Categories > Books > Harry Potter > The Grand Conspiracy

Chapter 09: Veil of Nightmares

by madnesspersonified 2 reviews

Sequel to a Twisted Timeline. The more things change the more things get wacky. Not for the mentally sane. LunaHarryFem!Harry.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Humor - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Luna - Warnings: [!!] [V] [?] - Published: 2008-08-26 - Updated: 2008-08-27 - 5500 words

Chapter Nine: The Veil of Nightmares:

Harry took his first tentative steps towards this mysterious realm, having passed the veil. He heard an odd repetitive humming sound in the air around him. Looking around, the ground was barren, devoid of any life at all, that appeared to stretch for miles. Above, the sky was painted a shade of crimson, with sinister black clouds above. Harry moved forward, taking his journey one step at a time. The humming continued, at the same beat. It continued to echo over and over, it was much like Chinese Water Torture, only with a never ending hum replacing a never ending drip of water on the top of the head. Harry screwed his eyes shut, in an attempt to block the repetitive sound out of his ears. It was all he could do to keep his wits about himself. He needed to find what he needed to cure Lotus before losing his mind.

Moving forward, Harry looked around. The barren wasteland stretched further than the eye can see in all directions. Stepping back, Harry gazed over his shoulder. For a second, it seemed as if he was being followed but there was nothing there, except for him. So far no sign of that septumdecim element either. The hum continued as Harry walked around, not having a clue where to start. He thought he should have pressed the Unspeakable for more details, but the more he thought about it, the less he believed he would have gotten anything else. After all, as he said, the Unspeakables had sent people in but when they were retrieved they were either dead or rendered insane. So there information, if they survived, was not reputable at all.

A rustling behind Harry caused him to turn around, ready to hex something but nothing was there.

“This place is just playing tricks with my mind, nothing really behind me, the others went insane, I can’t let it happen to me” muttered Harry attempting to reassure himself but still he remained vigilant. Stepping forward, Harry looked around. The hum continued to echo throughout this mysterious realm. Turning around, Harry could not tell where he had come from, which meant that getting out might be problematic. Reassuring himself, he’d worry about that once he had found septumdecium.

Outside the veil, Luna looked at it, ignoring the voices on the other side, as she stood, to check on the bound Unspeakable, who just sat there, with a calculating expression on his face, as he watched Luna’s anxiousness with amusement.

“So, how long do you think Potter will last in there?” asked the Unspeakable with a calculating smirk. “Five, maybe ten minutes before he starts to succumb to the madness. G.W. gives him credit, way too much, but I doubt he’s gotten what we told him about this realm. It’s almost sentient at times, after all and messes with the mind, destroying it.”

The Unspeakable looked at Luna, who did not bother to acknowledge him.

“Oh and by the way, Potter won’t be able to get back easily without a guide, as we’ve sent some people through the veil on their own accord at the beginning and left them to their own devices, they’ve never returned,” stated the Unspeakable. “It’s a shame I can’t stand over him, when his mind snaps.”

Luna stood, clenching her fists, but turning so the Unspeakable did not see her worried face. She was fully confident in Harry’s abilities, but if the realm on the other side of the veil was half as horrid as this Unspeakable was making out to be, then Harry would be in for the struggle of the lifetime.

Harry continued to walk on the barren ground. It felt like he had been walking for days, but something in Harry’s mind told him that it only had been minutes.

“Distorts time no doubt, can’t let it get to you, have to find it, Lotus’s life is hanging in the balance, don’t lose focus Potter, her life is in the line,” muttered Harry, as talking to himself would keep his mind occupied from any illusions that were appearing around him. The fact that the environment was devoid of anything did not really help matters any.

Harry stepped over and he saw a large gaping chasm right in front of him. Had he not been paying attention, he would have plummeted to his demise. Looking down, Harry saw that the chasm was extremely deep and had he took the plunge, he would be falling until his mind snapped. Stepping to the side, Harry tried to find a way across. He could feel a strong concentration of something highly magical right in front of him, so he had to be getting close. Harry peered to the side, he saw the area of the chasm lessen as he further went down. There was a point where it was so narrow, that he could jump across. Stepping back, Harry gained momentum before he leapt across the narrow gap. Landing firmly on his feet, Harry continued to move forward, before he saw an incline. At the bottom of the incline, Harry saw a swirling silver substance in a pool.

