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Nightmare Fuel / Child of the Storm

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     Book I - Child of the Storm 
  • The entrance of the Winter Soldier. When he first appears, it's left unclear exactly what he is, and has a room full of hardened Death Eaters and Werewolves terrified of him. Without saying a word. The only people who aren't scared of him are those who know he's coming and Gravemoss (who's completely Ax-Crazy anyway). Though, the heads of the manticore and the nundu rather helped make an impression.
  • Chapter 21 from beginning to end.
    • The Veidrdraugar as a whole.
  • Gravemoss is arguably Nightmare Fuel incarnate.
  • The backstory of Hela, crossing over with Tear Jerker. Loki seemed to be experiencing an irrational case of Adult Fear about his lover and unborn daughter and his parents (father's) anger, so hid them away. However, the birth went wrong and both mother and child died. Loki used necromancy for the first and last time to resurrect the child, Hela. And then she became something of a Creepy Child and had an involuntary case of Vampiric Draining - small plants and animals tended to die around her - required to keep her in the living world. So Loki, with the help of Thor, Sif and the Warriors Three (apparently how they met each other), raises her in Helheim, but has to leave her there eventually.
    • From Frigga's point of view: her younger son has just disappeared with the pregnant girlfriend that, of course, she knew about, she knows how dangerous a birth can be so she's desperately looking for him, and when Heimdall finally picks him out, rushes to the scene, as fast as she can... to find her son, his arms bloody to the elbow, weeping, with her firstborn grandchild dead in his arms while his beloved girlfriend is already dead. In essence, she was too late.
      • And the experience drives him to use necromancy. Dark magic. As a powerful sorceress herself, one who taught Loki the ways of magic, that must really suck.
    • From Odin's point of view: he essentially set the whole thing in motion by being such a distant, frightening father that Loki would rather run and risk who knows what then own up and seek help. It is all on his head. And you can bet that he knows it.
  • Loki's time with Thanos was this, according to what little we've picked up from him. While he explicitly wasn't mind-controlled, his experience was far from pleasant.
  • The Darkhold doesn't just grant the means to create veidrdraugar. It grants the means to put them into mass production.
  • Gravemoss rips Sif's heart out. With every intention of turning her into one of the veidrdraugar. While Dresden manages to prevent this and Doctor Strange pulls a Deus ex Machina, but it comes very, very close...
  • In chapter 60, after winning something of a Curbstomp Battle against HYDRA's werewolves the aged up kids seem to be coasting to another victory with minimal actual peril faced... then, in a matter of seconds, they are curbstomped by a robot based on the Destroyer controlled by Baron Zemo which inflicts some of the first genuine, non-trivial injuries on them and despite the fact that Harry and Diana are in Thor's league of power, comes very, very close to killing several of them. This isn't the conflicted Winter Soldier or a less powerful Elite Mook. This is someone who not only is wiling to kill them but very definitely can and wouldn't think twice about doing it.
  • Chapter 65 exploits the Fridge Horror of Ginny's experience at the hands of Riddle's diary, having Sean explain to the Hogwarts staff that Ginny has considerable psychic trauma following her encounter with Tom Riddle's diary. When Snape questions this, Sean retorts:
    No. She only spent nine months being mentally manipulated and slowly drained of her life force by a powerful and malevolent psychic entity that tricked her into trustin’ it. She’s fine.
    • Being a man who knows what he's talking about thanks to his time at Interpol, he then goes on to directly compare Riddle's diary to a sexual predator, explaining the parallels. Afterwards, the staff look a mixture between sickened, horrified, and homicidal.
  • Chapter 66 presents the scenario of being trapped in a memory of a violent superpowered battle powerful enough to shatter mountains with a young psychic who's completely lost control of his powers which are making everything real.
  • Part 2 of Chaos Reigns gives us a glimpse of the horrors that are breaking through into Earth due to the Darkhold being free, as an army of N'Garai and Mindless Ones, led by a Mabdhara, swarms into Chicago, leaving a trail of death in its wake. The scene of one their feeding spots is enough to make even Dresden, who's used to this sort of thing, retch. And he notes that, as long as the Darkhold is still loose, this is just going to keep happening...
