"It's over, it's all over."
The words were whispered by an emotionally shattered Molly Weasley as she stared, dully, at the pale, terror-stricken face of her dead son: Ronald.
Her day had started out so normally. At least, it was normal considering the current circumstances. She woke up at five, made breakfast for Arthur and Ginny, bustled around the house grumbling at the dirt the twins had left behind after their visit last night, feed the hens and yelled at Ginny for leaving her plate on the table as usual. She didn't look at the family cloak, knowing all hands were at mortal peril and she squeezed her eyes shut every time they made a pass over that section of the wall. She was busy dusting the family photographs in the living room when the fireplace lit up Fleur tumbled out and crashed into the small table a little ahead. Molly screamed and rushed to help her daughter-in-law to the couch. She wondered why Fleur's clothes were so sticky and gasped when she realized it was all blood.
"Arthur," Molly screamed. "Arthur please where are you!"
"Bill," Fleur choked out weakly. "Where iz Bill?" At that very moment, her eyes rolled back into her head and she went limp.
Arthur rushed into the room with Ginny hot on his heels and they both inhaled sharply at the bloody scene.
"Arthur, get help and get to Shell Cottage! Bill is in danger!" Molly was in hysterics by now. "Ginny! Get towels, lots of them! We have to stop the bleeding until help arrives!"
Neither of them argued and rushed to do as they were told. Ginny brought the towels and together they tried to stem the blood flowing out of Fleur's mangled stomach. Ginny threw up as soon as her mother lifted her shirt and saw the extent of Fleur's wounds. Molly knew basic healing techniques but Fleur's wounds here out of her league and within minutes, Fleur was dead.
"Mum," Ginny sobbed. "Mum, she's gone." Molly ignored Ginny's pleas and continued to put pressure on her wounds while whispering words of comfort in her ears.
By the time Nurse Pomfrey arrived, Molly was clutching the bloodied towels in her hands and staring at the body of Fleur with surreal detachment. Ginny had run away to her room and was flinging cutting hexes around blindly. Tears were still pouring down her cheeks and she didn't want to be there when her father brought the news of the fate of Bill. She knew in her heart he was dead. She let out a scream of anguish and sliced her bed cleanly into two.
Arthur came back thirty minutes later, pale and worried. Pomfrey had, by then, sadly announced that Fleur was really gone and had covered her body with a white sheet that she conjured. She helped Molly clean her hands and vanish the blood that had soaked into her clothes too. This was when Arthur arrived with news that Bill was missing and the order was doing their best to look for him.
Remus and Tonks followed Arthur out of the fireplace and they grimly announced that the death eaters had found a way to break through the fidelius and they had to abandon all their safe houses.
A sudden rage seized Molly and she stood up abruptly with fire in her eyes. "Let them come," she hissed, wanting nothing more than to kill as many Death Eaters as she could. "Let them see what an enraged mother is capable of!"
"This is hard for me too, Molly," Arthur said gently, while inside, he too, wanted to unleash his fury on the Death Eaters. "But we have to go and we have to go now!"
Molly's rage was extinguished in the blink of an eye and she started to sob. "Oh, Arthur! Bill is dead isn't he?!"
"Get Ginny down now," he said to Tonks and Remus, but at that very moment the fireplace flared up again and the twins, followed by Kingsley, stumbled out.
They did not bother with niceties and looked at Arthur gravely. "Grimmauld place is taken," George said solemnly. "And there's word coming in that Voldemort has Harry."
"That's not possible!"
"I don't know if it's true but I just spoke with Charlie and we're all meeting up at the cave Sirius camped out in during Ron's third year," Fred said.
Molly gasped when she suddenly felt a presence wash down on her.
Arthur noticed and realized what it was immediately. "Have they come already?" he asked in horror.
"No, it's somebody the wards recognize," she said quickly. "I would have felt pain if the wards were taken down." She hurried to the door filled with hope of finding Bill outside, alive and well. "And will someone please get Ginny down before she tears the house into pieces!" she snapped angrily. She had ignored the destructive noises coming from above but now that she had hope, her temper too had made a return. "Pack whatever we can," she said to Arthur. "I'm going to see who it is."
