CHAPTER EIGHT OF ASHES TO ASHES
"SPEECH LOOKS LIKE THIS."
'THOUGHTS LOOK LIKE THIS.'
FLASHBACKS AND DREAMS LOOK LIKE THIS
'What just happened?' Harry thought as he followed behind Dumbledore. The old director was surprisingly calm and collected despite his earlier panic to get him away from Tom.
'Maybe because Tom's not here?' Harry's thoughts inputted helpfully. 'Also what was that all about? I mean, Tom… Tom disappeared…' He trailed off, thoughts returning to what had happened not even minutes ago.
Tom grabbed Harry's wrist, "I can't bring you with me now…" He spoke staring deeply into Harry's eyes, "But I promise you, I'll come back for you." He whispered lowly so only Harry would hear him. He touched his lips lightly to Harry's fingers, "So be good for me 'til I come get you, okay?"
Harry nodded minutely, eyes wide with surprise.
And with a crack Tom disappeared from their sights.
"I'm not dreaming again am I?" Harry spoke aloud unknowingly.
Dumbledore chuckled, pausing to look at his young employee, "No Harry, I'm afraid this isn't a dream…" And then he turned around, muttering something under his breath that sounded like, "But I wish it was…"
"Sir?" Harry asked questionably.
"I will explain to you once we have entered the security of my office. The walls have eyes, you know?" Dumbledore spoke with in a surprisingly light, almost teasing voice, as he waved his hand toward the many portraits that lined up the walls inside Hogwarts.
Harry eyed the different portraits shrewdly as if half expecting them to suddenly wink at him.
Dumbledore chuckled, noticing the look on Harry's face, "Do not fear Harry, they only move when no one is looking."
Harry raised an eyebrow, he knew Dumbledore had probably said that to help ease his nerves, but on contrary, it did quite the opposite.
"Now, Harry… Tell me… What do you know about demons?" Dumbledore asked him as soon as they had settled into seats across from each other. He said it with such ease Harry had trouble thinking of a response to give the old director. It didn't help that Dumbledore had an expression of, what Harry could only describe as, hope written all over his face. So he settled for staring at Dumbldore with a single eyebrow raised in question as the silence stretched on. He had hoped the director would have gotten the hint and explained his question, or at least answered his question himself. But, Harry exhaled slowly he should've expected nothing less from the peculiar director.
"…I'm afraid I don't really know much about demons…" Harry stared blankly; he really wasn't in the mood to be playing games at the moment.
Dumbledore didn't say anything but merely nodded his head as he rose from his seat. "Follow me Harry. I have something to show you," he said as he walked across his office towards a glass cabinet.
Harry said nothing as he rose from his seat to follow him across the room. Once he was close Dumbledore opened the cabinet and brought out a silver bowl and a small glass bottle filled with clear liquid. Harry stared questionably at the small bottle noticing that there was a label on it.
"This is a pensive," Dumbledore spoke in a calm voice, gesturing toward the silver bowl he had just placed on the low self in front of them. "And this," he continued bringing the small bottle into view, Harry could now read the label clearly and it read T. M. R. + Hogwarts 1945, "is a memory."
Harry threw the man an incredulous stare, "I'm sorry, did you just say that's a memory?"
"Yes." Dumbledore smiled, "This is why I'm showing you, because I fear with my words alone it would be hard to believe." He poured the liquid into the silver bowl and once he had emptied the contents he waved his hand around in a circular motion once.
Harry gaped as he saw the once clear liquid take on a pearly sheen as Dumbledore's hand waved above it.
"Now, come here, with me now – we peer into the memory," Dumbledore spoke as he leaned his head toward the bowl, "Come now my boy, there is nothing to fear." He gestured toward the bowl as he patiently waited for Harry to start moving.
After a short period of silence Harry finally started moving toward the bowl, although with difficulty. Was Dumbledore playing a joke with him? He thought to himself silently. But then again, if Dumbledore was playing a joke on him he didn't think the man would take it this far… Or rather, Harry doubted that he would even joke about something in this nature. So with a resigned sigh he stepped closer to the bowl so that he was touching arm to arm with Dumbledore. He glanced at him unsurely and Dumbledore gave him a reassuring smile as they leaned into the bowl.
