Out of Shadows
Writter: fall shadow
Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.
Salazar Slytherin’s locket glinted in the fading sunlight as twilight approached the forest. Harry stood a good distance from the tent, the sword of Gryffindor in his hands, his muscles taut. He remembered Kreacher saying something about needing to open the Locket before destroying it.
His eyes darted around the forest nervously before he approached the locket, which he had rested atop a flat tree stump.
On the front of the locket, there was a symbol of snake. Staring at it closely, it looked almost real. Fresh from his experience in the Chamber of Secrets, Harry felt as though he knew what to do; it had been the solution every other time something with a snake symbol needed opening.
Focusing on the snake, Harry spoke.
“Open,” he heard his voice hiss in Parseltongue, and the locket obeyed.
The golden locket opened, revealing two glass windows on either side. To his surprise, Harry saw what looked like a human eye behind the glass. He shook it off and raised the sword, remembering what he had to do.
Then a voice called to him from within the locket, just as it had from the diary, though this voice sounded older and much more sinister.
“Harry Potter,” it said. “I look into your eyes, and I can see into your soul.”
The voice itself sent a shiver through Harry, and he forgot himself as his curiosity got the better of him. What did it mean, see into his soul?
“I have seen your heart, and it is mine.”
Harry lowered the sword slightly, his attention focused on the words coming from the locket.
“You were raised by my followers. Now you have turned your back on them. But I can see the doubt in your eyes… you don’t even know who you are,” the voice hissed.
A dark, shadowy figure grew out of the locket, twisting and expanding until it shaped into a horrific version of Harry, wearing a dark expression.
“You wonder what your parents would think of you, knowing the things you have done to help me.”
Harry watched, transfixed as the shadow version of him smirked coldly.
“You have tortured, and stood by while innocents were killed. Because of you, I was able to return. Tell me, Harry,” Voldemort’s voice continued, now sounding as if it was right next to Harry’s ear, speaking quietly, “if your parents can see you, wherever they are, what do they think of who you have become…?”
The ghostly shape shifted into replicas of his parents. They looked similar to the way they did in the picture Lupin had given him of those who fought Voldemort the first time. Except now, they were merely smoke and shadows.
“How could you do those things, Harry?” his mother pleaded. “You tortured those innocent people. You let them die. You didn’t help them.”
She was crying now. Harry felt pain gripping his chest as he struggled to breathe evenly. His eyes moved to the image of his father, who looked a lot like him, but the expression on his face was one of contempt.
“We were fighting to save those people,” he said in a firm, rough voice. “We ended up dying for it, and this is how you treat them? You are no son of mine.”
Harry could feel his hands shaking around the sword. He couldn’t focus on anything but the figures before him. It was true; he did often wonder, since finding out that his parents had actually been fighting against the Death Eaters, what they thought of everything he had done- of who he had become.
It was too real, too easy to believe that this was truly what they thought. How could they forgive him for what he had done, and not done, when so often he couldn’t forgive himself?
His parents’ likenesses dissipated and the smoke reformed into shadow with no true shape as the Voldemort’s voice returned. Now, in the locket, Harry could see red, evil eyes behind the glass where the others had been.
“Do you even know what you are fighting for, Harry? The thought of a future terrifies you. I know,” the voice goaded. “What do you see for yourself in the future?”
Nothing. It was a complete blank.
He couldn’t picture his future at all. What would he do? What would he be like? Who would be there with him?
“You are alone, and you will always be alone. You have no future to fight for. You have nothing. So why keep trying? Why keep lying to yourself?”
Harry struggled to find an answer to the question. Everything the locket was saying was true: the doubts about himself, about what his parents would think of him, the future… How could he have a future? He was still trying to figure out who he was- who he wanted to be. He didn’t have anyone…
Wait, that wasn’t true…
Just as she entered his mind, the shadows above the locket morphed into her. After leaving her behind, seeing her so suddenly caught him off guard.
His breath hitched, and he almost lost his balance.
“You think she will be there in the future, should you defeat me?” He knew the answer before another word was spoken. “I will not let her live to see the end of this. I will take her from you just as I have everyone else.”
Harry watched in horror was the locket’s version of Hermione suddenly looked frightened, then terrified, falling to her knees and pleading for her life, pleading for him to save her.
