Chapter 3. Going Numb
Harry was flying.
He was flying high above the clouds without a broom. Soaring above rooftops and trees with his arms spread out in front of him, trying to hold the sky in the palms of his hands.
The wind was caressing his face gently and he closed his eyelids as he went faster and faster to everywhere and nowhere, just floating along the steady current of the wind that took him further away. The same feeling of exhilaration that he always felt during quidditch took over his body, and his mind felt calm and content as he kept on drifting.
He was flying.
He was flying for what felt like hours and hours, and he felt he could fly like this forever if that should be his fate.
Then suddenly he felt a shift in the air in front of him, and he heard the whizzing of something rushing at him really fast. He tried to open his eyes quickly to see what it was but couldn't, and the thing, whatever it was, kept on speeding towards him. He wanted to change course and get out of the way, but the more he struggled the faster the wind brought him closer.
He could feel it close now, it was sending off waves of cutting cold that pierced right through his skin. The noise was almost deafening as it zoomed through the open sky, the coldness seeping into his bones with every second.
He was literally frozen, limbs numb and teeth clattering frantically when it hit him square in the chest. The impact was enough to break him into countless little pieces.
Harry's eyes flew wide open as he was forcedly woken, his back arching off the ground. He could hear his own voice screaming relentlessly as blinding whiteness swam before his vision like a cloud trying to confound him. The surreal feeling of being but one shard of a thousand pieces that should never have been parted tore at his insides, and he could not stifle the fearful thought that he was lost forever, that the pieces wouldn't fit anymore if they put him back together.
As quick as it had come the grip that clenched his heart in a silent fury dulled to a soft spike that never quite left, but continued to wrack his body with variable tremors.
He tried to catch his breath and look around to see where he was when the edges of his peripheral vision started to focus, but as soon as his sight had cleared he was confronted by the horrible truth of reality.
He was greeted by a goading line of sharp teeth that looked predatory, ready to shred steel if defied, its owner simpering at him.
He had seen the man before of course, but never had he spared him anything more then an indifferent indication of recognition. It had at the time merely been a confirmation of what he had expected to be true, that he had been a Death Eater. He had seen the obvious relation between father and son; the same bulky built, the same bristle hair on the same square features, the same proportioned arms that looked like a gorillas. But never had he expected Goyle to look so unlike his son as he did now.
The man that stood before him did not, /could /not have given Gregory Goyle that look of ceaseless bewilderment that constantly dominated his face. Harry could not believe that this man that was towering over him, casting large shadows over his huddled body, was the same man that he always believed had passed stupidity on to his son. Just like Harry had assumed he had passed on the status of being a Malfoy lapdog.
He looked into eyes, that weren't blank like Gregory's but cruel and devious like a man of calculation, eyes that glinted with the wildness of an animal, unpredictable and feral but also aware and intelligent.
Harry was overcome by a flood of terror that washed through him; it drenched his soul in fear and drowned his thoughts into deep, black, terrifying pools of realization.
Malfoy had done it.
Malfoy had actually done it! He had brought him to the Death Eaters, he had brought him to die.
A life for a life.
Lucius Malfoy's for his.
"Yes, terrifying isn't it?" Goyle Senior's low, rumbling voice echoed through the open space. He leered, at the fear displayed on Harry's face. "Knowing you're dead, knowing you soon will be nothing more than dust floating aimlessly about." he continued as if plucking his very thoughts directly from his mind.
"I must say it's an absolute pleasure meeting you here under these wonderful circumstances," Goyle Senior mocked. "I never thought that Malfoy boy had it in him," he mused aloud, his voice transforming into a soft wonder and his eyes going just a bit out of focus. "Always was a weak one that boy, fragile and pale like a sickly child. Not like my Gregory no, certainly not as tough as my son."
Goyle Senior paced a short while away from him; brow creased and lips tight over his teeth, his movements surprisingly agile for a man his size.
Harry allowed his head to turn slightly to have a closer look at his surroundings. What he saw surprised him, he expected to be in some dank grotto far below where vermin and rats relished in the dark. A place where Death Eaters scuttled together, traded dark curses and wilted anything that dared to bring light and humanity.
