Chapter 7: Fighting Nightmares

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It was late in the evening when Salazar began to stir once again. The first thing he asked himself was why he was laying on the floor; before the memories hit him like a ton of bricks. While they had been discussing how to get rid of the soul piece in Harry’s scar, Harry began to panic and the final result had been a magical explosion of immense strength which had rendered them all unconscious.

Salazar sat up with a wince, his head was pounding “Damn!” it seemed that he had hit his head when he had fallen.

He began looking around the room while rubbing the back of his head. Reichard lay directly next to him, not yet awake, while Pye was on the other side of the bed. But what worried him the most was when he caught sight of Harry.

Harry remained unconscious in his bed like the others but was sweating heavily and writhing and flailing like he was trapped in a nightmare, all the while clenching his forehead and moaning. From time to time, a small scream escaped him.

Now extremely worried Salazar stood up and went over to Pye to wake her up. It took him several tries before she finally regained consciousness.

“What in Merlin’s name happened?” she asked while sitting up and groaning.

“The last thing I remember is that Harry had begun to panic and a wave of extremely powerful magic escaped him knocking everyone in the room unconscious,” Salazar replied.

Pye looking up saw the boy on the bed and quickly jumped to her feet to examine him only to stop short because her head was spinning. She took a potion against dizziness out of her briefcase and drank some of it before giving it to Salazar who also drank some.

“Wake Reichard up while I check on the boy,” she said.

Salazar did as he was asked and went to Reichard to wake him up. Once again it took him several tries before the man finally woke up, once he finally did Salazar gave him the rest of the potion.

“Ungh…that was very strong magic,” Reichard growled holding his head while getting to his feet. “How long were we unconscious?”

Salazar cast a quick wandless tempus charm only to see that they had been unconscious for more than five hours. Anything could have happened during that time; so either the wards had held or Dumbledore hadn’t able to send any of his forces that quick. He hoped for the first but feared that it may be the later.

“Please care for Harry while I check in on the others and look at the wards afterwards. I don’t want any nasty surprises like Dumbledore storming through the front door,” he told the others while leaving the room.

“Alright” Pye resumed attending to Harry.

Salazar went downstairs and into the kitchen where he saw the two house-elves lying on the floor. He quickly woke them up before he went to the annex in order to look for James, he found him unconscious in his private room slumped down at the desk where he had been sitting before being knocked out. After waking him up, he gave him and the elves a quick explanation about what had happened. James looked worried but Salazar assured him that everything would be alright, hopefully… Seeing that everyone was okay, he went into the cellar to the ritual room to check the wards. Luckily, the wards were still intact. Some minor ones were drained of power but they would recharge in short time so he left them alone, getting back to Harry’s who was still unconscious in his bedroom when he had left was his current priority.

He hoped Harry was okay, but that hope was shattered the moment he entered.

“We have a problem,” Pye stated seriously.

Salazar looked at her quizzically while fear rose within him.

“Harry’s in a state of a self-induced mindlock,” she explained.

“Self-induced mindlock?” Salazar asked. He knew of the foreign-induced one but this was the first time he heard of the self-induced one. Yes, even he as old as he was didn’t know everything.

“Well there are two forms of mindlock, the foreign-induced one and the self-induced one.” Pye began to explain “I assume you heard of the first one?” she asked and Salazar nodded. “The second one while extremely rare is in the most parts like the first one, only that no outside force pushed the mind into that state but the individual’s own thoughts and emotions. I think that everything Harry learned today was a bit too much for him, and on top of that came the knowledge that some foul thing resided within his scar and we didn’t know how to remove it properly. All that information in such a short amount of time and the fact that we didn’t know how to get that foul thing out of him was the final nail in the coffin that pushed him over the edge”

“Didn’t? Past tense?” Salazar was confused.

“Yes, because that thing is gone. It was the first thing I checked to see exactly why Harry is currently in this state, but it’s completely gone, as well as the entire scar. I don’t know how or why exactly but I assume that Harry fried that thing with his burst of magic. But that’s only a guess because I don’t know enough about that thing.”

Salazar sighed. “One problem solved, another one made.”

“And the problem with the new one is that there is no known method to cure it. One either wakes up by themselves or stays in that state until one dies. I’m sorry,” Pye looked sadly at Salazar but he started to grin.

