didn't know exactly where these strong words came from. He only knew
that he had to say them, or suffer some kind of as-yet unnameable
consequences. Having come face to face with his own mortality seemed
to have brought on a mantle of existential clarity that likely
would've proven impossible otherwise. It was definitely not in
Harry's nature to remonstrate people, but these circumstances were
indeed extraordinary. After all, how often did a victim get a chance
to come back and face his own murderers? Draco had best prepare for
the tongue lashing of his life, for they sure had a lot of ground to
cover. And Harry Potter was a man unleashed.
Draco stopped his withdrawal and said defiantly, "Do you honestly expect us to—"
"I expect you to sit still and shut the bloody hell up!" Harry cut him off furiously. "Your mouth was always going to get you into a lot of trouble someday, Malfoy, and guess what? Today's your unlucky day!" Up to that moment, even Harry himself hadn't known just how unlucky Malfoy was. For Harry shocked the four of them with what he did next. He had, quite wandlessly, mentally directed a double-spell of immobilising curse and silencing jinx straight at the trio, effectively rendering them each still and quiet instantly.
However, Harry recovered admirably; even while trying to figure out how the hell he'd done what he just did, why he hadn't been able to accomplish it sooner—or better yet, if he could repeat the act. He wouldn't give Malfoy the satisfaction of seeing him hesitate or act surprised, regardless.
Shaking it off, Harry strode forward confidently to the petrified threesome and said, "For once in your miserable lives, you will let me do all of the talking. And listen up, because I sure won't be repeating myself for the likes of you ignorant gits," said Harry disdainfully. It wasn't like him to call names, but this group sure had it a long time in coming. They deserved to be called every dirty epithet in existence, but Harry had more class than that. Instead he contented himself with the simpler terms at the moment. "Now, where were we?" Harry continued lightly. "Ah, yes. Taking over."
"But how is that possible, by someone who can't even state his own name? I'm sure you're wondering."
Harry was currently referring to his physical state, not his spiritual, and that was more than clear to Draco. Even though Harry addressed the three of them, his comments were decidedly aimed at Malfoy.
The blonde was trying his very best to still appear defiant and refused to even look at Harry. And Harry allowed that too, because it would only be too soon that little error of Malfoy's would get corrected.
Clasping his hands behind his back, Harry began taking measuring steps around the three in a calculative circle. "The answer to that, although complex and not readily apparent, is actually quite simple in retrospect."
"Vol-de-mort," Harry grated, dragging out enunciation of each syllable as his enemies winced silently and drew in air through their nostrils, "learned from the time before I was born that I might be a bit of a 'problem' for him. But since the first time we met, he managed to botch up our encounters. Didn't quite manage to kill me, you see, despite the fact I was merely a toddler." Unaware of how very Marauder he looked, Harry smirked and continued acerbically, "But he did, however, transfer some of his powers directly to me. And for better or worse, our connection was forged," Harry tapped his scar meaningfully. Draco shut his eyes in response and refused to open them, so Harry got right up in his face and hissed menacingly, "The connection that allows me to do this."
Then he curled his lip and commenced to swear at Draco, chaining together about a dozen of the most cutting oaths he could think of on the spot. In Parseltongue. As death rites had a way of expanding one's vocabulary, they were quite choice terms, all right. There was something indescribably satisfying about the way Malfoy's face burned and contorted with indignation, despite the fact he couldn't possibly understand the literal meaning of what was said to him. Harry's intent was crystal clear; pay attention or else. Since he was the son of wizardrealm aristocrats, Draco Malfoy understood better than most others Harry's combination of cursing with a forbidden language considered dirty in the extreme produces verbal invective to the infinite power. The physical equivalent was like trying to make someone bleed to death through paper cuts—painful and humiliating. And Draco had to stand there and take every bit of it.
The insufferable Slytherin began shuddering under the onslaught, but whether it was from fear or fury, Harry didn't know. Nor did he care much.
"But as your dear master came to discover," snorted Harry, "I'm not that easy to kill." He raised an eyebrow, folded his arms, and resumed his pacing. "Five times he tried, and five times he failed." Harry's eyebrows knitted together and he considered, "But like a shoddy amateur marksman, he kept missing the target!" Harry laughed incredulously, still a bit mystified out of the seeming impossibility of it all.