What he found instead was an ostentatious assembly room tinted in shades of dark purple that could have been mistaken for black in the gloom, accented with silver and gold detail. The walls were ornamented with long drapes that fell from the ceiling to the floor, and from the canopy that hung above a vast table suited for kings were suspended innumerable candles that flickered in the dimness of the room. He noticed he was lying on a low, raised dais situated behind one of the table ends. They were alone, but Harry saw that the table was decked with silverware and goblets as if waiting for a feast to begin, some kind of celebration.
Dawning horror brought his deliberation of his surroundings to a stuttering halt; of course they had something to celebrate.
He was their cause of celebration.
The long strived-for capture of The Boy Who Lived, the last obstacle soon to be cleared.
Unadulterated dread accumulated in the pit of his stomach, he shivered and felt the hair on his neck prickle.
It wasn't so much fear for himself that he felt; it was fear for being the only thing that stood between Voldemort. Fear for the world that would be created and the destruction that would follow.
Fear of having failed everyone, Dumbledore and Sirius. Fear of having failed his parents who had sacrificed their lives for his life.
Fear of being a failure.
He couldn't let it happen, he couldn't let it end this way.
In a spur of energy and desperation he forced his aching body up and surged to the door, his captor being but a minor hindrance in his fright.
"Conglacio suffundo!" Goyle Senior barked as he whirled around to the sudden movement, lashing his wand as if it were a whip. A beam of ice blue infused with an impossible white exploded from the end of Goyle Senior's wand.
Harry screamed as pain immediately erupted in his body, traveling from his every limb directly to his heart. He fell to the floor in a flailing tangle of limbs, his head grazing the edge of the door handle he had been about to grasp a second before. The biting coldness he had experienced earlier returned in full force and the feeling of every cell in his body being stripped apart dominated his senses.
This must have been the curse that had awoken him; it must have been, because he felt he was shattering all over again. He could feel his bones splintering slowly as if taunting him, wanting to drag out the excruciating cracking of his foundation. Harry pressed his eyes shut tightly; he was so impossibly cold, that he felt like he would split apart any second now.
Goyle finally relented and Harry immediately felt his limbs sag as the tension of breaking point subsided to a dull throb that made his muscles spasm on every odd heartbeat.
Only the sound of Harry's ragged breathing filled the air as seconds stretched into minutes.
Slowly he unclenched his eyes and immediately wished he hadn't.
He let out a groan as everything swirled and swiveled before his eyes like a band of out of control belly dancers. He felt light-headed and dizzy, felt blood pouring down his face from some where near his temple in a steady stream drizzling down his neck and robes. Harry brought his hands up to his head and cradled it with his arms, soaking his sleeves with the red of his blood.
He could see Goyle Senior standing some where to his right, scrutinizing him in silence with beady brown eyes as if Harry was some otherworldly specimen.
"Ah yes, foolishly brave. A true Gryffindor." Goyle murmured. He stepped close to Harry looming over him, grasping his ink black hair in a vice-like grip.
Harry gasped and flinched back instinctively, only succeeding in making the hold on his hair tighter. He was violently dragged to his feet, Goyle Senior's face so close to his that Harry could smell his acrid breath on his cheek as his face was turned side ways so Goyle Senior could inspect his wound.
"Oh no, this won't do at all, you need to look nice and pretty for when my master arrives." Goyle brought his wand up and healed his cut with a whispered word, then siphoned the already drying blood from his face and robes.
"V-Voldemort is here?" Harry hated how pathetic he sounded, his voice raw and weak from screaming and hours of disuse.
The hand descended upon his cheek in a rush, leaving a red print stinging on his cheek.
"You will not speak his name, of all the insolence...!" Goyle Senior growled dangerously.
At that Harry's eyes flashed in defiance, he pressed his lips shut into a tight line.
"/The Dark Lord/ is indeed here, he is getting ready for the feast as we speak." Goyle Senior continued in a pleasant voice, as if he hadn't just slapped Harry, as if he was explaining something to a stupid child.
"Draco did a fine job, coming to me with this. I of course knew of the Dark Lord's whereabouts and informed him immediately," he told Harry in a proud voice, trailing his stubby thumb over Harry's lightning bolt scar. Harry shivered.
"Delivering you to my master in exchange for Lucius was a sly move indeed," Goyle Senior sneered, a malevolent glint caught in his eye.
