"I long for the raised voice, the howl of rage or love." ~Leslie Fiedler
Chapter 14: Rage
The screams filled the base and echoed through the halls. It chilled everyone who heard it and many decided that it was best they petrol the outside and left the halls empty save for the screams along with the terrible silence in between. The room they were in was not one would expect, it was warm and cheery. The walls were covered in bookshelves, there was a very comfortable armchair next to a very inviting fireplace and the colors were all warm. The armchair was a deep chocolate brown, the wood all stained a warm dark color and the walls were a deep green. It wasn't until your attention was in the center of the room that you realized this wasn't some inviting study or personal library.
There was a table in the center of the room, shaped like a cross that had various straps attached, and surrounding the table was three rolling cabinets that had various wicked looking instruments on top.
On the table was a ruin of a man, Tom Riddle, naked, one eye had swollen shut and the other stared up at his captor with nothing but pure defiant hate.
Gellert hummed as if this amused him and picked up the hot poker he had been heating so patiently in his fireplace. "You know this could stop, I would give you a swift painless death and all you have to do is tell me what I want to know." He said smiling kindly as he pressed the red hot poker into Tom's ribs and listened pleased as another scream echoed off the walls.
He pulled the poker away before it could burn all the way through to his ribs and grinned at the ripping sound as Tom's skin tore off with it. Grindelwald put the poker back into the fireplace and turned back to Tom. "I have to say your screams are so lovely Tom, but I am tiring of this." Gellert said as he picked up a scalpel off the top of one of his supply cabinets and slid it down his right arm gently…tauntingly.
From his pocket with his free hand Gellert pulled out his old worn photo and put it in the line of sight of Tom's one good eye. For the last three days Tom had been silent, besides the screams of course, but he never spoke a work to him. It was starting to piss Gellert off. Most men think keeping quiet is the way to endure torture, that to release one would lead to their secrets being spilled. No, it was often the ones who tried for silence that he broke first…because they had no outlet for anything.
Tom was a very clever boy, he screamed, he screamed and screamed. He screamed when he had broken all his fingers, he screamed when he had broken his toes, he had screamed as he beat him in a hundred different ways. He screamed. But he never said one word. Gellert was getting frustrated, Tom looked at him, a ruined piece of meat on a slab and saw that…then the little shit had the nerve to smile.
Gellert snarled as he stabbed the scalpel through Tom's right hand and the boy screamed. Gellert looked at that scalpel; it was a precision instrument and was not meant to be a simple stake. This was where this boy had driven him to; he resisted all mind attacks, laughed off his truth potions and torture while vaguely satisfying was not breaking him. Gellert growled and pressed the picture into the boy's face, "You will tell me what I need to know! My daughter, who is supposed to be dead, is your fucking wife. You will tell me whose has had her, you will tell me why her eyes are different and you will tell me now!"
He pulled back half crazed and stared at Tom, looking for some reaction. Gellert had not intended to reveal so much but he thought that if he could shock this son of a bitch out of his complicacy that he might break. That he would talk because that what Gellert needed. The words didn't matter, the boy could lie, fling insults, cry denials, anything as long as he talked because that was his way in. Once they started to talk, once he managed to break through that wall…well it was the first step to breaking the man.
Tom grinned up at him, mouth bloody, nose crooked and broken, eye swollen shut, and body a wreck. He grinned. And said nothing.
Then he laughed.
If she sat down and counted Harry was sure she might someday calculate how old she was but she had never been so inclined. She was ancient by her reckoning and had spent eons moving from one torturous life to the next. Some lasted longer than others but they all ended. This was a fact she had never been inspired to change, even when she had access to her magic, and she wasn't entirely sure why. Yes, her lives had been shitty but every so often there were people that made it less so…she just never cared enough about them to want to try.
Her drive had died inside of her so long ago that Harry never even noticed the absence of it until recently. It was more than just the fact that Tom was a connection to her prime life, her beginning; it was so much more than that. Tom was someone she had saved, when she had thought there was no more in her left to give. That her savior mentality had gone the way of the dinosaurs…so dead it was fossilized inside of her as something that once was and never would be again.
Yet…she had saved him. She hadn't intended to, not really, he was something that had broken through to her monotonous life and she had lingered around him in vague interest. He hadn't even been in love, her hate for him had long since died and love was something she had never really been sure of outside of her first lives' children. Somehow, in the years they had been together Tom had awoken something in her, love, lust, ambition, she felt so clearly now.
When had she grown so dead inside? So robotic?
