In Another Time
DISCLAIMER: Hey, I own Harry Potter! I'm sure everyone believes me. This fic is inspired by the Fictionist's beyond fabulous and newly completed (Sadly! I wanted more chapters! :( ) Fate's Favorite. This is an AU version of Chapter 140, in which Tom made Harry into a Horcrux.
Harry stared at the girl in front of him, his breath coming in ragged gasps as though he had run miles. He felt as though the world was crumbling all around him, tearing itself to shreds, shattering everything he had ever believed in, all he held pride of! The enormity of what he had promised Tom struck him, hard, and he stumbled backwards, hands scrabbling blindly for the door knob, only for Tom's vice- like grip on his wrist to yank him back again.
"Harry," the other said, a deeper implication hidden in his demanding tone.
A Horcrux. He was going to let Tom make him into a Horcrux.
He couldn't do it. He just couldn't! Salazar, didn't Tom understand? Tom could call it a weakness or whatever he couldn't care less, he just could not kill someone in cold blood! He wasn't Voldemort, he wasn't Tom, who could hide his emotions behind a mask, could simply choose not to feel an emotion when he found inconvenient, he was different, just why did someone who understood him so well, to an extent of anticpating his words and actions, not comprehend this part of him?
Strong fingers gripped his shoulders, almost crushing them, but Harry barely flinched away. His eyes were glazed, his heart pounding loudly in his ribcage- he was certain Tom could hear it. He felt incredibly cold all over, the chill of fear, even greater than anything he had even experienced, even when he was fighting for his life in the graveyard ages ago-
"Backing out of our deal, hero?" Tom questioned, menace barely hidden in his otherwise soft voice.
Harry's emerald gaze snapped to the other, raw desperation bursting out of his very soul, as he tried in vain to piece together a speech to convince Tom, even though he had no hopes regarding the matter.
"I'm not backing out, it's just I literally can't do it- you know I can't-" the words tumbled past his lips in a rushed jumble, forming an incorrigible sentence.
Tom's eyes were boring holes into him, but still Harry held the other's gaze, trying to convey his desperate plea; yet true to his anticipations, Tom showed no sign of relenting.
"All you need to do is point your wand and intentionally kill," said Tom flatly.
"Don't!" Harry suddenly snarled, a spark shooting out of his wand in a burst of accidental magic, his anger surfacing for the moment through the jumble of emotions he was feeling. "Stop acting as though this is no big deal! For Salazar's sake- you telling me to simply kill-"
"I assure you, darling, I am not acting," Tom interrupted in a dangerous voice.
"- how can you treat this as simply nothing!" Harry plunged on recklessly, feeling the tell- tale pathetic prickling in his eyes as he resumed his debate with the floor, as though glancing at Tom would make him forget the facts, and lose the battle. "It's all wrong, from the start to end, it's a complete mess of a plan! Killing isn't just simply an activity for leisure or something-!"
"You're just doing this to punish me for stealing your stupid notebook, alright- I'll say I'm sorry, you can give me the Dark Mark or anything like that, or- or torture me, whatever!" The younger boy had long since lost his composure, tears were already threatening to slide down the bridge of his nose, prickling the corners of his eyes- he felt pathetic, as though walking in Lestrange's shoes for the first time in his life. But Tom's face still remained impassive.
It wasn't enough; Tom was still watching him, composure rigid, otherwise emotionless.
"You want me to get on my knees like your Death- Eaters, then fine!" Harry's voice was hoarse now, close to a croak, broken and choked- and he fell to his knees before Tom submissively. His pride writhed in excruciating agony, but it was nothing, nothing compared to the taunting fear of becoming just another creature like his greatest enemy. Tears fell rebelliously from the corners of his eyes as his knees hit the carpet, forming little blurry droplets on his hands, but he did not reach up to brush them away, allowing the young Dark Lord to witness his most pathetic form, not even quite sure what he was trying to achieve from that.
Silence descended eerily, broken only by the choked sobs of the girl in a far corner, her eyes wide with fear, and Harry felt sick to the stomach just by the sight of her, scared and defenceless, crouching in a corner, innocent, just to be sacrificed for the sake of their stupid plan which probably wouldn't work anyway-
Tom's shoes came to a rest before him.
"You're not my Death- Eater," he said softly, in a tone which Harry couldn't decipher, but which brooked no argument.