"However, no one haggles with The Dark Lord. He will be rewarded /accordingly/." He spoke his last words with a vicious glee, like a man who knew something you didn't and refused to inform you.
Before Harry had time to ask anything else, Goyle Senior clapped his hands twice and two House Elves appeared instantly by his side.
The smaller of the two had a muddy brown tinge to his leathery skin, big floppy ears that flapped back and forth as he moved with eyes as round as neon saucers.
The other looked like his skin was made of graying sandpaper; he looked the elder of the two, with grizzled white hair that sprouted out of his bat-like ears and nose, his eyes a glowing yellow which Harry found eerie in the shaded light.
They both wore what looked like dark blue elf robes, but on closer inspection Harry saw that the fabric was probably cut out of an old curtain or bed sheet.
Goyle Senior's face contorted in disgust as he looked down upon the two frightened elves cowering at his feet.
"Dazle!" Goyle Senior roared needlessly. "Escort Mr. Potter to his proper place and make sure he stays there." he snapped.
"Yes sir, Goyle sir, right away sir." the smaller elf stammered in a tiny voice while bowing so low his nose touched the floor.
"And you," Goyle turned around and looked at the older elf. "You, Bing, will let our guests know that our guest /of honor/ has finally awoken" he sneered at Harry for effect, "and that the feast is ready to begin."
"Yes, Master Goyle sir, Bing is letting the other masters know right away sir." The older elf said far more composed than the other, and vanished with a pop.
Goyle Senior raked his eyes over Dazle who kept on bowing repeatedly, his nose too low to notice he was being scrutinized.
"Well?" Goyle Senior shouted menacingly after a few seconds making the small elf jump and tremble from top to toe.
"Y-y-yes Master Goyle sir, Dazle is a good house elf sir."
"GET ON WITH IT!" Goyle Senior roared, giving the elf a good push with a quick spell so that it toppled over hard.
At the same moment a loud crash resounded in the hall just outside the door followed by agitated voices arguing heatedly. It sounded like a man arguing with a house elf about something that could not be made out. Harry recognized the voice of the man immediately. He would have been able to tell that voice apart anywhere, he had after all heard it for six years. That sarcastic, mocking voice that always sounded like it was disgusted with something, which usually would be Harry.
Harry stood immobile, eyes wide open listening to the voices that had gotten so loud now that he was able to make out certain words.
"S-s-sorry master Snape sir, I is sorry sir, I is cleaning it up right away sir," the elf stammered helplessly.
Snape was just outside the door, the man he had been trying to kill just a few hours ago, and he couldn't do anything about it. Now that his rage and grief were not controlling him anymore he could clearly see that making another run toward the door and jumping his ex-professor would get him nowhere. Well, nowhere other than dead.
No, the main thing he needed to focus on right now was getting the hell out of here, and soon.
"I can not believe it...I will not have my Master's feast ruined, he will arrive any minute now," Goyle Senior grumbled under his breath clearly annoyed. He cleared his throat and continued.
"I will make sure everything is well, Dazle when I get back, I want Potter to be tied up on the dais!" he whirled around and stormed out of the room slamming the door shut.
"What is the meaning of th-" the rest of his voice was droned out by the scuttle of cutlery and broken glass.
Dazle jumped up and rushed towards Harry, grabbed his hand and started dragging him to the dais. He followed the elf for a second, but as soon as he realized what he was doing he started struggling. "Let me go, let me go!" he breathed. They passed the end of the big table and in an attempt to slow the elf down Harry grabbed the edge of it and held on with all his might. "Let- go- of - me!" he breathed.
He had to find a way to escape, and this might be the only chance he would get. He looked around the room for a window or maybe another door. If only he had his wand he could just simply apparate out of here. Think damnit, he told himself, but it was kind of distracting having an elf pull at you.
"Please Mister Potter, quickly we haven't much time sir, Dazle was given an order, very important sir!" pleaded the elf, it tugged on his sleeve hard.
"I'm not going to help you tie me up to the dais." said Harry, still holding on to the table.
"Sir, please we is need to do it now sir please, Master said specifically to do it now." squeaked Dazle. "Master won't be pleased, oh no not pleased at all." moaned Dazle pitifully.
"I don't care what your Master wants!" Harry shouted angrily, stubbornly holding on to the edge of the table.
