I believe that this is actually the first Harry Potter x Midnighters fic that has ever been done. If it is not, forgive my presumptuousness. Now, before this story begins, a few things need to be adressed:
a) I realize that the Chamber of Secrets takes place in 92, or 93 or something, and that The Midnighters takes place in 98. I am very aware of that, believe me. But if you look through any Potter crossovers, you'll see that everyone, aside from a few select fics, ignores the time difference between the two books/movies/whatever. So I, as a fanfiction writer and licensced bullshitter, am ignoring the major time difference as I see fit. And here, I see fit. So I'm ignoring it.
b) for those getting their hopes up before they read, the Original Cast (of the midnighters) is not going to show. Sorry to spoil the fun, I share your pain - I think that it would have been a lot of fun for Dess to meet Tonks, for some reason. Oh, and there's no Polymath here, simply because no Polymath in this story could stand up to Desdemona's distinct brand of Complete and Total Awesome.
c) this is a 3-part series, spanning the Chamber of Secrets and some of the Prisoner of Azkaban. For those who stick with me to the end, prepare for a long but hopefully-satisfying ride.
d) it is NOT mandatory for you to have read The Midnighters series before reading this. Is it recommended? Sure. Is it absolutely necessarry? No. Since this is brand-new characters in a brand-new place from the original, things will have to be thoroughly explained here. Which they will.
Now! Without further ado...
'The Thirteenth Hour' Series
The Hour Unseen
Chapter One – There's Something in the Air
Nov. 7, 11:02 am
They had been acting restless for the last few days; or maybe it was hours, or months – everything blurred together and slowed to a crawl inside the deathly-silent walls of Azkaban, and each second was counted by every drop of water that bled through the cracks of the cells and fell to the stone floor, yet time became meaningless and flew forward as the madness overtook its residents.
He laughed, and he cried, and he did them both at once, because he could feel the madness wrapping around him and he could do nothing to stop it.
Even through the insanity, it became apparent, obvious, that they were different. Eager, or nervous, or some indefinable emotion. They didn't roam the halls like usual, he saw them more and more through the magically-enchanted iron bars of his window, shuffling outside and keeping their heads pointed towards the sky.
Waiting for something?
He could think clearer when he watched them; something to concentrate on, instead of the ceiling or pile of blankets or the rusted, fractured, shite-covered chamberpot. The insanity kept back, just barely, when he was trying to put pieces of a puzzle he knew nothing of together.
If only he could put his cracked mind back together as easily.
He figured he was mad. If he hadn't been before, when he was alive, then he certainly was now. He'd heard of a saying once, about how hearing voices meant you were barmey. He heard them all the time now, people screaming and voices crying and whispers of friends long gone, snarls of utmost hatred and imagined voices of futures that could have been and should have been but never would be because of him.
Sometimes he wished he had gotten Kissed. Other times he wished he had never existed – the only thing he managed to do with his life was ruin the lives of the best people imaginable.
When he remembered who he was, he wished he could escape and prove everyone wrong.
It didn't matter, though, because he couldn't run, or get far enough away. Not now.
But if there was a right time… They coated the island like a black cloud, hiding the ground from view, hiding the few spots and patches of green that were left, that hadn't been beaten down by the rain and waves and that sense of insane evil.
He hadn't heard a scream in the last minute, or hour, or…
The sun went down, and went up; sometimes it took a long time, sometimes it didn't. It didn't matter what it did, though, because they were always out there, framing the blue sky and the stars and the rising fire and the snickering, grinning face of the moon. He could hear it laughing at him when it was highest in the darkness.
He didn't do it, he didn't do it, it wasn't his fault, he-
He couldn't remember when he'd eaten last; his fingers were talons, digging into his ribs as he held himself to push back the chill.
The guards said it was Halloween, a while back. Days, years, millenniums…one Halloween, two, three, ten, meaningless. One of them had brought their kid with them to work, with a black sheet draped over the little bugger. Dressed as a Dementor for Halloween. Great parenting. He expected the kid to be dead before the night ended.
At least, he didn't think so.
He had vomited again, and fallen into fitful sleep on the mold-strewn blankets in the corner that served as a bed.
There was screaming, once, when the sun was high up in the sky, and he could feel his blood turn to ice. The scream cut off before it finished, and he knew that another prisoner was gone. At least one Dementor in Azkaban was still doing its job. The rest, though…
Still loitering around outdoors.
He would wake up, sweating, and hear their collective breaths rattling like a death toll, shaking him deep into his bones even from such a distance. A nightmare outside of dreams.
