Rating: R or possibly PG-13. Adult concepts addressed.
Disclaimer: Harry and company belong to J. K. Rowlings. Ghost Rider belongs to Marvel Comics. I'm just borrowing them for a while. There is no intent to profit from this. Only the story is mine, and even that is negotiable.
Category: Another insane trip through the halls of my muse's imagination. Once this plot bunny appeared, I simply couldn't ignore it, so here it is.
Summary: Harry finds out what the 'power the Dark lord knows not' really is.
Time frame: Sometime in the summer after fifth year.
Character Bashing: None.
Author's notes: Thanks to Tim Joy, Bill Haden and Drake the Archr for beta-ing this for me.
Title: Harry Potter and the Chains of Vengeance
He took advantage of the brief pause in the pursuit to bend over and catch his breath, while hoping that the stabbing pain in his ribs that he knew from experience indicated the presence of at least a couple of broken ribs would abate enough for him to take a full breath. He also took a moment to undo the middle buttons of his shirt and tuck his left forearm through the gap that was produced, so that he wouldn't be worrying about brushing it against anything he passed; it hurt enough the way it was right now, thank you very much, what with the broken ends of the bones in his forearm sticking out through the skin.
"H-A-A-A-A-R-R-R-R-Y! Come on out, Harry! You can't hide forever, you know!"
Through some trick of acoustics, Dudley's braying echoed down the alleyway he had ducked into and made it seem as though he and his gang were only a few feet away.
"Come on, Harry! Me and the guys just want to talk to you about your schoolmates! Especially the girls!" he heard Piers Polkis call.
The chorus of cruel laughter and coarse suggestions that followed his words sent a surge of adrenalin-fueled rage though him and he sent a brief prayer of thanks to whatever deities might be listening for the momentary burst of strength it gave him.
"Bastards!" he muttered under his breath as he desperately looked around for some way of getting out of there.
That misbegotten son of a land-bound whale and his friends had run into him after he had taken advantage of Mundungus Fletcher's being drunk again to slip away from the Dursley's house and gone for a walk, trying to drink in some of the calm of the summer night. Despite his initial misgivings, he had allowed himself to be talked into joining his cousin and his friends on a exploration of the town's relatively few points of interest, and it was only when they had moved into the less desirable part of town that the muggles had suddenly attacked him without any warning whatsoever.
Somehow, he had managed to break away from his assailants, but only after having received several serious injuries, including a blow to the head that had left him woozy and unable to concentrate sufficiently enough to even attempt using magic.
And he now feared that he was being herded by Dudley and his companions into a blind alley from which there would be no means of escape.
If he had been able to carry his wand with him, he wouldn't be in this mess; but with the way Fudge and his flunkies had been persecuting him this past year, Dumbledore and the other members of the Order had emphasized that he wasn't to even attempt to do any magic until they could complete whatever arrangements they had in the works.
If and when he got out of this situation, he was going to return to Privet Drive and make sure that his dear cousin and all of his friends paid dearly for their actions tonight. Dear Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were probably going to be very upset with him once they discovered what he intended to do to that pig of a son they had raised.
And the dear Minister of Magic and his cronies were also going to find out the consequences of not allowing him the chance to protect himself, he swore as he glanced around the alley, trying to find an unlocked door or unboarded or unbarred window they might use to escape notice.
With his attention distracted, Harry failed to notice a small pothole in his path as he moved further down the passageway he was following, and he tripped and fell, knocking over one of the innumerable boxes of junk lining the small street.
The triumphant calls of Dudley's crowd echoed as the nose allowed them to zero in on their prey's location, and Harry began scrambling back to his feet as he resumed his run.
Moving past the tumbled down crates that partially blocked the pathway, he crept down to the even smaller, intersecting alleyway he had passed a few minutes earlier in his quest to escape as he heard voices approaching. He quietly moved several yards further down the alley before tripping and knocking several more trash cans over, drawing the attention of his pursuers as he began running down the narrow lane. The excited shouts behind him declared that he had been discovered again, the voices drawing ever closer as fatigue and the pain of his injuries sapped what little remained of his strength.