"Molly no!" Arthur yelled, but all he yelled at was a swinging door. Molly was already gone. Frustrated at her impulsiveness, he ran up the stairs, two at a time, and hammered at Ginny's door angrily. "Ginny get out here right now! We have to leave immediately!"
That was the last thing he ever said.
The Burrow was ripped apart, not by Ginny's spells, but by a dozen exploding hexes fired simultaneously. Death Eaters had broken through the wards from the south and were marching towards the Burrow with the intent to kill.
Molly; before the sudden appearance of the death eaters, had rushed to the spot where she had felt the intrusion. The wards told her the exact location and she froze when she saw who the intruder was.
It was Ronald. His arms and legs were bent at unnatural angles and he had a look of sheer terror written all over his face. There were terrible bruises on his neck and Molly's mind immediately made the connection to strangulation and torture. Molly dropped to her knees, feeling her heartbreak, and at that moment, she felt a sharp pain in her chest.
Molly didn't even flinch when the Burrow exploded. Her mind had broken at the sight of her son's mutilated body and all the fight she had in her was gone.
"It's over. It's all over."
There were flaming shards of wood and metal dropping all around her but she didn't care or she didn't even notice. Her eyes could only see Ronald's blue ones, wide open and empty.
There were signs of a battle taking place behind her but in spite of that Molly kept repeating the same words. "It's over. It's all over."
"Mum!" Ginny screamed running away from the battle. She had been thrown out of the house by the power of the blast and had landed on the haystack which saved her life. "Mum we have to get out of here! Mum! Fred and Kingsley are still fighting! Mum are you listening?!" She caught up with her kneeling mother and saw what she looking at. "Mum," she said, her voice trembling. "Mum, please get up. We have to run away."
"And go where Ginny?" Molly said softly. "It is over, we have lost."
Ginny grabbed her mother roughly and looked at her straight in the eye. Her clothes were torn, she was dirty and she was bleeding profusely from her arm. A cutting curse had nicked her when she was running. "Mum," she said fiercely. "We have to-"
She never finished her sentence. A killing curse slammed into her back and she crumpled to the ground; dead.
Molly didn't react. Everyone was already dead in her mind. She knew she was dead too. She gently wrapped her arms around her daughter, lifted her and laid her down beside her brother. Her listless eyes turned around and realized there was complete silence but for the black robes that were marching towards her.
The Order of the Phoenix was done for.
"All is lost," she whispered, still on her knees and now looking into the ecstatic face of Bellatrix Lestrange.
"That's right filthy muggle lover," the witch cackled. "The dark lord has won!" Bellatrix Lestrange raised her wand, her eyes alive with insanity, and Molly Weasley's blood sprayed out of her neck coating the laughing woman and heightening her pleasure. The Death Eaters watched with delight as the woman's body fell atop her children and her head rolled some distance away. They cheered wildly, knowing their victory was complete.
"Let us leave Bella," Lucius Malfoy said, his eyes sparkling maliciously. "One yet remains."
One by one they all left until it was just Lucius who remained. He laughed when he soaked in the bloody scene spread out in front of him. "I am now redeemed!" he said with cruel delight and apparated.
In another part of Britain, a celebration of a different kind was taking place. Harry Potter was hanging by chains in the basement of Malfoy Manor and he swung from corner to corner, as his captors turned his body into a punching bag to satisfy their lust for violence. His wrists had been skinned nearly to the bone because of the constant friction between steel and skin. His face was swollen in several places; deep cuts crisscrossed each other all over his back and torso; his pants were left on but there was a steady drip of blood trickling down to the floor through them, down his feet and toes. Harry had been tortured for an entire day brutally and he no longer felt pain. The more they beat him, the more he felt disconnected from his body.
Anthony Dolohov's fist connected with Harry's gut and he rocked back towards Goyle spewing blood from his mouth. Gregory Goyle laughed cruelly and kicked him on the hips sending him spinning towards Mulciber. This was the game Harry was involved in for the past hour and it was quite tame considering the unspeakable acts of torture that he had gone through before that.
