Disclaimer: If you recognise it then it's not mine. All characters are property of JK Rowling.
I just want to thank anyone and everyone who read this. It's been amazing, and it's taken me so long to get the idea that I'd had for what feels like years into a legible form, that it's quite disappointing having completed it. I also want you to know that, despite what people say about the ending, it was not rushed. It has been planned this way for a very long time. Indeed, the idea as the ending, came before the rest of the story. I hope you enjoyed this story. It's one of the few I don't mind people reading!
There was darkness all around him. And then suddenly, light. Everywhere. Burning what felt like his very soul, but he didn't have a soul anymore, did he? He had sold something so worthless a long time ago, cutting it up into smaller and smaller pieces, until none remained. Into seven, the most powerful number.
At last the worst had happened – he had lost his life. The one thing he had tried so valiantly to protect above everything. His one weakness exposed for all the Order to see. He had lost his life and he didn't know what to do any longer.
And yet, if he had lost his life, what was this? This strange stream of consciousness that flowed through his mind. How could thought exist when there was no soul to issue it? It was cruel to think that after so long, he had finally been defeated. If he had only ignored the prophecy, then things would not have come to pass. If he had let Potter go, then Potter would have no cause to go after him as an adult. He would not have profound Wizarding status. He would not have been Albus Dumbledore's protégé. He, Lord Voldemort, might still be alive. Or was he Lord Voldemort? There was another being he had once been. Another, before he was a Lord. His mind strained to think back through time, but he failed. No, there was no one before he was Lord Voldemort.
The light was beginning to fade into something else now. A room began to materialise around him. Beds. A few blurred figures at the end of the room. He recognised this place, but he could not place it. His memory was barely in fact, but there was some memory there.
The people came closer. He recognised them and shrank back slightly. With a strange twist, he knew where he was.
"Harry, are you okay?" Remus Lupin was bending over him, Ron, Hermione, Tonks and McGonagall were doing the same. There was a moment in which he could barely recognise them for who they were, but he felt relief sweep over him and suddenly he was being tightly embraced by Hermione.
"Miss Granger, if you are going to squeeze the life out of my patient, I must ask that you leave!" Madam Pomfrey came storming down the aisle between the beds. She did not look overly pleased and Hermione pulled back immediately.
Harry stared around at them but still said nothing. "You collapsed after casting the curse," Remus explained, not waiting to be asked. "Most people do, the first time they cast it."
He could feel something pressing against the back of his mind. An all too familiar sensation and then suddenly a sharp pain in his forehead. Remus was still talking but he couldn't quite distinguish the words he was saying. Parseltongue was talking quietly in the back of his mind, but he couldn't quite distinguish those words either.
It was a moment before he realised that Voldemort was in his mind, but that couldn't be, surely. Voldemort was dead. He had killed him with his own wand. He had watched him fall. Voldemort was dead.
His eyes were closing and Remus was still talking. Parseltongue was still talking; Voldemort was still talking. The darkness felt like his only escape. And Harry closed his eyes.
It was dark when Harry opened his eyes again. The Hospital Wing was empty now; no one had stayed by his bedside this time, though a book lay on his bedside table, and an empty cup of tea – most likely Remus had been there as long as he could stay awake.
Harry shivered. "What do you want?" he whispered into the darkness.
"I want to know what you have done. What have you done to me?" It was Voldemort. Quiet and angry in his way. Pain coursed through Harry's head, it felt like his head was splitting apart down the middle. He gasped and pressed his hands to the sides of his head, as if holding himself together. "What have you done to us?!"
"I haven't done anything! I killed you!" Harry cried. "You're dead now. I killed you."
Voldemort was silent for a moment. "No. No you didn't. You have saved me, Harry Potter. You have saved me from yourself."
A memory began to form in Harry's head.
It was Godric's Hollow. Harry recognised it easily. Through Voldemort's eyes. He walked confidently down the street, and stopped when he reached the house of the Potters.
A wand was out in front of him. Harry finally saw the imagery to go with all the screams and the shouts, the cried conversations he had heard whenever Dementors got too close. His mother running towards his room, and his father standing up to fight. It had not been a long fight – though fear makes people strong, it did not make him strong enough to win.
Footsteps along the landing, and a baby's cry. Lily stood proudly in front of her son and then in a flash of green light, she crumpled to the ground. The baby screamed and cried again.
Slytherin's wand was in Voldemort's other hand. His own, brother, wand in his right hand. It was to be the most unlikely recipient of the final piece of his own soul. The piece that would make seven.
Sounds could be heard outside the house. People were shouting in the street. He didn't have much time. He closed his eyes. The room went dark. A cry punctuated the air and his concentration was lost. With the casting of the killing curse, half of the small amount of soul left within Voldemort would be transported into Slytherin's wand. And then he would be the most powerful wizard alive.