Maybe she had cut herself off so much from them because one can only endure for so long without madness creeping in like a hollow pit inside of you that only grows. Harry had never been one that had been inclined to violence, she never enjoyed it, and it wasn't for any particular moral reason that she was aware of. Oh, she has killed…killed so many her soul was probably stained red with their blood but she had never sought them out. Harry was just never really interested in seeing people torn apart and killed. She was very willing to defend herself but Harry had never been the sort of person who said fuck it and blew a place up.
Harry had never reached that level of crazy.
She sat on a pile of bodies, hunched over and resting her arms on her knees as she surveyed the sight before her. There wasn't much left of people to differentiate one person from another, an arm here, a leg there, just a pile of broken apart people. There she sat on top, dark rings under her eyes, hair a tangled mess around her shoulders, her wand held loosely in one hand and her clothes in tatters.
This base had been hard to find, it had taken her two days to find the rat among them and there had been a rat. The attack had come without warning; the enemy knew their defenses to well and had too many things in place for anything short of a carefully executed assault. That meant someone had told them, that someone had let them in, and that someone had betrayed them. She had to kill most of the followers that had made it out of that assault to dig out that rat.
He had been catatonic by the time Harry had finished mind raping him of every single piece of information that he had. That was how she had gotten this base location, it wasn't where Tom was being held but one of these bastards would tell her where Tom was if she had to wipe the entire continent off the map. Harry's eyes fluttered closed for a moment, just one, to feel her Tom, to feel his pain, to reassure her he was still alive.
She hadn't slept in three days, not since he had been taken, and she would not stop…Harry's eyes were forced open. She would not stop. Not until he was in her arms once again and every single bastard that had anything to do with Gellert Grindelwald was fucking dead. The doors to the hall of bodies creaked open and two of her remaining followers brought in a screaming and crying man in dragging him forcefully between their two burly bodies. The man was looking at her as if she was some devil ready to take his soul…now there's a thought.
Harry smiled; it was a broken absolutely terrifying thing.
In a fluid motion Harry got up from her throne of bodies and made her way down to the man. The meat and blood of the people at her feet squished and sucked at her feet as she walked. The man was begging now, pleading to the two goons that had him trapped between them and they stared impassively ahead. Harry had a vague thought that she must learn their names at some point.
"You will stop that incessant screaming," She said this evenly her voice never wavered or rose in volume. He heard her though and as if he had been punched in the gut he silenced himself in the middle of another scream. His eyes were wide, pupils blown out and like the prey he was he froze before his predator.
"This will not be pleasant for you, you will tell me what I want to know and if you try to lie or try to conceal it from me…well…it will not be a wise move for you," Harry said as she swayed a bit in front of him. She brought a bloody hand up to his frantically shaking face and grasped his chin firmly with her left hand. Harry pressed her wand firmly against his temple with her free hand and grinned.
The man's eyes glowed white and Harry forced his mouth open. Stepping in closer to him Harry bared her teeth and then the man made an aborted chocking sound as every relevant memory flooded from his head and into her mouth. It was horrifying to watch, like some sort of twisted Dementor kiss between humans. That is where she got the idea to come up with this technique. It was part soul magic, part mind magic and all her own.
The man's body started to swell and as the last memory left him his body gave out. It exploded all over her and her compatriots leaving a new pile of meat on the ground. It wasn't a complete technique after all and she had yet to feel inclined to try to refine it when Tom was somewhere being hurt. He needed her and if that meant she had to bathe in the blood of their enemies that was what she would do.
Her eyes unfocused and shifted swiftly from left to right in a frenzied loop as her brain processed the information she had gotten from the meat pile at her feet.
The two before her stepped back in fear as she looked up at them and smiled. Harry's face was covered in blood and bits of bone; one noticed a few teeth tangled in her hair quite morbidly.
Harry only said two words that got their hearts racing and palms to sweat. Even though her eyes had yet to focus on them, the two before her felt hunted and cornered.
Gellert sat in his armchair staring at the faded old picture in his hands and paid no mind to the boy strapped to the torture cross before him. His mind and his focus were in the past. The picture was of a small girl, grinning up at him, every so often she waved and then her focus was back to the toys that surrounded her as she sat there on the floor. It was a picture that he had kept with him, even after hearing of her death and it was the only one he had. The rest had burned with her…or so he had been lead to believe.
He ran a soft finger over the girl's nose circling her eyes, his eyes, and the exact same shade. Her flaming red hair caught his eye next and Gellert allowed his thoughts to wander down paths he had tried to forget. Gellert was a pureblood and despite his own inclinations he had always known he would need to do his duty to produce an heir. He was the last of his line and he would not let it die with him.
