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ETA 05/11/23 - I did not abandon this story. This is a WIP (work in progress) and to see how the writing is going, please visit http://www.livejournal.com/community/qotd_writes/ for more information. Thank you. I'm sooooooooooo sorry for the long wait. Really. I hate myself. This chapter is not beta-ed, sorry for that too but my beta doesn't seem to send the chapter back so I lost my patience and now I post it here unbeta-ed.

Thank you all for the encouraging reviews!

Enjoy...


CHAPTER FIVE - THE NIGHTMARE

I am awake under this blanket of fear, and I must say, none of the people I see belong here, now everyone's asleep; I am awake and I am dreaming, I believe it is time for a rude awaking. Hold on to your dreams, because your nightmares might seem like they're your reality. Hold on to your dreams. I'm falling in my dream, I finally hit the ground. I hit the ground, because I, I can't keep my mind from going into dark places. (- Papa Roach)

The rest of the day passed without too many incidents. Snape's detention turned out to be one of his endless attempts to torture me, this time by making me skin, clean and pickle frogs with my bare hands after which I needed to put them in glass jars so he could show them off in his office later. By the end of the detention my hands had an unhealthy looking reddish colour and after a few hours they even started itching like mad. When I went to the library to do some research the next day about that specific sort of frogs (the colour of my hands still hadn't faded away), I came to the conclusion they were poisonous. It seemed like Snape had accidentally overlooked this little detail.

It appeared that Ron had failed his O.W.L. for Potions and that was why he hadn't attended the lesson, in fact he wouldn't need to attend a single class of Potions ever again. Somehow Hermione was really agitated with this as it had nipped Ron's idea of becoming an Auror in the bud, and even though he didn't need to study the subject anymore, she insisted that he revised all the lessons afterwards.

To my surprise only Ron, Seamus and some other die-hard Gryffindors were bothered with the fact that I was partly a Slytherin, the others had recovered from their shock quite well. But of course the first group stuck to ignoring me and as I was really accustomed with this method because Uncle Vernon used it all the time, I found that I didn't really care.

I planned the Quidditch Try-outs the first Friday of September and in the end the loss of one practice didn't really seem to matter as we hardly had any players left to practice with anyway: we only had two Chasers, Ginny Weasley and Katie Bell; two extremely bad Beaters, Jack Sloper and Andrew Kirke; and a Keeper, Ron. And then of course me being the Seeker.

Okay, so basically we had all players except for one Chaser but still... I had especially wanted a decent replacement for both Kirke and Sloper because they were just awful (even Ron looked a magnificent Keeper compared to them, and he wasn't at all good if you put in side by side to Wood), but unfortunately for me the ones who showed up at the day of the Try-outs were even worse.

I found one okay Chasers though, namely Marc McFadden, a fifth year. He wasn't a real natural but once he'd had some practice he would do just fine according to me. At least I couldn't deny he was enthusiastic.

A bit too enthusiastic maybe...

I considered myself extremely lucky to have Ginny in the team, because she was a really good Chaser and Ron wasn't that bad either. What surprised me most though, was that, on the Pitch, Ron did seem to respect me. It looked as if everything happening inside the castle didn't affect him on the field.

Nonetheless I became conscious of the fact that was only semblance when I overheard him talking to Andrew behind my back in the Changing Rooms after our first practice together.

Most of the Gryffindors had soon noticed I didn't exactly get along with Ron or Hermione any longer, and to my astonishment there was a pretty big number of volunteers to befriend with me. It was somewhat irritating though: now I had almost constantly a herd of students following me everywhere and trying to talk to me in corridors while I actually wanted to be left alone. Yesterday only there'd been about six or seven girls swirling around me whole the time in an effort to get my attention. I had never actually been conscious there were that many girls around in Hogwarts and somehow this notion didn't actually please me, at all.

At the moment I was sitting in the library. When I had first come to sit here, the table had been more or less empty. Now, however, there was a group of giggling students sitting at the right side of me, Colin and Dennis sitting on the left, and Hermione and Ron opposite me. I didn't know whether that was intentional or not, but it irritated me immensely anyway. Ron looked rather bad-tempered too.