“Are you sure you haven’t hit your head?” she asked confused. She just told him that there was nothing she could do for Harry and that it is very likely for him to stay that way until he dies and Salazar started to grin like mad.

“Oh I did hit my head when I fell unconscious, but that’s not why I’m grinning. It’s because you’re wrong. There is a method to get him out of that state. Well I know it works with the foreign-induced mindlock, but you said they are mostly the same only the trigger is different, so it should work here too,” he replied.

“I should check your head because it seems you’ve gone crazy. If there is a method to cure this, and this is a very big IF I surely would have heard about it,” she growled.

“There are two reasons you haven’t heard of it. The first is because I kind of invented it and never made it public, and second is because you have to meet several important conditions to pull that stunt off.”

“And what conditions would those be?”

“You not only have to be a real master in Legilimency, but you also have to be highly telepathic; and you have to be able to survive whatever the other mind throws at you in defence, and I don’t mean only mentally but also physically. Because; and this is the biggest problem with it, everything that hurts you within the mind of the other also hurts you physically. For example, if you break your leg while you are in the mind of the other you break your leg in the real world also. Do you understand what I mean?” he explained.

“So, if you die in there you also die out here?” Pye asked horrified and Salazar nodded.

“But telepathy?” now she really thought that Salazar was out of his mind, not only because of the injury thing he just explained but also because he said one needed to be a telepath to do this. The only beings who were known telepaths were phoenixes, but never in her entire life had she heard of a wizard or witch being one. Legilimens yes, sure, there were plenty of those, but not true telepaths.

-It’s nothing, really- Salazar’s voice echoed through her mind making her look at him in shock.

“Could someone please explain to me what the difference between Legilimency and telepathy is?” it seemed they had lost Reichard halfway through the discussion.

“A Legilimens can enter a mind, read thoughts, extract them, and even interpret them by going through the different layers of the mind. A very skilled one also can send pictures this way to the other person, visions and the like. A telepath on the other hand, is far more than that. He can not only look into a mind or send visions, no, he can project himself directly into the mind of the opponent, speaking directly into it is the lowest form of telepathy. A telepath also has certain powers within a foreign mind to not only extract memories but also to interact with them. In a nutshell a telepath is a far more powerful Legilimens who can not only observe,” Salazar explained.

“And you are one?” Reichard asked shivers running down his spine upon the thought of what he would be able to do if he truly was one.

“Yes, and you very well know that this fact doesn’t change a thing,” Salazar gave a slight glare to Reichard “I haven’t ever abused my magical power before, why should this be any different?” he answered upon seeing Reichard’s reaction.

Reichard nodded. Yes, he knew very well what Salazar was capable of ever since he had been rescued by him so long ago, and he also knew that Salazar wouldn’t abuse his powers. Merlin, he didn’t even need any of those powers to get someone to see the way he did, or to get away with things, so yes he believed him.

“So what do you need to help Harry?”

“The main thing I need is not to be interrupted in the process. I need to concentrate, and anything that would interrupt this concentration would put Harry and myself into grave danger and possibly outright kill us.

Pye, you can stay here and monitor us in the process if you like but I have to warn you it might take a very long time, and with long, I mean even a week or longer, that depends on the defences Harry will put up against me. But as I said, you don’t do anything under any given circumstance that might interrupt my concentration, even if I get hurt, and yes that is very likely to happen. If you have to give me some potions cast them direct into my stomach but don’t try to give them to me to drink. I’d also advise you to give Harry some calming draught from time to time so that he keeps calm and doesn’t struggle as that also might interrupt my concentration. Understood?”

Pye didn’t know whether she liked the sound of all that but there was no other way, and if she could assist him she would, so she nodded.

“I think I’ll leave you alone then because that is something I have no knowledge of. So; I think I’ll read up about Horcruxes. May I use your library?” Reichard asked.

“Sure. You can also ask Mr. Finnigan to take you to the main library in my manor in Moscow, it’s where most of the books about them are stored.”

“Thank you, I’ll start here and then I’ll see whether I need to go to Moscow or not.”

“Alright. Blinky!”

The house-elf appeared and Salazar gave him some instructions about what was going to happen and that he shouldn’t be disturbed. He also told Blinky to let James and Trixy know as well. Blinky nodded in acceptance and vanished.

