So, I have no excuse. The update's late, I know, and I'm sorry.
In other news: HELLO TO ALL MY NEW FAVORITES AND FOLLOWERS! Welcome to the party.
"Uhhh…" Harry started. Above him, Hermione, Ron, and Luna were staring down at Harry and James with a mix of surprise, and wonder. James was staring back up at them with an unusually blank his eyes were studying each one of the faces above him.
Harry felt a little awkward in the middle. "James, uh, meet Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Luna Lovegood. Guys, meet … eh, James Potter."
James looked over each one of his friends, taking in their appearances, and saying nothing, though his eyes studied Ron and Hermione more than the ravenclaw beside them.
Ron blinked. "So it's really true then. If you're alive then that must mean Voldemort is alive in this world as well, isn't he?" He stared at James like he was checking to see if the man in front of him was the apparition instead of himself.
James nodded, still silent.
"You're alive," Ron said quietly. He seemed to realize he'd said this out loud, and he looked up sheepishly at Hermione before looking back at Harry. "Bit of a shock, i'd guess."
Harry grinned. "You've no idea."
Ron glanced at James again and then at the bathroom behind them suspiciously. "And you made it to wander around a girls bathroom."
"Moaning Myrtle's bathroom," Harry corrected offhandedly. "And what's you mean 'made it'? You saw me before. Of course I made it."
James looked over to Harry surprised and Harry rolled his shoulders back awkwardly.
"Well yeah, but after I talked to you, Hermione told me that wizards who thought people could travel in between worlds would die if they traveled inside their bodies. That only their souls could travel through and live."
Harry looked down at himself briefly. "But I'm fine."
Ron raised an eyebrow. "Exactly." He glanced at Hermione. "So if they were wrong about that, all those theorists could be wrong about other things as well, right?" Luna nodded silently beside him. "Mate, you really could be in a different universe then, right?" Ron asked.
Harry shrugged. "Seems like it."
"Well, then how do we get you back?"
Harry looked back at James. James met his eyes, and looked away, giving Harry a sort of silent permission. Why Harry had even looked back and asked was something that only crossed Harry's mind as weird after he had turned around to face his friends.
"Well, I think I … I should start off with how I found myself here," Harry said, looking into each of his friends eyes slowly. "And then explain why I can't go home yet."
Harry recited his story.
Everything from how he got there, to sharing his memories with the Order, to the battle in Hogsmead, to getting out of Malfoy manor, and making his way to the Chamber of secrets with the horcrux necklace in his pocket. He told about killing Malfoy and riding the dragon, and finding out that Ron, Neville and Hermione weren't alive here in the sense that they were in his world. When he was done, Hermione was the first to speak.
"So I'm a witch hunter?"
"Of a sort I guess," Harry nodded.
"Have I…" Hermione choked. "Have I killed other wizards before?"
Harry shook his head. "I don't really know. Maybe. Maybe not, I haven't asked her yet."
"And you let her inside Hogwarts?" Ron asked furiously. "With everybody else?"
"She won't hurt anyone," Harry argued quietly. "She just… needs a push in the right direction."
"In the magical community?" Hermione asked.
"That's in total shite over there right now?" Ron asked a beat behind her. "Great idea, just give her another reason to despise us, seeing us fight each other over the purity of blood. That'll go over well."
"Look," Harry said, shaking his head and coming back to the subject and problems at hand. "If something happens, I'll… fix it, but for right now, I have to go talk to a basilisk, so can we really do this later?"
"Later?" Ron asked, echoing him. "What, do you think that we can just talk to you whenever we very well please with this mirror? It doesn't work that way Harry! We've got to talk now! Before-"
Hermione looked off on her side of the world and frowned. "Ron, Luna… we're going to have to-"
"Harry Potter, you listen to me right now," Luna said, cutting off Hermione and stepping closer into the mirror, having just her face take up the small circular frame. "This isn't about how you got there, or what you'll have to do to get back. The last time you destroyed all the horcruxes, you died."
Luna's voice seemed to fall from her usual dreamy state and sounded deep and echoing in Harry's ears. Her face was flat of emotion, but her eyes were bright, and her hair looked to be glowing in the bathroom light around him. It was a little scary, Harry thought to himself. Something not even as usually unordinary as Luna was.