Severus Snape watched all of this without moving a muscle to help the boy he had sworn to protect. He had failed to stay true to his promise and now Harry Potter's life was to end. There was only one thing left to do; flee.
Rudolphus Lestrange burst into the basement and the Death Eaters turned around to welcome their brethren but their expressions changed to fear when they realized who it was. They stopped their beating and for a moment the only sound that could be heard was the squeaking sound of the chains moving back and forth with a barely conscious Harry as an extension.
Deep within his mind, in a corner still untouched and unbroken, Harry wished they would start beating him again. He wished this because every time they stopped, he was drawn back into his body and the pain was agonizing. He wanted to scream but he couldn't muster the energy that it required and instead, he was screaming in his mind. It was just a matter of time before he went mad like the Longbottoms.
Lestrange gestured towards Harry and commanded, "Bring him, it's time."
The cuffs opened and Harry fell to the floor in a heap. The stab of pain that shot through his body made him cough up blood. Harry supposed the only reason that he wasn't dead was because Voldemort wasn't the one doing the torturing. He could only be killed by Voldemort and maybe there was some other force keeping him alive until Voldemort did the final deed. Harry was praying for that time to come soon.
"Quit it half-blood," snarled one of the Death Eaters and backhanded him across his cheek. He was then levitated to the main hall of Malfoy Manor, where the final event was to be held.
They had almost escaped Malfoy manor but it was not to be. Dobby had come to their rescue and had helped Luna Lovegood and Ollivander to escape first. Then the elf had been ready to take Harry, Hermione and Ron with him who were in the midst of a short battle. But before the brave elf could apparate, a silver knife was embedded in his heart. Dobby's firm grip on Harry's hand loosened and he fell.
Harry turned the brave elf around, his eyes shining with fear for Dobby. "Dobby!" But the elf just smiled, glad to see the face of his hero, and then his eyes fluttered shut, forever.
In their shock, they failed to react when the remaining death eaters retaliated, and Ron was struck down by Yaxley. Harry was restrained by three Death Eaters and Hermione was blasted off her feet by Bellatrix, who had found another wand. Harry was forced to watch his best friend choke to death while the insane witch stomped on Hermione's neck until the last threads of life had left the witch. Harry couldn't stop the tears that crawled down his cheeks. He was then taken to the dungeons to be tortured. Voldemort showed up moments later, looking terribly smug, and while the Death Eaters held him down, Voldemort tried to break through Harry's mind shields. The Dark Lord was shocked to find the boy's mind was occluded to a level of strength that even he couldn't penetrate. It was strong.
The sting of being unable to break into Harry's mind enraged Voldemort and he commanded his men to bring Harry to an inch of his life. In that time, after gaining vital information from Grindelwald and the Ministry, he ordered the extermination of the Order of the Phoenix.
"How does it feel Harry?" Lord Voldemort asked in a languid fashion from his throne when Harry was thrown in front of his feet.
The hatred that coursed through Harry's veins gave him the strength to look up into those horrible red eyes and spit blood on the dark lord's robes.
A second later Harry felt a foot smash into his face breaking his nose. The force of the kick sent him reeling backwards and he fell on his back. There were angry yells and calls for his decapitation from the crowd of Death Eaters after that insult but Voldemort just smiled. He calmly got up from his throne and knelt next to Harry.
The dark lord gently stroked Harry's cheek and Harry tried to jerk his head away.
"You have lost Harry," he said maliciously. "All your friends are dead and when I say all, I mean all."
Harry's breathing became faster. The order was safe! He thought desperately. They were under the fidelius charm and yet he could sense that the dark lord was telling the truth. His eyes scrunched up in anguish and he wanted nothing more than to somehow reach up and squeeze the life out of this monster above him.
"Two choices stand before you: join me or suffer for all eternity," he said softly.
Harry looked into those serpentine eyes and managed to choke out one word. "Never."
"I'm so glad you feel that way," he crooned and straightened up. "Bind him," he commanded.
Lucius and Bellatrix grabbed him and strapped him to the centre of an elaborate rune circle.