“This must be it,” muttered Harry, as the hum appeared to be getting louder, even though it remained as repetitive and mind numbing as ever. Harry quickly slid down the incline to the pool below. Around the pool, there was a swirling white mist high above. Stepping forward, Harry analyzed the mist as completely as possible. As far as he knew after several moments of analysis, there appeared to be nothing wrong with the mist swirling above. Stepping forward towards the pool, Harry could feel the magic in the air. It was strong, the strongest thing inside this mysterious Realm. Quickly, Harry conjured a veil, before he stepped forward, siphoning an entire vial of the substance in the air, as the mist rose in the air, humming madly.

All of the sudden, Harry’s eyes snapped open. Looking around, he was lying in a bed with white covers, in a room that was adorned in Quidditch posters, of many varieties. Harry attempted to sit up, but he found that his head had been heavily bandaged for some reason. The heavy quantity of bandages wrapped around his head made it rather difficult to properly lift it. Still with a bit of effort, Harry managed to lift his head and reach over to the bedside table where he found a mirror. Peering into it, Harry’s eyes widened as it appeared his age had regressed to at least fourteen or fifteen years old. Harry had an idea that something was really wrong.

“Harry?” asked a tentative voice from the doorway and Harry’s head bolted up. The sight he saw in the doorway really clued him into the fact that something was the matter. On the other side of the doorway, stood his parents, standing there, looking at Harry, with relieved looks on their faces.

“Thank Merlin you’re awake Harry, I really thought you’d be in that coma for quite some time,” said Lily in what sounded like a worried voice, if Harry could concern himself with such things. Rather, he was trying to figure out what kind of trick this was.

“What is going on here?” asked Harry, before he fell back, clutching his head, as he looked at these figures that resembled his parents. One part of his mind had attempted to convince this is genuine but another part was highly skeptical at what he was seeing before him.

“Slow down son, you don’t want to hurt yourself, you took a helluva a hit with that Bludger,” remarked James. “I’ve always told you to use your head, but that’s just taking a bit too far, Harry.”

Lily glared at her husband, before turning to Harry, a look of growing concern on her face.

“Harry, what’s the matter?” asked Lily. “Do you need anything to eat, drink?”

“Everything’s the matter,” remarked Harry in a shaky voice. “Something weird’s going on here, you two are dead, you’ve been since I was one years old, Voldemort killed you.”

“Voldemort?” asked Lily in confusion, as if she had no idea who Harry was talking about at all. “Harry, please lie down, it’s obvious you’ve hit your head harder than we thought, you’re still feeling the effects of the concussion.”

“Yeah, Harry, there’s no person named Voldemort in existence, so he surely didn’t kill us,” remarked James as if he feared for his son’s sanity.

“He did, I swear, it was him, he came to Godric’s Hallow on Halloween Night, he killed you, when Peter Pettigrew betrayed your location to him, I was sent to the Dursleys,” stated Harry.

“Peter betray us?” asked James in confusion. “Harry, you know Peter would never betray us, he’d die before he would.”

“Harry, I think you should take a potion to sooth your nerves, you’re very upset and still injured, don’t worry, we’ll make everything better,” responded Lily but Harry slammed his fist down on the table. “This Voldemort person is a figment of your imagination, maybe because of the injury.”

“Voldemort exists, his real name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, he was a half blood, he killed his parents,” said Harry in a persistent voice.

“Harry, I know you’re minds connecting odd things together now, you might have read about Riddle or learned about him in History of Magic,” said Lily with a frown. “Maybe if I explain to you who he really was, your real memories might return too.”

“Yes, that might help, Mum,” responded Harry quietly, hoping to get some clue in what was going on.

“Tom Marvolo Riddle was the last remaining heir of Salazar Slytherin,” stated Lily and Harry nodded, so far it tallied with what he knew of the Riddle he remembered. “However, he was born as a squib. A group of purebloods were furious that the heir of Slytherin lacked the ability to perform magic. So, they tracked him down and brutally slaughtered him at the orphanage where he was left after the death of his mother.”

