Identity- Chapter Three
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter in any form or way. I make no money from writing this fanfiction.
Summary: Harry, from a young age, had always been locked away. A child's mind in isolation turns only to itself, and what Harry discovers there is a bond neither he nor Voldemort had known to exist. Entering the mind of the man who had made the world quail, he begins to draw upon the Dark Lord's memories, and starts to emerge as something quite new altogether...
Includes: Dark!Harry, Voldemort and Harry friendship, prodigy!Harry, mind arts, a view into Vernon's character... Does anyone read this? I'll bet 'no'. Include the keyword 'Rubber Duck' in a review to show that you're a reader like me! Points for how well you can get it to fit in with the rest inconspicuously. (I mean it. I'll tally it up.)
Genre: General / Friendship
Word Count: ~4,000
Cumulative Word Count: ~14,500
Date: Started- 4th April '09, (12:11 PM)
Finished- 7th April '09, (02:29 AM)
Posted- 7th April '09 (Circa de 03:00 AM)
Chapter Title: Moving
For a moment, everything was still.
Harry stared avidly at his unconscious body from Voldemort's eyes. It was strange to see one's own body outside of it, like looking into a mirror that was somehow behind the reflection. He felt detached. It was surreal.
"You're concussed," Voldemort commented with an impatient edge. "Snap out of it."
"...What are you going to do?"
The bird's eyes flickered back to his uncle. "I can't do magic, so not much. If I can control that fat muggle for long enough, however, then we can probably get you to safety."
Vernon, still sobbing, had pulled his wife up into a desperate embrace. She hung limply against him, head tilted at an awkward angle, and her hands dangled across the carpeted floor as if she were some broken doll.
Harry wanted to look away. "...Is she dead?"
There was a grating silence before the response. "It looks to be the case."
"I..." He took in the scene: Vernon was distraught. Dudley was terrified. Petunia was dead. And it was all because of him. "I lost my temper."
"Take it in stride. It's a solution."
"I could, but... I killed her. How can I just ignore that?"
"You can't change what has already passed. Still, though, I believe this does solve a few problems."
"How can you be so heartless?"
Voldemort did not reply, at first, and the bird leapt off its temporary perch with a flourish of feathers. The broken figure of Vernon Dudley grew closer as they flew towards him.
"It is necessary."
Hearing the flutter of wings, a heartbeat before they would reach him, the large man looked up. His eyes were wide, bloodshot, and rimmed with a grieving red. He flinched back as the bird drove into him.
Then came a split second of heart-wrenching agony as Voldemort ripped his mind away from the bird, and Harry's intertwined mind was dislocated along with it. The world blurred and was suddenly torn away- Harry had only a brief second to take in the pool of darkness he now perceived where the sense of his eyes was supposed to go.
He saw... no, felt... a blotch of light smeared against the darkness. Vernon's light. The two tangled minds together slipped into this golden core, and the world flooded into being once again. Vernon opened his eyes.
This was not like the mammals nor the birds Harry had seen Voldemort possess. Vernon's mind was close, too close... it leaked off despair, panic, and shock as Voldemort's mind smothered it. It fought back; It was as roaring and as angry as the man himself, and it raged against the grip.
Voldemort dispassionately forced the man to push his wife's limp corpse off of himself, and she fell to the floor with a dull thud, head bouncing as it hit the carpet. It was at this that Vernon's horror and panic spiked. The will behind the struggle was overwhelming, and Harry watched as Voldemort was pushed away with the force of it.
"No..." Vernon breathed aloud, and Voldemort pushed back, furious at having lost his grip over the man so soon. Harry couldn't say who was controlling the body of his uncle as his hands flew up to tear at his face. "No- no, no, no, no-"
Voldemort's push went in his favour, and Vernon haltingly levered himself away from the floor. Then suddenly Vernon pushed back and his body took a step backwards again, away from where Harry's lithe body lay in its crumpled heap.
Voldemort and Vernon's minds fought for dominance. Vernon had the advantage... this was Vernon's body, after all, while Voldemort was just a spirit, an intruder. Still, Voldemort fought furiously. He did have a lot of will, Harry would give him that.
And for a moment, the Dark Lord was winning. Vernon choked and writhed and suffocated under his dominance, and the Dark Lord held him down, triumphant...
