Author's Note: EEEP! I've betrayed my wonderful Gerald Tarrant and strayed from the realms of Erna into territories uncharted! Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating... but still. In case no one caught that reference, I'm an experienced slasher, but I've only written for the fandom of the Coldfire Trilogy. I decided to brave the wilds, though, so I spread my leathery wings and took flight in the land of Harry Potter. Of course, many many many thanks are due to Hell's Ice Heaven's Fire, who allowed me to adopt this adorable little plot bunny. Let's just hope I don't mess it up too bad! (Ah, my idea of adorable may vary from the norm... I'm with Hagrid, I thought Norbert was the cutest ever... but then again, Norbert's my little cousin twice removed, so of course I think he's cute! Mwa ha ha!)
Warnings: Slash (as in homosexual sex, for anyone who's that clueless), Light-bashing, sympathetic!Voldemort, increasingly insane!Harry, some swearing. I seem to be developing a bit of a foul mouth.
Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, I would be fantastically rich, and Ginny Weasley's role of 'romantic interest' would have been filled instead by either Draco Malfoy or Tom Riddle... I never could decide which pairing I like better. Tomarry, I think. Ah, who cares? They're both good.
A.N.2: Damn, I really feel like I'm having an affair... Gerald, can you ever forgive me? (Anyone who knows CF will probably see the irony there, considering what he did to his wife...) If anyone's going to hold this against me, though, it's probably Damien. He's just so stubborn, and he doesn't like me as much as Gerald.
A.N.3: I'll say this once. I have clearly stated that this is slash, explicit slash, and have designated it as 'M' rated. There is a reason that my username is blackdragonsghost. Anyone who flames me is going to be in for a nasty surprise. I flame back. One perk of being a fire-breathing reptile. Heh heh.
A.N.4: Fic title is from the song Sleepwalker by Nightwish. I thought it fit Harry and Voldemort quite nicely.
A gentle ringing permeated the soft blackness, an almost pleasant sound. Like the soft tinkling of tiny silver bells on a sleigh, or the gentle chimes of some delicate little clock. It grew slightly louder, then faded away again, then increased once more: a steady cycle, endlessly repeating.
Harry opened his eyes, but immediately shut them again when the blinding light stabbed into his brain like a knife. Groaning faintly, he slitted his eyes open again, ever so slightly, struggling to piece together his surroundings. Where was he, and why was he in so much pain? Had he come of worse in another confrontation with Voldemort? Been trampled by a rabid Hippogriff? Been mauled by a Blast-Ended Skrewt?
A window, blocked by welded bars. A sparse room, minimal furnishings in considerable disrepair. A battered trunk, a deserted owl cage, a stack of worn and dog-eared textbooks.
Oh, shit. In truth, Harry would have preferred to find himself in one of Voldemort's sinister lairs. It would have been better than this: at least the Dark Lord would probably kill him quickly. In this place, though, he was condemned to years and years of agonizing torture, ignored by everyone who professed to care for him.
He was trapped in the house of Vernon and Petunia Dursley, sentenced to two months of sheer Hell by the very friends and teachers who claimed to want to protect him.
With a groan, he rolled over and sat up on the edge of the bed, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. As his fingers strayed to his temple, he felt the roughness of crusted blood: he brushed away a few flakes of brownish red, wincing. When had that happened?
Oh, yes, that's right. That had happened when Uncle Vernon had an especially bad day at work yesterday, and upon arriving home decided to relax by taking out his aggressions on his defenseless nephew. Dudley, bored because he had thrown his TV through the window again, had joined in. Harry gingerly pulled his shirt up and winced: his entire side was mottled with green, blue, and livid purple. None of his ribs were actually broken this time, although they did feel a little bent. He didn't remember it being that bad before... but then, his memory seemed a little hazy these days.
He sank back against his pathetically flat pillow with a sigh. A few years ago, he might have entertained the hopeful wish that the Order of the Phoenix would come and rescue him. That didn't seem so likely now, though. After Sirius's death, the Order had grown colder and colder: even Remus was pulling away, not even answering his letters anymore. Only Ron and Hermione still wrote to him, and there was nothing that they could do. For now at least, Harry was on his own.
He stared at the window, where slivers of light were poking around the edges of the threadbare curtains. His scar was prickling slightly: he wondered what Voldemort was doing right now. Over the last few months, his attitude toward the Dark Lord had been slowly but surely changing. When he was younger, he had believed that every word that came from Albus Dumbledore's mouth was gospel, and that the kindly bespectacled wizard could fix anything. That illusion had shattered beyond repair just over a year ago, when Sirius died. Dumbledore couldn't save Sirius: he hadn't even tried. He'd even dared to suggest that it was all for the better, that it made Harry stronger and therefore wasn't as great a tragedy as it seemed. That statement had felt like a knife in Harry's heart. Sirius's death was not a good thing - there wasn't a single redeeming feature about it. Sirius was the only real family he had left, the only person in the world who seemed to genuinely love him and care about him, and now he was gone. After that, Harry had begun to doubt other things that Dumbledore had said. Things about the war, things about the future, things about the past... things about Voldemort. If he thought that Sirius's death was in any way a good thing, then he must have a skewed view of the world. Maybe he was wrong about other things as well - and at least, Voldemort was always honest. He wanted to kill Muggles, yes, but he had never denied that. He was completely open about his goals. Dumbledore... Harry wasn't sure about him anymore.