Before he went to work, he vanished into his own bedroom for a short amount of time only to appear again with a large dark wooden box in his hands.

“I don’t know whether you have enough of every potion you might need so I brought you this. This is my personal stock of potions,” he explained while opening the box. “You’ll find every possible healing potion in here is master quality and sorted in alphabetical order, so if you should need any feel free to use one of them.”

Pye took out one of the normal healing potions unstopped it and sniffed it.

“That isn’t just master quality, it’s the strongest potion I’ve ever seen, perfectly brewed too. Who made it?” she asked curiously but Salazar just smirked.

“You made these? I think I just found a new personal brewer,” she said astonished.

Now Salazar laughed. “It’s nothing I do as a job, it’s only a mere hobby now so that I don’t get rusty.”

“You’re kidding right? You’d be the best Potions Master out there with this quality, and incredibly rich to. Not to forget all the people you could help with this.”

“I neither need the fame nor the money so why should stress myself? And there are more than enough good Potions Master out there to help the people.”

Pye just shook her head and murmured something about wasted talent.

“Oh, and before I forget, once I have entered his mind I cannot leave until I’ve found him. There is no short way out and I’m trapped in there. Well to be honest I could get out if I really needed to but that would outright kill him and that’s not something I want.”

Salazar gave Pye one last look before he went to work. He sat himself leaning against the bed’s headboard his legs to left and right of Harry whose head lay in Salazar’s lap. He placed his hands on both sides of Harry’s head before he began to concentrate, slowly tuning out all external stimulus. It took him a few minutes of concentration and meditation until he finally entered Harry’s mind.

At first everything was black but after some time it got brighter and he saw where he was. Salazar stood in the middle of a road, a road he knew far too well.

It was Privet Drive, directly in front of house No.4 but it was a very twisted version of it. One could think he landed right in the middle of a horror movie when Salazar looked around. The sky was several shades of a sulfuric yellow up to a brimstone red with black clouds flying past. Thunderbolts twitched through them and from time to time one struck something in the distance. The street on the other hand lay deserted and it was as if nearly all colour had been drained from the whole place. But the most horrible view here was the house itself. It looked like a colossal prison towering over him. Every single window had massive bars on them, all with spikes pointing inwards so that no one even thought about breaking free.

The front garden, which he remembered was originally neat flower beds with perfectly cut roses and the like now was now a horrific and twisted version of it. Everywhere climbing plants with massive thorns grew exuberantly. Some of them had strange and suspicious looking buds and huge yellow blossoms on them.

All around of that was an about 18 feet large fence with one and a half foot long spikes on the top.

Salazar just stood there stunned by the sight of the house. He knew that Harry had been treated horribly by his relatives and that therefore he hated No.4 Privet Drive but this image here overshadowed any doubt he might have had about it. He could only hope that over time Harry forgot about what happened in that house and learned that he would never have to go back. It also explained why Harry had reacted as he did and that in the future Salazar would have to be much more careful with how he behaved in front of the boy.

He stood there for some time musing about how he had completely failed with his behaviour in front of the boy when he heard a deep growling coming from the other side of the fence. There on the other side stood a bulldog, but not a normal sized one. It was more like six feet tall and had a massive body. The muzzle was twisted, the lips drawn back and the fangs bared. It looked more like a hellhound than an ordinary dog.

“Just perfect,” Salazar growled sarcastically.

He knew he couldn’t do any magic here, well he could up to some point, but the problem was that he was in the mind of another person, a child nevertheless, so it would be a very stupid idea to try something like magic. In the worst-case scenario, he would destroy Harry’s mind with it, so no, magic was out of bounds; but luckily, Salazar wasn’t completely defenceless or out of ideas.

He stepped up to the fence never taking his eyes of the dog when he registered from the corner of the eye a movement among the plants. Yes, that could work.

