was awesome," said Harry. "I saw Professor McGonagall turn into a cat once, but she said we couldn't learn about turning into an animal until N.E.W.T. year."
The dog-man stared at Harry with hollow eyes.
"James?" he croaked in wonder.
"Harry," Harry corrected.
The next moment the dog-man was wailing about how he didn't do it and Harry had to believe him, and he was going to kill that rat Peter and he was so sorry.
"Uh, okay?" Harry tried.
Eventually the dog-man calmed down.
A thought seemed to strike him.
"We're in Azkaban," he said slowly.
"You're in Azkaban."
"That's right," Harry agreed, wondering if they put drugs in the water or something.
The dog-man pondered this for a while.
"What are you doing in Azkaban?"
"I accidentally killed my defence professor," Harry explained. "But he was being possessed by Voldemort at the time, so I don't think it should count, but the Wizengamot didn't agree with me and sent me here."
"Bastards," Dog-Man growled, seemingly becoming more aware of things.
"DRUMS!" screamed Drums Man, and began banging his head against the wall of his cell. There were the usual mad jeers and encouragement from the other inmates, but they had absolutely no effect in any way.
Dog-Man was frowning.
"We need to get you out of here. At your age, exposure to Dementors will drive you insane nearly straight away."
"Dementors?" Harry inquired.
"The creatures in ethereal cloaks that suck the emotions out of everyone," Dog-Man pointed out.
"No they don't."
"What?" Dog-Man blinked.
"They don't suck emotions out," Harry argued.
"Yes. They do," Dog-Man said slowly, but as though he were thinking this time. "Are you saying that they don't affect you?"
"No," said Harry.
Then two Dementors went past and Dog-Man retreated back into a huddle of black fur.
Harry waved as the Dementors went by.
Over the next few days Harry heard all about how Sirius, as the Dog-Man was called, had ended up in Azkaban, and more about what Dementors were.
When he and Sirius weren't talking Harry found that he could hear the Dementors speaking in other parts of the castle, in flat chilly voices. During one of Sirius's naps Harry listened to an argument over the last Test; apparently Dementors suddenly listened to muggle cricket broadcasts using a wizarding wireless set.
It was during a subsequent discussion over a lethifold infestation on the third floor that Harry interrupted.
What's a lethifold?
There was a sudden silence.
Who are you? one of the Dementors asked.
I'm Harry, Harry replied.
You're the child that we cannot feed from?
That's right, Harry confirmed. How come you can all talk in your heads?
There was a conversation just out of Harry's range.
It's how we communicate, a Dementor said finally, sounding wary but intrigued. If you are a wizard, you should not be able to hear or speak to us. Who are you?
Sirius woke one morning to find Harry surrounded by Dementors.
"Harry? Are you playing poker with those Dementors?" he asked incredulously.
"Yeah," Harry confirmed. "They say I have a pretty good poker face, but I need to learn to shield my emotions more."
"Why aren't I unconscious and reliving my worst memories?" Sirius suddenly realised that he was strangely unaffected by the Dementors presence.
"I asked them not to feed off you, because you're my godfather, and the guy on the other cell because he yells 'drums!' a lot, and it's distracting," Harry explained.
Sirius frowned as he noticed small details about the Dementors in Harry's cell.
"I seem to remember having a very strange dream involving that Dementor," Sirius noted, pointing at one with a rip in its cloak.
"He says that it wasn't a dream, and he really did play gobstones with you that one time," Harry translated. "You called him Bob. It was really boring that day."
Bob gave a small wave and went back to looking at his cards.
Sirius shook his head, but continued to watch as Harry had a friendly poker game with several soul-sucking fiends of Azkaban.
"Do you reckon I could leave my cell for a while sometimes?" Harry asked his new friends. "Because it's kind of cramped in here, and rather boring, actually."
You're in a cell for a reason, a Dementor said austerely.
"Only because they don't want me to escape, and I shouldn't be here anyway. It's not my fault no one believed Quirrell was possessed by Voldemort. It wasn't like I was the one who went around claiming I defeated him as a baby. Someone else did that. Besides, when you think about it, it's a dumb idea. How could a baby defeat a majorly evil Dark Lord like that? Anyway, I promise I won't try to escape. It's not like you guys bother me."
We'll consider it, one of the Dementors conceded reluctantly.
Two days later during the next poker game, Drums Man suddenly spoke up.
"Can you pass me one of those butterbeers?"
The Dementors had raided the Auror's stores the previous night and stolen some decent food and drink, after Harry had complained that the unvarying meal of porridge was making him depressed, especially since his last bowl had had weevils in it.
"Sure." Harry passed a bottle through the bars between their cells. "What are you in for?"
"I might have killed someone," Drums Man admitted. "But he got on my nerves." He eyed Harry. "What about you, kid?"
"I accidentally killed my defence professor when I was possessed, but it's not so bad here, apart from the porridge."
Drums Man wrinkled his nose.
"I know, porridge! It ought to qualify as a form of cruel and unusual torture – who wants to eat porridge, I ask you?"
"Who are you?" Sirius interrupted. The Dementors had transferred him to Harry's cell for the duration of their poker game. He was losing rather badly. He was even worse at shielding his emotions than Harry was.
