Chapter 1:

The Death of Harry Potter


Summary:

Ron and Hermione died due to the events at Malfoy Manor and Harry was on track to join them. Alone and beaten, Harry resorts to the most horrendous magic to try and save his own life and continue the hunt for Voldemort's Horcruxi. An act that would start him on the path to becoming a monster so much greater and more terrible than the one he had set out to destroy.


"I fear you have made a grave mistake, Bella." Voldemort said as he kneeled down to examine the dead Mudblood on the floor.

The withering curse, one he himself had enchanted her knife with, had already begun to fade from her corpse, seeping back into the carved word on her forearm. The curse left the body upon death, leaving it as pristine as it had been in life. And there before him was Hermione Granger, eyes open and unseeing.

"I do not understand, my lord. I have taken from him his two greatest allies. And now he is on death's door as well." She said.

"Two?" Voldemort asked, looking up.

"The Weasley boy, I got him near the heart with the knife. He will be dead within hours. Potter only got nicked in the arm, so he merely has a week. Two at most." Bella explained.

"Then we shall be on high alert for three weeks. Send out the message!" Voldemort dictated aloud to the room of his most trusted Death Eaters, whom he had summoned there. "Lock down all government facilities, and Hogwarts. All patrols at all locations are now to be done in pairs... No. Triplicates! Three persons on each team. All family members of Death Eaters or Snatchers and their homes are to be guarded by such teams."

Macnair bowed and advanced on the fireplace. He vanished a moment later with a fistful of ash and a pronouncement of "Ministry of Magic, Minister of Magic's office." Goyle senior did the same a moment later to Hogwarts and his Mrs did the same for Saint Mungos. The three most likely locations of an attack by the dying boy.

"But My Lord, I don't understand." Bellatrix confessed. "He is but a boy, and not a particularly skilled one at that. And now his last two sources of support are gone. He is alone and dying."

"You are right Bellatrix." Voldemort told her with an edge to his tone. "You DON'T understand. You have taken from that boy what may be the last two people tethering him to the mortal world. He is an injured and solitary animal on the brink of death with nothing to guide him but his own righteous fury. Do you have any idea what righteous men with their backs against the wall facing insurmountable odds are capable of? Have you ever seen what the young, stupid and weak are capable of when they have nothing left to lose?"

Bellatrix bit her lip and looked down at the bloodied floor of Malfoy manner, and merely shook her head.

"I have." Voldemort told her, just above a whisper. "And it is a terrible thing to behold. Otherwise good men, storming Majdanek filleted the German Socialists stationed there alive upon witnessing the horror's of the Holocaust. I would know, I was there. I have yet to so thoroughly enjoy torture or killing since. There are no tactics off limits to the boy now, no magic he will not use, no targets he will refuse to attack out of principle. You didn't take away his greatest tactical support, you took away his moral and emotional support. He was a puppet tangled in the strings of Dumbledore's pitiful moralities, and now you have cut those strings."


Harry stirred from his fitful sleep with a lurch. He couldn't recall dozing off but considering the lack of rest he'd gotten over the past week it was unsurprising that he passed out against his will. Unsurprising, but alarming.

He flung the chair he'd slept in aside and scrambled to the other end of the tent and the unconscious man lying there. A few swishes of his wand later and he breathed a sigh of relief. His diagnostic charm showed that the dose of sleeping draught he'd given the Death Eater was still working. If it had run through Draco's system while Harry'd been unconscious, then it could have spelled disaster. Still, he hadn't survived this long without an unhealthy amount of paranoia.

He checked the position of every object in the magically expanded tent for tampering or duplication charms. Poison diagnostic spells on what little food he had all came back negative and the same was true for the containers of water beneath his cot. Lastly, he checked the bottle of Draught Of Living Death. It looked to be at the same level as the last time he'd dosed the Malfoy heir. Even still, the possibility that Draco could have woken up, sent out a message for help, only to then dose himself again was just crazy enough to match the normal absurdity that was Harry's day-to-day life.