He realized his luck had finally run out when he turned a final corner and found himself confronted by the solid expanse of a blank wall.
Turning to face his pursuers, he saw the disgusting, overfed bulk of his so-called cousin, Dudley, blocking the only exit from the small lot in which he had trapped himself.
"Looks like you're caught now, freak," Dudley grinned, even as he swung one of his massive ham-like fists into Harry's chest and knocked him backwards a dozen feet. "You've got nowhere else to run to."
The foot that drove itself into his already broken ribs and ripped an involuntary groan from his lips also lifted him up into the air and slammed him against the makeshift wall of crates that lined the outer perimeter of the building behind him. Several boxes fell atop and around him as he dropped to the unyielding macadam below him, their contents strewn across him and the ground before him.
Wiping his hand across his mouth, Harry noted the blood smeared across it, then rolled over and tried to push himself up off the ground. He had no illusions about what Dudders and his friends intended to do to him, but he'd be damned if he'd just lie down and let them put the boot to him. He laughed, in a way that a small part of him considered might not be completely sane, as he thought to himself that Voldemort was probably going to be very pissed off when he found out that some arrogant, self-important muggle, who believed himself superior to everyone else (just like Voldy did, he reminded himself) was trying to kill 'The Boy Who Lived' before he could do so. Even though according to the prophecy Dumbledore had quoted to him after that debacle in the ministry, only Voldemort could actually kill him, that didn't mean that no one else couldn't physically hurt him; that fat toad, Umbridge, had proven that earlier in the year.
He just wished that, if Voldy did end up killing him, he could take the fat slob standing before with him when he went; that would help slake his thirst for vengeance against his dear cousin and those animals that claimed to be relations of his mother only the slightest little bit, but it was better than nothing.
His hand landed on a discarded fuel cap as he tried to shove himself back to his feet, and the moment the blood on his fingers touched the metal disc, a light seemed to flare, and he abruptly found himself standing in darkness on a flat, endless plain, a luminescent glow floating above him lighting the area.
// So, an heir finally appears! // he heard someone, or possibly some *thing*, declare in a thundering voice.
// What is it you desire, boy? // the voice then demanded.
Thinking back on the injuries he had received from their tormentors, a wave of rage seemed to erupt within him and Harry screamed out his answer.
"Vengeance! I want them all to regret even being born!"
// The blood breeds true! // he thought he heard the voice state, the other's satisfaction with his response unmistakable.
// Will you now accept your heritage? With all the obligations and commitments that might accompany it? // the voice asked him, the manner and phrasing sounding formal, or possibly ceremonial, in nature.
"YES!" he screamed as the rage took him.
And then the pain hit, flooding through him as though it were permeating every cell in his body; as though every atom of his being had burst into white-hot flame that burned but failed to consume him.
A moment later, the pain was gone, and he found himself standing upright, although he couldn't for the life of him remember actually climbing to his feet. In fact, not only was the pain gone, all of the aches and pains he had been feeling before whatever just happened, happened, were gone, too.
He felt stronger.
As though he could punch his way through the walls of any of the buildings around him.
A quick examination showed him to be wearing the same jeans and tee shirt that he had been wearing only a few moments ago, only without the bloodstains, along with a leather motorcycle-style jacket, boots and gloves. And he seemed to be a good bit larger, too, he thought to himself, since his perspective seemed to be a bit different.
He also noticed that a heavy-gauge length of chain with what looked to be flames dancing along it - although he couldn't feel any heat coming off it - hung from his right hand.
A flicker of movement off to one side caught his attention and he looked over towards one of the few remaining barred but unbroken windows in the building facing the small lot, to find himself staring at the reflection of a large flaming skeleton dressed in jeans and a black leather jacket.
// Great Merlin, that's me! What in the name of magic is going on? // he wondered as he stared wonderingly at the reflection for a moment before his attention was distracted by a panicked shout.
"Jesus Bloody Christ! What the hell is that thing?!"
