Warning! : Descriptions of the Torture Curse. The Sub-heading says it all.
Chapter 10: A Carrow's Cruelty
Professor Snape had not been seen for months since the day of Dumbledore's death, so naturally Zeno was quite astounded when it was announced that the new Headmaster of Hogwarts was the runaway spy himself. The Great Hall, unlike the previous year, lacked its usual cheer as many of the students waited solemnly for the Headmaster's speech. Zeno wasn't the only one who had noticed the change in staff, all of the students kept sending discreet glances towards the front of the Hall where two hostile-looking strangers stood beside Severus Snape. On the right stood a squat, lumpy man with a lopsided leer and a pig-like face; on the left with sloping-shoulders and a stubby fingers was the female, who were introduced as Deputy Headmaster Amycus Carrow and Deputy Headmistress Alecto Carrow respectively. It then occurred to Zeno that he had seen these strangers somewhere before…back at Malfoy Manor.
Would they re-capture him and bring him back to their Dark Lord?
"Alecto Carrow will be taking over the post for Muggle Studies which…will be compulsory for all years to attend," the new headmaster drawled as the students listened in complete silence, "as for Amycus Carrow, he will be your new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor…" there was a pause as Snape looked expectedly at his gloomy audience, nobody but himself and some reluctant staff members had clapped for the Carrows. Sweeping his keen eyes across the Hall, Zeno observed that almost half of the student body was missing. Was it due to the change in Headmasters?
With the Headmaster Snape's speech over, food magically appeared upon the empty platters causing the students to sullenly begin swallowing their meals. Sensing someone's gaze on him, Zeno lifted his head to meet Snape's charcoal black eyes. Having now gained the Yellow Dragon Warrior's attention, Snape's eyes flickered briefly from the students to the Carrows and then back to Zeno. It was at that moment in which Snape's intentions became as clear as glass: He had returned to protect the students and he wants Zeno to be the one to help him.
Zeno's smile shone brightly in the dull Hall, like a firefly surrounded by moths in a dusty cupboard. Seeing that his message had been understood, the Headmaster turned his attention to the food beneath his hooked nose.
The classes that year were unlike any other, many of the professors had stopped giving their students detentions, especially over small issues, in an attempt to prevent them from being tortured by the Carrows and Zeno could see why. He had witnessed the Carrows' cruelty himself, the first time was during a Defence Against the Dark Arts class.
"We will be practicing the Cruciatus Curse-"
"B-but P-professor, that's one of the three Unforgiveable Curses! W-we c-can't do that!" Stuttered one of the students near Zeno.
Rather than responding, the Carrow ignored him and continued with his lecture: "-the incantation is, of course, Crucio. To perform it properly, you need to really want to cause them pain…to enjoy it," Amycus finished his words with a wheezy giggle, "imagine their faces contorting in pain, hear them screaming and begging you to end their lives…but don't give them that pleasure. You want them to suffer, to feel that unbearable pain for if you don't, they won't feel it,"
Some of the Slytherins were eagerly absorbing each and every word that came out of the Death Eater's mouth, while the rest of the students looked either disturbed or disgusted by it. A group of First Years cowered in the corner of the classroom, bounded by ropes of magic, it didn't take long for Zeno to figure out why exactly they were there. "P-please let us go, Professor C-Carrow!" a young girl tearfully pleaded from where she and the others were held captive.
"Shut it! This is your detention, or would you rather spend it chained up in the dungeons?" viciously snarled the Professor, the girl flinched away. "Here's a demonstration for all yeh slow-learners, CRUCIO!"
A hair-raising scream, one that sounded as if someone was having their hearts torn out alive, ripped through the classroom from the student who had interrupted the professor earlier. The boy writhed in agony on the floor, limbs flailing futilely and nails clawing at his throat, drawing blood. His eyes rolled back exposing the whites of his eyes as he screeched and howled. "Stop it! Please! Don't hurt him!" A girl begged from where she knelt beside the boy, hands clutching onto his shirt desperately. Zeno gritted his teeth at the display, how heartless can this wizard be?
