Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Harry Potter...
Note 1: Firstly, I honestly have no idea why I've started another fic what with four others I still haven't finished and have no intention of stopping, except that this idea just wouldn't leave me alone. This will be my first Harry Potter fic, so please have some patience with it.
Note 2: Secondly, I've read other Harry-goes-to-Azkaban fics but in all of them, he always, one way or the other, manages to get some sort of awesome power, and then, when the people who put him there finally gets their heads out of their asses and releases him, he comes out and kicks Voldie's ass. I've got nothing against those fics and I really like some of them (one in particular – Redemption by krtshadow – you might want to check it out), but I thought I'd try my hand on one that has a Harry who is actually affected by Azkaban.
Full Summary: Since turning fifteen, Harry has spent seven years in Azkaban. Now that his innocence has finally been proven and he is released, what will it take to get the former Harry back? Will they ever be able to? And what happens with Voldemort now? AU starting the summer before fifth year though a few events before that will be different.
Chapter 1 – The Truth Revealed
It takes years to build up trust; it takes only suspicion, not proof, to destroy it.
-July 31st, 2002-
"It's about time, I say," Moody growled as he stomped towards one of the holding cells. "All the Death Eaters we've captured so far are just the lackeys. I'm retiring if we don't get something out of this one."
Keeping pace beside him, Tonks rolled her eyes as she pushed back her hair. She had chosen to go with electric blue today. "Mad-Eye, you've been threatening that for years. Everyone knows you don't mean it." They swept down a flight of stairs and it was only Moody's fast hand hauling her upright that stopped her from face-planting at the bottom of the steps.
"Watch where you're going!" Her old mentor snapped for the umpteenth time since they had met. "It's nothing short of a miracle that you've lasted this long."
Tonks huffed but took no insult. Mad-Eye had been scolding her for her clumsiness for years. It didn't change the fact that she was still a fantastic Auror through and through.
Glancing behind her at the other two wizards following them, she asked, "Albus, you didn't tell us who was captured."
The Hogwarts Headmaster had simply fire-called them at three in the morning, informing them of a high-ranking Death Eater being captured in a skirmish near Hogsmeade.
Albus inclined his head as they moved down a dimly-lit corridor. "We were lucky enough to apprehend a Death Eater publicly-known to be part of Voldemort's inner circle; Antonin Dolohov."
Moody's head snapped around even as his magical eye stilled in its socket. "Someone stunned Dolohov? Who?"
Albus shook his head. "Pure luck. A stray stunner hit him before he could Disapparate."
Moody grunted, speeding up. "Doesn't matter; at least we have him now."
The four wizards finally came to a stop in front of a cell and Kingsley moved forward to unlock it. They filed in, eyes immediately drawn to the disheveled man bound tightly to a metal chair. Dark eyes flickered upwards to take them in, a sneer already marring his features, before turning to stare forward again.
"Anyone with Veritaserum?" Kingsley asked, locking the cell door with quick efficiency.
Moody stepped forward, drawing out a small vial of colourless liquid. Without mercy, he jerked the Death Eater's head back and quickly applied three drops.
"What's your name?" Moody started after a moment to let the truth serum kick in.
Dolohov struggled for only a second before his eyes glazed over slightly and he answered, "Antonin Dolohov."
Moody glanced at Albus before stepping back to let the older wizard take over. Albus moved forward, blue eyes cold now as he questioned, "What does Voldemort know regarding spies in his ranks?"
"He does not know of any spies," Dolohov intoned. "Though he still suspects Blaise Zabini."
Albus frowned as Tonks and Kingsley exchanged a glance behind him. "What do you or the other Death Eaters know regarding spies in the ranks?"
"We suspect the Dark Lord's left hand of course," The sneer came back full force. "Our Lord will realize Snape's treason one day."
"So long as Voldemort doesn't suspect him," Tonks murmured quietly. "He'll be alright."
