I Don't Think You're a Waste of Space

BY : Unicorn Tickles
Category: Harry Potter > General > General
Dragon prints: 6042
Disclaimer: Fictional story based on fictional characters. I own nothing of Harry Potter, and make no money.

    Harry woke in darkness, and pain. He heard the sounds of his friends around him and remembered everything important, the cell in Malfoy manor with Hermione, Ron and Luna and Dean, then the darkness that had led them here - the dungeons under Hogwarts. Then Neville's appearance. Then the worst - Ginny's. That had been harder than the rest, harder than anything, and it compounded Harry's failures more profoundly than anything else could have. 
    Hopefully their captors didn't know that. He really couldn't ask for much more in the current situation. Everyday this, the waking up and the remembrances, then more darkness and stilted weak words spoken with apologetic tones, like it was the fault of whoever was speaking. Like they didn't blame him solely for all this, but they probably did in their hearts. Harry wasn't stupid, and he knew it was all his fault. Everything here, the very fact that Riddle was alive. Every breath he drew was Harry's fault. 
    Neville had told some grim tales when he'd first arrived. He'd been full of vim from his struggles, still fresh in his mind. Hogwarts had become a tool for purebred propaganda, and kids were being tortured for resisting the new thoughts Riddle's followers brought in. Terrifying were the accounts of first years getting the cruciatus curse.
    And Neville told them how their names had been used to get him out of hiding, out of the walls, and there he was, in the cell with them, because of it. The same had happened to Ginny a few days later.  
    Hermione's arm had healed, through no actions of their captors, just from time. They'd been stripped down and handed robes of their houses, not that they would see the colours, unless they were being visited. Every few days they were thrown chunks of what might have been food in the past, but had reached the point of questionability, and Luna had reasoned that they were leaving it out long enough to achieve the effect. "Or," she added in the dreamy tone of hers that suggested it didn't really matter either way but she would voice it anyways, "they're placing an aging spell on it right before they bring it to us. Either way," with a shrug.
    It had been enough to rouse Ron from several days of brooding silence. "What the hell are you even saying that for? You think you're helping?"
    "It's just that if they're putting that much effort into letting us know how little we matter to them, it's funny. That's all." Still in her soft small voice, and Harry understood her point; it just had nothing to offer as actual help, or tools.         
    This was where Hermione would have stepped in to let Luna know she was helping, or something, Harry didn't know, or he would have been doing it himself, but Hermione had been despondent for a long time, she and Dean, both. As long as they'd been there. They'd put collars on them both, and it seemed that they completely shut off magic for them. Hermione said that she couldn't even feel it in the building, in the air, the way the rest of them did without wands, and Dean had agreed with hollow eyes. No one had been conscious when it had been attached, but they'd all taken tries at removing them. There were times when Harry even forgot Dean was there at all, he'd become so quiet. 
    They all had their theories, no doubt, but kept them to themselves. Neither of the muggle born seemed to want to talk about it, and that set the tone for the rest. And without Hermione's input they were more lost than normal, and Luna was left without the reassurances she might have offered.
    Days dragged torturously slowly, and Luna kept count. She had two numbers going - how long she'd been there, and how long Harry Ron and Hermione had been there. They were there for at least three weeks, and it didn't matter how precise those counts were; what was a couple days one way or the other, when the country was being overturned? Harry didn't know that, but the ones who came to "feed" them would let little bits slide out, as though to rub the salt in better, and Neville had given some alarming bits that only confirmed what was said.
    One day Dean was taken away, and they had been allowed to hear the screams. After Dean's voice gave out wards were placed back up and they were again shut off from the world.
    And then on a day Luna called twenty three, a group came, rather than the usual two or three, a full dozen Harry counted in the dim light that came from behind the door, until one of them muttered "lumos" and the sad remnants of Dumbledore's Army were blinded by the modest little light. They were bound by magic and taken out, Harry and Ron struggling like a couple of fools trying to prove something. It felt hollow to Harry, but how could he have marched along placidly? Even if the rest were doing so?

    They were taken to the Great Hall. Seats had been rearranged so they all faced the dais, where Voldemort sat with his sycophantic Death Eaters. Harry's eyes found Snape right away, and he was filled with the murderous rage that had never dimmed in the months after Dumbledore's death. Nothing could have done more damage to Harry's cause than what he'd done, and he was shaking from it by the time they were brought before Voldemort. 
