I don't own any thing you recognize, blah blah, I hate disclaimers.


It was late at night in number 4 Privet Drive and in the smallest bedroom, Harry Potter was having a nightmare. Terrible dreams had been plaguing the poor boy's sleep in the weeks he had been back at his aunt and uncle's house. The visions of Sirius falling through the veil despite Harry's best attempts to save him troubled him often. The loss of his godfather, one of the few remaining links to his parents, flooded him with sorrow. Voldemort possessing his body in the atrium and screaming into his mind haunted many of his hours, sleeping and otherwise. Other nightmares, such as Dumbledore strangely announcing that there had been a mistake and that The Prophecy was for Harry's death instead of Voldemort's, filled in the empty spaces. However, no nightmare Harry had experienced so far this summer had harried his dreams quite like the one he was experiencing tonight.

His friends were dying, one by one, in the Department of Mysteries.

It was like watching scenes out of a movie. Neville, going down to a Cruciatus from Bellatrix. A psychotic cackle, a flash of green light, and then he's gone.

Poor Ginny, already hobbled from a broken ankle, cut down but a powerful severing charm that hits her midsection and cleaves her in two.

Ron, ironically enough, is taken down by his own hand. Struggling under the influence of a Confundus charm, he mistakenly summons one of the swimming brains and it locks its slimy tentacle appendages around his neck and strangles him to death.

Little Luna Lovegood, falling to multiple gleefully-shouted killing curses. Luna, one of the gentlest and most caring people he knew, mercilessly struck down like some kind of animal.

Finally, the one that began it all. The familiar curly brown hair of his best friend, thrown backwards as a fiery, purple curse slices through her body. He stares at Hermione Granger's lifeless body, stuck in place as his friends die around him, over and over and over again. He stands there, unable to move, as she dies there on the cold floor, all alone. A grief-tinged wail rings through his head.

NOOOO!

Harry sat up abruptly as he woke from the nightmare, sweat running in rivulets from his body, his pulse pounding. He took stock of his surroundings, remembering that a dream is just that, a dream. He tried to tell himself that his friends had all survived, so everything was fine. They had all made it out of there, even if they were a little worse for the wear.

Neville proved himself admirably, defeating several Death Eaters, despite a broken nose and wand. Ginny's broken ankle was easily healed and Luna, despite being hit by multiple Stunners, was back to her normal self, well for her anyway, in days. Ron might suffer from a few bruises to his neck and ego, but no long-term damage was expected from his exposure to the tentacled monstrosity. Hermione, having nearly completed a large potion regiment prescribed by Madame Pomfrey, had mostly healed. All that was left to show of her close encounter with death was a small scar across her torso.

Yes, everyone was alive, but everything was not fine.

But for one Silencio, the entire outcome of that battle could have ended far differently. Harry was inconsolable, useless, for the precious seconds it took Neville to find Hermione's pulse. Had Hermione cast the Silencing charm on the other Death Eater instead of Dolohov, she surely would have died from the curse he sent her way and Harry felt sure the battle would have played out similarly to the nightmare he had just awoken from. What the hell? Why was he so weak when it came to her?

A soft scoff from the corner of the room drew his attention. Please, boy. You know why that is.

Harry, startled from his introspection, stared into the shadowy corner of his room. A glowing pair of red eyes shone out from the gloom. He grabbed his wand from under the mattress and pointed it at the intruder. "Who's there," he asked, fumbling for his glasses on the dresser with his other hand.

Who but the passenger in your head since that night so many years ago, the voice hissed. The figure stepped into a moonlit section of the room.

"VOLDEMORT," Harry raged at the pale, bald figure in front of him. His eyes wide, he raised his wand to cast something, anything, at his nemesis, when the piece of holly flew from his hand and landed neatly in the long fingers on the other side of the room.

Now, now, the tall, gaunt figure tut-tutted at him, wagging a finger, if you start cursing me right away, you'll never listen to what I have to say. You can't injure me here anyway, Voldemort finished, inspecting Harry's wand.

"Why would I listen to anything you say," Harry yelled. "You're a murderer!" Without his wand, Harry knew that he was useless against the Dark Lord. The most he could hope for was to delay him until Dumbledore and the Order arrived. As soon as the thought crossed his mind, Voldemort interrupted with a laugh.

