Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Harry Potter is not mine but a product of Joanne Rowling's amazing imagination. I have written this story for fun, not earning a cent.
Summary: Many things are born from misunderstandings. Harry is having the worst moments of his life. It's his 6th year and yet he doesn't even get to go to Hogwarts. Sirius is dead and Harry is well on his way to join him and his parents. Everyone has abandoned the boy-who-lived but who is betrayed? Or does it depend from whose point of view you are looking from?
Ch.1 According to Dante, this is only the beginning
It was midnight. Harry was peacefully sleeping in his bed. His unfortunate address was Privet drive number four. The calendar on his wall, right next to his bed, showed that he only had seventeen days left until his sixth year at Hogwarts would start. A warm breeze waved the curtains framing his open window and let moonlight trail along the floor.
Suddenly there was a lot of noise coming from downstairs and the next second Harry was up. He had learnt to be one of those individuals who are at sleep at one moment and perfectly awake the next. He reached for his glasses while his other hand was already fumbling for his wand, ever present under his pillow. As he got his glasses on, the noise was already spreading over the house. He was sure he was hearing the tell tale sizzling sound of powerful spells. Someone was attacking his house and there weren't many who had reasons to do so. Reasonably thinking.
Quietly Harry hopped off his bed to press against the wall. Being as small of an open target as possible while he carefully approached the door. He heard someone rumbling up the stairs but that didn't mean someone wasn't already behind his door. Magic made sneaking way too easy. His uncle at least was already up and as usual, yelling his face blue. Then his aunt started to screm. Desperately he tried to wrench his door open. To hell with caution. He was a gryffindor anyway. But the door was bolted shut with too many locks. Some would call it karma on Uncle Vernon.
Dudley's door was smashed in and whether his cousin made any noises or not, they were swallowed by his aunt's shrilling scream, pleading to leave her little pumpkin alone.
"Dudley! My dearest, sweetu…" Petunias voice vanished as if cut from the air and only noise after that was the low murmur of the strangers in the house.
Harry, having his worst nightmares come true, slowly backed away from the door, truly as if in a dream. The Dursley's had never been the model family but they were HIS family and now the enemy had attacked and they were caught in the middle. Helpless against magic.
He felt like choking. His relatives might be dead by now and he had been sleeping. He hadn't been able to do a thing.
A small hoot behind his back brought him back. Hedwig!
"Hedwig! You need to get out of here!" Feverishly Harry rushed to work on the bolt on her cage. He had to save her, at least her. The attackers would soon crush in his door and then it would be too late.
He was probably a little too rough on her as she let out an angry squeal but Harry had no time. The window nearly broke when he practically hit it open. He looked down but no one was there. All the moving shadows were at the front door. That still didn't leave him any room to jump down. They would spot him in a second. But she could fly straight up and circle above and beyond sight.
"Listen to me, Hedwig!" He whispered to her frantically. "You go. Do you understand? I don't have a message for you but fly to Ron's and stay there." Harry looked at her straight in the eyes, trying to make her understand. She could be darn stubborn when she wanted.
"The most important thing I want you to do, is to stay safe? Please understand Hedwig." He pleaded.
She hopped on the windowsill and looked outside. Harry heard several steps to stop behind his door. Hedwig was still just standing there as if contemplating the situation. Looking around and always returning to him. Clearly she was uncertain whether to leave him or not.
"Please," Harry whispered.
His relief was unimaginable when, finally, Hedwig spread her white wings and took off into the night. He watched her disappear with much lighter heart. Then he looked down from his window and cursed that his broom and his father's cloak were securely locked away in the cupboard downstairs. Damn Vernon! He could try and jump but...
He spun around when he heard something hard to drop on the floor behind his door. The first padlock was off.
"Winston!" Someone shouted from downstairs and a young voice answered, right behind his door.
The voice seemed too young to belong to a death eater. Voldemort was recruiting his army desperately.
Harry jumped over his bed and pushed it over. He needed a shield. He wished he would've had a drawer or something else as heavy to bar the door but his aunt and uncle had stripped off most things from his room. Then again that would've been really uselful against spells.
There was a short pause at the door. Winston must've realised that he wasn't just opening a storage room.
Harry swallowed once. He found himself wondering the oddest thing. That Winston sounded like a Hufflepuff name. He had never imagined to be killed in the hands of a death eater called Winston... a Hufflepuff at that.
Then again, Pettigrew had been a Gryffindor.
His door crashed but did not cave in fully, only enough for him to see light pouring in from the cracks. He was holding his breath without even noticing and his heartbeat drummed loudly in his ears.
Suddenly, he heard some sizzling coming behind him and he lunged to the ground.
Small pieces of wood clattered around from as corner of his bed was reduced to shrapnel and the smell of smoke drifted in the room. He looked up from the floor and saw a black scorch mark on his bed. Then he turned to the window and saw that two wizards were right outside with brooms.
Swiftly Harry got to the other side of the bed, positioning it between himself and the window but he was trapped. Now his back was open to the door. And at that moment said door was blown to pieces and at least three wizards charged the room.
Something was nagging in Harry's head. Something was wrong with the Death Eaters.
Harry dodged a spell, rolled and fired one of his own.
"Stupefy!" His spell hit its target and a man went down.
"He's armed!" One of the robed men yelled and two more came into the room.
That was when Harry realized what had been bothering him. Not one of the attackers was wearing black robes. These men weren't death eaters.
Harry looked around while he lunged behind his bed. He nearly yelled in surprise when he recognized one of the attackers as Kingsley but the man was also targeting him. Two spells smashed the corner of his bed. Right the place where his head had been a second ago. One of the spells had come from Kingsley.
Harry was desperate. He had no idea what was going on. Why were aurors attacking his house? The only thing he knew was that he had to get out of there and fast. There were too many of them to stay and fight.
He leaped to the window, hoping to catch one of the flyers outside off guard and snatch a broom. After that he would be clear. No one could catch him.