"Has your mind snapped yet or do you still remember the prophecy, Harry?" Harry didn't respond but his eyes said it all. "Hmmm- I guess you do. It says that I cannot be killed by anyone's hand except for yours and you cannot be killed unless I kill you myself. Of course, prophecies are always open to interpretation but I, being an integral part of it, chose to interpret it so! Do you understand?"
The words pierced through Harry's mind and dread began to spread through his gut.
"Ooh, it looks like you understand!" Voldemort said in delight. He grabbed a fist full of Harry's hair, yanked his face up and looked into his dull green eyes. "I win Potter. My Horcruxes will keep me alive forever and my life cannot be taken by anyone else," he whispered and once again tried to penetrate the anguished boy's mind. This time he succeeded. He saw Harry's entire life flash before his eyes and at long last, he let Harry's head fall back on the floor. He had learnt whatever he needed to know.
He stared down at the boy's shivering body dispassionately before sighing and stepping back. "Begin," he commanded.
Lucius, Bellatrix and he, himself took their positions around Harry and placed their wands at the edge of the rune circle. "Necto," all three said at once and began to pour their magic into the runes.
The runes, one by one, began to glow red. Once all the runes had turned red, together they said, "Mutatio."
The runes changed colour to black and the suffocating power in the room jumped. The power was so strong that many Death Eaters were brought to their knees and their wands began to vibrate with power. Suddenly the power dropped and at the very instant, they screamed, "Signum!"
The runes began to smoke and the power in the room increased to such levels that almost everyone - except for Voldemort, Lucius and Bellatrix – were gasping for breath. Harry's screams began to reverberate throughout the room. One by one the runes rose above the floor and were burned into his body. Every time a rune disappeared into Harry, the structure of his body visibly began to change.
The death eaters looked on in wonder as a film seemed to settle over the 17-year-old boy and distorted everything about him. When all the runes were absorbed into Harry, the powerful magic began to die down allowing the occupants to breathe again and Harry could no longer be heard screaming.
What the Death Eaters saw shocked them to their core. Instead of a dead Harry Potter, which was what they were expecting, there was an inconspicuous brown slab in his place with three runes etched into it. The closest translation of the runes on the slab was imprisonment, eternity and liberty.
Voldemort knelt next to the slab and said, "It is easy to undo this seal but I'm going to make sure such an option never arises. You will live forever and maybe you will remain conscious or maybe you won't. But you won't ever be a thorn in my side again. Goodbye Harry James Potter."
The dark lord levitated the slab in front of him and took it out to the gardens of Malfoy Manor. He then pointed it towards the sky under the watchful eyes of all his followers.
"Dissiliatin tenebrasmundi," Voldemort roared and the slab took off into the sky. It went higher and higher and just when it seemed like it was about to fall back to the ground, the slab that was Harry Potter went supersonic, defying the pull of gravity. A few seconds later a booming sound almost burst every eardrum in the vicinity.
Harry Potter was lost to the world forever.
On board Serenity, August 2517
"Zoe, pack down the cargo. Wash, heat up Serenity. We're blowing out of this mess in a half hour." said Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of the firefly class vessel Serenity. Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds was tall and fair, with a charming face and hardened eyes. He was fun-loving most of the time but if the situation called for it, he was tough and unyielding. He was the captain of a crew which smuggled illegal and sometimes legal cargo from one planet to another.
"Already there," Hoban Washburn said, climbing up the stairs two at a time to get to the bridge. Hoban Washburn, also known as Wash, was a pilot of unparalleled skill and he was the designated comedian and pilot on Serenity. He had curly blonde hair and mischievous blue eyes that were always looking for a moment to exploit and joke about.
"Come on Kaylee," Malcolm called to his mechanic, "let's go get our wayward babes."
After the captain and the mechanic left; Zoe, the first mate of the ship, was faced with an odd problem that needed immediate solving. River Tam: one of the paying passengers on their ship ran past her screaming in terror and hid herself in the secret compartment in the cargo bay which was used for smuggling. The almost 17-year-old girl was followed by an old, dark man with hair like a white bush stuck on his head.