    "Ahh, here you are. Finally. I apologize for the delay, Harry, but I've been very busy of late." He smiled, a terrible thing that would have made Harry afraid but he was still high on his righteous anger from glaring at Snape. 
    "Oh no. By all means, take all the time you need. Maybe you bit off more than you could chew. Maybe a bunch of teenagers were just too much for you, Riddle."
    The man's smile dimmed at the use of his muggle name, and an indignant hiss was heard from around his hip. Through the pain in his scar caused by second hand rage, Harry supposed Bella was sitting there on the floor, as Riddle's hand moved in motions like he was petting something. "There there, Bella. Let the boy take what digs he can get. It's almost over for him, after all." He looked back up at Harry. "Just a few more moments of this life for you, Harry."
    Harry raised his chin, ready to face it with dignity if possible. He didn't expect to survive the day. That was, after all, the point, right? He'd wondered why he was never killed before, why he'd been allowed weeks in captivity, but the answer had come when they'd been taken to Hogwarts - Riddle wanted to make a spectacle of it. They were held in place by magical bonds, and Harry didn't know about the others, but he was gagged by it as well. When he'd opened his mouth to give some brave sounding words much to the effect of "just get it over with already," no sound had come out. He looked at the others, and nearly flinched at the deadened look on Hermione's face.
    "So. These six have been the core of the so called Dumbledore's army. The others have already been either disposed of or dispatched appropriately, depending on their births, and these remain." Harry looked up at Snape, almost hoping to see an explanation of that last statement in the man's eyes, and only saw black chips of ice. And what? Was it satisfaction? Damn that traitor. Harry was snarling, and stopped himself, because no one could hear it anyways. "Ladies first. Corbin."
    "My Lord?" The flaxen haired Corbin Yaxley stepped forward, ready and willing to do whatever nasty deed his master put to him. This was the man who'd handed the Ministry to Voldemort, as far as Harry knew. 
    "You've served me well. I couldn't name many who have done as much for me. And in your service to me, over these long years, you've never taken a wife. I need my followers to have many children, just as much as I need followers. And, as a member of the sacred twenty eight, there is one such here for you." Harry had no idea what they were talking about, but he watched Yaxley's head turn and saw the man was looking right at Ginny. Harry looked around and saw a few people were looking at her, and she tried to step back, but the magical bonds weren't allowing it. 
    "Nothing was as important as serving you, my Lord."
    "Yes, that's true. But now we may divide spoils, and rule our won kingdom, even as we expand it. For this, I will require your services more, of course, but I also want you to produce heirs, Yaxley. As many as you can." The bastard smiled, and Harry screamed insults, but they were encased by the charm they'd encased him in. No one heard. 
    "Yes, of course, my lord. Thank you." Yaxley looked neither grateful nor resentful about this. Simply accepting. Perhaps that was better than either. 
    "Next, I would offer young Malfoy a piece of the prize, as I am still pleased by your services. It was your family that brought me this prize, after all." Malfoy looked up in surprise and revulsion at the mention of his name, but wiped those quickly off his face. "Draco, make a choice."
    He looked away from Voldemort to the two left and swallowed. He looked at his mother, who was watching him with a face of stone, and back to the girls. He tossed his head and brought on his haughty demeanor. "Well, I could use the mudblood for laundry, I suppose, but I would rather the Ravenclaw, my lord." Poor Luna. She had no reaction to this, as though her mind was elsewhere, but it wasn't.
    "Thank you Draco. That's nice of you," she said softly and people snickered, but lightly, nervously.
    "And that leaves us with the mudblood. Anyone?" As though they'd reached the bottom of the barrel, and Harry's heart lurched as Voldemort brought out his wand, like he'd avada her if there were no volunteers.
    "I've wanted that little morsel for some time, M'Lord," growled a low voice, and a few heads turned, but not many. Not many people enjoyed the sight of Greyback, or the smell. Hermione sobbed without sound, but kept herself under control as much as she could. Harry struggled some more, unable to do nothing, but helpless in all this. Ron had gone rabid.
