A/N: This is based on a one shot that I wrote, "Destiny's Toll." I refuse to call this a sequel because I stubbornly want that to remain a one shot without a clear ending. Unfortunately, it had a clear ending in my mind so I had to write it. If you've read that before, just pretend that it ended where it did and this is an entirely different story : )
This prologue is a condensed version of my one shot, "Destiny's Toll." It's not necessary to read if you've read that. (Oh, and this is canon except that it ignores the DH epilogue and subsequent JKR interviews.)
A small owl swooped down in through the collapsed ceiling of the dilapidated barn Harry was staying in. He recognized it immediately as belonging to Hermione. Hesitating for only a moment, he took the letter from its leg and began to read.
Happy Birthday. I hope this reaches you in time. I'm sorry I haven't written in so long, but I've been really busy with George's wedding and Fleur's pregnancy and work and I haven't had time to write.
No, that's not true. In fact, I've sat down every night to write you a letter but haven't been able to. The words just seem so empty and hollow. I hate just writing about our lives and asking if you're okay. What I really want to do is send you a howler telling you how stupid you're being and begging you to come home.
How could you leave like this? How could you just leave without a word, without even telling us you were okay? We wouldn't even know if you were alive or dead if it weren't for Molly's clock. At first I just thought you needed time, and that you'd be back, but it's been five years. Enough is enough. It's not fair to us Harry. I've spent all this time writing to you without telling you how much you've hurt us because I didn't want you to feel guilty, but YOU SHOULD! We stuck by you, Ron and I, through it all and we deserve better than this! We deserve to at least know that you're alright.
Did you know that Molly still leaves a chair empty for you at the table every time we eat dinner? Did you know that Ron still buys you Christmas gifts every year? Did you know that Ginny still hasn't had another boyfriend and that I don't remember the last time I heard her laugh? Did you know that Percy rejoined the Ministry and got transferred to the department that would best situate him to find you? Did you know that I haven't slept for more than three hours at a time since you left and that I have nightmares every night about you being hurt, hungry, lonely and lost somewhere?
I don't know what happened to make you leave, Harry, and I don't care. Whatever it was, I'm sure it's not as bad as you think. Let us help you. I know we can. Just come home, Harry. Just come home and let us help you. Please, Harry. Just come home.
Harry put the letter down and wiped a tear from his cheek. This letter was so very different from the ones she had sent before. They were usually chatty letters about everything that was going on at home, and then a brief sentence or two asking if he was okay and telling him he was always welcome home at the Burrow. He had come to think that Hermione and the others didn't really care that he was gone.
Five years, she had said. Had it really been that long? He didn't bother counting the days. Time didn't matter to him out here wandering the world. But five years? That would mean he was twenty three, or turning twenty three soon judging by Hermione's birthday wish. He hadn't even realized that his birthday was approaching.
For one, fleeting moment he thought about stepping into the warm Burrow and into the hugs of the family that lived there, but it passed as quickly as it had come. Hermione had said that they could help him, but no one could help him. Not now. She wrote that she didn't care what had happened, but she wouldn't have written that if she knew. He could never go back there, never.
He awoke a few hours later in the dark, feeling uneasy. There was someone nearby. He could hear footsteps crunching outside the barn. As quietly as he could, he shrank back into a corner, out of the moonlight that gently streamed in through the caved in roof, wishing he could just Disapparate.
Maybe it's just an angry farmer, he thought, knowing he was wrong. He could sense a magical presence. It had been so long since he had lived with wizards that he could now feel traces of magic when it was near. His body seemed to reach out for it, trying to take some of it for his own. He wondered vaguely whether it was a friend or foe that had finally found him after all these years, and found himself hoping it was an enemy. They might at least be able to succeed where he had failed. They might be able to do what had to be done. They might be able to kill him.
The door of the barn flew open and Harry found himself blinded by intense wand light.
"Harry," a familiar voice gasped, and Harry raised his hand to shield his eyes, squinting to make out the face of the wizard who stood before him. The wizard lowered his wand and Harry was surprised to see Bill Weasley standing there, alone. Bill was the last person Harry expected to finally track him down.
"Hello, Bill," Harry rasped. He wasn't used to talking. Harry stood up, grabbed his rucksack and walked toward the door, knowing he wouldn't get very far.
Bill grabbed his arm forcefully, hurting Harry with the strength of his grip.
"You're not going anywhere," he growled. His scarred face looked menacing in the pale light emanating from the moon and his wand.
"What are you doing here?" Harry asked, getting angry, "Please just go and leave me alone."
"I've spent five years tracking you down, Harry. Do you really think I'm going to just leave you here now that I've found you?" His voice was bitter and Harry felt a stab of guilt through his sickening dread at having finally been found, but the anger seemed to ebb from Bill's voice as he took in Harry's appearance and spoke again. "Merlin, Harry, you look like Death. Come on, we're going back to the Burrow."
Harry realized just in time that Bill was about to try to Apparate with him and shouted out for him to wait.