"River!" he shouted, bemused.
"Shepherd, what did you…? Oh my god, what happened to your hair!?" Zoe laughed. Usually, the preacher, who was also another paying passenger on board, had his hair neatly tied up and today when River Tam saw, for the first time, what a wild mess it was, she freaked out.
"What do you mean what happened to my hair?!" Derriel Book said indignantly. "It's fine!" Book was a preacher, a man of faith, who had somehow found his way onto a ship of smugglers.
"River, honey, do you mind coming out so that we can start loading this cargo?"
"No," River Tam replied petulantly. "The hair is a problem."
"Shepherd, go back to your room and do something about that… that mess!"
"Fine," he grumbled and retreated back to his room.
"The Shepherd's gone back to his room and he's tied up his hair and he promises to keep it away from you," Zoe said suppressing the urge to laugh.
Very cautiously River peeked out of the hidden compartment and looked for signs of a mass of white hair that she thought was capable of crushing the Shepherds brain and hers next, once it was done with the preacher.
"See," Zoe said earnestly, "He's gone."
"Doesn't mean his brains are safe," she said worriedly. Most girls would not react in the way River Tam did, but River Tam was a very special and unique girl. She was capable of reading minds and was known as a Reader. She also had an IQ that was off the charts and it was for these reasons; the Alliance – the authority over the entire human race – recruited her into one of their schools for the gifted while in reality, they spent three years experimenting with her brain. She was now a fugitive living on board Serenity along with her rescuer and brother, Simon Tam.
"Maybe not, but right now you gotta help me hide this cargo understand?"
River rolled her eyes but picked one end of the long and heavy rectangular containers with ease. River was short with long wavy dark brown hair and large penetrating brown eyes. She looked frail and weak but she was easily the strongest and most dangerous person on the ship. She was deeply intuitive and prone to having sudden mental breakdowns.
"Where's Simon?" she asked the long-legged, dark-skinned beauty.
"They're getting Jayne who is basking in the glory of being a hero," Zoe said with a smirk.
River muttered a string of explicit words under her breath describing the trigger-happy man.
"Well that about sums him up," Zoe agreed with a laugh as they pushed the goods into the hole. River glared at Zoe and they quietly loaded the rest of the containers. They were going to put in the last one when River suddenly dropped her end and her eyes widened in terror.
"Not real, it's not real," she breathed out.
"River?" Zoe called out frowning.
"Can't, won't ... It's not supposed to exist!" she screamed and backed away from the cargo.
"River honey, calm down," Zoe said, alarmed. "What's wrong?"
River pointed a shaky finger at the last container and whispered, "It's not real, it can't be real… bones and flesh!"
Zoe didn't know how to handle the mentally unstable child. Only Simon could calm her down in such situations.
River's eyes began to tear up and she sank to the floor. "We have to destroy it, we have to break it!"
"We're not breaking or destroying anything. We need to deliver those goods intact or we won't get paid." Zoe was bewildered and she couldn't imagine what the cause of River's breakdown was.
"There should be three but there are four," River cried hysterically.
"Wha-?" Zoe then realised with a start that River was right. Bernoulli had mentioned that there were three containers but what they had was four containers. She took a closer look at the last one and came to a startling realisation that it was just a slab. She dusted off the top layer and found some faded inscriptions on it.
"How did you know?" she asked River mystified.
But River wasn't listening. "It's an anomaly. Destroy it, crush it, cast it out." She just kept rambling so Zoe just wrapped her arms around the shivering girl and waited for the captain to get back. She just prayed that the Preacher wouldn't make a sudden appearance. She didn't even want to imagine what would happen to River then!
She was extremely relieved when she saw Mal coming up the ramp and then she saw the state the doctor was in.
"What in the rutting hell happened!"
"River!" Simon cried out and hurriedly limped over to his sister. "What happened?"
"Ruddy mudders," Jayne growled. Jayne was a huge muscular man with dark reddish brown hair and dark blue eyes who had a talent for tracking and killing things. His intelligence on the other hand was often subject to debate; mostly the debates were to determine if he was smarter than a monkey or smarter than a pig.
