Azkaban's hard on Harry. He struggles to keep his sanity while the world moves on without him.
A/N: This chapter was a bit difficult to write. It started at a third the length it is now. I didn't like how much I had left out, so I've added much more to it.
Harry sat down on his thin pallet. He had managed to collect enough seabird feathers to keep him from being too cold in his bed. The resulting mass looked more like a rat's nest than a bed, but it was warm.
He pulled the nest up around him and tried to sleep. His dreams were as bad as ever. He had always woken up in a cold sweat, with is heart pounding in his chest. For the first few weeks of his time in Azkaban, Harry's throat was always sore from the yelling and screaming he did in his sleep. When he was awake, the cell and everything around him seemed far away; almost as if he was seeing it through someone else's eyes.
Sometimes it seemed like his dreams were more real than his life in Azkaban. They would be of places and people outside of the prison. Mostly they would fade from memory a few minutes of Harry waking up. Some of the more powerful ones were burned into his mind.
Dumbledore looked up as the fire in the grate flared with an incoming flue call. The familiar face of Remus Lupin thrust himself through the fire.
"Albus! Harry's missing!"
Albus Dumbledore blinked for a moment of surprise, and then quickly scanned the devices and trinkets on the shelves around his office. Many of the ones he used to track Harry were still being repaired after the'incident' in Dumbledore's office a week earlier.
"How long has he been missing, Remus?"
"We're not sure. We think he slipped away from Mundungus shortly after he arrived at the Dursley's for the summer. When we didn't get aletter after three days, I was called to go and check on Harry. The Dursley's say they haven't seen him since the day they picked him up from the train. His trunk is gone too!"
Dumbledore sat in his office chair with a thump. He had no real way of tracking Harry with most of his devices broken. There hadn't been any Daily Prophet sightings of Harry Potter in ages, and his Gringott's account hadn't been accessed since the start of school last year.
"Albus... what do we do!?" Remus' face was frantic. He could feel in his heart of hearts that Harry was in trouble.
"Call the Order together immediately. I will set some things in motion. Don't worry, Remus. We will find him."
With a nod, Remus Lupin's face pulled back from the fire. Dumbledore sat in contemplation for a moment.
"What have you done, Harry?"
Gradually as the weeks went by, the dreams became less and less terrifying. Harry's mind turned to the betrayal of Dumbledore and his friends. How come they didn't come to save him? Why weren't they at the trial?He could feel a burning in his mind as he ran through the reasons his friends had abandoned him.
"Ah! Lucius! It's always good to see you. What can I do for you?"
Fudge's office was resplendent with silk wall hangings, and a thick rug. His desk almost filled the one end of the spacious room, and his small portly frame almost hidden by the desk.
Lucius Malfoy gave a small, not quite mocking bow of his head.
"Minister, I brought some suggestions for the upcoming werewolf control laws. It was felt that I would be the best spokesperson to bring these to you, as I have the utmost respect for you."
Fudge looked briefly at the papers. He set them down on the desk and turned back to Malfoy.
"Of course. It is only by allowing the people a voice that we can be sure we are doing as the people want. On another note, have you heard any whisperings of Potter? I'm sure the magical oath we had the Wizengamot members sign will take care of any leaks, but I still worry."
Malfoy swung his cloak out of the way as he sat in achair at the front of Fudge's desk. He looked at the man behind the desk and nearly sneered in contempt. He hated simpering for this fool, and could only hope his Lord gave him to deal with when the time came.
"Not a squeak, Minister. The press has quieted, and Ibelieve even Dumbledore has given up hope. Now is the time to put that distasteful chapter of our lives behind us. Now, for the real reason I came. Irecently have come across some evidence that shows several people you are holding in the Ministry cells are innocent. I'm sure you will agree they should be released immediately." Lucius handed Fudge a few papers and a Gringott's bank draft.
Fudge looked at the amount on the bottom and smiled.
Harry woke up from this dream beating at the door of the cell, somehow thinking he had Fudge in front of him. Fudge's laughing face disappeared into the door. His hands were dripping blood on the cell floor, cut from pounding on the wood. Harry then realized everything was badly blurred. He would often have troubles seeing for a few minutes after waking, but this was extreme. Reaching up a bloodied hand he felt for his glasses.Gone!
Harry frantically searched the cell floor, on his hands and knees groping through the dirty straw looking. His hands encountered a twisted wreck of glass shards and wire. His flailing had thrown them from his face, and he had stepped on them in his delirium. He sat cradling his glasses, tears of anger running from his eyes for some time.
