Loneliness

Chapter 21

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling. Blah blah blah. should just put a blanket disclaimer on the site for all the idiots that could possibly believe we actually own these stories or make any kind of a profit.


Harry was back in that ever familiar surrounding, a time and a place he would never forget. He dreamt of it nearly every night, the night he had killed his only remaining family, and his life in the Muggle world had been changed forever. The burned down ruin of the Dursley household haunted him. The snake wasn't always present in the dream, but this night it was.

Sometimes nothing happened. He would try to talk to it, but would receive only cryptic, sinister responses. Other times the snake would talk to him, telling him all sorts of horrible things, and when he awoke, he would find the world around him burnt to ash, as he had that first night in the Dursley house.

Tonight, the snakes slithered around him, breaking through the ash and ruin with its flaming body. Tonight, the snake was talking to him, and this time, somehow, Harry knew what that meant. He could almost hear a voice in his head, except it wasn't a voice at all. It was more like writing, engraved on the inside of his skull, a familiar scrawl he had come to recognise as Hermione's.

It said: Don't listen to it Harry. It's evil. It wants you to burn the world down, but you can't do that. You can't. You're not a bad person Harry. You're good. You don't want to destroy things. Please. You have to wake up.

'Lisssten to me Harry,' the slithering snake hissed, coiling up in front of him. 'Lissten to me, and you ssshall be a Lord. They will bow at your feet and worssship you Harry. The flamessss call to you Harry Potter. Embrace them!'

Harry closed his eyes. Don't listen. The snake is evil Harry. Don't listen to it.

The snake hissed on, 'Buuuurrrrnnnnn!'

Harry took a deep breath and opened his eyes to look at the snake. 'No,' he said, and the world went still. The crackling of the remaining flames vanished. The ash floating in the air stopped. 'I'm going to wake up now.'

Harry closed his eyes, focused on his desire, but when he opened them again, he was still in the dream. The snake laughed, an oddly human sound, but twisted and undoubtedly evil.

'You think you can escape me Harry Potter? You cannot. I am inside you. I am a part of you. My soul is your soul. Your soul is mine. We are one.'

Harry furiously tried to wake up, closing his eyes, opening them, and repeating a mantra inside his head: wakeupwakeupwakeupwakeup. It didn't work.

'See. I can hold you here if I so desire. What's more, I can tap into that wonderful little skill you possess. You don't even understand your own power. But I do. I can control it. And I will. Right now.' The red slits in the snake's eyes glowed brighter. 'I will burn down Hogwarts in your name Harry Potter.'

'What are you?'

The snake laughed. 'Have you not figured it out yet Harry? I am your Lord. The Dark Lord Voldemort.'

Harry shook his head. 'That… how is that possible? You're dead! I killed you. They told me so.'

'Ah, but therein lies the problem. They. This they you speak of are nothing but a bunch of incompetent weaklings. To think a child could kill me. No, Harry Potter, I am not dead. Far from it. Not only do I live on inside of you, but also out there, in the real world, I assure you I am well and truly alive. And I will find you. When that time comes, you will die. But before then, you will suffer, as I kill every single person that gets in your path, using your affinity with the fire to extinguish them one at a time. You cannot run from me Harry. Now, it's a little chilly in here isn't it? Why don't we start a fire?'

Harry's eyes widened in panic, as even in his dream state he could feel the heat rising. He was on fire, and what's worse; he couldn't wake up to stop it. The snake form of Voldemort laughed as Harry closed his eyes tight in concentration.

Hermione's word floated in front of his eyes: It's not working Harry. You can't wake up. He won't let you. You have to fight him.

She was right. Harry opened his eyes and looked straight at the blazing snake in front of him. The snake cocked its head to the side with curiosity, noting the determined look upon his face. Harry felt it then, the hard and cool grip of his wand. He raised it and pointed it right at the snake.

Voldemort laughed again. 'Just what do you think you're going to do with that Harry Potter?'

'I guess we'll see,' Harry said, somehow knowing he was on the right track. He closed his eyes again, focused on his desire once more, this time not to escape, but to expel. The words appeared before him, scrawled in Hermione's handwriting: Expelliarmus!

Harry heard a scream, a long, drawn out wail of anguish, and then he woke up. His bed was on fire. Above him, on the ceiling, a green tinged skull with snake like eyes howled, its jaw seemingly unhinged, before burning up and vanishing with a whoosh. Harry blinked in shock. It was only then that he heard them.

The rest of his Slytherin bunkmates had become trapped by the flames, cut off by a wall of fire running between them and the door. Draco Malfoy, his cronies Crabbe and Goyle, and the rest of them huddled at the far back of the room, crying and shouting for help. Harry jumped up, the flames seemingly not affecting him at all (he didn't have time to marvel at this little titbit – yet) and reached for his wand. A giant jet of water doused the flames in a matter of moments.

Almost immediately, Harry felt relief flood through his body, and he dropped to his knees in his now soaked bedding.

'You're bloody crazy! You almost killed us all Potter! Just you wait 'til I tell my father. He'll have you expelled! You'll see!'

Harry glanced over at the furious young Malfoy, who had tears streaking down his terrified cheeks. He laughed, for the feeling of happiness, of release, was euphoric.

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