Albus shared a relieved look with Moody before turning back to the prisoner. Their spies were still relatively safe. His mind turned to other questions, the problem that had been nudging insistently against his mind for a while now coming to the forefront. He thought of the date as he continued gravely, "Does Voldemort have enough strength to break into Azkaban?"
"Yes," Dolohov replied distantly.
Albus frowned as he thought of one particular prisoner who would no doubt be a great asset to Voldemort. "Why has he not done so yet?"
"There is no one there he wants to break out."
Albus' frown deepened. "What of his Death Eaters?"
Dolohov actually managed a scoff. "What of them? The people you've captured don't rank higher than trash to the Dark Lord."
Moody shifted impatiently beside the Headmaster. "What of Potter?"
Tonks and Kingsley exchanged another glance. Neither of them actually knew Harry Potter; they just knew not to bring the former Saviour up with anyone.
In front of them, Dolohov had stilled before a hacking laugh slowly filled the cell, ringing off the walls. "What of him?" He finally asked, dark amusement glinting in his eyes.
All of Mad-Eye's instincts were screaming at him that things were about to take a very sharp turn. His magical eye whizzed dizzily in its socket before pinning the Death Eater in place.
Yet it was Albus who finally spoke, voice quiet and loud at the same time. "Why has Voldemort not broken Harry Potter out yet?"
A smirk pulled back Dolohov's lips. "Why should he? Our Lord has Potter exactly where he wants him."
All four Light wizards were very still. Tonks could attest to the fact that she had stopped breathing as her entire being rebelled against the dawning suspicion sparking at the back of her mind. Beside her, Kingsley's face had turned stony in its countenance, arms crossed in front of him as he stared down at Dolohov.
Albus tried to ignore the dread wrapping sly fingers around his heart as he forced out another question. "Why would Voldemort want Harry in Azkaban?"
Another half-mad laugh as Dolohov didn't even bother holding back anymore. "You're all fools! Fools, every one of you! Our clever Lord put him there, of course! Why bother killing the Potter boy when his own people can condemn him to hell! Why waste time on him when you're perfectly capable of keeping him locked away-"
The Death Eater was cut off from his rant as Mad-Eye shut him up with a sharp backhand. Both of his eyes were focused on Albus, who suddenly looked his age, shoulders tensed in the way someone's did when bracing himself for bad news.
"What happened," Albus asked, half-afraid of the answer. "to Harry Potter on July 31st, 1995?"
And, to their growing horror, Dolohov, an ugly grin on his face even as blood dripped down his chin from his split lip, laid out the truth in front of them.
"The Dark Lord brought myself, Yaxley, and Selwynn to Potter's household. Easier than killing an infant when we took down those muggles you placed him with. It was a simple matter for Yaxley to knock out Potter before taking him out of the house. Selwynn planted the books on fiendfyre and dark curses in his room and our Lord used Potter's wand to torture Potter's relatives before setting the entire neighborhood ablaze. The rest," The grin grew as laughter-crazed eyes took in their silent horror. "Well, you so generously finished for us."
The Veritaserum finally wore off but Dolohov didn't stop laughing until Moody pulled out his wand and stunned him, lips tight with fury. His magical eye had never wavered from Albus.
In the horrified silence that followed, it was Tonks who summed it up best.
Barely half an hour later, Albus had assembled everyone in Grimmauld Place to an emergency meeting, from Aurors to spies to Hogwarts teachers. Every single Order member was there, and the kitchen had to be magically enlarged to fit everyone in.
Murmured conversations were taking place all over the room. There hadn't been such a large meeting since after Harry Potter's impromptu incarceration, and everyone was dreading it.
Sirius was the last in the household to stagger in, still on the haggard side as he slumped down in a chair beside Remus. "What's going on?" The ex-convict yawned, scrubbing a hand over his eyes.
Remus frowned worriedly at his best friend. Sirius had been working himself to the bone ever since Harry had been revealed as a servant of Voldemort. Like always, anger bubbled in his stomach at the thought of his dead friend's son. He still couldn't understand how Harry could betray them like he had.