"I want you all to perform the curse successfully at least five times before the end of the lesson. Those who refuse will be severely punished themselves, by yours truly…and anybody who fails to complete the task will also be disciplined. Your targets are them. Now start!" Amycus Carrow snapped, giving each pair a tied up First Year.
More than half of the class were hesitating, their wands shaking under the weight of remorse and shame they felt for the unforgiveable pain they were about to inflict on the innocent eleven-year-olds. Needless to say, those were the students who couldn't perform the curse to how the "Dark Arts Professor" had desired, and were at risk of failing the given task. Fearful of being punished themselves, they continued attempting the spell, apologising repeatedly to those wide eyed children as they did so.
Somewhere on the other side of the classroom, a pained scream rang out, signalling that someone had succeeded. Zeno turned to see one of the Slytherins cackling at the thrashing First Year while their Professor praised him, some of the surrounding Slytherins looked just as appalled at their fellow Slytherin's behaviour as the rest of the students in the class.
Despite this, it seemed another student had been inspired and her eyes were full of promise to cause as much pain as she possibly could on her living target. Zeno was moving before anyone even realised, as the Cruciatus Curse cut through the suspense, the Ouryuu lunged forward to shield the helpless child. The moment the spell rammed into Zeno's chest, he felt as though his very bones were aflame while the rest of him got shredded alive by a thousand jagged white-hot knives.
"GAHHHH!" Zeno cried out in agony. It was an experience not unlike the time he got burned alive while supporting a pillar in a Xing Kingdom mansion-something he would rather not relive again. The class watched him resist the curse in horror, as he writhed soundlessly on the floor at their shoes, a feat he was only able to do due to his past experience with the regeneration and immortality of the Ouryuu.
"Hrmm? What's this yeh all doing? Get back to your work!" Amycus Carrow barked from where he was shoving students out of the way. "An' you!" He grabbed Zeno's orange overcoat, hauling him to his feet before pushing him to the side of the classroom where he crashed into the wall. "You will stay out of the way! I don't care if the Headmaster says you are allowed to do whatever ya want, if you get in tha' way again you'll be the target for tha' rest of the class!"
However, the Carrow was unaware that was exactly what Zeno had in mind, in order to prevent the First Years from being targets themselves Zeno would take their place. "Crucio!" As soon as those words were uttered from another student, the Yellow Dragon Warrior became the shield for the victims once again. Over and over he put his own body in the line of fire to protect them, causing once eager students to become increasingly reluctant.
"That's enough! Everyone stop for a moment so I can show you how it's really done!" The Carrow roared as he stomped towards Zeno, glaring down at him with uncapped fury. "I've warned yeh not to do this and yeh go ahead and do it! This will teach yeh not to mess with the Carrows! CRUCIO!"
The force of the curse slammed Zeno face first into the floor, "Crucio, Crucio, CRUCIO!" With each chant the pain grew until it was clawing at his throat in an effort to escape in the form of a yell. "Why. Are. You. Not. Screaming?! CRUCIO! DON'T YOU FEEL ANY PAIN?"
"I…I have… been through… worse…before, this…only makes me yawn," he answered between gasps for air, he rolled over to stare defiantly into Amycus' furious eyes, "so why don't you try something else? You can hurt me all you want…I'm not going anywhere,"
As long as the Carrow didn't turn on the students, Zeno would be content in keeping the sadistic man distracted until the class was over.
They glared at each other for a minute, Zeno's fierce blue eyes were as unyielding as an icy blizzard. Even then, in that one moment, Zeno saw no recognition in those cold-blooded eyes. This wizard didn't recognise him at all and all Zeno could ask himself was why?
Seeing that Zeno wouldn't be begging for his death anytime soon, the Carrow quickly grew bored with torturing the poor yellow-haired boy and dismissed the class early, much to the students surprise and relief.
