Disclaimer: I do not own any material written by J. K. Rolling or Walt Whitman.
And Then There Were Eight
Chapter Two: A Dark Future
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.
-When I Heard The Learn'd Astronomer, Walt Whitman
Harry didn't know where to turn.
After he had blown up the store he had ran down countless streets, looking for somewhere, anywhere, to escape too. Somewhere private, quiet; somewhere where he could gather his thoughts. He just wanted to be alone.
But the more anxious he grew, the more accidental magic he caused. He heard random objects pop and snap around him. Lawn windmills found the urge to spin rapidly as he passed, with no gust of wind present. If he glared at one object too long it changed color. And he could even feel the presence of magic, constantly lingering around him, sticking to the back of his neck, poking him in the side like an annoying thorn.
That, and the pain in his head kept reappearing.
He was growing frightened of himself. He struggled greatly with controlling his emotions. He tried to bring the limited knowledge of occlumency back into his brain, but what had been told to him before hadn't worked in the past, and didn't work now.
He pushed back his frustration, just feeling the magic ripple through his body with just that one emotion.
Merlin, what's happening to me?
Could it be some kind of phase? Maybe nothing was wrong with him at all. Maybe other wizards went through the same thing. Yes, maybe it was nothing.
But Harry couldn't comfort himself with those false hopes. He was sure someone would have mentioned it at the Burrow the first time he showed signs of accidental magic, if it was indeed the case. No, this was something out of the ordinary; how bloody fitting for Harry Potter.
"Shit – !" He cried in pain as another wave of magic rushed through him. He grabbed his head, hearing something else snapped in the distance. He cursed under his breath and kicked a rock, which transformed into a rat in mid-air, scurrying away from site when it hit the ground.
He squeezed his eyes shut and forced himself to take deep breaths. Just calm down. Stay relaxed.
A loud pop cracked through the air, and Harry curled his fingers into a fist. Great, what did I do this time?
But then a few more pops sounded and Harry quickly began to realize that was not the sound of accidental magic. It was the sound of apparating.
Harry ground his teeth together. Wizards. And in a muggle town. Harry could take a good guess as to who it just might be.
The Deatheaters still continued to rack havoc, refusing to admit defeat even with their Lord gone. Why? Harry could only guess.
The Prophet had assumed Voldemort was somehow alive, and usually Harry knew better than to trust the Prophet, but it was clear the Deatheaters had something up their sleeves. Even the oblivious writers on the Prophet couldn't deny something strange was amiss.
The first time Harry heard of a Deatheater attack, after Voldemort had died, Harry had rolled his eyes. The Deatheaters, powerful dark wizards, had begun to act like children. But after a few more "raids" Harry was confused. Usually there raids lasted a good forty minutes. But now, the Deatheaters never got very far in their attacks. There were never any muggles severely harmed. And they were only there for ten minutes, at the most, already disapparating away when Aurors arrived. That in itself was frustrating, since no one could arrive quickly enough to see exactly what was going on.
The thing about the Deatheaters was they went on raids specifically to destroy and fight. And since they were no longer focusing on that, Harry had to wonder what the point was of coming on a raid at all. To keep the public frightened?
But why even go through all of that? The last time Voldemort has "died" all the Deatheaters claimed to have been under the Imperius. This time they all seemed to have been hiding together, proudly keeping their Deatheater title. And they were hiding well, since only five Deatheaters had been caught since the Final Battle. Dozens still walked freely.
They were trying something new this time.
And Harry could finally get a chance to see what they were doing.
He quietly rounded a corner and pressed his back against a wall, straining his ears. But from where he was it seemed like the Deatheaters were...celebrating? They were loud, they were yelling, they were screaming curses at others.
"Eaves dropping, Potter?"
Harry turned around, but found no one there. He grit his teeth and pointed his wand to where he heard the sound. Show yourself!" He commanded.