They were waiting for something. He knew it, when he was lucid enough to remember.
What was it?
What was it, what was it?
He needed to get out. Maybe what they were waiting for would give him that chance. They were waiting.
He could wait a little longer.
It was a sad fact that Harry Potter was very much used to several different types of pain by the time his second year at Hogwarts came around. Name it, he'd probably experienced it – broken bones, burns, bruises, a concussion or two, not to mention all the new opportunities for injuries that magic brought into his life – whether through accident or not.
At the moment, he was nursing several very large and very ugly bruises and exactly one broken arm, shattered at the elbow. He wasn't entirely sure if he had any physical elbow left or just fragments of bone where such a thing used to be. Courtesy of a friendly neighborhood bludger from hell. Couldn't it go after someone else now that it'd beat the shite out of him?
He yelped and ducked as the aforementioned Rouge Bludger attempted to take his head clean off his shoulders; he felt his hair ripple as it whipped past.
Guess it couldn't. Fantastic.
He growled and clenched his working fist tight around the broom handle in frustration. Where the hell had that Snitch gone?
He had been so close just a second ago – the Snitch had been right above Malfoy's thankfully-oblivious cranium, not even ten meters away from Harry's own itching hands. Unfortunately, his half-moment spent staring in shock at the little golden ball's audacity allowed the Bludger to take out one of his arms; it took the opportunity to vanish once more. And, what with the Bludger still bent on murdering smallish, black-haired, green-eyed boys, he really felt that he needed to end the game before it took out his other arm and rendered him completely useless. Or dead.
Good thing, though: Draco was now absolutely terrified, and seemed extremely reluctant to even approach him, lest he be next on its list.
"Watch out-" a crack sounded from just behind him and he looked over his shoulder, ready to dive off his broom if necessary, to see George Weasley hefting his Beater's Bat and glaring at the metal projectile as it sped away.
"Bloody hell, that thing's really got it out for you!" the redhead shouted.
"We've already covered that!" Harry yelled back at him, clenching his teeth immediately after in order to shove down a miasma of pain that radiated from what used to be his arm. In a more strangled voice, he added, "And you're supposed to be at the goalposts!"
"You've only got one arm, you stupid twat!"
The anger and indignation that flooded his system stymied the radiating agony for just a few moments. "I told you to bugger off – Wood told you to bugger off, so get back there and play the game! I don't need a bloody bodyguard!"
"Fred's got the goal covered, Harry!" George retorted, smoothly winding his way up to the team Seeker. He kept a fierce mud-brown eye trained upon the homicidal pig-iron sphere, watching as it curved around two Slytherin Chasers and one Gryffindor in its effort to get back to its target. When he was level with Harry, the both of them speeding at a good clip around the pitch, he said in a normal tone of voice, "Besides, they're still below one hundred points; we both know they won't be able to double it before your sorry arse catches the Snitch, so it doesn't matter in the end. I'd rather protect the thing that'll let us win – that's you, by the way, Potter – instead of something that, in the end, doesn't matter a shite-worth." He broke off as the tell-tale whistling of the incoming Bludger rang in their ears, and he twisted his broom sharply and, loaded with centrifugal force, slammed the last bit of his bat into the center of the ball. It went sailing off with a crack like lighting, smashing into the supports of one of the stands and causing a number of Hufflepuffs to shriek in terror.
Dumbledore repaired the damage with a flick of his wand from all the way on the other end of the pitch. Unfortunately, this did nothing to deal with the Bludger issue, much to Harry's displeasure, and the object in question rocketed around the Slytherin stands (there were a few squeals of similar terror from the green-and-silver as it went, though the fact would later be vehemently denied by both House and Head of House) to get back to its target.
"See anything yet?" George asked, shaking his arm and trying to rid his muscles of the slowly-increasing ache that came from hitting a solid metal ball with enough opposing force to send it flying the other way. The action made Harry become all-too aware of the state of his own arm once again, and he suddenly felt so very tired. Everything lost focus, and the idle thought of why someone had not called a time out yet drifted across his mind. His eyes dropped to his arm and he let out a pathetic croak; arms were not supposed to bend that way. Nor was it proper for that much bone to be sticking out, or blood to be flowing out.
He swerved dangerously and almost crashed into his redheaded companion as the pain hit him; his eyes blurred something terrible; he felt like throwing up.
"What the – Merlin, Potter, why the hell didn't you say it was that bad?"
His skin prickled, and his eyes caught a sudden glint of gold.
