Tom Riddle was many things but stupid wasn't one of them. Are we really supposed to believe this evil genius would leave parts of his soul lying around with no way of knowing if they were compromised?
All Tom Riddle's dialogue in the first paragraph comes directly from the pen of JKR
Harry potter's life was never what could be considered normal. That said, he never complained or asked for anything, he'd learned at an early age there wasn't any point. Things were the way they were and that was that, nothing was going to change it. Being allowed to die in peace though surely wasn't too much to ask? Apparently for Harry Potter it was!
Here he was, lying in a secret chamber, deep below Hogwarts, with a ruddy great basilisk fang sticking out of his arm. Surely he deserved the right to die in peace, contemplating on those who would be waiting on him while thinking of the few he would miss leaving behind.
Instead of peaceful contemplation, Harry got some evil psychopathic phantom, continually gloating over his painful and imminent demise. Harry understood life wasn't fair but it would appear death wasn't either. The poison was seriously messing with his head and this prick yapping into his face made him so mad. He yanked the bloody fang right out his own arm, ready to stab this bastard with it if he came close enough. Harry had nothing left to lose.
"You're dead Harry Potter."
Oh how he wished this prick would shut up.
"Dead. Even Dumbledore's bird knows it. Do you see what he's doing, Potter? He's crying."
Harry's sight wasn't good at the best of times, this was certainly not the best of times. By squinting he could see the tears escaping from Fawkes eyes, the funny thing was that every one of them landed directly on his bleeding wound. This fascinated Harry, well anything was better than listening to this prick's patter! What had Tom done that he had to continually boast about it? Set a Basilisk on a twelve year old boy and then stood back and watched. Oh what a powerful bloody wizard that made Tom Riddle.
"I'm going to sit here and watch you die, Harry Potter."
Sure Tom, pull up a seat! Make yourself at home. Wait, this is your home. Giant dead snake in the middle of the living room, yuk!
"Take your time, I'm in no hurry."
Actually Harry thought, neither am I. If this is dying then death needs a new press agent. He was feeling better by the minute.
"So ends the famous Harry Potter."
Hey, since I'm famous, lets sell tickets. Fred and George will organise a sweep to see when I finally kick the bucket. A galleon on a hundred and fifty years from now guys.
"Alone in the chamber of secrets."
Chance would be a fine thing. Run along now Tom, you must have something better to do?
"Forsaken by his friends."
Harry was beginning to get angry now. One's in the infirmary and another needs to get there soon, you moron. If the three of us had have been here, you wouldn't have stood a chance!
"Defeated at last by the dark lord he so unwisely challenged."
I challenged? I was fifteen months old you cretin. You came to kill a toddler and couldn't even manage that.
"You'll be back with your dear mudblood mother soon Harry."
Ok, it was now official. This guy was seriously pissing Harry off. Murdering someone was bad enough, bad mouthing their mother while they lay dying of Basilisk venom was bloody ridiculous. Bet this arsehole read nothing but bad comics as a child, this was every villain's victory speech as they proclaiming how great they were rolled into one.
"She bought you twelve years of borrowed life."
Harry was becoming distracted, he was not only feeling a lot better but would swear the wound in his arm was healing right before his eyes.
"But lord Voldemort got you in the end, as you knew he must."
All Harry knew was that he had to get his wand away from this prick. There might even be a chance to save Ginny. Oh no, he must have perked up with that thought. The idiot had broken from his monologue, he must have noticed.
"Get away from him bird, get away I say."
Fawkes flew away, his work for the moment was done.
"Phoenix tears, of course. Healing powers, I forgot."
Harry noticed he'd also forgotten about Fawkes. Now he'd left Harry, the intelligent bird was taking something from the unconscious form of Ginny.
"But it makes no difference. In fact, I prefer it this way."
You just keep talking chum, whatever Fawkes was up to he was now making his way back.
"Just you and me, Harry Potter."
