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Legend

"Speaking"

'Thoughts'

~Parselmouth~

Flashback

Text directly from one of JK's Marvelous Books; Spells

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WARNING: UNEXPECTED AND RATHER GRUESOME TORTURE SCENE DURING FLASHBACK. If there's a chance it might set you off or if you are rather queasy, PLEASE SKIP IT.

Onwards towards the Story~

When Harry came to the next morning, he was well-rested; he was right in his prediction that he wouldn't have any nightmares after the big shopping trip the previous day. Harry still felt warm tingles every time he thought about how much money was spent on him. On the one hand, he was still feeling hesitant about the fact that Lucius had spent quite a bit of money on him yesterday- he wasn't even going to go into the man's strange behavior- because it was ingrained into him that he was a freak and that freaks didn't deserve any money to be spent on them whatsoever (he knew differently now, of course, but conditioning from such a young age is rather difficult to change, after all). On the other hand, he was over the moon that he was getting so many new clothes and toys to play with (he mainly blamed this overexcitement on the instincts of the two-year-old him rather than his seventeen-year-old self). What was even better, though, was the treatment given to him by Lily and Lucius yesterday. Their worry and concern for him was so sincere that Harry knew, without a doubt, that they were telling the truth. Harry could count on one hand how often he had felt that safe and secure before the end of his first year at Hogwarts. The fact that he had totally passed out in Lucius Malfoy, of all people's, arms was amazing in itself.

'If only every night could be like that,' Harry thought to himself, a jaw-cracking yawn interrupting him as he rubbed his eyes, the stuffed goat falling from his hands. Harry grinned happily as he looked down at it, remembering the kind actions of the Headmaster. He could only wonder how he was faring right now; the last time Harry had seen Dumbledore, the elderly wizard was asleep in the Hogwarts Infirmary under the influence of the Draught of Living Death. By now, he should be healed enough that he was able to interact with everyone back home. Speaking of, Harry wondered how his other friends were doing right now. The final battle was over, and Harry hoped that his friends had survived. He didn't even want to think of returning to a time where everyone he held dear was dead. A pair of gray, agonized eyes flashed to the front of his thoughts and Harry couldn't stop himself from reliving the end of the Triwizard Tournament…

Flashback

Harry awakened slowly, the feeling in his body gradually creeping back into him. As he was expecting, his sight came back last, despite the fact that he had spell-work done to prevent him from wearing glasses (and boy wasn't that a fun weekend spent in the Infirmary. Unfortunately, he woke up to hear Pettigrew speak the words that would pretty much damn his existence for years.

"Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe." (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).

The pain of the knife tearing into his arm certainly brought Harry to full attention. However, it was the cold, high-pitched laughter that sent a chilling tendril of fear throughout Harry's body, shaking him at his core. The cruel laugh he had heard as a baby and the laugh he had heard every time he had faced Voldemort since then. The cold tendril remained in his body as Voldemort, newly revived, stepped out of the cauldron, his eyes burning a blood-thirsty red. Voldemort then called for his followers, his eyes flickering over to Harry every so often, a predator making sure his prey remained where he was (and really, Harry wasn't going anywhere. He currently was tied up to a gravestone, and rather well at that. He thought, with morbid curiosity, that it was one of those boy-scout knots that Dudley and he- because of course Dudley couldn't do anything he felt was humiliating without Harry doing it too- had learned how to do back when he was six or seven. Idly, Harry wondered why of all times he was reminiscing about his horrible childhood).

Finally, when all of the Death Eaters were kneeling before their Lord- Harry kept his thoughts firmly on the matter at hand- Voldemort spoke once again.

"Welcome, my faithful followers. It has been many years since we have seen one another, well over a decade, in fact…" Voldemort trailed off, his voice growing soft. Harry tensed, his instincts warning him that this was a very dangerous side of Voldemort, one he hadn't been privy to. However, by the way Harry saw the group of robe-clad followers tense, they had certainly seen this side of the Dark Lord before and didn't like it one bit.

"Some," Voldemort continued, pacing the circle languidly, a dangerous grace lining his scaly figure, "chose to prove their loyalty to me." He gestured loosely to the vacant spots with his wand, the long, white fingers twirling it delicately. "Some, though, did not." He paused, though he continued to pace. The graveyard was silent except for the quiet rustle of the grass as Voldemort paced. Nobody dared to move a muscle, not wanting to garner the attention of such a dangerous predator.