Another spell missed and he bumped into his unsteady desk, sending a stack of letters he had got during the summer sprawling all over the floor.
He was nearly at the window. The flyers outside looked surprised and Harry was sure he was going to make it. Then his own expression changed when he recognized one of the men. Right in front of him was Walden Mcnair, now grinning manicly.
Harry tried to stop but he was already half jumping. He saw Mcnair coming closer and sizzles were closing in behind him. Then his head exploded and he didn't feel a thing anymore.
Harry was having a nightmare. He knew it had to be one.
His mother was screaming. "Please no! Not my Harry…!" and then there was a green flash and his mother disappeared.
But his mother was long dead and that's why it had to be a nightmare.
Harry was aching all over and he felt cold. Everything around him dimmed and he was seeing the dais from the department of mysteries. The veil was still there and so was Sirius.
He tried at yell to his godfather to come away from the veil but he had no voice. Sirius was looking exited to see him and waved happily.
Then a force, as if an invisible hand, pushed Sirius towards the veil and again Harry saw his godfather fall. He saw Sirius' face took that surprised look and then his godfather was gone. He heard voices of the dead people laughing at him behind the veil.
He opened his mouth to scream and very slowly a sound formed. Finally he was able to yell but then he forced his eyes open and noticed that he had thought wrong. The best he could do was a whimper. He was feeling so cold.
It took a while for Harry to adjust to the darkness but slowly he realized that he was in a cell, lying on a cot. No one was there. He was all alone and his side hurt. His head hurt.
He tried to call for someone, but his vocal chords seemed to have suffered too much. He thought he saw the veil moving in the corner and soon all the little noises sounded like echoes of that horrid laugh.
Harry squeezed his eyes close, tightly. He tried not to think about anything, the cold was filling him inch by inch.
After an hour or two, maybe more, Harry also recognised the source of his coldness. It was very familiar. He was sure there were dementors near by. The cold was like a wind, blowing harder every time the creatures were close and then it drifted away, but some always remained. Had they shipped him to Azkaban?
He shivered when his mother's cries got louder inside his head again. He felt very dizzy. Where was he and why?
After an unknown time he heard a key turning in the lock. Light took over the room and he barely made out two figures coming in the room. Two men.
The other one came to sit next to him and lifted his arms and forced his eyes open. The man had a wand.
"Well?" A voice came from afar.
"I am examining him," the man poking him answered.
"Is he conscious or not, Mr. Jameson?" the other voice demanded to know.
There was a short silence. Harry felt a spell cast on him.
"Hmm… he seems to be but I'm afraid the questioning has to wait a while more."
"If he is awake then there's no reason to wait," the other man sounded irritated.
"Yes there is if he can't talk. You can try but I doubt you will get any answers. As the official ministry mediwizard, I need to order you to wait. His throat needs to heal better or else he might stay mute for the rest of his life."
"Look, it's just a formality. The rest will be revealed in court. I will have Aurors Copart and Evie come and get him," the other man said from the door, sounding final.
"This is absurd. He is still a child! I've made my point clear. That potion is for adults!"
The loud voices hurt Harry's ears. The two continued arguing.
"His actions have proved him as one!" Angry.
"I realize the ministry was embarrassed but don't blame it on the innocent ones." Agitated.
There were steps and then there was only silence.
Harry's moment of peace turned out to be a short one as new men came and hoisted him up. He tried to tell them that his leg didn't carry him but as he couldn't talk, he sunk to the floor and hit his head. Everything seemed blurry and that was when he realized that he didn't have his glasses.
He felt himself rise. Obviously someone was levitating him off outside where the light was everywhere.
Harry tried to remember what had happened but his head hurt.
Then he was seated on a chair.
There was a lot of commotion and he kept his eyes closed.
"Is he awake?"
"We can't ask him questions when he is like that!"
"No! Don't!" someone yelled but too late. A spell hit him and Harry felt his eyes sting. His blood was flowing rapidly and making his ears hiss.
"Don't hit him with enervate when he doesn't need it! Stupid! Do you want that in the records?"
"Well, he is definitely awake now." Harry thought this voice was familiar and he nearly imagined a sneering face to go along with it. He couldn't quite grasp that piece of a memory.
"So, I-I can start the questions now?" An uncertain voice asked. It seemed older.
"Fire away. If he doesn't co-operate, we are authorized to use the serum," the earlier familiar voice answered.
Harry's desire to know who the speaker was was so great that he carefully opened his one eye a bit. The light hurt for a while and then he started to see blurry figures. He opened his mouth but nothing came out.
"W-What's wrong with him?" A trembling voice asked.
"Just start the questions or we'll be stuck here for the whole day!" New and irritated voice spat.
"M-Mr. Potter? Do you hear me? Could you state your full name?"
The man asking this seemed to be sitting in a chair in front of him. The man had papers and possibly glasses but Harry couldn't be sure.
"Please, Mr. Potter. Your name?"
Harry tried to answer. He really tried but his throat hurt and nothing came out. He remembered the doctor saying that he might become mute and for the first time a sharp emotion of fear sprung out the daze he was in.
He leaned back in his chair and shook his head. He couldn't speak.
"You refuse to state your name?"
Harry stopped shaking his head. No, he didn't refuse but he was unable to speak. He opened his other eye.
"State your name for the records, Mr. Potter?"
Harry opened his mouth and tried to make a sound, anything to come out but there was not even a whisper.
Suddenly he felt the cold coming up on him once again and he gurgled desperately. Didn't these men know what he saw when dementors were close by? Didn't they know that he had no defences against them now?
His inquisitors also seemed to notice who was coming and it caused a slight panic in the room. The small man with all the papers started to shake and finally shrieked something.
"Emerson, go get the serum!" A man ordered behind Harry and he tried to turn to look but his neck muscles disagreed. All the while he felt how the dementors were drawing closer.
A shaking young woman passed him and went to the door. She looked white.
Harry felt the exact moment when the dementors entered the room. He was on the brink of fainting and his mother started to scream.