"Are you sure? Are you ready to see your failure?"
Harry's neck hair prickled. That voice. That voice sounded extremely familiar. But from where? "Show yourself!" He said again, and heard a laugh.
The person popped in front of Harry, and Harry felt his heart stop cold.
Before his was a person who looked strikingly like Tom Riddle. It was like looking at the Horcrux memory from second year down in the Chamber of Secrets. The brown hair, the curves in his face...the only difference was this person was around the age of twenty. And this person had sparkling red eyes.
No – no, it was a trick. Yes, that's what it was. Polyjuice, or galmors. Something. Anything. That – that person was not here right now. Voldemort was not here right now. Tom Riddle was not here.
"What's the matter, Harry?" The person asked, grinning like mad. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
That voice, was it possible to glamor your voice as well? Harry was sure it was, but how could someone even know what his voice sounded like? A pensive, maybe? But he didn't think anyone other than Dumbledore had had access to such clear and vivid memories of young Tom Riddle.
Harry was too deep in shock to realize what was going on around him as his magic was lashing out at buildings, and the street; ripping through the brick and cement. He could only focus on this person.
He gulped, not able to hide his confusion and slight fear. But why was he scared? The person before him was obviously not who they claimed to be. It was some Deatheater trick. It wasn't Voldemort.
With his voice low and guarded Harry asked,"Who are you?"
The person laughed, taking a step closer. "Why Harry, I'm disappointed. Surely you know who I am?"
Something clicked inside him, and suddenly he couldn't contain his anger anymore, the air hissing around him. "What kind of sick trick is this?" He whispered, taking a step forward with his wand extended. "What kind of twisted humor do you have?"
The person was unfazed by Harry's words, and simply twirled his own wand between his fingers, smirking. "It isn't a trick." The person grinned.
Harry couldn't stand it. He felt a furry. "Stupefy! Confundus! Expelliarmus! Conjunctivitis!" He could barely register the fact all these spells left his wand in an incredible hurry, in huge blasts, and even before he could finish saying the incantation.
His spells rushed towards the imposter, but the person simply step-sided the first and deflected the rest.
"Come now, Harry, you know better spells than that...well, actually, I've never really witnessed anything other than first year spells from you. On second thought, I'll give you credit. You truly are giving it your all right now."
Harry grind his teeth together. Why was this person getting under his skin? Harry was used to taunts and insults. He could usually keep his head during a duel. Surely he wasn't loosing control of his emotions just because some Deatheater decided to play dress up by impersonating a dead Voldemort?
Scratch that, that was exactly what was happening.
"Crudus!" Harry shouted, watching in anticipation as the purple beam flew towards 'Voldemort'.
The person barely dodged it and look at Harry incredulously. "Such a dark spell from Harry Potter?" The person narrowed their eyes. "How interesting. And I had thought it was those light spells that had been the cause of everything. Interesting."
Harry narrowed his own eyes. "What are you talking about? Who are you?"
.:Really Harry, I didn't know you were capable of such denial.:.
Harry felt his mouth part open. No, no, no, no! It couldn't be. But it had to be. The man was clearly speaking parseltongue. And for a moment, a small moment, Harry was only surprised he could still understand the language. But then his mind quickly focused on the most important thing, which was no other wizard should be able to speak it. It was impossible to learn. Sure, you could pick up some words from hearing other people speak it, and knowing what they say, like Ron did by hissing open to enter the Chamber. But this wasn't anything like that. This was fluent, clear spoken, parseltongue.
But it just couldn't be possible.
.:You're lying!:. Harry hissed. .:Voldemort is dead. His horcruxes are destroyed. All seven of them.:.
But the impersonator laughed. .:So you thought there were seven? Indeed, there were. But I hadn't known you were the supposed seventh. Dear Harry, you were number eight.:.
He felt his eyes go wide, and he subconsciously took a step back. .:Wh-what?:.