Harry didn't turn to look at James beside him. He felt the older man move though, he'd taken a step closer towards Harry.
"This time, are you willing to do it all again?" Luna asked. "Lose more people, even though they're not from here?" Harry thought of Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Mad-Eye, James, Lily, and Jonathan. "Could you still live with it? Because if you come back, no matter what happened here, what happens there will stay with you forever as well." Death, that's what she was talking about. The people he would lose here as well the ones he'd already lost in his own world. Again. "Don't forget that when you … defeat Voldemort again."
"I…" Harry trailed off, and blinked a couple of times. "I won't."
Luna nodded. "Good." She turned away from the mirror, and looked off away into her own world on the other side of the glass. "I think I'll find Ginny now. She's wanted to talk to you too." And with that, Luna walked away from the mirror, leaving only Hermione and Ron with Harry and James.
"But you'll have to go through it all again," Ron said, watching Luna leave and turning back to Harry. "Finding the horcruxes, destroying them, facing off with him… You'll have to repeat everything."
Harry nodded, letting the truth sink into his bones. "I know."
"Without us," Hermione added in, making the feeling in his bones heavier and darker. "You'll be doing this on your own this time." Hermione bunched her eyebrows together and looked worriedly back down at Harry. "Harry, this will be very dangerous. You could die."
"I'm always almost dying," Harry said dryly back.
"But he won't," James cut in from the side, and standing tall. "He'll get back alive, because he's not alone here," he said. "He has us. The Order, and his… the Potter family. We wouldn't let him die on us." He looked to Harry briefly and nodded resolutely and looked towards his friends again, like Harry's face had made up his mind. "I swear to you."
And for the first time since he'd gotten here in this world, Harry felt the blanket of safety warm his insides and block out the fear and nagging worries in his head at James's words. It completely overpowered the sense of dread every time someone here looked at him like he was their savior. It made him forget he was standing in the middle of a girls bathroom about to face off with a snake older than he was. All of a sudden, he was filled with a sense of power and fluttering heat that soaked in his chest and ran a sort of maple syrup through his veins.
It felt wonderful. Better than wonderful.
There was a resounding silence that rung in the bathroom, keeping Harry cocooned safely for a few moments before Hermione shifted nervously in the window-portal above him.
"But Harry…" Hermione said in a near whisper, her voice rising in fear, "... the last horcrux."
And with the pause that followed her words, the safety leaked from his shoulders and the warmth seeped from his insides, filling it instead with ice that crackled and grew, filling his throat and lungs.
Ron looked at his girlfriend with wide eyes, and then back at Harry in panic. "You don't mean…" Ron trailed off. "He couldn't have… Harry wasn't…"
"He has six that we know about then," Harry said, ignoring Hermione's words. "And then one we don't."
Ron looked between Harry and Hermione like he was playing a game of ping pong with his eyes.
Hermione's eyebrows were furrowed together and she was looking down at the ground like she was going over something in her head, or she was trying to memorize something very quickly.
Harry didn't entirely like the look on her face, when she looked back up at him a moment later with impossibly wide brown eyes. "Hermione?" Harry asked, a feeling of regret turn up in his stomach like acid. He didn't think he wanted to hear what she was going to say.
Hermione lowered her shoulders and put her hands together, her fingers gripping each other enough to make them turn white. "I don't want to play devil's advocate Harry, but… it's… it's possible that…" she stopped and looked down. She blinked and sighed. Then cleared her throat. "It's possible that you might still have the seventh horcrux."
Harry's eyes snapped up. No. No, that wasn't.
That wasn't possible. Voldemort had killed him, and Voldemort's last horcrux had died when he did that day. Harry had felt it, seen the train station afterwards, and was living in the after affects. Harry had died, let himself be killed, to get rid of Voldemort's last horcrux. He couldn't just… become one again. That would be… "That's … there's no way," Harry said, shaking his head.
James looked between the two of them with confused eyes. "What are you-"
Hermione looked desperate. "Harry… all prophecies… if they're made, they can't be broken."
"What- what does that even mean? What are you talking about?" he asked, thinking back. All prophecies… like his prophecy? "Are you … The first one? The original prophecy? The one that I finished? That this world's Harry died for?"
