Nobody ever asked my birthday

Chapter 259

Harry felt the soft ripples of Lord Voldemort's penetration, through the waves of emotion Harry himself was throwing to the nine winds.

He felt a quick flash of shocked fear, He's here!

Harry let his eyes close, and he took a deep breath. The same words echoed again - He's here, inside my mind. My turf, my rules. The confidence chased away the vestiges of fear.

And Harry? Harry wanted to see. Who was this, what was this thing inside his mind? Harry wanted to play.

Unbidden, Harry's unconscious reshaped the mental landscape. A green, grassy meadow sprawled in all directions, an actinic blue sky with a blazing sun overhead. Harry himself was a gloriously big, shaggy black dog. And Voldemort? he was a ball - the oddity scented and then trapped, walled off from Harry himself. Harry loped over to the ball, sniffing it curiously. It smelled... a bit like pee. Fear And a bright, spiky scent... Anger. Harry picked up the ball, and started to run, throwing it away from himself in an arcing high arc.

Then Harry gave a woof and ran after it, trying to catch the ball before it dropped into the grass. Got it! Gleaming white teeth closed harmlessly around the bright red ball. That seemed curiously angry about the color choice - with a shake of his doggy head, Harry turned it pine green, which seemed to make it happier. Harry wagged his tail - he liked making happy!

He threw the ball into the air again, and again, sometimes catching it with his teeth, sometimes watching it Bounce! and then catching it. Harry could feel the ball getting dizzy, could almost smell... terror, that was it, black as deepest fear. Harry didn't care much, though. It was a ball, and it was for playing!

Harry played with the ball until his muscles were sore, and he laid down, letting the ball roll from his mouth. He knew, somehow, that he shouldn't just let the ball there. Closing his eyes, he began to grow, as large as a cow, and opened red eyes. He picked up the ball, which swirled green, angry swirls inside itself. Confusion, Trepidation.

Harry trotted towards the horizon, weary but willing, coming up to a circle of stones, where Harry dropped the ball in the dead center. The ball seemed to hum, trying to say something that Harry wasn't listening to. You aren't supposed to be here, Harry thought, and coughed, and coughed again. On the third cough, fire poured from his mouth, engulfing the circle but not setting the grass around it on fire.

Harry curled into a ball by the fire, and watched warily but satisfied as the ball burnt to ash, its cinders and smoke floating upwards on the breeze.

[a/n: Harry's actual memories are in the blades of grass. They aren't important. What is important is Play! and Ball!

This is a different take on Snape's observation that if you concentrate on the now enough, the past is astonishingly hard to penetrate. Harry's escoriated any links back to his memories, and is just playing.

I love this story because it takes me so many places I wasn't expecting to go.

Up Next: Voldie's Rx.

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Harry's turning into something of a hellhound at the end, by the way. I wanted something mythological, and some way for Harry to get Voldie out of his mind - sending him up in smoke does the proper syllogistic symbolism.]

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