Chapter 1 : The Man With Two Souls
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Here is the answer to the challenge I issued on HPFF’s forum. For more information go the challenge section of the forum. This story is the ending of the seventh book based on the Changeling Hypothesis.
The Man With Two Souls
A miserable week had passed since the final battle had been fought. A miserable week had passed since that tragic night when the freedom of the world was saved and the lives of those who fought for it was lost. The halls of Hogwarts were draped in black cloth, a symbol of respect and mourning for those who had fallen during the last fight of the past war. So many lives lost in a struggle that would mean little and make even less sense to those who read about it in the future.
It was a war to bear out hate and to redeem a society. How the battle actually completed itself was almost unknown and even harder to explain. Now as Harry fluttered in and out of life the answers seemed to come as quickly as they left.
There was a void within him. It was something he couldn’t explain. It felt like part of his soul was missing. That missing part was beckoning him to the other side to join it. Perhaps the lost part of himself was the soul of Tom Riddle. What was left of the boy who lived twice was not really Harry Potter, not the Harry Potter he had been. He was merely a broken memory.
Harry looked up at the black walls with his eyes. If felt like the first time he’d ever gazed upon those walls. He blinked hard and then caught his reflection in a suit of armor. His appearance was that of an average seventeen-year-old boy, but it wasn’t the familiar one he had grown to know.
His eyes glared back at him. They were no longer green, like his mother’s, but hazel like his father’s, though they retained their almond shape. The scar that was plagued his features for so very long was now fading, and was on the brink on disappearing completely. He wasn’t even confident if his memories were his own anymore.
Who was he now? Not the boy who lived, not the man with two souls? History would most likely remember him as the man who life passed by.
Yes, that is how legend would remember him now that the truth was out. The answers had all come at him so quickly. One minute he was Harry Potter, the next he was a combination of two beings. His entire life up until the point he defeated Voldemort he had actually be two individuals.
Dumbledore must have figured it out somehow but he was dead now, and the truth of how Harry had managed to live while sharing his body with Tom Riddle would perhaps never be fully unearthed. Dumbledore wasn’t the only one to lose his life in this battle of good and evil. Harry’s two closest friends had also passed in the struggle.
At least Hermione and Ron were together. It was fitting that way; they didn’t deserve to be apart. As Harry remembered his two closest friends, the only family he had ever known, tears welled in his changed eyes. Part of him wanted to be with them, they were as much apart of his life as his missing soul.
The halls remained quite, as he continued to walk and think about the past. His foggy mind found itself wandering into the memory of a nearly forgotten time, and he couldn’t help but wonder about Sirius. He wondered if his godfather was welcoming his fallen friends. Of course he was, Sirius was always good at welcomes. Would Sirius still welcome him when he finally crossed over? After all, his Godfather never really knew who he truly was. Sirius hated dark wizards, and part of Harry’s former self was the darkest wizard that ever lived, minus the memories.
In irony, the way to defeat Voldemort was something he had learned in his second year of magical education. A memory charm was the key. In all his time and training, it had really been himself he was battling. Voldemort was nothing more than a meager memory searching for his soul. The Dark Lord that had terrified so many had truly failed to exist since October 31st, 1981.
The new dark rising and the rebirth of Voldemort was all due to the fact that Riddle’s soul had never passes, and it had allowed his memories to endure, separately. Riddle’s soul had never pass because it found a second home inside the body of a baby Harry Potter.
A few students rushed pasted Harry, whispering under their breaths as they chanced glances at him. That how it would always be. Nobody would ever trust the host of the Dark Lord’s former soul. ‘He must be evil.’
How could he not be wicked, he let Riddle live inside him for nearly sixteen years. Not that he knew Riddle was inside him, thriving and allowing Voldemort’s memories to endure. If Aunt Petunia had just drowned him when he was a baby, the world would have been a better place.
“Ah, Harry, forgive me for yet another foolish mistake of an old man. I fear Voldemort knows something I have known for quite some time. Voldemort has found the location of what he didn’t realize was missing. His soul.
I’m not sure how it happened exactly, but I do know that what we now know as Lord Voldemort is nothing more than a group of corporeal memories. He does not live and he does not exist. What has allowed him to endure? —His soul. His soul that is inside of you...
I don’t know how Lily did it, but she was one of the most talented charm students I’ve ever known. When I discovered you heard your mother begging for your life when the Dementors were near you in your third year, I was curious.