"You're not getting out of this, Harry. We're going back."
"Bill," Harry hesitated, but he'd have to tell the truth, "If you try to side-along Apparate with me, you'll hurt me or even kill me."
"Don't be ridiculous," Bill said, gripping his arm even tighter, "I'm not falling for that. You actually expect me to believe you don't have your wand with you?"
"I have it on me," Harry answered, almost wishing that had been the case, "but it doesn't do me any good. Not anymore."
Bill stared into Harry's eyes, apparently trying to find a lie in them.
"Why?" he asked suspiciously.
Harry didn't answer at first, but just looked down at the ground, not meeting Bill's eyes.
Finally, he swallowed his pride and admitted to himself that he'd have to answer truthfully.
"I haven't done a spell in five years, Bill," he said slowly, still not looking at him, "I lost my magic."
Bill quickly drew in his breath and dropped Harry's arm.
"No," he whispered.
"Do you really think I'd still be standing here if it wasn't true?"
Bill seemed to notice for the first time that he wasn't still holding Harry, and made to grab his arm again, but didn't. He'd been convinced.
"But how?" Bill asked, seemingly in awe.
Harry sighed and sat down on the ground, rubbing his scar. He was trying to figure out how much he could tell Bill to keep him from bringing him home, without revealing all.
Bill peered down at Harry sadly, taking in his sickly, dejected appearance and seemed to decide that his questioning could wait. He conjured a fire next to Harry and two comfortable looking chairs for them to sit in. He then transfigured a rock into a tea kettle and filled it with water from his wand.
"I need to get you some food," he said, almost angrily, "Can I trust you to stay here?"
Harry didn't answer. The prospect of good food was almost enough to get him to stay, but he knew he wouldn't and despite everything, he couldn't bring himself to lie.
Bill sighed and said "Sorry," as he put up an invisible barrier around where Harry sat. "I'll only be a minute," he said before Disapparating. Harry didn't move the whole time Bill was gone.
Bill was true to his word and reappeared minutes later, removing the barrier around Harry and handing him a bag filled with hamburgers.
"Sorry it's not more nourishing, but I didn't want to take too much time."
Harry devoured the hamburgers without a word. It had been months since he had eaten anything more than bread.
He regretted it though as soon as he had finished. Apparently his stomach wasn't used to that kind of food, or that much food anymore. He ran over to the corner of the barn and vomited violently. Bill walked over to him sadly a few minutes later and vanished the mess from the ground and Harry's t-shirt.
"Harry," he said quietly, "What's happened to you?"
Harry looked up at Bill's face, which was etched with nothing but kindness. He looked worried, but not pitying. He didn't know what made him decide to tell Bill; he knew he wouldn't have if it had been anyone else, even Ron or Hermione, but something about Bill's presence in Harry's world which had been so empty for so long made him want to tell him. Bill wasn't pestering him about it like Hermione would have done, and he wasn't giving him the angry or pitying look that Ron would have. He had been close enough to Harry to be familiar, but not so close to be too overly concerned.
Harry made up his mind to tell Bill, partially because he wanted to, partially because he knew Bill would make him eventually anyway, and partially because he hoped it would keep Bill from dragging him back to England.
He walked back to the chairs Bill had conjured and poured some tea. It warmed him instantly and soothed his scratchy throat.
"How did you find me?" he asked, not quite ready to talk.
"I put a trace on Hermione's owl without telling her. I've been begging her to let me do it for years but she wouldn't let me. She said it wouldn't be fair to you."
"But she said she had been looking for me," Harry said, confused.
"She was, and she used every means available to her except that. She said she wouldn't take advantage of the only link she had left with you."
Harry looked away and stared into the fire, letting the orange flames burn into his eyes. He was starting to feel guilty again but no, this was the only way. He had left for their protection, not his.
"Harry…" Bill said timidly, and Harry's eyes snapped back up at him.
"Fine," he said, "I'll tell you everything if you promise not to force me back there against my will."
Bill considered him for a minute. "Is it really that bad?"
"Hermione thinks you're just blowing things out of proportion," Bill said, almost to himself, "She thinks you left because you feel guilty about things that weren't your fault. But something else happened, didn't it?" He paused, "Something after the Battle at Hogwarts? Something more?"
Harry nodded, still staring into the fire.
Bill took a deep breath. "Okay. I promise not to take you against your will, as long as you promise you're not just feeling guilty over things that weren't your fault."
"I'm not," Harry said emphatically, and Bill nodded.
Harry thought about where to begin.
He had first felt it the morning after the final battle. He had been sleeping in his old four poster bed in Gryffindor Tower when Ginny woke him with a soft kiss on the forehead.
He felt disgust and hatred at the touch of her lips.
The thought passed through his head so quickly that he barely registered it, and dismissed it as nothing more than confusion upon waking.
He pulled her down into the bed with him and wrapped his arms tightly around her, not wanting to let her go. She just giggled.