.:Dumbledore must have thought I wanted my soul split in seven, and therefore assumed I had made six horcruxes, and finally a seventh, you, by accident. And I had, originally, wanted my soul into seven parts. But I learned of Dumbledore's musings. So I simply made my seventh horcrux, before accidentally making you one. I had eight horcruxes Harry. Eight. Little Harry, I am truly Lord Voldemort.:.
.:I-impossible.:. Harry took another step back, feeling everything drain out of him. All of that work...all of that fuss, and yet he had still failed. Voldemort was still alive. Voldemort was still alive. "Impossible!" He yelled, switching to English.
He felt a violent tug in his chest and a wave of nausea hit him. The ground started to rip itself apart. He danced around the spreading crack, until he tumbled to his knees as he lost his footing on the shaking ground.
He clutched his aching head, and spared a look at...at V-Voldemort who had already regained himself, and was looking at Harry with a thoughtful expression. Harry had to admit it all felt odd. Besides the fact Voldemort shouldn't even be alive and the fact he looked like the same handsome Tom Riddle Harry had seen, the oddest part of it all was that Voldemort wasn't trying to kill him. He hadn't shot one spell towards him. And – holy shit, had Harry just described Voldemort as handsome?
He gripped his wand tightly, and began to stand up, but his legs wouldn't allow that, and neither would his head, putting dizzying black dots in front of his eyes.
He felt a hand grab, and shock, his arm. The shock was strong, and he could feel the person by him gasp. But strangely, instead of pain, an odd sense of peace overcame him. "Gerroff me," Harry mumbled halfheartedly, slowly giving in to the comforting darkness.
"Stubborn as ever, I see." Someone said before sighing. "I swear Potter, you'll be the real death of me," The same someone muttered, before disapparating them both away with a soft pop.
When Harry woke up he was aware of many things. He was calm, he wasn't in the middle of a battlefield, and he was in a bed.
He blearily opened his eyes, surprised his glasses were still on. He blinked a few times, clearing his foggy vision.
"AH!" He yelled, reaching for his wand, nor being able to find it. Of bloody course.
He looked in fright at Voldemort, even though it was so incredibly hard to think of him as Voldemort when he looked like that; young, nice, pretty...
Pretty? Bloody hell, what happened to him to make him think that?
And usually Harry would be very nervous, waking up to find Voldemort sitting next to his bed, but there was one increasingly disturbing factor that made Harry feel numerous things. Voldemort was holding his hand.
"The hell, Voldemort?" Harry yelled, trying to yank his hand away, tugging harshly. "Let go of me! Where am I? Give me my wand back! Why haven't you killed me yet? Let go of me!" He continued to struggle, starting to now hit and kick, but he was immediately put into a body bind from the head down as he got violent.
Harry glared at Voldemort, unable to do anything else. "Really, Harry. Have you no pride? You are acting like a child."
"I want to know why the hell your holding hands with me, Voldemort."
Voldemort grimaced at that. "Not holding hands. I'm simply keeping you alive, and everything around you untouched, until a more permanent solution is found."
Harry didn't understand what Voldemort was talking about, but he felt very uneasy knowing the Dark Lord's hand was currently wrapped around his. He could feel the warm and sweaty palm clenched against his, and he could feel the man's long fingers wrapped around his own. He wished desperately that he could move his hand. Stupid body bind. "Just let go of me!"
Voldemort raised an eyebrow, and Harry could feel the hand move so only a finger and thumb wrapped around his wrist. "If that's what you really want." Harry felt the fingers move away, but a cold blanket immediately fell on top of him and he could feel something terrible start to crush him, something painful, and he knew it was magic, but he didn't know how he knew that, and he also didn't know magic, namely his own magic, could react so negatively with his body, but that's what was happening, his magic was killing him, his magic was setting everything inside him on fire, his magic was rushing around him, whipping him, shocking him. Harry would have struggled if he wasn't in a bind, and he would have screamed if the air hadn't been stolen from his lungs.