Lily was not the type to beg or gravel, if anything, I always assume she fought Voldemort as bravely as your father did, however, in light of this new information I have formed a theory. Lily made a contract with Voldemort without his knowledge. In doing so, she formed a wizarding bond, you know about those, Harry.
Voldemort did not honor the contract. Much like Mr. Pettigrew did not honor his. It had a similar effect, but because Voldemort had taken such considerable steps towards immortality, it did not kill him, as it did Mr. Pettigrew when he attempted to use the killing curse against you. Instead of his soul passing on, it remained behind because his memories were left behind, but not together, in essence divided.
I imagine it must have been quite painful for him, his soul being ripped apart from his body and mind.
His soul sought a body, and his memories, now separate from his soul, continued to endure without a host. I’m afraid Harry, Tom Riddle lives inside of you.”
That had been Dumbledore’s explanation. Harry was sure Hermione would have found more sense in it, had he ever chosen to share it with her. However it was Hermione’s cleverness that figured out the way to destroy Lord Voldemort’s memories once she figured out that Voldemort was nothing more than a memory. She never knew that the soul of the evil they were fighting was inside of him.
A simple memory charm, how ironic? Who would have thought it? Once Voldemort’s memories were vanquished, Tom Riddle’s soul passed on, leaving Harry’s behind.
In the wake of the last battle, many were dead, and some were worse than dead.
Harry could still hear Hermione’s voice s she screamed out for Harry to use the memory charm on the Dark Lord.
“A memory charm! Remember Lockhart, use the same one!” Hermione had screamed right before the burst of green light had hit her.
Harry could still see the look on Ron’s face as he charged at Lucius Malfoy as he laughed at Hermione’s limp form, but he was no match for the senior Death Eater. He died fighting, fighting for the one he loved.
Not everybody had died. Ginny looked as lonely and as empty as Harry. The two had grown accustom to avoiding one another, it just caused them too much pain to be around each other. Ginny had lost two brothers, a father and a mother in this war. Harry seriously doubted she’d ever move on with her life after the tragedies he had helped put her through.
Remus Lupin had also managed to survive, and Harry knew he was there if he needed him. Still when Harry had tried to talk to Remus, his noticed the old werewolf could not meet his eyes, James’ eyes. The story of Remus’ hidden heart and secret love would never be fully told. It was enough for Harry to know that Remus’ betrayal of his father would never be forgotten, and ever time the old werewolf saw Harry, the guilt was almost unbearable.
Perhaps the guilt in his aged heart would never allow his peace. When he looked at Harry before, it was Lily he was seeing; now he realized it had never been Lily. It was Riddle looking out from those eyes. Harry’s own eyes were hazel, not green.
The voice broke his thoughts again and he forced a smile as he looked upon he face of Neville Longbottom.
Neville also avoided Harry’s eyes. There was too much sadness in them for a normal person to endure.
“The train is leaving soon,” Neville continued.
Harry nodded, “Yes, I suppose it is.”
“Where are you going to go?” Neville pressed.
Harry shrugged, “I dunno—I haven’t really given it much thought.”
“My Gran wanted me to let you know you’re welcome to stay with us awhile,” Neville offered.
Harry nodded in appreciation of the offer then turned back to the black cloth draping the halls. Neville slowly walked away, not looking back on the former boy who lived.
Harry smiled, the first real smile he’d given since before he could recall. Maybe he was looking at this situation the wrong way. His slate was now wiped clean. He could move on with his life, and live it for himself instead of for Riddle.
There would be nobody trying to murder him or his friends-- he might even find love. The smile soon faded. More memories from the past flooded him, memories that were a double-edged sword.
He had almost found love once and maybe even twice, but never held it long. Cho Chang had moved on with her life. Somehow he had managed to push her away before it got to dangerous, and perhaps in a perfect world she would have been the love of his life. She was gone, and probably thought him as the rest of the wizarding world did, a monster.
Then there was Susan. Innocent, loyal Susan Bones. Her death had come quickly. She had been snatched from life only moments after Harry realized what she meant him. Yet in the end it had become another failed relationship-- or doomed depending on how you looked at it.
He may even have been able to find love and happiness in the arms of Ginny Weasley, but not now. The sight of him brought her nothing but pain and despair. Her life would have been better if he had never been born.
How could he stay in this world? He was a symbol of all that had gone wrong. People would blame him for the deaths of those they loved for years and years to come. He would never be able to rid himself of that image.