He shoved himself away from George, his arm crying in agony, everything in sight a whirlwind of color except for that one bright, shining point of gold. He dove.
Something was coming.
The screaming had stopped, the moans of memories and wails of tortured dreams had all but ceased.
Something was coming.
He didn't know what it was. But he was ready.
His dark eyes tracked each drop of disease-ridden water that fell from the cracked ceiling to the floor, watched each one fall and explode apart; something to focus on, to give him some sense of time, of place and calm and sanity. Something to keep him tied to the world as it shattered around him, something to make sure that he didn't break apart with it.
They had stopped moving - the Dementors. The guardians. The purveyors of madness.
He was in one of the top cells, and he could look out the window and look down and see them; they were the shadow that was cast over an already-shadowed land.
He'd been ready for the last ten years. Ever since he first stepped into the hell that was Azkaban, he'd been trying to escape. He wasn't the only one. A part of him knew that he wasn't the only one waiting and watching, ready for what was coming. But they didn't matter, because they weren't him.
He took his eyes off of the Dementors and turned them towards the sky. He felt that he should.
Clouds loomed overhead, blocking the sun, and everything in view was grey.
The world shuddered, and shifted.
And everything was blue.
His entire world was blurred, shapes and forms that he couldn't bother making out, couldn't be bothered to make out. His eyes were trained solely on that hovering glint of gold and he was so close to it that he could feel the beating of its wings brushing just along his fingers. The Snitch danced just out of reach, teasing him with its presence, mocking him and his agony and his pain.
He was vaguely aware of sounds around him: Malfoy yelling, George yelling, another thwack of Beater bat versus Bludger, yelling, yelling, yelling.
It hit just as he felt the cool metal of the Golden Snitch touch lightly against his fingertips; it hit like a tidal wave, pure energy, slamming into the barriers and the wards surrounding the school grounds, around the castle and the Forbidden Forest and the Quidditch Pitch, and rushing through them as easily as water through a sieve. The air rippled and tore in front of it, space itself temporarily displaced by the raw power of the force.
His hair stood on end.
It was blue. It was blue, and it was unstoppable, and it fell across the grounds like the fist of an angry god, searing and burning the air with a crack like thunder and an unforgettable and unmistakable smell of lightning.
It was over almost as soon as it had begun.
He saw it come. He felt it hit.
His broom was gone – yanked out from underneath him, it could have been thrown into the Whomping Willow for all he knew – and he was falling. At some point he had thrown up; hot bile still burned in his throat.
He couldn't see much; he couldn't tell if he still had his glasses on his face or not. But he could make out the Snitch clutched in his palm, shaking fingers curled possessively around the golden sphere. Its wings still beat wildly, spasming violently for freedom. Wind whipped around him, sending his robes flying around him. Blood streamed in rivulets of blood past his knuckles from both arms, one of them still useless.
He couldn't feel the pain anymore.
His old, battered wind-up watch was still faithfully strapped to his good wrist, spiderweb cracks reaching across the already-scratched glass/plastic surface; the clock hands that lay obscured just underneath the broken face still faithfully showed the time at which its life ceased, the time that the magical world was hit by an energy force so like, but so unlike, lightning; it showed the time that its internal workings were all completely fried and fused together, when everything in Harry Potter's life would change. When the lives of hundreds would change forever.
His vision blurred and slowly darkened as he fell faster, the sun dimming and the sky blurring and graying over. He couldn't focus his thoughts anymore, and he hazily noticed thousands of birds fleeing the Forbidden Forest, taking to the skies. Going up as he went down.
He heard someone yell his name –George, Wood, Dean, Malfoy, he didn't know, their voices all had blended together in a cacophony of noise that had no purpose and even less meaning.
There was a rush of air in his ears, and a dull whump that rattled through his skull as something collided with the back of his head. His head flared with pain, and his body couldn't take it all any longer; everything went dark, the only bright spots being the sun's reflection off of the Snitch in his hand and the watch on his wrist.
Just before he passed out, before it all went black and he was released from the pain, one more thing pierced his haze, as clear as if it had been right next to him: someone, a girl, was screaming. A high, terrible, keening cry of a thing possessed, of untold horrors and torture, and it broke through Harry's mind and tore at his heart. It was the most horrible thing he'd ever heard, and for almost a full minute, that scream was all that existed.
And when he finally lost consciousness, when everything became nothing, she was still screaming.
Note: ideas for new powers would be very welcome. No X-men mutant-y powers, though - they have to be at least mostly kept within the bounds of regular human possibility.