Thread of Lachesis
By: Lena (Airelle Vilka)
Airelle shivered, and opened her eyes. Cold, barren walls stood around her, reminding her of a prison cell in Azkaban. A shape was morphing slowly in the corner, an enormous black lump that resembled something vaguely familiar. What was it?
The lump took form, and Airelle finally recognized it.
"Where am I?" she asked, peering into the darkness.
"Inside your mind," said a voice, and she spun. A tall, thin figure emerged from the shadows; how it had entered, Airelle did not know. The room had no doors or windows.
"I told you that you were dreaming," said the young man, staring at her in a way she did not like. "Welcome to the dismal existence of your inner self."
She grew wary as he took a step closer. "Who are you?" she demanded. "I haven't seen you before."
He laughed softly, a laugh that reminded Airelle of Severus Snape, her former best friend—and now, Death Eater. But this was not Snape by far. A strange power coursed throughout the room, invading Airelle's body and making her shudder. Dark Magic of the worst kind. Whoever he was, he meant trouble.
"Who are you?" she repeated, more sternly so as not to give away her fear. "Answer me, now."
His laughter faded into a smirk. "Why should I answer you, when you already know?"
Airelle shook her head, backing away. "No, I don't know. What are you talking about?" And if I'm dreaming, why am I aware of it? Why can't I awaken?
"Because I won't let you wake just yet," he answered the unspoken question, smiling ever more widely. "You've given me that kind of power in your mind, letting me occupy every shred of thought that has passed through you. I've heard your every worry and doubt, the plague of your conscience… Not a day has gone by when you haven't thought of me."
He stopped here, and stared at her. Airelle's face contorted into a mix of horror and shock.
"In the flesh, so to speak," he bowed, long black hair falling over his face. The more Airelle looked at him, the more she realized how much he resembled Snape… and another… James Potter.
And, strangely enough, the more she looked, the less fear she felt.
"Call me Tom," said Voldemort softly. The tension in the room lessened, and Airelle suddenly relaxed, her heart comforted by his presence.
No. This isn't right… I cannot trust him, cannot bring down my guard.
"What guard?" he asked, coming closer to her and taking her hands in his own. She'd expected them to be cold, like serpent's skin, but they were soothing, gentle. Warm.
His dark eyes perused hers. "You can't guard your thoughts from me, because I am your thoughts. Airelle, can't you accept the inevitable? Why do you hate yourself so?"
Airelle's lips moved in a reply before she could stop them.
"I don't hate myself," she lied, resigning her palm to the massage of his fingers. It had been so long since she hadn't felt guilt. Too long, and somehow, he took it all away with one stroke…
…As if her pain had never existed?...
"Stay away from me," she said abruptly, pulling away into the cold of the room. "You're nothing but lies, Voldemort. Do you take me for a fool, trying to seduce me in my dreams? I made a choice. I'm an Auror, and I will not rest until you are dead."
He did not seem perturbed. "And why do you, an Auror, pine for your enemies?"
"Snape was my friend," Airelle snapped, reaching for her wand, a weapon, anything—and her hand hit the bedpost. He'd backed her into a corner.
Amusement danced in his gaze. "Your friend?"
"My best friend," she said through gritted teeth. "Until the moment he joined your side. I still care for him… but if faced with a choice, I will do my duty as Auror."
"That's exactly what I wanted to hear," said Tom, and smiled. "Of course you will do your duty. But I can see your inner thoughts, the feelings that dwell within you. How you constantly wonder if you could have prevented his deflection to my side. How you could have won instead of me."
Airelle couldn't deny it. "So what? You're a monster, a murderer! I'd give anything to bring Snape back—anything. But I can't… and that's why I'm an Auror. I will do my best to stop others from doing what he did… from joining you."
"How sentimental," said Voldemort icily, his eyes glinting. "But every sinner has virtues, and every saint flaws, Airelle. And I know yours."
She felt a stabbing pain in her conscience, a pain she'd tried to muffle for years.
"You know nothing."
His smile faded, and his mouth became a tight, thin line. "Your deepest, darkest secret. Do you want to know what it is?"
"Sod off, you bastard," she said dangerously, ire pounding in her ears. "I mean it."
A flash of black, and he was in front of her, pinning her arms to her sides in an iron grip. There was no need for it, though; Airelle could not fight back. Her gaze had drowned in his, her heart an open book to him. He knew. He knew, and he relished in the knowledge.
"You want to join me," he said. "You, esteemed Auror, dutiful Ravenclaw, obedient daughter, want to be a Death Eater."
Airelle's fists clenched. "No. I won't let you torture me."
"You contemplate the possibility, Airelle. Don't lie to me, because I know. You consider the events that would have occurred if you'd joined me, along with Snape. You doubt yourself, question your choice."
"I never had any doubts," she whispered, their faces inches apart. It amazed Airelle that she could still face him, the wizard who'd killed so many of her friends, who'd taken away any hope of safety and security in her world… who infected her dreams. And yet, she attempted to stare him down.
