Harry Potter and the Dementors of Azkaban
Chapter 1 - My Life is a Soapbox
Harry sat on the boat numbly. The wind and rain stung his face as it whipped around him. He glanced over at the land they'd set off from, and then at his destination. Azkaban. He was on his way to Azkaban. Just a few days earlier that week, he had been brutally assaulted and arrested by numerous aurors in his own room at Privet Drive. They then convicted him of homicide, calling him every name you could think of. He had been accused of the murder of twelve muggles in exactly the same alley Sirius had supposedly killed twelve muggles years ago. Sirius had actually been found innocent just last year when Peter had been caught at one of the British Dunkin' Donuts.
Harry, too, was innocent, of course, but who believed him? He was just the Freaking-Boy-Who-Lived! When had he ever risked his life to save the wizarding world? No, he was just going to pack up and join the psycho maniac who trying to MURDER him! Because that was the smart thing to do. Everyone, from Dumbledore to Ron, Hermione, even Sirius, had come to believe he was guilty.
Harry spit out a piece of his hair as it hit him in the face. He looked over at the two aurors next to him. Kingsley just looked stoic, keeping his features carefully neutral; but Macnair looked like Christmas had come early. Harry snorted.
You know what the strangest thing about all of this was? Harry couldn't bring himself to feel anything. Not a thing. When he thought of all the people he's trusted, all the people he'd cared for, all the people who'd betrayed him, he just felt nothing. He could care less. He was completely and wholly apathetic. Was that a bad thing? Had he simply felt so much pain in his sixteen years of life that he couldn't feel anything anymore?
Harry sighed and tried to wrap his arms around himself to quell his shivering. He looked over at the prison, which they were rapidly approaching. They were nearly there. It was a good thing, he supposed, that he couldn't feel anything at the moment, what with the dementors and all. He could already feel a chill creep up his spine that had nothing to do with the cold. Could he keep up this feeling of apathy for his lifelong imprisonment at Azkaban? Could he learn to feel nothing while hearing his parents dying screams daily? If he could, what would that make him? Would he even be human anymore?
Harry felt the boat stop with a lurch as they arrived at Azkaban, the most depressing place on earth. He looked up at the menacing walls and the barren island and heaved a sigh. Maybe if he was lucky, the dementors wouldn't affect him that badly. But Harry was never lucky, now was he? Macnair grabbed Harry roughly and threw him to the ground. As soon as his skin touched the dirt, Harry could feel the chill of the dementors fill his entire body. Soon, he knew, the visions would come.
He was roughly brought to his feet and forced to walk into the huge grey building. Disorientated, Harry barely noticed as they passed through the doors and into a huge, dirty foyer. Plodding along obediently and trying his best not to collapse as one of the thousands of dementors came near, Harry passed dozens of cells. They each contained a person, of varying sizes, height, colors, but one thing was the same about each of them. That one thing was the look in their eyes, so dark and empty that Harry felt he was looking into their souls. That look was pure hopelessness and despair, and Harry knew that after a long enough time in here, he would adopt that look himself.
Harry tore his gaze from the miserable wretches behind bars and focused it, instead, on his feet. After some time (Azkaban = huge), the three came to a small cell at the end of the hallway. The cell was disgustingly filled with filth and covered in grime. And the smell was horrible! Suffice to say, Harry nearly tossed his cookies just standing in the door. But, of course, Harry mused, Voldemort would want his enemy to have the worst cell in all of Azkaban. None of the other cells they had passed were this bad. That sounded like something Voldemort would do.
Macnair shoved Harry in, and he fell unceremoniously onto the floor. Harry didn't bother getting up off the floor, and Macnair sneered, pointing to the barred window in the cell. "Look, Master Potter, a window! Only the best for the Boy-Who-Lived, Savior of the Wizarding World!" With one last well-aimed kick to Harry's ribs, Macnair turned to leave. "Come on, Kingsley, let's go."
Kingsley hesitated, disgust on his face, but whether it was at Harry, his cell, or Macnair, he did not know. Looking into his eyes, Harry thought he may have seen a flash of pity; but it was gone as quick as it had come, only to be replaced by a hard gleam. With a slam, Kingsley locked Harry in; and Macnair and he left.
As soon as they were out of sight, the dementors began to cluster around Harry's door. And Harry knew that he wouldn't last more than a few more minutes before he passed out. Harry fought the despair growing in his gut until he began to feel himself slipping into unconsciousness. As the voices of his past grew louder, and darkness filled his vision, Harry groaned. They couldn't just torture him with past memories. They just had to make him relive his most recent and painful memories. And with a whimper of pain, Harry slipped into the past.
Harry stood before a full court and glanced around. In the audience area, he saw so many familiar faces: Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, Tonks, Hagrid, Remus, Sirius, all of their faces twisted in anger or covered in tears. Harry saw friends from school, his teachers, Dumbledore… How could they possibly think he had killed those muggles? He was only Sixteen! They knew him, knew he would never do that. Or…at least, he had thought they had known him. Searching the crowd of jeering mocker frantically, Harry realized something. Where were Ron and Hermione? Had they not come?
Harry stopped searching as Fudge walked up to the podium and began to speak. "Ladies and gentlemen, we are here today to face the trial of a one Harry James Potter." Fudge glanced around, as if expecting some sort of applause; and Harry snorted. Yeah, he was facing a life sentence at Azkaban; but watching Fudge acting like a lost puppy trying to please the public was darn funny.