Harry winced, feeling a slight shade of sympathy for the person that could have become Voldemort. Giving his head a shake, Harry tried to reassure himself that this could not possibly. be real. Still, the more Harry thought about it, what if he had suffered a head injury and hallucinated both time lines? It was impossible, but then again, so was a lot about him or what he thought he was.

“If it’s any consolation, Riddle’s death spurred great reform, squibs and muggleborns are not treated like dirt like they were, the Ministry was completely revamped for the first time in years, there was an uproar and both the magical and Muggle worlds were better off with what happened,” added James. “So in a way, Riddle was a martyr for great change. It just goes to show to show you that one violent death is all it takes to shock the world in the change.”

Harry just sat there, stiff, trying to figure out what happened. The fact remained that it was highly unlikely that he was a wanted fugitive in the law and the Ministry of Magic appeared to be more uncorrupt then the one he remembered. It was now becoming evident that this world was loads better than the one Harry felt he might have hallucinated.

No,” thought Harry. “Don’t, it was real, this isn’t, don’t let it fool you.”

Shut up,” thought another forceful portion of Harry’s mind. “Do you really want to ruin this, to return there? For every good thing that’s happened, there’s been about a hundred bad things. Most of the world is against you, with a few exceptions. Nothing you do or thought you’ve done matters to them, you are just a solution to their problems at best, a scapegoat for them at worst. Here, you can be yourself without the burden of looking over your shoulder at every step of the way.”

What if it isn’t real?” argued the first portion of Harry’s mind.

What if it is, what if you’ve concocted it all, just go with it Harry, you have your parents back, isn’t that what you hoped for your entire life?” asked the second portion of Harry’s mind.

I’ve learned not to dwell on dreams,” countered the first portion of Harry’s mind.

Where you left was the dream, if you can call it that,” stated the second, more forceful portion of Harry’s mind. “The term nightmare might be more fitting. The veil you passed through was the mental trigger you needed to return from your coma.”

Harry just nodded, it was beginning to make sense, he had been struck hard in the head and had passed out. It put him in a coma but he was skeptical if the mind could contort such elaborate hallucinations in his mind. He supposed there was some convoluted magical explanation behind what had happened, there always was.

“So, is anything clear now?” asked Lily, as she surveyed her son with a searching look.

“Bits and pieces of it are, but everything’s confusing and fuzzy, it will take some time for everything to come back,” responded Harry in a sedated tone of voice as his parents looked at him with sympathetic looks on their faces.

“That’s about as good as we can expect from now, Harry,” said James. “You’ll remember everything in time.”

“Yes and you’ll grow to accept everything in your life as it was,” inputted Lily with an encouraging smile, as she looked at Harry. “Now are you well enough to walk or do you need some more rest?”

“I think I can manage,” remarked Harry calmly, trying to shove the delusions that his mind had caused out of the way. Hopefully he thought that in time his memories would return to him, replacing that harsh reality that his mind had concocted both of these odd timelines. Harry slowly climbed to his feet, before following his parents from the room. As he walked from the room, something was very strange and peculiar about the house. There were no widows anywhere.

So, it doesn’t seem like much of a problem, does it?” asked the forceful voice in Harry’s head.

Not particularly, but it does seem rather odd that there would no windows,” thought Harry. “I want to believe this is real, but now…”

Doubts again, it’s almost like you want to return to that harsh nightmare?” asked the forceful voice.

Obviously I don’t but…” thought Harry before he mentally trailed of, briefly wondering why he was even trusting a mysterious voice in his head that had just appeared.

“Harry, is there anything the matter?” asked Lily.

“No, Mum, everything’s just fine,” responded Harry blandly, he tried to talk as little as possible, as he remembered nothing about this reality and what happened to him. All recalled was what he remembered, how he had went through the veil to save Lotus’s life, how he wondered if he ever would see either her or Luna again, and he did not really know if he was disappointed that nothing he remembered was real. In fact, he did not really know if he was disappointed that his parents were alive and well, he had long ago accepted them as dead or rather he thought he did. It was all confusing and made Harry’s head spin trying to reconcile all that was happening.

Give it time and it will come, you will accept everything as true,” responded the forceful voice.

“/Just who are you anyway?” thought Harry./

You’ll find out when the time is right,” stated the voice in Harry’s head, growing a bit impatient at the constant questioning the Boy-Who-Lived was giving about his predicament.