"Mr. Potter sir leaves me no choice." The elf said with real regret in his voice, glancing fearfully at the door where angry voices still could be heard.
Dazle snapped his fingers and Harry instantly stiffened up like a board his arms stuck like glue to the sides of his body and his legs snapped shut, the only thing that he was able to move were his eyes that frantically searched out the little elf's face.
He then was floated right onto the dais and with another snap of Dazle's fingers iron chains surrounded his ankles and wrists painfully.
"Masters says give this to Mr. Potter right away sir, Master will be very displeased with Dazle if Dazle forgets." The elf rambled on. "Very important, most important task Dazle gets ever, Master told Dazle."
The elf looked around suspiciously with its round watery eyes as if to make sure no one was looking even though no one else but them were in the room, then plunged its long spidery fingers into the cloth he was wearing, taking out an old-looking pendant made of gold.
Harry couldn't really take a good look at it because of the uncomfortable angle he was lying in. But he could feel the heaviness and coldness of the jewelry on his skin when the elf conjured a necklace to go with it and hung it over his head and then covered it up under his red dress robes.
Thoroughly confused Harry looked up to the elf who was frantically hopping from foot to foot, wringing his bat-like ears in his hands nervously, eyes darting to the door, where the shouting had dropped considerately but a low hum of voices still could be heard speaking.
"What are you doing, what is this thing you gave me?" Harry shouted outraged and frightened. He could feel the buzz of dark magic radiating from the pendant, it was sinking into his skin and making him more nauseated by the second. He started struggling against his bonds uselessly.
"Dazle is running out of time sir, Mr. Potter must listen!"
The voices outside the door started to quiet even more, and footsteps could be heard coming back towards the room.
"Get this filthy thing off me!"
"Mr. Potter sir, Dazle can't. Strict orders!" the elf looked at Harry with real regret which struck Harry dumb and made him stop his struggling.
"/Listen..."/ the Elf looked at the door then rushed forward even closer to Harry if that was even possible and started whispering frantically in his ear as the door handle started to move and the door opened slowly.
"/Listen/ for the seventh chime of the hours, and let your soul not cloud in darkness for you'd be lost forever and ever and ever." The elf was practically begging Harry, its eyes pleading with Harry willing him to understand.
"What are you talking about, I don't understand/-/" Harry started, thoroughly bewildered but was cut off by Dazle's anxious voice.
"/Listen for the seventh chime..." /it pleaded one last time, before the door swung open and Goyle Senior stepped in the room once again. Dazle disappeared with a pop.
Goyle turned and looked at Harry, the corner of his mouth turning upwards as soon as he saw that he was successfully tied up to the dais.
"That elf finally managed to do something right I see." He sneered at Harry.
Harry, who was still very much confused, just pressed his lips together and refrained from commenting. His mind racing and mulling over the things Dazle had told him.
Getting no response from Harry, Goyle Senior quickly lost interest and started looking over the room one last time to make sure everything was ready for his master's arrival.
The seventh chime of the hours? Harry thought restlessly, what had that stupid elf been rambling about? The pendant he had been given was making him feel more uncomfortable by the minute, he could feel its heaviness weighing him down and the black magic pouring over his skin spreading like a disease.
How was he supposed to concentrate and think of a way to escape with this thing on, making him feel all filthy and woozy? Why had that elf given him the pendant in the first place? Harry had the impression it almost wished to help him when he had seen the regret in Dazle's eyes. Stupid house elves and their stupid /Masters/, why couldn't Dobby have been here, Dobby would have helped him get out of here. Too bad Dobby was at Hogwarts.
He sighed and let his shoulders droop in a sign of weariness and closed his eyes. What he really should have done was call on Kreacher, it was too late now with Goyle Senior back in the room. Kreacher could have helped; even if he didn't want to he had to help him.
He could have at least gotten word out to the others,
Stupid House Elves and their stupid Masters indeed.
Who is left of the others anyway, they might as well all be dead by now. He snorted mirthlessly not wanting to think of the implications of his thoughts.
Goyle Senior turned at the sound; he narrowed his eyes at him and snarled, "What could possibly be so humorous that you'd think of it in these dire circumstances Mr. Potter?" Goyle Senior's heavy gaze flickered over him suspiciously.
He reeled in that bubble of fear that started to accumulate in the pit of his stomach and crushed it before it could be defined more properly, forcing Harry to be too afraid.
