Chapter 10: The Dark Passenger
I immediately reached my hand into my trunk to see if my eyes were deceiving me. My hand hit something solid and it was not the bottom of my trunk. My eyes were deceiving me. Good. I slipped my hand over the object carefully. It felt soft, like cloth: my invisibility cloak.
Someone had wrapped my tools in the invisibility cloak. I quickly pulled out my things and took stock. My work clothes were there and so were the memories, the precious trophies of all my kills. The Elder Wand and the ritual knife were missing. But why take those and leave the memories and cloak?
They were sending me some kind of message. But what? Why kill my friends and go to the trouble of making it look like I was guilty, but then leave the most damning evidence for me to dispose of? If they could get past my defenses they could have set me up for Snape to catch. This was not an attempt to frame me. Nor did this seem to be a warning, either.
Then I noticed something else out of place in my room. There was a familiar piece of parchment open on my desk. It was the headmaster's map of the castle. I spoke the command to activate the map and knew immediately what message was being sent: Follow me.
I looked over the map and saw every student and every teacher in the school. One name stood out from all the rest. It was Barty Crouch Jr.
He must have been using polyjuice potion to transform into my form in order to get around the castle. That explained what Ginny Weasley saw. It would also have given him an opportunity to sneak into the Gryffindor common rooms and then, when left alone, deactivate my wards. Perhaps he had learned my secret from Alastor Moody before killing him, although that would have meant that Dead Daddy Dumbledore had trusted the former auror with my secret and not told me about it, which was a disturbing thought.
I picked up the map and immediately felt a thrill of magic. Barty began moving almost immediately. He had spelled the map to alert him when it was touched. Cunning. He was heading straight for the seventh floor and the Room of Requirement. That must be where he wanted to have our little tête-à-tête.
Best if I arrived there before he did. I pulled out the galleon I had made into a portkey that would take me to the seventh floor hallway. I regretted not having linked the portkey directly to the room this time. It was a bit of caution, moving the end point to a slightly different location in the event that another wizard stumbled onto the portkey and traced the magic, but now time was of the essence. I gave the mental command and I was tugged through the castle to the empty hallway.
"Going somewhere, Potter?" came Severus Snape's mocking question. Snape had just stepped out of the Room of Requirement, one of two rooms in the castle not included on the map. I heard the sound of a toilet flushing from within.
I didn't have time for this. There was a killer loose in the castle and it wasn't me.
"Not really. I was just on my way back to the dorms when I suddenly needed a bathroom. I remembered the one up here and it was closer, so here I am. Now, if you don't mind…" I said, trying to get past the dark-robed potions teacher.
"I do mind, Potter," Snape said, his eyes boring into me. "Now tell me, what are you really doing up here before I—make—you tell me."
I'm going to kill and then cut up a dark wizard who has been impersonating me. "I told you, Professor, I just want to use the lavatory before I go back to my—"
"You're LYING!" Snape cut me off and then immediately reached for his wand and pointed it at me. "LEGILIMENS!" he cried.
His attempt at intruding into my mind was, admittedly, quite good. However, he was not quite in the same class as Albus, and Albus had trained me in Occlumency using the Elder Wand for me to practice against. In other circumstances, I probably would have conjured up an image of me peeing all over the floor and convinced him that was really all I was thinking of. But I didn't have time to create such a deception. Instead, I just shoved him out of my mind with as much force as I could. Which was a lot.
Snape staggered backwards from the mental backlash. Shock was evident on his face, and the Head of Slytherin House gasped, "P-Potter!"
With a thought and gesture I disarmed him. "Sorry, Professor," I said as I raised my wand. "Obliviate!" I really was sorry. I would have liked for him to be aware that I had a strong mind, a mind stronger than his. But, unfortunately, better for me if he forgot this. And forgot about the convenient "lavatory" on the seventh floor.
Now I only had moments before Crouch would reach the floor. I swished my wand and put a confundus charm on Snape that would cause him to go back to his laboratory to find some ingredients. He would come to his senses and wonder what it was he was trying to make. That would handle this encounter for me.
That settled, I would need to prepare the Room of Requirement for a surprise. But if Crouch arrived and found the room already in use, he would be alerted and it would be messy trying to get him on my table. I needed a room that would trick my quarry into thinking he had summoned the door when he walked by it. The door to the Room of Requirement appeared in the wall.
