Disclaimer – I do not own Harry Potter.
Warnings- kinda…angsty….oh and Harry being very anti-Voldemort ;) Oh and of course, mistakes a-hoy! But I did this for you guys in a matter of hours, late at night-early morning; it is literally the written version of a pie hot out of the oven!
A/N – Sorry for the LONG LONG wait – I hope that this might make up for it a little teensy bit :(
'Dumbledore!' Harry gasped, flopping to the floor in exhaustion and relief as his vision spun wildly. "Urgh…" He groaned miserably, placing his bruised hand to his face at the agony. "How…how do I know it's actually you?" He finally managed, even though the rushing sound in his ears made him want to vomit and sleep instead of question. He felt so rough he didn't think he would have minded sleeping next to the vomit.
He wanted to trust him so badly, he was so sick of struggling on his own!
Dumbledore pushed himself off Harry, slowly and painfully getting to his feet, "It was I who told you that you harbour a piece of Lord Voldemort's soul, Harry, on the 10th of March, last year, in my office." The man used his trembling, blackened hand to wipe the beaded sweat of his forehead tiredly. "I also believe Fawkes spent the entire time trying to lure you into paying attention to him."
Harry squinted through his bleary eyes and broken glasses at the man before nodding, "Okay," Harry rasped, "I believe you." Harry let his eyes shut, resting on the cold dirty floor of the old HQ of Dumbeldore's rebel group. It felt so deliciously cold and Harry half found himself turning into it, pressing his sweaty and bloody face onto the grimy tiles.
He took a few moments to collect himself and relax against the blessed relief of something cool "Why-" Harry took another ragged breath, pressing a hand against his chest and wondering if he had bruised his ribs or something. "Why did you kill the muggle girl?" He rasped, his heavy breathing disrupting the dust. "Penny, her name was Penny…why did you do that?" Harry didn't feel grieved about her death so much as he didn't know her well but she had told him things, useless surplus information about herself, such as she was at university, she wanted to make her Dad proud... the things that where rather boring and run of the mill but it made her so human. Harry couldn't let her death lie; she had such a life to live and now Dumbledore of all people had been the reason the girl had died.
There was a pained sigh, world weary and exhausted, "I am afraid, Harry, I have meddled in something and the consequences have caused a young person's life to end."
Harry opened his eyes, heaving his head up to look at Dumbledore, and although he was not crying, his wrinkled face looked full of anguish. His black hand was pushed against his mouth, his thumb resting on his left whiskered cheek, and his rotten fingers spread across the rest of his face. He turned his dull blue eyes down towards Harry, wordlessly shaking his head in horror.
Harry sat up carefully, his whole body protesting the movement especially his broken thumb which turned his vision white for a moment. Harry swallowed hoping his stomach wouldn't revolt against him before looking more fully at Dumbledore. All Harry could picture was Penny's bloody face with that one large eye rolling around in delirious panic. Harry moved his legs underneath himself and pushed up, staggering to his feet with wobbly colt legs. Dumbledore watched him carefully, like one does a dangerous animal, "What did you do?" Harry asked, his glasses making Dumbledore blur, he snatched them off his face irritably, though the man remained blurred at least the pressure on his broken nose lessened slightly.
He saw Dumbledore's blurred form slump a little and almost felt the sigh that escaped the man. "Maybe, Harry, this would be better discussed over some tea…and perhaps in a safer and more inviting dwelling."
This could be dangerous, Harry thought, as he grasped the proffered arm for apparation. Although he was sure it was Dumbledore, as he was squeezed through the black, compressing magic he couldn't help but fear when he opened his eyes he would be back in Voldemort's room, the man behind his desk with steepled fingers, twitching to use his wand and curse the life out of Harry.
Harry needn't have worried as when he could breathe again and he pried his eyes open he was in a warm circular room, a fire lazily consuming wooden logs and whirling trinkets surrounding them. Hogwarts. Harry let go off Dumbledore's hand and looked around the room, his chest tight and constricted with emotion. He smiled a little watery as he finally felt the weight and pressure fall off his shoulders. He didn't know if he should feel light with relief or heavy with exhaustion and god! It was all so confusing and tiring and….he'd never felt so happy in his life!