He shouldn't be too afraid.
Death is merely the beginning of the next great adventure after all, right?
He remained silent.
"Maybe you are getting too comfortable, hmm? Well then, that could definitely be /fixed/."
Harry steeled himself and set his jaw in a firm line for whatever pain was about to come his way.
So he was probably going to die, like his friends probably had died earlier.
He was not going to go down cowering and sniveling like a little girl, even if he was afraid, he would not show it.
He was not going to let them have the satisfaction.
His resolve made, he looked up and just stared back at Goyle Senior, his eyes swirling in pallets of dark greens and black. His mouth started to twitch and he just grinned manically back at Goyle.
"Do you really think you of all people could get to me so successfully if your precious Lord - he spat the last two words - hasn't been able to? Hmm? You must think very highly of yourself..." his voice trailed out surprisingly steady, glazed over in steal.
He saw Goyle Seniors face darken and those vicious eyes visibly widen in shock.
"The only reason that you are here organizing this...this.../feast.../" Harry continued liking the fact that his words had made such an impact and wiped that ugly sneer right off that gits face, "is that Lucius is stuck in prison, or else you would still be his - pathetic - little - worthless.../" - /He could see how each word was affecting Goyle Senior, each insult bringing a new color to his face that started to look like a very ugly puce all together. He must be hitting a sensitive snare.
"/brainless - ugly -shit-faced.../"
His insults were starting to get weaker and weaker and he was running out of them fast. But it didn't matter to Harry; he gleefully looked at Goyle Seniors ever-changing skin tone, which was currently an ugly shade of green Harry didn't even know the name of.
"revolting - piece of...of dragon dung - smelly owl droppings his...filthy little MINION!" /he finished lamely. /
HA! He thought, as he looked at Goyle's face now sporting a brown that very much resembled dragon dung or owl droppings for that matter.
He smirked for effect.
Goyle Senior drew his wand and pointed it at Harry; the wand wavered slightly probably because Goyle was trembling with rage. Just as he was about to send some ghastly curse speeding at Harry to shut him up, searing pain shot through Harry's forehead and Goyle Senior dropped his wand and grabbed for his left arm, gritting his teeth.
He shot Harry one last furious glance before taking his wand that had clattered to the floor and rushed for the door to open it.
Harry's head felt like an axe had dropped on it and successfully smashed a hole right through his skull. He reflexively tried to clutch for his head to protect it but only succeeded in making the shackles bounding his arms cut into his wrists more painfully.
This could only mean one thing.
No sooner did the thought finish its way through his brain, coming to this horrible conclusion than the door opened to let in a dozen or so dark clad figures.
They were probably the ones lucky enough to be in Voldemort's inner circle. He had no doubt Snape would be parading as one of them too, after successfully killing the one wizard Voldemort had ever feared.
Malfoy would probably be there too now, Harry thought bitterly. After all he did bring in the /Boy Who Lived/.
He noticed that they weren't wearing their usual Death Eater attire.
Instead they wore dark violet robes with hints of gold on the seams that suitably matched the purples of the assembly room.
Harry could not believe his eyes, Death Eaters walking around in fashionable robes for a celebratory feast! How absolutely ridicioulus.
A quick vision rushed to his mind of Voldemort shopping for robes and petulantly demanding...'/Purple! I wanted purple robes not this ugly mauve! Wormtail, can't you get anything right! CRUCIO!'/
The pain that had flared up in his scar had resided to a dull achy throb; it wasn't uncomfortable enough for him to stifle the reckless giggle that followed that particular image. In fact, the dark magic that still radiated from the pendant he was wearing like a million little acromantula scuttling through his body was starting to intoxicate him.
It wasn't like anything else he had ever felt before, and now that he had resigned himself with his probable mortal fate, it really didn't disgust or frighten him any longer.
He could feel the magic getting excited by his acceptance, it made his skin tingle and pulse in the same rhythm as his heartbeat. His own magic soon joined in to dance and rejoice in this new feeling of satisfaction, urging him on.
He chuckled mirthlessly at the startled reactions of the Death Eaters who had stopped their dramatic entrance when they heard him laugh and had turned to look at him.
They still had their white masks on though, which disallowed Harry to identify them personally or actually see any of the shocked expressions on their faces.