"Harry, Mum's here. She told me to wake you. She might come up."
Harry didn't care. After everything that had happened, he thought he could handle the wrath of Molly Weasley. Then again, he hadn't ever experienced it to its full extent.
The two teenagers who had never really been teenagers lay together in each other's arms, just enjoying the feeling of finally being at peace. There was so much to say that neither of them could say a word, but it didn't matter. They had all the time in the world…
After what felt like too short a time, they heard footsteps outside the dormitory and Harry reluctantly let go of Ginny. She didn't move but just stayed nestled in his chest.
"Oi," Ron said, coming through the door and grinning, "Get off my sister."
Filthy Blood-traitor, Harry felt himself think, and shook his head. Where had that come from?
Without raising her head, Ginny surreptitiously pulled her wand from her robes and pointed it at her brother. He didn't notice that his hair turned green. Harry stifled a laugh.
"Seriously, though," Ron said, sobering, "Mum's not doing so well. You don't want to set her off today."
Harry's mood became somber and he felt Ginny tense at his side. Fred. How could he have forgotten about Fred?
Ron turned around and walked back down the stairs. Harry just managed to turn his hair back to its normal red before he disappeared from view. Any other day it would have been funny, but not today.
Ginny slowly extricated herself from their combined mess of limbs and looked at him a little sadly.
"Someday soon," she said softly, and his heart broke at the hardened look in her eyes, "We'll have our chance."
Without another word she turned and left him to get dressed.
Harry emerged into the Gryffindor common room a few minutes later to find the whole Weasley family gathered around the fire. Nearly the whole Weasley family anyway.
"Harry," Mrs. Weasley said, breaking away from the group and enveloping him in a tight, warm hug, "How are you feeling?"
"Fine, Mrs. Weasley," he said, resisting the urge to pull away, not knowing why he wanted to.
She stepped back and held him at arm's length, surveying him through watery, bloodshot eyes. They quickly narrowed. "No one bothered to heal you?" she exclaimed, disbelievingly, and cast an angry look at Hermione. Hermione raised her arms and gave Mrs. Weasley's back a look that seemed to say "Why is it my fault?"
Harry grinned. Mrs. Weasley had apparently officially accepted Hermione into the folds of the family if she was scolding her for not taking care of her boys.
Mrs. Weasley started pointing her wand at various points on his face and arms, healing a few particularly nasty cuts and some of the burns he had gotten at Gringotts that he had missed healing himself. It took her a while and he hadn't realized how hurt he'd been.
She lifted his t-shirt over his head as if he were a small child who couldn't do it himself and he heard everyone in the room gasp.
"What?" he asked bemused.
They were all staring at his chest and he looked down and gasped himself.
Across his heart stretched a bruise so black it looked as though the skin there had died. It looked very different from the injury Dumbledore had gotten when he had destroyed the ring Horcrux, which Harry was relieved to note, but it stretched over half his chest.
"What happened?" Molly asked, her tears brimming and then spilling out onto her cheeks.
"It's nothing, Mrs. Weasley," he answered, "It's just a bruise. That's where the killing curse hit me."
A renewed gasp ran through the crowd which was thankfully limited to the Weasleys and Hermione. Apparently the Fat Lady had been very selective of who she had let in while he slept.
"You were…You were hit by the killing curse?" George stuttered, and Harry realized that he hadn't told anyone besides Ron and Hermione what had happened in the forest.
"Yeah," Harry answered, not meeting anyone's eyes, "Please don't let it get out." They all agreed and Harry looked at Ron. They exchanged silent words and Ron launched into the story that Harry had told him the night before. Harry didn't think he could bear to tell it again. The eyes of everyone in the room were riveted on Ron as he spoke, but Ginny was staring at Harry. He could tell she was upset that he hadn't told her this part of his story himself, and he tried to avoid her gaze.
No one spoke for a few minutes when Ron finished, and to Harry's surprise, it was Percy who broke the silence.
"You git!" he shouted, "What the hell were you thinking, trying to let him kill you? We would have kept fighting anyway."
"Percy," Mr. Weasley scolded, but George came to his defense.
"He's right Dad. You're mad Harry. You can't keep letting people kill you so that we'll be safe."
The ridiculousness of this statement made Harry snort with laughter against his will. How many people in their life would ever hear a statement like that? A look from Mrs. Weasley quickly quelled his laughter, however. She looked livid.
"How dare you," she said, with her eyes narrowed. Harry recoiled a bit at the tone in her voice.
"If we had lost you," she sputtered, unable to form her words properly, "If you had…If you," she broke in
to uncontrollable sobs at this point and couldn't speak another word. Harry stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her, trying his best to comfort her. He knew she was crying as much for her son as she was for him, but he did what he could.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Weasley, I really am," he said quietly, so that only she could hear, "but I survived; I'm still here. And I know…" his voice was barely above a whisper now and he felt himself struggling to keep his own tears back, "I know that Fred isn't, but the rest of us are. And now Voldemort's gone, and no one will ever take another one of your children away from you again."