    "I'd rather you didn't kill her, Fenrir."
    "I'll be sure to play with her on a full stomach then, M'Lord." A smile was heard in his disgusting voice, and a murmur spread but stifled itself almost instantly. Harry wondered if they were as angry as they should be, or just relieved that this had nothing to do with them. 
    "Then that brings us to the two Gryffindors, a Weasley and a Longbottom. Both of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, and so I would hate for them to go to waste. Well, the Weasley, in any case. The Longbottom has proved to be enough of a nuisance that I might not mourn him too deeply." 
    The Lestrange brother stepped forward. "I'd take him, My Lord."
    "Yes, but I was hoping heirs would be produced, Rabastan."
    "Well, we can try, my Lord!" And he laughed, and nearly everyone laughed, even Voldemort. Nervous energy fed it, and some of the sound was nearly hysterical. "I'll do my best!" And there was more laughter. Then, in a different voice, one not joking, "there are spells, potions, we have his mother alive and available for hair, I could think of a few things we could try." He'd never married either. It was strange that so many of Voldemort's followers had never done so, when part of their creed was keeping bloodlines pure and more importantly, alive. 
    Harry finally braved a look at Ron, who was whiter than white. Neville, behind him, was doing well at keeping his composure, considering he'd just been designated as more disposable than Hermione. And Harry would get off scott free with a little old killing curse, leaving his poor friends to this fate. I'm sorry he mouthed, though how could they even have the presence of mind to see it? They had enough to deal with. 
    "You have a year to work it out, then. I don't doubt you'll figure something out."
    "Thank you, my lord. If we fail, I promise it won't be from lack of trying." More soft laughs followed, and Voldemort gave him a smile, an ugly thing that made Harry want to wretch. He could only guess what it was doing for Ron. 
    "And, the Longbottom boy?" in that high paper thin voice. "He has been almost as much trouble as the Potter boy, from what I've been hearing from the headmaster and the Carrows," with a nod for Snape, "and I suppose he isn't needed for breeding, but rather training. He may turn out to be a handful."
    "My lord?" It was Lestrange, in her best whispery simpering voice. "My, Lord, may I have him?"
    All the Gryffindor heads and Luna's turned to not Bella, but Neville, in more than sympathy. Through no effort of his own they all knew his sad story, and didn't expect him to survive being her "pet" for long. Voldemort laughed, and they could see the indulgence there, for a favourite. "You were given that Thomas boy already Bella. You go through toys too quickly." Poor Dean, his father had left when he was just a baby, and they'd never been able to prove he wasn't muggle born. He'd been considered worthless enough to amuse LeStrange while they awaited ... this, Harry realized.
    He went to looking at Neville, to see how he was taking this prospect, and the guy made him proud to be a Gryffindor. His back was straight, his chin up, and he was staring straight at the woman who had helped to drive his parents insane by torture. Harry hoped he looked like that when this was over and Voldemort pointed his wand to kill him. 
    Unbelievably, Snape cleared his throat and said, "I could find some use for him, My Lord, if it is agreeable to you." 
    Silence, already in place and so heavy, slightly shifted a little, as heads turned from Snape to Lestrange, waiting for an outburst, a curse, anything. Bella was simply shocked and appraising the murderer as though she'd never seen him before. Voldemort covered his own surprise with another laugh, sounding like a weak breeze swirling through dead branches, and Harry's skin crawled. He looked back at Neville again, horrified to see the boy had turned grey, still trying like hell to hold himself as well as he had been, but Harry could see he was struggling.
    Harry felt it was a far better option, though, and hated himself for it. Snivellus greasy Snape would, even though he was a terrible person, the worst, would be better to Longbottom than insane Lestrange. 
    "Very well, Severus. You have served me too well to not receive a reward, and if this is the one you choose?" Snape nodded once. Voldemort nodded, and it was done. The Griffyndors had to rip their eyes away from Neville as Riddle kept talking.
    "There are enslavement spells that are available to you, and if you need help casting them, though I'm sure you don't," he was looking at Draco now, "Severus knows them all. He can help where it is needed." Snape nodded quickly, and looked at Harry, expectantly. 