“I’m fine, really I am,” said Harry suddenly, as he looked at his parents. “I just need to get some fresh air, so since we don’t have any windows, I’ll just step outside for a few minutes.”

“Harry, wait, you can’t go outside!” yelled Lily in a sudden and forceful voice, causing Harry to know that something was wrong, as he looked at his mother with a confused expression, why would see be so set against him going outside.

“And why shouldn’t I be able to go outside, just for a few minutes, it’s not like there’s anything I have to worry about,” said Harry calmly as his parents exchanged nervous looks.

“Well Harry…you just got hurt…we don’t want you to get hurt again,” stated James and Harry could have sworn he saw the house, along with their faces shift out of focus for a second, giving way to the barren desolate landscape that he travelled him behind the veil.

Just an after effect of the coma, there is nothing to be concerned with,” stated the voice in the back of Harry’s mind.

“Yes, Harry, we just don’t want you to get hurt,” said Lily in a worried voice. “You were out for several months, if something happens to you, I don’t think I could live with myself.”

“I understand, but the thing is, I’m going insane locked up in a house with no widows, I need some fresh air, I appreciate the concern, but I need to step outside, I won’t be out long,” said Harry as he moved forward, but something had stopped him in his tracks.

They’re right, you can’t walk outside, they don’t need to walk outside, leave them, your place is here, Harry Potter,” said the voice

Harry’s eyes suddenly glazed over, he attempted to give his head a shake, but he was compelled to agree with this voice as what it said.

“Yes, Harry, your place is here, just sit down, and join us,” remarked Lily.

“Yes, that’s it, Harry, take a seat,” said James and Harry suddenly snapped out of the trace that this voice echoing through his head had tried to put him it. It seemed very peculiar that his parents had heard the voices through the head or rather, these entities that took on the form of his dead parents to trick him.

No, Potter, this is reality!” shouted the voice in his head. “Don’t give in now, you are home, listen to me.”

“Nice try, but they wouldn’t have repeated pretty much what you said, unless you were a part of this, I’m still in here, I haven’t returned from a coma, this is an illusion to drive me mad,” said Harry.

“Very astute, child, I almost wish you were my son given your moderate level of intelligence, it’s a shame that we have to kill you,” said the entity that had taken on the form of Lily Potter as her skin melted, to form to a hideous looking beast with grey skin, claws, and fangs. James’s form did the same before they sprung towards Harry. Harry attempted to avoid the attacks and one of the creature’s had just barely brushed across his arm, opening a large gash on his right forearm.

“Now this is where you belong, this is where you stay!” shouted one of the creatures as Harry attempted to banish a table towards them, but black demonic tentacles shot out from the underside of the table, wrapping around Harry’s arms, legs, and body, attempting to crush him in a vice grip.

“Now, that you’re trapped, we have you right where we want you,” cackled the creature that posed as Lily, as she stepped forward, as Harry attempted to free himself. “What’s the matter Harry, you don’t want to give your Mummy a kiss?”

The foul entity moved forward, a sickly green acid dripping from its lips, burning through everything it touched. It moved forward, but Harry managed to twist himself, freeing his arm enough to properly use a slicing charm on the tentacles. A loud explosion echoed throughout the house, as Harry moved forward.

“No matter what, don’t let him reach the door!” yelled a voice and Harry began to get what was happening, this was some kind of illusion still going onto his mind and the door seemed to be the mental trigger to escape this nightmare, much like how he had briefly thought the veil was. In their attempts to trick Harry, they had accidentally given him a vital clue to escape.

“STOP HIM, STOP HIM!” shouted another voice as Harry had sent any spell he could think of over his shoulder. They did not have much physical affect but given how this was mostly a mental attack, Harry only used them to serve as a method to gain control of the hallucinations. Dodging around the attacks, Harry tried not to get hit. He reached the door but a large wall of black fire shot up from the door, blocking him.

“It wasn’t going to be that easy, human,” growled one of the creatures, but Harry closed his eyes, attempting to block out how hot the fire appeared to be. He reached through it, before he quickly grabbed the door. He instinctively blocked an attempt to get pulled out, before he threw himself from the door, ignoring the growl of the demonic entities around him.