A valiant idea, of course, but misguided. As I said earlier, I cannot be injured here. The realization hit Harry. Voldemort was in his mind. He quickly tried to build up his Occlumency walls in his memories as the Dark Lord laughed again.

Good, good! Your defenses have grown much stronger since the school year! However, you are once again misguided. I am not here to harm you, Potter. I'm here to make you a deal. Voldemort leaned back against the wall of his room, making himself comfortable and looking very relaxed.

That caught Harry off guard, however, he recovered quickly. "Deal? There's no deal to be made! You killed my parents. Sirius is dead because of you. I'll force you out of my mind," he finished, concentrating on his defenses harder. This didn't seem to bother Voldemort, however, as he just nodded.

I would expect nothing less, boy. There is nothing to force out, however. I am as much a part of you as the eyes you received from your mother or the messy mop of hair that your father donated. I am no mere presence in your mind, Potter. I am a piece of soul lodged inside you.

"But, how-"

The how and why should be obvious by now. Dark magic and immortality. You were a mistake, though. I did not account for the effect your mother's sacrifice would have. As the Killing Curse I fired at you rebounded and destroyed me, a piece of my soul separated from the rest and latched on to the only living thing left in the room: You.

Harry felt like he was going to be sick. A piece of Voldemort's soul was inside him? He wanted to scream. He wanted to rage. He wanted to yell at the fact that he was a container for a piece of his hated enemy's soul. He wanted to destroy the bastard.

Quit your moaning, boy. I said before that I was here to help.

Harry squinted his eyes in suspicion at the presence. "You said no such thing. What you said was that you weren't going to harm me and that you were here to offer me a deal." The piece of Voldemort's soul laughed once more, clapping it's hands in glee, a sight that bothered Harry very much.

So I did, so I did. Can't sneak one by you, can I, boy? I knew Granger was doing you some good. I do indeed have a deal to offer you, Potter. You see, my time in your body has... changed me in ways I still do not quite understand. The combination of your admittedly powerful magical essence, the dark sacrificial magic your mother performed to protect you from me, and the time I have spent here has corrupted my soul fragment.

"Wait," Harry interrupted, "Corrupted? Dark sacrificial magic? Why would my mother have anything to do with that?"

Do not confuse 'dark' with 'evil', boy. Your mother's blood magic saved you from her fate. Without that protection, you would have been dead many times over already. As for the corruption, there is a reason it is not recommended to use living things as soul containers. Surely, you know Nagini?

Harry knew. The massive snake was a deadly, twisted abomination of an animal. "Are you saying Nagini is another of these containers?"

Indeed. Since she is not human, her animal essence could not resist the influence of the soul shard as you have and she was corrupted. Her species is not naturally as big or as poisonous as she is. Along with being able to fight back, however, she is weaker, as she can die.

He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. "So, because my mother sacrificed herself for me, I somehow managed to defeat your Killing Curse, fight off possession, and corrupt a piece of your soul over the years?" At the soul fragment's nod, "Bollocks." Another thought crossed his mind.

Say what you are thinking, boy, the hissing voice spoke.

"You said you intentionally created Nagini, but that I was an accident." Harry worked it through his mind for a second before asking the right question. "How many of these containers had you created before I was... created?"

The shard laughed and danced again, once more disturbing Harry. Now you are using your head for something other than keeping your pillow warm. Before being destroyed and creating you, I managed to create six other containers housing pieces of my soul. As part of this deal, I offer you their locations and the knowledge of how to destroy them.

Harry stared at the shadowy figure distrustfully. "I don't trust you at all. You have nothing to back your story up with. You could be outright lying to me and I would have no way of knowing."

Too true. Perhaps I can offer a bit of information in good faith. Where do you think you get your Parselmouth abilities from, hmm? My living body's conduit into your brain? Where do you think those came from? Harry gave no notice that the information impressed him. I'm sure you remember the diary from your second year? Of course Harry remembered. He was sure Ginny remembered, too. The smell of that foul dungeon, the feeling of helplessness as the Basilisk stalked him, the terrible strength required to stab the diary with the fang while venom coursed through his body. Harry remembered. He would remember that place of horror for the rest of his life. I created that Horcrux when I attended Hogwarts as a student. It was my first step on the path to immortality. I was greatly impressed by the strength you showed in destroying it.

Harry was running out questions to ask the fragment of Voldemort. "Why wouldn't Professor Dumbledore tell me any of this? Why am I hearing about this from a fragment of my enemy's soul lodged in my body?"

