We were the other side's punishment, the Dark Lord's entertainment. Year One of the Phoenix Games. HP/HG Crossover
After Voldemort's rise during the Triwizard Tournament, we should have known that it was too late. The Dark Lord.... Well it could be safely assumed that after he was so careless trying to kill baby Harry Potter all those years ago, he wouldn't likely be so reckless again. Harry's so-called "luck" last spring was planned. Priori Incantatem might have been an accident, but Potter was supposed to escape. He was supposed to alert the world to his return. The Dark Lord wanted the Ministry to find out; he already had his people in position. He wanted to scare the Ministry, freeze them, cause them to panic. There was soon fighting that summer; blood; curses; death; slaughter.
Neither wizards nor Muggles were safe. We students were all put into "safety," all of us from Muggle-borns to purebloods, schooled and home-taught. All of us in an underground labyrinth, so easy to get lost in. We did get lost in it. A few of us died. We were crammed, wondering, scared. Adults came and went, but none stayed much longer than to drop off supplies and keep count. The responsibility was left to the oldest of us, the sixth and the seventh years. The little ones attached themselves to older students, some taking on the role of older sibling or even parent. Then even we started fighting. A particularly nasty bout between two boys resulted in our wand "privileges" being revoked. "Removing the temptation," they claimed. Speculation was that they needed to replace those wands that were broken in battle. As a result most of us became self-sufficient. We had to make supplies last. Find water sources. Some of the boys found exits to the system of tunnels we lived in. They brought back plants, wood, random materials we could use. Sometimes they brought back meat, but not often. The girls figured out how to start fire without a spell. We'd grown almost completely dependent on ourselves.
It was half into August when the fighting finally stopped. There was a winner.
There was no time between our liberation from the underground and our arrival at a revamped Hogwarts. None of us were sure that this "new" school was even the same castle. Whereas the old Hogwarts might have been majestic and a little imposing, this renovated version was not only imposing but intimidating and haunting. No longer did it represent a home but a prison. We students were ripped from our families-- didn't know if we still had them-- and forced to assimilate to this new place.
It got better. Still not good, but an improvement. We got fresh air and sun. We weren't enclosed in small spaces anymore. We got our wands back, some of us fitted for new wands. Never thought that we would be happy to be back in classes. Most of the old school restrictions were lifted. It was almost like Hogwarts had never changed, improved almost. Almost. None of our former professors remained, not even Hagrid or Filch. Magic was performed openly in corridors and encouraged to be used on one another. There were also a hundred new rules, the most notable being: #3-- Do not speak unless spoken to (the adults anyway); #2-- No lying and no stealing; #1-- Never speak of the "Old Regime." Amongst us students there really was only one rule, perhaps the most important one of all: Don't get caught. With so many strange, absurd, and very seldom reasonable rules, it was the best alternative and simplest to follow. Not only did it save one skin, but several.
A boy lies about having his homework gets three full minutes of the Cruciatus while his table partner gets several lashes.
A girl sneaks out of bed after hours can get two minutes in her legs while the person she went to meet gets three. A caught accomplice might receive one minute.
A boy who steals potion ingredients for his sister's itching rash might get crucio'd with several slashes of the Sectusempra. His sister's rash will be inflamed and she'll be forced to bare it without medication. If the rash was contacted from someone else, that person would be punished as well.
And the rest of us would be forced to watch.
There was no set punishment for any infraction of the rules. Most of the time this was all determined by who was caught by which professor and what mood they were in. All up to the punisher's discretion.
Then one day it happened. We woke in the morning to find sixteen of our classmates missing, gone in the night. Did they run away? Find some sort of escape route or passage from the castle and just leave? It did not seem likely. And as the days passed and the students stayed gone, we started to notice that the professors seemed unfazed, expectant. Pleased.
Assembly. That's how it was announced. Every wizarding child first through seventh year was seated in a chair, the Great Hall rearranged so that the chairs filled the expanse of floor facing the High Table; the house tables were nowhere to be seen. Carrows was the new headmaster; few of us remembered which one was which. He stood at the head of the room, standing on the dais, the High Chair just behind him. No one trusted that sweet smile, gentle tone; it was all in those eyes. Those batty, yellowed, terrifying, mischievous eyes.
Carrows started with the war. Explained the causes and results to us for the first time. No matter which "side" would have won, it was pretty clear that we children would have lost anyway. He pointed out the benefits of the change in "tides," what we will accomplish in the future, that we are the future. All of this builds up to the real reason we have been summoned to the Great Hall. Why we are imprisoned.
We are the punishment. Punishment for the "Other Side." Entertainment for the Dark Lord and his following. Twenty kids entered what they called an "arena," a mountainous place with steep valleys, dark caves, and sharp cliffs. They were forced to fight-- and die-- until there was only one left.
Year one of the Phoenix Games.