“No!” Harry shouted, taking a step toward her, wanting desperately to help her.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew this was an illusion, but it was overpowering him. He couldn’t think straight. He could hardly see straight. His deepest fears and insecurities were playing out right in front of him.
“Even if you defeated me, and she did survive…” the voice became quieter again, close to him, less malicious, “do you think she will still be with you?”
The words slowly sunk in, and the reality and doubts accompanying them weighed Harry down. He could almost feel the energy draining from his muscles, feel whatever determination was inside him slowly slipping away.
“She only stayed with you so long because she wants to defeat me.”
Was that true? That was certainly why she went with him in the first place, but over time, he thought it had become more than that…
“Do you actually think she cares for you?”
The words hit Harry hard. He tried to recall memories that might have made it seem like she cared about him, but they wouldn’t come. Whatever was going on, it was getting inside his head.
“I know how you feel about her,” the tone was almost teasing now, “I can see it in your eyes.”
“I-I don’t…” Harry began to protest weakly.
“Do you really think I care about you?” the shadow of Hermione asked. “You know why I was helping you. I’m glad you left. I’m happier without you.”
And there it was, plain and simple.
There was no doubt in Harry’s mind; this was true, she was happy he had left. She was happier without him. The knowledge of it felt crushing, almost suffocating.
All that time, she hadn’t really cared about him.
Harry fell to his knees and the sword dropped in front of him, long forgotten.
“What did you think?” she taunted. “Because you were obviously wrong. You mean nothing to me.”
Part of his consciousness vaguely registered hearing something in the background. Maybe the fog was getting to him.
“Did you think we were friends?”
He heard the noise again; it was a voice- a different voice.
“Did you think I liked you, Harry?”
The voice was calling to him.
“Did you think… that maybe I loved you?”
His focus snapped as if he had been slapped in the face. His eyes found Hermione, solid and very much alive, standing a few feet away from him and the locket. She was struggling to move forward, being held back by wisps of the dark magic coming from the locket.
“I know your fears, Harry Potter,” the cold, chilling voice from the locket warned. “I will make them a reality.”
“I don’t care about you!” the shadow of Hermione told him fiercely.
“Harry, don’t listen to it!” Hermione called to him. “Use the sword! You have to destroy the locket!”
“I was better off without you! You are nothing to me!”
“Harry, please, trust me!”
This time her words reached him, and he picked up the sword, standing as he grasped the hilt tightly.
The illusion of Hermione became frightened again, her eyes scared and desperate as she cowered away from him.
“Harry, please don’t do this. Please don’t hurt me!” The voice pleaded with him, sounding more like Hermione than it had before.
“Do it!” Hermione yelled. “You can do it, Harry!”
Determination surged through him, and his muscles tensed. He plunged the sword downward with everything he had, stabbing through the dark image of Hermione and bringing it down on the locket.
A piercing scream deafened him momentarily as the Horcrux was destroyed.
Pain flooded his scar, and he slowly crumpled to the ground.
A few hours later he jolted awake, breathing heavily and shaking all over. Hermione was standing over him in the dimly lit tent, one of her hands on his shoulder.
It was just a dream.
Hermione found me. I destroyed the Horcrux. She’s alright.
“Harry, it was just a dream, are you alright?” her words tumbled out in a whispered rush. Harry took a breath, trying to calm himself down, but he could feel his eyes welling up with tears. It had been years since he had really cried. He fought to keep it in, balling his fists and squeezing his eyes shut.
“Harry,” she said gently.
He felt her hand lightly touch his tensed face and a tear slipped from his eye and right to one of her fingers. A slight hitch in her breath told him she had noticed, and he took in a sharp, shallow breath of his own, still trying to will himself not to show weakness like this.
“It’s okay,” she whispered to him. “I’m right here… It’s alright. Let it out.” She sat lightly on the edge of his cot next to him, and he could feel her hesitation. After several seconds, she tentatively pulled him into her, his head resting just below her shoulder. No one had ever held him like this.
His arms wrapped around her tightly, suddenly, as if he was afraid she would disappear. He choked back sobs and clung to her as his tears finally poured out.
Shaking and fighting to breathe through his pain, he cried for everything he had lost and everything he had done.