Let's not forget the cleverest bird in the world, next to Hedwig of course. Harry could now see what Fawkes was bringing him, his grip tightened on the only weapon he had available.
"…You and me…"
Fawkes dropped the diary right beside Harry. Tom's face showed fear for the first time as he physically froze for a second. That was all the time the Gryffindor seeker needed. The basilisk fang was driven into the diary with every bit of strength Harry could muster. The screams from Tom were music to his ears. Pull up a seat lord Voldemort and we'll see who dies today.
Harry turned the diary over and stabbed it through the other side as well, just to make sure. An almighty scream from Tom signalled his end as he disappeared, only a magical pulse flashing through the chamber and beyond gave any indication that he'd been there.
Harry's head was splitting and he welcomed the peace and quiet. That was until he heard Ginny gasp and start to sit up. Now there was a sound he wanted to hear.
"… and after Ginny was assured by Professor Dumbledore she wasn't going to be expelled, she finally calmed down. Poor kid, her first year in Hogwarts and that happens to you."
"Mr Potter, I know I've told you this many times before. Miss Granger can't hear you, you will have to tell her all this again when we revive her tomorrow."
They had had this conversation many times over the last three weeks, "I understand Madam Pomfrey, but some muggles who recovered from being in a coma have said they could hear people talking to them when they were unconscious. You say there is no chance of that but what if you're wrong? I would hate for her to think she was alone."
Poppy just shook her head and left him to it, she couldn't argue with that and didn't want to. She would not be chasing him out the ward tonight. He'd been here faithfully every day since the poor girl was petrified, sitting talking to her for hours at a time. It didn't matter how often she told him that Miss Granger couldn't hear what he was saying, she just left him to it.
Harry had forgotten there were two Weasleys currently in the ward. He'd spent so many hours sitting here talking to his friend that Harry had gotten used to a world that was just him and Hermione. Sure Ron would come on the odd occasion, the sight of Harry holding the petrified Hermione's hand was usually enough to see him making his excuses and leave.
He'd gradually told Hermione his entire life's history as she lay here, it was almost a relief to get some of that off his chest. He'd soon run out of things to say about schoolwork and neither Hermione nor him were very interested in gossip. With nothing else left to say, he'd begun talking about himself. She now knew more about him than anyone else in the world, he'd poured out his hopes, dreams and heart to the petrified girl.
As Madam Pomfrey left, he began telling Hermione about Lucius Malfoy, and setting Dobby free with a grubby sock.
Ginny was in a hospital bed, her mum had only left knowing her brother Ron was in the next bed to her. Ginny's heart was breaking, her hero had saved her yet thought she was a kid. She was lying here desperate for him to speak to her but, apart from the greeting when he entered, he'd spent the entire time talking to a girl petrified like stone.
Listening to the way he spoke to Hermione forced her to recognise she never stood a chance, Harry's heart already belonged to Hermione. She had tears in her eyes as she turned away, unfortunately that meant she was now facing her brother.
Ron could see her pain, "Ginny, he came for you when the famous Gilderoy Lockhart was pissing himself with fear. What more could you ask for in a friend?"
That was Ginny's problem, all that was left was the position of friend. When that friend though would fight a dark lord and a basilisk for you, what more could you ask for?
Ron almost read her mind, "Harry and Hermione are the best two friends you could ever ask for."
Ginny could only nod back her answer, she would like Harry to be more than a friend but would take anything she could get.
Harry meanwhile, had talked himself out, the adrenalin high of today had long ago left his body. All the aches and pains from his fight against the basilisk were beginning to make themselves known. He would have Hermione back tomorrow, tomorrow wasn't too far away. Harry rested his head on the bed while still holding Hermione's hand, he would just close his eyes for a minute.
