A/N: Extensive editing as of 11/2016-4/2017.


CHAPTER 1

A/N: AU after 5th year, but Dumbles didn't die.


A thick, heavy darkness filled the space around him, cloying and claustrophobic. He couldn't even see his hand directly in front of his face, a lightless blackness filling his vision. Looking around at the nothingness, Harry decided that he was dreaming, but this... this was different.

This kind of darkness felt like it should be empty, too, but that was not the case, and he felt like something was watching him. He couldn't even tell if that feeling had merit or it was just his paranoia kicking in.

He had to be dreaming. There was no other explanation, but this was nothing like the horrifying nightmares brought on by Voldemort attacking him through their link, or the borrowed emotions that came with his visions through the Dark Lord's eyes.

Seconds turned into long minutes, and when nothing happened, Harry started walking. At least, it felt like he was walking, though he had no sense of distance travelled in the darkness, so black it was. Time dragged ever slowly as he walked, pulling at his mind as he went into overdrive.

What was happening? What was this place?

He didn't have an answer.

Harry almost missed it, thinking he was seeing things, but no, he saw light, the barest flicker in the darkness as bright as a candle in a drafty hall. Something moved in that non-darkness, and with caution sounding through his head like Hermione's worried tones, Harry moved forward, his legs giving him the feeling of running.

He stopped running at the very edge of the flickering light, seeing the faintest silhouette across from him, the silhouette of a tall young man. Dirty, ragged clothes hung off the other's thin, tortured frame in pieces, barely covering bruises and blood that Harry could hardly even see. Harry could see the other was dreadfully pale, skin stretched across bones in a manner he was familiar with from his own starved days with the Dursleys, and dull black hair hung limply, casting the other's face in deep shadows.

The other felt... familiar, but Harry could say he honestly had no idea who this person was.

"You are... Harry Potter," The other's voice was rough, cracked from disuse, but deep in timber, and hesitant in tone. "Welcome to my Dream."

Harry tilted his head to one side in question, a trait he'd picked up from Hermione. "Your Dream? Who are you?"

"I... I can't tell you. Not yet," The other shook his head. "Call me... Call me Exile, if you have to call me anything. I think I brought you here."

"How? Why did you bring me here, wherever here is?"

Exile shook his head again, almost frightened. "I dunno. But... now that you're here, I need you to do something for me. There's someone who needs your help, you're the only one who can; there's not much time left."

Harry regarded Exile suspiciously, thoughtfully. "Not that I'm saying no, but why should I help you?"

"Because you're my only hope, and his."

"Who needs my help?"

"Someone who's been possessed by a powerful demon. He was young and vulnerable then, susceptible to the Demon's machinations. The Demon wanted to take over completely, body, mind and soul to orchestrate an age of chaos and tyranny in the world. He held off the Demon's attacks for a year before falling, and I am unable to help him any further." Exile's voice grew stronger the longer he spoke, but this allowed Harry to hear the utter exhaustion all the better.

"Why is that?"

"The Demon would see me destroyed, and he's starting to win. I can't hold out much longer, and I already failed to prevent the bodily possession." The other's shoulders slumped wearily. "You're the only one who's come, and I have an idea as to why. None the less, will you help me save an innocent soul before it's too late?"

Harry nodded. "Who's soul will I be saving?"

There was a long moment's hesitation that Harry picked up on. "It's probable that you know of him already, but it will have been the Demon's doing. Please bare that in mind. Do you know of Tom Riddle?"

Shock. That was the only way Harry could describe the way he was feeling at that moment. What Exile had revealed, if it was even true, just... wasn't possible.

"How... How is that possible? Tom Riddle is Voldemort, a Dark Lord. He was personally responsible for my parents' murders! And the war that preceded their deaths!" Fury raged inside him, making his blood run hot.

Exile flinched at Harry's sudden rage, and the Boy Who Lived immediately felt horrible for his reaction. "It's likely Tom never knew of anything on the outside after his possession, unless the Demon showed him. Please, he needs your help."

Harry sighed, ashamed at his own anger. "I'll help him, I promise. I'm sorry; I just have a lot of personal history with Voldemort. What about you?"

Exile smiled softly, sorrowful. "I'll be fine, so long as Tom Riddle is freed. He will need you; he's suffered for many years, even before the Demon possessed him. You're better for that than anyone else."

"And why is that, exactly?"

Exile's smile quirked almost coyly, causing something to flutter (trepidation?) in Harry's stomach. "It's because of your connection through your scar. The Demon may have caused it, but in using Tom's body, the magic involved was still Tom's, creating the bond between you and Tom. Yours responded, cementing the bond. The only way that occurs is between kindred spirits best suited towards the other."

"Meaning?"

"In layman's terms; you and Tom Riddle are soul mates."


A/N: A long overdue rewrite in an attempt to actually finish the story, something I've been meaning to do for about a decade. Please enjoy.