Salazar nimbly climbed up the fence until he stood on the highest stable bar. Beneath him, the dog paced from one side to the other waiting for him to come down so that he could sink his teeth into his flesh. Salazar waited until the dog was just right beneath him when he jumped and landed on the back of the animal. The dog leaped forward and whined in surprise when the plants came to life. A vine lashed out at Salazar while he tried to stay on the back of the dog because the beast started to struggle and run around since it couldn’t reach him. But should Salazar fell off it, well, then he was in trouble. So, he rode the dog like a horse while he tried to avoid the vines with the thorns. It took some time and two occasions where Salazar nearly fell off the back of the dog because it ran straight into the wall of the house to shake him off, before it seemed that the plant had had enough and opened one of its buds revealing a violet bloom. Just the thing Salazar had been waiting for. He kicked the dog in the flank right in time so that it reared up and the spike the bloom shot at him hit the dog in his belly and it collapsed. Salazar in the meantime had jumped off it and ran quickly to the front door, which luckily wasn’t locked, opened it, jumped in, and closed it again before the plant could shoot another spike at him.

It seemed that Harry had seen Jumanji once but thank Merlin Salazar had too and that it hadn’t been long ago. So he had recognised that nasty plant on sight and could use it to his advantage. He had a few bruises and scratches but nothing that wouldn’t heal over time. Luckily entering the house brought him into another part of Harrys mind so that he was safe from the dangers outside.

After he forced his heartbeat back down to a normal rate, he started to look around the house.

The inside resembled the outside. All the colours were quite dim and everything seemed to emit an unholy glow. Because Salazar had never seen the interior of the house, he had no idea what was different. He would have to be extremely careful because everything could be dangerous and he didn’t want to get hurt, or even worse, hurt Harry because he was careless.

He ignored the stairs on his right and continued looking around but what truly caught his attention was the door to the cupboard beneath it. It was a massive wooden door with a small hole in the top, where bulky iron bars were inserted. From the outside, a wooden panel could be shoved before it and on the side that opened several locks were placed. It looked much more like a prison door than a cupboard door.

Salazar carefully opened it and what he saw sent a shiver down his spine. It was like a tiny black hole, no light, nothing to make it even a little bit comfortable, and the whole place was plastered with tiny needles like the needle board of a fakir. The entire room was some kind of twisted iron maiden.

He quickly shut the door not wanting to see that anymore. Slowly but surely he asked himself what had really had happened within that house. Yes, he knew that those were the twisted memories in the head of a child but it takes quite a lot so that they are in a state that resembles more a horror movie of the worst kind than normal memories. It only cemented his decision; those relatives of Harry had to pay, and he knew just the right price. In the end, they would beg for death but death would be mercy to them, and mercy is the one and only thing they did not deserve.

Salazar went onwards until he reached the kitchen. When he thought that the sight of the cupboard beneath the stairs would be the worst thing he would get to see in Harrys mind his opinion just flew out of the window upon seeing what was going on.

On the left side of the room at a table sat three people. They looked like the Dursleys but somehow not.

The person that appeared to be Petunia resembled more some kind of a harpy than a woman. She had an abnormal long neck, the face was some twisted kind of mutation between horse, human, and bird, while her body was tall and slender. Her voice shrieked in a high-pitched manner.

The male adult on the other hand, resembled some kind of indefinable wobbling mass of pudding. His neck was next to non-existent, and he was so obese that it was a wonder that the chair could carry his weight. He laughed and with every laugh, his whole body wobbled.

The youngest looked like some sort of twisted hellish obese pig, which on the contrary was quite strong. Like his father, he had nearly no neck, his face some mix between pig and human, and his fat body had no shape anymore. Not as obese as his father was, but he wasn’t far away from it. He even ate like a pig. In front of him stood a bowl with something in it that Salazar didn’t want to think about any further and the boy had his while head in there gorging the food. Salazar wanted to vomit upon seeing this, it was atrocious.

Every single one of them had fiery crimson red eyes and insane looks on their faces.

In the kitchen itself at the hearth stood Harry, well what you could assume was a hearth. It was more like an open fireplace with a huge fire in it, flames licking up and trying to reach for Harry. On a grid stood a pot with some indefinable mass boiling in it and splashes hitting the boy.

The most horrific view was the boy himself. He was only skin and bones wearing some crude clothes that even the worst treated house-elves would outright refuse to wear. His face was hollow and the eyes looking with an empty gaze at the pot. The hands were full of bruises and blisters from the boiling mass in the pot and the fire licking at them. At his left ankle was a massive iron ring with a likewise massive iron chain attached to it, leading somewhere Salazar couldn’t see.