Her sobs intensified and Harry wondered if he had made it worse, but then he heard her softly whisper, "Thank you," as she pulled him more tightly toward her.
Mr. Weasley stepped over and took Harry's place hugging Molly, while Hermione came forward to take over where Mrs. Weasley had left of healing him.
"It won't budge," she said after a few minutes of trying to heal the bruise. Mrs. Weasley had begun to compose herself again and stepped over to try her hand at it, but had no success.
"I guess we'll just have to let it heal on its own," she said, blowing her nose, and Harry pulled his filthy shirt back over his head, realizing that he hadn't showered since he had been staying with Bill. Had that really only been three days ago?
He learned that the Weasleys were planning on heading back to the Burrow. He told them he'd meet them there, as he wanted to take a bath before he left. He was looking forward to relaxing in the prefect's bathtub. Ginny offered to stay with him but Mrs. Weasley cast an evil look and she relented.
Twenty minutes later, he was lowering himself into the soapy water, and realizing for the first time how beaten his body was. He definitely felt the effects of the last few days and could feel his muscles screaming at him.
After a few moments he realized how tense he had been as his muscles slowly relaxed. He could feel himself drifting off and felt almost as though he could fall asleep…
"My Lord," Lucius Malfoy said, coming into the clearing in the Forbidden Forest, "I have killed the blood traitor werewolf and his half blood wife."
"Very good, Lucius," Harry said in a very familiar, cold, high pitched voice, "You have succeeded where many have failed." He glanced menacingly at Bellatrix Lestrange, offering a small sneer as she cowered at his gaze. "Don't fret, Bellatrix, there's still work for you yet."
Harry woke, shaking. Where had that come from? Lucius hadn't even had a wand that night. He couldn't have killed Lupin and Tonks. And worst of all, Harry wasn't even supposed to be having these dreams now that Voldemort was dead.
He rubbed his scar absentmindedly and it was a few minutes before he realized it was prickling. That wasn't supposed to be happening anymore either. Fear momentarily gripped him as he pictured Voldemort striding into the room with his wand raised, but Harry pulled himself back from panic.
It had only been a dream, and his scar hurting was only his imagination. He was a normal person now—as normal as a wizard who had killed a genocidal Dark wizard could be anyway—and his dreams would never be anything more than just dreams again. They would still be unpleasant, but he'd never again be forced to peer into Voldemort's mind.
The next few weeks passed excruciatingly slowly for Harry. He was reluctant to leave the Burrow for fear of being recognized and as a result, spent nearly every moment under Molly's watchful eye. She was dealing with Fred's death better than could have been expected of her, but she had channeled most of her grief into protecting everyone else she felt fell under her care. She did her best not to let any of them out of her sight. As a result, Harry barely got five minutes alone with Ginny. He was longing to hold her and to say all the things he never got a chance to say, but it seemed he would never be alone with her long enough to even kiss her properly.
The dreams hadn't stopped either. He woke nearly every night, sweating, with his scar tingling, having just lived through some scene with Voldemort. They rarely ever repeated and they almost always involved Lucius Malfoy. He wondered if maybe he was cracking up. He started casting Muffliato on Ron every night after he fell asleep to keep him from hearing Harry's distressed sleep.
And then there were the funerals. Harry had wanted to Polyjuice himself before going but Hermione wouldn't let him. She said he couldn't shield himself from the world forever and it would only get harder the longer he waited. He reluctantly admitted that she was probably right. Thankfully, most people were respectful enough to leave him alone.
Lupin and Tonks' funeral was awful, watching the baby Teddy squirm in his grandmother's lap, but Fred's was the worst. Watching the six remaining Weasley men cry had been awful, but seeing Mrs. Weasley's grief move beyond tears was somehow worse. And he kept expecting Fred's coffin to turn orange or start smoking or something. It just didn't seem right for anything where Fred was involved to feel so somber.
It wasn't easy, but Harry got through the funerals surprisingly well. Maybe it just hadn't hit him fully yet, but his heart didn't feel nearly as ripped open as it had before. It was odd, really. He didn't really feel like himself.
On the twelfth day after Voldemort's death, Harry arrived downstairs for breakfast to find the Weasleys looking more downtrodden than usual.
"What's going on?" he asked concerned, as he sat down at the kitchen table.
No one said anything but Hermione pushed that morning's issue of the Daily Prophet to him.
"No," Harry whispered as he read the headline.
"Lucius Malfoy: Not Guilty," read the bold black print. Beneath the headline was a picture of Lucius, standing outside the Ministry with Narcissa and Draco, all three waving out at them. Draco looked uncomfortable but Lucius was wearing an extremely smug grin.
Hatred rose up in Harry like he had never felt before. He didn't think his dreams were real but he had spent the last twelve nights watching Lucius Malfoy kill and torture people, and it had lodged a hatred for the man in his heart so deep he doubted it would ever go away.