Hermione nodded. "The Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not," she quoted from the damned thing. "He's already marked you Harry. Whether you think it's your scar, or his part of his soul in you, you were marked, and you have the power to kill him with that. And 'for neither can live while the other survives.' If it's true you're actually there, then you won't be able to come back until he's dead. You'll be bound by that prophecy until Voldemort's gone and the prophecy's finished. Not to mention the blood magic behind it."
Harry looked to Ron to see if his friend had any idea what Hermione was talking about. Ron's face was as blank as Harry's mind. His prophecy, or rather, first prophecy, had nothing to do with this. "But that prophecy ended when this Harry died. It was his prophecy, not mine. I finished mine. Don't you remember the Battle of Hogwarts?"
Hermione looked down and licked her lips uncertainly. "Of course I do Harry, but you're wrong. It's not just his prophecy, it's yours too. It's Harry Potter's" She took a breath. "I've.. read about them you see," she said, looking up, "while you've been gone. And, the one thing that's always repetitive about the… nature of prophecies is that they're persistent. Almost to the point of never ending Harry." She looked down at him with wide eyes. "If a prophecy is about a family, it'll follow the family for generations until it's fulfilled. If it's about a specific person, fate sort of seems to… move out of its way to make the words come true. Prophecies are dangerous, Harry, I didn't know how much so until I'd looked into it, but the facts still say that if you're given a prophecy, it won't stop until it's completed."
"This isn't my prophecy Hermione. The Harry that lived in this world died as a baby. Whatever… prophecy that was here, can't be. It died along with this worlds Harry Potter."
Hermione silently shuffled her feet and wrung her hands in front of herself. "But now Harry Potter has returned. Back from the dead to sort of say."
"I'm not this world's Harry Potter."
"No, but you're a Harry Potter. If dimensional travel is real, and the prophecy didn't explicitly say that the original prophecy was only about this worlds Harry Potter… Harry, you could very well be the only one who can defeat Voldemort in that world. Again."
Harry didn't know what to say. It didn't make sense. Well, actually, it did, sort of… in a weird twisted way, and it made Harry's head spin. When he had first crash landed here in this world, his scar had begun to burn and hurt again. It wasn't supposed to ever do that again. Harry blinked rapidly and swallowed whatever words threatened to spew out. "That's-" Harry said.
"Completely insane," Ron spat out between Harry's words, looking between him and Hermione again. "You can't think that-"
"I don't think Ronald, I've … hypothesized. There's a difference."
"Harry?" James asked. "What…"
Harry turned towards James. Right.
Still didn't know what was going on.
Harry licked his lips nervously. "You haven't seen my memories yet, but in my seventh year, Hermione, Ron, and I went searching for horcruxes to destroy parts of Voldemort's separated souls, so we could kill him without him coming back again and again," Harry explained. "We figured out what they were, and where they were, but it wasn't until the Battle of Hogwarts that I figured out what the last one was and how to destroy it."
James's face was blank. He didn't look like he knew, but when he stared at Harry, Harry knew that he must have at least guessed by now at what the last horcrux was. "You?" the question was more of a statement than anything. "You were the horcrux?"
Harry nodded. "You died protecting mum and me, uh… I mean, the other you died, protecting Lily and I, um… when Voldemort attacked. Peter had been the secret keeper, and led Voldemort right to yo-them. After y-James died, Lily begged Voldemort not to kill me. When he disagreed, she sacrificed her life for mine, putting a sort of-"
"-Protection around you," James nodded like he completely understood. "Right? He couldn't touch you."
"Yeah," Harry said in agreement. "He couldn't kill me either. And when he tried, he was blasted into nothing, a ghost I guess, of a sort. It destroyed his body, and… a part of his soul. Which looked for the closest host it could find."
James's hazel eyes were wide. "You."
Harry nodded. "Me."
"Which is why I'm saying that it could be you again," Hermione said, interrupting Harry and James and turning them back to the two people floating above them. "If the prophecy-"
"Hermione my mum died before Voldemort lost a part of his soul so i'd become a horcrux. He can't just-"
"Mate, he's killed a lot of people in his life," Ron shook his head, looking between his girlfriend and Harry.
"Exactly, so literally anyone else could be a possible horcrux sacrifice for a new horcrux to be made in this timeline since this Harry Potter died." Harry looked up to Ron. "Right?" He turned between his two best friends. "It couldn't be me again."