A door was slammed somewhere and then his mouth was pried open. His world became even more blurry but thankfully his mother's screams also ended.
Someone was shaking him and then he was slapped. Harry wondered why the ministry had brought his aunt there and then he unrealistically started to worry how mad she would be when they would get back home. That was his last thought before the sweet oblivion overtook him.
The next time he woke up, he was alone. Harry looked around carefully. He had some fragments of memories that he couldn't explain or place. What had happened?
He wasn't in his bed at privet drive and neither was he at the cold cot he remembered hazily. He squinted his eyes; the lack of glasses didn't make it any easier to figure out his new environment. His bed felt soft and warm, his arm was bandaged. The tell tale signs of infirmary were all there. Not to mention that the whole place looked white, just like Madam Pomfrey's realm at Hogwarts.
His breathing hitched as he remembered the dementors and it took a long time to relax after he noticed that the coldness wasn't there anymore. He was thankful that he didn't hear his mother.
He leaned into the soft pillows; eyes closed and tried to comprehend what had happened. He remembered an attack, seeing Kingsley to try and curse him. He also thought he recognized two more faces as aurors. Someone he had seen when he had attended his hearing last year.
He hoped his aunt, uncle and cousin were all right.
Why had a fleet of aurors captured him? Was the ministry overthrown? Had Voldemort done something?
His head started to hurt and wanted to laugh. Hermione must've been right, as usual. It was better that she did the thinking because he and Ron might twist their brains if they tried this late in their lives. If he remembered correctly that was right after the second last test on their Owls not so long ago.
Then more memories returned and he sobered. He remembered someone wanting to know his name. Had it been an interrogation? There had seemed to be a lot of arguing. Someone had said something about a potion... a serum... a truth serum!
Harry felt himself panicking. There were many things he shouldn't say. What if he had told them about Snape and the order? Had he revealed some embarrassing moments of his life, like with Cho? Not to mention the really old stuff most people didn't knew about, like the chamber of secrets. How many knew about that? Or the fact that Hagrid had once had an illegal dragon? There were people at the ministry who would love to nail him for that.
He swallowed. His throat was dry. Had he babbled everything and that's why he was in the infirmary? They didn't need to torture him anymore?
Then he shook his head. The Ministry couldn't do that, there were laws. But why had the aurors attacked then? In what mess was he again?
Where were his friends? He had not heard anything from Hermione, Ron or Remus for a week. They had all written their hands sore to keep up with the 'a-letter-in-three-days' -routine and had finally given up. The last he had heard from them was when he had talked with Hermione over the phone. She was going to the Burrow and hoped that he could join them soon.
Were his friends all right?
The ignorance was burning him and his throat was suddenly too dry to tolerate. Harry tried to look for a glass of water but there was not even a table nearby.
He was half slumbering when he heard voices.
"...not that I am saying but this feels a little frustrating. Why couldn't we just place a monitoring charm on him? Walking here every hour to check on him is time away from the other patients and that we both need to come?! As if he could do anything. A child still and weak from questioning," a female voice was complaining.
"Muriel, don't say that. Haven't you read the papers?" The new speaker was a younger woman.
"Pfff! Rumours. Don't you remember what they did last year and everybody was suddenly proved to be lying. I wouldn't trust that Prophet if my life depended on it. I admit, there has to be crumbs of truth but everything else is air. They even suggested last night that he is in league with you-know-who!" Muriel snapped irritated and Harry was surprised by her attitude and he wished she would tell something more. What was it that they thought he had done?
"So, you still do read them?" There was a lot of smile in the young voice.
Harry's throat begun to tickle. He really needed water but he wanted to hear more. He tried to hold back the coughing that was coming so long that his eyes were weeping. Muriel answered something but he was concentrating too hard to hear it. Then he couldn't hold it anymore.
He started coughing and felt like his lungs would come out. He tasted blood.
The two mediwitches first screamed and then rushed over to him and he couldn't stop. He wanted to ask them all the questions that had haunted him ever since he woke up and his own inability to do so was very frustrating.
The younger witch stayed back and only moved on Muriel's order. The older, brown haired mediwitch finally put a cup of something on his lips and thankfully he drank it. Not even stopping to think what it was.
That was a mistake as he soon felt himself extremely sleepy. He tried to ask the questions that had been tormenting him but could only moan. He reached to grasp the nurse and felt her sleeve. She jumped back, shocked.
Harry realized that he had scared her. Depressed, he let go. She wouldn't trust him now and would hardly tell him anything.
Sleep took him and wiped away all his thoughts.
Harry felt his mind drifting back to him once more. He had the oddest sensation that he had been awake few times earlier but he didn't remember a thing.
This time he let his thoughts gather before trying to see where he was. He had a memory, of his own bed at privet drive but he was taken from there. Then he vaguely remembered the cold cot, after that the voice and a chair. Then he had been in hospital where he had scared the nurses' half dead and after that he remembered a yellowish room.
He got more glimpses about that same room. Aurors watching him and asking questions. Aurors just staying there, silent. He had a bed there and a small table, even few chairs and an ugly, green carpet.
Ever so slowly he started to feel around with his fingertips. He felt that someone else was in the room with him and so he didn't immediately open his eyes. After all, all the useful information he had acquired was when people thought him to be unconscious.
"No need to fake sleep, Potter," the voice was the same he remembered from the chair.
Harrys eyes snapped open.
The room was dimly lit and it was the yellow – well, more or less orange room he thought he remembered. But he wasn't interested in that. His eyes landed on a man sitting in a chair at the end of his bed.
He wanted to scream. He was looking straight at Walden Mcnair and his malicious looking grin.
"Thought I was rotting away in Azkaban, did you Potter? Didn't your little friends tell you that I was acquitted?" The man roared with cruel laughter. "I was the hero worker who was doing his duty, chasing the evil death eaters around the ministry!"
Harry wanted to argue. How could anyone have released the man?
