A/N: This story is going to be dark, but I hope not overly so. It will eventually be slash. If any of these things upset you, then leave now. Otherwise, I really look forward to what you think of my new story. It starts after the attack on the Department of Mysteries and Sirius' death. Everything up to this point has followed canon. It will no longer match canon from here on out! Well, here we go:
Smothered by sticky blackness, grasping and clutching at him no matter how he struggled.
Slimy vileness seeping into every crevice, into every inch of his soul.
Harry thrashed and rebelled and screamed.
He couldn't break free.
Miles away Dumbledore was talking, and he was talking back.
Miles away and yet Harry was there, crouched at the back of his own eyes, so really it was only inches separating him from freedom. The distance was more than something physical, however, while the weight of him pressing down, choking out his very life, was very tangible.
Exhausted, Harry stilled. Why fight? He wasn't strong enough. Trapped in an acidic cage, pushed out of everything that was fundamentally his.
Greif, regret, anguish washed through him, further stealing his strength, and he wailed his despair…
He couldn't wail. He no longer had lungs or a body.
Voldemort screamed. The foreign emotions burned. How long since he'd been human? Too long to remember how to cope with such things, certainly.
Grief boiled his blood.
He flinched away and realized that gave Potter power. He quickly reestablished his grip, but it was too late. That old fool was encouraging the boy, and Potter, of course, immediately responded like the obedient puppy he was.
Regret scraped like knives.
Voldemort held on. Determined to win this battle. He could outlast the stupid brat!
Sorrow tore like salt in a wound.
Was the child a masochist? It was too much. With a scream of rage, Voldemort yanked/pulled/pushed free of the disgusting mire. But he underestimated how much power the possession had sapped from him. When he tried to Apparate to safety, unconscious snatched him away instead.
Lucius dove for his Lord's collapsing body, emergency portkey ready. The fool, Albus, lifted his hand, but he was slowed by his concern for the equally limp Potter. A sharp tug behind his navel, and they left the ruins of the Ministry lobby.
The receiving room at Malfoy Manor stood empty, and he stood up with a quiet curse. The Dark Lord wouldn't be pleased if he were left on the floor, but he wouldn't be pleased to be manhandled somewhere else, either. He sneered at himself. Who was he trying to fool? The Dark Lord wouldn't be pleased regardless. They had failed. The prophecy remained a mystery, Potter still lived, and soon the world would be told of the Dark Lord's return. However, maybe he could still buy himself leniency by doing some damage control.
An elf appeared promptly. Lucius didn't give it time to speak.
"Place my Lord in the east guest-suite and care for his every whim. Alert me as soon as he awakens."
"Yes, Master," the elf answered, eyes bulging.
Lucius smirked, glad he wouldn't have to deal with moving the Dark Lord himself. The man was a powerhouse with magic and a genius to its manipulation and application. His determination remained without equal. This was the man who held on to existence through sheer will for a decade. A man who'd only been returned to a physical body for a measly year, and he was already dueling a powerful Light Lord. He was capable of feats none could duplicate. Thus ensuring Dark wizards would follow, obey, and worship him despite the erratic moods and excessive punishments.
Not to mention the fact that to refuse the Dark Lord would mean an immediate death sentence that would possibly extend to family and friends. Light wizards had no idea. They defied and antagonized Lord Voldemort from behind wards and comrades willing to defend them. Let's see their defiance while within His reach! While Lord Voldemort had access to wives, children, siblings. Let's see them antagonize the Dark Lord then!
Lucius shook his head. He had to concentrate. He had to be cunning if he were going to survive. He'd been seen in Death Eater regalia without his mask. Some of the others might not have evaded arrest at all. If he moved quickly, he could create an alibi and be seen in public. When questioned, he could suggest the Death Eater look-alike had been polyjuiced to sow distrust. Or better yet, it could be Light fanatics trying to set him and other Dark scholars up to 'cleanse' the world.
Yes. It was still workable.