  • Chapter 70 provides a HYDRA Paratrooper's point of view when they're attacking Hogwarts from the air in the middle of the night. The response comes in the form of a Mook Horror Show at the hands of Archangel, who, moving too fast to be visible as more than a silver blur, uses his Razor Wings to destroy HYDRA's Quinjet, then methodically destroy their flight-suits or dismember them, while the mook in question slowly loses his mind... and then he's faced with Archangel, described as a blood-spattered avenging angel in the moonlight, before Archangel removes his wings and leaves him to plummet to the ground.
  • Chapter 71's description of HYDRA unleashing the veidrdraugar on their targets and when that (rarely) fails, they grab people off the street, put them under the Imperius curse and inject them with particularly unstable Extremis, turning them into unkillable living bombs, is fairly horrific.
  • When the Winter Soldier attacks the Ministry and carves through everyone in his way, that's scary enough, if not entirely unexpected. But if he hadn't killed Arthur, best-case scenario is that the latter would've been used as a hostage. Alternatively, Lucius might've given him to Gravemoss. In fact, this is quite likely - certainly, it was an awful enough fate that the Winter Soldier genuinely thought that killing Arthur with his bare hands was the merciful option.
  • Chapter 72 reveals that Luna died from a bullet in the lung. This means that she would have died slowly and painfully, drowning in her own blood.
    • It also has Thor living every parent's nightmare: finding out that his son has died. The fact that he was resurrected immediately afterwards does not make it any better.
  • Chapter 74 has Harry finally snapping and demonstrating just how mindbogglingly terrifying an enraged psychic can be.
  • Chapter 77: Chthon rises, which turns the skies red and unleashes demons over the entire Earth.
    • Hell, pretty much every aspect of Chthon's appearance is designed to show that this is just Wrong, capital letter fully deserved.

     Book II - Ghosts of the Past 
  • Know all the in-universe Fridge Horror about Harry's Psychic Powers? Voldemort, who now has some of that power himself, proves that it's all completely justified. He turns Carol, Uthred, Diana, Pepper, Jane, and the Twins into People Puppets, threatens to make them kill each other (in Pepper's case, says he'd make her cut out and eat her own unborn baby and enjoy it), and then induces a "Freaky Friday" Flip in them, banishes them randomly and sets more People Puppets, Death Eaters, to hunt them down. All purely to fuck with Harry.
    • He also gives Betsy an aneurysm in order to eliminate her from the battlefield, and induces a panicked Thor into nearly killing Harry in the heat of the battle.
    • To add to the example above, if you thought Voldemort was scary in canon, this story has managed to make him walking Nightmare Fuel.
    • The majority of the time the "Freaky Friday" Flip is usually Played for Laughs. There was nothing funny about how it's done here.
  • Peter Wisdom a.k.a. Regulus Black. If you're capable of unnerving the freaking God of Thunder, then you're a force to be reckoned with. Now that he's Director of MI13 and damn close to being de facto ruler of Britain, it would be a suicidal move to get on his bad side.
  • What happened to Rachel Grey, Jean's twin sister who was believed dead because Sinister kidnapped her in the maternity ward, dubbing her Madelyn 'Maddie' Pryor and raising her as his Living Weapon. Even worse, Strange understand too late what was happening and was powerless to prevent it, only arriving in time to prevent Sinister kidnapping Jean as well.
    • The contrast between Jean and Maddie/Rachel is played up, not for the whole Evil Counterpart aspect, but to underline how absolutely horrific what's been done to Maddie is, and how utterly broken it's left her - a Living Weapon that Sinister doesn't even need to exert telepathic control over, one only barely able to grasp the concept of making her own choices beyond mere flexibility within the parameters of whatever mission she was given, after months of patient, careful coaxing from Gambit, one who is driven to confused tears by the way that post Heel–Face Turn, everyone's being so kind. This, on its own, is a Tear Jerker. Where it crosses over into Nightmare Fuel is where one remembers a) that this is a seventeen year old girl, b) that the techniques involved were focused on systematically demolishing the foundations for any kind of free will.
