The Fanfiction Tournament Competition Round 2 - Everything's AU. Here, I went with Gods and Goddesses!AU.
The Ultimate Patronus Quest Competition - Cat: Write about Minerva McGonagall.
Gaining Skills at the Ministry of Magic - Learning Skill; Task: Learn something from a random wikipedia page. Write a story that incorporates what you learned
(Apotheosis (from Greek ἀποθέωσις from ἀποθεοῦν, apotheoun "to deify"; in Latin deificatio "making divine"; also called divinization and deification) is the glorification of a subject to divine level.).
The practical meaning of apotheosis intrigues him like no other subject, and even delving into the darkest of arts doesn't sate his thirst for the unknown. Yet a Slytherin Acolyte is not meant to become a god. It has been made clear to him countless times. But there is no reason for her not to be a goddess. Tom has seen her from afar, pathetically immersing himself in a sentiment that can only be known as courtly love.
Minerva is older than him –only by a few months– and her studies are more advanced than his, at least in regards of what anyone else knows. Secretly, he has sought knowledge from the beginning and hasn't let it show. It isn't proper for him to learn that much, but Minerva is another thing entirely.
She is perfect already, embodying the qualities of the four Majors. Her loyalty is reinforced by her courage and her ambition is heightened by her thirst for knowledge. As such, she is the perfect candidate for the title –the responsibility– of being a goddess.
It's because of that reason that he looks for her one day.
The sun isn't setting yet, but most of the students have begun to retire for the evening. As predicted, Minerva is studying in front of Rowena's shrine.
He stays away, appreciating Minerva. Her knuckles are white as she grips the quill to write down her notes but her hand still moves smoothly across the parchment. Tom licks his lips when he notices the subtle movement in her neck where her blood courses through the carotid. Minerva is the only one who can instil in him such wants, and as much as it pains him to tear his eyes from her sweet skin, he does.
"Minerva," he calls. In his mouth, his tongue reverberates with the sacred feeling of her name. She is godlike already, and when she turns to face him he is struck with a pious feeling. There is something in Minerva's face that makes him want to cry and loathe her at the same time.
It hurts his pride to hear the derision staining his name. He swallows the anger that threatens to show the side of him he's worked so hard to hide and smiles at Minerva. He looks into her grey eyes and sees her surprise.
"Am I that stunning?" he asks, feeling mischievous and only half blasphemous. "You are staring, Minerva."
There is the same taste of ambrosia when he calls her name.
"Oh, please, Riddle," she says, going back to her notes and book in a hypnotising movement. Tom's blood becomes poison when she casually dismisses him as being nothing but the dirt beneath her shoes. "What do you want?"
He bites his lip. She is the goddess he wants to follow; if Minerva ascends he will devote his life to her.
'Except for those goals you have,' says a voice inside his head. It has been talking to him for a long time, trying to deviate him to an impious path. 'Not a path. It's your destiny. What I started, you will finish and the only god who will be known will be Salazar.'
Tom doesn't plan to be a forgotten name. An Acolyte he might be, but he will be one behind the goddess he will create from his image. Minerva will be what he can't become.
"I pledge to you my life and soul," Tom says casually, enjoying her reaction when she hears the sacred vow that will tie his soul to her. If he can't rule, he will be hers. She is the only woman –human– to be worthy of his devotion. "I will spread your wisdom and courage. Your loyalty will be mirrored in me, and your ambitions will become mine to fulfil. To you, I pledge to become the Priest you seek."
She freezes. The hand holding the quill shakes, causing a smile on Tom's lips. Minerva can refuse but Tom knows she won't. Her only sin is pride, and he will use it to become more. By tying himself to her, he is pushing her to look higher.
"I can't accept you," she says honestly, feeling deeply into her heart the tug from the above. The vow is left in the air, doing what it can to bind them.
He smirks evilly. Minerva doesn't know him personally, yet she has seen him from a distance. There is something that pulls her to him even before his reckless vow, but she can't stand to be close to him. The same sensation that pulls her to him, repels her. He is everything she despises. The arrogant ambition, his reckless courage, that selfish loyalty and his greed for knowledge make her heart flutter in a painful way. It is, she thinks, as if they are two sides of the same coin.
"You don't mean it," he affirms and his voice sings a thousand jests. He is an enchanter –a bard that recites devotional poetry and expects more than gold coins in return. "Those are not the right words to reject my pledge, but you already know that, Minerva."
Her heart aches each time he says her name. The syllables are pronounced with such devotion that Minerva feels like a goddess, sinfully falling into a downward spiral of blasphemy and arrogance.
She opens her eyes, not remembering when she closed them. Minerva finds him as provocative as ever. His smile is full of bravado, more befitting of a Godric's Acolyte than of a Salazar's Acolyte, and his eyes burn with a need she can't recognise.
"Because I expect you to take back your words and repent," she firmly tells him, ignoring the deep emotions coursing through her. "You follow Salazar and I follow Godric, Riddle. We shouldn't even be speaking to each other."