Whether the dreams were real or not, Lucius hadn't been innocent, no matter how much money he gave the Ministry.
"How?" he asked, directing his question at Mr. Weasley, "I thought Kingsley was in charge."
"He is," Mr. Weasley answered, removing his glasses and rubbing his eyes, "but unfortunately Lucius is still very involved in the pockets of the remaining members of the Wizengamot. He only needed majority and he got it."
Rage engulfed Harry and without a word he stood up and left the kitchen through the back door.
"Where are you going?" Mrs. Weasley called after him.
"For a walk," he answered back, hoping no one would follow.
As soon as he passed through the protective wards that were still in place around the house, he Apparated directly to Wiltshire. He could see Malfoy Manor off in the distance and walked quickly down the narrow road toward it. His mind was racing. After everything, how could Malfoy have gotten off? How? He deserved to rot in Azkaban, and probably worse. How could Kingsley have let this happen?
He deserves to die Harry heard himself think. It felt as though someone else had whispered it in his ear, but he agreed with the sentiment all the same. He reached the wrought-iron gates that interrupted the yew hedges surrounding the grounds before he started questioning what he was doing. Why was he here?
He hesitated for a moment and then Disapparated back to the Burrow.
He didn't speak to anyone as he walked back through the kitchen and just passed through up into Ron's bedroom, wincing as the door slammed behind him. He suddenly found that his scar was burning.
For two days Harry stayed away from Malfoy Manor. For two days the anger festered inside of him, growing almost to an unbearable pitch. Mrs. Weasley started fawning over him more than usual and Ron and Hermione kept giving him curious looks.
On the third day Harry couldn't take it anymore. This time he Apparated directly to the gates. He was wearing his invisibility cloak and just stood there for hours, looking up at the mansion.
On the fourth day Harry broke past the wards and made it up to the front door before turning back again.
On the fifth day he made it inside the Manor, but the elder Malfoy wasn't there. He did see Narcissa, but didn't make his presence known.
That night, Mr. Weasley pulled him aside.
"Harry," he said without preamble, "You can't let the anger control you."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Harry answered, but Mr. Weasley cut him short.
"You do," he continued, "I can see it in you, but you need to let go. Malfoy will get what he deserves in the end."
"Whatever he gets won't be enough," Harry spat in a voice that barely resembled his own and Mr. Weasley flinched.
"But that's not for us to decide," he said after a moment, and then "Harry, promise me you won't do anything stupid."
Harry didn't answer.
"Harry, I'm saying this not as Ron's dad, but as a man who cares about you enough to be yours. I'm worried about you. Please, can you make me that promise?"
Harry looked into the aging face of Mr. Weasley and felt sorrow grip him.
"I promise, Mr. Weasley," he croaked, and Mr. Weasley looked satisfied. He stood up and patted Harry on the shoulder.
"Oh, and Harry?" he said, standing in the doorway, "Just be thankful I didn't ask you to promise not to touch my daughter." Without another word he left the room smiling, leaving Harry stunned and a little embarrassed.
A full thirty-seven hours passed before Harry broke his promise to Mr. Weasley, and Harry counted every single one of them.
Thirty-seven hours later, Harry arrived at Malfoy Manor again, without having slept, not sure what he was planning. He made it into the house and found Lucius sitting in the large, elaborately decorated dining room by himself, eating a lavish breakfast.
Invisible, Harry slowly circled around him, feeling distant from himself, as though he were watching from above
Five minutes passed as Harry watched him eat, and the anger rose within him. It was pure hatred that he felt and he wanted nothing more than to destroy the innately evil man sitting before him.
Finally, when he could bear it no longer, he removed his cloak.
"Hello, Lucuis," he said darkly, and Lucius jumped.
He recovered himself quickly however and a sneer spread across his face.
"Potter," he said lightly, "How nice of you to join me."
Harry pulled his wand from beneath his cloak and pointed it at Malfoy, who looked incredibly calm considering the fact that he wasn't armed.
"This is from both of us," Harry said, and everything went black.
"That's all you remember?" Bill asked, obviously annoyed. He was literally sitting on the edge of his seat and hanging on Harry's every word.
"Yes," Harry answered, "Until I woke up four hours later in Draco Malfoy's bed."
"What?" Bill exclaimed, disbelievingly, "and you're still alive?"
"I think so," said Harry, without a trace of sarcasm. He didn't like reliving these memories, even after all this time.
"What happened next?" Bill asked a little too eagerly.
"Bill, it's not pretty," Harry said gravely.
"I know, I know," he said, backtracking, "I've just been waiting so long to hear what happened, and I always wondered what happened to Lucius."
"Okay, but just remember what you promised," Harry reminded him.
Harry awoke to find the familiar pointed face of Draco Malfoy standing over him, but the expression he wore was completely unfamiliar. He looked demented.
"You're awake," he said. His eyes were wild and his lips were curled into a strange smile.