It had taken so long to find the right woman to impregnate, he had noticed the trend of old blood that mixed with new blood that produced stronger heirs and had made sure to take advantage. Of course he would not debase himself with a muggle, no better than a monkey, but a squib from one of the oldest English lines? Well he could find no fault in that. When he had found his Katarina's mother he could not have believed his luck, she was a squib from the line of Slytherin and most importantly she had red hair.
Red hair…like his Albus.
It made the act so much easier, he merely turned her on her stomach and grabbed a fistful of that beautiful red hair and imagined his Albus. He had managed to make his heir swiftly and he had secreted them away in England. Gellert had thought that having them so far from his growing political movement would keep them safe from his opposition. Another smaller sentimental part wanted his child to be close to Albus and sometimes, back then, he had imagined presenting her to him. A replacement Gellert had made that could sooth his wounds from his sister. Someone young and sweet and that looked so much like what Gellert imagined their child could have looked like if two males could produce a baby.
Katarina had been his secret little hope; she had such strong magic and was so very clever.
He had been stupid to think that hiding them away in a muggle town far from his battlefield that they would be safe. Their home had burnt down, nothing had survived and every magical scan had told them that his little girl had died.
Then he had seen this Harry Riddle's face, her heart shaped face, those high cheekbone, that pouty mouth and arched brow. He knew that face, that hair, even if her eyes were all wrong. He knew that face, he had stared at the child version of that face so long and so often he knew it even if the eye color was all wrong. Something must have happened, there were all sorts of rituals and magic that could have the side effect of changing her eye color.
It meant that someone had kept her, done who knew what to her and given her this cruel mockery of a name Harry. Her name was not Harry it was Katarina and someone had stolen her from him. Gellert didn't care how long it took, how many times he would have to break, heal and break again that boy. He would tell him how his little girl had survived; he would tell him all he knew about her now because there was one thing for sure. His Katarina had not recognized him…not one bit…her eyes had looked through him.
Someone had stolen his little girl, had broken her, had stripped her of her memories of him and unleashed this cruel shadow of her onto the world. His little girl was not dead, she was breathing and broken. He would get her back.
Gellert's eyes flashed to the boy before him…his Katarina's husband…and he got up sliding the picture back into his pocket. This boy thought that he could have her, his little girl, that he could take someone precious from him. The boy would learn how foolish had been to stand against him and steal from him. Katarina was his and when he was done Gellert knew that the whole world would know it too.
Screams once again echoed through the bunker.
There had been no news from the front in a while, it had begun to worry him and then an owl had given him this letter. A letter he was still staring at in a combination of fear and dread as he read it over and over. The worst part he wasn't sure why he was afraid. Whether it was for his sake or for the one he had walked away from so long ago…that despite everything a part of him still loved.
Dear Old man,
I'm writing this to you as a courtesy, but do not mistake me. I have little feeling for you other than contempt so it gives me great pleasure to write this to you. I know about you and Grindelwald and your youthful indiscretions. I know everything. I know about your sister. Still don't know who killed her do you? Well, no matter, this letter is only to inform you of my intent to flay that fucking bastard Grindelwald alive. I will hear him scream and he will beg for death by the time I am done. You see he took something from me, my Tom, and I intend to repay him a thousand times. Tonight I will attack the base that Grindelwald is in and rescue Tom. If you want to save your precious Gellert from a very painful death I would do everything in your power to be there. Coordinates are 48.2775° N, 8.1860° E, I attack in 5 hours from when you have received this. Don't try to fool yourself into thinking that I cannot possibly have the power to take down Gellert…it doesn't matter because I will kill him or die trying.
See you there Old Fool,
Dumbledore threw the letter into the fire, it was seared into his brain, and watched it burn. Then he did something he had been dreading since they first had started to come to him. He grabbed the floo powder and prepared himself to rally a force from the ICW. He wasn't sure why he was going into this, whether it was to save his students, himself or…him. All Albus knew was he had to hurry…because this night was going to end in blood.
Harry grinned, she felt the team from the ICW move in with Dumbledore at the front of the bunker, and signaled for her other teams to move in as well. She had stripped down the wards, and inverted them now everyone would be trapped inside. Dumbledore reacted just as she hoped, he would be the perfect distraction, and her other teams would take out the rest of the resistance in this base. This left her free to slip in, invisible, and silent in the chaos. No one thought to look for an assassin while a full assault from all sides was happening, so she was able to slip in easily and freely.
'I'm coming for you Tom.'