Abruptly, Voldemort spun upon his foot, his wand aimed and cruelly chanted, "Crucio!"

And then, the once silent graveyard was filled with the anguished cries of the selected Death Eater. If Harry was correct, it was Walden MacNair. Although he wasn't particularly fond of the man for attempting to execute Buckbeak the previous year, he inwardly winced at the screams of the man. In another flash of twisted curiosity, Harry noted that he thought only babies could reach the decibel level that MacNair was currently screaming at.

After a few minutes, Voldemort twisted his wrist, cutting off the the sickly red light with an almost imperceptible sigh. Harry watched as MacNair twitched on the ground, not able to do much else.

"As much as I would love to continue this lovely game of ours, it would be rather rude to ignore our guests who have been waiting oh so patiently." Voldemort said, his voice a mockery of sadness. Harry inwardly sneered at the man's attempt to show such an emotion. Then the rest of Voldemort's sentence caught up to him. Guests? Wasn't he the only one here?

Harry looked around, trying to see who else was stuck here like he was. Although he couldn't move around too much, Harry was able to move his head a bit. Looking to his left, Harry paled as he saw Cedric next to him, suddenly remembering that Cedric and he had both agreed to take the cup together to secure a double win for Hogwarts. Looking at the seventh year Hufflepuff, Harry couldn't help but admire the grim determination shown on the other boy's face.

Cedric briefly glanced over at Harry, trying to give him a smile as if saying not to give up quite yet. And even though the smile was more like a grimace, Harry couldn't help but feel warm inside at the fact that someone was trying to comfort him, the bloody Boy-Who-Lived. It was a very small group of people who would do that for Harry, and Harry was happy that he could add the other Hogwarts Champion to that group.

Facing Voldemort again, Harry put forth an expression of determination and Merlin damn it, he was a Gryffindor! If Cedric could do it, so could he.

It seemed, though, that Voldemort was amused by his attempt at courage if his expression of cruel amusement was anything to go by.

"Well, well, well, look what we have here," Voldemort crooned in a sickeningly sweet voice, "it appears that our guests are trying to be tough. I suppose we'll just have to break them of that, won't we?" Voldemort's cruel smirk turned into a bloodthirsty grin, and Harry felt his stomach drop at the words. The Dark Lord turned to his followers, his grin only widening. "Tell me," he spoke, his voice heavy after using Dark Magic, yet no less dangerous than before, "who will volunteer to help shake these fools of such pretenses?"

After a moment's pause, one of the Death Eaters stepped forward, his wand at the ready.

"Allow me, my Lord, to put these fools in their rightful place." The masked Death Eater requested, and Voldemort laughed.

"Of course, my dear Evan. Do show me that you haven't lost your touch over the years." Voldemort acquiesced, taking a leisurely step back. "Just make sure to leave Potter alive so that I may kill him myself." He waved his hand lazily, gesturing to the now identified Evan Rosier to begin.

"Yes, my Lord," Rosier replied, and with a deft hand, flicked a wordless spell at Harry. Harry flinched at the sudden impact of the spell before gasping sharply. He felt deep lacerations all over his legs and felt as they started to ooze blood. Another sudden spell and Harry felt all of the air leave his lungs and heard the ominous crack he had long since associated with fractured or broken ribs. By now he could feel tears falling down his face from the pain, but he refused to cry out.

Rosier didn't seem to be offended by his muteness, instead turning to Cedric and flicking it down sharply, an orange-red beam coming out. It his Cedric, and the other boy let out a cry of agony. Harry didn't need to hear the name in order to know that his fellow Champion had been hit with the Blood-boiling curse. Soon after, Rosier cast a whitish-blue spell, the Blood-freezing curse. Both were equally bad, Harry knew, and one right after the other had to be torture of its own kind. Not wanting to look any further, Harry turned his head, only to find Voldemort's wand aimed right at him.

"Dear Harry," Voldemort said, "turning away in the middle of a show is so rude. I think you need a lesson to teach you the proper manners. Crucio." The red beam hit, and for all the resistance he'd built against his Uncle, Harry screamed. It was as if every nerve in his body was boiling in hot magma all at once and there was no escape. Harry could only scream in anguish as the pain, far more painful than his encounter at the end of his first year, could ever produce.

Voldemort stopped after what seemed like an eternity to Harry. Harry just lay against the headstone he was tied to, trying to regain his breath. After a minute, he felt a bony yet iron-like hand clamp around his jaw and force him to watch as blood slowly trickled out of Cedric's ears and nose.

