Summary: Even Dumbledore is not omniscient … a bit of Voldemort's past that slipped through the cracks.
Spoilers: Eh … I wrote this after reading HBP, so I suppose so? Nothing concrete that I know of, unless you count the knowledge that Voldemort spent time that went unaccounted for as a concrete spoiler …
Warnings: The views herein are not in any way my own. Flames claiming that I hate Japan or the Japanese will be laughed at and then discarded as not worth my time.
Other Warnings: There is no point to this. Absolutely none. Attempting to find one will likely result in nothing more than causing your brain to start hurting.
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One more stop, and I can finally leave this infernal country.
The handsome young man stepped out from under the awning covering the last few feet of the station, instinctively shading his eyes from the bright morning sun. Incredulously, he checked his watch – the Muggle sort, as he was reluctantly attempting, at the moment, to blend in. The disobliging contraption showed the same thing it had the last time he checked, no more than ten minutes previously – just short of seven in the morning.
No self-respecting place should be this bright at this time of day.
But alas, that bright it certainly was. And if nothing else, he supposed it helped him in his efforts to read the map he held in his other hand. 'Map', he called it, although it was little more than a combination of squiggly lines and scrawled instructions – only about half of which were in English, no less. The fact that it was written on a paper napkin … well, that was just adding insult to injury.
He lurched sideways due to an unexpected jolt from behind – the source of which was evidently the businessman now passing him at a rapid clip, without so much as a glance backward, much less an apology. Morning sun forgotten for the moment, the hand not holding his makeshift map dropped to the pocket where his wand lay safely hidden.
No … patience. Even I can't get away with killing a Muggle in plain sight in the middle of a crowded area. Not yet.
And crowded it was, even this early in the morning; he stood in a relatively large square, yet it was already filling up with people – many of which seemed entirely indistinguishable from the man who had so unwisely bumped him. Black suits, briefcases, darkish skin topped with black hair – or upon occasion, a hat.
They're like robots … all little automatons dressed the same way, acting the same way, probably thinking the same dull thoughts. Ugh. I hate Muggles. When I've gained control …
Ignoring the napkin now crumpled in his hand – as if it could get any more illegible, anyway – he allowed himself a moment or two of indulgence in fantasies of just exactly what he would do to this place once he had the power to do so. Perhaps something suitably horrid to the train system … that would throw the society into chaos right there. And this square … well, all the tall buildings definitely needed to go. The noise and flashing lights – surely it was too early for that sort of nonsense – were beginning to give him a pounding headache. Yes, he'd definitely be leveling this area.
These fantasies were abruptly broken, however, by the hesitant voice that floated from over his shoulder. "A-ano …" He didn't recognize the word, of course, but the tone of voice was much the same as it would have been had the person been speaking properly in English. He slowly turned.
Three girls, one standing slightly in front of the other two. Other than the fact that the one in front was slightly taller and had slightly longer hair, they were again nearly indistinguishable. White blouse with navy blue ties to match the knee-length skirts; had he bothered to glance further downward he felt sure the socks and shoes would have been exactly identical as well.
"A-ano … su-sumimasen …" The girl in front stuttered again. Well, there was something to be said for this group of people – at least these children were properly cowed. Girl on the left elbowed front girl, who hastily flipped through what looked like a small notebook in her hands. "I'm sorry." She finally said, pronunciation awful but the words still just this side of recognizable.
"You are?" He blinked slowly, once. "I'm afraid that's not going to keep me from destroying you all in the end." There was freedom to being in a foreign country where no one spoke his language. He could tell them all sorts of things and they simply wouldn't have a clue.
The long string of words had, as he expected it would, utterly undone the child. She looked at her two compatriots for help and, finding none, turned her eyes slowly back towards him, reluctance in every movement. He, on his own part, found himself gaining an unexpected amount of enjoyment from the encounter. Toying with childrens' minds … it really was an underrated pastime.
"I'm sorry." She said again, sounding slightly more confident. "I have a … project for … su-ku …" she frowned at the cards in her hands. "School?"
"Those are a bitch, aren't they?"
Unfortunately, she seemed to have wised up; ignoring the fact that he was once again speaking words she didn't understand, she continued gamely, turning over one note card and going to the next. "I would rike to ask you kwe ... question."
He considered this for a moment, then looked down slowly at the napkin crumpled in his hand. Smoothing it out, he held it out. "How about this. I answer your question ... questions and you show me how to get here? You do know where this is, right?"
Girl on the right leaned forward to look at the napkin. "Aa! Sono hen, Mayumi-chan no ie ni chikai deshou?" The tone of voice was excited; he hoped that was a good sign.
Meanwhile, girl on the left had leaned forward as well. "Ne ne, misete, misete!" After a moment, she nodded. "Un! Sousou."
"So can you take me there?" He asked, growing impatient with both the fact that he couldn't understand what they were saying … and the fact that they seemed to find it necessary to squeal while doing so.
The three girls exchanged a look before girl on the left smiled – more like grimaced – hesitantly. "I … you … go?"
"Great. So what's the first question." He only hoped this survey of theirs wasn't too long … or else he really would give in and indulge in some mayhem, crowded area or not …
"What is your name." Unlike much of the rest of their so-called conversation, this question came out confidently – although her intonation made it sound more like a statement than anything else.