Hermione finished cleaning Hedwig's cage. She was worried about the normally majestic snowy owl. She was usually full of life and would gladly carry mail for her. Ever since Harry had disappeared she had become more and more lifeless. Her feathers were dull, and she was molting faster than she could grow new ones.
"Do you want an owl treat, girl? I know you miss Harry. We all do. I wish you could talk. I'm sure you know where he is."
Hermione had tried sending letters to Harry a couple times, but ever since Hedwig had returned from the last attempt badly injured, she had dared not try again. Hagrid had said the injuries had looked like they were inflicted by other birds. Little did Hermione know, but the seagulls around Azkaban were charmed to attack any mail owls that were not Ministry sent. Hedwig had valiantly tried to get to her master, but the sheer numbers of seagulls drove her back.
"Don't worry. I won't give up, and I know you won't. We will find Harry, and bring us back together again."
Hedwig turned to look into Hermione's eyes and shared what could only be a weak smile of the soul.
Dementors were another treat for Harry. They seemed to randomly patrol the hallways. Harry had tried to protect himself with Occlumency a few times. As he had finally gathered the peace he needed to empty out the voices, cries and screams in his mind, they would flock to his cell. Once, Harry had tried to talk to them when they came to his cell. He had promised them his deepest, happiest memories if the would let him out. He cried, and begged only to be ignored.
He refused to stop trying. Some days he would get some relief. Other days, he would attempt his exercises, and be swallowed up by the screams of his mother as the monsters descended into his mind.
The last day of July had become a quiet time around the Burrow. The whole family, with the exception of Percy, always spent the night at the Burrow. Molly and Arthur would quietly make supper. Dessert was always treacle tart.
Ron and Ginny were out by the pond, looking at the makeshift Quidditch pitch that they had played many a pickup game in. Fred and George joined them just as the sun was going down.
"We've got something special for everyone tonight. Mom and Dad will be along in a minute with the others."
The Weasleys had gathered along the shore of the pond. Arthur looked at his normally mischievous sons and nodded his head. "Go ahead boys."
Fred raised his wand, gave it a flick and sudden poke towards the small package they had placed on the other side of the pond. Apencil thin blue light shot across and struck the bundle.
A flash of light made the Weasleys blink and cover their eyes for a moment. Then, in the sky, a golden Seeker could be seen streaking though the sky in a lightning bolt pattern. The fireworks gradually faded into the night.
Molly's face was wet with shed tears. She stood at the edge of the pond long after everyone else went in, until the chill night air forced her in for the night.
When Harry woke from having visions of his friends, he felt a lingering peace. It seldom lasted through the day, but they were cherished. At least until the Dementors came. At other times, Harry would wake from avision, only to wish he could die. They would be so horrible that he would sit on the floor; his legs clutched to him, and stare at the window while rocking back and forth in an effort to drive the nightmares from his memory.
"My Lord, everything is prepared for tonight's festivities."
Wormtail cowered on the floor in front of Voldemort. Ever since Potter had disappeared, the Dark Lord had been in a foul mood. He was freely using Crucio on his death eaters. Several had died.
"Good. Don't let anything ruin tonight or you will become the entertainment. Now, let us start."
Wormtail yanked on a silken bell pull. A long lonely bell tolled into the darkness. The double door at the end of the room opened and several fully uniformed Death Eaters came though. Supported on a large platter was a steaming haunch of meat. The silent bearers placed the platter on anearby table and slowly backed away. The almost sweet smell of the cooked meat permeated the room.
Voldemort's eyes were shining in the dim room, almost as if lit from within. He rose from his throne, and strode to the table. With aswift graceful flick, he cut a slice from the roast. He chewed and swallowed, athoughtful look on his face. He swung around and returned to his throne.
"Excellent. I was unsure if you would find a 12 year old witch in time for All Hollow's Eve."
Harry lost track of time. He would feel like he had surfaced from a deep dark place, only to discover many days worth of meals rotting on the floor in front of the door to his cell. As time passed, he would have longer and longer periods of lucid thought where he would stare at the door with a single thought running through his mind.
'Have they forgotten me yet?'
Strangely, the dementors left him alone during his lucid periods. Harry had not felt a dementor for several weeks. Perhaps they had left to join Voldemort?
During one of his long contemplative periods, Harry looked over at the door of his cell as he heard an odd sound. One he had not heard for a long time. Was that a voice on the other side of the door?!
"Oi! Gimme tha' can o' oil. This one's right stuck!" The wood creaked and with a sudden crack, Harry's cell door popped out of its frame. The door slowly creaked open as it was pulled open.
A grimy face peered into the spartan cell. Harry was huddled into his nest in fear. What was going on?
"You there! Come out o' there! We gotta get ya down to the boat 'fore it leaves!"