    • Additionally, Doctor Strange spends the entirety of the Forever Red arc as a psychotic Mood-Swinger - as a product, it is implied, of the above, as he vowed never to be too late, after he was too late to the Battle of Camlann, and magical vows carry real power and real consequences, never mind the psychological ones. That's horrifying enough. But half the time, he's even more Crazy Awesome than usual. The other half... normally, he's smooth, knowing, in-control and often affable. At worst, he's a bit brusque. This time, not so much. He's gaunt to the point of being skeletal, having worked himself to the bone in a way that Frigga explicitly states should have killed him trying to 'make it right', his shadow keeps twisting and transforming, changing shape more and more the more agitated he gets, and generally he winds up frightening villains and heroes alike by his mere presence, being on the verge of outright snapping. And when Uhtred accidentally questions his given word... well. As he makes clear, if Uhtred had not had good reason to be upset himself, or been a child, Strange would have killed him on the spot.
  • Wanda shows she's her father's daughter by making good on her promise to reduce Sinister to screaming, traumatised atoms if she ever meets him. He undeniably deserves it, but... damn.
    Wanda: Actually, no. You're right. I am like my father. I am his daughter. And do you know why? Because I am going to fulfil that promise I made, a promise to render you down to traumatised, screaming atoms if you ever went near my godson again. And while I'm not going to have the time to make it last, I am going to enjoy it. So scream, you bastard, scream!
  • And Sinister lives. Worse, he still has Harry's genetic material in his clutches and intends to clone him.
  • When Lorna tries to call home, her own mother is unable to remember her because Sinister wiped her memory and everyone Lorna ever knew back in Australia to ensure no one would ever come for her. Presumably, the same happened to the other prisoners.
  • Project Red Son is revealed to be Harry with Undying Loyalty to the Red Room. You may now piss your pants.
  • Lukin starts using Red Son's psychic abilities to make other countries dance to the Russians' (or more specifically, his) tune. It's not violent (except where it is implied that it very much is, with spies vanishing all over the shop), but people are compelled to do exactly what he wants on a continental, if not global, scale. Superweapon indeed.
    • Asgard's answer to one of their princes being kidnapped is starving Russia by destroying their food and energy resources. And Frigga swears to ramp it Up to Eleven until Harry comes home. Never mess with an Asgardian Mama Bear, especially when she's the Queen.
  • Chapter 12 shows why getting on Magneto's bad side is a very, very bad idea. In less than two minutes, he reduces what General Lukin calls the pride of the Red Room and their answer to supernatural threats into crumpled and crippled ruins. Particularly nasty is when he flays one of them with his own tentacles and crushes a Powered Armor... with its pilot still inside.
  • Sinister comes up with a nanotech virus he uses on the Red Son when it is obvious he is going to lose. What's it called? Project Transmode. Yes, as in Cable's Techno-Organic virus. Like that virus, it starts to eat him from the inside and rapidly turns his body into metal. Magneto, who is fighting him in Bayville (which is in New York, mind you) has to hit him with a brutal lightning strike (for which he created a geomagnetic supercell storm and - as a mere side-effect - generated auroras that were visible in Kansas) just to slow down the virus. And it still nearly spreads to Wanda.
  • And yet it can get even worse. For example, after the brainwashing gets wiped out, Harry is so furious with everything he becomes the Dark Phoenix!
  • While also awesome because of how it was delivered and whom it was delivered to but Harry's utterance of this line sends chills down the spines of all who know what it forebodes:
    I AM LIFE
    I AM FIRE
    NOW AND FOREVER
    I
    AM
    PHOENIX
  • When Strange tells the Council Elite that Thanos is coming for Earth, they all freeze up. Think about that — the Skyfathers are among the most powerful beings on Earth, and the thought of the Mad Titan terrifies them. Just what are Harry and the others going to have to deal with when the time comes?
    • Gorakhnath later implies that Thanos, for all that he's a fool in his beliefs, is every bit as brilliant as Doctor Strange. That itself is terrifying.
  • Harry's description to Hermione of just what the Diary Horcrux did to Ginny on a psychic level, comparing it to a giant constrictor snake wrapping around her mind and slowly crushing the will and life out of her, over the period of most of a year, to make her mind and life-force easier to swallow and digest.
    • He then explicitly refers to it as Mind Rape and remarks that it's not a phrase that he uses lightly, since he knows whereof he speaks, having been on the receiving end.
  • What Constantine did to the Zataras in the name of strategic expediency is bone-chilling: enchanting them without their knowledge or consent just in case they were snatched by Voldemort, which would trigger the enchantments and make them explode and killing everyone around, to hopefully both kill Voldemort and keep their knowledge out of his hands. And he was their ally at the time.
