Disclaimer: If you recognize it, it isn't mine, if you don't, well that might not be mine either.
Salvation in the Devil's Triangle
Salvation in the Devil's Triangle
Chapter 1: Welcome to Azkaban
"Harry James Potter, by order of the Wizengamet you are here by found guilty of willfully endangering both students and staff of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and sentenced two months in Azkaban Prison." With those words and the bang of a gavel, the life of Harry Potter, the-boy-who-lived, ended. Or, at least that's how he would remember it in later years.
Harry hardly noticed as he was dragged out of the court room by two aurors and port keyed to the island wizarding prison. He didn't note the dank environment, nor the screeches and screams of the prison's occupants as he was pulled past. All he could think about was how betrayed he felt.
Where was Dumbledore when he needed him, where were his friends. The Weasleys he half understood, Ginny was still in a coma after the Chamber of Secrets incident, of course that's what started this whole fiasco. Because he had no one to cooberate his story Harry had ended up being the scapegoat for the entire fiasco. Apparently he didn't know any of them as well as he thought he had, maybe the wizarding world wasn't much different from life with the Dursleys after all.
The Aurors dumped him in a cell with a conspiratorial laugh and Harry heard one say to the other, "I know we were told to shove him in the lower security level, but it's much more fitting for him to be in the cell next to his parents' betrayer." With a laugh, the pair left a very confused Harry behind.
What had they been talking about Harry wondered. Of course, Harry realized, he didn't really know that much about how his parents had died, other than that Voldemort had killed them. It made sense that someone had told him where to find them; after all they must have used some kind of magic to hide, right?
Harry decided that he had other things to worry about and stopped thinking about it, though he did keep an eye out for the prisoner in the cell across from him. He could swear the man stared at him when he was coherent enough. As time went on though it seamed that the man became healthier.
After a few days, Harry got sick of wallowing in self pity and decided to do something. Of course, his options were limited as he was stuck in his cell. In the end, Harry came to the conclusion that he would work out when the dementors weren't making their rounds. Anyways, he thought, he had hit puberty earlier in the year so he should have enough hormones to actually grow some muscle on his scrawny frame.
Azkaban, he mused, was much worse than he imagined. It was certainly worse than any modern day muggle prison, much more medieval in its practices, right down to the torture. The dementors, it seemed, affected him even worse than those in the cells around him, but maybe they were just used to it. Whatever the reason, Harry's were the loudest screams of the cell block.
After a week or so the man in the cell across from him, his parent's betrayer, was healthy enough to stand and openly pear through the bars of his cell at Harry, though it seemed he didn't have the courage or strength to actually speak. Not that Harry wanted to hear the taunts he was sure were waiting to be issued from the stranger's mouth. A few days later the man began a conversation that, though neither of them knew it at the time, would start a chain of events that would change both of their lives.
"You are Harry?" The man asked his voice rasping and barely coherent.
"Yes," Harry replied, his voice harsher than he remembered due to dehydration and misuse.
"Harry Potter?" The man inquired more specifically.
"Yes," Harry answered again, wondering at the man's line of questioning.
"I'm your god-father, Sirius Black," More unexpected words could not have been uttered.
"But you betrayed my parents!" Harry nearly yelled back, infuriated that someone who was trusted enough by his parents to be named his god-father had betrayed them to Voldemort.
"I didn't betray your parents!" Before Harry could protest the man went on to explain his tragic tale. Of course, Harry had only his word to go by and no other reason to believe him, but Harry wanted to believe, wanted to believe that when his life was at its worst, that in the cold dank depths of dementor filled Azkaban he could find what he had always dreamed of: Family. So Harry believed.
The days and weeks blurred together, when the dementors weren't around Sirius would recall stories of Harry's parents and happier days while Harry continued to occupy himself by working out in his cell. Then came the day of discovery.
The day seemed like any other, Sirius was telling Harry about how the marauders had all become animagi so as to accompany Remus on the full moon and had just transformed to show him when the dementors swept by on patrol.
When the dementors had passed, Sirius changed back and started whooping for joy. Harry stood confused for nearly a half hour before Sirius finally calmed down enough to explain.
"The animagus form dulls the effects of a dementor's aura!" Harry joined the man in elation until a solemn fact entered his mind: he wasn't an animagus.
And so the days went by with a new sense of purpose, teaching Harry to become an animagus. The first step was meditation, with all his recent introspection Harry was able to make quick work of the exercises Sirius gave him and soon found himself sifting through his magic core.
A person had multiple possible animal forms, though with differing degrees of connection to each and for different reasons. One had a form for their soul, one for their mind, one for their magic, and then would accumulate them from significant like experiences. Harry for instance could tell he had a form from his encounter with Voldemort. However, though everyone had multiple possible forms, few had ever been capable of more than one form, many of those that had tried, Sirius told him, had gone insane. And so Harry spent days sifting through his core attempting to decide on his form.