Hermione looked to her boyfriend for a moment, sharing a second between them in silent conversation. "No, Harry," Hermione said turning from her boyfriend back to Harry, "I think it can only be you."
"But that's…" Harry trailed off.
"Has your scar hurt again since being over there?" Hermione asked him slowly.
Harry looked down at the bathroom floor. Yes, it had. So yes, then, it had to mean… "Just once…" Harry admitted quietly, "...when I first got here, it was like a sort of flashing pain… nothing as bad as it used to get, but…"
"Still there," Hermione finished, and Harry looked up at her with a sinking feeling leveling his stomach.
Ron's face contorted into a look of pain. "Mate…"
"Does that…" James trailed off in question. "Will you… die?"
Harry huffed out a sarcastic laugh. "I'll have to," he nodded. "Yeah."
"Harry," Hermione's face crumpled. Her eyes started to shine, and Harry looked down at the opened entrance below him. "Harry… We just got you back."
"I'll come back," Harry said looking up. He wouldn't let this stop him. Voldemort was defeated before, and he could do it again. He could. He wouldn't die here, in this imitation of the life he could have had once upon a time. He would get back to his friends. His families waiting for him. Teddy. "I won't die here."
Hermione was crying, her tears falling slowly down her face. She tried smiling when Harry caught her eyes, but it just made the tears fall harder and she hiccuped as a sob shook through her shoulders.
Ron's arm reached out around Hermione's shoulder and he nodded resolutely, like he didn't doubt a damn thing Harry would say. "And we'll find a way to meet you there. Me and Hermione, we'll get there too. Make sure you don't muck up everything over there… Soon as we can, we'll meet you on your side."
Harry smiled, and crushing doubts made his insides feel heavier with every breath. Serious blood magic got him there. Ron and Hermione were good, the best he knew, but he didn't think even they… "Yeah mate. I'll… just be waiting for you then, yeah?"
Hermione turned her face to Ron's shoulder, and Ron pulled her tight against him, and he smiled a deliberately wide smile. "Save some Death Eaters for us then, yeah?"
"Course, see you?"
Ron looked up out of Harry's vision of his side of the mirror and swallowed. "Yeah. As soon as we can. Ginny's not here, but next time. I know she'll want to see you."
"Right," Harry noded. "Bye then."
Ron nodded, Hermione close to him, and lifted his wand. The mirror image closed in on itself like a popped bubble and in the next moment, Harry was staring up at nothing except the walls of Myrtle's Bathroom.
Harry rolled back his shoulders, not letting James see his face, or let the thundering emotions inside his chest control his mind. "Right. Now for the basilisk." Deliberately, he jumped down the hole without warning, before James, into the entrance into the Chamber of Secrets.
"Is there anyway that-"
"No, I have to die for it to happen."
"But if we just-"
"You can't if it's living in me."
"It might not be. We don't know for sure."
"Harry, you can't just-"
"What?" Harry interrupted James as they journeyed farther and farther into the depths of the chamber. "Just can't kill Voldemort? Can't do it because I might not come back? The only reason I'm here is to kill him. If I die, I did it taking out a Dark Lord. I'd be pretty okay with that."
"Why are you so okay with dying?!" James yelled, a sudden anger exploding from his voice behind Harry. "What would it take for you to-" Harry was pulled back around and turned to face James head on, with furious eyes shining into his. "You can't just want to die. No one wants to. Why are you so okay with it?"
Harry didn't want James's hand on him. Didn't want to talk about this. He wanted to sleep. Wanted to go home. In his house. Where he had already gone through all of this, was safe, but he couldn't manage to force himself to shake James's hand off his shoulder.
"I almost die a lot. Have been since I was eleven. I'm used to it." Harry shrugged and tried to turn, but James kept him in place.
"And that makes it okay?" James kept Harry's shoulder beneath his palm. "Do you think that that makes it fine?" he asked, his voice rising again. "It's not. It's unhealthy, and you-"
"Sending kids to fight their parents war isn't exactly healthy," Harry spit out and lurched his shoulder James's hand.
Too far. He'd just crossed a line, and he knew it. Had seen it on James's face before he turned. Shouldn't have- but the empty hopeless feeling was consuming him. Washing over him like a wave that he couldn't escape. He would die again.
