Disclaimer; It Lives! I haven't abandoned my other stories just yet. I plan to finish them.
Harry and Tom entered the Chamber with their minions. Voldemort was disappointed to see the state his ancestor's chamber after all these years. Harry had already disposed of the rotting basilisk corpse, but the caved in roof was quickly dealt with by those they had brought along for the tasks. Once the fallen rock had been held in place, Voldemort gave a wave of his wand and retransfigured it to resemble what he remembered from his childhood. Harry couldn't see the point really but he let the Dark Lord do as he pleased.
Once they entered the main chamber Harry had the minions draw the ritual circle and begin inscribing the glyphs. The ritual circle had a thirteen pointed star inscribed within with the main point directed along the strongest ley line. There were thirty two glyphs that needed to be drawn with various substances at certain points. They were drawn with earth from a grave, powdered herbs, powdered sulfur, purifying salt, charcoal, and saltpeter. Everyone who was to participate in the execution was cleansed with the smoke of herbs and rubbed with salt to remove even the slightest trace of outside influence.
Harry handed everyone pieces of parchment with the ritual chant and sent the assistants to a far corner to memorize it and correct the pronunciation so they could chant in unison. The chant was simple but the words were archaic and not in a language they knew. Harry took care to provide the proper pronunciation alongside the proper spelling to avoid confusion.
Voldemort removed his robes and was cleansed. Before he could enter the circle to assume his place, Harry handed him one of two potions that were set aside. "Draught of the Living Death, let's do this like the historical accounts." Voldemort drank the potion and managed to reach the center of the circle before passing out.
As soon as Voldemort hit the floor, Harry spun around and fired off several mass stunning spells at the group in the corner. His opponents dropped and he set about making sure they couldn't interfere. This was just too easy. Seeing that he would not face any opposition, Harry turned to the unconscious and helpless Lord Voldemort.
"Happy Christmas Hogwarts!" Harry laughed and pulled his ritual knife.
It was close to midnight when Harry appeared in the library of Riddle Manor. He searched for and shrank some of the rarer tomes. He searched for books based on rarity and age rather than their contents, though they were often the more obscure arts anyway. Voldemort had collected a great number of volumes on rituals, forgotten magics, and ancient practices. After he had collected the books he had come for, Harry stopped to grab two envelopes from Voldemort's study. He also took the time to loot Voldemort's magical artifact cache. They had used some in their various rituals, so Harry knew where they were hidden. The other Rune Staff was of particular interest and he was looking forward to testing it out.
Harry was waiting for everyone when they came down for their last breakfast before boarding the train. He had resurrected a bit of showmanship from his second year and written a message to the school above the staff table in blood. As before it talked about the Chamber, but this time it's message was a tad different.
"THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN CLOSED, THE HEIR OF SLYTHERIN SHALL REST IN THE SLEEP OF AGES UNTIL HIS EQUAL RETURNS TO CLAIM HIS OWN."
It didn't really mean anything, but Harry felt Tom deserved a dramatic exit to match all his entrances. The elves were fawning over him and had delivered him a breakfast fit for a king by the time the others trickled in.
Most people were a bit shaken when they entered to find Harry and his message. Those few who understood who the Heir of Slytherin was relaxed, but most began waiting for people to drop dead or become petrified. Harry enjoyed his eggs and sausage without bothering to correct them. His friends looked between it and him a few times, looked thoughtful for a few moments, and joined him at Gryffindor table. They assumed they could always question him later.
When Dumbledore entered his read the message and a vague comprehension passed over his eyes. He asked Harry, "Is it over?"
"Voldemort will never be seen again if that is your question."
Cheers broke out through the hall as the students heard them. Dumbledore's voice still carried enough to be heard as he nearly danced with joy. "You've done it! I knew you could harness the power of Love. You killed Voldemort!"
"Love had nothing to do with it, I beat him with geography. And by the way, Kill is such a dirty word, I prefer Vanquished. So does the prophecy. So let's start up the parties and break out the good champagne or whatever you guys want to do. I'm going to finish my breakfast and then I need to talk with the Goblins before getting some well earned sleep."
"May I ask for a moment of your time when you are done? I am sure the minister will want to talk to you as well."
"I'll talk to everyone only once so you better make sure all the right people are there. I made a promise to get some papers to the Goblins and an honorable man always keeps his promises."
Dumbledore ran off to gather all the VIP's of the magical world for a press conference and Harry's friends swooped in for their interrogation. Hermione asked the questions they all wanted to know for two reasons. First, she was able to forgo the urge to stuff herself, and secondly because she if she was asking the others might get questions answered they never thought to ask.
"Harry what do you mean when you say you killed him with geography?"
"Is asphodel native to Britain?"
"No, what does that have to do with anything?"
"Ancient druids would never have discovered draught of the living death." Harry said as if it explained everything.
"That doesn't make any sense."
"It makes perfect sense from my point of view. I didn't just give him a potion and call the job finished, but that little tidbit of knowledge did allow me to defeat him. Next question."
"How do you know he won't come back?"
"You tell me, what is Voldemort's goal other than killing me?"
"He wants to rule the world of course." Ron piped up in between bites.
"Can anyone tell me where the world is?"
"That's a stupid question! We're in the world. It's… It's umm…" Hermione was getting more and more flustered as she couldn't answer such a simple question.
"Let me tell you one of three Secrets. The world is outside Voldemort's coffin. Even if he comes back to life again he is stuck in a tiny box looking to rule something he can't find."
"You used a Fidelius charm on the whole planet! What are the other two for?"
"It was actually easier than the others, I only had to charm the coffin itself and I just turned the charm inside out. The other hides the coffin from anyone else finding it and setting him free and the third hides the only thing that can bring him back to life right now."
"Where in the world did that plan come from?"