He had not predicted the love that protected Harry. He had not thought that the love would cause Harry's life to be saved the only way possible, by taking in the piece of Voldemort's soul. A man cannot destroy his own soul, and so with that inside Harry, Harry would always be indestructible to Voldemort. Something that neither of them had realised until now.
The image faded out, the last thing that they saw was baby Harry screaming as the house fell down around him. Slytherin's wand fell to the floor. Neither of them knew that it would be restored to Harry some ten years later.
"And so you see, Harry, that you are me. We are the same person. You hold a piece of my soul within you, and so we can never die. I cannot kill you, and you cannot kill me." Voldemort said in his mind.
"Why do you think that I could get into your mind so easily…? I was already there.
"Why do you think that you saw through Nagini's eyes when she attacked Athur Weasley? Because you have my soul.
"Why do you think I have never killed you despite numerous attempts?
"Why do you think your scar hurts when I am near you?
"Why do you think I am still alive within you?
"No! We can't be the same person. We just can't!" Harry cried into the silent school. In a moment he was out of his bed and running. He didn't know where he was going but he soon found himself in the foyer of the school, before the grand main doors.
"You cannot escape me, Harry, you cannot escape your own mind."
"Harry Potter!" The voice was familiar. He whirled around. Severus Snape.
Severus arrived on the scene to find a frenzied Harry Potter grasping his head frantically and talking to no one. "We can't be the same person," he heard Potter say. His mind was calculating things fast. It was possible, but improbable, for things to have happened so perfectly, and yet it all made sense.
They stared at each other for a moment. Something flickered behind Harry's eyes, and in that moment, they both knew it. Harry turned and ran. The great doors flung open in front of him. Snape didn't waste a moment in sprinting after him.
Harry ran through the darkness towards the nearest light. Hogsmeade.
"He's gone!" Remus gasped. He returned after a brief visit to the school kitchens and had returned after a minor feast, forced upon him by the House Elves. Harry's bed was still warm, and the bedding had been flung off the bed. He had left in a hurry, presumably shocked to find it suddenly dark and himself alone in the night.
He ran out of the room, his feet echoing on the floor. Remus had intended to run up to the headmistress's office and wake Minerva. She would be able to find Harry anywhere in the large school, or beyond it, with considerable ease. He got as far as the foyer and found the main doors open, and blowing slightly in the strong winds.
Remus didn't waste a moment in thought before he ran out through the double doors and into the night. Ahead of him, he could see two figures racing towards Hogsmeade. He was quickly on their tail.
The town was still deserted. Hogsmeade was still in the possession of the Dark Lord's creatures. Creatures that sane witches and wizards do not venture near. Harry didn't care that he was running directly into danger, all that he cared about was trying to run and get away from the voice within his head. His own voice told him that there was little point in trying to escape. He cannot escape himself. And he could not kill himself. He could not kill Voldemort either. There was nothing that he could do. Nothing.
Years of running away from Dudley and his gang as a child had meant Harry had once been a very swift runner. He had not lost that side of him, and he easily out-ran Snape to the village. He was also aware that someone else was running behind Snape. He didn't want to think who that could be, but Harry strongly suspected Remus.
He ran to a dead end. The middle of the village was deserted. There was nowhere to run forwards, and running back would be running towards Snape. All around him, Harry could feel the creatures of the night milling around, waiting to get a clean attack upon him. In one of the houses, he could sense Dementors. They could feel his double soul within him and were hungry for it.
"Harry, are you out of your mind!?" Snape yelled once he caught up to him. "We are in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas of Dark Creatures in the world, and you run here. You cannot control these creatures, not when you are half Harry Potter, Voldemort."
"I am not Voldemort," Harry said plainly. "I am Harry Potter and I know full well what I am doing."
"Do you?" Remus asked, running towards him. "These are not the actions of the Harry I knew. Why are you running towards your certain death?"
"Why have you followed me to yours?" Harry asked. "And how can I possibly carry on living when I'm not even myself anymore? When the last of Voldemort is living in my head and in my body. You tell me, how can I live like this?"
"Neither can live whilst the other survives," Snape said quietly.
"No, and I cannot kill this soul without killing myself," Harry said quietly. "It is the only thing that I can do."
"Harry, you've lost your mind!" Remus cried. "You killed Voldemort, you watched him die. You threw the Horcruxes into the potion. All seven are gone. You are the only one left now."
"He's inside my mind. The only way for me to live after Voldemort cast the killing curse on me all those years ago was for me to become a Horcrux. And I made it my mission to destroy every piece of soul that belonged to Voldemort. I will do so," Harry said quietly. "The search for the piece of his soul is over. The last is here, and I will destroy it."