But then, thank Merlin, all the pain went away, and his magic calmed down again, becoming content, loosing its anger, leaving Harry at peace.
Harry could also feel, along with the calm and soothing atmosphere, a hand wrapped around his.
He looked at Voldemort, surprised to see the man's forehead was littered in sweat and he seemed out of breath as well.
His voice shaking, Harry asked, "What just happened?"
Voldemort looked at Harry. "That was your real magic."
"You've been practicing Dark magic, correct?" Voldemort didn't give him time to respond. "Of course you have. I knew the moment you cast that Crudus curse at me. But when did you start this training? You must have been doing it in secret, so I assume you started practicing after you assumed the war was over?"
"What's that matter?" Harry asked, nervous to admit his curiosity in the Dark Arts to the Dark Lord. "There are a lot of Dark spells that don't cause people pain, you know. I wasn't looking for torture methods."
"And yet you know a spell that is suppose to give a person a sizable cut that bleeds profoundly and is not allowed to be cured by magic?" Voldemort smirked as Harry felt his cheeks grow hot. Okay, so maybe he stumbled across a few dark curses too, but most of them had been spells to heal yourself and others. There were also Dark defense spells, transfigurations, basically every class offered at Hogwarts with the word Dark before the title.
"No, that doesn't matter. What matters is that you started to practice these Dark spells. And I have no doubt that that was the time in which your magic started becoming more out of control."
Harry kept an even glare on the man. "And why would my magic start doing that?"
"Silly child," Voldemort hissed at him. "Why do you think there are two types of magic, light and dark? They are different. They pull towards wizards that have magic with similar properties. Now tell me, have you ever felt drawn towards any one magic?"
Harry narrowed his eyes in confusion. How was this relevant? But nevertheless, he answered, looking at the yew wand in Voldemort's hands that was pointed towards his chest. "I don't know. I mean, I started learning Dark magic simply because I felt it was stupid to block out an entire branch of magic because some people thought it was evil."
"How did you feel when casting a dark spell, versus casting a light spell?"
"Er, it was easier, if that's what you mean. At Hogwarts it usually took me a few trys to do something. But with the Dark spells I tried, I usually got it on the second, if not first, go." Harry eyed Voldemort. "Why is that important?"
"Because, you fool, someone tampered with your magic. Which is why we are both in this mess."
"Wait, what?" Harry asked. "Tampered with my magic? And what do you have to do with it all?" Questions swarmed his mind.
"Someone made sure you never felt a pull towards dark magic. Whenever a magical child is born, Healers scan a baby's magic. Usually they can predict what type of magic that baby will be attracted towards when older. This is useful so parents know what to focus on when teaching their children basics, which most magical parents do. So, as a child, you must have shown attraction towards dark magic. Considering you were surrounded by light wizards, and light wizards believing dark magic is the sign of evil, someone could have tainted enough of your magic with light, to make sure you never felt a pull towards dark. I had first assumed it was your Light magic that had been put into a restriction, but the fact it was Dark only makes this situation more dangerous. You haven't been exposed to Dark magic. Therefore you need as much exposure as possible. We'll get to that later.
"The point right now, that you need to understand, is someone blocked your dark magic. They used some kind of spell. But off course, they would need to re-do this spell every year for your magic to stay the way the wanted it to, since a person's magic grows each year. Meaning, whoever it was that did this to you, didn't re-new this spell this year, and in response, your magic started to naturally pull you to the Dark."
Harry felt dazed. "And who would have done that? Why would they stop spelling me now?" Not that he wasn't glad. If what Voldemort was saying was true, Harry felt downright pissed someone would taint him like that, and put him under a false image and keep him away from a perfectly fine branch of magic that was easier for him to use.
