Title : One Winged Angel
Warnings : Slash, sexual situations, character death
Pairings : Harry/Tom
Spoilers : PS, CoS, PoA, GoF, OotP (minor HBP)
Disclaimer : This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J. K. Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary : One view on why Tom Riddle became Voldemort, and what he does once he realizes that particular truth.
Notes : This story was begun prior to HBP being released. Chapter 28 marks the first instance of HBP facts being incorporated, as the book came out just before that point, though Severus's middle name in chapter 2 was updated to reflect new canon information.
— 01: Awakening —
Harry walked away with his relatives feeling a bit better for the continued show of support made by the Order members, and endured as best he could the ride back to Privet Drive, his uncle muttering under his breath the entire time. Harry was only mildly suspicious of this behavior; a total lack of suspicion would have been beyond him.
Once they arrived, he was allowed to drag his trunk and other belongings to the first floor and settle them into the room he'd been using each summer without fuss. The first week back went well enough, despite the grinding misery of guilt which weighted his heart over the sudden death of Sirius Black. The dreams were enough to force him awake at all hours of the night in a cold sweat, his chest heaving with the effort to breathe, and with the held back screams of anguish.
Such an ignoble death, and he the pawn who had led his godfather there. Much as he might wish to blame anyone but himself, he had to be honest. He had offended, pried into matters which were not his to be curious about, leading to the end of his Occlumency classes. He had lied, telling his friends that he'd kept up his training, allowing another to subvert his mind via the curiosity that could not be eradicated. Still, these dreams did not alert the Dursleys to anything, and did not bring down Uncle Vernon's wrath.
Harry didn't mind that aside from that, things had gone more or less back to one summer's normality. At least the food coming through the flap in the door was warm and plentiful for once, even if it wasn't satisfying. On one supervised trip to the lavatory he had caught the words his uncle was muttering and decided to play one of his cards in defense.
"Uncle Vernon, you should know that if you were to destroy my things they'll come after you, just like they will if they don't hear from me. You really don't want to know what will become of you and yours should it come to that."
In retrospect, Harry would recall that moment and feel some regret.
«« :: »»
Voldemort sat upon his throne-like chair and smiled. His minions had done well with this latest gathering of victims to be dealt with for his pleasure. Already most of them were dead, tortured into insanity, and beyond pleading for their meaningless lives before they'd been snuffed like a tiny flame with a block of ice. Only one remained, an astonishingly lovely muggle woman. The insult of her beauty alone was enough to warrant her death in his eyes, and this one he planned to kill himself.
He rose and paced around her in circles; the only part she could currently move was her eyes, and they spoke volumes. He was enjoying this method of slow torture, letting her imagine all that could be done to her and being powerless to stop it. Just a filthy muggle, waiting for her death, praying to her heathen gods that it would be quick, and knowing it would never be.
Her eyes were gorgeously expressive, clouded with a welter of emotions. Strangely like Potter's, he thought, snarling at her and lunging to see the reaction. He whirled and faced his minions.
"Wormtail, stay! The rest of you, out! Now!" he said menacingly, watching as they scurried off like the rat Wormtail was, yet far more fluid in their movements. They each, even the women, were more of a man than Pettigrew could ever be. They at least had spines.
He continued to pace around the woman, making his movements deliciously languorous, while he mused about his minions. Spines they had, but some of them were becoming a little too bold for his tastes. He absentmindedly cast a minor spell on the woman, watching as she struggled against the magical bindings. He would have to do something soon about them, lest they get the very wrong idea that their Lord and Master was getting soft in his old age.
He stopped circling abruptly and resumed his seat, gazing at the women with dead, cold eyes. He relaxed the bindings enough to free her mouth, then cried, "Crucio!"
The screaming was lovely, like the agonizing music of a demented and tormented musician. He released the spell and saw her eyes clear slightly, then cast again. "Crucio!"
He smiled, letting his serpent-like lips twist in a mockery of delight, hissing out his pleasure at the sight before him, then blinked as the screaming stopped, cut off as if a knife had sliced her throat. Her eyes were locked onto his, and then she spoke in a low, clear voice that sounded strangely dreamy.
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord All
unknowing of this quirk of fate, Should the twain overcome the deceit
Was born as the seventh month died,
But the one-winged angel could not overcome
The bond with his mate, though he tried.
Taught to hate and scorn and despise,
Did the angel try to kill his bonded
Led as he was by madness and lies.