Before either Snape or Remus could do a thing to stop him, Harry turned around and threw himself into the wall of waiting Dementors behind him. They had slowly been gathering around him as he spoke, and Harry knew that it was time to end it once and for all. Before it was too late.
Remus ran towards Harry, and Snape threw himself at the werewolf, dragging him to the ground. The two of them fell onto the cobbles before Harry.
"Harry, No!" Remus yelled. It was too late. One of the Dementors had it's hands around Harry's throat. The young boy was lifted up off the ground and the Dementor lowered its hood. Remus and Snape stared in horror. No one living had ever seen what a Dementor looked like when it lowered its hood, without losing their soul shortly afterwards.
Two bright lights left Harry, and Remus stopped struggling. Both souls had left him, and it was too late for him now.
"Time to go, Lupin," Snape said quietly. He grabbed Remus's arm, and the two of them disapparated.
Harry's body sat down on the ground. His soul had left him, and without that, there was no point in being alive. The Dementors walked away, knowing that there was no soul left to be taken. That was how the Order found him the next morning, once they had ridden the town off all evil influence. He was still sitting there, even as Tonks cried on his shoulder and Ron shook him violently, trying to make him wake up and be himself again.
He was sent away to St. Mungo's. They have a ward for those suffering so, and sometimes, Neville would sit and talk to Harry when he went to see his parents. Remus would wander along sometimes, just to talk to someone he knew would understand. It wasn't the same, once you knew they were gone, and all of them knew it. Ron had wanted to have a funeral in his honour, but Minerva refused; "He's not dead yet!"
It felt like a poor ending for him. The Wizarding world was safe again, but it's hero had no idea what he had done. He had never managed to celebrate, and those who had known and loved Harry hadn't managed to celebrate either.
It was Mad Eye Moody who had been given the task of going around to the Dursley's house to tell them that the boy they had been charged with care for, had suffered a terrible fate.
"Mr Dursley," Alastor greeted, gruffly.
"What do you want? You freaks aren't welcome here, I thought we made that perfectly clear!" Vernon barked at him.
Alastor walked straight past him and into the house. In moments, the household had gathered around the kitchen table. "I'm afraid to inform you that Harry has suffered a terrible fate." He glanced around the table. Dudley and Vernon were grinning widely. "He has lost his soul to the Dementors. He killed Voldemort, and in doing so, lost his own soul. He is in St. Mungo's at this minute, if you ever feel inclined to visit him. He won't know who you are, of course, and he seems barely alive, but he is. And he's there."
"Well, for once, you're the bringer of good news," Vernon grinned. "Now if you would be so kind as to get off my property."
Alastor pulled himself up to his full height and raised his wand threateningly, and then, he put it back to his side. He didn't have it in him to threaten the Muggles any more. There didn't seem a lot of point, unless he could return to Grimmauld Place and tell Harry and the Weasley children all about it, and they could all laugh at them. There had not been any laughter in Grimmauld Place for some time now.
"I'll see myself out," he said, gruffly, and left without another word.
"A happy ending!" Vernon laughed loudly, as the door slammed shut. "Petunia? Where are you going?"
"I'm just popping out for a while, I won't be long," she said, and the front door opened and shut again. And then she was gone.
"Celebratory brunch, I think, Dad!" Dudley grinned and opened the fridge, his father stood behind him, staring over his shoulders at the contents.
In St. Mungo's hospital, there is a wing for those who have suffered horrendous accidents, often the prey of Dementors, or the Cruciatus curse. They don't get many visitors, but the visitors that they do get, often stay for long hours at a time, talking and talking, knowing full well that those who sit there before them are merely shadows of the people they were before. But they are still the same people.
A thin woman with a serious face and a perfectly acceptable Muggle dress walked into the room. No one batted an eyelid. On a bed at the end of the ward, there was a young boy sitting on his own. He didn't move, and if he wasn't breathing and intermittently blinking, you'd think he was dead. Petunia knew better though. She had heard all about the Dementors and what they did to those they caught. She knew the state that Harry was in. She went to the end of the room and sat down on the edge of his bed next to him. It was unfortunate that this was probably the nicest bed Harry had ever slept upon – he had never known better whilst conscious of his surroundings.
Petunia took a deep breath. "Hello, Harry," she said quietly. "I know we've never spoken much, and I've left it too late, but there's a lot I've always wanted to tell you…"
A paper lay by the side of his bed, and Petunia glanced at it before she began to speak. It showed a smiling Harry Potter in his school days with Ron and Hermione. The title simply read 'Wizarding Hero'.