To his embarrassment, he had never felt so safe in his life, even with rain battering down on the window and the howling Scottish winds that shook the window panes, it made Harry sigh with relief.
His shoulders which had been stiff and tense for ages suddenly dropped, his form slouching as he let out a laugh sob, cupping his face to cover his broken face and tears.
He staggered over to the chairs near the fire, his legs buckling and he fell into the soft comfort of the material, bending his head down to his knees, his face held in a tight grip with his elbows braced on his legs.
He could hear his loud and pained breathing as he chants in his mind do not cry, do not cry but he couldn't seem to get enough air into his lungs.
Brother, brother! Clam down, the old man will suspect us! He will find and separate us!
Harry snarled at the horcrux in sudden anger, I'm not your brother! I want you gone! I want my head back to myself – if you didn't exist I wouldn't have half these bloody problems!
He felt how affronted the horcrux was and snarled at it – like it had a right to be offended! He just want some piece after all that had happened!
The gentle touch of Dumbledore's hesitant hand on his back nearly shattered Harry's fragile and barely-there composure. Harry felt relieved but there was also so much despair because he knew that poor Penny was rotting in a field, burning in a car, the blood blackening and her flesh hardening and ripping under the blistering heat of the flames. He could see that one eye rolling and that mouth wordless and scared, shocked and not understanding what had happened, why she was so cold on the inside and so warm on the outside. Harry's eyes closed, as though he could hold the tears in with his eyelids, but they burned trails down his dirty face. Would Hermione and Ron be like that? Their blood so warm pouring out of them and their bodies cooling as it did so? How many more people would die for this war? He thought he hated Voldemort before but now that dislike felt overshadowed an d pale compared to the detest and hatred he felt for him now. The kindness of strangers and innocent witches and wizards would all burn in a world of fire….and Harry could see himself left behind, chained to Voldemort for eternity as a vessel for his soul…a godforsaken host in a world of fire and death. The horcruxes would ensure the world would never be free of his bloody taint and then… it just clicked…information and facts finally connecting in a way that made so much sense.
Every last piece of Voldemort would have to be destroyed, burned from the world…every horcrux….every shadow he had left would have to be chased away…including Harry.
When would he die for this war? For he was sure of it now, he was a dead man walking and not because Voldemort wanted him dead but because he was surer than ever that being a horcrux could only end in one way. He thought of Dumbledore's black hand and the blackness that ran like rot through Harry's own soul.
How tainted would be before he died to save other people? He felt a quiver in the back of his mind, the foreign soul shuddering at the thought of it's own demise. That's right, Harry hissed at it, I'll die to be rid of you – and Voldemort! There is no want or need for a parasite like you!
Harry found himself realising that he was so unbearably tired, tired of the fear which niggled at the back of his mind all the time, the dark magic which pulled at his fingers, made him itch and writhe. Voldemort's dirty cruel voice whispering spells and insults in his mind and he wanted it all to stop. How do you continue to live in a world so twisted? How twisted and ruined would Harry become by Voldemort's influence by the end of this war?
Harry looked up at Dumbledore, the blurred man who was his mentor and his executioner; he could see the man's mouth pull down in pity for a second. Harry both wanted to grab handfuls of the man's robes and pull him closer begging him to not let him die alone, he was too scared off the dead's' judgment and he also wanted to snarl and curse the bloody man, beating with his hands to the floor and screaming at him for letting him grow into an adult, who could have had a chance at life. Why didn't he snuff out the light while he had a chance?! Why did he let Harry become Harry if he was only ever going to die anyway?! Harry laughed wetly at seeing the man's expression, did Dumbledore hate himself as much as Harry did? He swallowed again, heavily, a damned reflex "When?" He asked, wiping his tears with the heel of his palm as so not to aggravate his broken thumb.
"What do you mean, Harry?" The bastard gave a good show of being confused.
Harry snarled, like wild injured beast, "When am I going to bloody die?!"
Dumbledore made a grave noise somewhere between pleased and surprised but his words contradicted the noise. "Harry, we said we were trying to find an alternative way to get rid of the soul."