And save each other from similar fates,
The bonds of blood and soul and heart
Will banish forever the darkest of hates.
unknowing of this quirk of fate,
Should the twain overcome the deceit
Her eyes held his for a few moments longer, then closed as the screaming began anew, though weaker. Moments later, she was dead, her sightless eyes staring at the ceiling.
Seconds passed, then minutes, before his head snapped up and turned to Wormtail, cowering against one of the walls. Voldemort raised his wand and obliviated him. "Wormtail!"
Pettigrew threw himself at his master's feet and groveled, trembling as always. "Yes, master," came the oily voice.
"Clean up this mess immediately and make sure no one disturbs me," he snarled, then swept out of the room without waiting for the response. Somewhere far away he knew a boy was screaming.
«« :: »»
Rough hands were shaking him, a loud voice yelling in his ear. He tried to roll away and got backhanded across the face.
"I will not tolerate this in my house!" the voice shouted. Those same rough hands pulled him from his bed, landing him on the floor with a thud. Kicks to his stomach and ribs let loose explosions of pain that flowered indecently in his torso, making him want to cry out and protest. Blood trickled from his mouth, a legacy of his lip bitten against the urge.
He was kicked again, then forced to his feet and propelled by the hair at the back of his neck down to the ground floor, uncaring of the walls he slammed into along the way. Blackness was descending, and he welcomed it.
He awoke to darkness and pain, curled up in a ball with tiny feet marching across his face. He knew where he was by the thin bands of dim light that forced in through the imperfect grating on the door and the feel of spiders using his body to walk on. He could only hope he'd not inadvertently eaten any of them. In an attempt to escape he cast his thoughts back to the meeting he had witnessed through his link.
The words he'd heard spoke deeply to him; he recognized the slightly changed beginning, one of the few who would. But the rest? There was only one person who could be this angel, and that was Voldemort. Maybe he was already dead, or crazy. It sounded entirely too much like the reason that he hadn't been killed had nothing to do with his mother's sacrifice, but because he and Voldemort had already been bound.
Harry couldn't think anymore; the pain was too great to allow him this escape from the harsh reality of his current situation. Or perhaps it was that his cupboard had been opened and hands were yanking from his position on threadbare excuses for sheets, dragging his dazed self out into the hallway and to the kitchen table.
"You will write a series of letters, boy, so that your freak friends won't have any reason to be suspicious. You'll be allowed to keep your damned owl alive just for this."
He gave his uncle a shuttered look and wearily got started. After all, what choice do I really have? I'm not old enough yet to do magic outside of school. He continued to write out short letters until his uncle snatched everything away and dragged him back to the cupboard and shoved him in, kicking him for good measure.
«« :: »»
He was pacing a hole in the carpet of his chambers, thinking of the vast incompetence of his followers and what he would like to do to them. But minions weren't grown on trees, and one could not afford to so casually cast them aside. He had more important things to think about, like that muggle's prophecy. He wasn't stupid, nor blind. He knew there were true Seers among the muggles; it was one of the few things that spanned both worlds.
To say it had been a shock was an understatement. He had transferred the memory into a pensieve and watched it dozens of times, trying to figure it out. The beginning was so close to the one overheard, though he still didn't know what it had said. Now perhaps, though, he understood why he had failed.
Has my whole life been a lie? he wondered. Was everything from the beginning just a road to hell because I was born too soon, or he too late? What the hell am I supposed to do now?
On and on the thoughts circled, much like his path along the carpeted floor. Finally, exhausted, he sprawled on his bed and closed his eyes, trying to sleep. When he opened them he was someplace utterly common, a place he did not in the least recognize, and while he was strangely calm, what he saw began to rapidly eat away at his composure, an uncommon occurrence to be sure.
The pain was not his own. It was held slightly at bay, once removed from his own body, but he recognized the young man who was being beaten. The scar on his forehead was unmistakable. He did not recognize the beefy older man who was currently lashing out at the boy, nor the room which they were currently in. His Harry was being beaten, called a freak. Those emerald eyes, so like his own when they'd been normal, were pleading for release, for the velvet depths of unconsciousness, or death.
He felt like they were burning into his flesh like twin beams of fire. He blinked, and then blinked again when he realized he was staring at the canopy of his bed.
"Why do I get the feeling that really just happened?" he asked himself before rolling over and going back to sleep.