Harry opened his eyes reluctantly. He felt sick. His head pounded, and the inside of his skin itched dreadfully. On the plus side, he was warm. Comfortable sheets surrounded him, and warm sunlight fell gently on his face. He lazily took in the large glass window, the elegant arch, the smell of sandalwood.
With a gasp, he surged upward. His heart began to race in his chest as he took in the luxurious setting. He'd never been anywhere so obviously wealthy. The large bed was almost the size of his dorm room!
Memory trickled in. Visions, the Department of Mysteries, the fight, Sirius, being possessed…
He was definitely awake and definitely hyperventilating, which actually kind of helped with the horrible headache. Harry felt an insane urge to giggle and had to bite his lip to stop it from escaping.
A loud crack almost made him jump out of his skin.
"Does my Lord sir require anything?"
An elf knelt, trebling, on the floor. Harry wondered at the excessive title, but he brushed it aside in favor of more important things. "Where…" He jumped again, his heart stuttering to a panicked stop as he whipped his head around. Gripping the sheets in tight fists, Harry tired to keep from falling apart. Maybe he was crazy, but that had sounded a lot like…
"Great Dark Lord sir, are you well?" The elf practically quaked in terror, its forehead pressed to the thick carpet.
Harry numbly looked at his hands. Such a simple thing. We see our hands a hundred, no a thousand, times a day. The pale, slick skin encasing bony fingers much too long visibly trembled.
They weren't his hands.
"Oh… god…" he rasped in a horrified whisper.
His mind short-circuited, unable to accept or deal with what had happened. He fainted dead away.
Voldemort stared thoughtfully at the fifteen year old staring back at him. He was relatively healthy and attractive, if on the smaller side. The power level was a surprise, but the control was abysmal. The boy's features were at once familiar and strange from this perspective.
He now owned the body of the Boy Hero.
Dumbledore couldn't live forever, and who would fill that gap? Who would people look to? The Boy-Who-Lived, Savior of the Wizarding World, of course. People would follow Harry Bloody Potter unquestioningly. They would jump at the chance to be a 'hero' like their beloved Wonder Boy. This was better than he could ever have conceived.
Bright green eyes twinkled, bloody twinkled, at him from his reflection, and a slow smile stretched his full lips.
Yes, he would have to deal with lack-wits, Mudbloods, blood-traitors, and worst of all, that fool Dumbledore, but this was a glorious chance to shape the world, to become the rightful ruler of wizendom. He'd have to work on magic control, and, for Merlin's sake, eat a little more, but he could do this. He would do this.
Another way this worked in his favor, he was free from Dark-addiction. He'd thought it was a myth, something the Light created to try and prevent the use of Dark magic, but now that he was in a clean body, he realized just how much he'd been affected. For the first time in decades, he was thinking clearly.
Obviously, this time around he should be wiser, more judicious in the use of Dark Arts. They were meant to be used cunningly, not obsessively. Their very nature spelled destruction. If not handled with care, they would destroy the user as quickly as the target. It was a disgrace to be controlled by the Dark instead of the one in control.
The best part of all this, though, was the world would help him destroy his now weakened enemy and love him for it. Harry Potter would die. Voldemort began to laugh, the sound innocent and joyful as it had not been in many long years.
Voldemort spun, falling silent. Intelligent eyes stared back at him from the face of a girl-child. He carefully Legimenized her to see her expectations of his behavior. He could not give himself away. "Herm, I didn't hear you come in." And he hadn't. This body had a lot of work ahead of it.
"Should you be out of bed?"
Voldemort adopted a subdued expression. "Don't want to sleep." His eyes dropped shyly. "Dreams. You know."
"I'm so sorry, Harry," the girl named Hermione responded with a tearful voice. She moved forward and wrapped him in a warm hug that had Voldemort's body reacting very pleasantly. "I'll miss him, too."
He nodded and stayed quiet, contemplating the joys of being in a healthy young body.
"Are you going back to the Dursleys?"
Glancing up into her eyes for an answer, he just barely kept from smirking. The famous hideaway the Potter boy always disappeared to during the summer. This would prove interesting. He also gleaned the fact Harry hated going back and always put up a passive-aggressive fight about it. Hmmm… A source of resentment between the old fool and Potter. Looked like he wouldn't have to fawn completely at the old man's feet, after all. That was a relief. He really did hate Dumbledore.