You'd think he would be okay with that, as he's already done it once before, but it terrified him. What if he didn't get the same choice like he did last time? What if there was no train station waiting for him when he died? What if he just… moved on?
That… scared him. Terrified him. He didn't think fate would be so nice this second time around to him. He might actually die. Here. Without… well, by himself truly.
James followed behind him in silence, for the first time since he'd met him. True silence, that unnerved Harry to the core. It didn't seem… didn't feel natural. But Harry didn't know how to turn around and make him say something again. Didn't know if he wanted to.. or if he could. His insides didn't feel right, and his head felt crowded, like he was being pulled into too many directions by screaming voices.
Harry suddenly stopped when he realized the wall stopped in front of him, and he was at the opening of the main chamber inside where the basilisk would meet him. They'd made it. "We're here," Harry said quietly. He turned to look behind him, and was almost surprised to find James looking straight at him with focused eyes, and a drawn wand by his side. "You ready?" Harry found himself asking.
"Yes." Forwards, cutting, simple. James turned his attention to the door, and Harry brought his wand out as well.
Harry turned to the door and focused at the snakes rounding the perimeter of the door. "Open," he said, and the stone snakes started moving backwards for him.
Just like that.
"Keep your eyes downturned. Don't look at it straight in the eyes, or you'll die. If it attacks you, aim for the eyes though, it is it's first weak spot," Harry told James before he walked in the familiar room.
"Right," James said following him in and keeping his wand low beside him. "And how will we get this big snakes attention then?"
"Shouting for it I guess. I've never done this before," Harry said tensely.
"Will it respond to you?"
"I don't even know if I'll be even able to communicate with it. Last time, it only would listen to Tom Riddle. I wasn't able to speak to it."
James nodded. "The Basilisk is supposed to be Salazars, then maybe it can only be controlled by his true heirs," James said quietly. "Maybe it was trained, or charmed, to only obey those of his blood."
Harry grimaced. "That means i'll have to kill it then."
"It's a dangerous creature to begin with. It's outlawed by the ministry because it can not be tamed by any one wizard. It would have been dangerous to someone eventually."
"Still. It's…" not a shame exactly, but it was beautiful in it's own way. To have lived so long and to be a living piece of history.
"Better to kill it now, then let Voldemort control it, and let it do his dirty work later on," James said quietly.
And with that, Harry agreed. He couldn't let it become Voldemort's pet killing machine. "Alright. Keep your eyes down. I summon the Basilisk of Salazar Slytherin before me!" Harry yelled, hoping that would do the trick.
His words echoed hard over the dark stone around him, and Harry waited.
Minutes passed, and nothing happened. Harry felt embarrassment and confusion rise from within. "Why-"
And then the thundering sound of scales against stone reverberated against the chamber and Harry dropped his eyes to the floor. "Don't kill it yet, I need to know if I can communicate with-"
Harry heard something huge splash into the water meters in front of him and the hiss of a giant serpent fill the air. Harry stood up straighter and announced himself to the Basilisk. "Basilisk of Salazar, do not attack us! We've come to-"
Harry didn't know how he knew, but he threw himself backwards and cut himself off. A vicious hiss flashed past his ear, and he heard the rough scratching of scales ricochet past his side, inhumanly fast.
Nevermind. No talking then.
"Summon a rooster!" Harry yelled out. He scrambled back keeping his eyes downwards, but his ears open and his head whipping around. He didn't see- where was-?
"What?" James yelled back.
Ah there it was. The serpent hissed and Harry summoned a flash of blinding light to blind the snake for a moment as Harry crawled away. "A rooster! The crow of a rooster is fatal to them!"
"Oh, for the the-" Harry heard didn't look up to see where James was, but he did hear the sound of flapping feathers near him in the next moment.
"Make it cro-"
The Basilisk's back end was near Harry and could hear the scales shipping close through the water and around towards him. If he didn't move- didn't end this- he would-
A sudden stop. A splash of collapsing water, choking sounds, a hissing breath, struggling movements, and then silence.
No hissing, no water movement. Gone.
Harry opened his eyes.
And then he grinned with relief. "You can open your eyes James. It's over."
He turned his head, and grinned at a crouching James with his wand still extended from his spell casting. The older man opened his eyes slowly, one a time, like Harry had said, and looked over at the 50 foot snake lying dead in front of him. He looked at the head, all the way down to the tail, examining every drawn out inch and whistled, leaning back on his heels.