In the deepest, darkest forest of Albania, the spirit that Harry Potter had banished from Hogwarts last year reacted to a magical pulse. This spirit understood exactly what that magical pulse was, he should. It was he who invented it. Someone had just destroyed one of his horcruxes. The magical pulse was his equivalent of an S.O.S, this would place his remaining pieces of soul on a high state of alert. They would now take any opportunity that presented itself to possess a body.
The protections he'd placed on each of them meant it would be impossible for one to be accidentally destroyed. He was barely existing but had to find the energy to return to Britain from somewhere. Only this version of himself possessed the ability to reunite the other pieces of his soul. Their sense of survival was built-in, they were part of him after all and would do whatever was needed to survive.
If someone was hunting his horcruxes then he had no other option but to return to Britain, the commands imbedded into each piece of soul were very simple. Procure a body, make their way to Riddle manor and do whatever it took to survive until he got there. He had to do the same by whatever means possible.
Poppy saw that all her current charges were sleeping, she also noticed that she had a stowaway. Mr Potter had fallen asleep, still holding on to Miss Granger's petrified hand. The potion would be ready shortly, she'd already decided to administer it to the young girl first.
She also decided to let Mr Potter spend the night, it wouldn't be his first stay in here. Instead of waking him, Poppy began levitating the lad to an empty bed. No sooner had she began levitating Harry when his body was gripped by some kind of seizure that saw him contorting in pain.
Poppy got him onto the bed with some difficulty before she could begin casting her diagnostic charms. Something was violently attacking the boy's body and she had no idea what it was. She called to the portrait to alert the headmaster to the emergency, she then added Minerva to the alert as well.
Albus soon came rushing into the infirmary, Minerva was close on his heels. The sight that greeted them both chilled their blood. Harry Potter was thrashing all over the bed in obvious agony, only the magical restrains Poppy had placed on the boy kept him from throwing himself clean off. Their only other clue was the trickle of bright red blood oozing from his famous lightning bolt scar on his forehead.
"I'm glad you two are here, something is attacking Mr Potter and I have no idea what it is. He's had basilisk venom and phoenix tears introduced to his bloodstream but I don't think this is poisoning. I think whatever this is seems to be focused in his head."
Albus also cast some scans before speaking to the renowned healer, "Poppy, tell me exactly what happened. No detail is too small."
Poppy took a deep breath to focus her mind before describing the scene in as much detail as she could. "Mr Potter was as usual, sitting holding Miss Granger's hand and talking to her. I decided not to chase him tonight and he fell asleep at her bedside."
Albus interrupted, "As usual? Does he do that often?"
"Only every day since she's been here. Anyway, I was levitating him onto another bed when he began this seizure..." it was like a light switching on behind Poppy's eyes as she clearly remembered something important.
"As soon as I removed him from his contact with Miss Granger he began to convulse. What does it mean Albus? My gut feeling is that this is connected to his scar somehow."
The colour couldn't have left Dumbledore's face any quicker if his throat had been cut. Poppy and Minerva couldn't help but notice the rapid and drastic change in his complexion. The head of Gryffindor currently had five of her lions in the infirmary, one of them in so much pain he had to be tied to the bed. She was in no mood for the headmaster's platitudes tonight.
"Albus, if you know or even suspect something, then Poppy needs to know. She needs to know now!"
"Ladies, at best all I have is a suspicion."
Poppy was all over the old man like a rash, she hated feeling helpless in her own infirmary. "Headmaster, one of your students, a student who just saved the school I might add, is lying there clearly in agony. I have no clue how to proceed, if you have anything then I need it now."
Faced with two formidable woman and Harry thrashing around on the bed, Albus had no option but to divulge one of his most closely guarded secrets. If they didn't save Harry then it didn't matter anyway.
"The diary that Mr Potter destroyed contained a piece of Voldemort's soul that he had deliberately placed there. As long as that survived, then Tom Riddle couldn't be truly banished from this world. I have long had the suspicion that Mr Potter's scar is more than that, his parseltongue abilities would appear to confirm my suspicion. I fear Voldemort inadvertently left a piece of himself behind that fateful Halloween and it's decided to make its presence known. Mr Potter is in a battle for his life. Should he lose, Voldemort could not be allowed to leave the castle."