He gave her a sullen scowl. "Where else can I go? You know Dumbledore won't let me stay anywhere else."
"I'm sorry," she said again.
He was getting tired of her tedious company. "I should pack."
"Are you allowed out of the infirmary?"
Voldemort shrugged and walked toward the doors. She didn't try to stop him. Good. Unfortunately, Dumbledore was waiting for him in the hallway. Voldemort caught the snarl before it could form and turned it into a teenage glare before he dropped his eyes to his feet.
"My boy, how are you feeling?"
"Fine," he answered shortly and internally berated himself. Did he want to get caught? Ducking his head, he shuffled his feet.
Dumbledore sighed. "I deserve your anger, Harry. Please, come to my office so I can explain."
The following hour was the most rewarding, satisfying experience of Voldemort's life. Dumbledore told him the prophecy with his own lips. At last! He felt like cackling in glee. Better yet, he trashed that bastard's office, breaking many precious magical gadgets, and he got away with it! It was glorious seeing the old man almost pander to him. Gone were the suspicious looks, the disapproving eyes that haunted his teenage years. Dumbledore cared about him now.
Voldemort felt gloriously happy and was glad he was disappearing into the Muggle world for a few weeks. He needed to get more in character. Harry would be a rebellious, grieving teen who was intrinsically good. Not a fifteen year old grinning from ear to ear, practically skipping down the hall.
Dread clamped down on his stomach as Harry opened his eyes. The itching still scratched at him, but the headache was gone. The pale, strange hands weren't, however. Panic set in, and he flung himself from the bed, almost convinced he could escape the strange body encasing him. Panting, gasping, almost sobbing, Harry lost his balance, legs longer than he was used to, and went sprawling.
Oh god oh god oh god. Voldemort's body! Disgusting. Revolting. Make it stop, someone make it stop! I want to go home!
The sharp tang of bile as he vomited shocked him out of the panic attack. He sat really still, afraid to touch himself, afraid to feel anything.
"My Lord sir," an elf whispered with horror.
And then Bellatrix Lestrange slipped into the room. She paused, seeing him on his knees, a stinking spot of bile on the carpet, arms outstretched. She took a few steps closer and cleaned the mess, all the while talking in a simpering, infatuated voice.
Harry had no idea what she was saying. He couldn't hear over the roaring in his ears. Sirius. Hate and rage pulled forth a deep and delicious strength. The itch grew worse and better as he hissed out a tight breath. He felt gripped by something infinitely bigger than him, and, at the same time, he felt in control for the first time. Bellatrix had escaped him in the Ministry. She wouldn't survive this time.
Muscle memory had his wand in hand before he could even think to look for it. He wanted her dead. Need consumed him. He wanted her dead. And reflexively power answered his cry, perfectly tamed to his will.
Sirius laughing. Sirius wanting him to be family when no one else did. Sirius hugging him, loving him. Sirius dead. By this bitch's wand.
"Aveda Kedavra," he rasped.
A perfect jet of light stuck her in the chest.
And she was dead.
Glorious triumph sizzled along every nerve. It felt good, better than anything else ever had. It warmed him completely. No more grief, no more panic. No fear or anger, just this euphoric rush.
Harry stood and walked easily over to the woman. She looked like nothing now. Because she was nothing now. He stood there, grinning, and the minutes slowly passed. The rush calmed and bled away. Slowly, the smile faded, leaving him hungry and itchy again. His heart began to beat steadily faster, and not with joy.
A woman lay dead at his feet. Eyes glazed and utterly empty. She was just meat. Empty. It had felt good, so good. The memory made him twitch, wanting to do it again. It was so much better than giving a damn. So much easier. Made him so much more powerful. Distress, denial, surged in his gut.
"Oh god," he muttered dully. "What am I going to do?"
A couple things were obvious. He was Voldemort. People thought he was Voldemort, so he was among Death Eaters. And he had Voldemort's Dark Magic, not his own. Magic that wanted to be used, that this body needed to use.