It was several days before anything else happened, but it was much the same as before. One moment he was lying down in order to sleep and the next he was watching Harry getting kicked in the ribs by that same whale of a man. Like before, he could feel Harry's eyes bore into him. Thinking back to the times when he'd sensed Harry's presence during his torturing sessions, he quickly made the assumption that Harry knew he was watching this.
So he tested it. "Harry? Where are you?"
The boy's gaze flickered; he knew. Speech was impossible, though, as the screaming allowed for nothing else. Abruptly he was back in his own room, staring at the canopy. Harry must have blacked out from the pain, or from exhaustion. He had invaded the boy's dreams before, so it stood to reason he could do it again and try to find out where he was.
Then he stopped himself. If this had happened a few weeks ago, he would probably have been seething with anger that anyone dared to harm what was his by right to destroy. And now . . . now he was seething because someone was harming what was his to protect? What the hell is wrong with me!? he snarled in his mind. I'm a mass murderer, torturer, and all around sadistic bastard, and I'm suddenly falling over my own feet to save one person? Am I going crazy . . . or am I becoming . . . sane?
Wisely, he decided he was becoming sane, though why it was wise he wasn't sure, just that it was right. So he tried. He closed his eyes and dropped into the same mental state he had used in the past to reach Harry's subconscious mind, where he'd sent dreams of the Ministry in the past.
He painstakingly constructed a neutral room and placed himself and the boy in it, though he appeared as Tom Riddle and not as Voldemort. The only furniture was a desk and chair, the only objects some parchment, a quill, and ink. Bland light filtered in through a dusty window, lighting the room without painful intensity.
He smiled gently and gestured toward the desk, then watched as Harry limped toward it and slumped in the chair. Quietly he walked up behind him to gaze over his shoulder at the parchment. "Tell me where you are, Harry. I promise, I'll find a way to help you. Write it down for me."
And the boy did. Slowly he scratched out the address, then glanced back over his shoulder into equally green eyes.
«« :: »»
Inwardly cursing himself for the stupidity of his actions, Tom watched the house at number four, Privet Drive until all lights were extinguished for the night, then pulled a tangle of snakes from one of his voluminous pockets. He spent several minutes hissing at them, making sure they knew their tasks, then released them.
Ten minutes later they had all returned. The spokes-snake for the first group reported, "We have caused the muggles to sleep, master. They will not awaken until the morning at the very least. We were forced to use more than normal for the fat ones, so we are not entirely certain."
Tom gave each of them a loving caress and nodded. "Well done, my pets," he hissed, then turned to the next.
"The boy's wand is upstairs, master, hidden in a small room, under some floorboards. His scent lingers there, but it is somewhat faint."
The next hissed, "The boy is almost inside the door, master. There is a cupboard, tucked in under the stairs. We could not open it, but he resides within. His scent, and the smell of blood, is strong."
Tom snorted in disgust, partly at himself, partly at the muggles. After sighing he stroked both snakes. "Very good. We shall have to do this without dark magic, my pets, and I shall need your help again, just as we practiced. You two"—he pointed at the ones who had gone looking—"will need to head to the boy's wand and retrieve it. Do you think you can manage it?"
"Yes, master. Shall we go now?"
Tom nodded and watched as they slithered off again toward the house. After heaving another sigh—he still wasn't quite sure if he was sane or insane—he reached into his pocket and removed a silver disc and a small key. "Listen carefully, my pets. This is just as we worked on. You will need to unlock the cupboard with this key, then take the disc inside and drop it on the boy. Then return to me with the key."
"Of course, master."
Tom held out both items and let them be taken, then watched as the trio slithered off to the house. Tom could only visualize what was happening inside. He'd had the snakes practice for hours before they'd come here.
He knew that the snakes had begun to twine around each other, creating a spiraling column that reached up to the lock on the cupboard door. The last snake would then climb the column and touch the key it held to the lock, causing it to open.
Tom had had every expectation that since Harry must have magical objects in the house with him, like his wand and potion ingredients, that the magical lockpick would be no issue and raise no alarm with the wards.
Once the door was unlocked, the snakes would force it open and the one holding the portkey would touch it to Harry, making him vanish from the cupboard. When all of his snakes had returned, Tom picked them up along with Harry's wand and the key, placed them in his pockets, then apparated directly to the graveyard. Harry was lying there, his hair matted with blood, and welts and open wounds visible through the rags of his clothing.