Dumbledore, the fragment ground out in anger. The old fool understands little about what I have done and what he does know makes him dangerous.

"To you, perhaps," Harry scoffed.

To us, Potter. Voldemort's soul fragment paused. Albus Dumbledore intends for you, for us, to die.

Harry was startled into laughing. The situation wasn't appropriate for the reaction, but there really was nothing else he could do. "Professor Dumbledore wants me to die? The man who has looked out for me since I came to Hogwarts, my magical guardian, friend of my parents? That Albus Dumbledore?" He chuckled and lay back down on his bed. "I think I've heard enough here. If you're just going to keep spouting ridiculous theories-"

Heed the words of the prophecy, Potter, the Voldemort fragment interrupted. 'Neither can live while the other survives'. For me to be mortal, all the pieces of my soul must be destroyed. Since he knows no better, he takes that to mean that you must die for the piece of soul inside you to be destroyed. Harry continued to stare at the shade disbelievingly and it continued on.

Look at how he has treated you through the years. Taking you here to live with these abusive, intolerant muggles when you could easily have become a ward of the school? The blood wards protecting this pathetic dwelling surely aren't as strong as those at Hogwarts. And what of your godfather, Black? Was sending him to prison without trial when it would have taken nothing more than a few drops of Veritaserum to discover the truth part of his plan? During your fourth year, did you truly think there was no way for a contract between a child and a magical object to be dissolved? He heads multiple legislative bodies of Wizard Law! Breaking magical contracts is nothing for him. Why else do you think your friends would voluntarily cease communication with you last year, it continued berating him, besides on his orders? The shadowy figure stalked to the other side of the room, its first sign of restlessness since it made itself known.

How many more examples must I give? His plan is for you to go to your death willingly so that I might be destroyed.

"I would gladly sacrifice myself so that Voldemort could be defeated," Harry yelled. "If my death is necessary for you to be made mortal, then I would willingly offer my life for that cause."

How very Gryffindor of you, Potter. Since we share the same body, however, that idea is unacceptable to me. As a memory of someone who has created one before, there is no better expert on this form of magic than I, and I can tell you that the destruction of the container is not the only solution to this problem. There is a set of circumstances that is unique to the creation of a Horcrux using a living being. If the being that contains the soul fragment assimilates the fragment in question, the fragment will be lost and the two will be one. Harry stared at the fragment incredulously. He thought the fragment was mental due to the corruption and told him so.

No, Potter, I am not mental, as you so eloquently put it. I have determined over the course of time that there is no better solution than this.

Harry wasn't buying it. "I still think destroying you is the better option," he grumbled. "Well, why haven't you tried taking over then, if you're so keen on surviving," he asked after a moment.

Do you think I haven't, he asked, surprising Harry. Possession is not the same as sending visions. My other self was able to do that due to my presence in your mind. Complete possession of one's mind and body is not that simple and is nearly impossible for a small fragment such as myself. You were beating me back before you finished teething, boy. You have more power in you than even the old fool understands, Potter. I want to give you more.

"Why would I need your help," Harry asked, grabbing his glasses from the nightstand and putting them on. It was obvious that, even if this mental invasion ended, he wouldn't be going back to sleep. "I have the power he knows not, like it said in the prophecy, and you yourself said that I'm very powerful on my own."

There was only one muggle activity that Tom Riddle truly enjoyed when he was a child at the orphanage. Not surprisingly, considering his proclivities, it was an activity that lent itself to solitude and contemplation. It was this activity that taught him to value patience.

Tom loved to fish.

As such, up until his destruction, he enjoyed using fishing metaphors in daily conversation. Gutting someone like a fish was one of his favorites. The fragment of his soul that took on that particular aspect of his personality was immensely enjoying this conversation. The fragment had been casting its line this entire time, looking for a nibble. Now it was fairly certain that it had gotten one.

I did, but how much easier do you think it would be to find and destroy these soul containers if you knew what they were and where to find them? How many lives do you think you could save if you knew this information when you awoke? The fragment paused for a moment. Potter was angry, scared, and tired of being uninformed. In response it had stoked his anger, calmed his fears, and filled in his gaps. Now it needed him to bite. Would you take this deal if you knew that you would never cost another loved one their life through hesitation, indecision, or inaction? Taking in the boy's wide eyes, it knew that it had hooked him. The Granger girl's life was the bait, and Potter ate it up, hook, line and sinker. Time to reel him in. Slowly. With my power and knowledge, you will be able to protect the one you love, it whispered.