I walked through and found myself in total darkness. A false rock wall appeared back over the entrance, waiting for the next person to come and need something. Carefully, I slid back into the blackness and waited. The door opened and Barty Crouch Jr. stepped into the room.
"Petrificus Totalus!" I said quietly.
It was not a very satisfying kill. I listened to the deranged ranting of the madman for as long as I could stand. All he had to say was Dark Lord this and Dark Lord that. He went on about how unfair it was that the Dark Lord had chosen me, had marked me as his equal when all I had done was destroy him. He wanted nothing more than to kill me to show that he was the one who deserved Voldemort's attention.
When it finally came time to take my trophy I thought I would get some satisfaction. There were a number of murders from before his escape. I especially found his torture and murders of Alastor Moody and Barty Crouch Sr. worthy of my collection. But the deaths I most wanted to find in his mind were not there. He had no memory of taking my shape and killing Hermione or Ron, no matter how hard I pressed his mind to find it. Instead there were some odd memories of speaking with me, and strangely in a place I was familiar with. Instead of refreshed and fulfilled, I felt cheated.
I stabbed the dark wizard straight through the heart, but did not find the customary joy that came with puncturing the flesh of a victim. There was no answering glee from my Dark Passenger. It was still there, but seemed almost inert.
I had found my ritual knife on Crouch, but there was still no sign of the Elder Wand. The only memory he had of the wand was obviously false. In his mind he had remembered that I had personally handed him the knife to him as if he were my servant.
It was impossible.
I prepared him for disposal as I had each victim since the Ministry's discovery of the spiders in the Dark Forest. It still took me some time to cut up each piece so as to be unrecognizable, but my new method of disposal did not need such small parts. The cutting was mostly precautionary.
Finished, I checked the school grounds to see if there was anyone on my path. As always, I checked the headmaster's map to ensure there was nobody in the corridors. What I saw, though, gave me quite a shock. On the map I saw two names together. One was Cho Chang. The other was Peter Pettigrew.
I watched the map intently. Peter and Cho moved through the castle corridors with purpose. They were moving away from Ravenclaw and towards the main castle, then down. I was hoping they were not going where I thought they were going. When they reached the second floor and suddenly disappeared off the map my worst fears were confirmed. They had entered the Chamber of Secrets.
I took my invisibility cloak and flung it over my head. Whatever was about to happen, I had little time. Once again, I wished Albus were alive. I might even settle for Ron or Hermione. If Peter had gone into the chamber I knew he would not be all I would find there.
I approached the girl's bathroom on the second floor cautiously. According to the map nobody was there, but I would not trust that the castle could not be fooled. I heard a voice calling out, asking who was there.
It was the translucent form of Moaning Myrtle, floating around the bathroom where she died, still in her ghostly school uniform. Perhaps the ghost could be useful. I removed the cloak. Nobody ever really used this floor anymore, so there was no risk of anyone else finding me here.
"Hello, Myrtle," I said politely. The ghost responded well to kind words and any sort of attention from the living. Sometimes she responded a little too well.
"Oh, Harry, it's you!" Myrtle looked happy, but then looked a little confused. "But, Harry, I thought you had already gone down…. there again. I saw you just a while ago." Myrtle turned and looked somewhat peeved at him. "You didn't even say anything to me, you just hissed in that strange language again."
So, perhaps it was Pettigrew who was impersonating and murdering my friends. "Um, Myrtle, sorry if I was rude earlier. Did you see if there was a girl with me when I went down?
"Don't be silly, Harry. You know you were alone." Myrtle paused and then floated over to whisper to me conspiratorially. "But two others went down together. Can you guess who it was?" She giggled mischievously. "It was Cho Chang with an old balding guy who looked very much like an older Peter Pettigrew!"
"Thanks, Myrtle. You're the best. Just remember to keep this our little secret. Otherwise they'll lock up your bathroom and I won't be able to come visit you again." I gave her a wink and she giggled again.
I started going down into the Chamber of Secrets thanking my lucky stars Myrtle was not my girlfriend. After a short distance I came to the entrance gate for the chamber with the magical snake design that would only open for a parselmouth. The gate was already open. I took my invisibility cloak and left it at the gate.
