The New Dark Lord

Chapter 1: Dreams and visions

The battlefield was long and bloody. There was no distinguishing between good or evil out here. Now, it was simply a fight to stay alive. If someone attacked, you defended yourself. If someone looked off, you attacked. Blood pooled everywhere, you were lucky to find dry land. The battle was covered in a kind of black and white haze, sometimes black was stronger then white, sometimes the white would be stronger then the black.

As he trudged along, Harry Potter could see people he knew, people he cared for as they fought or fell. He could see his teachers battling to defeat the Death Eaters, he saw Professor Flitwick's miniature body lying dead still on the ground, no marks, no blood, just a flash of green light and it was all over. Nearby he saw Dean Thomas, he had fallen trying to protect his Professor's back. He had a gash that started at his right shoulder and carried all the way down to the top of his left thigh. The blood was still fresh as it dribbled from his wound. It was clear that he had fallen recently, so recently, the life was still almost palpable. So close, and yet so impossible to retrieve.

Harry clenched his jaw and his fists as he stumbled forward a few more steps, his eyes burning, not with tears, but with hate. He hated Voldemort so much at that moment he believed that it was tangible. His chest was aflutter, not with nerves, but with the ready knowledge that he was about to commit murder. That he had to. He stepped forward.

Now he could see Snape battling a Death Eater, who was unrecognisable through the black robes and white mask. From where Harry was standing, the Death Eater was desperately trying to hold his own, and failing miserably. Beyond that Professor McGonagall fought two Death Eaters with Hagrid by her side, flailing his pink umbrella. Somewhere in the midst of all this was Dumbledore, he was using all of his strength to hold Voldemort in place. To hold him, for Harry.

Even in the midst of battle, Harry couldn't help the bitter thought of 'holding him, until I can do his dirty work.' Every step he took he could feel the force of the shield Dumbledore had around Voldemort. It held spells against everything he could thing of. Apparition, transfiguration, every potion imaginable, none could be consumed within its boundaries. No spells could escape it. No spells could get past it, no person could get past it, except for Harry. Dumbledore had created it for just this purpose.

Harry approached the barrier. There was no hesitation in his stride, just pure hate, hate for this man, who had done so many terrible things to him in the past. Who had done everything he could to kill Harry Potter. In truth, he had. Harry Potter was long gone and dead. The boy who walked so steadily towards his fate was no more Harry Potter then anyone else on the battlefield. He was a shell of Harry Potter. He was broken and rebuilt. He had been so many times, he was sure pieces of him were missing.

The barrier was only centre metres in front of him as he reached out, his hand not shaking, he was prepared for this moment. He had been in training for it since he was born. Every harsh word anyone had ever spoken, every abusive trait the Dursley's had shown him, every moment of the day Snape had despised him, and let him know, Harry had been training. The insults had made him hard. The training had made him strong. The lessons had made him smart. And the deaths had made him ready. The deaths of his parents, the death of Sirius, the death of Lupin, the last man Harry truly believed cared for him. For him and not for his scar. And most of all, what had prepared him for this moment, was the death of himself. The death of Harry Potter, and all the name stood for.

With a ruthlessness Voldemort had not been expecting, Harry thrust his hand through the shield, then the rest of his body. He saw the man, not quite cowering, but not quite standing tall. Harry raised his wand, murder in his eyes. He opened his mouth, ready to speak the final words, when suddenly…laughter.

He heard laughter. Laughter, on a battlefield of pain and death. He turned his head slightly. Dumbledore was laughing, McGonagall was laughing. Hagrid, Hermione, Snape, Ron, they were all laughing. Flitwick and Dean were being lifted from the ground by laughing Death Eaters. The Death Eaters rubbed away some dirt from the Professor's robes before setting him on his feet, where he promptly began laughing. The battlefield was shaking with uproarious laughs. Even Voldemort was laughing, a high pitched cackle that sent shivers down Harry's spine as he stood there, wand raised, confusion in his eyes.

Voldemort smirked once more as he stepped from the shield that Dumbledore had up. Harry didn't understand. He lunged after the Dark Lord, only to fall backwards as the shield stung and forced him away. The laughter continued as Dumbledore stepped into full view, his deep blue eyes sparkling with the hilarity he seemed to find in such a serious situation.

"You never even suspected, Harry," he laughed, as the globe encompassing the boy grew closer around him. "You truly believed what we were doing was for a cause. You thought we could defeat Lord Voldemort? You believed we even wished to? Together he and I make the most powerful overlords ever to rule the earth. And you, Harry, are a nuisance. You believed us, all the lies, the manipulations. You believed us when we told you that we were doing all for the greater good. You never even guessed that the whole thing was simply organised, for your own imminent demise. Your time has come, Harry, and you never saw it coming."