    "And Harry." Harry glared Riddle in his dead snake eye, unable to speak, but ready to do as much as he could. He would face his death, would look it in the eye. He'd been ready for this since his first year. No, not exactly ready for death, but ready to face it like he thought a man would, in the end. Like his father might. He wouldn't beg for mercy, like Riddle had to want him to. He worked up a sneer and locked it into place. "We've thought up something for you, as well." Harry nodded, like he was saying get it over with already. "Bring in the muggles."
    Harry's head swiveled, like everyone's, to the great doors as they opened, and Harry almost stopped breathing as he saw his family - the Dursleys, of all people - brought in. How had Riddle found them? But of course, their safe keeping had been put into Ministry hands. Riddle could find anything he wanted, really. Death eaters brought them in, but they weren't restrained, just incredibly nervous looking. 
    Aunt Petunia went from staring at the ceiling to the occupants in turn, then back. She almost looked as though she was impressed by it, but Harry knew that knew that couldn't be right. She abhorred magic and everything to do with it. Dudley scanned everyone until his eyes found Harry, then never left, but Harry couldn't identify what he saw there. The boy was just too dense to read. And Uncle Vernon was an open book. He was one wrong breath away from shitting his britches. Just one nervous cough and it would happen.
    "It's a bit of a reunion for you, isn't that right, Harry?"
    Harry looked back at Riddle, as full of hatred as ever, ready now for a different kind of death. Would he have to watch them be skinned first? Put under the cruciatus? He glared for all he was worth and to his surprise Voldemort removed the ward. "Something to say, boy?"
    "Just do it already, Riddle."
    Voldemort's face rumpled a bit, and Bella screeched, insane as ever.
    "Settle down Bella," Riddle hissed. "He knows nothing. You want it over with, Harry? Very well. Severus, if you please?"
    Harry looked around quickly for the greasy traitor, and found him as he was the only other being in the place with the nerve to move beyond breathing. Long strides brought him to the front of the dais, and he bowed low. "My Lord."
    Riddle gave him a nod, then he came before Harry, and and said, "Dursley. Come here." He wasn't doing very good at keeping his scorn under cover, if he'd been trying to. Harry doubted it. The words dripped with distastefulness, either at having to deal with Harry or his relative, he didn't know or care. Uncle Vernon jumped, like he hadn't been expecting it, and came up timidly. Harry enjoyed the sight, then felt like shit for taking any pleasure from what was surely his uncle's last moments. What fools to think he would mourn any of them. But they hadn't known. Harry wondered if he should try anything, but he quickly went through a few scenarios, and in each his family were disposed of if for nothing more than being useless muggles to the lot of them. There was no way he could see to keep them alive. 
    "All the times I told Dumbledore you were lying, and he defended you each time! Each time!"
    Snape gave no reaction to the words, instead said, "Stand next to him, and face him." Snape's deep voice was unvarying, unfeeling now. Uncle Vernon did so, and Harry felt he should meet this man's eyes before he was killed. It was something anyone deserved, even his worthless uncle, so he did it. His uncle looked nervous, sweaty as always, and something else Harry had to decipher. Was it guilt? Why?
    Snape intoned a spell, low and somber and careful in every syllable. But he always was. Harry had no handle on Latin, and so it was lost on him, but he could feel it, could feel something taking root in him. He could feel something, intangible but smothering, like it was encasing him, then it broke past his skin and wrapped around his soul. Would he be made to kill them, then? He was becoming aware of his uncle, in a strange way. Like he knew the vague impressions of his emotions. He was suddenly sure that if his uncle were on the other side of the world and stubbed his toe, Harry would know it. 
    He narrowed his eyes, and realized his uncle had looked away. He still didn't understand what had happened, but he felt that perhaps his uncle did. And didn't look like a man who thought he was about to die. He looked back at his aunt, and saw her staring, wide eyed. What did she see? Did she know what this was?
    "Potter. You have just had an enslavement spell put on you. You will serve the Dursleys, or more specifically, Vernon Dursley. You will obey every command. I have adjusted it slightly so that you may avoid literal commands that may threaten your ability to live." Harry stared at him, trying to take in his words. They never rose or fell in cadence, although there was a slight lilt to the lip, and Harry was left to wonder if the last was a joke. Could Snape joke? Did he know how? "As you uncle would have no understanding of magic, its limits and abilities, or the power of words and their meaning. Allowances have been made, as many as possible." Was he trying to say something else here? "I could do no more."