He dropped a basil leaf into the glass container and it dissolved just as it should have. If it had been diluted with water or altered in any way, then it would have caused no reaction or a much more extreme reaction.

Breathing out another sigh of relief, he sank against the tent wall. A month earlier he would have called himself paranoid. A month earlier he would have been wrong. Checking his watch, Harry discovered that he had slept for six hours. Another ten minutes and Draco really would have woken up. As it stood, he had just enough time to pour another dose down his prisoner's throat.

Harry uncorked the glass container and poured the right amount into a measuring cup he pilfered from a cough syrup bottle. Turns out chemically resistant plastics worked as great potion containers. It was even better at the task than masterfully enchanted glass. He lifted Draco's head with far more care and gentleness than the bastard deserved and nearly tipped the container of black sludge through his lips. It was then that he caught sight of his hand. It was a sight that gave him pause.

He had once found Dumbledore's mortal injury revolting, yet here he was with a far more vicious and wretched version of the withering curse devouring his own limb. Whatever Bellatrix had slashed him with as he made his escape from Malfoy Manor was a very different breed of dark magic to that of the ring Horcrux. His flesh had turned black like tar with an ash-like sheen and felt almost mummified in its hardness. In fact, the resemblance to tar was so great that Harry suspected the curse was somehow based on the substance.

There must be some form of irony in the fact that he was afflicted in the same limb as the late headmaster. Unlike his former mentor, unfortunately, he didn't have a potions master and high-ranking Death Eater there to slow the progress of the incurable curse. Fleur and Bill had done what little they could, but they couldn't save Ron from the withering curse infected wound on his chest so Harry doubted they could save him from even one.

That's why he was here in this tent, hidden away from the world. He couldn't bear to remain at Shell Cottage, forcing them to watch him die just as they had seen their brother, in blood and marriage, slowly leave this world. The same way he and Ron had watched Hermione die in that Manor.

A sudden spasm of pain erupted up his arm and he dropped the dose of sleeping draught to the floor where it corrosively ate through the fabric. He let Draco back down on Ron's old cot before clutching the agonized limb and fighting to clench his teeth against the pain instead of nearly biting his tongue off, like he had the last time. A minute of well-practiced breathing techniques later and he was able to move again. He quickly retrieved the plastic cup and potion bottle and made to refill it before stopping to reconsider.

It had been over a week. An entire week and change of research and vainly hoping for an alternative method. It had been a fool's errand, and now he was out of time. In another day the withering curse would reach a vital organ and kill him. Nobody would be left to continue his mission. Nobody would even know about Voldemort's singular vulnerability. Nobody left to fulfill the prophecy. He was the only one who could do it. The only person or thing capable of accomplishing either. And instead of spending the week he had left trying to find a way to break into Gringotts - a task he was certain he could do with his best friends by his side but had no hope of even attempting by himself - he had wasted it trying to spare Malfoy's life.

"It's time." He mumbled to himself as he dropped Draco back onto the chained cot. Harry discarded the potion and returned to his work desk. The piles of attempted arithmancy, discarded plans of bank heists and snake assassinations now only useful as a means of kindling. The wretched tome leaning against the pin board was what he needed now.

Secrets of the Darkest Arts.

In its pages was the only means of saving his life, and the only means of maybe getting his friends back by his side. Friends without whom he had no chance of completing his mission, but with whom he could conquer the world. With them by his side he could defeat any foe. With their presence, even in spirit, he could overcome any obstacle.

He untied the golden Snitch from where he'd placed it on the pin board. His sleep-deprivation induced map of Horcruxi was all the uglier without it. He had the diary pinned beside Slytherin's ruined locket. Next to that was a drawing of Hufflepuff's goblet. On the other side was a sheet of paper with Ravenclaw's symbol surrounded by question marks. At the bottom of the board was an impressive drawing of Nagini. There was also the piece of paper where he'd tied the Snitch to and which showed another drawing, this time of the Gaunt ring with the Hollows symbol beside it, which was also surrounded by question marks.