"Hopefully that taught you some manners, hmm?" Voldemort spoke, his cruel voice right by his ear, causing Harry to violently shudder. Voldemort smirked in amusement before letting go, most likely assured that Harry wouldn't look away again.

And Harry watched. He watched as Cedric's bones were snapped and he watched as gashes and cuts were spread all over his body. And he watched as Cedric was hit with a white beam, crying openly as he knew that Cedric's organs, one by one, were being turned to stone, giving him a painful death.

And he watched, seeing Cedric's startling gray eyes, filled with excruciating pain, meet his before clouding over and succumbing to Death's grasp.

And Harry watched as gray eyes, once filled with joy and laughter and later determination and pride, dull and darken, never to light again.

End of Flashback

Harry was jolted out of this particularly gruesome flashback as the door opened and James waltzed in. He had a large grin on his face, as if excited for the day. Then, James looked at Harry and the smile was gone in an instant. James seemed to teleport over to Harry and pick him up out of his crib and hold him close. Harry just gripped his father's robes with all the strength a toddler could, his goat toy long forgotten as he silently cried for the boy who had died so cruelly, seeking comfort in the strong, warm arms that could protect him from the whole world.

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Sirius, Remus and Lily had been waiting at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall, waiting for James to bring Harry down for breakfast. James had told Lily to go down to the Great Hall and that he'd be down in a little bit with Harry. However, a little bit turned into a half an hour, and Lily looked like she was going to start pulling hair out of her head soon.

"I could understand if it was fifteen to twenty minutes," Lily said to Remus, "James likes to play games with Harry, and that's fine. But it's been over half an hour now; what if something's wrong?"

"We can only wait and see, Lily," Remus replied, his tone conveying the worry that he held. Remus was quite worried about the little tot who had quickly stolen his heart, not to mention Moony's. For once, he and his wolf were both in agreement: something was up with their cub, and if James didn't show up soon, he was going to go investigate. However, a gasp from Lily had Remus looking up at the entrance to the Great Hall to see James walking in with Harry. Remus was relieved until he saw the expression on James' face: it was solemn, agitated and pained all at once. Remus felt his stomach drop and knew immediately that something was horribly wrong. It was then that he noticed that Harry was still in his emerald green footy pajamas, gripping onto both his stuffed goat toy and James himself, as if they would disappear if he didn't hold on.

Upon arriving at the table, James sat down next to Lily, keeping a secure arm around Harry. The toddler seemed to take comfort in this, burying his face into the crook of James' neck. Remus gulped, wetting his lips in preparation for what he knew was going to be a rough conversation.

"James, what's...what's wrong?" Remus asked, stuttering in a fashion rather unlike himself. However, he couldn't help himself; his packmate was distraught and he didn't know why.

"Harry…" James paused, swallowing hard as if there were a nasty lump in his throat, "I walked in to get Harry ready for today and found him in his crib. He wasn't making any noise, but he was crying, and he looked so sad." James looked at his friends, his eyes distraught with worry and distress as he held tighter onto Harry. "But what was worse were his eyes. They-they looked so old, as if they had experienced all the pain in the world and had to shoulder it by himself. They were too old guys, too old!" By the time he had finished, James' voice had risen and some of the other students in the Great Hall were looking his way, wondering what was happening.

Remus, sitting besides James, could only put a warm, comforting hand on James' shoulder, trying to give comfort as his heart broke from seeing his confident, out-going best friend almost break down as the little boy who had so quickly managed to ensnare their hearts almost break the rest of theirs.

And Remus could only watch the small boy, radiating grief and sadness and pain, try to pick up the pieces, wondering what he could do to make this better.

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A/N: So yeah, sorry about being away so long… Honestly, real life just got really busy and any motivation I had for writing kind of just died along with my free time. However, it's off to college with me now, and my schedule's rather nice, so start expecting updates on the story a little more often than once a year, hahahaha.

Anyways, this chapter was supposed to be a lot happier that it turned out being. I'm not entirely sure where the flashback scene came from, but boy did it come. Gaaaah.

On the other hand, writing Remus' point of view via third person was rather interesting, regardless of the unintentional feel killers planted in there. I look forward to writing his view point more often~

Once again, thank you for all your reviews, guests, members and all; I read every single one of them and then archive them… my inbox is a little scary, but whatever.

See ya'all next time~

blucross~