Harry’s eyes flickered open, as he batted the swirling mist out from around his head. What appeared be harmless had tricked his normal sensory spells and as Harry shook the cobwebs, he gasped, s he saw that his legs were wrapped in tentacles and he was being pulled towards a large round flesh shaped object with razor sharp teeth. Struggling, Harry attempted to pull himself loose, as he was pulled closer and closer towards the beast, who seemed to enjoy toying with its prey before moving in for the kill. A bludgeoning spell served well to loosen the grip of the beast, before Harry, managed to reach around, finding a large jagged piece of rock.

“Sorry, but I’m afraid I’ve been taken off the menu!” yelled Harry as he jabbed the rock right into the tentacle, magically amplifying the impact. Another jab right to the tentacle had staggered the monster once again. Quickly, Harry stabbed it once more time, breaking the tentacle completely off, before a pair of well placed fire spells further injured it. Harry knocked the beast backwards with a high impact banishing charm. A second charm had knocked the beast right into a bottomless chasm. Quickly , Harry turned around, before he sprinted back, before he removed the vial of septumdecim from his robe to check to see that it was all there. Placing it back into his robe, Harry moved around, he needed to find a way to exit back through the veil.

On the outside, Luna kept her eyes focused on the veil, tapping her right foot. Every time she saw or heard anything that might constitute as movement around the veil, Luna grew hopeful but once she realized that it was not Harry moving through, it caused her great disappointed and despair. She briefly wanted to step through the veil, to go after Harry, but Harry needed her on the outside, just in case something happened to him .

“Well, he’s been in there for thirty minutes, and counting,” said the Unspeakable in a snide tone of voice. “I think it’s safe to say that he’ll never find his way out. If you untie me, I can retrieve whatever is left from Potter from behind the veil, to give you a piece of him to remember him by.”

“Harry will make it, don’t you worry,” said Luna but she had her hands clutched together, as she leaned forward, hoping that Harry would find his way back outside the veil.

“Oh, believe me, I’m not worry, but you are,” taunted the Unspeakable and Luna resisted the urge to hex him, turning slightly towards another sound from beyond, but after a couple of moments, when Harry did not pass through, her hope deflated.

Harry continued to walk around, the humming once again was obvious, as it echoed through his head. He kept walking around what looked to be an endless barren wasteland.

“Come on, remember, which way did you come from, it all looks the same, I could be miles away from where the exit of the veil was, unless it was one way of course, no it can’t be, they’ve retrieved people before,” muttered Harry under his breath, as he stepped around, he kept walking. The sky appeared blank, with no area looking like it could be a doorway back to the real world. “It’s got to be here, but I bet it’s difficult to get out on my own. I have to though, Lotus’s time is running out, come on Potter, think, find a way back out, you got it, surely you can get out. You’ve found a way out of the impossible before, you need to do so again.”

Harry sat, trying to move around, there was no visible way out. He could have been in here for either days or minutes, it was hard to say, the realm was messing with his mind’s perception of time once again. Every second appeared to a lifetime, every minute must have been an eternity. The constant and repetitive humming also did a number on Harry’s nerves.

“I have to get out of here now!” yelled Harry suddenly having had his fill of the loud humming that taunted him, as he reached into his robes and removed a pair of earmuffs that managed to block out enough of the humming to allow Harry to concentrate on figuring away out this wretched place. Going over in his mind, he reconciled the pluses and the minuses of what he was about to do, it was a great risk to attempt to Apparate through dimension barriers, at least he assumed it was, considering how inadvisable it was to travel in that matter from one continent to the next. Still, Lotus’s time was rapidly running out, so he had nothing to lose with the possible exception of his life.

Concentrating on returning just outside the veil in the Department of Mysteries, Harry willed himself there. No matter, what, it was going to hurt, but he needed to get out of here, before he lost his sanity completely.

Luna continued waiting, watching, hoping, but as each second ticked by.

“Much like those foolish Aurors are trying to find the right door inside, Potter will never make it back, at least not in one piece and not alive, but you won’t even get that, unless you don’t untie me,” taunted the Unspeakable. “If you don’t do it now, you’ll never see any part

Luna remained silent, as she looked at the veil, hoping for Harry’s safe and clear return. At that moment, a loud pop echoed, as Harry dropped right down, slamming onto the floor. Rushing forward, Luna looked at Harry with an anxious look on her face, as she looked down at Harry.