He had one Hollow in his possession, and now Voldemort did too.

Harry was ninety nine percent sure Dumbledore had hidden the Gaunt ring inside of the Snitch, and a further ninety five percent certain it was the Resurrection Stone of legend. Regardless, he was one hundred percent certain that he would be invincible with it in his hands, for with it he could bring back his brain and his heart, Hermione and Ron. He felt a sudden camaraderie with the late Professor Quirrel. That which he desired most was so close at hand he could taste it, yet so far out of reach. Within the snitch was a stone that could defy death. But how to get it?

He had tried everything. Cutting it open with the sword, blowing it apart with his strongest spells, uttering the name of every candy in existence. He'd even tried hypnotizing himself into believing he wanted to get it but not use it, thinking the headmaster may have used the same trick as with another death-defying stone. But no. Nothing. Nothing worked.

Now he had only one recourse. A means of prolonging his life and maybe, just maybe, circumventing the protections placed on the Snitch.

Draco stirred in his sleep as the potion finally wore off. The heavy chains Harry had put him in on the first day clinked with every movement. It was nearly time.

With a few waves of his wand Harry cast a silencing enchantment on the tent. Set to activate on the word "vole" to prevent Draco from saying the tabooed name. It would silence him before he could utter the second syllable of the one word that would lead to his rescue.

Harry wished he'd had the idea sooner. It would have saved his friends lives. It would have saved Draco's life. It would have saved Harry's soul.

He dragged the cot, with Draco in it, to the center of the tent before banishing all of the furniture, clothes, books and spare parchment to make room for the ritual. He burned the runes and ritual lines in the floor with an accuracy honed through his practice of drawing them by hand on paper in preparation for this very moment.

An Ouroboros now decorated the floor, creating a circle with Draco at its center.

"Ohhh. Wha?" Draco moaned groggily

He was waking. Good. The victim needed to be conscious. The killer had to look them in the eyes as they did the deed. Or so said the book. Harry was consulting it now, making sure he did everything exactly.

"Potter? What is this!?"

Harry ignored the blonde ponce. If they talked, he could lose his nerve. Lose his conviction.

He placed the Snitch on the appropriate spot in the ritual circle, right on the tip of the tale about to be eaten by the serpent, before withdrawing the silver potion knife from his robes. A quick slash of his good hand and the golden sphere was painted red.

"Potter?"

He sounded scared now. Good. He had some sense in him after all.

He cast the last few enchantments on the Snitch. They were all rather simple charms Flitwick taught in school, unbreakable charms and the like. They were normally easy to remove from an object but through this ritual would become overpowered to the point of absurdity.

"Potter, whatever you think this ritual is supposed to do, it won't work how you expect. They never do." Draco warned.

He was pleading now. In any other situation he would have been correct, but even the son of a Death Eater turned Death Eater himself wouldn't know exactly what this ritual was for.

"Harry please! Only madmen resort to these kinds of rituals. Even the darkest of families forbid them. Stop this!" Draco pleased further.

Harry removed his robes and shirt while Draco spoke, and he could hear the other man's voice catch at the end of his plea. When the damage wrought by the withering curse was on full display.

Harry couldn't help but chuckle. His entire right arm was like burnt leather, as was most of the right side of his torso down to his hip. He'd have been silenced by the sight too.

There were three steps left to start the ritual and he couldn't stall any longer. He'd have a minuscule window of time to complete the final task without dying from it. It was a straightforward ritual, one that was easy enough for most people to do if they had a high enough pain tolerance. But he had decided to take an extra precaution all the same.

He dug the empty vial of Felix Filicus from a drawer and filled it with water from a goblet. Hopefully whatever residue from the potion left in there would give him a few moments, hell, a few seconds of luck.

"You're really going to kill me, aren't you?" Draco finally asked.

This time Harry did acknowledge him. He looked Draco dead in the eyes, ignored the misery and terror in his face and gave a sharp nod.