"Call me Harry," Drums Man said blithely.
"That's my name," Harry said in surprise.
Drums Man shrugged.
"Call me Tesmar, then, if you must, since I concede things could get a little confusing otherwise."
"Why do the Dementors make you scream about drums?" Harry wanted to know.
"My neighbour used to play them at all hours," Tesmar explained. "I couldn't take it anymore and went up there and killed him. Sadly the Wizengamot was not impressed by my defence that he deserved to die. But whenever the Dementors affect me – and I have noticed that they're not doing so right now, by the way – I find myself back in my apartment, desperately short of sleep, listening to that bastards' infernal drums."
He snarled the last part.
"Last year one of our neighbours was learning how to play the tuba," Harry volunteered.
"Dudley stuffed it down a street drain. I think it was the only time I ever agreed with him about taking someone's things."
"I'm not musical at all," Sirius observed, rather happily.
Harry threw a handful of popcorn at him.
"Do you mind if I join your game?" Tesmar gestured at the gathering in Harry's cell.
Tesmar was transferred to Harry's cell and proceeded to win three bottles of butterbeer, a tin of spaghetti and Sirius' robes.
"What am I supposed to do now?" a mostly-naked Sirius whined.
"You should have thought of that before you bet your clothes," Tesmar said smugly as he was escorted back to his cell. "This will make a nice addition to my blanket on cold nights."
Harry put the remainder of the case of butterbeer over the by wall, and his deck of cards on top.
Good game, he told the Dementors happily.
One ruffled his hair as it left.
The next day one of the Aurors turned up with Professor Dumbledore, who had come to see how Harry was doing.
"Potter, you have a visitor," Ice-Cool Black Auror intoned. He was bald, but in a cool way, and looked like Samuel L. Jackson.
"Hi professor!" Harry chirped. He was reading a totally unsuitable magazine that Harry nonetheless found rather interesting in a way he had never considered before. He knew it was totally unsuitable because Sirius had told him that as Harry's godfather it was his duty to tell him so, and added that he wanted to read it when Harry was finished.
One of Ice-Cool Black Auror's eyebrows slowly rose as he considered Harry's half-full case of butterbeer.
"That looks strangely like a case of butterbeer that went missing in the guardhouse a couple of weeks ago," he told Harry.
"Really?" Harry asked innocently.
"You seem to be getting along remarkably well, Harry," Dumbledore finally spoke up, after silently watching Harry for several minutes.
"No thanks to you," Sirius growled from the next cell. "First I'm framed for murder and shoved in here without even a trial, then my eleven year old godson is stuck in here for defending himself against a possessed professor. You're slipping, you senile old bastard."
Harry's jaw dropped in awe at Sirius insulting the Albus Dumbledore so.
Dumbledore's gaze was suddenly alert, and he looked at Sirius intently.
"Were you or were you not the Potter's Secret Keeper?" he asked sharply.
"Since you finally thought to ask, I WAS NOT!"
Sirius roared the second part.
"Is that an adequate answer?" he inquired, chortling.
"Are you sure that you didn't have a trial?" Ice-Cool Black Auror asked.
"Not at all," Sirius replied, with awful sarcasm. "For all I know they simply held it when I wasn't there. That would be just Crouch and Bagnold's style."
"Sir, how long have I been here?" Harry interrupted.
"You have been here for precisely one month," Dumbledore said. He extracted a huge wad of letters from his pocket. Harry wondered how on earth they'd fit in there. "I have here a collection of letters from your friends, as well as a request for an interview from one Luna Lovegood on behalf of her father's magazine. I understand that as a friend of young Ronald's sister, she was privileged to hear his views on your incarceration a number of times."
"Cool!" Harry took the letters happily. "Could you get me some paper and a pen and some ink, professor? And maybe a robe for Sirius? He keeps moaning about how Tesmar won it in our second-last poker game, and it's annoying."
"You'd moan too if you were practically starkers in a cold cell!" Sirius protested. "And you'd better do your damn best to get Harry out of here and me a trial, you geriatric coot, or all the curses of the Blacks will rain down upon you."
"I will do my best, on all counts," said Dumbledore, glancing at Harry who was mouthing 'geriatric coot?' and looking impressed. "Kingsley, I am sure that you can see to the writing materials, and the robe?"
"It won't be a problem, Albus," Ice-Cool Black Auror agreed.
"Very well. I will bid you farewell for now, Harry, but I will be back once I have news. Is there anything you would like me to bring with me next time?"
"Something to read," Harry said immediately, "and some chocolate, and do you think you could get hold of a poker rulebook for me? Because there's been some argument. If it's not too much trouble that is, sir."
Once Ice-Cool Black Auror brought back the paper and quills and ink and a robe for Sirius, Harry settled down to read his friend's letters while Sirius rhapsodised over his new robe, and how it was made of wool, and so soft and warm. Afterwards Harry wrote replies to all the letters, and thoughtfully responded to Luna Lovegood's interview questions.
One of the Dementors promised to send everything for him, so Harry sat down with a bottle of butterbeer and thought about his friends.
Next chapter will probably be the text of the Quibbler interview. Question: should Harry try to form a union for Dementors? I need input.