Note: In other words, the AU where Voldemort decides to adopt Harry, and grooms him to stand beside him as his heir/consort, all while being used as the Dark's secret weapon against the Light.

Featuring Intelligent/Dark/Cunning Harry (Hadrian).

Buckle up, I've been working on this since like 2011. Let's hope it's worth something. Also seeking a beta if anyone is willing.


Demimonde
[dem-ee-mond]
mid 19th century: from French demi-monde, literally 'half-world.'


Prologue

Demimonde

He wakes deep within the forest, a terrible darkness – for he is neither alive nor dead, trapped somewhere in between, a cursed half-life – rumbling to wakefulness after a long, long sleep. He knows not how much time passed between his demise and subsequent rebirth, the years spent as a pitiful wraith melding with the present, becoming an increasingly blurry line. He is barely more than a whisper caught on the wind, a mere shade of his former self trapped in this forsaken demimonde.

All he can discern with the sudden clarity of self is a crippling hunger that takes hold so deep his very core trembles. He is a writhing mass of fire and bubbling blood and agony, burning up like a supernova even without his body.

He has half a mind that the raw, all consuming pain will drive him completely mad; however, he remains annoyingly aware of his surroundings, of the tendrils of mist that make up his shapeless form. Through it all, the indignity of such an existence rankles through him. He is a God among men, and he will not endure such a slight.

The heavy scent of moist soil and rain impregnate the air, tall trunks caging him in, stretching towards the sky with twisted branches. Animals burrow deep beneath the earth, quaking in their burrows as they sense a deep darkness stretching its limbs after years of silence.

Their presence matters not. He is not particularly fond of mammals, ever since boyhood. His tastes run in a more exotic vein, deeply bonded with creatures that slither and sulk about the shadows. He speaks their language; they are his to command. They will flock like the sheep they are to answer his call.

Mustering up whatever remaining strength he has, he beckons them, disembodied hisses echoing through the trees as he speaks without moving his lips.

Come to me, serpents. Heed your Master's call.

They do not disappoint, slithering out of their holes and through the brambles to his blinking existence. Their jumbled, unintelligible hisses echo back to him from all directions. It is almost too easy to slip inside a tiny body and snuff the flame of life, taking control to stoke his own dying embers.

Remorse is far from his mind as he writhes and wriggles against the forest floor, acclimating to the shock of being corporeal. It feels strange to be tangible after so many years spent drifting as a vengeful shade. The surreal sensation does not last long for there are other, more important matters to attend to.

He shall find the one responsible for his fall from grace, and he will make them pay with their life.

You can run but you cannot hide, not from me, Harry Potter.