    He looked at Hermione, hoping for a clue at to what this was, but she was as despondent as ever, and really, Harry couldn't blame her. She had hours to live, being given to Greyback, and orders to keep her alive for as long as possible aside, everyone knew it was a death sentence.
    Harry almost jumped when Riddle laughed. "I would like to see the consummation, Severus, and know it has taken place."
    "Dursley. Give a command."
    "I -" Harry ripped his eyes away from Voldemort and looked back at his uncle. "Stand on one foot, boy." Harry did, without thinking, without meaning to. And while no one else seemed impressed, his heart turned to ice with it. His body had done it on its own, with no intent from him. Uncle Vernon could tell him to jump off the roof, and he would. 
    Snape was perhaps the least impressed. "How very inventive of you. And so thoughtful to ensure it was something he would be able to achieve." Harry couldn't look away from his uncle to glare at the greasy potions professor - except he wasn't anymore. He was headmaster, since he'd killed the previous one. His hands formed fists, and he prayed that Uncle Vernon would order him to carve a way out for them; Harry knew where he'd start. "But perhaps we should try something a little more difficult?"
    "Something much more humiliating, Severus. As you promised." Harry did look at Snape then.
    "My Lord, I would recommend that the actual consummation of the spell be reserved for privacy. It requires that the muggle be able to complete the act, and I fear an audience may hinder or inhibit such a result."
    Harry's jaw fell open. Surely he was misunderstanding? Snape was a hard man to pay attention to. He looked back at his uncle in question, but Vernon was still avoiding his eye.
    "Dursley, order him to crawl on his knees to the Dark Lord, and back."
    "Do it, boy. Crawl on your knees to the ..." he swallowed, "the Dark Lord, and back."
    Harry instantly fell to his knees, so fast he not only felt, but heard the smack of them hitting stone and hissed, but his body was following the command too fast for him to react any further. Laughter rang out, and Harry locked his jaw in anger. Harry kept his rage filled eyes locked on Riddle until he reached him then he turned around, then he scanned Snape, his uncle and aunt, and Dudley by accident. He was trying to speak to his mother, but she was shushing him. It was too loud to hear anyone as it was. The laughter continued until after Harry was back at Uncle Vernon. He stood back up, and glared at Snape, not his Uncle. After all, he was little more than a dumb animal in all this. Snape stared right back at him, steady and calm.
    Cold, unmoving, unfeeling black eyes that had never known empathy or love. Harry hoped the man was trying to poke through his thoughts right then so he might see the mountain of hatred Harry was building upon for him. He wanted Snape to see it. More than anything. More than his own fear. 
    "If you please, My Lord, I will take these to their home, so the spell might be completed properly." He waited, frozen in place as though he would stay there and starve if Voldemort didn't command him otherwise. Riddle waited, as though he wanted that to be obvious to everyone there, and the example by which they should all strive, then nodded. 
    "Very well. Once he has seen his friends off, Severus."
    Harry looked through the crowd, one more time, and finally took in what he'd been seeing the whole time. Throughout, Gryffindors were held by the sides of Death Eaters and Slytherins alike, spoils of war, Harry realized, wands probably broken, they weren't moving either. Or speaking. But they were stealing glances at him. Hope in a few, and Harry wanted to scream at them to stop looking at him. If he was the chosen one, they were all screwed. It was as over as it could be. He hadn't succeeded in destroying the horcruxes, he'd only gotten his friends into slavery. 
    "First, all of you who have received these gifts, step forward, and Severus will place an enslavement curse upon them, binding them to you." 
    Finally, Yaxley tore his eyes away from Ginny. "My lord?"
    "Yes, Corbin?"
    "My lord, not that I would question your wisdom, but I would much prefer the opportunity to avoid any curses binding the girl to me. I will of course do my best, as Rabastan put it, to produce heirs, but there might be rebounding repercussions upon them, there are some manuscripts, old ones, in my family records that suggest so, and I would rather avoid it. If I may, my lord. I am confident in my abilities to manage my possessions without the use of spells, either way," with a disgusting, ingratiating smile and a bow.