Zeno's next unpleasant experience with the Carrows was during a class called Muggle Studies, which had drastically changed its curriculum since his last visit.
Alecto Carrow's class was full of propaganda like speeches rather than the usual magical lectures. Zeno had only listened to her talk about the subject for a single minute and he already had enough of it.
"...the filthy Muggles have been infesting the streets for decades…" Looking around Zeno noticed that many of the students in the class were ignoring the vile words that their "professor" spouted and were only pretending to listen. This Carrow's class seemed safer than her brother's and as long as the students kept quite they would be safe. Satisfied that they should be fine without him, Zeno began to get up from his seat when a shout interrupted Alecto's speech.
"SHUT UP! THEY AREN'T DUMB!" screamed an offended student, her classmates gasped and stared at her with wide eyes.
"What. Did. You. Say?" There was a deadly tone hidden beneath those words which Alecto Carrow had spoken.
"Muggles…a-aren't d-dumb," the student stuttered, suddenly aware of the mistake she had made.
"Oh? So you'd rather mate with a filthy Muggle than be with a Wizard of Pureblood?" The "professor" whispered venomously as she revealed a knife from the folds of her cloak, its sharp silvery edge glinting dangerously in the low light. Alecto readied her arm like an adder poised to strike, the girl squeezed her eyes shut as she waited for the inevitable pain.
"She didn't say that, Miss," Zeno stated as his hand gripped the Carrow's arm tightly to prevent the blade from reaching its target. Blood leaked from the shallow wound on the girl's cheek as the knife's edge grazed her skin. "Professors shouldn't attack their students for something they didn't say,"
Alecto narrowed her eyes at Zeno, anger raging inside the dark recesses of her pupils. Like her brother before her, there wasn't a single hint of recognition. The school bell chimed merrily, crumbling the tense atmosphere and putting an end to another dreadful lesson.
What could have made the Carrows forget their escaped prisoner?
"How are the students doing, Severus? Have they been well?" The portrait of the deceased Albus Dumbledore asked the current Headmaster of Hogwarts.
"They are fine for now, Headmaster," replied Severus as he stood before the large oil painting.
"And the Carrows?" said Dumbledore as he inclined his head, his worried eyes peering over his half-moon spectacles.
"I have appointed them as Deputy Headmistress and Deputy Headmaster to… keep them under control. Zeno… has been helping protect the students during class," Snape replied as he recalled what the Carrows had been complaining about.
"Zeno? He's still here? At Hogwarts? Severus, won't the Carrows realise that the Immortal Boy is Zeno? They have seen him before," Dumbledore noted.
"I've already have… preventative measures in place, Headmaster. I performed a memory charm on the Carrows to replace their memory of the boy, they have not been able to recognise him since," reassured Severus Snape.
"Good, very good, he will be a great help to Hogwarts in the near future,"
A very near future indeed.
Thank you for reading Chapter 10, I hope you all enjoyed it. :)
I'm sooooooooo sorry for how long you all had to wait for this chapter. If you really want to know why, and haven't seen the note I put up on my profile, I lost two very dear pets. One on the 17th of May 2017 and the second on the 3rd of June 2017.
I just lost the momentum in my writing when that happened so I had to struggle back into it while life kept interfering. Also I wanted to make sure that I had the right mindset when writing it too.
Hopefully Chapter 11 won't be as long, I'll try and get it done soon. We're nearly at the end of this story anyway.
If you want to see some more material related to this story, you can check out Don't Be Lonely: EXTRAS. So far that's only got one chapter but I'm hoping to add more in the future. It's going to have things like stuff that happened during time skips, before the story started, different POVs during certain scenes and even possibly alternative endings. I may or may not take requests for that…
While you're waiting, if you want to see this story with images and GIFs head to Wattpad, it's under the same name.
By the way, the cover image is mine, I drew it myself.
See you soon,