The white shield was so small Harry couldn't breath. It was suffocating him. The first touch of the magic on his skin was torturous, as his eyes met with Dumbledore's he saw the manipulation and lies for what they truly were, the truth. Always the truth. Harry threw himself against the barrier with a godforsaken howl of agony. The white light blinded him. He closed his eyes against it and threw himself with all of his might. Again and again, as he felt his magic and his life bleed away…

"Harry. HARRY!" Someone called his name, even as he died someone called him. Always someone needed something of him, well this time they were not going to get it. He struggled against the shield, against the force that stopped him from moving. He discovered it no longer hurt to struggle. "Harry, lye still." That voice held no humour. Harry's head was pounding. He didn't understand what was going on. Were they trying to torture him?

"Just…let…me…die," he gasped, even as he felt his whole body convulse. "Manipulative…all of you…let me die in peace."

"Harry it's alright," that quite voice repeated. "Open your eyes."

Harry's eyes flickered for a moment. The white light was gone. He could see. Had they removed the shield? He opened his eyes wide, preparing to spring as soon as freedom gave him such an offering. Instead he saw so many faces, all staring down at him. Down? When had he lain down? He groaned, he hurt so badly. The world was beginning to slow down now. It had stopped spinning and his eyes began to focus. In front of him he could see the face he least wanted to see. Dumbledore. He had betrayed Harry, Harry never wanted to see him again, unless it was when he had a wand in hand and enough strength to kill him. But he knew one thing, he would not be played again, and he was damned if he was going to die the way this bastard wanted.

Harry kicked out, his legs heavy and painful as he forced himself back several feet, only to come into contact with a pair of shoes. He whimpered and tried going to the side, aware of Dumbledore's eyes on him.

"Harry?" he asked softly as the boy whimpered. "You're alright. You're at Hogwarts. You're safe."

Harry looked around him, trying to calm himself but starkly aware of his racing heart and perspiration running down his face. He saw dozens and dozens of students and was intently aware of more beyond them. He saw Professor Dumbledore, crouching down to Harry's level, concern in his blue eyes. He could see Professor McGonagall and Snape behind the headmaster. All of them manipulated him. He saw the house tables from between the legs of the students, he saw the enchanted ceiling he had been eating dinner under for six years.

They had failed in whatever attempt they had made on his life, that was clear, and he stood. Dumbledore smiled and stepped forward, clearly about to take Harry's arm. The boy stepped back and collided with the crowd. He wasn't going to be taken, not this time. Dumbledore's smile faltered for a moment.

"Harry?" he asked softly, coming closer.

Harry stepped away once more, the students behind him moved. Dumbledore's frown increased.

"Harry? It's okay. You're okay. You're at Hogwarts. You're safe."

Harry shook his head wildly, his black hair swishing and falling just as out of place as it had been when he'd run a brush through it that morning.

"Potter, there is nothing to worry about," Snape said, his voice full of contempt. "I can assure you that we are able to protect you against anything that may step into this school."

"Oh yeah? Can you protect me from yourselves?" Harry shot back, his eyes wide and fearful, like a skittish colt just waiting for a way out.

He found it.

As Hermione stepped forward to speak to him, a gap was created in the crowd. Before he listened to anything more, Harry was off. He dashed through the gap, leapt onto the Gryffindor table and bolted through the doors of the Great Hall, skidding to a halt long enough to change direction and run through the doors out of the Entrance Hall and into the grounds. He wouldn't stop. He wouldn't be caught. He wouldn't be manipulated any more.

His breath was harsh and short, he knew he wouldn't be able to run for long. The blood was pumping through his veins, and in between his ears. He ran for cover, the only cover he could see. He ran for the Forbidden Forest.

The branches reached down as he entered the darkness. They tore at his clothes, at his hair. They all reached out to touch him, the boy-who-lived. He knew he was in danger here, he didn't care. He felt the tears come, finally, as he slowed his pace, as he felt his legs tremble. He forced himself to keep going, into the centre of the Forbidden Forest, as far in as he could. Harry kept going, until Hogwarts was nowhere to be seen. Then he collapsed under a tree, and cried.

A/N: This is just a test chapter to see how people react. As such, reviews are important so please take the time to give me your opinion. My updates will be as often as I can make them, probably once a week. I've got exams in a few weeks which may slow me down, but after that over a month's worth of holidays! Which means lots of updates if people like it! Please review.