"What happen'd to River, Zoe?" asked a worried Kaylee. Kaywinnet Lee Frye or Kaylee as she was known to everyone; had a personality that exuded cheerfulness and sweetness. Her bright attitude about everything in life ensured that there was no sadness around her, even in times of great hardships. She was a gifted mechanic and had started to intuitively fix machines when she was just a child. She was fair, with light brown hair similar to River's but shorter and wavier and eyes that sparkled with happiness.
It shouldn't be here Simon, it shouldn't," River insisted.
"All of you quiet down!" Mal yelled, getting annoyed at all the chaos. He then walked briskly towards a black box with a small button and speaker and pressed it. It was a ship-wide communicator and into it, he said, "Get us off this moon and put the ship in orbit, Wash. We'll wait for Inara to dock her shuttle before setting course for Ariel. Once the ship is in the air, I want everybody down in the cargo bay on the double."
Mal's commanding voice ensured that everyone calmed down - River included, but she was still shaking and looking at the brown slab with distrust and fear.
"Ruddy mudders," Jayne muttered under his breath. He was still in shock about the events that had happened in the last twenty-four hours. Who would have thought that he, a mercenary, would have a statue of mud, built in his honour!
"Jayne," Mal warned.
Mal listened patiently as Zoe explained what had happened since he had left.
"If there are four containers we just deliver four instead of three. Might even get us a better payoff," he said to Zoe and then turned to the doctor. "Doc, you might have to increase your efforts in keeping your sister calm!"
River muttered more expletives under her breath.
"And wash her mouth while you at it," he added. "Did the Academy teach her how to swear too?"
"But Mal it's just a slab of... well clay I guess," Wash said. He had put the ship on autopilot and hurried down. "Don't you think Bernoulli will think that we've screwed him over?"
"Maybe it was just used as a support for the merchandise," Jayne said. "There's some delicate stuff in there you know."
"River seems to think it's something more Cap'n,"
"There's something written here," Wash murmured as he examined the slab, "But it's unlike any language that we know of." He ran his finger gently on the symbols and with a start, he realised they could be pressed in.
River started hyperventilating again and screamed, "NO DON'T!" But it was too late, Wash had applied some pressure on the symbol and one of them sank in.
Everybody backed away as the innocent-looking slab began to glow a pale shade of white.
"Mei Yong Ma duh Tse Gu Yong!"
The light grew blindly bright for a moment and when it died down everyone was shocked to see a body of a teenage boy dressed in rags in place of the brown slab.
"What in the hell?" Mal breathed in wonder.
Simon was the first to spring into action and took hold of the boy's wrist. "His pulse is very weak," he said urgently. "We have to take him to the infirmary." Simon Tam was a doctor and he had abandoned everything he had to rescue his sister. He had, at one time, been a supporter of Alliance propaganda but all that changed after he found out what they were doing to his sister. He had a handsome chiselled face and dark, short black hair and intelligent dark eyes.
"Huh? Oh yea, do your thing doc."
"Help me carry him, Jayne."
"I ain't touching a person that comes out of nowhere doc," Jayne said raising his hands in surrender and backed away.
"I'll help," Book said and together they carried the boy to the infirmary with Kaylee in tow.
Wash, Zoe and Mal just stared at each other helplessly. "Have you ever seen such technology?" Zoe asked in amazement.
"I haven't," Wash said, bewildered. "I pressed a button and a boy came out... Am I a magician?" he asked sounding hopeful.
"You're a pilot Wash, definitely not a freaky magician," Mal said rolling his eyes.
"It's probably Alliance tech," Jayne growled. "Maybe it's a new type of prison and that kid is a criminal." Jayne didn't know how close to the truth he was. At that moment, something thumped into the side of the ship and a loud latching sound was heard.
"Inara's back," Zoe said. "Let's head up."
The cargo hold was the lowest level of the ship and above that were the engine room and shuttle docking bays. The ship could hold two shuttles and one shuttle was rented out to a woman named Inara Serra and she was a companion.