Harry sat up and looked around desperately for his wand, only to find that it was sitting next to him on a small table. Obviously, if Draco was going to hurt him, he would have taken away his wand.
"What happened?" Harry asked, groggily. He still hadn't come to himself.
"You don't remember?" Draco said, stepping back from him, his eyes growing wider each moment.
"No," Harry said, but then a part of it came back to him, "I was standing next to your father, with my wand drawn and then everything went black.
Draco looked at him for a long time, apparently trying to decide whether he was telling the truth.
"Well, you did it," Draco said simply.
"Did what?" Harry asked, finding his glasses and putting them on his face.
"What you came to do."
Harry understood. Surprisingly, he felt no remorse, no guilt, and no fear.
"Then why haven't you killed me yet?" Harry asked, indifferently.
"Kill you?" Draco said in his trademark drawl, "You saved me the trouble of killing him myself. And I must say you did a wonderful job of making him squeal before he died."
Harry gaped at his childhood enemy. Could this really be happening? Was Draco happy that Harry had killed his beloved father?"
"Don't look so stunned," Draco said, smiling at Harry's shock, "What did you expect? He basically handed me over to the Dark Lord to make up for his own mistakes. He got me into that mess in the first place, and besides, I don't think you were alone when you killed him and Idon't forget my loyalty."
"What do you mean?" Harry asked, getting a little suspicious.
Draco chuckled. "I think you should see for yourself."
Draco walked over to a cabinet across the room, and to Harry's surprise, pulled out a Pensieve. Harry had thought they were extremely rare.
Draco set the Pensieve on the surface of his desk and moved his wand to his temple, pulling out a thin silver strand. He lowered it into the Pensieve and swirled it around.
"Well, come on," Draco said, diving into the surface and, throwing all caution to the wind, Harry followed.
He landed in the same dining room that he had left so recently, and saw himself standing behind Lucius, pointing his wand at him, but saw no sign of Draco besides the one who had entered the memory with him.
"I'm watching from behind that tapestry," the Draco standing next to him said, seemingly reading his thoughts.
"This is from both of us," Harry heard himself say, and noticed that his voice sounded cold, and slightly higher than usual. "Crucio!" he shouted and Lucius fell from his chair to the floor, writhing in pain.
When Harry finally relented, Lucius began laughing, despite the tears streaming down his smooth, pale face.
"You finally got the hang of that one, I see," he said, with a demented sort of smile.
Harry laughed back at the blonde haired man at his feet. "Why yes Lucius, but you should know what my Cruciatus curse feels like by now." The present day Harry gasped. The voice coming from him no longer even resembled his own. It was no doubt the voice of Lord Voldemort.
Lucius' laughter stopped immediately and he gasped, "My Lord?" His voice was questioning, pleading, and terrified.
"You can call me that if you like," Harry said in his own voice now, "but seeing as you don't have much time left, you might want to reserve that title for God. I think you'd better do what you can to get on his good side before I send you to him."
Lucius cowered and present day Harry could tell he was confused and frightened.
"How?" he whimpered.
"Tut tut," Harry said in Voldemort's voice, "You never did learn to stop questioning me. Crucio!"
Lucius' screams were deafening and Harry looked on with horror as he watched his own eyes flitter between green and red. It would have been terrifying if it had been Voldemort doing this through Harry's body, but Harry knew that he was doing it too, of his own free will. He and Voldemort, working together to bring down his enemy, and Voldemort's traitor.
Finally, they relented, and Harry could tell by the color of his eyes that he was in charge.
"Hold out your arm, Lucius," he said, and though his voice was cold, it was his own.
Lucius was reluctant, but obeyed. He knew what was coming.
Harry flicked his wand and the sleeve of Lucius' robe was torn off.
"Would you like the honors?" Harry said, seemingly to no one, but the answer was presumably yes, as his eyes flickered back to red. The red-eyed Harry simply touched the tip of his wand to Lucius' forearm, and the skin started to smoke.
There was more pain in Lucius' scream than Harry had ever heard and he watched as the skin boiled up and gave way to bone, as though acid had been poured on it, completely removing the Dark Mark from his skin.
Harry let Lucius writhe in pain for a while before hitting him again with the Cruciatus curse. Finally, it seemed he had had enough fun.
"I believe I will leave this part to you," red-eyed Harry said, "You have been so kind to let me have my fun."
Harry's eyes shifted back to green and he smiled, dementedly. Though his eyes were back to their original color, Harry didn't recognize them.
"That is very generous," Harry said, before pointing his wand back at Lucius.
The smile never faded from his face as he looked directly into Lucius' eyes and hissed "Avada Kedavra," and life left Lucius Malfoy.
Harry watched himself laugh wildly. His eyes slipped from green to red and back again but the color didn't matter. Both of them were laughing with joy. Both of them were thrilled with what they'd done.
And then Harry watched himself suddenly fall to the ground, unconscious. It must have been too much for him.
He watched Draco's form timidly emerge from behind the tapestry a few minutes later, slowly advancing on Harry's still form, stepping over his father's dead body without giving it a second glance.