As if his mind wanted to answer, an image of stuttering Cornelius Fudge glided pass his eyes and he sighed. Trust that man to be such a fool.
"But let me tell you, Potter," Mcnair was leaning closer now and had clasped his arm in a tight hold. "Others that weren't as lucky as I are going to celebrate when you land right there with them. And don't expect anyone to save you. They have all been taken cared of."
Harry started to struggle. What had they done to his friends? Were the Weasley's all right and what about Hermione and Remus?
"W-hat have yo-u done?" he croaked out.
Mcnair laughed again.
"Not a mute after all. I was so hoping to have achieved even that," then the man leaned back into his chair and glared at him. "You really helped. You shouldn't have embarrassed the ministry like you did. Pulling everything off has been a piece of cake but I'm not going to ruin it all for you." Mcnair smiled, revealing his teeth and looking very much like a dog ready to tear on its prey. "It is a surprise."
Harry couldn't help but to shiver.
Time passed. He didn't ask anything and Mcnair didn't open his mouth again. He couldn't relax in the man's presence, knowing he was a death eater. Instead he tried to make some sense out of it all.
Mcnair was a hero and he was at the ministry, being kept as a prisoner. But he hadn't done anything! What could they possible accuse him from. Certainly he hadn't done any magic. He had been with his relatives for the whole summer. So whatever they were holding him here for, was not true. Voldemort could've fed the papers false stories and Mcnair could've forged anything he wanted, but Harry was sure he was innocent.
Then he remembered that he was now placing his hopes on the ministry who had employed Umbridge and Percy and who was led by a man that had set Mcnair free.
No, he wasn't. He was placing his hopes on Dumbledore and his friends and on the order of the phoenix. He just hoped that whatever Mcnair was referring to, was a blatant lie. That nothing had happened to his friends. The man was only trying to agitate him.
Eventually someone else took Mcnair's place. Harry didn't know the man but after all the lies Mcnair told the newcomer about what he had done now that he was awake, the man took the chair and moved as far away in to the corner as he could. Then the auror cast a silencing charm on him. Not that he would've asked anything, the man looked ready to hex him if he even as much as coughed.
That was the way it went. Every three hours there was a change. No one came in that he knew. Someone obviously did report up that he was awake, as Harry was sure he saw Amelia Bones peek into the room once. He knew her because she had been present at his hearing a year ago. She was the head of the Magical Law Enforcement Department.
A small hope lit inside Harry. Mrs. Bones' daughter, Susan, had been a member of his DA group last year. Surely she had informed her mother that what ever they were holding him here for was a lie.
That hope slowly grew inside him during the next two days or so. It was impossible to tell the time as there was no clock or a window in the room but patiently Harry counted the shifts his guards had.
He tried to talk to one of them once, as he didn't hear the previous guard to repeat the horrid tales of Mcnair to him. It was no use. First the man stared at him and after he had asked about his friends and the Weasley's, the man started to try and kill him with his glare. For the whole three hours the auror poisonously looked at him and when the next came in, the man did the same as Mcnair had done.
Twice in a day they gave him food and strangely he didn't need to use the bathroom even once. It had to be a spell.
Two days was a long time without anything to do. Once he was stunned because he was having a nightmare and the guard had been scared boneless by his screams.
Two days was a long time to let your mind wander and think. Though the hope of Mrs. Bones was growing, so was also the fear for his friends. Why had no one come to see him? Hadn't they been allowed even to send a note? Why he was here? Two days was also long enought to devision 82 escape plans and scratch all of them.
Once Harry even let himself reason with the Ministry but all his logic failed when he came against the facts that Umbridge, a ministry official, was ready to use one of the unforgivables, cruciatus, on him or that he had been tried by the full Wizengamot for a small misdemeanour of underage magic. And then there was the fact that Mcnair was running free and dosing him with veritaserum when he felt like it. There truly was a lot that was rotten in the current Ministry.
Eventually Harry just resigned to wait. Something was bout to happen sooner or later.
Finally it did and he hoped that it hadn't.
Mcnair came in again with two other wizards and one witch. One of the men was a clerk, and the witch was a nurse. The evil glimpse in Mcnair's eyes didn't promise anything good.
Harry wondered if he was the only one sensing hostility in Mcnair's voice.
"As you have recovered from your last time, we are trying again. Veritaserum," Mcnair smiled and waved a little blue bottle.
Then he continued speaking almost lazily, "this is an official Ministry hearing and all the sides are represented. This session is recorded by a clerk and witnessed by one and a nurse is also made available if Mr. Potter's weak physic again requires it…"
Blind panic was overtaking Harry as he heard the death eater ramble on. They were going to make him swallow the serum again?! No. They…He had to stop them.
"Who is here on my behalf?" He asked. He hated that his voice was trembling.
Mcnair halted in his speech and looked at him. Even the clerk raised his eyes from his papers to stare.
"Mr. Potter, this little bottle is here on your behalf. On the side of the truth," Mcnair said seriously but Harry didn't like the way his eyes were hungrily looking at him.
The other wizard, the witness, eagerly jumped on the chance to speak to him. "Afraid of the truth, Mr. Potter? Of all the dark secrets we might discover? There has been several questions about your being here on the evening of June the twenty-first, you know?" The man was now sounding extremely angry and almost spitting on him.
"Auror Evergreen, get a hold of yourself. Mrs. Bones will get to ask her questions later, after the court," Mcnair had to physically intervene and push the other man back bodily.
Harry was feeling even more confused than before. There was going to be a court?
"What court? Why am I here?" he asked, hoping to finally get an answer.
"Playing dumb won't help you now, Potter," Mcnair said a little out of breath. "The court needs your testimony under the veritaserum and that is what we are here for. Let's continue."
Mcnair unsealed the small bottle and came closer.
Harry backed away. Suddenly remembering Snape's words that only very foolish people took the serum voluntarily.
He had secrets he couldn't tell. Not to the Ministry and certainly not to Mcnair who was now sneering at him. Clearly the man had been waiting this opportunity to question him for his master.