Then he sensed more than saw his friends starting to awaken. Wondering how he was able to tell this, he realised that he also could feel a second, stronger undercurrent of something flowing within his amortal body. It was almost as if his righteous anger was infusing the environment around them with a humming energy; an energy that even filled in the gaps of his knowledge, as he could now also seemingly pluck thoughts out of the air when he needed to. After all, at the start of their arrival, he had not known why the three Slytherins were there, yet almost as soon as he'd started to address them the answers came to him. Even though highly unlikely to gain access to the event by Voldemort, the trio had simply come to gloat over Harry's soon-to-be dead body. How predictably and disgustingly…vain.
"The fifth and final time, Voldemort finally discovered why it was the worst possible idea to kill me anyway." Narrowing his eyes, Harry forced himself to relive the Voldemort's possessing of his body, so he could bring those most excruciating sensations—emotional and physical—to the forefront. And except for a grinding in his jaw and tensing of his spine, he kept his stance carefully impassive; regardless of the fact his feelings of loss and wanting to die at that time had been the worst he'd experienced in his whole living life. For a full two minutes, Harry didn't even blink.
Losing a bit of stoicism, he looked at the floor, subdued, and continued, "The…less bad… part of his own soul…" it floored Harry to say this aloud, "…was right in here," and he placed a hand to his forehead. "Here…all along…since the night he murdered my parents.…" he looked askance at the three frozen ones beside him, "…it's why Voldemort couldn't stand to be in my presence. Because I was a constant reminder to him of anything remotely good that he'd wanted to cast out of his own self."
Harry bit his lower lip hard in concentration, as these details were less forthcoming to him, "He thought he'd figured out how to defeat that by using my blood during his…rebirth the year before…but getting rid of me would've meant suicide, so he'd inadvertently created his own worst paradox of principles. Kill all who oppose him and more than likely lose his life, or let that hated reminder—me—continue to live, however reluctantly." Stunned, Harry just stood there for a bit, recalling the prophecy that was finally given him, …neither can live while the other survives…
A corner of Harry's mouth quirked and he said grimly, "Luckily for me, Voldemort's sense of self-preservation went on automatic." It was filling Harry with a strange combination of fear and relief that he finally was coming to know the details behind…everything. He was even starting to understand why people had kept it secret from him for such a long time. But he still had other things to deal with first. So Harry added acidly, "At least until he'd find himself a way around his little 'problem' again."
He could now sense that his friends were all right, if a bit dazed, as they continued to awaken. And Ginny was also there…as a silent observer but he'd effectively blocked that bond so he could concentrate more fully on gathering the information he needed. The more he talked, the more that energy inside him surged; it was almost as if he could now see a radiative essence surrounding everybody and everything. Even the dank stone itself seemed to start thrumming with this natural phosphorescence of feeling that was evidently rolling off him at present.
"So, soundly defeated from his battle in the Department of Mysteries, a weakened Voldemort was looking for any means possible to get rid of me without having to do so himself. That's where you came in," Harry's voiced dripped with revulsion as he personally addressed Malfoy again. "Or weren't you aware that it was your Dark Lord's idea that you come to him?" Harry questioned patronizingly. He continued in the same tone, "Oh, granted it was your petty hatred that drove you to plan framing me for murder, but it was picked up on by Mr. Evil straightaway. Keep tabs on me, he does…this Voldemort."
Smiling dourly now, Harry said, "But you obviously hadn't counted on our connection alerting him or me that something was up." Shaking his head, he went on, "The night of the crash, I felt his anger…and I'd assumed it was because his 'Death Eaters' couldn't find me. But apparently, it was because I'd managed to fade from view without a trace. Baaaad move, Malfoy," Harry nodded, chuckling now. Draco's face tensed in discomfiture. It was this event that had most displeased Lord Voldemort, which had caused Malfoy to be punished by him, Harry now knew.
Quickly sloughing amusement, Harry continued, "So now you learn that you, just like everybody else whom he comes in contact with, are a pawn. Expendible. To be used and thrown away."
"But that still doesn't change the fact that you were ultimately responsible. You were the ones who instigated the sequence of events which allowed Voldemort to get to me; put me in a position where I was most vulnerable." Harry growled, "You couldn't even have the decency to face me straight on! You filthy cowards had to wait until I was in a coma! A coma that was caused by injuries that you inflicted!" At this shouted statement Harry began shaking with barely-repressed anger at the marring, and he also felt the thriving energy source around him start to grow and shift. It was as if the light in him and the walls and floor were being shared now. Even the stone looked like it was flickering with a charge. The hum that began as Harry started this encounter was also becoming audible to the others. The Slytherins darted looks about wildly, as if trying to locate the source of the sound.
