The sky glowed orange, painted in bright colors by the light of the fire crackling beneath it, marked with streaks of dark smoke rising up into the atmosphere in thick columns. Voldemort laughed in exultation as magic thrummed beneath his fingers, heavy in the air around him. He slashed his wand across his body and the fire chased after it, dancing waves of flame crashing against the structure before him, swirling to and fro under his orchestration. The inferno blackened the stretch of green grass around him, scorching the plants to their roots, smoldering ash scattering across the ground as the garden was incinerated, leaving nothing but billowing soot and the glowing edges of stone peeking up through the earth.

Something bounced off his anti-apparition jinx, reverberating back to him like a tap on the shoulder. He shot upwards in a cloud of dark smoke, blending in with the shroud hanging above as he shot across the sky.

He slammed into the ground fifty paces behind the burning house. A crowd of terrified faces glared at him from where they huddled around one of their own—a young man sprawled out on the ground, holding his head. Fire swept through the grass nearby, rearing up to surround them.

"Ah, you didn't think you could escape so easily did you?" he sneered, delicious satisfaction coursing through him at the sight of the defeat flashing across several of their faces. But a few held nothing but defiance. He turned his burning crimson gaze on two in particular. Familiar ones.

"Potter's not here to save you anymore."

Ron Weasley raised his chin and glared straight back at Voldemort. Behind him the Burrow started to collapse, burning planks of wood bouncing down its height to the ground, as the structure started to lean even more precariously. The Weasley matron gave a cry of sorrow as one of the haphazard expansions toppled away, shattering apart among the burning vegetation.

"You're not going to win," the mudblood Granger choked out, her voice shaking. "Harry is going to stop you."

Voldemort's lips curled into a cruel smile. "I'm afraid not. He's...quite dead."

The boy reared up, rage twisting his features. "You're lying!"


He dropped to the ground, his screams rending the air as he writhed, clawing at the dirt around him. Two of what must've been his siblings grabbed him, an arm each—a sister and brother—and pulled him back, hiding him from the pointed wand. Two more Weasleys stepped forward.

Spells flashed at him, and he dissolved them into dust with a slash of his wand. The two Weasleys' wands flew out of their hands; they cried out in pain and fell to their knees, clutching their burned hands. Voldemort flicked his wand and another pair of wands disappeared into the shadows around them.

"You know it is futile to fight—all that is left for you is pain and then merciful death. Crucio."

The youngest child, the girl, screamed in agony, and the others cringed, shaking as if they were the ones being cursed. Voldemort breathed deeply, inhaling the scent of burning and fear, and blood to be split.

"Your savior is dead, leaving you to face my wrath alone. Britain will fall, the world will fall. Harry Potter failed," he spat, the blood buzzing through his veins, running hot with magic and victory.


The noise rang out over the area, breaking over the screams and the roar of the burning house. Fire blazed around Voldemort, covering the field behind the house, filling it with chokingly thick smoke between dancing fingers of orange, obscuring sight in the darkness of night. Within the blazing field the smoke rippled, swirling apart like something massive had been dropped into it from above.

Like something had apparated straight through his jinx.

Voldemort eyed the fire curiously. A shadow moved within it, drawing closer, eddies of smoke twisting around their form, outlining them but hiding their features. They stepped straight through the fire without a second thought.

"It is a fool who challenges Lord Voldemort," he called out to the shadow, eyes narrowing. "You are too late to save these people. You have only doomed yourself as well."

The figure drew closer, emerging from the smoke at the edge of the clearing Voldemort formed around the Weasleys. It was clearly humanoid, the outline of robes whipping around them, moving with the hot wind blowing across the inferno filled valley, but there wasn't enough light to see their face, hidden in the penumbra from the raging fire behind. The dancing flames sent shadows twisting across their form as they stared coolly back at Voldemort, silent, their body language unworried.

"Then you have chosen death," Voldemort spat. "Avada Kedavra."

Green light and the sound of rushing air filled the clearing, a jet of pure emerald flashing through the night and slamming into the chest of the mysterious figure, killing them instantly. Except, they didn't move, didn't drop bonelessly to the ground—they stood still, letting the power swirl over their chest, before dissipating into nothing.


Voldemort realized he had taken a step back and he snarled with anger.

It could not be.

The figure stepped closer and the flickering light swept over them, illuminating a young face and glinting off the raised lines of scars criss-crossing the surface. Strangely green eyes glowed. Voldemort felt a cold prickling at the back of his neck.

It could not be.

Voldemort raised his wand and cast a bright light across the clearing. The Weasleys behind him gasped, exclamations of tearful relief tearing out of them. Harry Potter's face stared back at him. But it was different. Voldemort felt something in his stomach turn, something was off.