And it was back to the note cards. "Could you … speru that … for me?"
Several minutes later, after endless attempts to get the girl to write a 'v' when he said it (instead of 'b', which she inevitably seemed to believe he was saying instead) and one attempt to steal the pencil and write it himself (fended off by the girl grabbing it back and shrieking "Jibun de!" – not that he had any idea what that meant, of course, but her shriek was weapon enough), he finally gave in. "Oh, never mind. Just write Tom."
He was met by blank looks. "Tom. My name. T - O - M." He didn't even bother with the 'Marvolo' or the 'Riddle' … this was turning into far too much of a travesty as it was. Why must this area be so crowded? It would do so many good things for his mood if he could get away with killing two of the girls, and just force the third to take him to where he had arranged the meeting – his final one in this godforsaken country! – and then kill her too.
And the questions seemed to keep on coming. Where he was born (London … you do know that, right?), his favorite color (black … green, too, and red is rather nice as – oh, never mind, just write 'black'), favorite animal (snake, of course … no, 'of course' is not part of the name, it's just 'snake', you pitiful Muggles), his occupation (searching for immortality … yes, yes, "jibun de", now just give me the bloody pencil already …) …
And just as he was about to reach his breaking point, he saw the light at the end of the tunnel. The paper the middle girl had been writing her answers on was almost full; there couldn't possibly be room for another question left.
"Would you take picture with us?" The girl on the right – up until now silent except for the occasional elbow or giggle (the latter of which, he had found, was nearly as offensive as their shrieking) asked – referencing the ever-present note cards in one hand while she took a camera out of her bag with the other.
This close to his goal, he could stand one last delay … if this meeting hadn't been a potentially very important one, though …
So he stood there and grimaced at the man the girls had found to take the picture, standing stiff and tall and trying to ignore the fact that he was now surrounded by the three girls, that they seemed to be leaning towards him (thank goodness none of them were actually touching him), and making some sort of sign with two fingers on one of their hands – or in the case of the girl who was formerly on the right (he thought), both.
And did his best to ignore the urge to clean out his ears when all three shouted in unison a moment before the camera went off. He had his dignity to maintain, after all. (Not that he didn't suspect it had been ruined completely by allowing that picture to be taken in the first place …)
When the picture – for this was one of those strange contraptions that printed the picture immediately – was shoved in his face, he simply sighed, took the proffered pen, and scrawled on the back, in his spideriest handwriting, "Best of wishes until I come back and raze this infernal country to the ground. Lord Voldemort."
Yes, there were definitely benefits to being in a country where you could tell the truth, the whole truth, and still not be believed simply because no one had the slightest clue what you were talking about.
He suppressed again the urge to plug his ears as the three girls caroled "Doumo arigatou gozaimasu!" in his direction, and it was with great relief that he watched the girl who knew the way to his destination (at least, he was pretty sure it was her) bid the other two an entirely too enthusiastic farewell.
She grinned upwards at him, evidently set at her ease – surely he could do something about that, at least, before they saw the last of each other? "Now, go."
"It's about bloody time."
And she skipped off ahead of him, straight towards the still-teeming mass of black business suits and white blouses. Yes, he was certain he could find a small, uninhabited alley somewhere between here and there … perhaps if she didn't do anything too much more offensive, he might even let her live.
The thought of mayhem was a good one; it helped restore his equilibrium. And with any luck, he would be out of this country before lunch.
Lord Voldemort looked around at the bustling street and smiled – a cruel one, had anyone been paying enough attention to notice. The bright morning sunlight danced through the leaves of the few trees hardy enough to survive this bastion of concrete, and all around him there were flashing lights and noise – from the train station, the numerous shops across the street, and just the general noises made by people themselves.
Land of the Rising Sun ... I do believe I shall look forward to introducing you to the Dark.
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In a folder, covered by its weight in dust or more, long since forgotten by students and teachers alike, lies a small piece of paper; on it, one reads of a man named Tom (although from the eraser marks, it is possible that he might go by some other name as well) who likes snakes and the color black and is seeking immortality. Underneath the paper, there lies a photograph of a young man with pale skin and dark hair surrounded by three young girls; he is darkness to their light.
Long forgotten, it will remain so, having passed even from the minds of those who once played a part in that event. Yet it exists, a material reminder of one sunny morning in Shibuya where three young girls met the most feared wizard in the world and walked away unscathed.
22 July 2005
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(1) "A-ano …" – Basically a Japanese equivalent to "Um …"
(2) Sumimasen – Can be translated to either "Excuse me" or "I'm sorry", depending on the circumstances.
(3) "A! Sono hen, Mayumi-chan no ie ni chikai deshou?" – Roughly, "Oh! That area, it's near your house, right?" where the comment is directed towards a girl named Mayumi.
(4) "Ne ne, misete, misete!" – Eh … "Ooh, lemme see!" or something similar. In a high-pitched young female voice.
(5) "Un. Sousou." – "Yes, that's right." or "Yes, exactly."
(6) "Jibun de" – "by myself"
If any of my Japanese is incorrect, it could be because Japanese people don't speak like textbooks (ah, it would be so much easier if they did …) or it could be because my language skills are still far from fluent. If you want to argue which case it is, feel free to contact me. I might even agree with you.