"Stop fidgeting, Potter." Mcnair grabbed him roughly by his neck but didn't manage to pry his head up. The man was taking pleasure of hurting him. Finally, he took a step back.
"Clerk, write up that Mr. Potter resisted. Evergreen, stun him."
Harry tried to jump up but the auror was too fast.
Harry felt the spell hit him in the middle of his back.
Mcnair said something and Harry felt himself to turn over.
His mouth was forced open.
He couldn't tell them. So many would be placed in danger. He knew he had to resist the potion. He remembered Crouch jr. and when Dumbledore had questioned him. The man had spilled everything.
He couldn't tell them. No, no, no! I need to forget. I need to resist.
It's like imperius. I feel so light. This is going to be so easy.
Harry felt himself sunk into something very soft. He had no cares or worries in the world. He knew he would be safe where he was forever. He was slumbering and relaxing. He breathed deep and smiled.
"What is your name?" A very nice voice asked him. Harry thought it reminded a lot of Ron's voice but why would he be asking his name. Not that it mattered. Everything was so perfect that he had no reason not to answer. It didn't even cross his mind.
"Harry Potter," he sighed surprisingly clearly.
"Who were your parents?" The nice voice asked him again and Harry fell even more asleep.
Actually he didn't even remember answering, "Lily and James Potter."
"What was your purpose here at the Ministry of magic at the night of June the…"
"Evergreen! You are not asking the questions here!"
Arguing. Not that he cared as no one asked anything.
"Will you be silent?"
"Yes, if I am asked to," Harry answered from his slumber. He was actually quite glad that someone had asked him a question. It felt good to answer and not hide anything.
"Where were you on the night of the twelfth of August this year?"
"I was home, in my room."
"Where is your home?"
"In Little whining, Surrey. I live at Privet Drive number four," Harry obediently answered. He did anything to help.
"He is lying!" someone said from very far away.
"Who brewed this potion?" It was a question but he didn't understand it. He saw in front of him a small bottle and tried frantically to search marks on it. He knew there had to be initials somewhere. His head started to hurt and he knew he was doing a very bad thing for not answering.
He felt like crying. He absolutely knew many lives depended on him and him getting this answer right. His brains started to dig up information to help him.
"It is called veritaserum. It's inventor and such the first to brew a similar potion was an alchemist named Guillaume. Now days brewing such a powerful potion is carefully regulated and as this one is actually used by the Ministry, it needs to be done by a trusted and well-qualified potion master. That is if Mcnair hasn't gotten it…"
"STOP! That is not a question for you," someone ordered him and took his headache away.
Harry was so thankful. He knew his world was currently being a little off, he just couldn't place how. Not that he wanted either.
"Gentlemen, I point out the need for caution when you are speaking. I am not here only because Mr. Potter has had a rejection to the potion."
"This potion isn't a fluke. He is resisting it somehow!"
"No one can do that!"
"He is the boy-who-lived. He is affected by that scar and it is on his head. We need to increase the dosage."
"Auror Mcnair, you will do no such thing. That is directly against the law. Under which you are working in here by the way though you may not be a sworn in auror but the law definately binds you as well."
"He is a - … We need to know where they are that is if they -…"
So many people were talking now that Harry was finding it hard to hear if there was a question somewhere. He didn't manage to hear even half of the words; his head was beginning to hurt again.
"I am washing my hands then. I am leaving and without me, this will not hold up in court. I will also alert your superiors!"
After that, it became silent. His headache went away again but he was aching from somewhere else that he couldn't pinpoint.
"Open your mouth, Mr. Potter," someone gave him a direct order and Harry felt his mouth open. He was surprised. He hadn't made it open up.
"Are you sure…"
"Shut up! We need to know the truth for those doubters amongst the judges."
Harry's head lolled back. He didn't hear clearly anymore.
"St-pi- y-u -r- ki-l-g -im!" The voices made no sense to him anymore.
Suddenly he was burning all over. He couldn't breath. He was choking.
The warm bed he thought he had been sleeping on was sucking him in. With everything he had, Harry tried to pry himself away. It was holding him tightly. He needed air. A black cloth landed on him and he was suffocating. He tried to claw his way out but his hands were grasping nothing.
Was this like Sirius had felt when he had fell through the veil?
A sharp pain in his back made him scream out. Another spike came from his left knee. He blew all his air out but got nothing in return. He clawed.
Once more it was very cold when he woke up. This time he certainly wasn't alone. There were many voices all around and he couldn't explain it but he was sure someone had hit him with enervate again.
His head hurt and his throat was sore. Then he jumped up. He had been suffocating.
Hands grabbed him hard and hauled him back. Harry tried to resist but it was no use. There were too many hands.
"Someone patch him up. We have no time for healers now."
Harry recognized the voice. It was Kingsley. Immediately he lifted his head and started searching the man.
He felt dizzy. "What happened?" he moaned.
The room became silent.
"You should have told the truth Mr. Potter. Unaware of the side effects, junior auror Mcnair added three drops to get you speaking," Kingsley answered him and now Harry noticed the man standing behind a blond haired, stern looking witch.
"Did I?" He asked with trepidation.
"No, you did not. Too bad for you."
WHAT?! Harry was confused. Why would Kinsley want him to babble out order secrets and for instance the fact that the man was working as a some sort of a spy for Dumbledore?
His trail of thought was interrupted, not that it was very clear in the beginning, when cold once again seeped through the walls and filled his veins with ice.
"Dementors…" he whispered, trembling.
Only Kingsley had the strength to look at him, pityingly. "I'd forgotten how they effect you, Potter. You're their target now and will be getting the most of it, I guess."
Harry nearly displaced his neck as he whipped his head up to stare at the man. How could the man that had been working side by side with his parents, talk about their deaths like that? Why was the man being so nonchalant about this all?
Harry shook his head. It hurt. His throat was raw and his mother was starting again.
