“Parseltongue”, Thoughts, “Normal speech”, “telepathy”
Harry potter didn’t quite know what to make of this situation. To be honest, he didn’t quite know what to make of anything at the moment. He was however, pretty sure that he was supposed to be dead, unless of course this was hell. It was certainly his hell.
He was currently sat with his legs folded under him on a too familiar cot, in a too familiar cupboard under the stairs, with an all too familiar irritated uncle shouting at him. The last thing he remember was being attacked by a swarm of dementors sent my ministry to take him back to Azkaban fifteen years after he had broken out, leaving many dead people in his wake.
Deep unsatisfied anger rolled through him at the reminder of what he had been through. Not two months after he defeated Voldemort at the battle of Hogwarts, he had been summoned to the ministry, charged the murder of Arthur Weasley, a man who had taken him as a surrogate son. He had been young and naïve. He didn’t know what was going on. Too busy wallowing in relief and self-pity and many other emotions that the end of the war brought that he became complacent. He didn’t know where all the evidence came from and even his testimony under veritaserum fell on deaf ears.
He had turned to Dumbledore (who had miraculously, and somewhat suspiciously come back from the dead), begged him to believe him, to speak for him but the man had also turned away from him. After everything he’d been through on his suggestions and orders, the man didn’t even bother to talk to him privately or ask him his side of things. He just looked at him with deep disappointment in his eyes. Even Hermione, the girl that always wanted the facts and always asked why, was too grief stricken that he had murdered her boyfriends father that she didn’t even ask him why he would do such a thing.
The trial had been all over the papers, with reporters like Rita Skeeter blowing everything out of proportion, the whole of the wizarding world hated him. In the three days that it took them to complete the trial, sentence him to Azkaban and grant all the contents of the potter vault to the Weasleys as compensation, Harry really wasn’t aware of anything. It was later, after having spent months in Azkaban, trying to think of a reason someone would do such a thing to him, still so naïve that a paper one of the guards left to float near his cell caught his eye. The date on the paper was just a few weeks after his trial but it was the news in that had his world crumbling around him. The headline of the paper was the wedding of Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, wedding of the decade.
In that moment, his mind completely shattered. When Sirius had first escaped he had told him about the conditions of Azkaban, but it was nothing compared to living it, and he had been quite proud of having managed to keep most of his mind so far. Whenever he sensed a dementor coming towards his cell, he would hurry towards the darkest corner of his cell and wrap his magic around himself. The ministry had snapped his wand after his sentencing and the first few weeks were hell. He had learned to sense and manipulate his magic windlessly out of sheer sense of self-preservation. And it was that magic, now wrapped around his mind, that held him from blasting the whole of Azkaban to rubble like he’d done the headmasters office in his fifth year.
His own best friends had framed him for murder just to get to his money. It had hit him in that moment, the way they behaved all the way through Hogwarts, had been to stay close to him because of that money. Then, he had just been happy to have friends, people who wanted to be his friends not because of his fame that he had not bothered to ask why. To the extent he would murder his own father because in that moment, he had no doubt that Ron and Hermione had had a hand in the murder. After that day, the only thing Harry had on his mind was revenge.
He remembered that Sirius once told him that one of the reasons he survived Azkaban so well was because he spent most of the time in his Animagus form. It wasn’t an easy thing, with his magic going to healing his body, keeping the dementors away and helping him piece through his shattered mind plus having never studied animagi transformation before, it took him eight years to manage a partial a transformation. He didn’t know what animal he was, but he knew it was big. Some sort of reptile. He had fangs and after testing it on some rats in is cell, he found out he also had venom. His nails sharpened and hardened into claws, his skin was covered in hard scales and his tongue was forked. When he was satisfied that he could seamlessly achieve that form, he started to concentrate on how to get out. He conserved his magic, exposing himself to the dementors more, trying to build up a tolerance as well. He observed his surroundings and made note of the comings and goings of guards and their behaviours towards the prisoners as well.
There was a woman in the cell opposite his that had been brought in about six years after him. She was young, no younger than he had been when he’d been brought in. she was also thin and small. He had long since stopped feeling anything but hatred and the need for revenge after extended exposure to dementors, but he felt pity for her. He could tell she probably didn’t commit the crime she was being charged with by the completely subdued way she carried herself. So, he had helped her. At night when the guards patrolled, he would feed her some magic and instruct her on how to manipulate her almost non-existent magic to shield herself. A few weeks after she had been brought in, one of the guards had raped her brutally in front of him, and that was when he started factoring her into his plans for escape. That night, she had told him her story. Her name was Estelle Castle and she had been the nanny of a Nobel. He had taken advantage of her and she had gotten pregnant. When she told him, he asked her to terminate it and she had refused, completely horrified. Because of their low population, terminating a magical child was against the law in pretty much every county. She had even threatened to tell his wife. He had forcefully terminated the baby anyway, spelled her unable to speak the truth till a few months into her stay on Azkaban and had her arrested for theft.