He just stared back at them grinning.
"You guys really do look like a bunch of ponces," he stated calmly, as if he was merely pointing out some redundant fact about today's weather to a couple of simpletons instead of a group of armed Death Eaters.
A gasp could be heard from some where to his left, a Death Eater rustling nervously with his robes. Harry just made out the glint of silver protruding from his sleeve from his position on the dais.
"Oh,/ hello/ Wormtail." He snickered. His head was now clearly confounded and dazed in a cloud of black magic.
"You..." bellowed Goyle Seniors voice clearly outraged still standing at the door. He aimed his wand directly at Harry, and was about to utter a curse when an ice cold voice pierced through the shocked silence.
"Leave him..." the cold raspy voice almost whispered. A cloaked figure all in black practically glided through the door and past the Death Eaters who immediately exploded into movement, resuming their way towards the decked table, each person standing behind a seat, waiting.
Harry's scar immediately felt like it was on fire, and he gritted his teeth in an attempt to keep anyone from noticing he was affected by Voldemorts presence.
The red, snake-like gaze of Voldemort seemed to burn a hole in his skull, as he sat at the head of the table directly opposite Harry.
Harry seemed to sober up immediately, it had been longer then a year since he had been this close to Voldemort.
"After all, there is no one left to save him now," Voldemort continued with obvious mirth. This statement was greeted with laughter by the accompanied Death Eaters.
"We might as well make his death worth our time," he lisped.
"Now sit, and feast," he demanded.
The Death Eaters took their seats and food instantly appeared on plates, and glasses were instantly filled with the reddest of wine, they started on the feast immediately.
Voldemort was right.
He had always been reckless. Hermione had called it his 'saving people thing'. But he had always gone into danger knowing that he would have someone to count on, a safety net by the name of Albus Dumbledore.
Even if Dumbledore wasn't always present, he always came through for Harry when he most needed it, and if what Voldemort said was true, he didn't even have Ron and Hermione anymore, who had been a constant presence in his life for the past six years.
All the people who could have been able to stand up and make a difference would have been gone, taking with them the hope to a positive out come of this war.
Something he could not accomplish alone.
And then it dawned on him for the first time, the overwhelming feeling made his mask of indifference crack in two.
He /was /alone.
He was utterly alone, and if he died so would all the goodness in the world. Albeit slowly, but it was inevitable.
And it was all his fault.
He had let everyone down; he had let the whole world down by flying off in a fit of rage to find his ex-potions master. He had let the whole world down by getting captured by Draco /fucking /Malfoy of all people.
What had he been thinking? Running off like that without telling anyone, without even making sure his friends were okay. He wished he had listened to that infuriating Hermione-like voice.
He clearly hadn't been thinking, and now all because of his irrational behavior the whole world would suffer.
The dismay of this realisation struck him hard; he could literally feel all the colour drain out of his face.
The immense responsibility he had been carrying since he learnt of the prophecy seemed to have successfully flattened him to the ground. He had known what he meant to the world, and he had ruined everything, all in his weakness and grief and all his red hot emotions.
His defenses came crashing down all around him, falling on him like great debris of a tall and mighty building. His head started spinning and his stomach seemed to roll around itself twice, before trying to climb up his throat. His eyes that just a few minutes ago had been clouded with green and spots of blacks started to drain to an eerie hollow jade with every painful recognition.
It was all his fault.
Across from him, Voldemort was the only one who hadn't moved to eat. He was staring at Harry intently, effectively ignoring a Death Eater two seats to his right who seemed to be attempting to swallow his whole plate in one go.
His mouth twitched upwards and he flashed his sharp little teeth in sign that he knew about Harry's inner turmoil.
He probably did too, he was a Legilimens and Harry never really got the hang of Occlumency.
Fear started to take over his senses then, and the pendant that still hung around his neck started to make him feel queasy instead of high.
He barely suppressed the urge to vomit.
Voldemort stood then, his hood falling back across his shoulders; revealing his face. He was still looking at Harry, holding his wine glass in front of him.
His face had barely changed since the last time Harry had seen him, he still gave off the feeling of a big reptile, with his nose made of two narrow slits in the middle of his face. His complexion, still a sickly pale colour, glowed ghost-like in the dark of the room and his spidery long fingers were currently caressing the wine glass. The red of his eyes conflicted with the rest of his appearance, making him look more dead then alive.