He was hoisted up from his chair and his mother was praying for him, for his life. He heard Voldemort laugh.
Harry knew the best defence against dementors was a happy thought so strong that it could form out to be a patronus. Too bad he didn't have his wand. Too bad all his good thoughts started out as, 'Remus taught me the spell…' and then he started to worry if Remus and his other friends were all right. Too bad his head wasn't clear enough because of all the veritaserum. Just like Mcnair had wanted to.
Harry felt something cold to touch him. With the clearness of sight, not even looking up, he knew it was a dementor. The cold seeped through his skin and filled him with despair. Horrible images passed his eyes of a place so dark and filled with evil that nothing survived in it. Nothing except creatures that had the same sort of darkness in them. He saw shrivelled arms reach out through small holes in the wall. He saw bulging eyes to stare at him, seeing things that weren't there. He heard the screams of madness echoing around.
He cried when he saw his mother as one of them, holding him as a baby and Voldemort was standing behind her. Engulfed in a green light and laughing, vengefully.
He blacked out.
Harry wanted to curse. Hate was finally coming to his aid.
He had been woken up with a spell again.
He heard a strange, squeaking sound. Then something wrapped around him and fear took over.
He snapped his eyes open, or as much as he was able to as he realized that he was not in his best condition.
Blood fled him as he looked around and saw that he was once again in the courtroom ten. Sitting in the chair of the accused and this time he was chained to it. The room was full with people. He didn't hear them but he was sure they made a lot of noise. He didn't see anyone familiar.
He looked where he knew his judges would be. They occupied the higher benches but he didn't recognize many of them. Mrs. Bones was there just like before, Umbridge thankfully wasn't and neither was Percy. Two seats in the front row were empty. Other one meant for Fudge. Harry wasn't sure if he imagined it but all the judges seemed to be much older people than during the last time he had been there.
He didn't understand a thing. Why was he there? Why were the audience there? He did know one person, Rita Skeeter. A man next to her was snapping photographs.
Harry felt his vision blur and black spots were dancing everywhere. His head hurt and the ominous silence though so many people were around him was awful.
He saw someone short to arrive at the judge's stand. It had to be Fudge. That didn't make him feel any better.
He was trying to look around for the Weasley's red hair or anyone he knew but no one was there. He was really starting to be afraid that Voldemort had done something to his friends.
His breathing hitched and caused him to cough. A drop of blood dropped to his clothes. He hadn't even realized it before but he was still dressed up in his oversized muggle clothing.
His heartbeat drummed in his ear and it took too much just to stay awake. His head rolled to the side and he gave up.
Then he was up again. The reviving spell really did its job and he really hated it. The false clarity was deceiving.
He looked up at the judges again and his heart fluttered. Dumbledore was sitting there, right next to Fudge.
Harry couldn't begin to explain how relieved he felt. Dumbledore was going to be one of his judges and the old man would make everything right again. This was just some silly mistake that was easily proven wrong.
Then he noticed that the courtroom door was opened and closed. A group of people came in, some of them had red hair. Harry smiled widely. The cavalry had arrived. Soon he would get out of here and be treated back to his own self in the infirmary. Someone would explain how in earth he had gotten himself into one of these situations again. He wanted to cry for being so happy.
The group descended the stairs and eventually Harry made out whom few of them were. Hermione was easily recognized, as her bushy hair was still as noticeable as always. To his amazement he saw Professor McGonagall next to her and then someone dark, reminding him very much of Snape but that couldn't be. Then there was a hoard of red. It had to be Ron who was sitting on to Hermione's other side and someone short and thin was next to him. Ginny. Next to her was Mrs. Weasley and to Harry's enjoyment, Percy.
So, he has finally come back home. His mother has to be happy. Harry was nearly able to snicker that Ron and the twins probably weren't that happy. The chains were too cold though to just push off from your mind.
Speaking about the twins, there were only two red heads left. Mr. Weasley and probably Charlie. Harry didn't see clearly enough. After them he thought he saw Remus and possibly Tonks, as the very old and wrinkled woman couldn't be anyone else. Then there was Moody but no one else.
He shrugged. Perhaps the rest weren't bothered to come.
He ignored the nagging voice that said that if this trial was going to be such fun as he thought, the twins and Bill would hardly miss it.
"Everyone, settle down. The court is about to begin," a voice boomed so that even he heard it.
Fudge stood up, pompously as always. "This is a trial, taking place on the twentieth of August. The accused, Harry Potter, resident at number four, Privet Drive, Little Whining, Surrey, has committed several crimes against the laws set by the Ministry of Magic. As judges are: Cornelius Oswald Fudge, Minister for Magic; Amelia Susan Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement; Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, a member of the Wizengamot and a headmaster of Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry…"
Harry was failing to put his interest to listening the words. The dementors were near by and he was starting to fear them. He could admit that to himself. He was a fool if he didn't fear creatures that made him faint and could suck his soul out.
He seeked his friends. He needed some support. Someone who was with him and would make him concentrate. He turned to the group of people again.
He was dropping in his chair again and soon he knew he would again black out. The cold was so heavy on him. Even being surrounded by all these people mattered no more, that they would see how weak he was. That they would know that he had been sleeping while his relatives were attacked. Then he saw Hermione.
Harry squinted his eyes but she seemed to evade him. Frowning, he turned to Ron. Ron surely realized what he was doing and would…
Ron was looking at him but he was not happy or desperate or in any way helpful. His friend was angry. His best friend was nearly purple in his face. Harry swallowed and looked on the other side of the room but he didn't see anyone there for being the target of the hate.
Why? That was the question he wanted answered now more than ever.
"The charges," Fudge was for once on the same wavelength as he. "The accused knowingly and possibly deliberately caused with his actions on the twelfth of August of the passing year, the disappearance and possible death of Fred Weasley and the disappearance and possible death of George Weasley. Breaking the very laws of this Wizengamot and several laws of the current Ministry considering bringing deliberate harm on other magical creatures and …"
Harry didn't hear Fudge anymore. He didn't feel his headache anymore. His cheek was burning as if someone had hit him, hard.