Tom scooped him up gently, then apparated away. Five minutes later Harry was placed in a soft bed and several house elves called to clean the boy up as best they could without hurting him. When they were done it was evident that Harry was very badly hurt, and this caused Tom a great deal of trouble. The only person among his followers that could possibly deal with the boy's wounds was Severus, and Severus was a traitor.
"Well, I can always obliviate him if necessary, assuming he even shows up. He no doubt thinks I'll kill him on sight." Tom pulled at his hair for several long moments before deciding. "You lot, keep an eye on the boy. I don't think he'll wake, but if he does, keep him here, but do not hurt him."
The elves all nodded vigorously and turned back to watch the boy. Tom whirled and stalked out the door, shutting it behind him, and went to find Wormtail. He found him, the sniveling creature, busily stuffing his face in the kitchen. Food went flying everywhere once Peter realized who was looming over him and cringed back, immediately fearful.
"Get up!" Voldemort commanded, then, "Follow me." He led the way to his audience chamber and seated himself on his chair. A snap of his fingers had Peter kneeling in front of him, kissing his robes, then extending his bared forearm. Voldemort reached out and touched the Dark Mark, willing Severus to heed the call, then sat back and waited. He did not know if the man would be at Hogwarts or elsewhere, and so was prepared to wait at least ten minutes.
He was therefore pleasantly surprised when Severus did appear, and within five minutes. The Potions Master's face was coldly impassive, his eyes carefully blank as he walked forward and kneeled to kiss his master's robes.
Voldemort did not acknowledge him immediately; instead, he pulled out his wand and aimed it at Peter, casting a sleep spell followed closely by obliviation, then turned to Severus. "It is well you have come. I need your help for something urgent. Follow me."
If Severus was surprised by the treatment he said nothing. He rose and stepped back, then followed as Voldemort strode away, leaving Peter snoring on the floor. With every step he took he furthered the change in his appearance. People were fools to believe that his many experiments over the years had caused it, but as it had furthered his aims, he let them believe, even encouraged it.
By the time he and Severus stepped into the bedroom where Harry lay sleeping, he was entirely Tom Riddle once more, and a young one at that. He turned to Severus, noting the swiftly hidden look of shock, and said, "Fix him. Now."
Severus paused for a fraction of a second, then headed for the bed, pausing again when he saw the legendary scar gracing his patient's forehead. Tom could see that Severus's hands were trembling slightly as he began to sort through his arsenal of potions. "I know you have questions, Severus. I will answer them after the boy is not quite so close to death."
A half hour later Severus had done all that he could for the time being. Tom directed him to a chair with a curt, "Sit." Severus did so quickly. "Before I answer your questions, there is something I think you ought to see." Tom brandished his wand and summoned his pensieve, then placed it on a table he conjured. "Go ahead."
Severus wasn't immersed in the memory for long; it wasn't a long memory. But when he came out his eyes were wide.
"I know you betrayed me, Severus. I know you're a traitor. I also know you've saved Harry's life on more than one occasion, for whatever reason. I had a feeling you would help, and—well, if not, I could have always obliviated you afterward, right? I still can. So, ask your questions."
"Who did that to him, my lord?"
"His muggle family," Tom said calmly. "And don't bother with the honorific. I know you don't mean it, so stop insulting me." Severus jerked back slightly, and Tom almost smiled at how transparent the man was being.
"His muggle family? How did you know?"
Tom shrugged. "I'm sure you're aware through Dumbledore that Harry and I share a connection from when I tried to kill him. He's seen quite a bit of what I've done as Voldemort, and I was able to send him dreams. Dreams, I must say, that caused him to lead his godfather to death. Apparently, the connection works both ways, Severus. I was forced to witness what his uncle was doing to him."
Tom arched a brow and gave a humorless smile. "But? Did you honestly think, if that prophecy is true, that I would allow anyone to harm Harry? He has always been mine."
"I don't understand how you knew where he was."
"He told me." After seeing the incomprehension on Severus's face, he added, "In a vision I constructed. I asked him to write down where he was, and he did. So I rescued—"
«« :: »»
"Tom?" he called faintly. Tom was out of his chair in a flash, pulling Harry into his arms carefully. "Tom, where am I?"
"You're safe, Harry, don't worry. But you aren't well."
Harry felt very confused and dazed, but the arms around him were comforting, as was the heartbeat under his ear. "How?"