"I'm not sure," He said instead. "Albus just called a group meeting. He didn't say about what."
Remus glanced around. Tonks was still missing, as was Kingsley and Mad-Eye, and he prayed that nothing had happened to them.
The fire roared in the sitting room and Albus strode in seconds later, not really looking at any of them as he took his place near the front of the room. Many immediately noted the severe lines on his face and assumed the worse. Three of their members were not here; they had to be captured or dead.
Albus scanned the room, for once, not quite sure how to proceed. He cleared his throat but the occupants were already quiet, all eyes staring back at him.
"I'm afraid," He forced past the tightness in his throat. "I have bad news."
"Have they been captured?" Emmeline called from the left of the room, arms crossed tightly across her chest as she tried to keep the emotion from her voice.
Albus was taken aback for a confused moment. His mind hadn't been able to process anything but Dolohov's words since the truth had been revealed. He glanced around the kitchen, picking up the tension and fear on many faces as his mind finally caught on to what they were all so worried about.
"No, no," He denied hastily. "Alastor, Kingsley, and Tonks are at the Ministry. They're clearing up a... certain matter."
Relief spread across the room as some even slumped in their seats. Near the back, Severus studied the Headmaster. He was one of the few who knew Dolohov had been captured earlier. Albus had discovered something. Severus wasn't sure whether to interpret the pensive expression on the older wizard's face as good or bad.
Albus held up a hand for silence, and everyone quieted down again. "Earlier," He began again. "We captured a member of Voldemort's inner circle; one Antonin Dolohov."
He paused as a ragged cheer was momentarily raised, before continuing, "Alastor administered Veritaserum and I proceeded to interrogate Dolohov. As was expected, Blaise is still somewhat suspected," Nervous energy spiked at this even as Blaise retained a neutral expression. "And some of the Death Eaters still have suspicions about Severus."
Again, an agitated murmur rippled through the kitchen. Severus just sneered. That was hardly new information.
"We also discovered something else," Albus paused, carefully keeping his eyes on Sirius. Meeting this man's gaze as he delivered the damning news was the very least he could do. "It is about Harry."
The room was plunged into silence, cold and stony as many of them took on hard eyes and grim features.
Closing his eyes briefly, Albus quickly, quietly, but so very, very loudly in the deadened silence of the packed kitchen, explained what really happened on the fifteenth birthday of Harry Potter. How Voldemort had not told anyone, not even Severus or Bellatrix or Lucius, of his plan save the three that he had known to be most discreet for fear of word leaking back to the Order. How Harry's and Voldemort's wands were brother wands, which was why Voldemort had had little trouble using Harry's wand in the teen's stead. And how the blood wards didn't work after all because it took love, even just a tiny glimmer of it, between Number Four Privet Drive's occupants, and there hadn't even been that much between them. It took everything he had not to flinch at the frigid, blank, grey stare of Sirius Black.
He paused as the revelation came to an end before expanding, "Alastor, Kingsley, and Tonks are getting Harry cleared right now. They should be back with good news quite soon."
With nothing else to say, Albus had no choice but to let his voice die away into the stilted, horrified air.
Surprisingly enough, it was not Sirius who spoke first. The Marauder was frozen in his seat, no movement save the trembling, white-knuckled grip he had on the edge of the table. His entire face had drained of color and he honestly looked worse than he had after escaping Azkaban.
Instead, a hysterical half-shout, half-scream wrenched the air and Ronald Weasley hurtled forward, wand already out, eyes wild and expression twisted as he lunged for the Headmaster.
"YOU SAID!" Ron roared, wand raised only for Bill and Charlie to wrestle it down again and hold him down, their own faces pale. Ron was beyond reason as he struggled with all he had against his brothers' grip. "YOU SAID THERE WAS EVIDENCE! YOU SAID EVERYTHING POINTED TO HARRY BEING A MURDERER! YOU SAID-!"