The Dursley versions at the table sat there laughing like mad while the youngest threw his food at Harry, which made him laugh even more. The “parents” in the meantime gave harsh comments about how good the boy had it and that no one would have taken him if they hadn’t and that he should be grateful that they took filth like him in. They even said much worse things to Harry but Salazar tuned them out or otherwise he would have forgotten the danger and would do something massively stupid.

Salazar could only hope that this was an image of Harry and not the boy himself. He didn’t want to think about the consequences if it really was him but he had to try.

“Harry” he called out for the boy but it seemed he didn’t hear him. So he stepped up to him softly touching his shoulder while calling him again with a soft tone. Harry now tilted around very fast, giving him a horrified look.

`Damned´ Salazar thought. It was the boy but before he could do anything, Harry kicked him quite hard for his appearance, which made him stumble towards the open fire. He caught himself shortly before he fell head first into it but he burned his hands in the process.

He just started to swear about it when suddenly the whole world around him started to twist, and Salazar just thought he would vomit when everything came to a halt and settled down again.

He took a look around and saw that the whole scenery has changed. He now was in the middle of Godric’s Hollow or in this case, it should be more likely called Godric’s Horror or Godric’s Hell. The sky this time were more the shades of orange and crimson red and it looked like it was burning and boiling. The same view gave the village itself. Everywhere licked flames at the buildings, trees and what else was there. It was nearly unbearable hot and smoke hung in the air so breathing was pure agony.

It seemed that the boy drew that image from the memories of the night his parents died.

Salazar just looked around for the Potter Cottage in this village when he saw a shadow flying by. First, he couldn’t determine what it was when suddenly a huge pitch black dragon with fiery red eyes landed in front of him.

Okay now he really had a problem because that thing was nearly twenty feet tall and minimum thrice the length. It just uprooted a tree with his tail with ease when Salazar decided that running and hiding was a very good idea just in time because the dragon was more inclined to roast him until he was a briquette if the temperature of the fireball he fired at him gave any indication.

Salazar made it just in time around the corner of one of the burning houses to avoid getting roasted but just a second later the dragon just hit the house with his tail until only ruins remained. The problem was that there were not many hiding options in a burning village.

He ran towards the next house when he stumbled because he felt his concentration slipping, he could regain it just in time to dodge the next fireball but again it slipped. Salazar could only pray that Pye didn’t do anything to him because otherwise he was toast sooner than later.

By a hairbreadth, the fireball passed him and engraved a metre in front of him. The heat wave emitted by it was unbearable and the light blinding. Barely able to see because of the heat, the light and the smoke Salazar stumbled forwards in a direction he could hope to avoid the next blast. Behind him the dragon roared.

`This is it, I’ll die´ he thought. He had only two options left either he struggled against the inevitable and died eventually in the end or he used magic and most possibly fried Harrys mind completely. Would it be his choice he would choose the third option where both of them survived unharmed but for now that option was out of reach, as it seemed.

He struggled forward half blinded away from the dragon when suddenly he hit water, cold one as it was. Either he was extremely lucky or a part of Harry recognised him and knew he was in grave danger. Since finding cold water in hell was very unlikely, he guessed for the second. Not thinking for long or questioning his luck he ran into the water and submerged. He stayed under water as long as he could to cool down. After the immense heat in the village, the cold water was like heaven to him.

It took him some time before he got back to the surface. He used the opportunity to regain full concentration before it slipped completely. Now able to see properly again he looked around. The dragon paced around the village obviously searching for him. For now, it looked like that while he was in the water the dragon couldn’t find him for whatever reason. He didn’t want to question it, he was only happy it was that way.

Further looking around showed him that the pool was right next to the cottage he was looking for. Now he only had to wait for an adequate opportunity and he would be there but first he stayed in the water for some more minutes glad for the break.

Finally, the dragon vanished behind one of the larger houses and out of sight when Salazar who in preparation swam near to the shore, got out of the water and quickly ran towards the house. Behind him, the dragon roared again on spotting him but he was too far away to reach him before he entered the house.

After the deafening sound of the roaring and crackling fire outside not to mention the rampaging dragon the sudden silence was a blessing. Salazar took a quick look around the ground floor only to find it entirely empty not even furniture was in here. Only the green glow that appeared to be emitted by the walls, floor and ceiling was to be found.

