Double your trouble
Disclaimer: I own nothing. JK Rowling owns all. Don't we all wish we were her?
Summary: The summer after 'Order of the Phoenix', Harry is depressed and angry. And he starts thinking. Is death really irreversible?
Spoilers for: Books 1 to 5. (HBP never happened. Really.)
Drinker of Souls
The next morning they were greeted by a cloudy sky. Harry cheerfully sat down at the breakfast table. "Luckily we don't need sunlight to pull this ritual off."
The tension was palpable. All the Weasleys were thinking - hoping - the same thing.
Hermione still had her doubts, though. "Harry, have you ever... resurrected anyone before?"
Harry averted his eyes. "I know the theory behind it."
That wasn't very reassuring, went through the heads of most of them.
Harry sighed. "To be honest, I haven't done anything'big' except bringing back Sirius. He was my reason to learn these things, you know. All the other uses of Death Magic I've studied because I felt I would need them, but I've not yet actually usedthem. Don't worry, though. I know the theory, I know how to do it, I just don't know how it'll feel. It should work." A reassuring smile. "It should be as simple as following a recipe."
"And we all know how good you are at that, don't we, Potter?" Snape had entered the kitchen. As usual, he was sneering.
Harry raised his brow. "Are you here to see the resuscitation, Professor?"
"Such big words, Potter. Be careful, you might hurt your tongue."
Harry smiled thinly. Apparently, Snape still didn't believe Harry had earned his pins. Harry couldn't wait to prove him wrong.
The wizarding graveyard was a beautiful place. Most tombstones were decorated with moving pictures and Ever-Blooming Flowers, and the grey light from the cloudy sky gave the cemetary a solemn appearance. Harry took note of the rows of fresh graves, and wished he had been there to prevent it. Voldemort was going too far.
They stopped in front of two fresh graves, side by side. Vivid orange flowers adorned the tombstones.
Harry swallowed. Oh, he hoped this would work...
"Okay. Let's dig them up."
He took his wand and levitated the stones out of the way. Another series of spells moved the earth to the sides of each grave. Harry took a deep breath when he saw the two coffins.
He could hear Mrs Weasley softly crying behind him. He really could have done without an audience... The only one he might have wanted here was Sirius, but Madame Pomphrey had forbidden Sirius to come, telling him he was still too weak. Which he was, really.
Harry took another deep breath and gathered his famed Gryffindor courage. He lifted the coffins out of their respective graves and put them right in front of him. Then he opened them.
Behind him, Mrs Weasley started to cry even louder.
It was a painful sight, to see the twins lying there. So still, so unmoving. Their faces almost unrecognizable without their trademark grin.
Luckily, the preservative charms had done their work. Since they had been killed by the Killing Curse, no real harm had come to their bodies. (Except for the whole dying part, of course.)
Harry took the ritual knife he carried on his belt. Carefully he called for his magic.
It rose within him, eager to be let out. Harry started to half-chant and half-hiss the incantations. Some parts of the ritual needed to be spoken in Parseltongue, but that was no problem for him. During the incantations, he sliced slowly in the palm of his hand, making sure it bled enough before he pressed his hand against the closed eyes of one twin before doing the same to the other. With his wand he traced patterns in the air, runes of renewel and rebirth. A dark strand of magic floated from the tip of his wand and connected with both bloody handprints.
Harry's chanting made the strand of magic thicken, before it split into two webs that hid both twins from view.
Harry shivered. Magic was running through him, magic that leeched off his ability to think properly, magic that drained his strenght very fast and that relocated the stolen - no, freely given - power to the two dead bodies inside the webs. Harry could feel his life essence pouring into them, his soul calling for theirs.
And they answered.
Harry barely noticed he had fallen on both knees and was breathing in short gasps. The chanting had stopped, though a faint, annoying humming could be heard. Fatigue and pain ran through Harry's body, making it hard for him to keep his wand steady. He could not afford to disrupt the ritual now.
Finally, he felt the strand of magic breaking. The webs unravelled, fading in the light of the greyish sky.
The last things Harry saw before he fainted, were two identical redheads sitting up in their coffins.
"He did it. Harry did it. He really did it." Ron was babbling, and he knew it. His parents were crying and hugging alternately eachother and the twins, who were drowsily looking at their surroundings. One of them opened his mouth to say something, but no sound followed.