Ron currently had his hand over his sister's mouth. Ginny was shaking with sobs as she watched Harry's face and body contort with pain but Ron didn't want them to be moved out of the infirmary. Harry's cries had woken them both but everyone appeared too busy to bother with the two Weasleys at the moment.
Ron was really worried for his best friend, it would seem that even when Harry won there was still a price to be paid. He'd battled a basilisk and the dark lord himself to save Ginny, now he could die in the infirmary. There was no mistaking what the headmaster meant by 'Voldemort couldn't be allowed to leave the castle'. If Harry didn't win this battle, it would cost him his life.
Minerva had another question for he headmaster, "Albus, why did this start when he was moved from Miss Granger? Surely that can't be coincidence?"
"Minerva, I believe the greatest weapon Harry has against Voldemort is love. Quirrell couldn't touch him last year due to the protection of Lily's love. I think that, even when asleep, the touch of Miss Granger was enough to stave off Voldemort's attack. We need to get her un-petrified as soon as possible and hope she feels the same way about Mr Potter."
Finally thought Ron, something they could do. Suddenly the two redheads were pushing past the adults and positioning themselves either side of Harry's bed. "That won't be a problem headmaster, when will the potion be ready?" both had grasped one of Harry's hands and it was plain to see the positive effect this had on him.
It was Poppy who answered, "Professor Snape expected it to be ready sometime tonight."
Ron turned his concentration back to his best friend, "Hear that Harry, Hermione will be here soon. With her back by our side we can beat anything mate. So hold on, she's coming for you."
Ginny had gotten her crying under control, Harry needed her and she owed him big time. "She'll be here soon Harry, you can beat him. You beat him as a baby, you beat him last year. You beat him again already today! Just fight with everything you've got until she gets here, that's what I did and you came for me."
Minerva left to see if she could hurry Severus along, it might now be a case of life or death.
Poppy was still trying to understand what was happening here, the diary story was known only to a select few. "Are you saying that part of the dark lord's soul is fighting Mr Potter for control of his body?"
Albus was feeling his great age tonight, "That's exactly what I'm saying Poppy, and if Mr Potter loses..."
Ron interrupted him, "Sir, Harry doesn't know how to lose. I followed him against a troll, a giant three-headed dog and into an acromantula nest, Harry got us out alive. In every case I was scared shitless but I still followed him. V..Voldemort doesn't know what he's taken on here, once Hermione is on her feet he doesn't stand a chance against the three of us."
Ginny chipped in, "The four of us Ron, the four of us!"
Albus noticed that young Mr Weasley had actually managed to say Voldemort, Mr Potter really was a born leader who inspired those around him. Both Weasleys obviously cared deeply for the boy, add in Miss Granger and Albus believed they might have a chance. The alternative was just too horrible to even contemplate.
It was undeniable that Harry's convulsions weren't as violent since both Weasleys had began holding his hands and talking to him. Poppy was making preparations so she could administer the potion to Miss Granger the instant it arrived. Albus found himself being reduced to standing there helpless while the others were busy around him, not something he was used to.
Minerva arrived with a single dose of potion, Severus had decanted it from the larger batch in order for it to cool quicker.
Poppy poured the potion through the funnel she had placed in the girl's mouth, hardly scientific but the correct result was all that mattered.
In moments colour began to return to Miss Granger's skin, indicating her blood was again flowing through her body. She lost the petrified induced rigidness as her arms and legs were once more able to relax into a more comfortable position. When her chest rose and fell with her first breath in three weeks, Hermione's eyes were suddenly searching all around her.
"Relax Miss Granger, you're in the infirmary. It will take a few moments for you to become aware of your surroundings."