“I’m fine Luna, but just barely,” breathed Harry, as every nerve in his body felt like it was fighting. Luna helped Harry up to his feet, wrapping her arms around his neck. Harry leaned forward, whispering in Luna’s ear. “I’ve got it, but I don’t know how much time we have left.”

“Touching, almost makes me want to shed a tear,” said the voice of Garrett Winston as he stepped forward, wand drawn. Harry could see that there were no Aurors around, as he quickly passed the vial to Luna, before he turned to face off against Winston.

“Been hoping to run into you, Winston, you tried to murder Lotus!” shouted Harry.

“Astute Harry, I might have passed off the message to do so, but it was my master who is the architect behind this and now everything is ready, except for one component, then our plans can come true” said Winston before he walked over. “I suggest you don’t fight, it will be much easier for you and your girlfriend that way.”

“Suggestion overruled!” yelled Harry, as he sent an organ explosion curse right towards Winston’s heart, but Winston blocked it. Winston appeared to be a bit more skilled than he let on, as he deflected another couple of attacks, but Harry managed to get in close. Winston smirked.

“Played right into my hands Potter,” said Winston, as he used a cutting charm right on Harry’s hair, leading to several strands of hair to fall into the hand of Winston. Harry wondered why Winston had cut his hair, instead of his throat. It seemed a bit stupid to him, but perhaps it was part of some convoluted plan that he was not meant to understand “Take him down now, we have it.”

Harry turned around, as several steel cables shot from the distance. The first couple of attacks, Harry deflected, but he was still worn from travelling between the barrier, so the third attack managed to poke through his defensives. They wrapped around his arms and legs. He could see several figures obscured in the shadows, before a small burst of magically simulated electricity came through the cables. It dropped through Harry’s knees, more powerful than a stinging spell, but less than a stunning charm. Luna rushed over, but a solid barrier appeared in front of her, forcing her to attempt to break through.

As Harry had been injured, Winston reached over, before he moved over to a glass case, removing the amulet inside. It radiated with power, it was one of the most priceless artifacts that the Department of Mysteries had recovered, belonging to the Grand Warlock, as he had stolen it from the traveler who had introduced magic to a select few millennia ago.

“Yes, it’s ready, I have the hair and the amulet, we’re ready to proceed with your grand revival,” said Winston, appearing to receive instructions from a mysterious source. He turned to the shadowed figures, as Harry slowly overcome the numbness that the attack induced.

“What of these two?” asked one of the shadows.

“Our leader will deal with them if they get in their way, we have more important matters to attend to,” responded Winston briskly, as he activated the triangle marking on his robes, causing a large vortex to appear in the wall. Lifting his arm numbly, Harry managed to place a tracking charm on one of the shadowed figures, before he passed through the vortex. The vortex closed just as he rose to his feet.

“We need to get back Luna, cure Lotus, we’ll worry about them later,” said Harry firmly, but he hoped that none of them noticed the tracking charm that he used.

“Of course Harry, I’ll help you get back to Lotus, I’ll Apparate us both back, you don’t look in much of any condition to do so” remarked Luna, as she grabbed onto Harry’s arm gently, before they disappeared with a faint pop.

Moments later, Harry rushed inside, followed by Luna, as Hermione sat on the side of the bed.

“Harry, her condition is worsening, she is still alive, but she might only have hours before…” started Hermione, before trailing off. “I also found something interesting about Winston that I feel you need to you…”

“Hermione, it can wait about thirty seconds, I have the antidote right here,” said Harry as he removed the vial of septumdecim from the pocket of his robes. He could feel the power as he gently tipped the vial right into Lotus’s open mouth. Using a charm to help her swallow the substance, Harry could feel that it was beginning to do its job. “Good, her condition is stabilizing, now all we need right now is time.”

“What was it you wanted to tell us about Winston, Hermione?” asked Luna, once she had also saw that the chaotic magic that had begun to build up around Lotus began to fade.

“Well, I managed to find Winston’s name on a family tree in one of the heritage books from the Black library, it updates itself constantly,” remarked Hermione and Harry and Luna nodded bracing themselves for the impact. “Winston is the great nephew of Gellert Grindelwald.”
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