    • And worse, after it worked with Sindella, he manipulated the grieving Giovanni into going after the wounded Voldemort, in the hopes of either Giovanni successfully finishing him off or being captured and the same thing happening as before, killing Voldemort anyway. Oh, and when Giovanni had justified reservations, he turned to Wanda (Constantine's girlfriend at the time, and considering the chronology, probably in the early stages of her pregnancy with his daughter) to ask her if he could trust Constantine. She in turn went to Constantine, to seek assurance that the plan was sound. He assured her it was, not mentioning the enchantment, and she in turn gave Giovanni the go-ahead. Giovanni died, and though Wanda was upset, she was willing to forgive Constantine - any plan can go wrong, right? Then she found out about the enchantments. In light of that, the surprising thing is less that she didn't tell him about their daughter, more that she didn't kill him on the spot.
  • How powerful was Surtur as the first Dark Phoenix? Yggdrasil's entire structure was engineered to imprison him and empower the King or Queen of Asgard to fight on his level sufficient to distract him for long enough to seal him away. That's how bad.
    • And Harry's going to have to fight him - and probably fairly soon.
  • The threats made by Syrus and his coterie of vampires to Stevie in order to keep Carol in line are pretty chilling, with Harry later grimly confirming the 'turn a bone into a toothpick' trick is one that Syrus has pulled before - on a young child, no less.
    • Grey Court vampires in general are this, with Wanda pointing out how they're more or less perfectly engineered predators of humanity - they're far faster and stronger than humanity, with predator's senses and instincts, even without their other powers. Also, having once been mortal and looking mortal, they can blend in more or less perfectly with the rest of humanity, and without supernatural senses (or thermal imaging), they're very hard to pick out.
  • When Harry snaps into Tranquil Fury and decides to deal with Vampire!Dudley personally, the results are chilling - for all Dudley's power, he's helpless before Harry - who, speaking in a calm, unwavering voice, explains how this is not personal, and it is not for revenge. Oh, and he's doing this while systematically dismembering Dudley, without missing a beat or taking a scratch, finally decapitating him.
  • Alison talks to Clark a little about how, as a child, she was kidnapped by the Red Room. Think about that: An eight-year-old girl, in the hands of the Red Room.
  • The Clan Askani senses something powerful stirring in the Astral Plane and dispatch a group of seven of their members to psychically investigate it. Six of them are incinerated by it, destroying their minds and bodies almost immediately. They took the brunt of the attack, shielding the seventh enough that they live long enough to pass along a message from the being responsible: EVERYTHING BURNS.
  • The glimpse of Muspelheim that appears in chapter 40 is pure Nightmare Fuel. It's not, as might be expected, a world of flame and shadow (which would be scary enough), but a different kind of hellish world, one where everything has been burnt to a crisp and rebuilt with mathematical precision. No art, no growth, no soul, no natural beauty... no life.
  • In chapter 41, when Harry gets a look at multiple versions of him in alternate realities (some roughly at the same point in time as him, others a good deal older), he sees one where he is the Dark Phoenix, described as the King of Ruins and Lord of the Burning Wastes, who's sitting on Odin's half-melted throne in the shattered palace (with a number of visibly dried bloodstains), surrounded by the broken remnants of Gungnir (Odin's spear), Steve and Carol's shields, a crumpled helmet that used to belong on an Iron Man suit, a bow (Clint's) and a pair of bracelets (Natasha), the shattered Mjolnir, and a giant human-like skull (implied to be the Hulk's), and the Dark Phoenix in question — confirmed by Word of God of being aware he was being observed — goes Laughing Mad, all while Yggdrasil burns eternally in the background. Harry is unsurprisingly absolutely horrified after seeing it, retching, with it being made very clear that this possibility is his worst nightmare.
    • What makes it worse is not just that his Harry murdered his family, who he loves dearly, and Carol, who going by the shield, he'd have already have fallen in love with. What makes it worse is this: The Power of Love weakens the Dark Phoenix, while it's created/powered up by The Power of Hate. And Harry is heavily defined by his capacity to love, with even his worst deeds/plans coming from there (including a willingness to risk becoming the Dark Phoenix in the first place). Just how much did he hate to overcome that? More to the point, why?