He didn’t why he bother, he didn’t need the extra baggage she carried upon his own, but he took her as an unofficial sister. In the following weeks after that night, he had worked his magic to exhaustion, placing a highly powerful ward on her cell that would repel the human guards who wanted to take advantage of her again (of course,, having never studied warding, he didn’t know what he was doing and just thought he was casting a spell that would repel the guards) . When he told her what he had done, the smile that graced her dirty features for him, made him feel like a human being again.
Through most of his sentencing, he didn’t get a visitor, the world just forgot about him. That he had literally died for him. He had thought that maybe Ron and Hermione would visit to at least gloat, but they didn’t. Then one day, his door opened, and a vision of blonde came to see him. It turned out that Luna had left the country after the battle and had only just returned. Visiting was only allowed for an hour per day, so she came to see him everyday till she left the country again. They had talked about nothing an everything. And in her usual precognitive ways, she had let him know that what he had been planning would be successful.
Two months after she left again, he and Estelle escaped. He had timed it perfectly, when the guards opened his cell to gloat at him and set down his food, he had struck. His magic like a blade had sliced the mans head clear off. He was moving even before the body hit the floor. He grabbed the man’s key and wand and opened Estelle’s cells and handed her the wand. Despite his teaching, she did not have as good a grasp on her magic as he did on his. He didn’t know how they managed but they got off the island, cloaked in his magic so as not to alert the dementors and stole into the town of Hogsmeade. They slept rough that night behind a shop before making their way to Gringotts the next day.
Luna had not so subtly hinted during her visits that there was something waiting for him there. The goblins were not surprised to see him, although they were surprised to see Estelle. They had given him a rundown of his accounts since his parents’ death (and since the accounts no longer belonged to him, their actions were technically illegal, something they chose to overlook much to his thanks) and his anger at Dumbledore and his ex-friends mounted. Sirius had named him his heir but Dumbledore as his guardian had blown through the whole thing. All the money his parents and his godfather left him blown through. he had been pleasantly surprised after an inheritance test to find out that he was entitle to both the Peverell and Slytherin lines and vaults so after consulting with the goblins, for a small fortune they had provided both him and Estelle with new identities as brothers and sisters.
He had immediately accepted Luna’s invitation to spend time with her and her father in India where they were searching for nargles and other mystical creatures and things. While there he made sure to keep track of the goings and coming of Dumbledore and his little order. He also educated himself. During his stay in Azkaban he had sworn to himself not to let anything get away from him again. He would always be one step ahead of everyone and everything, no one would ever get the better of him again. So, both he and Estelle, now Hadrian and Iris Peverell had studied. A few years later he had multiple masteries and was working as a Hit-wizard who received contracts from everyone through Gringotts.
Back in Britain, the news of his escape hit and immediately the ministry had sent out dementors to bring him back. He had laughed at their reaction, their fear and wonder of his escape and the sadistic little shit he had turned into revelled in it. He had managed to evade them for fifteen years before they caught him. By then, he was well and truly mad. He had had his revenge on Dumbledore and the order, tortured and murdered them in the most gruesome way he could think of and he could think of more than a few. It was the night he killed Dumbledore that they got him. He had duelled the man and had been severely injured but had won, there had been way too many traps in the house he had caught him in (one of the black house he had inherited from Sirius, a small manor in Ireland specifically) and he dementors were upon him before he could do anything about it.
He wasn’t sorry, he had done what he wanted. What he needed. Every single person that had ever hurt him had gotten their comeuppance at his hand. He remembered closing his eyes, happy that his family was taken care of as the dementor swarmed him. Iris was happily settled in America with a man that loved her to bits and her children. After they had separated from Luna, he had settled her down and given her free reign over her life. She had met Jude some years later and settled down. Harry had spelled the man into secrecy when she had decided to tell him the truth, even though the man was willing. He had not been happy to share her easy affection for him with another but had gradually opened to the man. Gringotts had instruction of what to do upon his death so he wasn’t worried about them. no, he was relieved.
Was being the operative word because he wasn’t feeling so relived right now. He had absolutely no idea what was going on. For a moment he thought he was hallucinating but that notion was quickly thrown out of the proverbial window as his cupboard door was yanked open and his now small body was yanked out.