I ignored them like I had done during the two previous weeks.

I turned my attention to the book in front of me. Dark Arts... I still don't get how Dumbledore managed to persuade Snape into writing me a note to be allowed to take every single book on Dark Arts, Potions, Defence, Charms and Transfiguration from the Restricted Section during the next two years.

Yesterday I had attended my first 'Occlumency' lesson with Snape, and I needed to admit they weren't what they used to be anymore. In stead of being forced to study Occlumency and Leglimency this year, Dumbledore had had the great idea to make me study seriously advanced Defence and even some real Dark Arts.

According to me Snape was a bit too pleased with this assignment, because he got to hex me whole time while I needed to throw off his jinxes.

But I knew what this really meant though, Dumbledore was actually trying to cram me with knowledge I would need during the Great Battle against Voldemort. Eventually Snape would even need to teach me how to kill...

A shiver ran down my spine as I thought about it. Snape teaching me Unforgivables was not a good thing; in fact anyone teaching me how to murder someone was inconceivable. And still it was inevitable since I would be the one to-

I felt as though I couldn't at all finish that sentence, it would make it all sound too real for my own liking. I decided to just start reading the first chapter of the book even though I knew beforehand I wouldn't be able to focus me on the topic in the first place.

Another old form of black magic is necromancy (etymology: derived from the Greek word nekros, which means 'corpse', and mancy, which means 'prophecy'), by which a dark sorcerer tries to conjure up spirits from deceased people to use them for divination. Because the dead aren't bound to the earthy level any longer, they are assumed to have access to information on present, past and future which is ought impossible for most of the living.
Some of the practitioners even tried to raise corpses by using certain ancient incantations. In most of the cases the sorcerer in question drew symbols, circles and charms on the ground around himself (or around the grave) to protect him from the evil he was going to be exposed to.
(1)

Great, just what I needed a way to raise the dead and use them for Divination... I thought bitterly.

Madame Prince was clicking disapprovingly with her tongue. She had been standing right behind me ever since I had given her Professor Snape's note a couple of hours ago. She had said it was a fake in the beginning and she had even threatened to go to the Headmaster and show him the note, but when I didn't object she had just given me the permission to go to the Restricted Section, muttering madly about irresponsible professors.

As if I would ever be thick enough to fake a note written by Snape, of all people...

It still was highly irritating to have her breathing down your neck though. Why couldn't she just leave me alone?

The following pages of the book were filled with detailed descriptions of the ritual, together with some illustrations. One particular one caught my attention: there were two rather old men standing in a magical circle on a cemetery, holding a torch; right outside the circle a spirit was standing next to its grave, apparently talking to them. Both of the men had a look of utmost concentration on their faces.

Edward Kelly in the act of invoking the spirit of a deceased person on a cemetery in Lancashire, England .(2)

I needed to say I was quite impressed. At least this stated it was possible to conjure up spirits so maybe there would also be a way to actually bring dead people to life too... However, I quickly dismissed the thought when I had the mental image of a rotting corpse coming out of its grave.

Turning the page, I came to the conclusion that that indeed seemed to be possible. There was about one page and a half of plain text on the topic and underneath that there was another illustration. This time it did show a solid looking corpse.

Obviously I didn't know much about the decaying process of a human being but I did know that this one was seriously advanced already. The 'person' (vaguely identifiable as a male) had an unnatural white skin, at certain places there were brownish spots and in his chest there was some sort of hole in which you could see even more rotting parts of organs. The corpse had no hair left, and the mouth was just a gaping hole in its face without any recognizable lips. And then there were the eye sockets, they were just... Yuck.

With some difficulty I swallowed, quite nauseated by the sight. Why were wizard pictures always that 'lifelike' in the first place?

I rested my head on my arm, still revolted by the sight and with the image flashing in front of my view repeatedly, as I closed the book and took another one from the pile in front of me, The Book of Black and Ceremonial Magic.

Talking about subtle titles... I rolled my eyes.