But it was a tentative arrangement. Vernon had the upper hand, and Harry's uncle was by no means a pushover. The flow of the battle turned towards the man as he pushed the foreign mind away from him.
"Stop-" he gasped again, and Harry became aware of the ragged breathing of the body. That was interesting: Did this struggle present a physical exertion of some sort, or was it simply Vernon's heartbeat responding to the panic and adrenalin of the mental battle?
Harry, perhaps instinctively, pushed himself closer towards Vernon's mind as he thought about this, disentangling his mind from Voldemort's a little more. Now he was faced with this struggle in Vernon's point of view: There was panic there. Overwhelming panic. And fear. There was the lingering thought that Harry was the one behind the man's affliction, too, which caused Harry a little amusement while Vernon was horrified. He supposed that it was his fault, in the end.
"Uncle," he whispered into the depths of the man's mind. "Uncle, give up."
The muggle mentally blanched as he said this, and the mental battle swerved to Voldemort's favour when Vernon faltered. The body took two steps forward.
Vernon fought back, with determination born of desperation and fear. The body staggered.
And Harry wormed into Vernon's mind deeper. He paid the battle no mind.
What's happening? What's happening to me?
Why can't I move? Why? What's happening to me?
I don't understand- I don't-
Harry dug deeper. He slid under these layers of instinctual thoughts and slid into the man's memories. Compressed years moved before his eyes; years of stress and worry to turn Vernon into the man he was. When he was very young he'd been picked on for his size. When he was older he'd used his size to his advantage, and became the bully that everyone detested. It was a lonely existence... Vernon hated himself... he still did, in many ways...
He had alienated himself. He'd always regretted that.
He hadn't gone to college. He'd always regretted that.
He'd stubbornly stayed in a failing business. He'd always regretted that.
He'd met and married Petunia. At the start, she'd been the light of his life... the only one to accept his failings completely. He'd rushed into the relationship too fast; didn't stop to see how petty the woman was, how much he would come to hate her, yet still need her at the same time. He would come to fear the day she would finally realise how much better off she was without him...
He'd always regretted that.
And he knew that she had known it, but... they each only had each other. Both failures. Both miserable. They hated each other yet loved each other beyond words...
Harry pulled himself away from the memories, disgusted at how he was coming to emphasise with his uncle. He didn't want to drown in the regrets and sorrows of a pathetic muggle... he was stronger than that.
And as he dived deeper, he came closer to the core that was Vernon. He'd seen it before; in the darkness between the bird and the man. The golden core glowed brightly, and flickered like an angrily burning flame, tendrils of molten fire flickering and twisting within itself. It was... beautiful.
Was this the man's soul?
It was so unlike him that Harry could have laughed.
The wild flickering suddenly ceased, and it was as if a smothering blanket had been lifted as the dark pressure relented. A wave of relief so pure that it strung at Harry's being like the chords of a harp washed over him. Was that... Voldemort?
Voldemort had lost. Harry scowled.
The core was vast, and yet... not. It was small in the way a large object is small in the background, and yet when Harry stretched out a hand to the flame, he dwarfed it completely. It was a feeling similar to how, with one eye closed, a person can pick up a large object by hovering their hand over it. Only... when the person moves to lift the object, their hand simply comes away and the illusion is ruined.
When Harry moved to snuff the flame with his fingers, it went out.
Vernon's mind screamed. The soul flickered out of existence with a soft hiss that did not reflect the death of the man in any fitting way. What would have been fitting would be a brilliant flash of light, and a bright explosion as the soul shrieked and crumpled in upon itself, twisting and writhing in agony...
The only screaming was from the mind, and Harry could still hear those questions – why, how, why – as the mind was pulled into oblivion along with the soul.
What's happening to me?
And he felt sick. This was death.
What's happening to me?
Harry pulled himself away from the empty space where Vernon's core had once resided. The space where those defining memories had once gone was empty. The space of a mind's basic thoughts was silent. The space of the more in-depth, mundane memories... a vast emptiness, sucking at the nothingness as if it could find something there. A yawning vacuum. He emerged back on the surface, and took control of the living corpse.
Vernon opened his eyes. The man had crumpled to the floor beside his wife, and so he picked the large body off the ground, gingerly feeling every sore patch from the fall.