"We did it," Harry smiled.
"That's a big snake," James looked over to him and smiled warmly. He nodded to the serpent. "Time to collect that poison?"
Harry huffed out a laugh and got to his feet. "We'll need that flask."
Harry was about to walk forwards towards the older man when he heard a soft pop behind him. Harry turned and his spirits soared higher. "Dobby!" he smiled.
"James Potter asks Dobby to get him the sword sir, and Dobby does sir!" Dobby said, coming forwards and presenting a gleaming sword to Harry. "Dobby brings it you!"
"Brilliant Dobby! You're brilliant!" Harry cheered, taking the sword and lifting it up from the house elf. Harry turned to James's direction and brandished it to the air. "We've got it!" Harry crowed triumphantly. "We did it!"
James turned around with a flask in hand with a smile. "We did it. Togeth-" James eyes caught his and he stopped suddenly, frozen in place for a moment, before his face relaxed into a soft smile. Nothing like the excitement he'd been in a moment before.
Harry turned around, searching for something behind him. "What?" he asked, flipping his messed hair away from his face. "What is it?"
James shook his head. "Nothing. You just… you look like a hero." James smiled jokingly and nodded at him. "Sword and all."
Harry smiled. Then he lowered the sword slowly and reached into his pocket, deliberately not meeting James's eyes. The horcrux hung from his fingers precariously, like it was going to try to escape from him, and Harry threw it to the ground in front of him.
"Fill up the flask," Harry said, nodding to the snake at James. "This hero needs to finish his quest."
James laughed, shaking his head to the Basilisk. "That was the cheesiest thing I've heard in a long time."
"You started it."
James laughed again and nodded. "That I did. I'll keep that in mind next time."
When James came back to Harry, he held out a large flask with a dark sort of green liquid inside that sludged against the glass. Harry nodded for James to come closer. "Come on, pour some of it on top the blade. It'll only take in things that will make it stronger."
"You want me to do it?" James asked.
"You summoned the rooster. You should do this too."
James looked at the poison and then at the sword between them. "Alright, just make sure it's nowhere near you, Basilisk poison is really acidic."
Harry huffed a laugh. "I know."
James glanced at him with an exasperated smile before he carefully poured the greenish sludge over the blade from base to tip. The poison disappeared into the blade when it touched down, but some fell over the sides and fell to the ground between them, and Harry shuffled closer to James to keep the stuff away from his feet.
James pulled the flask up, and Harry turned the blade over in his hands. Nothing was falling from it, so he took that as a good sign. "Stand back. I don't know how the locket will react this time."
"This time?" James asked, pulling away and keeping the flask a comfortable distance from himself.
"Yeah. Last time I did this, it sort of… exploded? And it'll try to… get into your head."
"You make it sound as if it's living."
"It is," Harry replied and walked up to the locket sitting on the ground. It was one of the seven darkest parts of Voldemorts soul. Of course it was living. "Open," he whispered.
The locket unlatched itself, and like last time, exploded outwards in an inhuman,silvery, light. Wind blew Harry nearly off his feet, and behind him, Dobby fell to the ground in a defensive crouch. "Harry Potter," a sickly smooth voice echoed over them, "I've seen into your heart, child of two worlds, and I know your dreams. I know what you really want."
"Yeah, doubt that," Harry muttered before he lifted the sword above his head.
"I won't lie to you Harry. I can see the loneliness in your soul, the anger at being deceived by those closest to you over and over again, and the loss you've felt with the years you've aged inside Hogwarts walls. I can more than see it. I can feel it. Like we're one." Harry froze, the sword seeming to stop above him. "I know how similar we are, both abused by the muggles, left to the side unless someone wanted something from us. I know your anger. Your hurt. I know you can feel the similarities between us."
Harry's eyes narrowed. "We are nothing alike."
"Harry don't argue with it, kill it!" James yelled at him. But Harry couldn't move. It was too real, too far into his head to be ignored.
The silver mist throbbed brightly into the air around him, and Harry got the feeling it was laughing at him. "We are so similar sometimes you can't tell us apart. Can you?" it asked smugly. "Can't tell between the wizard the public see's, and the wizard you feel like you're becoming with each passing day."