Silence took over the room.
"A toast would be appropriate, a toast to the day that saw the end of a family full of Muggle lovers, a day that will see the end of The Boy Who /Lived/," Voldemort started.
"No longer shall we have to hide and bide our time, no longer shall we live in constant repression and fear of being discovered by the outside world."
"After today you," he looked around the table proudly, "my faithful friends, will be the first to glory in a world purified of Muggle /filth," /he snarled viciously.
"We shall thrive, my friends; we shall thrive upon our success and kill all those who still dare to oppose the word of Lord Voldemort!"
Jeers and applause broke loose all around, the Death Eaters around the table stomped their feet on the ground for effect, one or two calling '/Hear, hear!'/
"And as my ultimate trophy," he continued, "for the entire world to see I will have his," he pointed his wand in a quick motion at Harry, "body mauled, his eyes gouged out, and his head /severed/! He will be absolutely /RUINED.../" he growled loudly, the glass in his hand shattered as if an example of what would become of Harry.
He walked around the table, approaching the dais slowly.
"...except for his scar," he whispered breathlessly.
Silence fell over the room again.
He arrived at the dais Harry was propped on, and loomed over his huddled body. He reached out one long pointed finger and traced Harry's scar all the way down the lines of the lightning bolt shape. Harry tried to squirm away from that cold poisonous touch ineffectively, restricted by his bounds.
"His scar remains untouched," he continued softly.
"I will leave his scar for the whole world to see, as a reminder of the boy who had brought them such a foolish thing as hope for light, hope for friendship but most of all hope for love..." he continued more loudly.
"To see that it meant nothing, nothing at all compared to what I will offer to give out to those who will obey; uncountable wealth and riches, every secret desire and every deepest hidden wish, but most of all, unbelievable power!"
All the candles went out and a burst of energy so powerful it brought tears to Harry's eyes encompassed them in a little demonstration. It lit up the whole room in a spur of lavish red that seemed to jolt around Voldemort, making the room vibrate and hum in enthralling magic.
All that was visible in the now pitch black room were Voldemort's glowing, bright red eyes surrounded by streams of magic Harry hadn't witnessed since the battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort at the Ministry.
Another wave of applause and sounds of agreements exploded from the Death Eaters.
"Luciussss my good friend..." Voldemort smiled maliciously, whirling around to face the table again, casting an uncanny red glow around the room. He looked at a Death Eater that was sitting to the left side of the table.
"I am glad you are with us again, I can not express enough how pleased I am that you finally freed yourself of your weaknesses," he hissed, each s slithering across his tongue.
"I am deeply sorry for your loss, of course," he mocked in an ailing sweet tone. "I wish it could have been different, but you killing the boy was the only way for you to redeem yourself and the Malfoy name.
"He had to pay the price for failing his task, though he did well bringing me Potter, very well indeed," he narrowed his eyes at Lucius.
"Naturally I would have let you free, but no one demands anything of me," he added silkily.
"He should have known better, really."
"Yes, my Lord," Lucius replied resolutely, with no sign of any lingering emotion. His wispy silver hair protruded through the edges of the hood of his robe.
"Good, now shall we..."
The rest of Voldemort's voice was drowned out by his thoughts that tried to process the information that had just been given to him.
Malfoy was dead? Killed by the father he so desperately tried to save. Another stabbing wave of guilt crashed over Harry. If he hadn't stormed off to Spinner's End, Malfoy would have still been there, waiting for Snape's return.
He hadn't liked Malfoy, not one bit.
As a matter of fact, he must admit that the thought of Malfoy meeting an untimely death must have crossed his mind quite a bit over the years.
But Malfoy hadn't deserved to die for trying to protect his family.
Too many had died today already.
And it was all because of him.
He closed his eyes shut tightly in defeat and let all the pain he felt wash over him.
Him and his stupid rash decisions, him and his stupid feelings. He should have known better after Sirius.
He should have known better.
I don't want to feel these feelings anymore, he snarled at himself. I just want all these feelings to go away, he thought furiously. What good do they ever bring me? So far they have only brought me grief.
Sirius, Ginny, the Weasleys.
...Ron and Hermione.
He was absolutely exhausted.