"Then please don't make me do this," Harry said desperately, clinging on to the sentence like a life- line. "I'll return your notebook, I promise-"
"Get up," said Tom roughly, yanking Harry by his hair, but Harry remained on the ground, his fists clenched on the carpet, his knuckles white with the strain.
"Please, Tom, don't-"
"Stop making such a big deal out of it," snapped Tom, his cool composure broken. "Yes, I am doing this to punish you, but it needs to be done anyway, so get on with it now."
Harry was silent for a moment, trying to hold back his emotions, trying his best not to lash out already, as anger once again surfaced through his torrent of emotions.
"Not make a big deal?" he said, his voice rising to an unnatural pitch. This was followed by a bout of unexpectedly loud and hysterical laughter, which alarmed himself more than it scared the girl, as the incredubility of what Tom was ordering him to do settled.
Silence reigned. The girl crouched in the corner pitifully, like a prey caught in a trap, awaiting its fate. Harry wished she would just come to her senses and run, he'd make sure she got away before Tom caught her back- she didn't deserve it, and nobody did.
"We made an oath, golden boy," Tom started, his eyes flashing across to indicate the girl, who was staring at them wide- eyed and fearful. "Surely you understood the implications enough to comprehend that you cannot simply choose to back away from a vow sealed with magic."
"I'm sorry, alright!" Harry said quickly, his words fast and frantic. "Sorry I don't want to see my world blown up into oblivion, sorry I don't want my soul torn to shreds for no particular reason-!" But still Harry struggled with words, trying to phrase his turbulent of emotions, but how were any of them enough? They sounded like pathetic excuses, and in a sense they were. He knew he really shouldn't have made the vow in the first place- he honestly didn't understand what he had been thinking. He had only thought of himself, of how he would change, and how he would force himself to feel remorse and gain back his soul once he became a Horcrux- he had never given a single thought to the victim he was going to use to perform the ritual.
Tom appraised the boy before him for a moment, before suddenly yanking Harry upright, grabbing the younger wizard as he stumbled to his feet.
Harry's head was bowed, he was unsure of what to do, he wasn't manipulative- he didn't know the right buttons to push. He just wanted it all to end.
"You do know that once I get this over, I can never be the same again, don't you?" Harry said at last, softly. "I'll be different, hell, maybe even like Voldemort- surely you can see this isn't a good plan, unless a change is what you want-"
Tom's eyes were hard. Harry faltered.
"I believe I have expressed my opinions on that matter clearly."
Tom wanted him to change. He didn't care.
Of course he didn't- he was a psycopath, he didn't even have morals to believe in for that matter.
Tom wanted him to change.
He felt Tom release him, and Harry raised his eyes to look at the crouching girl in the corner. He was surprised she hadn't already fainted of fright. Tom moved away, sensing his emotions doubtlessly, that he had made his decision.
Don't even think about it.
He couldn't even bear to look at the girl's face. He was going to be a murderer. A cold- blooded murderer. Just like Voldemort.
He felt cold, so very cold.
He raised his wand, feeling as though an eternity was passing, and took aim.
Salazar, how he hated himself. When would this ever end?
Why did everything had to be so difficult?
The girl started to cry.
Her tears were painful to watch, as though his soul were already tearing into shreds before him.
He felt Tom's watchful gaze on him, daring him to back away.
He wished his wand was pointing at himself. He didn't want to do it. He was repulsed by himself. Ron definitely would be, too. His best friends. Hermione.
Sirius. Remus. His parents.
"Avada Kedavra," he whispered.
A jet of brilliant green light shot out from his wand, dazzling and eerie.
The girl sobbed harder than ever.
"Don't kill him!"
"I'll hold him off- Lily, take Harry and run!"-
"No, not Harry, please not Harry- he's innocent-"
A baby, a child, in the cot, shielded by his mother's outstretched arms- alive, because of their sacrifice-
"Take me, take me instead-"
"Stand aside, stand aside girl-"
"No!" he shouted aloud, just as the green light hit the girl. But nothing happened, she froze as though anticipating pain, but still she remained there in the corner, crouching and shivering, alive.
Tom's eyes were burning. "Try again," he ordered.
"No," repeated Harry, his voice still a risen shout, he was shaking all over now, remembering the memory, the precious one he was able to view, the only small recollection he had of his parents whenever the Dementors came near to him. He couldn't, just couldn't- and Salazar, what difference would he make from Voldemort if he had killed the girl? He had listened to the girl's cries, yet still aimed his wand and took an innocent life for the sake of making a Horcrux!