While the Weasley family was reuniting with their previously dead members, Dumbledore lifted the unconscious Harry from the grass. "Reviving two people has taken a lot out of him. I will take him to Headquarters. Alastor, would you please stay here with Poppy until the Weasleys feel ready to leave?"
Moody nodded curtly. "I'll keep an eye on them."
Dumbledore gently lowered Harry on the couch.
"I refuse to believe this is Potter," said Snape. He had paled, but his eyes were burning. "Potter could never use a magic so Dark and powerful."
"It is Harry." Dumbledore sighed. "I'm completely sure of this." His eyes had lost their twinkle. "The fact he is a Necromancer is very alarming."
Snape snorted. "Do you believe your Golden Gryffindor Brat will become the next Dark Lord?"
"I am more worried about the Dark Lord we already have."
Snapes eyes went wide. "Those rituals... They work with the blood of the Necromancer. The third Task -"
"Indeed." Dumbledore sighed. "Voldemort was resurrected using Harry's blood. Of course, that time nobody knew it was the blood of a Necromancer, which probably made the ritual Voldemort used even more potent. But Harry's blood flows through Voldemort's veins."
"The Dark Lord was not born a Necromancer. He won't be able to use the rituals Potter can," Snape tried to convince himself. His voice wavered ever so slightly.
Dumbledore shook his head. "This is Voldemort we are talking about, Severus. Evil he may be, but Tom Riddle was also one of the brightest minds Hogwarts has ever seen. He could probably find a way to make those rituals work, now he has the blood of a Necromancer."
Harry woke up, completely understanding how someone would feel after being trampled by a herd of Hippogriffs. Every single part of his body hurt.
Perhaps it hadn't been such a bright idea to resurrect both twins at once. Bringing back one person was hard enough. Bringing back two at the same day was something he wouldn't attempt ever again, he vowed to himself.
He opened his eyes and frowned at the blurry shapes around him. Oh, right. His glasses.
His hand searched for the silver frames and found them on the pedestal cupboard next to his bed. The blurry shapes became the worried faces of Ron, Hermione and Ginny, standing around him. "He's awake! Go get Madame Pomphrey, Ron." Ginny took his hand and squeezed it. "How are you feeling, Harry?"
Harry blinked. What was going on? Sure, he'd fainted, but he hadn't been out for that long... Had he? "Ehm, what's wrong?"
A tired and pale Sirius stormed inside, and hugged Harry fiercely. "Don't ever do that again! God, I thought I'd lost you -"
Harry struggled for breath in the tight embrace. "Er, Sirius?"
"Let go of him, Sirius, you'll hurt him," Madame Pomphrey chastised, entering the room. She was followed by Remus, Dumbledore and Ron. Immediatly when Sirius let go of him the medi-witch started casting spells on Harry. He endured the faint tingling of the spells, still wondering why everyone was making such a fuss.
"Nothing. He seems to be completely recovered."Pomphrey's voice was astonished.
Harry cleared his throat. "What is the matter?"
Dumbledore looked at him gravely. "Harry, you've been unconscious for three days. An hour after the ritual your pulse was nearly non-existent."
"You almost died, Harry," Hermione whispered.
"Oh." Harry shrugged. "Unexpected, but I'm still learning. I probably used too many of my reserves. How are Fred and George?"
Ginny gave him a brilliant smile. "They're okay. They are in Saint Mungo's, and in a few days they'll be released."
Relieved, Harry left his bed and searched through his trunk for his clothes. His skull-shaped pins lay on top of his folded black pants.
Madame Pomphrey ordered him to get back into bed immediatly, but Harry shook his head at their fussing. "I've already lost three days. I'm fine, I really am, but there's no time to lose." He pointed his stare at Dumbledore. "I would really appreciate it if you could get me into Azkaban."
With those cryptic words he left for the bathroom.
"Getting insideAzkaban? You must be mad! Why would someone wantto get inside Azkaban?!"
Harry paused a moment, before lifting his fork. "How else can I meet with the Dementors?" He was ravenously hungry. Something he could have expected, after three days of not eating.
"It's getting outside again that will be the problem,"Remus mused. "Besides, the Ministry has declared you back alive, Harry. They're going to have a trial tomorrow, and if they see you outside Grimmauld Place until then, you'll be shipped directly to a Ministry holding cell. It's a good thing you woke up today, or you wouldn't be able to defend yourself at the trial."
