AN: Hey, everyone! This is RaistlinofMetallica here and my new alter ego, TwinEnigma! Now, about a year ago, I started Slightly Skewed and I had only small plans regarding it. Didn't think I get too far with it at all. and then my muses organized and came up with four more years worth of Skewed Universe for me to write! Seeing as how large this whole thing was going to get, I decided I'd give it a new home with my new alter ego, TwinEnigma, and edit/fix up some of the earlier chapters. So, without further ado, the NEW and IMPROVED Slightly Skewed! (Year one)
Blanket disclaimer: Anything you recognize, except for my OCs and the plot, I don't own. I do this for fun and absolutely no profit.
That Which Sleeps Within
It was supposed to be a routine blessing. The child wasn't supposed to be anything special, no more than the other children that were being blessed on that night. There weren't supposed to be any surprises or interruptions. But nothing... nothing could have prepared him for what was to happen on Halloween.
"Who calls for me?" he asked.
The trembling woman folded her hands before her and bowed her head, her thick, dark red locks falling over her eyes. "I did, great one."
He was summoned, barely two hours before the blessing hour was to start. This was highly unusual; most of his followers were silent on the holy days of magic and they only called to him in supplication when they desired the success of their newly created spells. But it was not one of his followers who had summoned him, no. This woman was more likely a follower of his distant Welsh aunt, but she was most definitely not one of his. She was too pure in her heart to be one of his.
"And why would you, a child of Cerridwen, even deign to call upon me?" he wondered aloud, tracing the line of her chin.
The woman shivered and drew away from his touch. "I wouldn't have if there had been any other way."
"I see, you seek something then that my brethren of light and shadow cannot provide," he smiled, drawing back. "So, what is it that you want from me?"
She licked her lips nervously and slowly raised her eyes to his. "I want you to save my son's life."
"And why should I do that?" he asked. "What is one child's life to me?"
The woman was both terrified and angry; he could see that temper warring with her logic. "Have you no mercy, no compassion?"
"Magic is my only concern, little witch," he countered. "And you forget that I am a god of darkness."
Oh, yes, that he was. And being the youngest of all the gods of magic in heaven, he was always the last to go on the blessing night, too. He would know, sometimes, on those Halloweens long past which of the children would come to him. It was in their eyes, already deep inside their souls.
But his duty was to the magic and its future, as always.
"Of course, there may be a way," he added, a dark grin on his lips. "I am in need of a voice in this world."
She did not seem to comprehend what he had just said.
Magic on this world had been riding the razor's edge of destruction since the great Influenza pandemic. At the time, he and his elder brethren convened and decided upon a course of action to once again stabilize the magical world. It was a risky plan, calling for direct involvement in mortal affairs, but it was the only way that they could guide the mortals to change the outcome. His cousins had already taken on the guise of humans: his elder cousin had started his work during the Second World War, while his other cousin hadn't started until 1960 - a mere twenty-one years ago. Isis and Hecate had both left not too long ago and that had left only him, waiting to play his part.
"Tell me what it is that threatens the life of your son," he said, turning to examine the baby boy. "He seems in good health."
The woman chewed on her lower lip a little before answering. "Voldemort wants him dead. I knew that he wanted to kill James and I, but why our son, too? What did he ever do to him?"
"Voldemort does not like to leave loose ends," he stated rather matter-of-factly. "And he has other reasons."
She sighed heavily. "Will you save him? Will you save my son?"
"Yes," he replied, staring down at the child, "By making him my voice."
The woman looked at him in confusion once more. "I'm not sure I quite understand. Do you mean a prophet or something?"
"No, not quite," he said, drawing close to the baby. He trailed a finger over the boy's forehead and noticed that the child's eyes were fixed on him. "I mean to make him a part of me."
Her face lost all colour. "What -? You can't!"
"I assure you that it is the only way," he countered. "There is no spell that can counter the killing curse. Were you on another world, there would be spells that could defend and protect against curses such as this, but you are not. On this world, it takes a great sacrifice of love to deflect something so terrible from its course and, even then, there is no guarantee of success."