He screamed and then his voice gave out. Tom wasn't sure how long he had been in this bastard's tender care but he wasn't sure it mattered. All that mattered was that Harry wasn't. He had saved her and she was safe somewhere else and that is all Tom cared about. That is what he held onto as this insane bastard ranted and raved about his Harry. A part of him in the beginning of this had been in complete shock at his own actions, why had he done that? Why had he reacted like that?
Tom had not hesitated, Harry had been in the line of fire and the thought of her dying…was unbearable. He had plenty of time in the interim to come to the realization that Harry meant more to him than his own life, than his own suffering, that he would make the same choice every single time if it meant saving her. That what he felt for Harry was something he had never felt before in his entire life…he loved her.
All his life love… had baffled him; he could not understand it and it seemed to him like the height of stupidity. Love was weakness; it made you its puppet and left nothing for you in turn. He had scoffed at poets; scorned love struck people and laughed at everyone's foolish obsession with this tiny ridiculous thing. Love had never mattered to him, it was nothing, and he felt nothing for love but scorn.
What an idiot he had been.
Now he understood, now he knew love and felt love, and now he knew how blind he had been.
Love had given him a core of steel. Now he could endure the deepest pits of pain and still have it in him to laugh because of her. Tom had never known strength like this, and it was glorious. However as the days wore on Tom felt despair try to creep in, all for the same reason, Harry had not come for him. He loved her, Tom loved her and it left him feeling raw and vulnerable. All because of the same question…did she love him back?
How could she love him?
He knew everything about her, and everything a version of himself had done to her…how could she ever love a monster like him? At the core of everything his actions had damned Harry to nothing but pain eternal. That realization had hurt, and it made him feel strangely better as Grindelwald systematically broke his body…because he deserved this and more. He deserved to be hurt like this, remembering how he had used her…how he had reveled in his complete control of her…his love damned and saved him every moment. He hated himself remembering all he had done and not done for Harry.
Tom knew he had never deserved her; she who had saved him and delivered him from a life lived in shadow. She was the light to his shadows, the only person in his entire life that had stood by him through everything and never once asked for anything. Loving her meant owning up to his own shortcomings, he remembered the feel of his hands over her throat, remembered how strong he had felt pushing her around. He hadn't cared about her; not really, she had been his and only viewed as an extension of himself. Any insult to her was an insult to him and he had been so blind.
Love confounded him now.
Love saved him and condemned him. It gave him strength and made him feel like a piece of shit at the same time. How could something give you peace and torment? How can you feel so much in so many contradictory ways. Strength and weakness. Tom could understand now why they sang songs, wrote poems, stories and laments about love. It was fascinating the depth of feeling that love gave you…the despair and the joy. It was something that could never truly be expressed in words and yet you tired. Even the words 'I love you,' it wasn't enough to encompass the feeling. Tom found it a little funny how poetic he had become laying on someone's torture slab…it was hilarious to him that he could contemplate love while enduring this pain.
It was a vicious cycle, thinking of Harry, it gave him equal parts hope and desolation. Thinking of his love for her gave him the courage to endure, and yet made him feel cowardly of ever facing her again.
Strength and weakness.
Looking at himself, looking at their years together now with love to filter his sight…it opened up a deep pit inside of him. Tom didn't think Harry would come for him, he was sure she would avenge him but why would she ever come for him? He was nothing to her. He had never given her anything but pain and he deserved to die like this. Ruined and broken and alone. He was a horrible person, because even though he loved her Tom still wished with all his twisted little black heart that Harry would kill this dick.
He didn't care that this fucking cock sucker was the father to his Harry's body, that didn't matter, family was more than the blood you had in your veins. Harry had taught him that. The dickhead slid his scalpel over his throat lightly, not deep enough to kill but enough that Tom felt his sticky blood soak his front. Tom grinned, and stared defiantly up at his captor. He would never tell him a single thing about his precious Harry…she was his and no one else's. He would die for her a thousand times over.
He would never share a single thing with him about her, about seeing her for that first time...across the room in the orphanage…about how it felt to him now to think about how her mind had brushed his own back then. How she had given something he couldn't have appreciated until he felt this love, she had taken away his loneliness in that moment…and given him the entire world that day. Tom would never tell this man how strong Harry was, how resourceful, how compassionate and kind. He would never know the dark and gritty parts of her like he did. He would never share a single thing with this monster…he didn't deserve to know. Tom saw Grindelwald reach for his wand, no doubt he would endure another torture curse soon and grinned up at him in teeth baring challenge.
Then the bunker shook.
Sirens went off.
They were under attack.