"Yet you study in front of Rowena's shrine," he fights back, destroying her argument with a cynic smile. Tom closes the space between them and kneels, but he doesn't lower his eyes. "Isn't that the same as praying to the Major goddess of knowledge?"
He is right and he knows it.
Minerva crosses her arms. "Ridd– Tom, I can't ascend! Don't you see it? I'm not enough. There is someone who is about to ascend. If I do it... He won't be able to become a god."
"You are the only one worthy of the honour," he begins, letting his anger out. She is humble. Maybe too much but, at the end, it won't matter because Tom will make her a goddess. If he can't be a god... If Tom can't be God, then Minerva is the only option. "I won't follow Dumbledore!"
Her eyes soften when he says that. He has anger inside him, but it's only a childish annoyance at not being the best.
"Tom, Acolyte Albus is the best option. He is everything we are taught to be, unlike..." Minerva doesn't know whether to say unlike me or unlike you, but either option fits. She doesn't think herself ready, but Riddle isn't either. There is too much rage inside him.
"He isn't," Tom insists. "Dumbledore is unfit for the position."
She knows Tom means power when he says position. Being a god or goddess is not a job, it's dedicating one's life to the well-being of the humans pledged to them. Being a goddess is, Minerva believes, the greatest sign of hope in humanity. That is why she can't see Riddle as a god. He does nothing if it doesn't benefit him.
Yet his eyes are firm and his words shake her to the bone. The tug from the celestial place where gods reside is stronger than ever, and she has felt it for years now. Tom, with his pledge, demands her to listen to that echo of mingled voices speaking inside her mind. They call it and say it's time, but how can Minerva obey them when Acolyte Albus is so close to ascending? He has devoted all his life to this and Minerva can, with a few words and Riddle's soul, become a higher power.
"Why haven't you pledged yourself to him, Minerva?" Riddle asks, approaching her as he leaves the ground. He takes her hand and pulls her to stand. They are of the same height, but he will grow a bit more. "Is it because you don't trust him? Or because, secretly, you have been waiting for someone to recognise you? Maybe you listen to them too. Perhaps their whispers have become a loud song you can't ignore anymore."
He's right. Everything he says is the truth she can't face. Minerva seeks something in his face –a sign of falsehood or a smirk that reveals the joke Riddle plays on her.
There is nothing but belief in her.
Minerva inhales. She counts to five.
One. "As a goddess, I accept your pledge," she begins and feels their souls reaching out. His tattered soul is a black thing that flutters in front of him as soon as her words are said. His smile is unholy and eerie, a mix of his own virtues and her greatest sin.
Two. "As your Acolyte, I remove my bindings to the Earth," he calls and she feels the pain he feels. He is rupturing his soul to give a piece to her, and Minerva has never felt more entranced in an act that should, by any means, be a sacrilege. He has pushed her to defy her elders and the only sensation in Minerva's soul is the sanctity of a bond that will never be broken. "My soul and life belong to you."
Three. "You will be mine to guide and mine to protect," she goes on. By now, people are arriving. They must have felt the call from the above to be there as she ascends. Tears want to fall from her eyes but she can't let them. "You will be mine to love."
Four. "And I will love you back, with soul and bone and blood," he looks down to his soul, wrapping around Minerva's hand until she closes her fist and the soul is gone. Yet, she feels it inside her. It's the voice that will carry his prayers and sing graces to her. "I will obey your command, my goddess."
It's done and she looks around. Acolyte Albus stares at her with betrayal in his face, but the rest of the people look happy. The Priests and Priestess are smiling, bowing when she looks at them. The other Acolytes are in awe and Minerva wants to reach out and touch them, bless them, but they haven't earned it yet.
There is one boy, one man, that has earned her touch.
"Tom," she says and extends her hand to him. He reaches out and when their fingertips touch he glows. Minerva realises the glow is hers as she lets him have a slice of her own soul. "What do I do now?"
She knows already. The Majors have been telling her for years what to do and she has finally obeyed them. They are around Tom. Salazar and Godric put their hands in Tom's shoulders. Minerva gasps, but she realises no one but her can see them.
'He is ours as well, Minerva.'
'He will be your equal one day,' Godric tells her. His voice is akin to the roar of a lion, shaking everyone with the sensation even if they can't see him standing there.
'Your counterpart,' Rowena calls from his side. 'If so you wish it.'
Around her, everyone is wondering what is happening. Minerva can hear their thoughts and to respond will be as easy as breathing. She only responds to one thought.
'You are mine, Tom Riddle,' he can hear Minerva's voice inside his head. Gone is Salazar's unholy voice, replaced by the cool sensation of flowing water. 'And I will guide you to me.'
It is then that Minerva looks up. He is awed by the sight of her, the sound of her, the sacred feeling of her skin against his.
"I pledge myself to you," he repeats, but the words come out as a cry, "Minerva."
Her smile is the last he sees of her.
But he can hear her.
He can feel it.
And in the darkness, when night has fallen and the other acolytes have finally gone, he grins.
He pushed her to the above, and when she extends a hand to take him there, too, he will pull her down into the abyss with him.