He levered himself into a sitting position and inspected his meaty hands, a little dazed. He looked up. Dudley was staring at him intently, a rapt expression gracing the young boy's face, so unlike the terrified horror the boy had worn previously. The boy had seen his mother choke to death, his cousin bleed on the floor and his father falter and stumble like a madman. The sharp look in the boy's eyes was out of place.
The two both regarded each other for a few long, drawn out seconds. Harry frowned.
"Voldemort?" He guessed, deep voice unfamiliar in his throat. The boy nodded, and the thin blond hair of the five year old flopped over his face a little.
"The boy is much easier to control. But... what did you do? He was screaming." The high-pitched voice of Dudley was beyond odd when applied to Voldemort's serious tone. The man seemed to be modelling his words carefully so as to not slip into the five year-old's natural slur of words.
Harry winced at the mention of how it had affected Vernon. "I crept into his mind. I went further than you did. Deeper."
Dudley's – Voldemort's – eyes were wide. "'Went further'? How?"
"Well," He frowned, which was a natural look on Vernon's features. "You were only attacking from the surface. I just... pushed in. Like I did with you."
The blonde five year old frowned in reply. "I believed your proficiency at infiltrating my mind was to do with our mental connection... perhaps it goes further than that? Describe the mind as you see it."
"Well, beyond the external thoughts is the control of the body." Voldemort nodded to show that he knew this. "Beyond that is memories; all of them, in as much detail as the mind can hold. That's how deep I went into your mind, you remember." The Dark Lord in Dudley's form scowled at this mention of his weakness, but nodded again.
Harry continued. "And beyond that is the area of the basic instinctual thoughts. Not things like 'breathe' – I don't think those controls are tied in with the soul – but thoughts like 'I'm scared', 'I'm confused'... maybe moods?
"Next, closest to the core as far as I can see are the sort of 'defining memories', I think... lingering feelings and thoughts that compose and dictate who the person is. Vernon's were things like being alone and largely friendless during his teen years and his marriage with Petunia... I get the impression that the two were only together because they didn't want to be completely alone..."
Harry looked down as he related this to Voldemort. It sounded so pathetic in summary. Voldemort couldn't begin appreciate the emotions behind the memories, but Harry could; there was overbearing pain and frightening sorrow. So much regret... it had made him realise that Vernon was a human after all, not just some anonymous bogey-man who existed to torture him.
What was the price of a life?
He'd snuffed it out with so much ease...
"Beyond that is the core. You've seen the core, haven't you? It's the glowing golden light you can sense when you have no body whatsoever." Voldemort gave him a startled look.
"You can reach that? By possession? I thought it was the soul?"
"Er... Isn't it?"
Voldemort gave him the look reserved for people who were spouting nonsense. "There are many theories about the soul, but they tend to agree that it is something immortal. Something that changes and yet does not. Something untouchable. If it could be reached... I don't even know the implications that could hold. It could give the possessor immense power over the subject. Perhaps it is possible to alter the soul? Can you control someone so thoroughly it becomes their own will? See, think of all the things it would mean..."
Harry grimaced. "Vernon is dead. I put out the flame."
Dudley's eyes widened significantly. "You what?" He seemed flabbergasted for a few seconds, and then suddenly adopted a gleeful look. The corners of the boy's mouth stretched in a way that indicated he was trying not to grin, and his eyes gained an excited gleam to them. "How did you do it? What did it do to the mind?"
"I don't really know... I just snuffed it out like a candle. It was easy. Pathetically easy." Harry bit his lip, and felt disgusted when he was reminded that it wasn't his lip. "The mind was ripped away as the soul was. They seem to be too closely tied together for one to exist without the other. Vernon is... completely gone."
It wasn't easy to forget that Voldemort was sitting next to him when Dudley's eyes gleamed with such malicious emotion. "This is amazing! The things we could achieve with this..."
"I'm not ever going to do it again." he deadpanned. Dudley's face dropped.
"Why not?" he demanded, high pitched voice going up an octave. "Do you have any idea what you could do with such a skill?"
Dudley scowled. "And I suppose you're going to say that that's exactly why you're not going to use it..."
Harry smiled faintly at Voldemort.