Harry sneered as he laughed, high pitch and cold, like the Dark Lord himself and he felt twisted and oddly violated, "There is no other way!" Harry pushed his hair out of his face, "What are you going to use, old man? Potions or spells? None of those affect the soul! Potions are physical and magic alone won't rid me of this disease!" Desperate green eyes focused with unnerving intensity on Dumbledore's. "This started with death and it'll end in death!" Harry found his weak composure slipping again. "And you know it! Albus! God-damn you! You always knew it!" Harry wiped his eyes, licking his wet lips and internally cringing at the salty taste of his own tears and snot.
He saw Dumbledore open his mouth but Harry held up his hand beating the man to it, "NO! No! Don't you bloody dare! Don't you dare deny it!" Harry drew in a large ragged breath, feeling wasted and raw as he dared the man he used to look up to, to challenge him, contradict him….
Albus's mouth tilted down and he looked mournful, the hand that had been pressing on Harry's back sliding off his shoulders and setting gently on the arm of the chair. "I thought that given time…" The aged man trailed off, his blue eyes focusing morosely on the brickwork as he straightened up. "I hoped that perhaps…perhaps something could have been figured out." Albus walked over to his desk, slumping down in the seat behind it. "I truly never wanted this to happen, Harry." The man whispered, looking helplessly at him in a gesture of genuine remorse.
Harry scoffed wiping his eyes and face roughly, emotional moment over, he glared at Albus and the meaning was obvious, this never happened; they couldn't afford this weakness in this war. Harry stood from his comfy chair and dropped into the hard uncomfortable chair in front of the desk. He threw his glasses down, letting them skid across the parchment that littered the surface and grunted at them moodily. "Will you fix those for me? And change the thickness of the lenses, my eye sight has changed."
Albus picked the broken and crooked lenses up carefully, twirling them around with gentle fingers. "You know there is more to ophthalmology than just lenses thickness?" The man asked, withdrawing his wand and tapping the lenses. The right shattered upon contact and Harry frowned in worry and concern. It wasn't good when the leader of the light can't do a simple spell.
Dumbledore let out a light laugh before repairing it and tinkering with them some more. "I doubt they will be perfect – I'm not optician, but they should be a little better. I presume that your improved eyesight has something to do with Voldemort?"
Harry took back the proffered glasses, slipping them on carefully, and although it wasn't 100% perfect it would do for the immediate future….whatever was left of it for him anyway… He smiled briefly in thanks and nodded. "Let's say our secret is no longer safe." Harry looked into Albus's eyes and the need to bow his head like he normally had, to shield himself from the almighty figure he admired was no longer there. He looked at the man fearlessly – even knowing about the man's incredible skill of Legilimency and his lack of Occlumency skills. Fuck him, he thought, let him see the whole ugly truth and do what he will with it.
Albus frowned with worry, "Ah," He hummed, tapping his black fingers on the desk.
Harry eyed them without shame, cringing at the blackened nails, falling to pieces and the pungent smell of dark magic rotting in the headmaster's blood. "Want to explain that?" Harry nodded to the hand in question.
Albus smiled, looking down at the hand in what could only be described as fondness, "You'll never be distracted for long, will you Harry?" The man smiled at him, "That is a trait I have always admired in you. You do not give up, and even Severus would have to admit that that trait is admirable."
"From a Potter? He would never say such a thing about anything I possess." Harry replied, "And what is wrong with your magic? It is not like the great Albus Dumbledore would break a pair of glasses…"
Albus smiled once again, before bending over and opening the bottom draw of his desk, pulling out a small box, which he slid across the table to Harry.
Green eyes looked at it in confusion, looking up at Albus and awaiting the encouraging nod before he opened it.
"A ring?" He pulled the thing up with only two fingers and then rolled it in his palm, smoothing over the large crack in the middle of it with his fingers. "Was this what I think it was?" He whispered, a strange foreign delight in him as he felt the dead weight in his hand, the coolness of the metal on his heated skin.
He distantly heard Albus confirm that it was but all Harry could really focus on was the utter despair coming from the horcrux in his mind, it wailed in crippling horror, but the agony was not something Harry shared, he grinned broadly at the headmaster. Though, of course the man could not understand why Harry was so happy, the silence from the object was blessed and Christ! Harry wanted his head back to himself!
"So, was this the cause of…that." Harry asked, cradling the ring, the cool stone and metal warming in Harry's closed fist.