All the different emotions that have passed through him in the last twenty-four hours; /happiness, fear, contentment, love, joy, panic, frustration, rage and hate/, it had left him drained and dead tired.
He didn't want to feel them anymore; didn't want to be tired anymore.
He was so done with feeling lost and out of control.
"Just go away, go away, go away..." he muttered under his breath repeatedly in a quiet mantra. He clenched his hands into fists so tight that the white of his knuckles was clearly visible.
He could feel the pendant against his skin start to pulse again, and the feeling of indifference returning to him. His body started to react to the dark magic of the pendant; it was spreading to every corner of his body, pumping through his veins mercilessly.
That dark hole deep inside him, that gaping wound that had been ripped open just after the attack at the Burrow, where he felt all his hurt and these complicated conflicting emotions pour though started to gradually fade.
"-go away, GO away, GO AWAY!" he kept roaring, heedless of his surrounding.
His magic swirled around him, capturing him in a whirlwind of energy he had never felt before. The air crackled with wild magic, making the purple curtains wave restlessly in the wind, his hair that had grown noticeably shaded his face with jet black locks.
He distantly heard the clatter of cutlery, and shrieks of disbelief as the magic of the pendant and his own magic flowed around each other in elaborate flourishes as if contesting in a mating ritual.
The dais started to tremble, and as the magic looked to be infusing, Harry felt himself beginning to float.
"JUST GO AWAY!" he bellowed one last time, dragging out each syllable on his short breath.
Everything went quiet, as if he was wrapped up in a plastic cocoon that warped and blocked out most sounds, except for a faint ringing in his ears.
He felt light and different but he couldn't define just yet what that difference could be.
He noticed that he wasn't bound by any shackles anymore and frowned, still clenching his eyes shut. That wasn't the difference he had felt, well yes his wrists did feel a lot better now, but the change that he felt, felt...well... he didn't know exactly.
And then it came to him, he knew what it was now.
He felt absolutely nothing at all.
It was as if all the magic he had released, magic that he hadn't even known he possessed, had actually listened to his wishes and took away all the hurt and overwhelming mix of emotions he felt.
He was numb.
He opened his eyes that were now such a pitch black that they seemed to have lost all traces of once being green and stared right into the face of Voldemort, who just looked at him with mild curiosity, a hint of a smile on his face that did nothing for his features.
Harry just gazed back at him from his position above the dais, his hair still on end and magic still coursing around him furiously. He noticed that all the Death Eaters were standing just behind Voldemort, their wands drawn and pointing at him ready to lash out if needed.
"You are quite the creature, hmm?" Voldemort stated, the sound of his snake-like voice piercing through Harry's foggy mind. He could make out what that ringing in his ear was now.
"Pity you have to die so soon," Voldemort breathed.
The ringing appeared to be the sound of some kind of clock that had been hanging unnoticed on the shaded side of the wall opposite Harry.
"-seeing as how you do have some remarkably good features. Great magical ability, the gift of Parseltongue, and now it's clear you have a talent for dark magic as well. Those are all my features." continued Voldemort lazily.
He brought up his arm bearing his wand and pointed it directly at Harry. Harry tried to drift out of the way, but he was too late, as he felt himself unable to move, all he seemed to be able to do was blink stupidly at Voldemort all the while that irritating bell chimed in his ear, making him unable to concentrate properly.
"Cut off his head!" someone in the crowd of Death Eaters called out viciously, he wouldn't have been surprised if it had been Bellatrix Lestrange.
Voldemort smiled maliciously at that, and at the encouragement of the other Death Eaters.
Then Harry felt something burning in his neck, something hot and sharp that started to press at his taut skin, pushing and forcing an opening. He tried to move his head to see what it was but still couldn't move even an inch.
He was forced to look into those red eyes, shimmering with hatred and contempt.
He felt tell-tale drips pouring down the side of his neck that made him aware that his skin had been punctured.
Voldemort showed his teeth when he noticed Harry's eyes widening as realization had hit him of what was about to happen.
And then a more vicious stab seemed to slice inch for every slow inch into his open neck and he screamed.
Look out for:
Chapter 4: Untitled - A lot of questions will be answered, how will Harry escape his fate? What is the pendant and what happened to The Weasleys. Where does Snape fit in? Thanks again Colon for betaing!