His voice cracked, but instead of falling silent, he rounded on Sirius instead. "And you!" He snarled, tears finally spilling down his cheeks. "You're his godfather! You were thrown into Azkaban without a trial too! And then YOU GO AND DO THE EXACT SAME THING, YOU BLOODY HYPOCRITE!"
Sirius recoiled from the words but showed no other signs of life as his suddenly empty gaze dropped to the wooden table. Beside him, Remus had pushed away from the table and had dropped his head into his hands, fingers entangled tightly in his hair.
As if all the words had taken the energy out of him, Ron suddenly sagged between his brothers, and they carefully manoeuvred him into his chair again where he proceeded to slump against the back of it, wand clattering to the ground from lifeless fingers.
The grim silence that fell again was broken by the continuous whoosh of flames. A moment later, Mad-Eye, Tonks, and Kingsley trooped in. Mad-Eye barely gave the room a cursory look before barking at Albus, "He's cleared. I'm going to get the boy. If anyone else wants to come, be ready in five minutes."
Without further ado, the former Auror stalked out of the room again, his footsteps heavy as he returned to the kitchen.
Kingsley only heaved a sigh and pulled up a chair, waiting for someone to take up Mad-Eye's offer.
Tonks' hair was jet black and hung to her shoulders as she made her way over to Remus and nudged his shoulder. The werewolf didn't budge so, with an impatient twist of her mouth, she shoved him clean out of his seat and onto the ground. A heartbeat's consideration later, she hauled Sirius out of his seat as well, dumping him on the ground without pity.
"Well?" She barked fiercely down at the two men, hands on her hips as her eyes flashed black as well. "What are you waiting for? The sooner Harry's out of Azkaban, the better. You've got a lot of making up to do, so hurry up and go get him! NOW!"
As her voice rose to a shout, the two Marauders seemed to snap out of whatever stupor they had been in and simultaneously lunged for the door. Still white-faced, Sirius had started up a mantra of 'HarryHarryHarry' as he stumbled towards the living room. Remus rushed out behind him, almost tripping over his feet in his haste.
"Wait, we're going too," Ron heaved himself out of his seat, picking up his wand and scrubbing a sleeve over his eyes. Beside him, Hermione was also crying, almost bordering on hyperventilating, but she staggered to her feet as well and made for the kitchen door.
"No, you should stay here," Albus said without thought, and then the entire room descended into chaos.
"Don't tell them what to do!" George bellowed as he scrambled for the door as well, Fred beside him, red-faced with fury. "Don't tell us what to do! We're going and you can take your orders and shove them up-"
The rest of the insult was lost in the cacophony that finally broke among the Order members. It took several bangs from Molly's wand before everyone quieted down again.
"Now," Molly's face was blotchy with tears and her voice was shaky with emotion but her gaze was steady as she looked around the room. "Alastor, Sirius, and Remus are more than enough to retrieve H-Harry. The rest of us will wait here, yes, wait here, Ronald." She spoke sharply as her youngest son made to interrupt. "Harry will need warm food and clean clothes a-and a soft bed when he gets here. And this place is still so cluttered even after all this time. We will stay here and get the house ready for Harry's a-arrival. Anyone who d-doesn't want to help can leave. I doubt Harry wants to be surrounded on all sides so soon after A-Azkaban. Understand?"
There was a long pause as everyone glanced at each other. And then a low mutter of assent answered her as they all moved, movements still sluggish with shock and dismay, to follow her orders. Those who had been closest to Harry, who had been his friends and had betrayed him so terribly, seemed prone to standing around and looking lost until Molly or someone else directed them to their assigned jobs.
Forgotten or ignored at the front of the room, Albus heaved a sigh and wondered how he could have gone so wrong. He heard the telltale roar of flames and held himself back from his desire to follow them. He didn't have the right anymore, and he doubted any of the three would hold back from attacking him if he tried to follow.
First chapter done! What do you think? Does it seem interesting enough to warrant more chapters?