The book seemed very old, the parchment was faded, and there were a lot of stains I would rather not bring home at the moment. The front was fairly beautiful though. It was bound in black leather and the silver letters gleamed in the sunlight.

I thumbed through the pages, not really knowing were I was looking for and still bothered with the fact that I was being watched.

"Hiya Harry,"

Can't they just leave me alone for one fucking minute? I thought bitterly. I turned around and saw Neville had already seated himself next to me.

"Hello Neville," I said, trying to sound as cheerful as I could possibly muster at the present time; it wasn't Neville's fault everyone's presence freaked me out, in fact Neville's presence was better than for instance Cho's (which wasn't too odd considering she was one of the persons I'd rather not have near me any longer, but unfortunately for me kept coming up to me with ideas to study together or do other idiot things like that). "Had a nice day?"

He beamed. "Yes, I actually managed to vanish a mouse while practicing with Professor McGonagall this afternoon."

Eh. Weren't we supposed to be able to vanish mice at the end of last year? I decided it would be better not so say anything about it.

"I still need to make my essay for Herbology though, have you finished it already?" Neville asked while he started taking books out of his bag.

"Eh... I think I have finished it already, yes. But-"

I hurriedly closed the book on the table in front of me to avoid awkward questions. Too late though...

"Hey, Harry. What kind of book is that?" He took the book I had been reading, opened it and instantly paled.

"It's nothing really... I need to-"

"Those are Dark Arts!" he exclaimed.

"Hush. Neville, please." I looked around anxiously to see whether anyone had heard what Neville had just shouted. Judging by the look on Ron's face he had heard it. "It's nothing, really, I needed them for another essay. It's not important."

Madame Prince looked at me sternly. She was no longer standing behind me, instead she was dusting off the books on a nearby shelve.

I shut the book in which Neville had been looking; he looked at me in concern. Damn. I don't think I can talk myself out of this one.

"Look, Neville. I can't talk about it here," I looked around the table once more, "But this is really important for me and I'm not allowed to tell anyone about it. I'm really sorry."

Judging by the way he was eying me, he still wasn't completely reassured. I was about to scream in frustration, but tried to calm myself down. This whole situation is not Neville's fault, I kept repeating. There no need to be angry with him. Just calm down and try to explain him about-

About what? Another part of my mind suddenly retorted, The Prophecy? Not bloody likely...
 
No, I'll just tell him I've got a special assignment. He doesn't exactly need to know about the precise circumstances, right? Maybe I can just-

Neville looked now positively puzzled as he saw me in a silent struggle with myself.

"Eh Harry, are you sure you are fine?"

I smiled weakly in response, feeling like running away from this conversation at the very moment. My brains were racing in an attempt to find an excuse to get away here as soon as possible, before I said anything stupid, but I couldn't think of anything.

"No Neville, actually I'm not fine," I answered silently instead, still looking at him, "And no, it's got nothing to do with you or these books or this fucking school," I sighed heavily, "I just want to be left alone for one minute. Is that really too much I ask?"

My lips were barely moving as I said this but still my tone became louder with every word I spoke. The people around me were giving me odd looks.

I got up, hastily grabbed my books and left the library at top speed.

***


I inhaled deeply before I mounted my broom and kicked off again. It was already dusk and I was glad I finally was on the Pitch alone. The others had left quite some time ago but as I didn't exactly feel like going to that crowded Common Room just yet, I thought I would do better if I flew another couple of rounds before leaving as well.

I soared around in full speed, forgetting everything for a moment. Flying was just amazing, and at certain points you just didn't remember you were actually flying a broomstick. It felt more like floating on air.

Only when that cold wind blew through your hair, you really felt you were alive.

I missed this so much while I was at the Dursleys .

Closing my eyes, I slowed down a bit, trying to enjoy the peace and silence I hadn't experienced anymore ever since I had come to Hogwarts almost three weeks ago. Slowly I saw the sun sink deeper down behind the mountains, dropping long, out-stretched shadows over the Pitch and enfolding the Hogwarts grounds in beautiful shades of orange and red. I remained outside until it got too dark to see things properly, and I shivered when I hit the ground again. It probably would take awhile before I would be able to be alone on the Pitch again, I realised.