    Voldemort nodded. "Very well,and anyone else who wishes to avoid them may take their prize home now." 
    "Well, thank you my lord. And on that note, Arthur," and Harry's head whipped around, following the gazes that moved, and finding the man, bound by magic like any dissidents, in the crowd. His face was purple, and Harrry suspected it had been for the entire time here. How awful for him to have seen all this. "You've been away from work long enough. These are times of peace ahead of us. You will report back in for work tomorrow. Your old post, of course. You will do so, or I will ensure that your daughter will wish you did." And everyone could see that Mr. Weasley would indeed be in for work tomorrow. His face had gone still with the knowledge that he would be used from now on. That Ginny would be used in such a way, as well. It would be a vicious cycle of this, and Yaxley would get his jinx free heir as soon as possible. Harry was chewing his lips in anger. "Come, my dear." He turned to Ginny and proffered his arm. She was shaking, and tore her eyes away from her parents to stare at Harry a moment, then put her arm in his, and they left. A path parted for them, and the silence held heavy until they were gone. 
    "I'm not sure that I want an enslavement charm, either," Greyback growled. "I don't think I mind a little disobedience." He was laughing again. Hermione frowned slightly, obviously overthinking it. 
    "You may do as you wish with her, of course. But Fenrir, I don't want her killed in your overzealousness. I would be disappointed in you if she didn't survive." Harry wondered why, but supposed it was just to make all this last as long as possible. Draw it out. "We all know how you can be." A grin split the werewolf's face, and he nodded, proud of his reputation. He came up to Hermione and attached a chain to the collar around her neck, through her limited struggles, and pulled her to the side, then turned to watch the rest. Lestrange, it seemed, was chewing his thoughts slowly.
    "Headmaster, can you think up something that won't curse our children, if I succeed, that is?"
    "I can not guarantee anything but obedience." 
    Harry spared a look for Draco, finally. He'd stepped forward, as a recipient, but was fairly paler than usual. He was staring at Luna, as though wondering what she might be. She was looking back at him, and suddenly Draco spoke up as well. "My lord, I feel confident that I won't require a spell either. That my ch - children would be better off without it." He was terrified, it was apparent, but he'd seen something in Luna to encourage his words.
    Voldemort nodded. "You will be given a chance, Draco. You have shown only loyalty, and will be given every chance to reward my judgement."
    "Yes. Thank you my lord." He held out a hand, and Luna took it, serene as ever. They left, to Harry's gratitude. The less here the better. 
    "Then, I think," Lestrange said, "I will try my luck without a spell, as well. I mean, if Draco can manage, I should be able to work something out." He held out a hand to Ron, as though the previous scenes had bolstered him, but Ron stared with horror and revulsion, the look he usually reserved for six foot tall spiders. "It will go much easier for you if you take my hand, I promise." Lestrange was looking a little nervous, as though Ron's horror was something unexpected. Ron had just enough give in his charm to shake his head, and Lestrange sighed. "Is it reversible?" To Snape, who shook his head. 
    "I have not found one that is, yet."
    "Very well. Imperious." Ron jerked, and his charm fell away as he followed Lestrange out of the hall on stiff legs. Harry watched with a heavy heart, then turned back. It was him and Neville. And Hermione, but she was against the wall, watching and silenced, still bound by magic.  
    Without looking once at Harry, Snape turned to Neville, who was very nearly shaking, and performed another spell. It was different, the wand touching Neville's forehead, then hands, and Harry spared a tiny portion of his brain to wonder at that. Why would they be different? Harry could see a tiny thread of magic wrapping itself around Neville's head and hands, then embed, almost as it had with him. He wished he'd paid better attention to the words. Hermione would have taken mental notes, if only to be able to counter it some day.

    Voldemort waited until it was over, then said, "so long, Harry. The wizarding world will be poorer without you."
    Nervous light laughter followed, as though the people weren't sure if it was a joke, but Merlin help them if it was and they were caught not laughing. Snape turned to Neville and said, "follow." It was enough, and Neville's eyebrows climbed his face as his feet did what he never could have done - walk along behind Severus Snape. The Headmaster led the way and Harry's family followed. Harry thought about staying in place, but a command would further humiliate him, and why would he stay there? When he could be leaving?

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