Chapter Seven: That Destiny of His
It was awful, sneaking through Hogsmeade and trying to avoid the Dementors. Harry felt a rushing through his veins—adrenaline and fear—and could not shake the feeling of surrealism that was his presence in an unfamiliar body, but he pressed on. The soul-sucking creatures seemed to be drifting toward the direction of the Shrieking Shack, though he caught a few with his Patronus as they were attempting to break into buildings, and drove them ahead of himself. The Death Eaters he had seen seemed to be remaining in the vicinity of the Three Broomsticks.
He went toward the train tracks on the outskirts of Hogsmeade and followed them toward and partially around the shack, approaching it from the side. And then he saw himself—Voldemort!—standing on the roof, his back turned on his position. Harry wrapped his fingers around the Dark Lord's wand and tried to decide what to do as a sheet of ice began to form over the shack. The Dementors had arrived, all of them, from the looks of the ground and the building, and the boy was terrified.
Fear, Potter, is a weakness. "Take him!" Voldemort screamed, and then a cloud of back robes rose in the sky.
Shit, Harry thought, levitating himself. This would be easier on a broomstick.
Without warning, the Dark Lord's wand lengthened, thickened, and sprouted a brush, and Harry found himself in possession of a broomstick.
"Right, that's cool," he said, throwing his leg over the wood and kicking off into the sky.
He flew straight up, fast, and then circled around to see if the Dementors had followed him. They had, but they moved through the air as slowly as if it were water.
"Damn it! They've got to go faster!" Harry exclaimed, thinking, I want them to follow me straight into the earth, but if they don't go any faster . . . . "If they won't go any faster, I'll just have to bring the ground to them."
Taking a deep breath, he charged the 'death' of Dementors and scattered them, a procedure he repeated until they were milling closely together to prevent it, and then he began rising into the air again. When he had them, hundreds of them, he thought, right on his tail, he swooped toward the ground and willed it to rise.
Great chunks of earth flew into the sky, striking the Dementors and knocking them out of the air.
"It's working!" he crowed before rushing the creatures again.
He managed to subdue most of them in this way, but the effort was exhausting. By the time he flew back toward the Shrieking Shack, Voldemort was gone.
"NO!" Where are you?
"Right here, boy," he heard himself say, and then he felt hands—his hands—on his neck as Voldemort Apparated onto the broomstick behind him and began to throttle him.
It was a mistake.
"Wha—no!" his voice yelled as the hands fell away and his broomstick became heavier.
Oh, God! He can't touch me no matter what body he's in! Harry thought, frightened by the prospect of remaining in Voldemort's body forever if his was destroyed.
He did the only thing he could think of and flew upside down, and watched as the Dark Lord went crashing into the earth.
No, that's my body! That's me, Harry thought, flying after Voldemort.
Another explosion from the direction of the castle erupted as he landed and ran to his broken body.
"Healing spells—I don't know any sodding healing spells!" he yelled.
One of his eyes opened and glared redly at him, and Harry felt a frisson of fear travel up his spine.
"Give it back," Voldemort said.
The boy did not know if the wizard meant his body or his power, but it seemed clear to him that he would have to give something if he wanted to take anything of his own back. That's how I ended up in his body in the first place, isn't it? he thought, steeling himself for what was to come.
It came quickly—the sensation of being pulled—and he laid one hand on 'his' chest, causing the Dark Lord to shriek and attempt to move, but he was unable to do so.
"You want your body back, do you?"
Voldemort only screamed louder.
"Then give me," Harry began to say, stopping when he felt the chill approach again. Dementors. Good. "Fine, take it!" he said, pushing himself forward through their bond.
The moment he was in his own, broken body again, an alien screech emerged from Voldemort's mouth—a screech that was abruptly cut off as three Dementors descended upon him and grasped him in their skeletal claws. They did not give him time to rescind his earlier order, and soon, the very essence of the Dark Lord was being sucked out by one of the creatures in an obscene Kiss.
Harry felt a pressure against his mind, and he knew the wizard was attempting to retake his body, but he was ready for this. He built a wall of metaphysical bricks between his mind and Voldemort's and prevented the man from forcing his consciousness back inside of his mind.
But just as quickly as Voldemort had returned to his body, he left it again—and entered one of the Dementors, turning on the other fiends as his proper body fell to the ground and scattering them with an unnatural hiss before looking at Harry and throwing back his hood.
"No!" Harry screamed, looking away. Don't look!
Harry looked away, focused on a fleeing Dementor, and forced himself without thinking into the creature. Power he knows not, he thought, viewing the world as one conglomeration of gray and white. If he can do it, so can I.
His true body was a pure white splotch on the ground, as was Voldemort's, and the other milling Dementors' were gray. But the grayish being floating toward him, he knew, was the Dark Lord. Wait for it, he thought, as the creature approached him. Wait . . . .
When Voldemort reached for him, put his hands on him, Harry drew the wizard back toward his prone form and slipped into it again, reaching out unsteadily for the leg of the Dementor whose body the Dark Lord inhabited before he could realize that the thing he was attacking was no longer Harry.
And he learned that Dementors could make noise, could scream, as he gripped the creature with all the strength he had left and watched the body turn to stone and crumble, just as Professor Quirrel's had done years ago.
Voldemort's true 'voice' was a searing scream against the edges of his consciousness, but Harry repelled him, held his mind still, trapping him in his borrowed body until the Dementor disintegrated completely, and the Dark Lord's screaming stopped forever.
The ground shook, but not because of Tom Riddle's passing.
"Hogwarts," Harry choked out, becoming aware of the pain in his body.
He wanted to revel in it; it was his pain after all, but all he felt was dread. "Have to . . . help. Have to get to . . . castle," he said, whimpering as the force of his pain washed over him. "Oh, I'm—" broken, bleeding, can't move. Oh, it hurts. Oh— "God."
"Not quite, Potter," Severus Snape said then, "but you'll no doubt have plenty more worshipers soon enough."
Harry felt the Potions master's hands moving over him, assessing his injuries, and, too tired to do anything else, he allowed the threatening darkness to claim him.