Having no other option left he went up the stairs to the first floor where he remembered was Harry’s room. That was where he finally found him cowering in the edge crying.

He stepped up to him and was just about to kneel down when he heard a noise behind him. He turned around and faced him. Tom Marvolo Riddle aka Lord Voldemort in his entire glory pointing a wand at him stood there. First fear showed on Salazar’s face because he was just two words away from death and he very well knew that this was likely to happen even considering that he was only in Harry’s mind. But quickly fury and hatred took over.

Fury because he failed Harry so many times now.

Fury because he couldn’t prevent what happened that Halloween night.

Fury because he didn’t find Harry earlier.

Fury because he had been blind and hadn’t seen what Harry went through.

And fury because he had behaved like Dumbledore. He hadn’t thought about Harry’s feelings and about what he had been through lately, but instead pushed him as he thought was right, even if it was for Harry’s welfare.

All that fury boiled within him and only served to fuel his hatred.

Hatred against the man before him for killing Harrys parents.

Hatred against Dumbledore for putting Harry with his `relatives´.

Hatred against the Dursleys for abusing, hitting, and starving Harry.

And a part of the hatred was directed against himself for his constant failure.

Normally Salazar was a very calm and logical thinking person who wasn’t easily angered, but now all these emotions he had suppressed the last four and a half years broke out of him. The fear for Harry, his worry because he couldn’t find him, the feeling of having failed him time after time. Every single one now broke out when Salazar clenched his hand into a fist and hit Voldemort with all the power he had. Voldemort stumbled backwards but Salazar was merciless. He set after him and hit him a second and a third time. In the end, he beat the living daylight out of him until he laid there not ever moving again. Salazar panted heavily but he was satisfied.

After he calmed down, he again turned to Harry who hadn’t moved at all and was only sobbing heavily, knelt down next to him and gently touched his shoulder.

“Harry, it’s me Salazar,” he said with a soft voice but Harry only sat there sobbing.

Not knowing what to do in this situation, he did just what he thought would be right. He sat right next to him laid an arm around him and pulled him to his chest while soothingly rubbing his back. Salazar didn’t know for how long they both sat there this way, and to be honest he didn’t care. He had finally found the boy and he decided that he wouldn’t make the same mistake again. He would give the boy all the time he needed. Never again would he push the boy as far as he did this day.

They just sat there, Harry leaning against Salazar and sobbing into his chest while Salazar swept his hand over the boys back. After a few minutes Salazar even started to sing to Harry a soothing and soft melody that was from a long time ago. His voice was clear and very melodic as he sang.

It seemed like an eternity but in the end Harry’s sobs and all the nightmares around them started to fade away until there was nothing left except endless empty space.

“I’m scared,” Harry finally said with a small hitch to his voice.

“I know; I know, and I’m sorry. I should have thought about how all this would be for you, being ripped out of the environment you know, thrown into a completely new and different world, not to mention the fear you must have had when you heard what was within your scar. I shouldn’t have pushed you to do the check-ups the same day I took you from…there but I was so worried about you and your health that I was blinded as to how you felt,” Salazar sighed.

“And I’m sorry about everything that happened. I…” Harry started but Salazar interrupted him.

“Don’t, please don’t. None of this was your fault. You are just a five-year-old boy who turns six in two months. You didn’t know any better, but I should have. So please stop blaming yourself because I most definitely am not.”

“But I nearly killed you,” Harry tried to withdraw himself from Salazar but Salazar didn’t let him. Instead, he smiled softly at him.

Never ever think that. I knew of the risks and consequences of coming here, I knew that this could most likely be a journey without return but I ignored it. I ignored every common sense and any thought about the dangers that I would have to face only to get you back. You saw my name in the history book stating that I am a thousand years old but to tell the truth that was just a third of my entire life. I’m over three thousand years old Harry. I lived from day to day killing time as I saw fit but I wasn’t really happy because I had nothing to live for, no purpose in my life. The entire last day showed me that my entire life was hollow. Until I met you. In the last twenty-four hours I have genuinely laughed more often than in the entire time before. I think you saved me as much as I saved you, and I’d gladly give my life to see you safe and I’d gladly go through hell to get you out again,” Salazar admitted and he felt that it was the truth.