That was all true. On other worlds, there were spells that could defend against and even reverse the effects of instant death curses. The only catch was that these were often clerical in nature and the people of this world had long forgotten the old ways. He was one of the few who had retained followers, though his were always few in number and extremely secretive about their allegiance to him. As with his cousins, he had no clerics, for their worshippers were exclusively witches and wizards. The other gods were patient, though, and they merely waited to be rediscovered.
"I cannot be harmed by those curses, young one," he continued, rising to stare into her eyes. "You will die tonight, of that there is no question. However, your son can be saved."
Her lip trembled and her eyes began to tear. "You spoke of a sacrifice of love. What does that entail?"
"You must be absolutely willing to die for someone that you love, but - as I said before - there is no guarantee." He drew closer to her. "One doubt in your heart and all is lost. That is all it takes to fail."
The woman began to weep openly now.
"If you so desire," he began, his lips curling into a smile, "I will remove all of the doubt from your heart, so that you may sacrifice yourself for him without fail. I ask only one thing in return."
She sniffled, forcing the semblance of composure. "What do you want?"
"A voice," he answered, truthfully. "That is my only condition."
There were forms he could have taken, but his cousins and brethren had all nearly been identified by mortals at some point and he had figured it to be too much risk. No, a new form was needed - one that would never have its apparent humanity even remotely questioned. Assimilating a new form from an already existing human child was the easiest route, especially if said child was about to become an orphan in a mere matter of hours. So, he had bided his time until an ideal opportunity presented itself and his patience had been rewarded most suitably.
The woman looked at him with saddened eyes, as though she had accepted her inevitable defeat, and sighed heavily. "I really have no choice, do I?"
"No, you do not," he said matter-of-factly.
She sniffed, trying to hold back tears, but still one escaped. It gleamed as it rolled down her cheek. "Then, so be it. I accept the terms."
He had stripped her heart bare of any doubt and fear. Only love remained there, pure and gleaming as her soul.
"You know, I will not let your death go unpunished," he said, staring into her eyes once more. "I'll direct the course of the deflected spell back to Voldemort. He will not escape it. It will be my first act as your son."
She stared at him oddly. "Why would you kill him? Doesn't he follow you?"
"I have my reasons," he replied. "And, no, he is not one of my followers. My followers are sworn not to participate in the genocide of magic-users."
There were many reasons for him to kill the arrogant, self-named Lord Voldemort. The most poignant was the murder of muggleborns, which drastically effected the continued survival of the wizarding world. It was also an insult to the very foundations of wizarding society. They knew he would not stop and could not be reasoned with. That was classically Slytherin stubbornness taking precedence again. Then there was the consideration that if Voldemort did achieve his goal of complete domination over the planet, all heavenly simulations pointed to the fact that the planet would either wither and die or end up looking like there had been a global nuclear holocaust. None of the gods were too keen on either of those outcomes.
Of course, there had been a time when he had invested a keen interest in Tom Marvolo Riddle, but that was some years ago. The child had resembled him a little - rather a nice compliment for a mortal, really - and he was still honouring the terms of his arrangement with Salazar concerning the protection of his heirs, so it was only natural that he took an interest in the boy. Sadly, little Tom had a great number of emotional troubles and abandonment issues that eventually fed into the creation of a second personality which embodied all his negative emotions: Voldemort. Coupled with how heavily the child was leaning into magic for support, it came as no surprise that it eventually swallowed the child up whole, leaving the other personality in complete control.
That was all in the past, however, and he considered any obligation towards protecting that heir completely null and void. After all, there were newer heirs to consider first and foremost. Tom hadn't been a complete waste of time in that respect. That troubled man had taken on several failed romances before his other personality gained total control, and a few had yielded offspring. Unfortunately, Voldemort was just about to unwittingly murder his firstborn son and his daughter-in-law. Doubly unfortunate for him was the fact that his son had married a woman with a brain and considerable courage enough to make a deal with one of the gods of dark magic for the life of her son.