Fred and George were… gone? Where? Why was he sitting here?
The awfulness of the situation begun to come clear to him. This was Mcnair's surprise. This was the reason the auror had looked at him with disgust when he had asked him about his friends.
His tired brains couldn't handle it all. A tear dropped to his cheek and rolled down. He was having hard time to breathe. Where were Fred and George?
He started to pull his arms free.
WHERE WERE THE TWINS? A loud voice yelled inside his head. Shattering his ears.
He coughed. More blood trickled down. He pulled the chains, they rattled but didn't give in. He yanked and felt something dig into his wrist but he didn't care anymore.
Where were Fred and George? What had happened to them? They couldn't be gone. Not again. Not like Sirius. Please… not like Sirius.
Harry swayed on the brink of passing out. So long that the nurse approached him with an auror. She examined him, said something to the auror and took out her wand.
Harry arched of the chair as if electrocuted.
Fred and George were gone and he was sitting there being prosecuted of killing them.
"What is the matter? Is the accused not able to attend and if not, why?" Someone asked and Harry thought it to be Fudge. He fought against the blackness. He couldn't give up now that he could defend himself. He wanted to get out of the damn chair and go search the twins. He was sure Mcnair knew something. They couldn't just be gone!
"The court is notified that the accused is still suffering from his experience with the required Veritaserum but that the medical opinion is that the trial can continue."
Harry was pleased to hear that. The nurse hit him with another spell and he felt like he had eaten too much sugar and coffee.
Immediately he turned to look at the Weasley's.
He shook his head. He hadn't done it.
Hermione wasn't looking. Ron was just as red as before. None of them understood. He looked further. McGonagall was sternly facing him and he tried to plead her to understand. He opened his mouth to talk.
" – " But nothing came out. He had a silencing spell on. Why? Who put it there?
He searched pass Snape and ended up looking at Remus. The man looked pale as always but he also looked sad.
Harry wanted to scream and yell that he had not done it. Why did they believe so?
"Mr. Potter," Fudge said.
Harry turned when he was called.
"Did you plan the candies to do what they did on purpose?"
Harry frowned. What candies, to do what?
He opened his mouth and tried to utter a sound but failed. Then he tried again. He looked up pleadingly and again opened his mouth and told them silently that he had not done anything.
Dumbledore leaned to say something to Fudge.
"Is the accused under any spells?"
No one answered for a while, and then an auror stepped encertainly forward. "We do not know, Minister."
"Then check!" That was Fudge at his best. Barking orders that he knew would be followed.
The auror came near him, Harry felt it and saw the man's robe's hem. The man cast something on him and then repeated it. Harry didn't like the feel of forced spells on him anymore.
"Only a silencing spell, Minister. Shall I take it off?"
"Yes, yes. Get on with it."
Another unwanted spell and it hurt his throat or made it hurt.
"Hem, I shall repeat. Did you do what you did purposely, Mr. Potter?"
"I didn't do it!" Harry yelled and then lurched onwards, feeling empty.
"Mr. Potter, perhaps you have not understood the question. You are a little confused now. I asked if you planned to use the candies you had made with Fred Weasley earlier that day. Under the eyes of his brother, Ronald Weasley, in their room. The court wishes to know when was the first time you planned to use the candies on anyone? And if you knew exactly what they did?"
"I don't know what - - you are talking about. The last time I saw neither of the twins was at the train station. When we were returning from the school."
Long silence. Harry sighed. He had no strength left to look up but he was sure his words were heard. Ron would believe him rather than Fudge and Hermione would look at him again. He just had to take a breath before looking at them.
"I-Is that your… final testimony. That you have no knowledge of the events that took place at the place called Burrow on august the twelfth? That you have not even been there during all this summer?"
Vigorously Harry nodded his head up and down. Soon he would get off from the cursed chair.
"Well then, would the clerk that was present during the questioning of the accused under the influence of veritaserum come forth and read the report?"
Something was wrong. Why were they still continuing this? He had said he was innocent.
Harry forced his head up. He was seeing practically nothing.
A monotonous voice started reading something. "…the accused pointed out that he was home during the happenings. The interrogator asked him to tell where his home was. The accused repeated his official home address. This led all people at present to doubt the potion and the question was shot in the air about who had brewed it. The accused tried to answer…"
"…This all led to doubt if the accused," Harry jumped back to reality. The clerk was still going on.
"…was too resilient against the potion or that perhaps his scar maybe effecting him and nullifying any mind effecting magic. The dosage was agreed to add to six drops. Nurse Winterhill begged to disagree and left the room. The accused was no longer able to answer any questions."
Harry cursed that he was so weak and he cursed that his head was a boiling brew of bubotuber pus and he cursed that he couldn't hear the audience.
"There was an overdosage of Veritaserum to a boy of his age? Who was the leading interrogator?" A new voice, female, one of the judges, asked.
"This is not a trial to deal with the ministry's inner problems, Madam Bones," Fudge pointed out, irritated.
Just like he had done when Harry had been in this room the last time. Though now there was no Dumbledore to step up in his defence. No shaggy Mrs. Figg to testify. No one was waiting him outside.
Harry looked up again and leaned back. He was using every bit of strength he had. He had now realized that he was still very much effected by the serum and he had not, as he had first believed, been unconscious for hours or days after the last dosage. Rather it was only few minutes.
No, he had been revived immediately and dragged here by the Dementors.
Harry felt miserable and though he was surrounded by so many, he also felt lonely. Why did his friends believe that he had done something to Fred and George? How could he do anything to those two? Didn't they know he would rather die than harm any he considered as family?
Fudge was blabbering gibberish and few of the judges were blabbering back. Harry didn't understand a thing.
Not until a familiar, low voice asked for silence. He looked up and saw a very blurry grey dot with neon blue robes. It had to be Dumbledore.