Reluctantly I walked back towards the castle, not yet willing to return to that noisy Common Room, and just when I was about to enter I saw a lonely figure wandering around on the other side of the grounds, near the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Quite curious I turned around and approached it cautiously, wondering who would be crazy enough to go for a walk at this hour.

I once again cursed my glasses because I was unable to see who it was thanks to them. The evening mist hovering lightly about half a meter above the ground had made my glasses go completely damp and blurry.

While I took them off to clean them, I squinted over to the person. Obviously he (or she) was doing something that needed full attention because he didn't notice me. The person seemed to have rather long blondish hair so I guessed it probably was a girl. I put my glasses back on. My view wasn't much better, but it was better anyway.

Silently, I moved closer and I started when I noticed two eerie, white eyes staring at me from the forest.

I yelled and fell backwards, and the person finally seemed to notice my presence.

Slowly the person turned around, and looked at me in mild surprise. I recognized her immediately.

"Luna," I sighed, getting up and trying to get my breath even.

"Harry," she answered. She turned around again and started stroking the animal in front of her, which turned out to be a Thestral.

I swallowed, still trying to recover from my shock. Gradually I walked over to the animal as well; it watched me as if it could see right through me.

"They're more beautiful at night," she said by way of explaining her own actions. She smiled when she looked at me.

"Yes, they are," I admitted, smiling a bit too.

The moonlight gave a really special shine at the animal, it seemed like the combination of white rays of moonlight and the dark, bat-like wings of the Thestral made them look creepier than ever. But nevertheless they had something peaceful around them, something comforting...

Another Thestral appeared, sniffing at my hand. I remember it vaguely as Tenebrus, Hagrid's favourite. Its breath felt really warm despite the fact that it was pretty cold outside.

"I visit them frequently," Luna said suddenly, "They make me feel better when I miss my mum."

"They do?" I asked, feeling as if she was able to read my mind.

"Thanks to my mother I can see them."

That was an odd way of putting things , I thought. I would rather don't see if them meant I would have my parents, Cedric, and my godfather.

"You really did love him, didn't you?" she asked in a dreamy sort of way.

"Yes," I whispered, "And I still do."

Luna smiled again when she looked at me.

"Of course you do, like I still love my mother; my father still loves her too, you know," She remained silent for a moment. "We should consider ourselves lucky they aren't really gone."

Luna had already told me the same thing last year and therefore I didn't need to ask her what she meant. I truly hoped the dead were still lingering around here somewhere, I really did.

Yet again I regretted the fact that I wasn't as credulous as Luna was.


It was already past midnight by the time I got back to the Tower, using a lot of short-cuts and being as quiet as I possibly could.

I hadn't had my Invisibility Cloak with me, of course (nor the Marauder's Map), so I needed to watch out very carefully. I was lucky Filch, the caretaker, was nowhere to be seen.

Benumbed with cold, I muttered the password and climbed through the portrait. The Fat Lady looked at me disapprovingly as I entered. I had never expected my chat with Luna would take so long. We had talked about so many things I hadn't spoken about since such a long time.

The Common Room was empty apart from one girl curled up on the ground against a couch, mouth partly open and one hand still lying on the couch; she was obviously fast asleep. Damn. Was it today she had asked me to meet up with her in the Common Room to explain her something about Defence Against the Dark Arts?

"Parvati," I prodded her side softly, not really wanting to wake her now she was sleeping so soundly. She looked really beautiful, lying on the ground like that; her black hair was draped over the couch and her tanned skin looked flawless in the soft moonlight.

I seated myself on the couch above her, because I knew that if I eventually managed to wake her she would want an explanation for me being late. I was sorry I had made her wait here for such a long time. I should have returned earlier to the Tower in the first place, but well...

I sighed, trying to prod her awake again.

"Parvati, wake up," Parvati's eyes fluttered open. She blinked a few times, before she seemed to become aware of her surroundings. She turned around quickly when she saw my face hovering above her.