A Companion is a person trained from the age of twelve in the art of self-control, religion, physical and emotional pleasures, psychology and a lot more things that are kept secret by the Guild of Companions. They form a part of the elite society of the Alliance and usually accompany the wealthy and powerful. Inara Serra was well on her way to becoming a high priestess of the Companion house of Madarassa but she, however, chose to travel the outer rim of the solar system among what the elite would refer to as scum.
The shuttle door slid open and out stepped a beautiful woman, dressed in an exquisite gold and red silk robe. She had curly black hair that was elegantly tied into a bun and a necklace with an image of Buddha hung from her neck. She wore dark red lipstick and the perfect amount of makeup even though any man or woman would, without a doubt, say that she didn't require it.
Mal hated her profession and he had intense feelings for her. "Finishing whoring yourself out today?" he said crudely. To him, companion was just a fancy word for prostitute and he never kept that thought to himself. He made sure she knew what he thought of her job.
"Are you jealous, Mal?" Inara shot back. Her voice was low and soft. She too had feelings for Mal, but their relationship was too rocky and too full of conflict. She hated Mal's ego and his belief that he was right about everything.
"Mal, let's not get sidetracked," Zoe reminded.
Mal was startled. He was ready and raring to get into an argument with Inara. Zoe's voice cut through his tunnel vision and he remembered what kind of a situation they had on board. "Right," he mumbled. "Bernoulli's cargo had an extra something and that something turned into a boy," he said to Inara.
Inara stared at him like he was mad and rambling nonsense.
Zoe tutted under her breath and she explained everything to Inara calmly and clearly as they went to the Infirmary to check on the boy's status.
No one noticed River, still standing in the cargo bay, with death in her eyes.
"Is he going to be okay Simon?" Kaylee asked, staring at the boy in concern. Another aspect of Kaylee's personality was that she was extremely kind-hearted and sometimes naïve too.
"Well his vitals are fine now. His heart rate was terribly slow at first but now it's back to normal," Simon said. "Physically there's nothing wrong with him."
Mal walked into the infirmary and behind him, Jayne, Zoe, Wash and Inara followed. "Wake him," he commanded.
"I don't think that's a good idea captain," Simon began.
"Wake him now."
Simon sighed but complied with the order anyway and gave the boy a shot of epinephrine.
The boy woke up with a jerk and his eyes darted around the room in panic as he tried to clear his heavily confused mind. He tried to move but found that he didn't the strength to do so.
"Who are you kid?"
He blinked at the voice and forced himself to calm down and focus. Why was it so hard to remember?
"I asked you a question. Who are you?"
"I-," he rasped.'
"Give him some water doc."
The boy accepted it gratefully and felt rejuvenated as water slid down his throat. Everybody waited for him to settle when finally, with the doctor's help he pushed himself into a sitting position. It was impossible not to notice his brilliant emerald-green eyes. Kaylee gasped and looked like she wanted to say something but a look from Mal silenced her.
"Where am I?" he asked hoarsely. His voice sounded like he hadn't spoken in a long time. The crew immediately noticed how his accent was similar to Badger's.
"You're aboard my ship, Serenity and I'm Captain Reynolds. Who are you?"
The boy frowned. "I'm on a ship?"
"Answer the gorram question boy," Jayne growled. "Who are you?"
"I'm Harry, Harry Potter and I honestly don't seem to remember much," he said giving Jayne a wary look.
"How can you not remember anything?" Inara asked curiously. Harry spotted the source of the voice and his eyes widened at the beauty of the woman.
"Erm... everything seems to be a bit hazy in my mind," Harry said with an apologetic smile.
"Well, could you at least tell us how you turned into a person from what seemed to be a simple slab made of stone!" Wash asked. "Or were you a person who was turned into a slab of stone?"
"I'm sorry what?"
"You came out of nowhere. I pressed some weird button on... well you! And the stone turned into you! It was like magic!"
Harry zoned out at the mention of the word magic.
"It wasn't magic, Wash," Zoe said, hitting her husband over his head. "It was just some Alliance technology that's all."
"Zoe," Mal whispered pointing towards Harry. The boy had gone rigid all of a sudden and according to the life support machine, his heart rate was steadily increasing.