"After you told me where you were, I went there. A number of my snakes put those disgusting muggles to sleep, several got your wand to me, and one dropped a portkey on you. Once I had everything, I apparated to you and brought you here."
"Here?" Harry finally twisted enough to look up into familiar green eyes. "Tom, what day is it?"
"Here is my home. The day is not long after midnight, thirty-first July."
His eyes widened. "Window. Open the window." Harry's attention was caught by someone rising to do just that. "Is that. . . ?"
The corner of Tom's mouth quirked. "Severus, yes. I called him here to heal you."
"But he hates me," Harry whispered as a number of owls swooped into the room and fought for landing space on the bed.
"He can also help us, and will if he knows what's good for him," Tom assured. "Now why so many owls?"
"It's my birthday. I'm sixteen today. They always come. If they'd been turned away, someone would check to see if I were. . . ."
"Ah, I see. Then here is your first present." Tom fished in his pocket and pulled out a wand, pressing it lightly into Harry's hand.
Harry's fingers tightened around the familiar warmth of his wand, and a tentative smile crept across his mouth. Feeling much better, he tried to straighten up, only to find himself being shifted by Tom so that he was leaning back against the man's chest.
"You seem to be taking this very calmly, Mr Potter," came a deep voice off to the side.
Harry's head turned sharply, his gaze coming to rest on his Potions Master. His fingers went into a spasm around his wand, relaxing only when Tom laid a hand over his own. "Yes, I am. Perhaps I might not be had I not heard the lady's prophecy before she died. Maybe I'm just an arrogant, reckless boy, but I don't think Tom is likely to kill me at this point."
Snape's lips compressed into a thin line at the lack of a respectful honorific. "I have seen it," he forced out.
"Perhaps you should deal with these owls, Harry, then we can all talk, all right?" Tom said quietly.
"Oh. All right." Harry slipped his wand behind his ear and started unloading the letters and packages. "This is a bit weird, I admit," he said as he opened the first of them. It was from Mr and Mrs Weasley and contained the usual assortment of food. Harry absently munched on a small mince pie as he reached for the next.
"Harry," Tom said quietly, "have they harmed you before?"
Harry stiffened but continued to eat his pie until it was gone, using his other hand to nudge open the letter and draw out the parchment. Hermione wanted to know if he had received his OWL scores yet. She had also sent along another homework planner for the coming year. "Not exactly," he said finally.
"Are you willing to tell me about it?"
In response Harry gave Snape a narrow look. "I'm sure Professor Snape can tell you some of it. But if you really want to know, I could."
"I realize it's going to take some time, Harry. People don't normally go from trying to kill each other to calm relations overnight. But I think if you consider things, you'll realize that I'd never have felt your pain if I felt the way I used to."
"Are you so sure about that, Tom?" Harry twisted around so he could see Tom's face. "And do you have any idea of what you put me through?"
Tom closed his eyes for a moment and frowned. "Would offering to turn Peter and Bella over to the Ministry go over the wrong way?"
"I don't want to talk about this yet. May I finish opening my presents?"
Harry turned away and reached for the next, slowly working his way through the offerings until they were all revealed. Then he slipped his wand out from behind his ear and placed it on the bedside table so he could fully relax against Tom. "Okay. I hate Peter and Bella, you know."
"Yes, I would imagine so. What would you like me to do about them?"
"I don't know. What will happen to Sirius's holdings now that he's dead?"
"Until it's proven conclusively, nothing. If it were, it would depend on whether or not he left a will."
Harry considered that, then asked, "And if he didn't?"
"It would go to the eldest living relative. Andromeda, most likely."
"Not Draco. All right. What about the fact that he was an Azkaban escapee? Could the Ministry seize his holdings knowing he's dead?"
"They could try, I suppose."
"Fine. Tom, I would very much like if you arranged for Peter and Bellatrix to be delivered to or captured by the Ministry with the express intent of clearing Sirius's name. Those two can go to Azkaban for their crimes against my family."
"That can be ar—" Tom cut off as another owl swooped in through the window and landed on the bed, hooting at Harry.
Harry relieved it of its letter and watched as it flew out immediately, then looked down. The letter had the seal of the Ministry. "Oh dear," he mumbled, flipping it over in his hands a few times. Then he held it up and said, "Will you open it, Tom? I don't dare."
Edition: 22 December 2007