"Oh Harry, sorry. I must have fallen asleep while waiting. You didn't return and-"

"Shhh," I whispered, "It's my fault. I was late. I was flying outside after the Quidditch Training and I lost track of time, sorry," She looked rather drowsy and I was sorry I had awoken her already. "But that's no excuse for making you wait, of course," I went on, "I promise I will put it right."

She looked around, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes and spread her arms widely.

"I think you'd do better to go to bed," I remarked, "I really am sorry for making you sleep on the ground."

"It's OK, Harry, really it is. It's my fault too, I shouldn't have asked you to help me with Defence while you had another appointment today. But maybe we could move it to another date. Maybe some day you do have time."

"Yes, of course," I answered immediately, "But can we discuss a date tomorrow because I'm really tired now and we both need to get up early for classes tomorrow."

I really was about to fall over with fatigue, after all the Quidditch Practice had been quite heavy.

Parvati yawned, "Sure," she said, "I'll see you tomorrow then?"

I nodded.

"Goodnight."

"'Night."

I silently ascended the stairs, attempting not to wake any of the other Gryffindors. When I finally I got into bed, I fell asleep in no time, feeling like this day had lasted way too long.


A couple of lamps spread a vague and eerie light in the dark room I was standing in. It didn't seem to have any windows.

The walls were free from decoration except for a slightly faded portrait of a man and a woman; both of them were wearing long black cloaks and the malicious sneer on their faces made my flesh creep.

I was standing behind to a chair, covered with claret velvet. My long white fingers grasped the back rest firmly.

Apparently I was waiting for something.

On my right a huge snake was rolled up on a rug, appearing to be fast asleep.

I checked the grandfather clock on the other side of the room, and made a disapproving sound when a dark haired woman entered the room; she was dressed all in black, and her eyes were heavily make-upped with eyeliner.

"You're late," I said. My voice sounded different, it was so cold and cruel it set my teeth on edge.

The words reverberated against the brick walls of the dungeon.

"I'm so sorry, my Lord," The woman stammered, bowing down deeply in front of me. She cringed to my feet, before kissing the hem of my robes respectfully.

"Get up," I snapped.

She backed away and looked at me with lowered head.

"How did it go?"

"Everything went as planned," she said, still bowing. "You are a genius, Master."

I laughed curtly. Of course I knew that already.

"What are your instructions for me, my Lord?" she asked.

"I've got an important task for you, Bellatrix," I informed her, "And I do not wish to be disappointed this time."

Apart from fear some smugness could be read on her face.

"Of course not, my Lord. You know I've been always loyal to You, I would never even dare to object Your orders."

I smirked evilly.

"I realise that, Bellatrix," I said, "You are the only one whose faith never wavered at all."

A man standing in one corner of the room, who had been standing still ever since the woman at entered, made a little sound at this comment.

"No, Wormtail," I said, addressing the man, "The only reason you are being loyal towards me is because you've got nowhere else to got. A wizard who should have died fifteen years ago can't take go back to the wizarding society any more."

"I've always been devoted to You, my Lord. Always. My faith never-" he began bravely.

"Silence," I sneered, "The only reason you are still alive is because I haven got hardly any other Death Eaters to replace you."

Wormtail's eyes widened in fear.

"But, my Lord," he stuttered.

My malicious laugh echoed trough the dungeon when I took my wand and tortured him for a when seconds; that should be enough to keep him silent for awhile. I addressed myself to Bellatrix again.

"You will pay your sister a little visit," I dug my nails deeper in the velvety material of the chair in front of me while saying this, feeling the spite rising in my stomach.

"Narcissa?" she asked in surprise.

"Yes," I answered, "Without her son to protect her, it will be easy to put her under the Imperius Curse."

"Of course, my Lord," she obeyed, "But why?"

Deep inside I, Harry, knew this was not okay and I tried to struggle against Voldemort's will to keep talking to the woman in front of me, to keep moving like Him, to keep laughing his malicious laugh. I tried to reach my wand ("Voldemort's wand," I corrected), in an hopeless attempt to stop Voldemort taking over my body. Hold on, I said to myself as conclusion drew over me, this is not my body. I am taking over the Dark Lord's body.