As he lay there, a the faint ringing manifesting itself in the back of his mind made itself known once more. Almost like real bells, yet not quite: different somehow, echoing and persistent... it had been there for a long time now, on and off, ever since Sirius died. He hadn't mentioned it to anyone yet, though he had caught Hermione looking at him strangely during school last year. Sometimes the sound faded almost out of hearing, sometimes it was loud and strident like the tolling of church bells on Christmas Eve. Groaning, Harry stuffed his head underneath the pillow, but the ringing refused to stop. Damn it, he needed to sleep - why wouldn't it stop?
"BOY! GET DOWN HERE!"
No mistaking that shout. Harry said something that would have turned Mrs. Weasley's face as red as her hair if she had heard it and got up, swaying slightly as the ringing abruptly intensified. Rubbing absently at his scar, as if that would somehow stop the persistent noise, he stumbled to the door and dragged himself down the stairs.
The Dursleys were in the kitchen, clearly waiting for him to cook them breakfast. Uncle Vernon's purplish face sneered nastily at him. "Well, what are you waiting for, boy? I want my breakfast!"
"Yes, Uncle Vernon." Harry's voice was meek, but inside he was raging. How dare that fat Muggle order him around like that? Another voice whispered in his mind, sounding suspiciously like Albus Dumbledore. Now now, Harry, it is all for your own good...
Still wrestling with himself, Harry set about the task of cooking breakfast. The entire time he was cooking, though, the Dursleys were carrying on a conversation about him, completely ignoring the fact that he was in the room.
"Yes, Mrs. Polkiss was asking about him again. I told her about St. Brutus's Secure Center For Incurably Criminal Boys: she was very sympathetic. She understands how trying it can be, having one of those types around." Aunt Petunia was saying waspishly.
"No doubt." Vernon grunted. "Boy! Hurry up!"
"Yes, Uncle Vernon." Fucking Muggle. Who are you to order me around? I'm the Boy Who Lived! I should be ordering you around... no, don't think like that. That's bad. That's how Voldemort thinks, and he's wrong... isn't he?
"BOY! Quit your Goddamn daydreaming!"
His face puce with rage once more, Vernon Dursley stood up and struck out. His large, meaty fist connected sharply with the side of Harry's head, and the teenager collapsed against the counter soundlessly, gasping as he felt a trickle of fresh blood run down the side of his face.
"Vernon, really, don't you think that's a tad much?" came Petunia's prissy voice. "I don't want to have to clean blood off the counter again, and the Turners are coming over for dinner on Wednesday!"
Harry barely heard her. With the blow against his head, the ringing - which had subsided almost into silence while he was cooking - resurged with a vengeance. His head was practically vibrating with the clanging reverberation: lifting his head, he glared at Vernon Dursley through a haze of blood, fifteen years of hatred searing through him like Basilisk venom.
Vernon, having turned to his wife during her little speech, turned back toward his nephew, and froze. Slowly, the realization finally penetrated his dense bubble of preocupation and hatred. Harry was staring at him from under his messy black bangs, face streaked with blood. His emerald eyes were narrowed dangerously, blazing with fury - and there was another detail that Vernon hadn't noticed before, one that made his blood run cold.
Harry's pupils had changed shape. They were narrow, vertical slits, like the eyes of a cat... or a snake.
Harry didn't even hear the shout of sudden alarm that escaped Vernon's lips: all he saw was the ruddy face paling, the beady eyes widening in fear, and triumph ripped through him like white-hot flames.
YES! Tremble before me, Muggle! It's time you learned your place!
A single word escaped Harry's lips, but no one in the room understood it. All they heard was a terrible, strangled hiss, like a snake kept too long in the dark, now finally exposed to the light.
Pure unfettered magic exploded out of Harry's body, magic normally kept chained by what his teachers and friends had taught him: magic kept locked deep within himself because his conscious mind knew it was wrong, the wishes that stirred in the back of his mind. Now, those little voices were drowned out, subsumed beneath the deafening ringing of bells - and the magic lashed out like lightning, sinking into the bodies of the three Dursleys.
Vernon Dursley went first: his last scream still echoed in the air as the magic streaked through him and tore him apart. Tendons snapped like overstretched rubber bands, muscles tearing apart, flesh shredding like tissue paper - in a heartbeat the spotlessly white kitchen was splattered with vivid carmine. Petunia and Dudley hardly had time for their eyes to widen before Harry's wild magic pounced on them like a snarling panther. The whole scene disappeared from before Harry's eyes, blotted out by a haze of dripping red.
His magic snapped back into him as though on a tether, nearly knocking him over. He braced himself against the counter, the ringing slowly fading again as the throbbing pain in his temple intensified. Warm blood was flowing over his skin, wet and salty where it trickled over his lips. Blinking hazily, he glanced around vaguely, as though in a dream. He was distantly aware of crimson spatters on nearly every surface, and smiled dazedly.
Hah. Your precious kitchen's not so clean anymore, is it, Auntie dear? was the last thought in his mind, before darkness drew him into its soft, warm embrace.
There we go, first chapter of several! Reviews make the world go 'round, and you wouldn't want the world to stop spinning, now would you? C'mon, feed the review monster, you know you want to... see the pretty little purple button, right down there? Just press and type, that's all it takes... pretty please? (I know, I sound pathetic. What can I say? I like reviews.)