"Potter?" he asked, "Harry, are you alright?" but Harry remained unconscious and present day Harry watched as Draco took out his wand and began levitating him out of the room.
"I believe that is all that will be of interest," present-day Draco drawled and Harry jumped. He had forgotten he was there.
Harry nodded and then felt himself slam into the floor of Draco's bedroom.
"Did you know he was going to become a part of you?" Draco asked immediately, rising to his feet and helping Harry up, "Did you do it on purpose?"
"No," Harry answered, distractedly, "What did you do with…the body?"
"I took care of it," Draco answered simply.
"I need to get out of here," Harry said, as the full weight of what was happening hit him. He started walking toward the door.
"And where will you go?" Draco said, his eyes still burning with madness, but his voice calm, "Back to Weasley? You think he'll congratulate you on what you've done?"
Harry stopped walking.
"And Granger," Malfoy continued, "I'm sure she'll be pleased. Father never was very kind to her. But then he never could be civil to Mudbloods."
"Don't call her that," Harry hissed and Draco laughed.
"You've lost the right to condemn me, Potter."
Harry didn't answer, but didn't resume walking.
"You can't go back tonight," Draco said after a while, "You look a wreck, they'll know something's up."
There was logic in Draco's words.
"Here," he said, walking over to his wardrobe and pulling out a pair of pajamas, "you can sleep in here. Don't worry about mother. She won't even know you're here."
Without another word, Draco left the room, leaving Harry to his own, horrified thoughts.
The voice first came to Harry while he lay that night in the bed of his childhood enemy, trying to sleep. It wasn't his own voice, and it wasn't Voldemort's, but a hybrid of the two.
You felt it, didn't you? You felt the power of it. You felt it coursing through you, and it felt incredible.
"No," Harry said to himself, "I didn't feel anything. I don't remember."
But you do. You remember how it felt as you used the power of our combined magic. You felt alive. You felt unstoppable. You felt as though you could rule…
"No," Harry said again, a little less forcefully.
Yes. The world is yours, Harry, if you take it. With our combined power you could rule all. Not just wizards, but Muggles as well. Every corner of this earth could be under your command. I would not take any of the credit. You defeated me. You deserve all. I willingly submit myself to you. You wouldn't even have to destroy your beloved Mudbloods and Blood Traitors. You could be a benevolent leader, ruling them all for their own good.
"The greater good," Harry whispered, willing the voice to speak again, but then pushed it back down.
"No!" he shouted, jumping out of bed, "No, You're dead. I killed you. Get out of my head!"
Harry grabbed his clothes from off of the floor and ran out of the room, not knowing where he would go. No matter how fast or how far he ran, he couldn't escape the truth of the voice he heard inside his head.
He barely knew where he was going when he found himself standing outside the Burrow, looking in through the kitchen window. Mrs. Weasley was sitting at the table, looking worried, drinking a cup of tea and staring at her clock. He felt a stab of guilt as he realized that she was probably waiting up for him.
He made to go inside until a bobbing head of red hair entered the room, stopping him in his tracks.
Ginny looked adorable in pajamas that Harry recognized as an old pair of Ron's and Harry couldn't help but grin.
"I'm sure he's fine," he heard her tell her mother, but she cast a nervous glance at the clock as well. He wondered why the hand with his face on it wasn't pointing to home.
"I know dear," Mrs. Weasley said wearily, "But I can't help worrying about all my children."
Tears formed in Harry's eyes. She had never called him one of her children before. He made up his mind without thinking about it. He couldn't put these people in danger. He'd have to figure out what was happening to him on his own. He wasn't safe.
Without another thought he Disapparated from the Burrow, not sure if he'd ever return.
"Where did you go?" Bill asked when Harry stopped talking.
Harry noticed that Bill was looking a little uncomfortable, and kept peering intently into his eyes as though he was searching for a red glint.
"I don't really remember that time very well," Harry answered, vaguely. "I think Voldemort started taking control of me, or else I just couldn't cope with the guilt of what I'd done."
"You have no idea what you did?"
"Well, sort of," Harry answered uncomfortably, shifting around in his chair. He didn't want to tell this part of his story, but Bill was looking at him expectantly.
Harry sighed. He had promised to tell everything.
"I wandered around the country for a while, trying to will Voldemort out of my mind, but nothing worked. I was in and out of consciousness, and I kept waking up to find myself in strange places that I didn't remember going to.
"And then, on one of my more lucid days, I happened across an unfortunate newspaper article. It reported the violent deaths of two Muggles in Surrey and it…it sort of jogged my memory a bit."
"No," Bill gasped, and Harry looked away.
"But how?" Bill asked, "How did he survive?"
Harry hesitated again. "Did Ron ever tell you what we were doing while we were on the run?"
Bill nodded, "The Horcruxes, yeah."
"Well," Harry said, "Did he tell you that I was the last, unintentional one?"