He looked up at the exclamation and saw that Dudders and his friends were now staring at him with wide-eyed expressions that looked to be about *this* far away from sheer, stark, run-away-screaming-like-a-little-girl terror.
"Hey, Dudders," Harry called out as he smiled at his cousin. The smile grew even bigger as he noted the rapidly growing dark stain at the crotch of Dudder's pants that appeared once his cousin realized that Harry was staring directly at him.
"What - what are you?" the youngest Dursley asked, his voice squeaking with panic.
"Retribution," Harry growled as previously unsuspected instincts made him snap the chain forward towards the entrance the half-dozen thugs were now all heading for quickly as their feet could take them.
Harry watched in fascination as the chain seemed to stretch to impossible lengths before curving around to encircle the fleeing putative hardcases, then constrict around them and drag them back across the hard, unyielding macadam, much like a yo-yo would return to the user's hand.
Ignoring Dudley's terrified screaming and the impotent threats being hurled at him by his cousin's friends, he casually yanked the tethered group towards him. His smile broadened as all of the would-be bad guys were abruptly pulled off their feet and landed in a groaning pile at his feet.
Following a sudden impulse, Harry grabbed hold of Dudley's jaw and forced him to lift his face and look into his own eyes. The moment their eyes met, time seemed to halt and a parade of memories, of every mean and spiteful, malicious and cruel act his cousin had ever performed was relived and seen again through Dudley's eyes.
Each and every attack he had enjoyed witnessing his father make on his orphaned cousin, every rampant act of cruelty and torture Dudley had inflicted on the stray animals he managed to capture, the bullying and the innumerable acts of petty jealousy and envy he committed at his school against his classmates, his gradually increasing acts of harassment and molestation he chose to make against several of the girls in his classes, all were witnessed by the flaming entity who towered over him, evaluating and judging him with eyes just as completely devoid of mercy and compassion as his had been when he had committed them.
"Suffer, worm!" Harry ordered as he stared at the begging, foul-smelling being cowering before him, and a beam of energy erupted from his eyes to encompass his prey. Bare fractions of a second later, Dudley began screaming as every iota of the pain and suffering he inflicted on other, whether they were human and animal, was returned to him threefold.
Turning his gaze from the twisting, howling creature before him, Harry moved on to his next target.
Dismissing the half-dozen *things* now screaming and writhing mindlessly on the ground from his attention, Harry began retracing his steps towards the narrow entrance he had passed through only a few minutes earlier, his thought focused on analyzing his current situation.
// I wonder how long it'll take me to get back to the house? // he wondered idly, not at all sure of his exact location. // I want to be able to see dear Uncle Vernon's face when the authorities call to notify him about Dudders'...condition. //
No sooner had the thought been made than there was a flickering of light and a gleaming chrome motorcycle with black leather accoutrements appeared before him, the tires seemingly formed from the same heatless flame that bathed him and the chain he still held in his hand. The certainty that the bike would be able to easily transport him anywhere he desired formed in his head at the same moment as the bike's manifestation, along with a great many memories that seemed to form some sort of legacy from whoever, or whatever, had previously controlled this power he now possessed. A quick check of some of the memories indicated that he was now apparently some sort of personification of vengeance, and that the flames enveloping him were his own personal form of hellfire - whose flames were only able to hurt those guilty of some gross injustice against innocents.
// Interesting, // he thought to himself as he gave one last look towards the mewling bodies scattered across the small parking lot. // I'll definitely have to study these memories in more detail later. And maybe I can get Hermione to check and see if she can find any legends or other material concerning a spirit of vengeance. //
Climbing onto the clearly mystical bike, Harry found the sporadic lessons on motorcycle riding Sirius had given him during the all-too-few hours they had spent together last summer of great use as he easily guided the bike down the alleyway and towards the house in which he was currently being forced to reside.
// I think Tom's going to be *very* surprised the next time we meet, // he smiled to himself as he gunned the engine and roared at breakneck speed down the deserted city streets.
After all, revenge was a dish best served cold, and the hellfire he now commanded was *very* cold, indeed.