Tom took an impatient step forwards, but Harry stepped back.
"I can't do it! This isn't about my ability anymore, Tom, I'll never allow myself to do so!"
"We had a deal-"
"I don't care!" Harry shouted, but the words hurt as they left his throat. "I'm tired of all of this! For the first time in my life, I don't care anymore, don't you get it?"
"You were doing fine a minute ago," snapped Tom, as though this was just another burden he had to get on with, as though they weren't even talking about someone's life, which was hanging in balance. "Try again."
"So according to you, I have to turn into a cold blooded murderer, for the sake of what?" Harry yelled, flinging his wand across the room, sending it spinning across the room, as though to cast away any evil he might have done a minute ago. "So you won't turn into Voldemort? For the greater good? So we can both have a fairytale ending?"
"So according to you, it's not worth it," said Tom, coldly, his eyes blazing, just a darker shade away from scarlet.
"I thought you understood me, you know me, you can anticipate my moves or actions and is always one step ahead-" Harry began, cutting across Tom as the young Dark Lord made to speak, "But clearly not enough, because surely you can see now- I can NOT do it!"
The last words were hurled, loudly, but Harry was beyond caring. "I'm sorry, sorry that I'm chickening out or whatever you'd like to call it, of this deal, alright! I have no idea what made me seal it in the first place, I'm not making excuses- but sorry to let you down, I'm just different- I'm still human and I can't kill like it's no big deal!"
"So what does that make me?" Tom shot back at him, his tone icy, eyes burning with cold fire. "Inhuman, like Voldemort, I suppose?"
"Not quite, not yet, but now you're straying dangerously close!" spat Harry, doing anything out of pure will of getting out of the Horcrux deal forever.
This time the silence that prevailed was not broken, not even by the girl's sobs. Harry froze, realizing what he said, but unsure of what he could do to take it back. But if it managed to make Tom stop, it was worth it, wasn't it? Surely the Slytherin Heir knew Harry hadn't really meant it, he'd only said it out of pure desperation to back out of the deal-
Tom remained quiet. Harry met the other's gaze uncertainly, feeling bile rise up in him. Merlin, this was so wrong, he really, really didn't mean them-, but if he took them back now, would Tom forge ahead with the Horcrux plan? He felt as though the room were swaying, and Tom's aura bubbled, dark and dangerous, a metre away from where he stood. His breathing was ragged, as though he'd been running, and for a moment, they held each other's gazes, holding everything else in silence.
"You're right," Tom said finally, his penetrating gaze fixing Harry as though appraising him for the last time. There was something more than anger in those violet eyes, something akin to bitterness and disgust. "I don't understand you. Not enough."
The quietness was suffocating, intoxicating. Harry felt worn; so totally dead beat.
For that moment, he just wanted it all to stop. He wanted to stop time, stop the world from spinning round and round, driving him insane!
"So this is the way you want it."
Tom's voice was soft, as Harry had heard it countless times before he faced trouble, but this time he wasn't sure whether there was menace behind those words.
Silence reigned as minutes ticked by.
Harry did not reply.
Then suddenly, the Slytherin Heir was gone, storming past him, out of the hotel door, slamming it behind him as he went, leaving Harry staring blankly, unseeingly, at an empty spot on the ground.
Harry felt stunned, as though he couldn't quite catch up with what was happening before Tom had already left, with no indication that he had ever been there, except for the words ringing in his ears- "You're right. I don't understand you. Not enough!" and his own harsh words, saying Tom was Voldemort... he hadn't truly meant it, but Tom had left once he said those words, once he compared the young Dark Lord's future self to Tom.
Tom's gaze, locking with his... as though for the last time...
...a hidden implication, a different meaning... those unspoken words...
...Tom's previous words, like from a long time ago, "You're the only one I'm not already Voldemort to."
So this is the way you want it to be.
No, no -!
He hadn't meant it,
-surely Tom would understand-
Before quite comprehending what he was doing, he was flying down the corridors, tearing across the marble floor, desperately seeking for the tall and dark familiar figure, leaving the bewildered girl all alone in the hotel room. But there was no sign of the Slytherin Heir- he had already left. Desperately Harry tore down the streets, out of the hotel, his heart racing, it felt even painful, but he didn't stop. He couldn't Apparate, and he and Tom had arrived by Portkey. He raced past bus stops and pushed through the crowd, but Tom was nowhere to be seen.