Harry didn't think anything was going to happen. So he was beyond surprised when he felt the room spin around him. He closed his eyes tightly, flinching slightly when he felt everything around him shift.
"Professor," a distinctly familiar and clear voice called behind him.
"Tom?" Harry whispered as he turned around. He found himself to be outside the Great Hall and standing in front of Tom. "What's going on?" He asked Tom, taking note of the clothes the taller boy was wearing. He wrinkled his nose, "What're you wearing?" He eyed Tom's clothes warily. He was wearing a white dress shirt with a green tie, black slacks, and what Harry could only describe as a cloak on top. That itself didn't sound so strange, but the style of the clothes he was wearing seemed a bit outdated. And Harry had always pictured Tom to be on top of things, even fashion.
"He can't hear you Harry…" Dumbledore spoke up next to him shocking Harry. He had forgotten that Dumbledore was there. "This is a memory remember? We are here to observe."
As if to prove Dumbledore's words the Tom in front of him called out to an unknown person again, "Professor!" He scowled briefly before he took a step forward - walking right through a shell shocked Harry.
"He," Harry started dumbfounded, "He… He just walked… Through me! Right through me!"
Dumbledore chuckled, "Like I said, this is a memory…" He steered Harry towards the way Tom had gone off to. "This is a memory of mine from 1945, near Yule I believe."
Harry made a strangled noise at the back of his throat, "1945?" He repeated with difficulty. "That's more than fifty years in the past! But wasn't that Tom Riddle?"
"He looks the same as he does now, doesn't he?" Dumbledore spoke softly as if he was afraid of Harry's reaction. "Demons are scary creatures Harry."
"…" Harry said nothing as he followed Dumbledore to where Tom had disappeared to.
Tom spoke in a chipped tone once he was in view again, "Professor!"
This time his call was answered by a young looking Dumbledore, "Ah, Mister Riddle, what can I do for you this fine evening?"
Harry couldn't stop the widening of his eyes as he looked from one Dumbledore to the other. "You had… red hair…" Harry observed lamely. He heard Dumbledore chuckle as a sheepish grin spread across his face.
"Sir?" Harry injected as he looked at the memory unfold before him, "I'm sorry but… If that is Tom Riddle, and if that is indeed you, then what about all the records on Tom? Nothing, as far as I remember dated back to 1945…"
Dumbledore chuckled, "You see the facts you have are a little shuffled… At least time wise." Dumbledore stroked his beard, "Perhaps we should view this memory another time, when you are more familiar with what is going on. Let's return to my office."
Harry stared expectantly at Dumbledore once they were settled into their seats again.
"You know Harry, you're taking this a lot better than I thought you would," he observed.
"To be honest I think I'm still not catching up fully to this or I'm still in shock really…" He shrugged, "I'm kind of shocked that I'm not really freaking out at this point."
Dumbledore smiled, "Well it's better to stay calm in situations such as these."
He took a moment to stare into Harry's eyes, his ever twinkling eyes suddenly turning cold. "Now, I will try to explain everything to you…"
Harry nodded slowly.
"Everything on Tom Riddle's file is true, but the dates aren't. All those sent to cure Tom where clergy men. Of course, they failed."
"…Cure Tom?" Harry asked cautiously. Surely he didn't really mean that they actually sent in clergy men to cure him…
"Exorcise him, yes." Dumbledore confirmed without missing a beat.
Harry felt his eyebrows go up in surprise. "Why would you do that?" He asked flabbergasted.
"Because Harry," Dumbledore stressed, "He is a demon."
Harry sighed deeply as he ran a troubled hand through his hair. He stared down at the old tome in his lap. It was bound in soft brown leather; its edges worn from years of exposure and the pages yellow from age. There was no writing on its spine or cover to indicate what kind of material was inside the book. In fact, once Harry opened the book he found it all to be hand written, and in a variant of old English he found to be a little difficult to read. Even thought there was no title on the book he knew what kind of information he would find in it.
'A load of rubbish is what,' he scoffed quietly to himself.
He sat quietly a top his bed as he thought back to when Dumbledore had given him the book before dismissing him.
"I see you're having a little difficulty believing me?" Dumbledore hummed.