"What am I going to do?" he asked again, despairing.
He couldn't go get help. No one would believe him. They'd try to kill him on sight. He was the Dark Lord, after all. He was trapped with a corpse, one he had killed. He was alone, and he had no clue what to do. He was sick and afraid. He wanted Sirius.
"S-S-Shall Mizzy t-take care of i-it, my L-Lord sir?"
Harry stared at the terrified, gibbering elf. It was scared of him. Suddenly he couldn't bear it. "Please," he rasped roughly. "Don't be afraid." He fell silent, disturbed by his own voice. He hated the sound. It made his flesh crawl.
The elf stared at him warily, and Harry stared helplessly back. "Are you well, my Lord sir," it asked carefully.
Harry shook his head. He was definitely not all right. "Where am I," he whispered.
"Malfoy Manor, my Lord sir."
Great. Harry's stomach churned. He was going to be sick again. What would happen if the Death Eaters discovered the truth? He shivered and wrapped his arms around his chest protectively.
The thought startled him. None of his friends would believe him, but Snape could look in his mind. Harry gritted his teeth, grinding them as he ducked his head. Snape. Snape hadn't listened. Snape could have prevented this whole disaster. And now Sirius was dead. Harry's entire face hurt from clamping down so hard. Pain pounded in his skull. He had no choice. There was literally no one else he could go to.
Decision made, he wondered how he could get Snape here. Again the magic came without him consciously calling it. The glorious euphoria flooded back as he reached instinctively for one of the connections attached to his magic. He pulled. Hard. A savage grin stretched his face, knowing how much that hurt the slimy git.
"No." Harry staggered as he mentally shoved away the seductive magic. It was so easy to use, so perfect. He was doing things before he even realized it. He couldn't let it continue to control him. He was used to letting his instincts rule him. That was okay before, but in this body it would destroy him. Magic wasn't just magic anymore. It was dangerous and deceptive.
And addictive, he realized, the itch becoming a burn under his skin.
"I'm addicted," he whispered fearfully.
Harry moved to the bed and sat numbly. The elf was still staring, and he felt a sudden flare of paranoia. What if it reported that Voldemort was acting crazy? He glared and hissed for it to leave. It disappeared instantly, eyes wide in fear. He felt a sudden urge to put his head in his hands, but his stomach rejected the idea of touching Voldemort's disgusting face. He sat rigidly, trying to even his breathing and stay calm.
Severus schooled his features into a blank mask. It was midday, the brats left on the train. Usually the Dark Lord waited until midnight to ask for his report, but after the debacle at the Ministry, he wasn't surprised by the early summons. He was surprised, however, that the pull directed him to Malfoy Manor. He was further surprised when no one greeted him except a single elf.
"May I get sir anything?"
"Where is Lucius?" he demanded sharply.
"Severus? What are you doing here?" Said man stepped out from a parlor, a glass of brandy in his hand despite the early hour.
Severus lifted an eyebrow. "I was summoned."
Lucius' narrowed his eyes. The man thought he was hard to read, but Severus had known him since he was eleven. Lucius was not pleased. They always competed for their Lord's favor, so when one was summoned without the other, it always created worry. Severus smirked. Lucius glared back.
"I shouldn't keep him waiting," he said as he strode for the stairs. Severus didn't let it show on his face that he wasn't pleased either.
The Dark Lord hadn't told him about the Ministry attack or the plans to mess with Potter's head. Did he suspect Severus was a spy? Obviously Lucius hadn't been called to account despite being nearby. If he had, he wouldn't be in any condition to walk around, let alone drink fine brandy. It was never good to be the first, or even the tenth, to see the Dark Lord after a failed mission, and Severus suspected he was the first. If the Dark Lord had been up and about before now, he wouldn't still be at Malfoy Manor.
A feeling of foreboding chilled him. Why was the Dark Lord still shut away? Had he been hurt in the battle? He knew from Albus that he'd fallen unconscious just like Potter, but the brat had awoken yesterday. Being singularly summoned to an injured and angry Dark Lord was a death sentence. Would Severus finally be granted that sweet release?