The mist twisted and another Harry, silver and inhumanly perfect, stood in front of him, waving to invisible crowds with a bright smile across his face with flashing camera lights, illuminating against his silver glasses. Behind him, a shadow of Voldemort loomed behind him like a dark skyscraper. Voldemorts clawed hands reached down, stabbed the perfect Harry through the back, and a black darkness filled the eyes of Perfect Harry, like he'd been a inflatable doll.
The Perfect Harry turned around, cut himself free from Voldemorts fingertips and a flash of green light sent the shadow of Voldemort to the ground, dead. Lights flashed again, and Perfect Harry smiled again, but Harry could see the blackness of Voldemorts poison still behind Perfect Harry's eyes, bleeding out through the silver figure, turning him as dark as Voldemorts shadow had once been.
"You desperately fear becoming the one thing you destroyed to keep your loved ones safe," the voice taunted, filling Harry's ears.
Perfect Harry's eyes glowed red as the rest of his body turned inky black, and a dark aura surrounded him, as he lifted from the ground and floated in his immense power.
"You fear what you would do if you ever were weak enough to submit to the darkness inside of you."
The Dark Harry grinned evilly, and struck down passing silver outlines of people he knew. Mrs. Weasley, Kingsley, Hagrid, Ron, Hermione… Ginny. They all fell into a pile at Dark Harry's feet, and Dark Harry exploded into a dark light that spread over Harry and the surrounding chamber like an icy promise.
The sword shook in Harry's hand from being over his head for so long, and he could feel sweat covering his forehead.
"But I could help you. I can help you become powerful enough to keep the darkness at bay. Keep you strong enough to keep your friends and family safe. Forever."
"Harry don't listen to it! You're nothing like- Harry!"
The silver outline of Ginny rose and filled out to be a beautiful replication of perfection in front of Harry. She turned to Harry and smiled, lifting her hand out to him like she was inviting him in. Her eyes were so bright, so happy and safe. Nothing of the fear and loss he'd seen right before they'd ended it between them. Not filled with heartache at her brothers death, and anger at the world for the bodies she'd passed and helped pick up when the war had ended.
"I could promise you forever Harry. Forever keeping them safe, and keeping you strong. Away from the darkness that's already inside you. I would never let you down."
Let him down. The silver mist echoed in his mind. Safety. Strength. Darkness. Images flashed through Harry's head, and Sirius's face came to him. Darkness in his mind from Voldemort. Tricked. Sirius falling backwards into the archway feet away from Harry. Voldemort entering his mind. The pain.
Harry's arms unlocked and he felt his arms drop if surprise.
Harry focused forwards and lifted the sword above his head. He ran unblinking through Ginny's apparition and swung the sword down through the silver and black mist. The voice was screaming. In anger. Desperation. Pain.
Harry didn't care, all he could see was the last time he wasn't strong enough to control his own mind, and his father figure dead through the archway, and gone from him forever.
Never again. I'm not like him. I'm not like him. I'm not. I'm not like him.
He didn't realize the screams of pain had turned into someone yelling his name until he felt himself collapsing to the ground on his knees, and a strong hand around his shoulders keeping him up straight.
Slowly the vibration of screams turned into separate words, and Harry could make out James face yelling at him, saying his name over and over again.
"Harry! Harry look at me! Harry!"
Harry looked up at James and grabbed his wrists, feeling the blood pumping through him like a steady rhythm. "I'm not like him," Harry chorused out loud. "I'm not like him. I'm not. I… I'm not like him."
James fell to his knees beside him and clutched Harry's shoulders with his hands. "You're not Harry. You're not like him. Do you hear me? You're not. You're not him. You're a good person. A good wizard. You're not him-"
Harry nodded against him. "I'm not." Black dots hovered at the edges of Harry's eyes, and the scar on his forehead was burning. Burning and itching more than Harry had ever thought it had before.
Dobby's tennis-ball like eyes swam at the edge of his vision, and he heard the small elf's voice like a far away call to a moving train. "Harry Potter's scar sir! It bleeds sir!"
And with that, Harry fell back into unconsciousness, letting the pain and itching ache on his head fade away.
So little bit of a breakdown, but damn if you'd been what he's through, you sure as hell would too.
UP NEXT: Aftermath, reunion, horcrux hunting & demolishing