"That complicates matters," Harry agreed. "But it doesn't change what must be done. I really need to go to the Dementors today, Remus. Especially if I'm going to have a trial tomorrow."
"If they sentence me to the Dementor's Kiss - I know the punishments for Necromancy, Hermione, you don't have to recite them to me - it would be better for me if the Dementors were on my side, yes? They wouldn't hurt an ally."
"I suppose so..." Remus wasn't convinced.
"Harry, you're forgetting something," Dumbledore slowly said. "The Dementors are on Voldemort's side."
"Their Queen isn't. She never takes anyone's side."
"And you think you can convince this Queen to take yours?"
Harry shook his head. "No. But I can try, can't I?"
It took a few hours before they agreed on a plan. Dumbledore would Apparate Harry to the dock where the small boat left to bring prisoners and visitors to the isle. After all, Azkaban was protected against the use of Portkeys and Apparation. There was no Floo and all boats but the one that was enchanted to, would be unable to find it. The ancient magic that guarded the isle made it very hard to get in or out.
And still Sirius had managed to escape. And don't forget the Death Eaters... According to Dumbledore, the prison was nearly empty. All of Voldemort's followers had been freed by the Dark Lord, at one time or another. What was left were criminals who were not imporant or loyal enough to be freed by him.
Harry stared at the dark clouds. Here, so close to the Isle of Azkaban, the wind itself seemed to scream. Perhaps it was the influence of the Dementors that made the sky so dreary and the wind so icy... Perhaps it was the echo of the terror the prisoners of the Isle had endured during the past centuries. Was it only centuries? How long did Azkaban exist? Where did the Dementors come from? Harry had gained quite a bit of knowledge on his travels, but some things were simply too old for the world to remember.
"Are you sure about this, Harry?" Dumbledore asked him, his voice serious.
Sirius. Harry had wanted nothing more than to have Sirius here with him, but he understood why his godfather had wanted to stay behind. There were too many memories here for him. Too much not-quite-forgotten pain.
"Yes, I'm sure."
The Auror whose job it was to navigate the boat didn't question Dumbledore when the Headmaster asked him to bring him and his companion to the Isle. Harry was a bit disturbed by this. Was this the famed security of Azkaban? Anyone who Polyjuiced himself into Dumbledore would get in easily.
Probably it was harder to get out. Not that it really mattered anymore. All the dangerous prisoners had already escaped.
The presence of the Dementors was a lot stronger on the Isle itself. Dumbledore gave him a piece of chocolate, which Harry declined. He could feel the Dementors, their coldness and their power, but it didn't bother him as much as it used to. No bad memories resurfaced. Dumbledore seemed to have a bit more trouble, but he was powerful, and Occlumency probably helped a lot too.
Two gaunt-faced Aurors had noticed their arrival. They emerged from a small building, dwarfed by the huge prison standing a few hundred metres further.
Harry shook his head at Dumbledore. He didn't want to meet the Aurors. They had to get underneath the prison.
The Aurors stopped them before they could get near the desolate stone building. They too recognized Albus Dumbledore.
Harry ignored their conversation. He felt something pulling at his magic, something that clouded his mind and made him struggle to remain on his feet.
Dumbledore took Harry's arm before the young Necromancer could fall. "Harry?"
One of the Aurors scratched his head. It was a good thing they were always the last to hear about something, otherwise they'd have realised Harry wasn't supposed to be here. But no owl ever came to the Isle of Azkaban, and the Aurors stationed here rarely got any news from the outside world. It was a lousy job, not much better than being a prisoner. You couldn't hide from the never-ceasing presence of the Dementors.
"Well, professor Dumbledore, we've never heard of the Dementors having a leader. If you want us to show you the place they - er, live, lacking a better word - we'll do that, but on your own risk, you know. They don't like anyone entering their place, and I doubt they'll let you leave. Are you absolutely sure you want to risk it?"
Dumbledore looked at Harry. The young man had closed his eyes and seemed to listen to something.
Whatever Harry was, he could be trusted. At least, Albus hoped so... Had the Dark Magic made Harry insane? Was he leading them both to a certain death? Or worse?