"Never," she repeated. "You are evil, Voldemort, Tom, whatever name you go by. When I told Snape I would not join him, I meant it."
"So you did. But your qualms rose afterward. They fester in your spirit even as we speak," said Voldemort, his features splitting into a grim smile again. "You've kept them inside for too long… let go of your guilt and join me, now, while it's not too late. Think about it—it's what you want, don't you?"
Airelle was silent.
"I know you want it," he continued. "I feel the ambition within you, the desire for power characteristic of a Slytherin. Alhough you were in Ravenclaw, you made friends with the right person. And now, you can fulfill his hopes for you.
I can do anything… you know that, because you've seen my power firsthand. I am the force of Chaos, Airelle. And Chaos not only destroys, but creates. Light can only exist in darkness… good can only exist in evil… and life, Airelle… life can only exist in death."
"You're wrong," she murmured, shaking her head in a last, desperate attempt not to listen. "You cannot help me… no one can."
"But I can help you," he said, loosening his grip and moving his hands up her arms. "I can. Your nightmares, your pain, your shame and desperation… you don't have to hide from me, ever. No one but I has seen this side of you. No one but I wants to see this side of you. You know that. You know what the Ministry would do to you if they knew."
"Azkaban," Airelle whispered. "They'd put me in Azkaban for protecting Snape… a Death Eater. I wasn't strong enough to report him…"
"I can teach you how to be strong," said Tom, his eyes truthful and open, understanding, kind… knowing. Airelle allowed him to inch his arms around her waist and pull her closer. His touch felt amazing, protective; almost like a parent's, but not quite. It liberated her, wiped all dark thoughts from her soul. And she was tired, so tired of dark thoughts.
"I know how you feel, Airelle. I was in the same position once. I can show you what I've learned… and with me, you will be powerful. Not invincible… but powerful. I can promise you that."
She closed her eyes. His voice sounded like Snape's… so good, so familiar. And if she joined him, she would rejoin Snape… and they'd never part again. Best friends, for all eternity.
"Promise?" she asked in a whisper, feeling the last shred of guilt leave her.
"I promise," said Tom before closing his lips over hers.
His hands made Airelle feel feather-light, and in the back of her mind, she wondered how anyone this gentle could be a murderer. Perhaps what they'd said was wrong. Perhaps the people he killed deserved it. After all, why did they get in his way?
Voices whispered incomprehensible things into her ears as their kiss became stronger. His power danced in her blood, power the like of which she'd never felt. Now, she understood the longing feeling inside her heart. It compared to a person who desperately wished for something to eat, but did not know what he wanted… and then, having tasted a food, realizing that it was what he'd searched for.
And she'd searched for a long time.
Tom broke from her to take a breath, and drew his tongue across her lips before dipping down into her neck. Airelle struggled to remember why she was in the room, and why she was allowing him to do this.
But a part of her asked, Why care?
He lowered her onto the bed, and Airelle was prepared to consummate their agreement. After all, the Fates had dealt her a difficult lot in life. Why not make it easier? She, of all people, deserved it. In fact, she deserved it more than any Death Eater…
"Will you join us?" he asked, in the same words as Snape had; yet the question was so different. His eyes glowed a strange, pale green, and somehow resembled slits. Danger brewed underneath, and all Airelle had to do was invoke it. He was hers to command.
"Airelle, my child, I know you better than you know yourself…"
"Tom… don't leave me."
Airelle's eyes snapped open. She was greeted by cold and darkness, oddly similar to the room in her dream. Except Tom was not here to keep her warm.
She sat bolt upright in bed, and stared at the empty fireplace. Only then did she realize that there was something on her face. She touched her cheek, and her fingers came away with liquid. Her face was streaked with tears.
The guilt had returned. So did the ache of her memory. And so did the longing, the longing that Tom… Voldemort… had fulfilled.
Airelle had experienced many nightmares over the course of her life, but these were by far the worst. She had said 'yes' to that monster, that abomination…
Her heart was sick with a shame she could not ignore. These dreams alone made her wish for death on the spot, because they revealed the truth. They made her feel vulnerable.
They made her feel human.
Airelle Vilka sat in the darkness for a long time. And all that time was spent in prayer.
Please, God, if I ever face Voldemort outside of my dreams… please, please do not make me human.
A/N: I'm on a roll here, two stories in one week, and another coming soon. This was more of an exercise on Airelle vs. Voldemort than anything else, because we will definitely see more of them in Kavaleria Nox. (Tom was not very frightening here, but in KN he will be scary as hell.) I also wanted to show that evil and temptation are a part of humanity, and to fight them, one must first accept their existence.
A/N #2: In case you're wondering, the title comes from the one of the Greek Fates, Lachesis. Her name means "Allotter" and she measured the thread of life. Looks like Airelle's lot in life is less than perfect… but then again, whose is?