"My Lord, are you all right?" The distant voice of Bellatrix couldn't quite reach me ears, as a terrible headache hampered me from seeing anything; I couldn't move. Voldemort was everywhere. I could feel every fibre of my own body screaming in pain, begging for release. The red, gleaming eyes of the person who had been haunting my nightmares over so many years doomed up in front of me.

I screamed.

Voldemort folded his hands, while a leer crossed his lips.

"I think, my dear Bellatrix. We have a little visitor amongst our midst," he posed for a moment, "Isn't it, Mr. Potter?"


"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"

I woke up with a start; my heart was beating really fast and my breaths were short and edgy.

"Harry, are you okay?"

Ron's head was visible through a gasp in the curtains, he looked pale and fearful. I could hear a lot of noise in the room; obviously I had woken up the others in the dorm as well.

"It's OK, Ron," I breathed, trying to calm myself down.

"What is it?"

Seamus was standing next to my bed as well; he tried to rub the sleep out of his eyes.

"Someone's dying?" he asked drowsily.

"No, everything is just fine. Go back to sleep. It was only a nightmare," I assured them.

Ron cast me a knowing look, and I couldn't help but nod. Ron swallowed. Seamus stumbled towards his bed again, completely oblivious.

"What the fuck, Harry. Did you really need to wake me for one of your stupid nightmares?" he asked, obviously annoyed.

"Sorry," I whispered, but I didn't mean it all.

Ron sat down on the edge of my bed. All our arguments seemed to be forgotten, and for a moment everything between us looked perfectly normal. He closed the curtains, darkening my bed completely.

I groped my wand from the bedside table and lighted the tip.

"Who was it?" he whispered anxiously.

"Voldemort, of course." I answered. Ron flinched when he heard His name, but didn't make a comment about it, "He was talking to that Lestrange woman and Pettigrew."

"She the one who-"

I glared at him.

"Yes, indeed."

Ron cleared his throat nervously. "So eh... what did He do?"

I silenced for a moment, trying to recall what I had witnessed but the details seemed to seep away already.

"They were in a room. Voldemort had wanted to talk to Bellatrix about something... because she was his only faithful Death Eater who was left," I swallowed, "He said she needed to place Narcissa under Imperius now Malfoy wasn't there to protect her."

"Lucius?"

"No, Draco of course."

"Ah," Ron shifted nervously. "So what do you think, what is he up to?"

"Clearly he's trying to recruit more Death Eaters. Or at least that is what I would do if I were in his place."

Ron looked at me with wide eyes, in a way that obviously said: 'Don't say things like that!', before he nodded, fidgeting his hands. "But what has Malfoy got to do with that?"

"I don't know," I said agitated, "It doesn't make sense..."

"Did anything else happen?"

I wisely chose not to mention anything about the fact that I had actually been Voldemort. "Yes, there was something else," I said at last, grabbing my head with both of my hands, "Bellatrix said something about 'something that had went perfectly as planned', but they didn't give more details about it."

Ron made a face, "You don't think they... eh... killed anyone, or something like that, Harry?" he asked, obviously nervous.

"I don't know," I answered, "It is possible of course, but-"

I somehow had a bad feeling about it, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

"Maybe it would be better if we just went to sleep now. It's going to be early tomorrow."

The real reason I said this was that I had just thought of something that I'd rather not discuss with Ron, or anyone else, at the moment. And with that I went to sleep again, dreamless this time but not necessarily less frightening.


(1) Source of information: The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter by Allan Zola Kronzek & Elizabeth Kronzek
(2)http://users.telenet.be/ImaginaryLight/stories/DY/edwardkelly.jpg; illustration from the book Astrology by Sibly by Ebenezer Sibly


A/N: I'm writing a new story for the Big Bang Baby Challenge btw, but I'm not allowed to post it yet. Anyone willing to beta a H/D anst novella, please e-mail me at icequeen4788@yahoo.co.uk
Thanks.
Deborah

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