The feeling grew worse when he came to the entrance of the guest-suite and felt the source of his summons still deeper. His palms grew clammy as he crossed through several rooms to the bedchamber.
Sweet Merlin. He'd yet to hear stories of the Dark Lord taking up his sadistic bedroom games since his resurrection, and Severus had hoped they wouldn't be resumed. He honestly would rather be dead. Still, he'd been called, and until he answered, the tug would grow worse, possibly driving him insane. Besides, this was his penance to Lily, and the Order depended on his information.
Thus gathering his courage, Severus brought up a steady fist. He knocked twice.
It wasn't snapped furiously or hissed with sadistic glee. It was a tight, tense whisper that barely carried through heavy wood. Severus felt his hand begin to shake as he pushed open the door. He stepped into the brightly lit chamber and almost immediately tripped over a limp Bellatrix. Severus felt a bit calmer knowing he hadn't been first summoned. He shut the door and knelt, ignoring the sharp tang of bile in the air.
Bella endured a rough session, he thought with glee. No one deserves it more. He bowed his head, eyes on the carpet as he said aloud, "My Lord. You called."
Severus began to sweat. The Dark Lord wasn't known for stillness or patience. Fear trickled back into his bloodstream.
"No care at all, Snape, for a fallen Death Eater?"
Every muscle in his body tensed at the hoarse rasp. His eyes darted to Bella. Dear Merlin, she was dead. Who had killed her? Did the Dark Lord think he'd done it? His breath was coming quicker, and he fought to remain cool and collected. Any show of emotion could be seen as a confession to a guilt he did not bear.
"My Lord, I thought her merely passed out. Who did this?" It wasn't a good idea to question the Dark Lord, but he'd already been reprimanded for saying nothing.
Severus couldn't help it. He looked up. The inhuman face stared back at him. The stretched, pale features looked both pleased and horrified by what he'd just admitted. Severus could understand the first, but horrified? It was an utterly bizarre expression for the Dark Lord. He was missing something vital.
"My Lord," he stated, stalling, scrambling to understand the situation he'd walked into. He ducked his head again, but looked up through the screen of his hair, needing more clues.
"How do you detox from Dark magic?"
Severus almost gasped. Again his head shot up. The blood red eyes narrowed, and his heart gave a painful thud. "There are some rituals and potions to speed the process, but mostly it takes time. If the addiction is very bad, magic suppressants will be needed to keep the wizard from accidently using more."
The Dark Lord looked thoughtfully at the wall. "How much time? Is it painful?"
Severus relaxed, now understanding. The Dark Lord wasn't confessing to the unthinkable. He was merely exploring new torture methods. This was familiar, and he knew how to respond to best please his Lord. "Very painful, my Lord. The quicker you make the detox, the more agonizing the process."
Red eyes flashed over to him, the familiar mask of rage contorting the wax-smooth features. "And that makes you happy, does it?" A sharp back of laughter exploded from a tight throat. "Why am I not surprised?"
Severus trembled, unsure why his answer had set his Lord off. "I'm sorry, my Lord. Forgive me."
"Maybe I should try it on you." It was spoken in a dangerous hiss.
"I will do whatever you require of me, my Lord," Severus answered quickly. Plus, he'd already detoxed. It wouldn't be horrible for him.
The simpering answer was met with a familiar sneer. He felt almost dizzy between the unexpected and expected reactions. It was throwing him off, making him uncertain and unwise in his answers. Every prolonged moment in the Dark Lord's presence only put him in more danger of misstepping. He almost wanted to ask why he'd been summoned, but he didn't quite dare. Instead, he waited in silence as the Dark Lord sat stiffly at the edge of a disturbed bed that he'd yet to order Severus into.
It was very strange. He could only guess he was being tested. Failure wasn't an option. And he was failing so far. That was clear. First by not realizing Bella was dead. Then the Dark Lord had called him Snape, which he only ever did when he was questioning Severus' loyalties. And then again for his answer pertaining to detoxing.