Finally the day came when the pair decided Harry was ready to attempt a transformation. It was a day like any other, but both would remember it always. Harry sat in a meditative pose on the ground of his cell and began to push magic into his visualized form, and slowly but surely Harry began to feel the changes, it hurt like fuck!
For minutes Harry writhed on the floor convulsing as he changed shape and proportion, lost and gained limbs, all the while Sirius watched on empathetically. Finally the pain stopped and though sore Harry felt vibrant, like he had unlimited energy, and best of all he was flying!
It took a minute to get used to it but his form seemed natural and Harry swooped around his cell that seemed even smaller than before. But then Harry felt another presence awaken in his mind and Harry suddenly understood why people didn't take more than one form, that was his last thought before he lost coherence.
Sirius had told him that he would have to reach what he called "clarity" before his form would be much use to him, until then the animal mind would continue to take over. What he hadn't said was that the presence of his other form was present even in his human state, and it sang for freedom as if it was its entire reason for being. Harry's stay was some what more and less miserable from then on, less because his animal form gave him some protection from the dementors, more because the beast inside him added its own hatred for their dank confines to his own.
It took awhile, but Harry didn't really have anything else to do, but Harry eventually came to understand his other form and through compromise in both forms was able to achieve "Clarity".
It was nearing what Harry knew must be the end of his stay in Azkaban when the Minister of Magic himself came by on his yearly inspection. He seemed a bit miffed that the pair of them weren't quivering in their cells, especially when Sirius asked for his newspaper, but the man still seemed to find a perverse pleasure in taunting the pair.
As soon as the minister had disappeared around the bend and outside of earshot Sirius showed Harry the paper. On the cover was the Weasleys and in particular a certain rat that Sirius seemed certain was Peter, though Harry still found himself somewhat skeptical.
The next thing Harry knew, Sirius was planning their escape, and as much as Harry knew it was a bad idea he wanted freedom even more and found himself going along with it.
The two took off in the early morning, Harry flew strait through the bars of his cell and out of the prison into the island proper and for the first time saw his refection reflected off the course ocean waves. He was a long sinewy bird, vibrant electric blue and grey in color with two sets of wings and eyes. It was quite the sight and obviously magical, a rarity for animagus forms. Before getting too caught up he swooped back to meet up with Sirius, but could instantly see that something was wrong.
Dementors came swooping in from all sides to corner Sirius and Harry did the only thing he could think of, he swooped in front of them so that Sirius could escape, but even with the protection his animal form gave him the shear amount of dementors overwhelmed him and he fell to the floor, automatically shifting back to his natural form. His last sight before he blacked out to the sounds of his screaming mother was a dementor leaning over him and lifting back his hood…
Harry awoke in a room of pure white and immediately thought he had died, but then he became aware of a steady beeping and sighed, worse than death, a hospital. Suddenly, it seemed, the entire room came into view and a nurse bustled in to help him sit up, obviously alerted to his wakefulness by some kind of charm. As quickly as she had come the witch was gone and all too soon Harry had new visitors, much less welcome ones at that: Albus Dumbledore and Fudge, the minister of magic once again.
The pair was all smiles from the moment they entered the room. Dumbledore seemed to take the initiative and was the first to speak, "Harry, my boy, so glad to see you awake, you gave us quite a scare."
Harry stared back dumbfounded and sickened by the man in front of him, how dare he act like he hadn't just had him locked away for months. Not disturbed in the least by Harry's silence the headmaster went on, "The press is already having a field day: the-boy-who-lived-again, first the killing curse, now the dementor's kiss, what next?" The man gave a small laugh and the minister took the opportunity to get his two cents in.
"Anyway, you've been officially released from Azkaban a week early with the ministry's apology for letting a dementor attack you while under their care." The portly man said before grumbling, "It was bad for business anyways to lock up the-boy-who-lived," with his piece in the minister strode out of the room with the excuse of other business to attend to.
Now alone with Dumbledore, Harry had a foreboding sense that there was bad news to come, he was right.
Dumbledore took a seat on Harry's bedside and smiled down at him, eyes twinkling annoyingly. "I didn't wish for you to learn of this until you were older but it seems that recent events have conspired against us. You see Harry, the reason you were able to survive the dementors kiss wasn't because of some mystical power of yours but because the night you defeated Voldemort he left a piece of his soul behind in you, that's what gave you your famous scar." His statement caused Harry to rub his forehead reflexively, but something was wrong, he looked in the mirror only to find that his most distinguishing feature had vanished without a trace.
Dumbledore watched his actions with a small smile, but Harry could tell he had more to say and so turned back to face him. "Harry, I wish I didn't have to burden you with these things but I have come to understand that I have no other choice." And so began the long and involved conversation involving both the prophesy and horcruxes. Dumbledore left with only an "I'll see you on the first," then he was gone. The whole thing had left the taste of bile in his mouth.
Whatever Dumbledore had hoped that conversation had gained him it hadn't, it had only proven to Harry that he had to get as far away as possible from him, for whatever he was planning, it certainly wasn't in Harry's best interest. He resolved to start looking for means of alternative schooling and, perhaps, a disguise.