His feet carried him towards the only home he had ever known, his common room. The whispers continued as he carried himself up the stairs and into this room. Dean Thomas was eyeing him suspiciously and Neville Longbottom was hiding his face in a book. The room felt empty. Seamus had been killed because he was a half-blood and for no other reason. Dean himself had only barely managed to escape death, after learning his father had fought valiantly against the first dark rising, but his family had not escaped from Voldemort’s wrath. He was the only survivor.
Harry slowly began placed his possession into his chest, and paused at his invisibility cloak. He folded it up carefully. He could almost feel Hermione and Ron’s presences on it. He fought back his tears and rose to his feet to approach Neville.
“If for some odd reason, I have a kid someday and…” he stopped as he passed the cloak over to Neville.
“I’ll make sure they get it,” Neville responded as Harry walked away.
The next item Harry found was the Marauder Map. He slowly lifted the space between his mattresses and tucked it between the crack. He hoped somebody else would find it and put it to good use. He found himself imagining the first years of next year finding the map and the Marauder’s being reborn in them. Maybe one of them would come from a pure blood family like the Malfoys or Blacks, and step outside the norm and except everyone as Sirius did. Then the other would wear round glasses and have messy hair. The two would build a friendship and…
Harry’s thought suddenly stopped as he realized that the friendships his father had built while at Hogwarts had caused him this pain. Hedwig cooed sympathetically from her cage, and Harry slowly lifted his hand to stroke her breast.
“I need you to stay with Hagrid,” Harry instructed her, “I won’t be needing you anymore.”
Hedwig twisted her head I confusion, but Harry turned away from her and clasped his trunk shut. He toted it behind him as he decended down into the common room, where he collapsed into the couch.
The fire cracked softly as Harry drifted back into his memories. How many times had he, Ron and Hermione sat by this fire, dreaming of what adventure life had in store for them. This was the fire he had confided to Sirius through when he thought the Dragon’s were his biggest challenge.
He could almost still see Ron laying on the hearth run and Hermione scribbling on a long scroll. That is how he wanted to remember them. His eyes filled with water as he tried to shake the image from his mind. He knew he would do anything to get them back. Life just wasn’t the same without them.
So this is what Harry Potter’s soul was like. He was weak and full of emotion; his strength had died with Riddle. He felt that missing part of his soul even more, and he felt he’d give anything to have it back. He wasn’t himself without it.
As quickly as it had faded into the sky, the sun returned, and signaled a new day. No day was new to Harry. His truck was already gone; it had been taken to the train by the house elves apparently. Hermione hadn’t done it; she had left that and many other tasks unfinished. The house elves weren’t free.
Harry pulled his hat from his pocket and laid it on the table, and covered it up with a few pieces of spare parchment. He stood up and glanced back and removed one the papers so you could see the hat. Ron was right; the elves should know what they were picking up in case they didn’t want to be free.
How he managed to get to the train surprised even him. He found an empty compartment and sat alone. It was the first train ride he had ever been alone. He looked across at the empty seat, and he pictured Ron sitting there with his corn beef sandwiches. He could see Hermione with Crookshanks in her lap. He turned his head to look out the window, desperately trying to escape their memories.
Dumbledore had once told him the dead never really leave us, they’re always looking out for us. That thought had given him peace when Sirius had died, now it didn’t. Dumbledore was gone, and all his wisdom dead with him. For all the wisdom Dumbledore possessed, he couldn’t save Riddle, he couldn’t save Hermione and Ron, and he couldn’t save Harry.
“Where are you now Dumbledore? What do I do now?” Harry asked aloud, but nobody answered. “You couldn’t even save yourself. You got away…”
Yes, Dumbledore had escaped this fate of misery and loneliness. Harry alone had to walk it and live it. The Hogwarts Express slowly pulled into the train station, and Harry rose from his seat.
He walked out of the train, but didn’t stop to collect his bags. He left them behind. He hadn’t changed out of his robes, and he didn’t stop before he walked through the barrier of platform nine and three quarters. The station was busy and full of muggles-- as Molly Weasley would have said.
He slipped his robe down his back and let it fall to the ground. Harry turned to look at it and then pulled his wand from his pocket. He had grown very fond of his wand, but now that the truth about his past was out, he realized it had never really been his.
This wand had chosen Riddle, not Harry. Harry closed his eyes and snapped it apart before letting it fall into his abandoned robe.
The Leaky Cauldron was just around the corner, and he walked quickly with a clarity he had all but forgotten. Less than an hour later he emerged onto the streets of muggle London with his pockets full and muggle money and an empty vault key. Each step he took, he felt it fading, soon it would gone and he Harry Potter would have no memory of this life, he would be left without a scar.