When I entered the cavern of the chamber's most inner chamber, things were mostly as I would have expected them to be, but with a surprise. Bound up on the ground near the underground pool of water leading into the pipes of the castle was Cho Chang. Her eyes were closed, apparently knocked unconscious. Peter Pettigrew was in the room, standing a fair distance away from Cho. This was pretty much what I had expected. What I had not thought I would find here, was the other person in the room.
"Ah, Crouch. About time you returned," came a cold voice. It was a voice that was intimately familiar. "I will be needing the knife for this—"
The voice broke off as the speaker turned to regard me. The speaker was me. He had my bright green eyes and sandy brown hair. The young man's body was that of a fourteen year old who was just coming into his physical body, but filling out from physical activity. In every way he looked like me except that he had no scar and where my pupils were a natural black, his were slatted and blood red. Oh, and he didn't wear glasses.
"Well, Harry. This is a surprise," he said with the slightest touch of warmth.
I knew the voice. I had heard it many times. It was the voice in my mind that warned me of danger when I was stalking a wizard. It was the voice that alerted me to the darkness in others. It was the inner voice urging me to kill and rejoicing with each death. It was the voice I heard as it said the spells that ripped the blood and flesh from my parents. This was my Dark Passenger. This was—
"Yes, Harry," my double affirmed his identity. "I had not expected to meet you so soon after my return. I wanted to plan our reunion a bit more carefully. But no matter. You are here now and there is so much more for us to do."
I toyed with the idea of calling him by his birth name, Tom Riddle, but I knew the name would ring hollow in my own mind. Albus had killed Tom when he destroyed the soul fragments in the horcruxes. All that was left of that man was Voldemort.
"Us?" I asked. "You killed my parents. Everything Professor Dumbledore taught me goes against what you stand for. Unless you plan on helping me pass my N.E.W.T.s, I don't think there is much for 'us' to do together."
Volde-me raised his head in mocking laughter. "Dumbledore? Do you really believe Dumbledore is the one who you are closest to?" I glared at my double, my hand going to grip the knife in my hand. I seethed at the insinuation that I was not loyal to Albus. Pettigrew took a step forward, his hand moving to draw his wand. Voldemort's head turned to snap at him. "Be still, Wormtail!" Then he turned back to me. "I know you, Harry, I know you as well as I know myself.
"Who was there with you at every kill? Who felt your enjoyment as the knife slid through the hearts of all those who betrayed us? Could Albus feel as we do? I think not." Voldemort continued. "What did Albus ever give you? Your 'code?' It holds you back. You want to kill, but you must watch and wait. He tells you that you must 'be sure' before you kill." Voldemort let his words sink in. "Join me, Harry. Join me and together we will do extraordinary things. I will gather power to us from the outside while you silently kill from within! As much as our hearts desire will be ours!"
On some levels that argument made sense. My Dark Passenger had been there with me, even supported me, at times that nobody else could. Not even Albus would share those moments with me. And it was frustrating to restrain myself from those like Snape who were just asking for it.
"Why offer to help me, then? Why not kill me?" I asked.
Voldemort looked at me with my own eyes, the red narrowed to slits I could barely see. "Ah, Harry. Killing you would be the same as killing myself. There is so much of me inside of you."
Of course. He meant that quite literally. I was what remained of his immortality. So long as I lived, so would he. Clever. I also realized why Voldemort had returned. Each time someone killed a small portion of their soul broke off, not as much as when using the killing curse, but some. In my case, the pieces that were breaking off were what was left of Voldemort's soul still inside me. When my Dark Passenger went silent Voldemort was free, though there was still some of him left in me and as long as that remained he could not fully die.
"And I owe you so much, Harry." Voldemort gestured to his new body. "This body was your unwilling gift to me, but I do have gratitude to you for it. And we shared so much. You punished those who swore to serve me, yet abandoned me at the first chance they got. We shared that together."
The blood that Barty took when he was disguised as Moody. That was what restored Voldemort to physical form. This also meant that the protections that I enjoyed from the killing curse would extend to him as well.
"Now is the time for you to choose, Harry. You can join me as my equal. Harry Potter shall be more than any Death Eater. You will be my partner. A silent Dark Lord beside me. All you must do is take our knife," Voldemort gestured over towards Cho Chang, "and kill the witch. She is undoubtedly unfit for the Code, I know. But it will prove your choice. There will be no going back after this. Only glory!"