"Honestly, Potter, are you dim? It would take someone powerful. Someone Light. Someone who has been around your whole life up until this year. Someone manipulative. Someone who would gain much from you staying out of the Dark. Who do you think it is?"
Honestly, Harry had no idea, but that was because his mind seemed to refuse that anyone around him had betrayed him like this.
At Harry's silence Voldemort rolled his eyes. "Dumbledore, Potter. Dumbledore."
Harry shook his head. "No. No, he wouldn't do that." Dumbledore was his mentor. His grandfather in everything but blood and magic. Dumbledore who was there for him, who helped him, who guided him. Dumbledore wasn't bad. "You lying monster!"
Voldemort was unfazed by these words. "Believe what you will, Potter, but Dumbledore isn't the saint you continue to picture him as. You were only a tool to him. All he wanted from you was to fight the war. When has he ever talked with you about things that weren't related to the war? You were a tool."
"No I wasn't!" Harry hissed. "Why are you even trying to turn me against him? He's dead! Dead because of your stupid Horcrux!" Which was true. One Horcrux started to eat away at his hand. The other weakened him. Even if Snape hadn't shot the Avada at him, he would have died from one of the Horcrux's not long after.
Voldemort pinched the bridge of his nose with his other hand. "Merlin help me," He muttered. "Dumbledore or not," He started, and Harry glared, knowing full well Voldemort still believed Dumbledore would do that to Harry, "Your magic started lashing out because it started to fully recover. After seventeen years it went under a lot of stress. It was coming back fully. You felt pain in your head, I could see it the way you winced. That was were the block was put. The block that kept your magic from going Dark. Your magic was slowly breaking it, but it was so powerful it caused you pain.
"Casting Dark magic, though, made you feel relief. Small relief, yes, but relief nonetheless. But it wasn't enough. Your emotions were swirling out of control, your magic was becoming more desperate to break away from the block in your head, but nothing you could do was powerful enough, so it grabbed onto the next best thing."
Harry looked at him expectantly. It seemed Voldemort wasn't excited about telling this part. "Which was?"
Harry was silent. They both were. Finally Harry asked, "What does that mean, latched onto you?" He asked it even though he didn't want to hear the answer. He had a sinking feeling in his stomach.
"It means that right now you are living off of my magic. This is why your hand is currently resting in mine. If I let go for long enough, if I don't give you any physical contact for over a minute, maybe two, you will die."
Harry was beyond confused. "And why not let me die?"
Voldemort sighed. "Because, Potter, your magic is connected to mine. You need mine to live. And very unfortunately, I need yours to live."
Harry gulped, despair sinking in. He didn't want yet another connection between him and Voldemort. It seemed no matter where Voldemort went, Harry always seemed to be intertwined with him. Neither can live while the other survives indeed.
But this, Merlin! This was worse than his scar. He had to always touch Voldemort if he wanted to live? Eugh! Really, did the universe hate him that much?
"No way!" Harry yelled, wishing desperately he wasn't in the body bind. He'd rather die than forever be bound to Voldemort.
"Do you think I'm happy about this either?" Voldemort hissed. "I come back to a new body, after another embarrassing defeat, and I find I have to be connected to you if I want to continue living?" Voldemort glared at Harry. "And although I find it much more than unpleasant, I am willing to live like this. And I will put a permanent sticking charm on your hand if you continue to struggle after I release that bind because although it is tempting, you cannot be in it forever."
Harry made a face of disgust, but nodded, his head feeling like lead.
"And don't think of it as forever. Eventually things should calm down and our magic should become much less reliant on each other. There could be ways to speed this process up, but this has never happened before, so research will be difficult. But it won't be forever."
"But it'll be for a while." Harry didn't have to ask, and didn't bother to hide the misery out of his voice.
"Yes, it will be for while."
Harry and Voldemort. Forced not to kill each other. Forced to touch. For whoever knew how long.
A/N: I re-read this twice. Wasn't that happy with it. What did you think?