He was called.
"Y-es." He thanked all the deities for the serum that still forced him to answer a direct question.
"Did you visit the Burrow this summer?"
"N-o." Harry sighed.
"You were seen there. You spent several days with your friends and they thought you were you?"
"N-o. I was w-th my rela-tives. Ask th-m."
"You haven't been told that…"
"There was a slight accident when you were arrested. It happened that your aunt got caught in the middle of several hexes and she is still recuperating in the hospital, unable to talk, unconscious. Your uncle was stunned and before anyone noticed, an auror had obliviated him as a common procedure. And finally, your cousin was tended by a muggle doctors who have not yet released him. The last he was seen he was still suffering from a severe shock. Unable to even tell his own name," Dumbeldore's voice faded out.
Harry looked up. So, they haven't killed his family but his cousin was a loonie, his uncle an amnesiac and his aunt suffering from unknown. Harry stared ahead, unseeingly.
Somewhere Fudge was raising his voice. "…not a time for sympathy votes, Dumbledore!"
"If the Ministry has not fulfilled its duty then…"
It all slipped pass Harry. He was half dead and tired.
He lifted his head as if to look at Ron and Hermione. Desperately he squinted and his once friend was frantically waving to his mother and then pointed at his direction. Harry might have thought that he was asking them to help him but he had known Ron long enough to know the difference. He was currently being called by several ugly names, not least a liar. Ron truly thought he had done something to Fred and George.
Ron didn't believe him, like in his fourth year.
Harry seeked Hermione and saw her looking at him. She had been crying. She was clearly torn in two. On the other hand, if he would be sitting here accused of killing anyone else but a Weasley or a Granger, Harry knew his friends would support him, at least she would. But now she had to choose between him and Ron.
Harry was sure that otherwise they would be at his side… Or would they? Was their friendship such a flimsy thing?
Harry passed everyone else but stopped his eyes at Remus. The werewolf had stood by Sirius though he was believed to have killed his three closest friends. Would Remus stand by him, the son of James Potter?
Harry's world crumbled like a stack of cards when Remus turned away and reached out to comfort Molly.
So that's why he had seen no one during his imprisonment. They had not cared.
Harry sniffed. He was hanging on the support of the chains now. His mind was not hanging on anything anymore. He had no one.
Only few things penetrated Harry's world anymore. He just sat there. The judges argued and witnesses changed. Then came a voice that did the last thing to shatter him.
"State your name."
"Ronald Weasley," Ron's voice was angry. Spiteful, hateful.
"Would you tell the court what happened during the time that is in question here?"
"Sure," it was spat. "He, Potter."
Not Harry. Not anymore.
"Came to our house on the tenth of this month. He was himself. He is just trying to avoid things by lying straight to our faces!" Ron yelled. Someone asked him to stop it.
"My brothers have a joke shop on Diagon Alley and they were inventing new candies for sale. I helped them with Potter. No one noticed anything wrong and you don't exactly expect a rat like that to spike them with poison or something…"
Harry knew Ron was too angry and he was too weak. Words wafted over him and he suffered. Ron was thinking that he was like Pettigrew. It hurt.
Ron said he had planned it all. That he was evil. That he was jealous about the twins' success. He had given the twins candies he had made, forced them to take them and then they had disappeared. Ron yelled that he better not have killed them.
Harry felt something broke inside him. "I didn't! I couldn't! Please believe me!" He was begging, pleading and now he was happy that he didn't hear the audience.
Ron voice was snarling when he said, "You have always liked lying too much, Potter. Keeping things from us. You cowardly fled after my brothers were gone! To those muggle relatives of yours. You probably have lied us about them too!" Ron could be cruel when he wanted to.
After that, Dumbledore was called and a very tiny fleck of hope lit inside Harry. He was too tired to look anymore so he just listened.
Dumbledore's calm voice stated the man's long name. There were only few questions.
'Had Dumbledore seen him during the summer?'
Yes, apparently he had.
'Did Dumbledore suspect that he wasn't himself?'
No, Dumbledore was quite certain that Harry was himself at the time. A little shocked and suffered due to the happenings at the end of his school year but nothing more.
Harry forced himself to look up. He was desperate. He didn't understand why the man lied. He didn't allow himself to imagine that Dumbledore had some weird rescue plan for him anymore. He only hoped for his glasses so that he could see those omniscient eyes once more. Strength that he could ask: why?
Finally, after an eternity, a rumbling voice said. "Votes!"
Then, "Harry Potter, you are hereby found guilty for the crimes you are accused of. The deed is looked upon as an involuntary accident but as the nature and your own actions have proven, doubt lingers our mind. You are hereby sentenced for five years to the wizarding prison, Azkaban. You are…"
"No!" Harry yelled but he wasn't sure if he managed to make a sound.
Dementors were coming again. He felt them from far.
"Please, don't!" Another tear trickled down. Even he in his state saw that the court was a mockery so why didn't men like Dumbledore saw it?
The dementors entered the room and he shivered.
"Please, no Harry! Anything else. Take me but not my son!" His mother was again screaming desperately and it echoed exactly his own sentiments. Anything else but this.
He tried to get out of the chains but he was too weak or too confused. The chains seemed alive. Then an icy hand grabbed his shoulder.
"Please," was the last word he echoed quietly.
"Harry, why did you do it? Your father and I gave so much for you," his mother said to him accusingly. Voldemort laughed.
He felt his head bob from side to side, something cold was everywhere. He could nearly feel the salt in the air, at least he smelled it. He was in a boat and he was sick.
His mother screamed again and Voldemort still laughed. Harry knew that somewhere was a place and where he was now wasn't real but he just didn't quite grasp the line. He was left all alone in his nightmares. He was all alone in everywhere.
The trip to Azkaban was never a happy one.
A/N. This is my new story. Please don't have my head on the plate. If you like it, please review. Didn't like it, still review. Thought I should've done something differently, do tell and if you absolutely hate it, please spare me.