  • While Harry resolves the situation with casual ease, chapter 42 is worth examining. Specifically, the descriptions from Cedric's point of view of steadily being paralysed by the Barrow-Wights' chant, being unable to overcome it to do more than even move his eyes are chilling enough. But the way that later on, he's not even able to manage that, having been turned into a puppet and made to attack a friend who for a moment he's genuinely afraid he's about to kill. Thankfully, said friend is Harry, who manages to both comfortably disarm him and break the spell, but it's adequately demonstrated that being turned into a Wight is a Fate Worse than Death - and more to the point, while Harry can treat such things with almost casual disregard, not everyone is as powerful as he is.
    • The Barrow-Wights' master, the Elder Wyrm, meanwhile, is a great deal creepier, being an ancient dragon the size of a mountain with a reputation for destroying planets in the name of his master, Surtur, and a personality that's best described as a blend of Glaurung and Smaug. Again, Harry is more or less completely unfazed by what's going on (in fact, he's actually enjoying it) - cautious, careful, and calculating, but mostly only worried for the other Champions. However, as the narrative shows, the other Champions, who are all talented but otherwise normal young witches and wizards, understandably find it genuinely terrifying.
  • In chapter 51, Harry's Vision Quest courtesy of the Norns has several aspects of this.
    • His first past-vision, of the Negative Zone's Annihilus-led incursion into reality, is described in terms befitting a Cosmic Horror - which is more or less exactly what it is. In the process, it gives Harry and the readers an up close and personal view of what the reality warping effects of the Negative Zone's incursion and attempt to impose itself on reality are like: specifically, the inhabitants of one of those worlds are either mutated into creatures from the Negative Zone, or said creatures tear their way out into reality Chest Burster style. The narration notes that the inhabitants in question, which are specifically described as harmless-looking and defenceless Ugly Cute creatures living on a previously Arcadian-looking planet, are terrified, screaming and trying to run, but that they can't run from this, because there's nowhere to run to. While Sunniva rectifies matters, repulsing Annihilus' invasion, burning those contaminated worlds and stars that she couldn't save, and manages to save the world in question... it's still chilling.
    • His second past-vision is similarly nightmarish, showing the climax of the Asgard-Dark Elf war and the fallout of Malekith (wielding the Aether a.k.a. Reality Stone) and Bor going all out. This includes describing in loving detail the various horrific transformations to the planet and soldiers fighting in the war (a lake of melted, somehow still living, flesh is one relatively mild example), as well as the Body Horror undergone by both Malekith and Bor. The former's face has been blasted so that half of his helmet, a white bone face-mask, has been melted to his face, while the other half has been melted and burnt black, and the latter has had his armour partly melted into his flesh, as well as being struck by a blast that started dissolving his arm. And that was the result when it's explicitly stated that for whatever reason, Malekith can't quite use the Aether to its full potential. Oh, and to make it worse? It confirms Chapter 50's Never Found the Body - Malekith is still out there. And he's quite probably ruling Svartalfheim again right now.
    • One of the present-visions is of a very strange and creepy part of space, a pocket universe which travelling to is described as being comparable to a dark and twisted version of the Bifrost, that's absolutely devoid of stars... except for one. One star, surrounded by a black - so black that it absorbs light - web-like Dyson Sphere that periodically dips tendrils into the star to collect giant spoonfuls of stellar matter, and transfers them to a strange and perfectly spherical black planet, on which is a Shi'ar base. In it, they're studying something about the size of a car, made of strange, pale crystal, and somehow... egg-shaped. Oh, and as Harry is pulled away, he suddenly detects something: Dark Phoenix fire. This causes an outright freak-out, which from the now Fantastically Indifferent Harry is a rare thing indeed.
    • One of the visions of the future shows Hermione surrounded by a crimson red aura, with solid black eyes, and a very unnerving expression on her face - something that more than one reviewer has remarked looks uncomfortably like a prelude to a House of M type scenario.
    • Another, though, involves a direct psychic confrontation with Surtur himself, one described in eerie tones, with Surtur being described as grasping Harry's mind and studying it with the same kind of casual curiosity as Tony would a new gadget, before trying to do exactly what Tony would - take it apart to see how works. And then there's the Mind Rape after he doesn't get what he wants.
  • Harry's memories of being raped by Belova while in his Red Son phase. The author explicitly states that it is possibly the darkest section in the fic so far.
  • Given Jean and Maddie's psychic connection, it's mentioned that if Harry's Phoenix fire had flared up due to the above, it might have overflowed into them. Which could've led to three Dark Phoenixes at once.
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