Desperate times called for desperate measures. Severus swallowed heavily and reached to open his Death Eater robes. Underneath he wore a black, long-sleeved button-up to hide the blasted Dark Mark and long pants. "If it would please you, my Lord," he said as steadily as he could. It still came out a bit faintly but that was okay. The Dark Lord liked fear, fed off it.
Red eyes stared at him. Severus took that for approval and shed his robe. His stained fingers began to unbutton his shirt, but he froze when a look of shock spread across his Lord's face. The lipless mouth dropped open while the red gaze snapped to the bed. Then an amazing thing happened that shocked Severus utterly.
The Dark Lord practically flung himself off the bed, palms out – not to cast agonizing magic but in an innocent gesture of denial – and placed his back to the wall, retreating from him.
Severus couldn't move, couldn't think. He was literally struck dumb.
"What? No! Put your clothes back on!"
Harry had been stalling, unable to think of a way to explain the unfathomable situation he now found himself in. And then Snape kept being a git and distracted him. It was almost fascinating to see the cold, impassive, frightening Potions Professor turn into this submissive, unsure man.
He still didn't know what to say, but he was done with the charade. He felt absolutely sick to think the Dark Lord made the Death Eaters sleep with him. He didn't for a moment think it'd be pleasant for the Death Eater, and the pale face and faint voice had told him Snape thought he wasn't being given a choice. For the first time, he felt pity for his hated teacher.
"There's been a mistake. I need help," he admitted reluctantly.
He hated asking this man for help. The anger caught fire in his chest much quicker than normal, threatening to become rage, and he hastily struggled to stay calm. The magic came when he got angry. He looked to see Snape just standing there. Irritation scratched at his control.
"You're not helping," he grated, fists balled.
Harry could hardly hear him, Severus spoke so softly. He sighed. Obviously Snape was shaken. He thought he was facing his sick, perverted Master, and there was a dead body at his feet. Harry kept this in the front of his mind, holding on to his compassion with stubborn will.
"Before I explain, it's essential you don't make me mad. We must both stay calm. Do you understand?"
Snape's eyes grew round. "Yes, my Lord."
Harry almost laughed. He would have liked to have Snape this agreeable in school. "Just to make sure you understand, I'm addicted to Dark magic and can't control my responses right now. I killed her before I knew what I was doing."
He carefully didn't say her name. He was still angry. She killed Sirius. But it was useless. The thought of his now dead godfather had rage boiling over him no matter his attempt to stay calm.
He blinked and everything altered subtly. His anger-filled eyes took in the pale, frozen, ugly face of his teacher. Snape had helped. He helped kill Sirius. If he only listened! The magic rose and teased his raw nerves. It promised such good things. Snape would hurt. He'd pay for his betrayal.
"I know how to hurt you," Harry confessed, his voice that of Voldemort's – hungry and insane. "It will feel so good to hurt you. You deserve it."
"My Lord," Snape whispered, still standing there.
That's right. He belonged to Harry now, didn't he? He could feel the connection. It wrapped all around Snape, binding him. It was amazing that he could move at all. And it was his own fault. He'd become a Death Eater. He deserved everything that happened to him.
Harry purposefully grabbed his own face. The unfamiliar, monstrous features pressed into his palms. He welcomed the instant horror and disgust that rolled through him. It pushed the magic away, the unreasoning anger. Harry groped for sympathy. It was horrible how trapped Snape was. Harry knew about being trapped. He never wanted to be a hero, not even when he was a kid. But it was better than being a monster.
Hot tears fell from his eyes as he lowered his hands. Strange. He was taller than his teacher. It made Snape seem younger, more vulnerable. Or maybe that was because the man seemed about to faint.
"I'm not Voldemort," Harry bit out harshly, talking to himself as much as the other man. "This isn't me. I'm not a monster." He looked directly into Snape's dark eyes, silently inviting him to see for himself. "I'm Harry Potter."
A/N: Let me know what you think! I'd really appreciate it! It's been so long since I've written a new story, that I feel a bit nervous. Lol!