Hermione shook her head at Poppy and attempted to push herself off the bed. Her lips were moving but no recognisable sounds were being formed. A small sip of water from Poppy later and Hermione was once more making sense, "Harry needs me, need to get to him."
Poppy was ready to argue she would need to wait until the effects of being petrified had totally worn off when both Weasleys helped her off the bed and laid Hermione alongside Harry, she wasn't strong enough to sit yet. She held his hand and began talking softly into his ear.
"I'm here Harry, just like you were there for me for those three weeks. I think I would have gone crazy without you talking to me. I always knew when you were near, I heard it all harry."
Harry's body was spasming even more violently as the battle was now being fought in earnest.
"There will be no bars on your window this summer Harry, no meagre bits of food passed through a flap on your locked room door. Those Dursleys can go hang themselves if they think I'll let them near you again, you're coming home with me!"
Albus was about to object when Poppy put her hand over his mouth and Minerva dragged him away by the ear. When they were a safe distance away, Poppy quietly as she could unloaded into the headmaster. "That boy is fighting for his life and can obviously hear what's being said. You were about to make an objection that would harm his chances of survival. If Miss Granger tells him that you will appear in the great hall tomorrow as a gorilla then we will be making a monkey out of you. I've got nothing Albus, and neither have you! Right now that girl is Mr Potter's only hope."
Minerva wasn't so complementary, "Bars on windows, feeding flaps on locked doors! You try to send him back there Albus and I'll petition the ministry myself. Just because Lily was a wonderful woman doesn't automatically mean her sister will be too, and that husband of hers is a brute!"
Albus attempted to justify himself, " But the protection…"
Poppy cut him off, "… will mean nothing if he doesn't pull through this!"
The headmaster couldn't argue with that logic.
Hermione had continued talking to Harry, "I know your dreams now Harry but I can't make them come true unless you return to us. My house has plenty of rooms and we can have Ron over for part of the summer as well. I'm also dying to see the Burrow, you described it so well."
Ron joined in at this point, "You know mum would love to have you both over during the summer too. What do you say to trying to get Hermione back on a broom mate?"
"I would if you two were there, I know I'm safe when the three of us are together. Does that sound ok Harry, staying with me and some flying at the burrow?"
Ginny felt herself being sidelined again, Hermione was lying beside Harry with Ron sitting at the other side of the bed. She was relegated to standing at the bottom of the bed, but it was then she noticed something startling. "Madam Pomfrey, come quickly!"
She was there in a second and instantly spotted what had alarmed the girl. A black substance with the consistency of molten tar now replaced the trickle of blood that had been leaking from his scar.
Dumbledore smiled for the first time that night, "Keep it up you three, it's working."
That was all the encouragement Hermione needed, "Harry, we'll go shopping for all the clothes your aunt never bought you. We'll need to get you a passport for when we go on holiday, if I'm going on a broom it's only fair that you go on a plane. We'll visit the Burrow where you, Ron, the twins and Ginny can all help me learn to fly. That's if Mrs Weasley doesn't fill us with so much food that we can't get off the ground. It's going to be brilliant Harry! There are so many people that love you, and your going to spend the entire summer with them."
Harry gave a mighty scream as even more black puss was ejected from his scar. All felt the magical pulse that followed but were more concerned about the exhausted but relaxed boy who was lying on the bed.
Harry opened his eyes to see a pair of chocolate brown ones staring into his from only inches away. His voice was shaky but he really needed to know, "Did you really mean that? I can go home with you?"
Hermione was mopping up the black puss with a cloth a very quiet professor McGonagall had handed her. "I promised didn't I? I always keep my promises Harry."
Harry's smile lit up his entire face. He was lying there, drenched in sweat, with Hermione wiping black gunk off his hair and face yet he was happy. Not only were there no more Dursleys but he got to spend the summer with Hermione. The same girl he'd told every secret he ever had to, damn!