"What's going on Simon?"
"I have no idea." He pressed his stethoscope to Harry's chest and listened for abnormalities.
Everything was coming back to Harry; the capture, the fighting, the torture and the ritual. That god-awful ritual which made him want to claw his eyes out.
"I need to get back!" he said in panic and jumped off the bed. Being immobile for so long made it difficult for him to stand on his feet and fell to the floor in a heap. He pulled out all the wires and needles attached to him and tried to move towards the door. Magic that had been kept dormant for centuries was coursing through his body once more and helping him regain control over his limbs.
"Hey, hey, calm down kid," Simon said holding on to Harry and beckoning Wash to come and help him.
"No, you don't understand! He's going to kill them all! I have to go back and stop him!"
"Wha-" Kaylee began but Mal cut her off.
"Where do you need to go kid?" he asked hoping to get some answers.
"London," Harry replied urgently. "I need to get to London. Where are we heading right now?"
There was stunned silence.
"Are we still in the North Sea?" he asked not recognising the shift in the atmosphere until Mal burst out laughing.
"London!" he said between gasps. "Kid, are you talking about the Earth that was?"
"Earth that was?" Harry asked, perplexed. What did the man mean by Earth that was?
"And we're not in a sea Harry Potter," Zoe added, "We're in space."
"I think he's another nut job the Alliance has been playing around with Mal," Jayne said. "We cannot afford to have any more gorram fugitives on board the ship!"
"Space? What do you mean space?" Harry was terribly confused and agitated. These people appeared to be muggles. How was he to explain to them how dire his situation was! He needed to get back to London and look for his surviving friends. He knew they were safe under the fidelius. He prayed they were still safe and alive. He needed to get back to them.
Zoe and Simon hauled him to the feet and took him to the bridge. "You're floating in the black Harry," Kaylee said sympathetically.
"It's black. It's nighttime. So what?"
"It's space kid … As in outer space … As in outside a planet's atmosphere."
Harry took a closer look and his eyes told him they were right. His mind didn't accept it. There were odd instruments all around him and outside, he could see some stars far away, but they were much larger than he remembered and they were not twinkling. He looked around him and saw all these unfamiliar people staring at him with curiosity and suspicion.
"No, that's not possible," Harry whispered finally. He couldn't accept that he was actually in space even if it seemed like these people were telling the truth. "This is crazy! Spaceships don't exist!"
"It is what it is kid," Mal said.
"Stay back," Harry mumbled and quick as a light he grabbed Mal's gun, "STAY BACK," he yelled. He trained the gun on Mal and kept moving it side to side trying to keep it on all the crew members at the same time.
"Whoa, whoa, you do not want to be playing with that kid," Mal said trying to placate Harry and signalled Zoe and Jayne to keep their weapons away.
"Who are you really?" Harry spat venomously. "You all are working for Voldemort aren't you?"
"Who the hell is Voldemort?"
"Don't lie! This is one of his mind games, isn't it? Don't think you can fool me!"
"Kid, Harry, look outside and tell me what you see?"
Harry was panting and was very close to a nervous breakdown. "I- there's nothing," he stammered.
"That's right and do you really think we're working for this Voldemort guy?" he asked solemnly.
"N-no, you all look like muggles to me," he said. He was losing it. His eyes and mind were telling him two very different stories.
"Whatever that word means, I won't take it as an insult," Mal said and edged closer to the boy. "Now just put the gun down and we'll talk without the need for violence understand?"
"No! Stay back!"
"Harry," Mal said calmly, "Take a deep breath and think. Are you really going to use that weapon? Do you even know how to use it?"
Harry's hands began to shake badly and he lowered the gun a little.
"Good," said the captain and punched Harry in the jaw knocking him out cold.
"Was that necessary cap'n?" Kaylee said dolefully. "He looked so lost and confused."
"A gun in the hand of an unstable person is much more dangerous than in the hands of one with the intent to use it, Kaylee," Mal said wisely. "Secure him, Jayne. We'll question him once he wakes up."
"With pleasure," Jayne said grinning with sadistic intentions.