Dumbledore sighed, and nodded to the Aurors. "If you'd please lead the way..."
The force that pulled his magic faded away. Harry could think clearly again. He felt the force was extremely close, but it was muffled, as if someone - something? - kept it tightly under control.
He heard a door being closed behind them, and two pair of footsteps leaving. Harry opened his eyes.
He and Dumbledore were standing in a narrow hallway. The little light on Dumbledore's wand illuminated the dank stone walls. The smell was horrible. It didn't take much imagining to realize they were below sea-level.
The Headmaster saw he was conscious and let him go. Harry took a deep breath. "Please douse your light, professor."
With his eyes Dumbledore asked if that was such a good idea. Harry simply nodded.
"Nox." The light disappeared.
The smell worsened. Cold, bony hands grasped Harry's arm and pulled him and Dumbledore through the hallway. Their footsteps echoed against the walls, adding to the sound of the rattling breathing that accompanied them.
After a few minutes, they stopped. The hands released them. In the darkness before them, something shifted.
Who are you, human?
The words entered his head directly. Harry took a deep breath, and bowed to what he hoped to be the right direction. He kept his head bowed. These beings had no eyes, but they could still see you. Your aura, your emotions... your life.
"I am Harry Potter, your Majesty. By dust and shadow Igreet you."
Some more shifting.
So you are a Necromancer... Do you think this will help you, human? Do you think the magic of Death will let you bind us, who once were the most favored servants of He Who Ends All?
"I would not even dream of binding your children, your Majesty." Harry kept his voice calm and quiet. He knew without a doubt that the presence he felt before him was too ancient and too powerful to deliberately anger. Not to mention the other Dementors, who surrounded them.
Then what do you want, human? What sweet lies will you weave for us?
If a voice in your head could sound mocking, this was it. Harry kept his head bowed. "No lies, your Majesty. By ice and wind, I seek your aid."
The creature in front of him moved again. Something slimy and dead-too-long touched his forehead. Cold fingers traced his scar.
You know the rituals,the voice said.It won't help you, nor your friend. Our children chose to aid another. The Red Serpent offered us many souls.
Something in its voice seemed off. It sounded almost... sad?
Harry dared to look up. He could see nothing in the darkness, but the touch on his head was enough to know where the creature was.
"Souls aren't what you want, are they, your Majesty?"He wondered out loud. "It is something else."
Silence. A sharp nail travelled a bit too close to his eyes to be comfortable.
Harry ignored the slight threat. "What is it you wish for, your Majesty? Perhaps I can offer you that instead of souls and pain?"
Another long silence. The nail withdrew from his face.
Harry frowned a bit. "You spoke to me about how you and your children once were Death's servants. Can I ask you what went wrong?"
A third silence. Then: We were the guardians of souls. Our duties were to guide them to the afterlife. Fate entrusted an object to us, one that has been stolen by your kind, human. This existence we must now endure is our punishment.
Harry's eyes widened. "The Veil. The Ministry uses it to control you, don't they?"
The passageway into oblivion is indeed what we lost, and what must be gained back before we can become what we once were.
"Harry, you can't promise something that's not yours to give." Dumbledore's voice cut through the following silence. Harry ignored him. The young Necromancer stared at the decaying darkness before him, and nodded slowly. "Then by ash and wave I swear, if I defeat Voldemort I shall give you the Veil."
Not very intelligent, human. You bound yourself to this promise. If you are victorious over the Red Serpent without our help, you must fulfill it too.
"I know. The Ministry was never supposed to have the Veil. I'm giving it back to you as soon as I have the opportunity to do so." He shrugged. "With Voldemort breathing down my back I will be too busy to work on it, but when he's gone... You should have your freedom."
A very long silence. Even the rattling breathing seemed to pause. Dumbledore prayed Harry hadn't gone to far, prayed they would be able to walk out of here alive.
Finally: Go, Harry Potter, Childe Necromancer. Go and take your friend with you. Call for us when the time is right.
The hands led them away, through the dank tunnels, and suddenly they were standing in the greyish Azkaban light, blinding after the previous darkness. A door fell closed behind them.
Harry looked at a pale Dumbledore, and grinned. "I did it."
"Yes, you did." Dumbledore shivered, and presented Harry and himself with some chocolate. "Let's go back to the Headquarters."