Harry sat for a moment, thinking through these new revelations. It was true that the power the soul fragment was offering him would make him nearly invincible. Using Voldemort's own power and knowledge to defeat him was tempting. Never again would he have to worry about being unable to move quick enough to protect someone that was important to him. What would he lose to gain this power, though? And what of Professor Dumbledore? Was it true what the fragment of Voldemort was saying and that he had been misled from the beginning?

Longer, Potter. The deception from the old fool goes back to your parents' dealings with him and further. Who do you think convinced James and Lily to change their secret keeper from the strong-willed and loyal Black to the weak, sniveling Pettigrew? Certainly not the rat. He practically bounded to me in joy with the information in hand. Now, who had enough influence with you parents to push them to that decision?

Combined with the earlier condemnation against his headmaster, the implication that Dumbledore had something to do with his parents' murder was too much for Harry to take. It was too easy to connect the dots. Harry nodded his head in resignation and the soul fragment knew that it was all over but the cleaning and filleting. So to say. "How do I know that you won't try to usurp control of my mind and my body once I've assimilated you?"

Potter, I am but one-seventh of a soul. A small piece. A fragment. It took me a long time to figure out that my small piece of soul has no chance against a healthy, unbroken one. With your power, the risk of my taking control is non-existent.

"So why do this? Why give up your fight against my soul when Voldemort could win and you could take over my body?"

Do not forget, boy, that I have been with you almost since the beginning. I know the emotion that roars in your heart and I have witnessed your courage. I have seen your power in destroying one of these containers already and I have no desire to be lost as that fragment was. My goal when starting upon this journey was to be the most powerful wizard of all time. I see now that I was mistaken and it was not meant to be. You are already more powerful than I could hope to be. If being the most powerful wizard in the world must become being a part of the most powerful wizard in the world and not being destroyed, I will accept that as an alternative.

"How much of a part," Harry asked, eyebrows raised. "I'm not going to hear you gibbering in my head all the time, am I?"

For all intents and purposes, I will be no different than a single hair on your head or single fish in a school and noticed just as little. Once we merge, I become part of the whole and cease to exist as a fragment in your mind. You will continue to be yourself, for the most part just as you were before. I will only exist from then on as a part of Harry Potter, and not Lord Voldemort.

Harry nodded his head. "Very well. What do I need to do? Do I... do I kill you?" He looked around for his wand before remembering it was in the soul fragment's hand, who laughed uproariously. The act was still odd enough looking to make Harry cringe.

No, Potter, the fragment said, chuckling. Like I said before, you can't injure me here. All you need to do is take the fragment from its location and absorb it. He noticed Harry's questioning look. Where do you think it is, boy? Maybe that scar I gave you? Remove it and place it in your soul. Your heart, he added in exasperation before Harry could ask. It's a symbolic action. Remember, we're in your mind.

Harry reached up to the scar on his head and rested his fingers against the gash. A tingling feeling began in his fingertips, which he pulled away to see a brightly glowing shard of red light. Staring at the small piece of a human's soul he held in his fingers, he wondered what his mother would think of this turn of events. Making peace with a piece of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Any sort of protection the blood wards around Privet Drive had offered before tonight was now certainly guaranteed to be gone. And the dark magic he was most assuredly using! The idea that she would be disappointed saddened him. But there was more to worry about than just that. Lives literally depended on Harry locating and destroying these Horcruxes. If getting a smudge on his soul or gaining his mother's disapproval meant saving the lives of his friends and others, he would accept the consequences.

Remember, Potter, the voice hissed softly as the shadowy image of Voldemort faded away, there is a difference between dark and evil magic.

Purpose. The difference is in the purpose.

With that, the red of the fragment melted into the bright, blue light emanating from his chest. Harry's knees buckled and he fell back on the bed as he immediately blacked out.

Harry dreamed.


A/N: So this was just an idea that came to me while I was browsing some HP fanfic and I thought I might bang it out and post it up here and see if people are interested in reading. Just planning on it being short, with two or three chapters max. Second chapter is half done and if I can get that finished and posted today, I'll be happy. If you like it, let me know with a review, please.

AZ