Harry said nothing, he was still trying to process the fact that Dumbledore had tried to get Tom exorcised, and not just once either! And apparently, he was planning on Harry to be the next one to try and exorcise Tom!
"Your parents were part of this order, The Order of the Phoenix, and they were one of the few brave who stood up to fight against these demons."
Harry narrowed his eyes, "Yes, so you've said…" He flinched slightly, that came out more snidely then he had intended. He quickly tried to correct himself, "I'm sorry sir, it's just a lot to take in…"
Dumbledore waved his hand, "I completely understand my boy… I'm quite proud of you for being so calm." He paused briefly and started to rummage through his left drawer. "Ah ha!" Dumbledore said quietly before pulling out worn looking leather bound book. "I think this book will help you understand everything a little better. It's an… introduction to demons of sorts."
"I'm dreaming all this up." He said with conviction before groaning in despair, "Or at least, I wish I was." He flopped onto his stomach, not bothering to get underneath his covers as he just laid there willing himself to go to sleep.
"Mmm…" Harry mumbled as he slowly woke from his stupor. He rubbed his hands against his face slowly willing his brain to fully wake up. But it was no use, he was just so drowsy. His limbs felt oddly heavy and it was hard for him to focus on anything. So he just laid there breathing evenly. That's when he felt the telltale pricks of being watched. He squinted, willing his body to move, but he found himself unable to do so. He remained still as the intruder climbed into his bed, swallowing thickly when the unknown man, and he was definitely a man, advanced onto him – straddling his motionless body. He shuddered, unexpectedly feeling icy cold hands trailing down his exposed torso in a teasing manner. He could feel the stranger hover above him, observing him silently. A breathy gasp escaped his lips when those hands suddenly took a firm grip of his hips. He managed to open his eyes, only to see a silhouette of the intruder's face as the lights above him created a shadow.
Although, in the back of his mind he was pretty sure of who it was.
"Harry…" He hears the intruder whisper and he whimpers a bit as he recognizes the voice.
"Tom…" He whimpers before he can stop himself. When he hears Tom's chuckle he's about to say something snappy but it dies on the tip of his tongue as he feels Tom's slender fingers playing with the waist band of this pants.
With a gasp Harry woke up. He's shudders, there's a thin sheet of sweat across his chest and an uncomfortable ache in his pants. He reaches for his glasses on his bedside table and takes a peek at the clock. It reads 3:10AM. Feeling paranoid, he takes a look around his room. Everything is normal and he can't see a thing out of place. There's no one there and yet he can't help but feel a bit disappointed. He growls, squishing the bit of disappointment down. There is no way that he's disappointed that Tom isn't there. 'No. Way.' He mentally tells himself before making his way to the bathroom.
The lights are still on but he can't bring himself to turn them off at this point so he just returns to his bed. He picks up a discarded t-shirt on the floor before taking a careful whiff of it. It doesn't smell so he shrugs and pulls it on before getting on his bed, this time he climbs underneath the covers.
His clock flashes in red letters that it's 3:47 before he falls into sleep once more.
"Wow Harry," Ron whistles, "You look like you've gone to hell and back, mate."
Harry rolled his eyes; he knew Ron didn't mean it in an offending way, "Thanks Ron."
But it was true. He probably did look like he'd gone to hell and back. After he had woken up he had gone to sleep and had woken up to another dream an hour later and hadn't been able to go back to sleep afterwards.
He let out a shuddering breath as icy cold hands stroked him in a languid pace.
"Mmm!" He keened as he grabbed onto Tom's slender forearms, "W-wait… ugh!"
He let out a heavy breath as a fresh way of arousal flared through his veins.
"You alright?" Ron's voice filtered through his clouded mind.
Harry blinked owlishly at him for a moment before quickly responding that yes, he was alright.
He sighed, running a hand through his hair, yep - he was a mess alright.
A/N: I recently made a tumblr for all my fanfiction related stuff. I usually don't reply back to reviews but if you want an answer/reply from me you can message me on my tumblr(link can be found on my profile). It will also have progress logs, chapter previews, stuff I'm working on…etc. Check it out if you want to!
I've also changed my name from strawberrymiilk to jacktogive.
encase some of you where confused...
Next chapter: I will get more into the book Dumbledore gave Harry and his parent's involvement in this fight against demons.