"But why? I tried to help you. Really, I did." He pleaded. "I don't deserve this."

"I know." Said Harry, just above a whisper.

It was all he could say. He didn't have time to explain now. It was so unfair that it had to be him. Harry had spared monsters like Fenrir Greyback, treated rapists and murderers like Rowl and Dolohov with mercy, with kiddy gloves. Well, no more! If everything went according to plan, he could explain everything to Draco after he killed him. Could even thank him for trying to save their lives at the mansion. Could apologize and promise to give those genuinely deserving of this fate a far stickier end.

Harry stepped forward and wiped Draco's face with his cut hand, smearing it with blood. Draco grimaced and shuddered at the contact but returned to the staring match with Harry afterwards.

Two steps to go.

"Take him down." Draco demanded, his fear turning to rage. "You kill that son of bitch and destroy all the wretched perversions of my culture he's propped up. And you do it in my name!"

There was a conviction in his voice. He was ready to die, ready to give his life to take down the man that had humiliated his family and destroyed their dreams.

Harry nodded his assent and downed the vial of water.

At least he wasn't wasting Harry's time with offers of fealty or suggesting they team up. With that mark on his arm Voldemort was able to enter is mind and recall him, so long as he's conscious. That's why Harry had kept him sedated. And that's why he was hurrying. If Voldemort coincidentally decided to summon Draco now, then he would be able to sense their location and bring an entire army to the front flap of his tent.

Draco held his gaze all the way up until the killing curse struck him in the chest. As soon as it did Harry performed the final step and plunged the silver knife into his own stomach.

The magic around him flared in objection to the abominable ritual and Harry knew it was working. He pulled the knife up from his naval to the center of his chest, slicing his entire stomach open to the point that his organs threatened to spill out. The only thing preventing him from going into shock was the ritual itself.

He quickly discarded the knife and reached into his own body. He had his pick of seven organs to choose from, but he had already decided on his liver. He ripped it out and nearly dropped to the floor as his knees buckled. The squelching sound and the sensation of tearing viscera was more than he bargained for, yet he still held onto consciousness by a thread.

He held the blood-dense organ at arm's length and squeezed, wringing out the life liquid to make the final step slightly easier.

Somewhere along the way he had started screaming, more in horror at his own actions than pain. As tears ran unchecked down his cheeks the tent around him turned into a chaotic typhoon of magic, a typhoon that flung everything around him every which way. But he wouldn't stop, couldn't stop, and didn't let the storm of clothes and shattered furniture distract him.

With the last of his effort Harry put his own liver in his mouth and swallowed the slippery organ, nearly choking on it. He came very close to vomiting in disgust as he committed the horrendous act of self-cannibalization, the final act needed to create a Horcrux. It was abhorrent and unnatural on every level. Sustaining yourself by consuming yourself, just like a Horcrux does with the soul.

The world around him melted away and he saw it. He saw himself; everything he was, like a collage of memories, emotions, dreams and so many other little things that defined him but didn't have names. He watched on, detached, as if by astral projection, as the ritual shredded his essence. Each memory, emotion and less easily named thing that made up his being torn apart like paper and being set aflame.

He heard screaming. So much screaming. His body flailed about as he floated there in the air in a magic and pain induced seizure, as if a puppet whose strings were all being yanked in alternating directions.

It was horrible. A pain so much deeper and so much more profound than any injury or curse he'd yet endured. A pain not of the body, and so lacked description.

The rip in his soul grew like a coat zipper coming undone as the burning memories all shifted and left him. When his soul finally split completely in twain, he saw the burning half vanish from his perception and he knew only darkness.


Harry awoke in agony, stirred by the singing of birds outside.

He tried to groan. Tried to move any part of himself, but he didn't have the strength. The world seemed dead. He felt dead. No, that wasn't quite true. He didn't feel dead. In fact, he couldn't feel... Anything. His body was in pain, certainly, but it seemed so far away. Dissociated, even. Like it wasn't his body anymore. It took all of his effort to move a finger, and even the sensation of moving, of feeling the carpet beneath his fingers, seemed so foreign to him. Like his body was rejecting him.