“I’m afraid, afraid that whoever put me with the…the Dursleys will find me and put me back there again,” Harry curled himself up in Salazar’s arms. This felt so right. Harry always wanted someone who cared for him, who loved him, but he always had been told that he was unworthy filth that no one could ever possibly love or want.

Salazar thought about that. He had a solution for this problem, one he would sooner or later propose to Harry but was now the right time? He didn’t want to make the same mistakes again ignoring and not thinking about Harry’s feelings and wanting too much in a too short amount of time. But when he sat there with Harry in his arms he knew that this was how it was meant to be and that he didn’t have to fear anything about that. It seemed he wasn’t the only one to think that way because Harry now was completely relaxed seemingly trusting him to protect him from everything that might come.

“Dumbledore was the one to put you there…but I swear to you that he never ever again gets a hold on you. I fully plan to destroy his nice little world stone for stone for what he put you through, and don’t fear the Dursleys; I’ll take care of them very soon too. But besides that, I want to talk to you about something else.”

Harry sat up and looked at him in anticipation of what he would say, but the otherwise sly and cunning Slytherin was now at a loss for words, not knowing how to express himself.

“Before I tell you I would like to ask you not to think that I want to do that out of any other reason than to want to have you with me. Under any other circumstances I would do exactly the same thing, alright?” he asked looking Harry straight into the eyes.

Harry nodded while looking at him warily, not knowing what all this was about.

“I’d like to adopt you legally as my son,” Salazar said closely watching Harry’s reaction.

Now it was Harry’s part to sit there at a loss for words. He just sat there staring at Salazar torn between disbelief and crying in joy.

“I like to have you around and would gladly care for you. I mean really care for you, like you deserve, and not what these idiots think means caring for a child. That also would mean that no one would ever be able to take you away from me, so you’d never again have to fear that you’d end up with the Dursleys. Not even Dumbledore could do that.”

Harry opened and closed his mouth like a fish out of water, not knowing what to say. This would be the opportunity he had always dreamed of. A family of his own, a father who loved him and a childhood like every other normal child had. Okay a childhood like a magical child would have, but he doubted that it would be that much different.

In the end, he just shook his head at his thoughts, launched himself towards Salazar and jumped in his arms crying in joy.

“I’d really love that,” he said through his tears.

“Then let’s get out of here and start our new life together, okay?”

Harry just nodded happy that his nightmares had finally come to an end.

A few minutes later Harry woke up while Salazar came out of his meditation.

Salazar looked stressed but happy while Harry looked like he had woken up from a long nightmare, but also happy.

“Wow, you two nearly gave me a heart attack,” Pye deadpanned.

“How long has it taken?” Salazar asked.

“One and a half days, and at one point it looked like you would die…”Pye explained.

“Well I did nearly die, but that’s nothing you should be concerned about right now, especially in front of Harry. I will gladly tell you everything that happened but right now I’m completely exhausted, and I doubt that Harry is in any better shape.”

“You’re right, you both should get some sleep. For now I’ll give you both some potions, Salazar, these are for your bruises and burns,” she said handing him two tins. “And Harry this one is to stabilize your magic,” she gave him one vial and then gave him another different one. “And this one is a nutrient potion. Both of you also get a dreamless sleep potion so that you can sleep for about twelve hours uninterrupted by nightmares or anything else.”

“Please stay with me!” Harry exclaimed speaking up for the first time since they had returned, clinging to Salazar, as he feared he would leave him. The nightmare hadn’t worn off completely yet.

“Alright, I’ll stay with you if that’s what you really want,” Salazar smiled.

Both took the potions Sylvia had given them and Salazar lay down right next to Harry, putting an arm around him. A mere minute later both were fast asleep, not caring that they hadn’t changed their clothes or that it was the middle of the day. They were both just glad that this nightmare had finally come to an end and that the future was endlessly better.

Pye shook her head transfiguring the clothes on both of them into nightwear before silently leaving the bedroom. If what she saw through her monitoring charms on both of them was any indication they had both gone through hell and back, so they would need their time to rest, but she hoped that now everything was okay, because she doubted that both of them would survive another incident like this.

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