Hermione knew what his reaction would be to learning she had heard every word, she leaned closer and whispered so only he could hear. "Don't worry, my lips are sealed."
He squeezed her hand in appreciation before turning to face Ron, "You ok there mate?"
"I am now, you had me worried for a while there Harry."
"You and me both Ron, you and me both. Is that you Ginny? You need to come a bit closer, sorry I can't see that far."
Considering she was now blushing profusely, Ginny wasn't too worried that Harry was having trouble seeing her. She sat beside Ron as she answered him. "I'm here Harry, don't worry about it. Your glasses went flying at the start."
"I need to thank you guys, I don't think I would have made it without knowing you were there for me. Voldemort plays on all your fears, and the part of him in my head knew everyone of mine."
Ginny understood perfectly, "He's an evil bastard Harry who would soon have figured them out. That's what he did with me, wormed his way in until I believed his lies."
Albus knew that as headmaster, he should mention the colourful use of language by his students but felt the circumstances justified a little leeway tonight. "Voldemort's fooled a lot of witches and wizards Miss Weasley, don't beat yourself up about it. Harry my boy, how are you feeling?"
"Bloody awful professor and to be honest, really miffed at you. When were you going to tell me I had a bit of Voldemort in my head?"
Albus at least had the grace to look ashamed, "Alas Harry, there are things I'm afraid you're not ready to hear."
Harry had half expected that kind of answer, ""Can you tell me this sir, if I moved school, would Voldemort still come after me?"
Albus was at a loss until Harry explained his reasoning, "What I'm trying to find out is whether it's me or Hogwarts that has me bumping into him with such regularity? If I leave Hogwarts, will it solve my Voldemort problem?"
Dumbledore had to answer truthfully, "No Harry, I'm sorry but it wouldn't."
"It's ok sir, that was the answer I expected. Now I know it's definitely me he's after, I just don't know why. Would you care to tell me sir?"
Albus was saved from answering by Hermione, though perhaps 'saved' was the wrong word. Postponed for now was all the girl appeared prepared to accept.
"Harry, don't worry about it tonight. Let's take some time to write down the questions we want answered. If professor Dumbledore can't or won't answer them, we'll go looking elsewhere for help."
Ron was quick to back her up, "Hermione's right as usual Harry. Just wait until mum hears you had a piece of Voldemort in your head and Professor Dumbledore did nothing about it. She's already boiling mad that the last two defence professors attempted to kill us. You know she'll be looking for answers as well."
Ginny couldn't resist adding her backing as well, "Anyone who can defeat a sixty foot basilisk with a sword should not be treated like a child."
With Minerva and Poppy glaring at him as well, Albus realised he'd soon have to reveal even more of his secrets. Not something he was looking forward to.
The spirit in Albania was panicking now, the magical pulse signifying a second of his precious treasures had been destroyed just passed through him. Two were in the possession of his most faithful followers, another two protected by magical traps with the fifth hidden inside Hogwarts. He had intended to use the Potter brat's murder to create his sixth, that night had not only seen him banished to this state but cost him another soul anchor as well.
If they continued to be destroyed at this rate, he wouldn't make it back to Britain in time to save any of them. Thankfully his three remaining horcruxes would know the fate of their brothers and begin actively seeking hosts to safeguard themselves against destruction.
His best bet at the moment was to find a bird to possess come first light. Its body wouldn't last too long before he needed to take another but he was now all out of options. This was the quickest way to get to Riddle Manor.
Sibyll thanked her inner eye for leading her to this room, it was perfect to hide, eh store these extra sherry bottles that had somehow accumulated in her quarters. Her great gift was also leading Sibyll up the side of this amazing room, straight toward a tiara. That same inner eye was now screaming at her to wear the tiara, promising her life would never be the same again. What did she have to lose?
Thanks for reading
A/N in this story Nagini had not been made into a horcrux yet, and of course Voldemort is unaware that Harry was.