I walked over to Cho's bound form. I could feel desire in my heart as I looked on at her tied there, weak and vulnerable. Killing her would make me a true monster.
"Does it have to be her? Perhaps another?" I asked.
"True, it is a pity to kill a pure blooded witch," Voldemort sighed. His face was vicious when he spoke again. "But she has too much hold on you. It is because you want it not to be her that it must be her. Then you will be tied to me and I to you forever."
I pulled the knife out. Voldemort and Pettigrew drew closer. I raised the knife high in the air. They both approached to witness the event.
A green jet of light burst from my free hand. A moment later, Peter Pettigrew fell rigidly to the ground, dead. Voldemort turned to look at me quizzically.
"I owed him for my parents," I said simply.
Then Cho rolled over and screamed out, "STUPEFY!" Voldemort had not noticed I had slipped her my wand and silently cast the enervate counter-curse to awaken her.
Two more red beams of light shot out towards Voldemort from the opposite direction. My double screamed in frustration. The shield he instantly erected held the curses at bay, but he staggered sideways from the impact. I took the opportunity to move, charging towards Volde-me. He swirled his wand, creating a whirling wind. That was when my invisibility cloak flew off of Ron and Hermione's heads.
Voldemort stared at them. He was certain he had killed them.
That was when I stabbed him with the ritual knife. I was going to make certain to kill him, too.
His eyes went wide with shock as I grabbed the Elder wand from his hand. He tried to cast a spell, but the magic wouldn't come. I leaned forward and whispered in his ear. "I gave you back the rest of your soul when I killed Pettigrew." Then I watched as all the life drained out of his copy of my eyes.
I had always wondered how I would feel killing myself. I must say that I quite enjoyed it.
Unfortunately, a group of Hogwarts professors entered the Chamber of Secrets shortly after the death of my former dark passenger. I didn't have time to erase anyone's memories or cover up what had happened. It was going to be a difficult task to smuggle the basilisk I had been using to dispose of my kills out of the chamber.
When Severus Snape entered the chamber and leveled his wand at me he was instantly rebuffed by Cho Chang. She made it clear that she had been abducted by Pettigrew and that the killer was the one with red pupils lying dead now on the chamber floor. With three witnesses, even including the victims I had been accused of murdering in the first place, Snape was left fuming and my name was as spotless as ever.
Explaining the resuscitation of Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley was a far more complicated matter. Simply telling the truth that I possessed the three Deathly Hallows and that I had used the resurrection stone to revive my friends was not an option. I had not even told that to my friends. When I brought them back to life and told them someone had been impersonating me, I made up a story. I told them it was their love for each other that protected them from the killing curse. It was the worst explanation I had ever come up with. Funny how well it it worked.
Convincing the adults of this matter was not as easy, only half of the wizarding world bought that story. Fortunately, the testimony of a portrait of Albus Dumbledore carried a lot of weight. Of course, it helped that since everyone knew there was no magic that could bring the dead to life, they had little suspicion that I actually had such magic in my possession. Not even Voldemort had known I had such power, nor did he understand the power of friendship. In fact, I had not realized it until my Dark Passenger had gone silent and then had taken my friends from me.
It would take some time for the fame of being the one to truly and finally kill the Dark Lord to fade away, but it helped that I had my friends to share the spotlight with. It was also convenient that they made for a good excuse for not notifying the teachers. What would any boy do when his girlfriend is kidnapped? What would two friends do if their friend was running off to face something horrible?
At the end of the year, all tests behind me, Professor McGonagall came to see me before I was ready to take the train to join my godfather. With Peter Pettigrew, now shown to have been alive, Sirius was cleared of all crimes and I would once again not need to stay with the Dursleys.
"So, Mr. Potter. Now that you have taken your O.W.L.'s, what do you think you want to do?"
I gave her my best smile, thinking of dark wizards still out there, like Lucius Malfoy. "I think I'll become an auror." And I'll keep finding and killing dark wizards. Not because I need to. But because I want to.
Author's Note: I would greatly appreciate reviews. If you have read this far please take a minute to leave a comment. Thanks and hope you enjoyed the story.