Tom laughed and wondered if he would live long enough to see Harry gut this son of a bitch.
Grindelwald cursed and moved to the door intent on putting down any invaders quickly so he could get back to his work. He never made it there, the door was blasted in and Grindelwald went flying, a spell caught him midair and sent his wand into the waiting hand of his avenging angel. The sight of her took his breath away; he couldn't believe she was here and that she had come for him. She stood there, her hair was a twisted mess around her shoulders curls matted with blood, her eyes where emerald fire, the deep shadows under them made her look unforgiving and her tattered clothes told a story of a long struggle to get to this moment.
Before Grindelwald could regain his bearings or comment on her surprising appearance Harry had him suspended on the wall. Then her eyes met Tom's and the whole world fell away. Harry was there in a moment undoing his straps with an impatient wave of her hand and gathering him up into her arms. Tom couldn't understand, this was impossible, and all he could say was, "Why?"
Harry smiled a forlorn little smile at him, "I told you I'll always come for you Tom, Always," she whispered into his ear.
"Why?" Tom repeated baffled.
"Because I love you Tom, and you deserve to be saved." Harry replied. She murmured healing spells over him dealing with the broken bones first so he could try standing on his own. Tom still felt like he had been run over by a train afterwards but he could stand. That was all Harry needed to turn her focus back onto Grindelwald who had managed to struggle his way back onto the ground. Harry passed Tom her wand without looking; keeping Grindelwald's for her own and then they began to circle each other.
"I am going to enjoy killing you," Harry said dead panned.
Grindelwald flinched, "Katarina, I know this will be confusing for you, but you must understand I was doing this for you!"
"Who the fuck is Katarina?" Harry snarled as Tom placed his arms around her waist to steady himself.
"You are Katarina, you are, you're my daughter, come you must remember me, my darling girl. Remember your papa, try!" Grindelwald beseeched as Harry tensed.
Another explosion rocked the room and then suddenly Dumbledore was in the doorway. Grindelwald had circled around so his back was to the doorway but Harry saw him the moment he arrived. Dumbledore stood there frozen in inaction and Harry thought maybe she could use this. "I don't care if I am your daughter, I don't care what you might have been to me once, because what once was can never be again. You took Tom, tortured him, he is my love, my husband, my everything and I am going to fucking kill you!" She snarled.
"Katarina please! You're my daughter!" Grindelwald exclaimed. Dumbledore gasped, shocked, hearing it confirmed by Grindelwald rocked him to the core and Grindelwald heard him. Gellert turned and his eyes connected with Albus…they widened…and that was the opening Harry needed. She hit him with the withering curse while his back was turned, Dumbledore screamed, "No!" as Grindelwald collapsed to his knees.
Dumbledore ran to him as he fell and gathered him into his arms before he could hit the ground. "No, no, no, no no…" Dumbledore repeated over and over as he rocked Grindelwald in his arms. He tried to work every counter curse he could with his wand but nothing worked and the curse slowly spread throughout Grindelwald's body. Finally, Gellert reached up and stayed Albus' hand. "Shhh, my love, shhh its okay," He murmured and groaned, "Isn't she glorious?" Gellert said bringing Albus' attention back to Tom and Harry as she stood in there. She was a tiny thing, all red hair with blood soaked rage and vivid in her righteousness.
Albus simply turned his attention back onto his dying love.
Gellert smiled at him grimly, "I made her for you, you know, as a replacement for Arianna. I named her Katarina and she was everything I thought our daughter would be and then she was taken from me, before I could give her to you, before I could give the world to you. I am sorry my love, for everything."
Albus found that for once in his life he had no words, his throat closed from devastating emotion and his eyes blurred from tears. Gellert wheezed, groaned and whimpered. It took him ten agonizingly long minutes to die and all Albus could do was cry. He could not return his sentiment, he could not offer the love of his life anything, he was frozen and could do nothing but weep as he watched him die. When the light finally left his eyes Gellert's face was withered and blackened from the curse.
A howl of rage, of love, of aguish tore through Albus' chest and he screamed the unfairness of it to the world.
Forgotten, Harry watched and then she smiled.
A.n. Man this chapter was hard because there is just so much going on in here! Gahh, I can only hope I managed to capture it all somehow. I wanted to get this out earlier but I had some difficulties because me baby managed to pull the plug on my computer and I lost half of this chapter due to a failure to autosave so I was very discouraged. Thanks for reviewing everyone, you gave me the will to push through and redo this. Lol Love all your thoughtful and well thought out reviews and am so grateful for all your encouragement. Thank you for reading this and letting me know you enjoy it! Love you all!