Disclaimer: All credit that can possible be given goes to J.K. Rowling for being the blatant creator of the Harry Potter series. I'd like to take this opportunity to explain that I'm not going to make any money off of this; I am merely doing this for the fun of it.
Official Trailer: (just to give you a 2:00 preview of the story) hxxp:/www(.)youtube(.)com/watch?v=erJ5hFRdYXg (Replace 'hxxp' with 'http', and remove the ()'s, obviously.)
Be warned, this chapter begins with a lot of canon, but has important original content.
Harry lay face down, listening to the silence that surrounded him. He was perfectly alone because of what he had done, he knew. Nobody was watching. Nobody else was there. He was not perfectly sure that he was there himself.
A long time later, or maybe no time at all, it came to him that he must exist, must be more than disembodied thought, because he was lying, definitely lying, on some surface. Therefore, he had a sense of touch, and the thing against which he lay existed too.
Almost as soon as he had reached this conclusion, Harry became conscious that he was naked. Convinced that he was of his total solitude, this did not concern him, but it did intrigue him slightly. He wondered whether, as he could feel, he would be able to see. In opening them, he discovered that he had eyes.
He lay in a bright mist, thought it was not like mist he had ever experienced before. His surroundings were not hidden by cloudy vapour; rather the cloudy vapour had not yet formed into surroundings. The floor on which he lay seemed to be white, neither warm nor cold, but simply there, a flat, blank something on which to be.
He sat up. His body appeared unscathed. He touched his face. He was not wearing glasses anymore.
Then a noise reached him through the unformed nothingness that surrounded him: the small, soft thumpings of something that flapped, failed and struggled. It was a pitiful noise, yet also slightly indecent.
For the first time, he wished he were clothed. Barely had the wish formed in his head, than robes appeared a short distance away. He took them and pulled them on: they were soft, clean and warm. It was extraordinary how they had appeared, just like that, the moment he had wanted them…
He stood up, looking around. Was he in some great Room of Requirement? The longer he looked, the more there was to see. A great, domed glass roof glittered high above him in sunlight. Perhaps it was a palace. All was hushed and still, except those odd thumping and whimpering noises coming from somewhere close in the mist…
Harry turned slowly on the spot. His surroundings seemed to invent themselves before his eyes. A wide-open space, bright and clean, a hall larger by far than the Great Hall, with that clear, domed glass ceiling. I was quite empty. He was the only person there, except for –
He recoiled. He had spotted the thing that was making the noises. It had a form of a small, naked child, curled on the ground, its skin raw and rough, frayed-looking, and it lay shuddering under a seat where it had been left, unwanted, stuffed out of sight, struggling for breath.
Harry would have been afraid of it, had it not been so small, fragile, and wounded. As Harry stated at creature, the atmosphere in the room was slowly changing. The room was dimming eerily slowly, yet noticeably so. Memories of what had happened only seconds ago – or perhaps forever ago – were falling into place in his mind as he saw this helpless, repulsive creature.
Whatever the creature might be, it was barely alive. It needed help… Harry knew he really ought to comfort it. He stepped closer to the creature cautiously, lingering above it as it continued to whimper and shake, not acknowledging his presence yet. He stood near enough to touch it, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. He felt like a coward…
Suddenly a voice rang out from behind him.
"You cannot help."
Harry stood up, spinning around. Albus Dumbledore was walking towards him, sprightly and upright, wearing sweeping robes of midnight blue.
'Harry." He spread his arms wide, and his hands were both whole and white and undamaged.
Harry clenched his fist. Upon seeing this unfriendly gesture, Dumbledore stopped. A silence fell.
"I've been waiting for you for quite a while, Harry," Dumbledore expressed after a moment, acting as though Harry's sudden tenseness hadn't affected him. "Don't you care to hear any of what I have to say?"
Harry didn't know what to reply to this. He did feel a stab of remorse at the sight of his old Headmaster… but that wasn't enough to stop him from blaming the aged Wizard for all that had happened.
"You're dead," was all that he could say.
"Oh, yes," said Dumbledore matter-of-factly, "but I do not believe that you are, and that does not answer my question. Don't you care to hear any of what I have to say?"
There was another long silence while Harry thought about this question. He wanted to yell at the Professor, to remind Dumbledore why he was so furious, confused and upset, but deep down he knew it would do no good here.
"No, I don't want to hear anything from you."