He felt sick. Sweat was pouring down the side of his face, his breath coming in ragged gasps as he continued running down the streets of London, feeling completely lost, but not allowing himself to stop. His footsteps pounded an irregular beat against the tarmac as he kept willing himself onwards, his mind a haze of panic and worry, he felt guilt claiming his very soul as the words he never meant haunted his thoughts. Surely Tom wouldn't leave, Tom had to know he never meant it that way! Salazar, this was so stupid- he felt cursing the other to oblivion at that moment, but a strong contradictory sense of loss prevailed as his roaming gaze through throngs of people did not reveal whom he sought. He didn't even know he was shouting out, his desperation forming words, calling out the other's name again and again, but not once did he receive a response.
When he did finally arrive at Hogwarts, so tired he could barely stay on his feet, robes torn, it was already dusk. But it didn't really matter anymore, because he had already given up hope- because Tom and the rest of the 1949 crew had already long since gone.
It was much later, much, much later, when Harry stumbled back into the Slytherin Common Room, his eyes dull, his body fatigued and tired. There was a brief letter from Zevi and the other two, stuck on the top of his desk. He didn't know why, and he felt quite foolish after that, but for a tiny brief moment, he had managed to hope that the letter would be from Tom.
Harry, what did you do? Tom came back really mad a minute ago and he told us to leave right away. I hope we'll see you again, but Tom's waiting, so I guess it's goodbye for now.
Zevi, Abraxas and Alphard
What had he done? He had managed to prevent himself from becoming a cold blooded murderer. But not Tom. Tom had went back to the past. What did that mean? Was it Tom's cruel way of telling Harry, he'd had it too? That he was through? Was he giving it up, too, since Harry thought it wasn't worth it? Was Tom going to follow the time line, and become Voldemort just so the time line wouldn't implode?
What was the other thinking?
What was he himself thinking? He couldn't be sure, not at all. All he knew was that he had achieved his goal, but this was not what he wanted.
For the first time in his life, Harry scrabbled through his mind, trying to find a link to Tom, the empathy link, but all he found was Voldemort's, in a darker corner of his brain. It was like Tom never existed now, as he was already so far away in the past.
Harry turned slowly around at the familiar voice, to be met by Draco Malfoy, who was wearing a strange, unreadable expression on his face, before it morphed into something like annoyance as the blonde heard a faint thud outside the Slytherin Common Room door.
"Weasley is waiting for you outside. He told you to hurry up," Draco said at last.
Harry nodded listlessly. Ron had immediately seized the opportunity of Tom's absence to tug Harry back to the Gryffindor Dorm. Harry would be sleeping there tonight. At first, Harry had protested- he wanted to be alone, and he didn't feel like being bombarded by the questions and whispers that were sure to follow- he hadn't even acknowledged Dumbledore when the Headmaster asked, but he didn't think he could face sleeping alone in the Dormitory with three empty beds surrounding him, knowing full well he was the cause of all of it to happen.
He moved over to tug his trunk out from under his bed, before freezing, his eyes resting on the holly and phoenix feather wand lying on his bed.
The wand he had thrown into the corner of the hotel room a few hours ago.
Hermione watched, anxiously and a tad tentatively, as Harry stumbled into the Gryffindor Common Room, his eyes on the floor, not looking nor acknowledging any of them. From the last few hours, Harry had transformed- from someone buzzing on high alert, to someone completely dead to the world around him. She wondered what had happened between Harry and Riddle, but she didn't dare to ask.
Wordlessly, as Harry approached her, dragging his trunk behind him, Hermione handed over Tom's notebook, sensing that it was at last safe to do so.
For a long moment, Harry gazed as though in a trance at her outstretched hand, not seeing her, but the handwriting of someone who had already left for the past. It was a full minute before he took it lightly from her, his fist slowly closing tighter around the binds of the book, holding it close to him, not because of what it was worth, for all intents and purposes, it was now worthless- but for the fact that it was the only thing he had left, to remind him of the friend he once had- in another time.
A/N: What do you think? It should be a one- shot, but it's depressing to leave it not that note... yet it sounds like a good enough bad ending. Contradictory, no? :D