With a murderous glare at Harry, Fudge continued. "Mr. Potter is accused of the murder of twelve muggles in plain view of the non-magical public. How does the alleged plead?"
Harry cleared his throat. "Not guilty, of course, you bumbling idiot." Harry would have continued, but a sharp slap from the auror next to him told him that he would have to wait to unleash his fury at Fudge until later time. But, still, the small insult made Harry feel better. Fudge had currently turned a shad of puce that strangely reminded Harry of Uncle Vernon. He wondered distantly if the two were related. Yeah, he was being awfully sardonic; but it was either that or breaking down into a sobbing mess. Harry preferred to go down head cocked and guns blasting. Though, truthfully, he would rather to not go down at all.
"Very well," Fudge said, "Then we shall present the evidence against Mr. Potter. Our first two witnesses are a Mr. Ronald Weasley and a Miss Hermione Granger." A resolute Ron and tearful Hermione stepped up to the box.
Harry blanched. There was an odd roaring in his ears, and he saw red for a second. He had known they had believed him guilty, but still! Harry forgot to breathe for a moment as Hermione opened her mouth to send Harry to his doom.
Harry moaned and rolled over on the floor. He desperately wanted to scream, rant, smash his fist on the wall, something. But he knew Macnair and Kingsleyweren't gone yet, and he refused to give Macnair the pleasure of hearing him break down. Harry's breath came in slow, rocking heaves as he felt the past overtake him again.
"Guilty," Fudge declared with a slam of his gavel. 'Who gave him a gavel anyways?' Harry thought. 'Only muggles used those, and, quite frankly, I don't trust him with one of those. Hmm…Nice headline. Minister Fudge drops gavel on Minister from France's foot inciting world war!'
This time a roar of approval went through the crowd. "We sentence Harry James Potter to a lifetime sentence in Azkaban!" Harry felt sick. His heart ached and he thought he might throw up. If he did, he decided to aim for Fudge's buffed and polished shoes. However, he never got the chance, as two unnamed aurors grabbed him by his shackled arm and dragged him and his heavy chains to the door.
As they pulled him along, they stopped in front of the only family Harry had ever known. Had known, to be more specific. They had betrayed him and were no longer his family. At the sight of them, Harry felt his insides turn cold; and the feeling of apathy settled in. Mrs. Weasley was sobbing unrestrainedly into Mr. Weasley's arms. Mr. Weasley himself was shaking in anger. The twins, Charlie, and Bill were sending Harry looks that could kill. The rest of the order was also glaring at Harry. Ginny was looking at Harry with something akin to dumbfound shock, as if she could not believe Harry had done this.
'That's because I didn't!' Harry wanted to scream at her. Hermione looked exhausted, as if being up there to testify against him had drained her. Ron held his arms around her protectively and eyed Harry like he was going to charge any moment. His look was filled with anger, sadness, betrayal, and hurt. Harry's anger momentarily flared up, 'what right did he have to feel betrayed or hurt!', but the anger died away almost instantly. Harry almost gave a laugh. Ron and Hermione had finally gotten together, and all it had taken was Harry supposedly becoming a murderer.
Dumbledore looked like Harry had kicked his puppy, his puppy Baskerville. (Cute little thing, that Baskerville; Harry had met her once.) The twinkle had left his eyes, and his gaze was filled with disappointment. Harry felt the insane urge to give a cheer; he had defeated the twinkle! Moving on, Harry looked at Remus. He was a mess, and Harry realized the full moon was only a few days away. Moony looked completely and totally crushed. His best friend's son had (seemingly) joined his murderer. Harry could almost pity him.
Harry turned his gaze on Sirius, whom he could not pity. The man glared at Harry, his face filled with anger, hate, sadness, fear, so many conflicting emotions. He probably wanted nothing more than to punch Harry right then. Heck, they all probably wanted to punch him. Harry could care less at that point. Through gritted teeth, Sirius managed to spit out "You're not my godson." Harry couldn't have agreed more.
The only people looking at Harry without hate, anger, or sadness were Malfoy and Snape. Harry had no idea why Malfoy was there, but the Syltherin boy looked at Harry with sympathy. Harry looked at the two men without resentment. They had never liked Harry, but, at the same time, they had never betrayed him. In fact, looking at their faces, he knew they believed him to be innocent. Snape, for one, looked flabbergasted that the light could ever believe their "Golden Boy" had done this.
Seeing his two most hated enemies (besides Voldemort), especially Snape, who really hated him, look at him with such pity and understanding was the last straw for Harry. He just snapped, beginning to laugh hysterically at the irony of it all. At the shocked, ashen looks on everyone's faces, Harry realized Sirius had done exactly the same thing years ago and laughed all the more.
Harry turned his back on the shocked light followers and allowed the aurors to drag him out the doors. As he passed Rita Skeeter, he thought 'to heck with it' and growled menacingly in her general direction. Harry laughed some more; at least someone would get something out of this.
As he passed through those ministry doors, Harry left behind the last of the innocent trusting boy he had been.
Hot tears stung Harry's eyes, and all the feelings came back. The anger, the sadness, the fear, the hurt, the hate. So much for locking up his feelings. With a whimper, Harry curled up in a ball and let the tears roll free, rocking back and forth with racking sobs.