He had seen Harry Potter grow up in front of him, from a sniveling child into the hardened warrior he had become, always facing Voldemort, his face growing older and harder every time, but his eyes always burning with unending courage. This Potter's eyes were different.

They were harder, fiercer, than the Potter he remembered, and instead of growing colder they had grown hot. As they stared at Voldemort across the flame-lit field they burned with fury, and eagerness, and power. It rolled off this Potter in a way he had never felt before, thick and cloying, choking him as surely as the smoke that rose around them.

Voldemort reeled, retreating to his own mind, digging through its depths searching for proof. And then found it: the old connection, the fate-crafted link between him and Potter that he had made sure was dead and decaying in those blessed months after their last encounter. It now thrummed with life.


He dove into the connection mindlessly, seeking answers, seeking proof of the lie that crafted the nightmare in front of him. Harry Potter's mind was the one he was the most familiar with outside of his own, the one he had spent the most time inside of, attacking, predicting. He was intimately familiar with its construction.

This was not Harry Potter's mind.

He slammed into a wall; an impenetrable blockade, filled with ever moving blades of thought. Voldemort's scalp prickled, a shudder unconsciously shaking his body as a wave of coldness passed over him. He sensed something—something moving within Potter's mind; something impossibly old, and alien, and aware. Voldemort pulled away, frantically reeling his consciousness back into his body as a cold sweat broke out across his skin. He blinked, the sight of Harry Potter, framed by fire, returning to his eyes. A small smile cracked Potter's face, a mocking, knowing smile. Something bubbled up within Voldemort, swelling through his chest—fear. Fear like he had not felt for longer than he could remember.

Potter moved an arm, the long profile of his wand visible in the fire as he brought it over to his other side. It ran across the top of his forearm. Flesh split and dark crimson, almost black in the night, spilled free in rivulets, tracing down the pale skin of his arm. It streamed, and poured, and poured, gushing down the man's arm unnaturally fast, and heavy. All the while he maintained his stare at Voldemort, eyes gleaming.

The unease in Voldemort's stomach doubled. What has happened to him?

The flow showed no signs of stopping, pouring out of Potter and falling to the ground in a dark waterfall, pooling beneath him in a small clump. Voldemort shook his head and looked closer.

The blood streaming from Potter's arm was black—not red cast black in dim light—but pure, black as night black, and it streaked down his arm without staining, without clinging, maintaining its flow with odd viscosity, almost like it was magma that dripped from his veins, a human volcano. It collected on the ground, sticking together, quickly forming a rough mound—a boulder, of hardening onyx. And then it started to expand, several times faster than it should've from the remaining matter draining out of Potter onto the mass, swelling up from the ground, rippling with motion and throwing glimmering reflections across the clearing as the light caught the sharp edges of its stony surface.

The cut on Potter's arm dried out, closing. Beside him the mound of shadowy rock reared up, exploding to a height well above Potter, looming over him, sharp horns firing out of its monstrous head as brawny arms punched into the earth, letting it settle its weight like a nightmarish mockery of a great ape. It was a beast Voldemort had never seen before in all his travels. And Potter had housed it within his own body, a nightmare resting alongside his bones and muscles, for some unknowable reason.

The pair stepped forward towards Voldemort and he nervously took a step back.

Potter and the beast moved like one entity, synchronized, in perfect step, starting forward at the same time and crossing the same distance while unconsciously moving around the other, the clubbed hooks at the end of the creature's arms swinging by Potter, just missing him. The wizard kept his gaze fixed on Voldemort, unworried.

He raised his wand and pointed it at the Dark Lord. Magic crackled on the tip and a thick band of pressure squeezed tight around Voldemort, almost suffocating. An anti-apparition jinx.

There would be no escape this time.

A vicious smile stretched across Potter's face. Rage danced in his eyes. He opened his mouth to speak for the first time, and Voldemort felt the magic reverberate in his voice, the quiet statement—almost a whisper—shaking the world beneath his feet.

"Hello Tom."



The first and only A/N for this story.

I have nothing but gratitude for those who have endeavored to follow this to its conclusion. It started as a writing exercise but it ended up being something I'm proud of anyway—quality notwithstanding—and much of that can be attributed to the readers, and their many kind words that helped motivate my determination to see this all the way through.

And now it is done, and buried.

For those interested, keep your ear to the ground: more writing will be coming, if not set in this universe—though an eventual sequel is not off the table, and in fact some plot ideas have already bubbled to the surface. But for now my attention is focused elsewhere. The forges are lit, the outlines sketched, and early chapters put to digital paper.

Until then.