The Dark Lord continued. "Well, no matter..." An eye was trained on him as if he'd escape if he wasn't being watched. "You'll learn the necessity to seek power eventually..."
Harry just rolled his eyes at him. "So what are we going to do now?"
Dudley glanced over to where the other's original body lay. The pool of blood under his head had stopped fanning out by now, but the body looked like death had rolled over twice. "I would check if you are still alive, first."
Harry paled. It hadn't quite occurred to him that he could possibly die and not even know about it in his state. He stumbled over to his body awkwardly, and pressed two fingers to the skin to find the pulse.
Relief washed over him as he found the beats, and he turned back to Voldemort who hadn't moved from his position on the other side of the room.
"Er." Harry said, uncomfortable at talking with so much distance between them. "I'm alive."
Dudley nodded, still not otherwise moving. "I'm not sure you would be able to survive without a functioning body anyway. I am only surviving in this state because my soul is anchored down to a corporeal object... If your body died, I suspect your mind and soul would fail with it."
"Do you think that if I stopped controlling Vernon's body, it would die?"
Dudley looked thoughtful for a second. It was hard not to stare; He had never seen the five year-old look thoughtful. "It's probable. Although, bodies without functioning minds can often continue to survive..." Dudley's shoulders were brought up in a slight shrug. "I suppose we'll see eventually."
Harry carefully scooped up his body from the floor, noting how light it was to Vernon's more powerful arms. He tried not to look at the blood as he settled it into a more comfortable holding position within his arms, carefully cradling it like one would a newborn baby.
He took a step towards Voldemort, and watched with curiosity as the possessed body flinched and took a step back. Raising an eyebrow, he took another step forward. Dudley's body took another step back.
He stopped moving, eyebrow still raised. "...What are you doing?"
Dudley's eyes were trained on the body cradled in Vernon's arms even as he replied. "I seem to get... a headache... whenever I'm too close to your original body. I tried to check its pulse before, and couldn't get within a metre." The Dark Lord scowled dangerously. "My best guess is that it has something to do with the bond, which would mean that it isn't simply restricted to being a mental bond. That we seem to suffer no ill effects talking at a close distance when you are not in your body is interesting. The killing curse may have created some physical link that enabled the mental link to emerge due to the relationship between the three states of being. Or perhaps the physical link is due to the mental link? But that would probably mean that you in your uncle's body would create the same effects..." The scowl didn't disappear. "This is getting confusing." the Dark Lord admitted, with some reluctance.
Harry laughed. "'Getting confusing?' You're my son, if you hadn't noticed."
Voldemort smirked. "Well father, it appears I am sixty years older than you..."
"And I'm not even sure how I managed to father a squirrel..."
"Well, the squirrel tried to kill its father when the man was a baby. I'm not sure how that happened either."
There was silence for a moment. Then suddenly Harry laughed, and Dudley's face pulled the most smug expression Harry had ever seen on a child. "Okay," he acceded. "You win."
"Of course I do," Voldemort practically purred. Then the subject was changed entirely. "Do you know where the muggle keeps his muggle money? I have a feeling we'll need it."
Harry considered the heavy jacket the man often wore, and nodded; Vernon tended to keep his wallet in his coat pockets. "Where will we be going?"
"We need to try and find some of my followers. Before that, though, I suggest we head to a house I own, east of here. Well, I don't own it as such... It's been largely abandoned for years now, but... it used to belong in the family."
Harry nodded, complacent with the explanation: Voldemort had only found out about his heritage when he was sixteen, after all, so it hadn't raised the question of his muggle links to the younger boy.
"How will we get there?" Harry asked, shifting the body in his arms around slightly as he spoke.
"Bus." Voldemort replied promptly, and his gaze then flickered down to the Harry Potter laying limp in Vernon's arms. "...Bring a suitcase."
Hey guys! Sorry about the last author's note; I was feeling a bit depressed when I posted it. (happens a lot)
Anyway, I hope this chapter is up to par. There's been a lot of theory introduced here, so I hope it's presented fluently and is easy to understand. It will all continue to be relevant in the future, too, so I hope it was enjoyed...
P.S.- There's only one person who will know what the deal with the suitcase line is right now. I hope I made that person laugh. Le plús, I've been having great fun corresponding with a few people. Some are anonymous.
Oh, and Tamsin? Stop reading this!