Dumbledore seemed to have guessed Harry's answer before he even gave it. "Why not, may I ask?"
"You betrayed me," Harry stated, trying hard to keep his voice strong. "After everything you taught me about defeating Horcruxes, after all the times you told me I had to kill Voldemort, you knew I had to die. You knew it was all lies… You should have told me."
Dumbledore was studying Harry closely. His bright blue eyes were dimmed while he wore no set expression, not yet knowing how to react to Harry's words. Then to Harry's surprise, Dumbledore smiled. It was a belittling action.
"I knew you would always make it here, Harry. I knew you would find your courage in the end."
This only annoyed Harry. He didn't understand how Dumbledore could just act as though he, Harry, hadn't said anything at all important.
"If you knew I would always make it here," Harry began, his tone cold with indignation, "why didn't you tell me before?"
"Well, if you expected that you would come here, I assume the ending result would have come out entirely wrong."
"What do you mean?"
"If you knew of this place before today, you could never have come here by accident."
Harry tried very hard not to think of all the unpromising facts that arose from this theory. Dumbledore carried on talking, as if to make more sense of the situation.
"You were lucky to make it here as it is, Harry. I was surprised with how long you took to make the correct choice. With what you did, I should think that you managed to disappoint and destroy –"
"Don't!" Harry cut across him forcibly.
Another silence fell. Dumbledore seemed unable to do anything but watch Harry. The creature in the corner seemed to become more frightened at the sound of Harry shouting; it whimpered a few times, fidgeting where it lay, before falling silent. Harry's hands curled into fists and his breath was quick. He wished this hadn't annoyed him so much. Despondency was coursing though his body, nauseating him.
"I didn't mean for that to happen," Harry said, trying to keep his voice calm. "I just… But this is your fault!"
"Yes! You – you were the one who didn't tell me for so long!" Harry exclaimed in a mix of anger and sorrow. "You messed up everything! And all because you – because you…"
"I was already dead by that time," Dumbledore observed quietly.
Harry had to take a moment to gather his thoughts when he heard how calm Dumbledore was. He had to recall exactly what annoyed him. "You should have told me I had to die when you were alive."
"With the risk of ruining the precocious time you had left?" Dumbledore inquired in disbelief. "I couldn't have done that to you, Harry."
"But you made it all the more worse when you scared me away with only telling me at the last minute!"
"Your reaction was your own choice, Harry."
Dumbledore was silent for a long time after saying this, as was Harry. When he spoke again, his voice was disenchanted.
"Perhaps I misunderstood you…"
The creature made more noises. "Yeah?" Harry asked, "Well maybe you did…"
"It's not too late to make the correct choices, even now," Dumbledore commented quietly.
"But it's over…"
"Voldemort is not dead and you can still defeat him. You can go back."
"Why should I take your advice now? How do I know this isn't just another trick to – to lead me down the completely wrong path again?"
"It was your own choices that created the scene you so recently left."
"Even if I go back, it won't change any mistakes…" Harry said quietly, staring at the struggling child under its chair.
"But you have a second chance, Harry."
These words only made him angry again.
"Why do I get the second chance?" he asked. "Why doesn't – doesn't…" but he couldn't bring himself to say what he wanted to, so he improvised, "that child over there?"
Dumbledore took his time to look away from Harry, to examine the form Harry's eyes rested upon.
"That would be an unwise way to spend your second chance."
Harry contemplated these words. "Would it live?"
"More than you can even guess," Dumbledore said almost sadly.
These words put an idea in Harry's head. "I could save it…" His voice was only a little over a whisper.
"You cannot help," Dumbledore repeated.
"Just like I had to die? Well, here I am."
"Harry, you have a chance to make the right choice-"
"Since when has helping someone been the wrong choice?"
Harry turned away from Dumbledore. He stepped forward many paces, kneeled near the creature once more He suspended his hand over its shivering body, ready to comfort it any second now. Somehow, he knew this would take him away from this terrible place.
"It will not help as you want it to," Dumbledore advised.
Harry smiled sorrowfully as he felt a familiar prickling sensation in the corners of his eyes. "If this gets me away from you, I'm fine with that…"
Harry didn't look at Dumbledore nor wait for him to say another word. He brought his hand down to rest upon the creature, then, quite like with a portkey, a hook seemed to attach itself just to a space above his navel. He was pulled forwards sharply, before he was suddenly spinning a million miles an hour into a darkness that fell over his eyes and forced him into unconsciousness.