Then his vision returned to him, and he had access to three senses.

He watched and listened as he came to grips with his surroundings. The tent looked like a tornado had torn through it, and technically speaking, one kind of had. But his eyes and ears weren't seeking clothes or furniture or even the corpse of his victim. It sought the speck of gold that should have been sitting not three feet from him.

But the Snitch wasn't there.

He turned his head, willing the muscles in his neck to obey. He would have panicked, but his inability to feel seemed to extend to the emotional as well as physical. He didn't even really desire to find the Snitch, to do anything, not even exist. He had to force such inclinations.

Then he spotted it. The fluttering sound that he'd become so familiar with in his career as a seeker. The Snitch was flitting about the ceiling like it normally would, but he could immediately tell something was off. It wasn't flying with the short jerking movements it normally used, but slowly and methodically exploring its surroundings.

"Hello?" Harry called, his throat dry and voice hoarse. "Me?"

It was an odd experience. Talking to an inanimate object was nothing new but calling said object "Me" was grammatically strange in the extreme. Still, the Snitch must have heard him because it swooped down and floated above his chest.

It took all of his strength and willpower, but he forced his body into a sitting position. The deep gash in his stomach, repaired but not healed by the ritual, screamed in protest. But as with other things he couldn't quite relate to the pain. When he looked at the snitch next it was to find writing on the surface.

Hello to Me too.

The words emblazoned on the Snitch, not in the beautiful and well-practiced calligraphy of Dumbledore but his own chicken scratch, was a confirmation. Proof that it had worked.

Harry Potter had created a Horcrux. Harry Potter was now immortal.

It wouldn't stop the withering curse from consuming his body, but he'd be able to go on despite it. He would go on functioning and acting in his own fossilized body for as long as he had to. Until his work was done.

Reality finally started to creep back into him, and he was able to feel a small sliver of hope invade whatever remained of his soul. It was time to find out if the other intended consequence of the ritual had born fruit.

He held out his mutilated hand and the other him in the Snitch obliged, cracking open like a paper fortune teller it vomited a cracked black stone into his equally blackened palm.

He turned it thrice in his hand and when he finally dared to look up from the deathly hollow his heart soared, and subsequently crashed.

Everyone had come. His mother beside his father beside his grandparents. Ron and Hermione beside Draco. Sirius beside Peter. Albus beside Moody beside Cedric. Every person he cared for had come, and every single one of them wore a look of abject horror.

So, they knew what he'd done. He should probably feel ashamed or share in their disgust and horror. But he couldn't. To feel any remorse would undo the Horcrux and make him whole; make him join them.

He rose to his feet and Lily, his mother, flinched away from him. The other's had their own reactions to his sudden movement, but that one hurt the most.

"Come." He demanded of them all. "We have work to do."


On Creating Horcruxi:

First of all, I know the plural is horcruxes, but I am making a reference to another fanatic called "Someone to Love" by the Ferryman. In which Voldemort refers to them as such and Harry makes the same complaints, but seeing as he was the first person to make multiple he called dibs on naming the plural form. I choose to accept his argument and think the idea of Dumbledore, Harry and co referring to them incorrectly as unintentionally disrespectful.

For those of you who don't know, creating a Horcrux requires murdering someone to split your soul and an unspecified horrific act to separate the torn piece. Rowling refuses to say what that act is but we know she told her editor and he nearly threw up from it. Us fans have narrowed it down to three possibilities.

- Murdering an unborn fetus while still in the mother(This theory has a lot behind it. I like this one)

- Self-mutilation

- Self-Cannibalization

I decided on self-cannibalization because it most symbolically reflects the act of creating a Horcrux. Splitting your body into pieces to sustain yourself. Just as the Horcrux does with the soul. And because I didn't have any pregnant women handy.

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