"Yes, yes it was." Albus gestured for Harry to return the ring to him. "The ring does still have its uses however, but if you wish for it when I am finished, you may have it."
They looked at each other and froze for a minute, both knowing that it wouldn't come to that but they were going to play for a while and pretend… so Harry smiled, "Please, I would like that." He said as he dropped the ring in its box and let Albus put it back in the draw.
"As I was saying, my dear boy, there was a curse on the ring which I, in a moment of foolishness, forgot about. My magic is malicious and out of control, I am afraid, I was planning on slowing the car down but the curse has such a hold on me that I…well you know, what I did."
Harry nodded, grimacing, "Will you send someone out to get her? I don't like to think of her there when she offered to do me a favour and it got her killed." Harry folded his hands in his lap, "It's the least we-I, I mean I - can do."
The horcrux gave a huff in his mind, still moody and upset about his treatment and scorn of it but that was the least of his worries as Albus's blue eyes had sharpened and were hooked on him in interest. "Harry, my boy, I understand that your captivity must have been extremely hard on you but is there something you wish to tell me?"
No! Was what Harry wanted to blurt but instead Harry raised an eyebrow, "We both have our secrets, Albus….let's keep them to ourselves for the time being."
The headmaster looked briefly amused, but opened his mouth to blatantly reinforce his question but was interrupted by an irritated tapping at the window. Both of them paused and looked towards the glass being rattled by the wind and rain. Albus waved his wand and the window swung open with horrendous force, Harry thought it lucky that the thing didn't break but he quickly focused on the rain pouring in and the sodden bird that emerged from it.
A vicious looking owl swooped into the room, sprinkling rain everywhere and glaring at everything in sight. After spotting Harry it flew over him, dropping a heavy package that sloshed a little in its envelope.
Immediately afterwards it left, back into the torrential downpour and Albus shut the window after it. Harry looked at the little package and then at Albus. For a few moments there was nothing and then Harry looked at his old mentor and said. "We need a plan and quickly."
Albus nodded, "A plan will not open that letter for you, Harry."
Harry shut his eyes and took a deep breath, steadying his stomach and slowly broke the seal holding it closed.
Harry opened it, pulling out the red, dripping letter and wished he had the energy to be sick. How many limbs will it take? it read and Harry found he couldn't even react. Instead he just shut his eyes and flipped the letter on to Dumbledore's desk tiredly, allowing the muddy brown eyes stuck to the parchment, crying tears of blood to do all the speaking.
"Let's use this to our advantage. Anything we can use."
Blue met green, for the greater good, was left unspoken between them and as Harry set his hands upon the arms of his chair, his broken thumb sticking out at an awkward angle, he felt for the first time that he had met Albus Dumbledore as an equal.
Harry's eyes flickered around the office as Dumbledore picked up the wet letter carefully, and his green eyes caught his own reflection in one of Albus's many silver and reflective trinkets.
Harry was not as shocked as he wanted to be when he saw his reflection, he sat up straight, his posture screaming that he was willing to do what he had to in order to win this war, whether he liked what he had to do or not. He thought he looked young as he gazed at himself through his newly fixed glasses; they were sitting on a crooked, broken nose and Harry saw a young, green-eyed Albus Dumbledore looking back at him.
Ahh, I'm joking, I wouldn't leave it there but that last line felt very conclusive and cliché :P
If you're still sticking with this deplorable author, I apologise from the depths of my blackened stone heart that this was so bloody long in the making. I thought uni was going to be hard work…I was wrong…it seems that my uni has a mission to kill their students with work – first years included. I can't imagine second and third years….
This chapter is pretty heavy on the angst, I think, but I felt it was time that Harry had some introspective moments and a good angst is never bad when fighting a war… Anyway, this story needed a pivotal point if it was ever going to get anywhere and this is the point but there are plenty of twists…Voldemort twists to come. I promise!
I'm meant to be studying for my exams, however, whilst revising, this came to me and I wrote ¾ of it last night and just finished it now.
Want more Voldemort/Riddle? If you haven't checked out For Victory, please do as it is my fav on-going work and there is plenty of Riddle and Harry interaction to gorge yourself on and the chapters are very long ;) It's so much fun to write as well :)
Thanks for sticking with me, PLEASE review! I will try harder to get the next one out a lot bloody quicker!