Bill nodded again.
"Well, I assumed that when I let Voldemort kill me, the part of his soul attached to mine had been destroyed, but now I don't think it was. I think it was too deeply imbedded and a part of it survived. And then, when I killed Voldemort, the tiny, mangled part of his soul that was left in him couldn't survive on its own, so it latched back on to the part that was left in me."
Bill looked horrified. "But he couldn't control you before, right? He could show you things and could see inside your head, but he couldn't really possess you."
"Yeah," Harry answered, "but the soul that was in me before wasn't the part with his consciousness. Now it is."
Bill shook his head. Without meeting Harry's eyes he said, "Is he still in there with you? Does he still come out?"
"Yes and no," Harry said. "He's still in there but I can control it better now. I can still feel him, and his emotions kind of affect mine, but he never comes to the surface completely."
"So then, you just left that night and you've been wandering around Europe since?"
"But then," Bill went on, "How did you lose your magic?"
Harry sighed. "After I found out that I killed the Muggles, I went to the morgue to see their bodies. I had to make sure that it was what I thought."
"And was it?" Bill asked, through gritted teeth.
Harry nodded. "It was a boy that I had gone to primary school with and his mother. He played a nasty trick on me when we were seven. I thought that I had forgotten about it and, honestly, I think I've made enough enemies since that if I had wanted revenge I could have found someone better to take it out on, but I think Voldemort was trying to prove a point. He wanted to turn me against Muggles or something.
"It was awful. Their bodies were mutilated. I…I…" Harry couldn't continue.
"That's okay, Harry," Bill said quietly, "You don't have to describe it."
"Well, I tried to Apparate away after I'd seen them, and I couldn't. I don't know if it was the emotional upheaval of knowing I had done something so cruel and unnecessary, or if it was my subconscious trying to keep me from being able to hurt anyone else, but I haven't been able to do any magic since."
Bill sighed and looked down at the ground. He looked sad and defeated, like he had aged a lot more than five years since Harry had last seen him.
"Why didn't you trust us, Harry?" he asked after a while, "We could have helped you. We would have helped you."
"No one could have helped me," Harry said, staring into the fire, steeling himself for what he knew he needed to say, "But you can now."
Bill looked up at him imploringly. Guilt racked Harry as he peered into Bill's eyes, so wide with grief and the desire to help. But he knew what he had to do.
"Anything, Harry," Bill said softly, "Anything."
"You have to do what I couldn't, Bill." His voice was void of real emotion as he spoke, but it had a soft, pleading tone, "You have to kill me."
Bill stared at him, horrified before standing up and turning away from Harry.
"No," he said, forcefully, "There has to be another way."
"There isn't," Harry said calmly, without leaving his chair, "This is the only way."
Bill was pacing, not looking at Harry, and Harry wanted to go over and shake him, and make him understand.
"Bill, you have to do this. Voldemort is still alive, still killing, and he needs to be stopped."
"I can't," Bill said, his eyes still averted as he frantically paced, "You can't ask me to do this."
"It's the only way," Harry repeated, rising to his feet and moving toward Bill, "I know that this isn't fair. I know you've already sacrificed so much for your family, but I'm asking you to sacrifice just a bit more."
"A bit," Bill said wildly, "A bit? Harry, you're asking me to kill! To kill you! To kill my brother's best friend, my sister's boyfriend, my mother's adopted son, my world's hero! I can't kill anyone. Even during the war I never cast a Killing curse. I can't kill anyone but I especially can't kill you." He was shaking now and Harry was afraid he might see Bill cry for the second time in his life.
"I know you didn't ask for this," Harry said slowly, "You didn't ask to live in a time of war. You didn't ask to have to give up so much to save others. You've already done so much to keep them safe. It should be over. You should be allowed to go on now, and live your life free from all of this. But it's not over yet. While Voldemort still lives, there's a chance that the happiness you've worked for could shatter. You could lose everything again, and I don't want that to happen to you or anyone else. I know what I'm asking you to do is terrible, but it's better than what will happen if you don't."
"No," Bill said more weakly than before, "No."
"Bill," Harry went on, placing a hand on Bill's shoulder, "I'm not asking you to kill me, not really. I'm asking you to do what I couldn't. I'm asking you to end this. I'm asking you to kill Voldemort."
Bill broke away from Harry, and walked a few steps beyond him. His back was turned and he didn't say anything.
Harry sighed and closed his eyes. When he opened them a few moments later, Bill was looking at him, his wand raised and pointed at Harry's chest. He had his chin down, like he was trying not to look, but his eyes were turned upward, meeting Harry's.
"You can do it," Harry said, pleadingly, "Please."
"No," Bill shouted, without lowering his wand. He was crying now.
"You're weak, Bill!" Harry shouted desperately, "You can't even protect your family!"
With a shout almost like a war cry, Bill's eyes became wild.
Harry raised his eyes to the sky and hoped desperately that Bill would have courage, the courage to do what needed to be done.