"And as a result of your actions, other people tried to help me. So therefore, you hurt them too," Harry's face twisted with the remembered pain for his comrades. He was only now just starting to realise what the Healer Adonna had gone through to help him as well. It wasn't quite how Ginny said; Madam hadn't "nearly gone mad with fury" when the bond between the two of them was severed by Voldemort, she had nearly gone mad. Period. Then Harry whispered, "This one's for Madam Adonna," as he, quite consciously, released a psychic salvo of power directly at the party of three. As the immobiliser curse was quite superfluous now, he released them from it and they held their heads in their hands but didn't yet fall to the floor.
Not trusting himself to address his friends in his current state of turmoil, he instead turned to their huddled forms in the shadows and held a hand up to them; a signal to stay put. Thankfully, they took the cue… but he could feel it was largely out of fear. That couldn't be helped at the moment.
Harry turned back to the three in front of him. "And the others you caused pain to…" he squeezed his eyes tight for half a second, "this one's for Fred and George." Again, the Slytherins fought the punishment he sent them…fading closer to the floor, fading with the pain they so deserved…but soundlessly as they were still voiceless. Then he remembered Ron and Hermione in the graveyard…poor Hermione, who was grief-stricken to the point of not speaking to hardly anyone…and new friend Ginny, who had selflessly volunteered herself for him, "…and this one's for my best friends," he stated sadly, and again pointedly aimed a hot sword of power with the energy that was his right.
The guilty party was fully prostrate now, on the floor and writhing in pain from his earned wrath. Harry strode closer to them and drew in a deep breath, determined not to let them see his tears. They had already received too much consideration from him already. For this was definitely not something he was enjoying, that was for sure and certain. But…it had to be done. It was the only way to make sure they understood this was something they could never get away with again. Unfortunately, people like them just didn't understand anything else.
Sensing the trauma from his friends nearby, Harry also determined he needed to do something to hopefully keep their faith in him. They didn't understand why he was doing what he was doing; he could tell as he drew their feelings into his mind. "Please," he finally spoke to them softly, "catch Ginny, I'm releasing the curse from her now." Dean and Neville, faces ashen, came forward tentatively and positioned themselves next to the red-haired girl as Harry dissolved the connection between him and her. To her credit, and Harry's great relief, she'd only slightly slumped against Dean before starting to recover.
Harry walked over to Malfoy, stood over him, and addressed the blonde. "The inflicted silence is so you know, firsthand, something of what it's like to be dead. Nobody can hear you talk, nobody can hear you scream, nobody can hear you cry. Nobody can hear you do one damned bit of anything. And they can't talk to you, either. One of the 'gifts' you so inconsiderately bestowed upon me," he confirmed dispassionately, and stung them a bit more with power.
"Ten days!" choked out Harry devastatingly, nearly sobbing in remembrance. "You made me—made US—feel this way, and I let you feel it for less than ten minutes!" he raged to them, at the top of his voice. Vaguely, through his pain-haze, Harry started to realise this was hurting him as much as his enemies. Enough was enough. With a last fighting grah! he released them from his blitz. And then Harry did something else that shocked him no end. He actually took pity on his own executioners.
"Now I'll give you the one courtesy you failed to give me. A chance. The opportunity to see your challenger face to face." He waited a few moments and said harshly, "Get up." The three stiffly picked themselves up off the stone, casting frightened sidelong glances at him. "Look at me," Harry commanded in the same tone. They did.
"And just to show how unlike you I am, I also offer you a choice," he gestured behind him to the elevator in the distance, and removed the silencer jinx from them simultaneously. "You can either face me, or run away with your cowardice fully intact. It's completely up to you."
Swallowing audibly, Draco raged at him in a whisper, "Go to hell."
Harry's eye twitched as he answered flatly, "Already been there, no thanks to you. Didn't much care for the company." Harry had no idea whether this was actually true or not, but it was worth it just to shut Malfoy up with a pointed comment again. Plus the Fright Bus had sure seemed like hell.
"Ten seconds," Harry redirected his enemies to the elevator. "Which is more than you lot deserve," he said coldly. Suddenly the elevator's doors snapped open. Still his nemeses didn't seem to understand.
"Ten…" began Harry.
The three wasted no more time and started beating their retreat.
"Nine…" the walls started to flicker again with Harry's energy.
"Eight…seven…six…" the convection was spinning around anything and everything…Harry couldn't see that he was starting to glow as he was filled with the gathering of this power...
"Five...four…three…" Draco and the others had nearly reached the elevator, but it looked as if they weren't going to make it. Harry and the environment started to strobe as the summoning of his power grew to a fever pitch. The air around them crackled with unspent magic. One could almost taste it, so powerful were the currents filling the air…he reached out a glowing hand toward the three…