The woman's eyes flitted from him to her son. "Are you going to... you know..." she trailed off, not knowing how to phrase what she wanted to ask.
"Not right now," he replied, casting a glance at the baby. "At midnight, that's when it will all happen."
She nodded and, raised her eyes again. "Forgive me if I sound rude, but... You see, I was wondering... What do you look like under the cowl?"
"Very well," he sighed, reaching up and pulling back the velvet hood.
His appearance had already begun to adapt at that point, in anticipation of what he was going to do.
The woman could barely contain a shocked gasp. "Is this how my son will look as a young man?"
"It seems so," he replied. "Now, I hope I do not sound rude, but I ask only one more thing before I leave."
She looked up at him with a puzzled expression, as though to ask him what more he could ask of her.
"You'll have to forgive me for this little indulgence," he cautioned, smiling broadly. "Could I... call you mum, seeing as I will be your son and all...?"
A strange, confused half-smile crossed her face and she shook her head at him. "And what should I call you, my future son and lord of dark magic?"
"Sarcasm doesn't become you, mum," he countered good-naturedly.
She flicked her hair over her shoulder and managed to glare at him sternly with a surprising lack of effort. "Is that so?"
"Nuitari," he said. "My name is Nuitari."
The woman smiled and, cautiously, moved to embrace him in a hug. "Thank you, Nuitari" she whispered. "Thank you for giving me hope."
He lingered in the room after that, but not visibly, remaining close to the window as he waited for the blessing hour. The remaining time went by quickly and, soon enough, he could see Voldemort apparating onto the front lawn and starting for the house. Normally, he measured time in centuries, but on this particular occasion every second counted. The clock struck midnight as the front door was blasted off its hinges and the blessings began, starting with the eldest of the gods of magic. James shouted from downstairs, his duel with his soon-to-be-murderer laying waste to much of the contents of the ground floor.
They were halfway through the blessings when there came a sharp cry and he knew that James was dead. The stairs creaked ominously as Voldemort ascended to the second floor, but the redheaded woman did not show any hint of doubt as to what she was going to do. Three-quarters of the assembled gods of magic had given their blessing by the time the door to the room was blasted open. The woman pleaded, stalling her murderer for a few moments before he killed her.
Nuitari could taste the effect of her sacrifice in the air, wrapping around the wailing baby like a protective blanket and, now, it was finally his turn. Bowing his head, the youngest of the gods of magic placed his hand on the baby's head and whispered the words to accept the child as his voice. All at once, he was pulled apart and into the small boy's form, the outraged cries of his brethren barely on the edge of his hearing.
Voldemort turned slowly, his eyes narrowed in annoyance at the corpse of the young red-headed woman. "Stupid mudblood, I told you to stand aside."
The baby blinked his wide eyes blearily, hiccupping a moment, having only ceased crying a moment earlier.
"And now," the murderous wizard grinned, "You get to join your meddlesome parents in heaven. No hard feelings, little one, but you have to die."
The baby boy looked directly at him, a twisted, almost feral smile on its lips. It was disturbing and seemed highly out of place.
"Avada Kedavra!" Voldemort snapped, aiming his wand directly at the child's forehead. The green light leapt from his wand with the sound of a thunderclap, speeding towards the unsuspecting baby.
The next thing he knew, his vision was engulfed in green light and his body felt as though it was being torn to pieces. He screamed in agony as he was ripped from his disintegrating body, his wand dropping and skittering across the floor to rest under the crib. The house began to crumble, cracks splitting the walls and ceiling. With a cry of rage and anguish, Voldemort fled the house, never looking back.
But as he took flight from Godric's Hollow, he could have almost sworn that he heard someone laughing.
It almost sounded like a child.
AN2: I hope you enjoyed. The first two or four chapters are next on my list of fixing up, so they should be up soon. Oh, and Cerridwen is a goddess of magic. I've also started a group for Harry in Slytherin stories and their writers. You can find it at Yahoo Groups. The name is 'Skewedworld'. Or you can use the link in my bio. Please Review!