"Actually Ron helped me with that part. He was drunk and suggested locking Voldemort in a closet, I figured it was crazy enough to work."
"So why did Voldemort come here last night asking you to kill him?"
"Because for a Slytherin he trusted me way too much. He was so locked into the mindset that he was too good to do actual work he never noticed when I lied my arse off and told him I could give him more power."
"So you used his lust for power to lure him to his doom? You knew what he wanted, offered to give it to him, and then tricked him… That's positively Slytherin!"
"Which is fitting considering I am the Heir of Slytherin through rite of conquest now. You've got to love those ancient pureblood traditions."
"What is it you need to take to the Goblins?"
"A man I respected and worked with a lot recently asked me to deliver his will to his accountants and solicitors when he died. He did not survive the events of last night."
"Oh I am sorry for your loss." She said quietly.
"No, it's alright. It was him or me and sacrifices had to be made to win. He was a real bastard but he did give me everything I needed. We were not friends, but we respected each other's skills and talents. He was a more honorable man than I when it was all settled."
"What do you mean he was more honorable? You are the most honorable man I know."
"He never tried to hide his intentions. He died because I lied to him about what would be happening last night. Like I said sacrifices had to be made."
"Just remember that we're here for you if you need to talk Harry. Your friends are always here."
"Thanks but I really think I can handle this one. Let's just hope it is the last one for a very long while." Harry stood and called for everyone's attention. "A toast! Everyone raise your glasses. To the end of the War! To the defeat of Voldemort! To the beginning of a new age of peace!"
With the exception of Draco Malfoy everyone raised their goblets of juice and milk before joining him "To Peace!"
As the school celebrated their chance at a quiet life, Harry got up to pay the Headmaster a visit before the officials showed up.
When Harry approached the Gargoyle, he only had to wave his hand before the Gargoyle leapt to the side and the staircase began spinning. He ascended the stairs and knocked on Dumbledore's office door. Hearing a call to enter, Harry obliged.
"… Yes I'm serious Minister, You-Know-Who is really gone. Just come by the school in half an hour and we'll get all the details and proof you need. Please hold on, I've got someone in my office to deal with." Dumbledore pulled his head from the fire and swiveled around to see Harry. "Ah, Mr. Potter you are a little early but that is wonderful. Just have a seat and people will begin arriving soon." He was about to return to the fire when Harry spoke up.
"No Professor I think the two of us need to have a private chat first. Please take your own seat while we do." Harry conjured a bowl of gummy orange slices. "Candy sir?
"What is it you want to talk about my boy?" He asked jovially as he took a candy.
"Professor, I need your opinion on something. Do you agree that in a war the happiness of a few must be sacrificed for the betterment of the many? That sometimes no matter how much we may dislike it, sacrifices must be made?"
"Is this about your relatives again? Harry it doesn't do to dwell in the past and forget to live."
"No professor, I am thinking of something totally different."
"Well then yes I suppose it is true that sometimes we must make sacrifices for the greater good."
"I'm glad you feel that way Headmaster." Dumbledore relaxed, "If a person could ensure the future was one of peace by doing something they may not like, you believe they should do it?"
"Essentially yes, where is this going?"
"Headmaster, for the continued peace of the wizarding world, I believe it is time for you to retire from your vaunted positions and enjoy your remaining years."
Albus looked like he had been slapped, "You want me to do what?"
"I think you should retire and take it easy with your nice woolen socks. You see Professor, in your time as a leader we have seen the birth of the worst Dark Lord in the last five hundred years. He was nutured and grew full of hatred and bigotry in your own back yard, metaphorically speaking. His followers and henchmen passed through your tutelage and killed countless people. In the thirty years before the prophecy was made, you were both powerful enough and in a position to end his reign several times. You did not. In the end you nearly doomed the world to an invincible Dark Lord because you did not act. Your positions both in Britain and abroad carry with them a responsibility to the people that you failed to uphold. It would be the honorable thing to retire gracefully."
"I may have made a few mistakes, but I do not believe that I should retire just yet. The government is just too unstable."
"Soon that will not be your problem. You may retire gracefully or be forcibly removed. Your lifespan will be much improved if you just bow out."
"Are you threatening me?"
"No, I would not resort to such crude methods. I will not do anything but there are forces at work you need to understand. Right now, Voldemort is not a problem and will not be a problem. However as he has proved before, there are ways to recover from death. At this point, if I were distracted by your incompetence, I might accidentally loose a very important item in my care and say something I shouldn't in the hearing of our enemies. If that were to occur, Voldemort would be back within hours and you would have to deal with him on your own as I would be too busy cleaning up your messes again. Eventually he would be defeated again, but I might not make it in time to save you. I hold the key to his resurrection. So long as I am not distracted by meddling old men who want to run other people's lives it is safe, but you know how my luck runs.
I really think that for the safety and continued peace of the wizarding world you should resign as soon as possible. I know it is a great loss, but again this is a sacrifice for the greater good. I have made many, and now others must as well. I am terribly sorry."
Dumbledore looked as if someone had just punched him in the gut, his face looked pained and he seemed short of breath. "I don't know what to say."
"Say yes." Harry leaned back in his chair with a sickening smile. "After all, with the Dark Lord gone, the world will be a lot less chaotic and people may not need you as much as they once did. It would look excellent for the press, go out on a high note and all that."
"Just how did you kill Voldemort Harry?" Dumbledore half expected him to say he maneuvered him into surrendering.
"I ripped his heart out of his chest, cut him into pieces and buried him in a compartmented coffin." Harry said with cold conviction.
"How did you become so brutal? Isn't it enough that he was dead?"
"I am what you made me Professor. Unfortunately this mess of yours is an immortal one, I cannot be cleaned up. I am here to stay, and I will take any means necessary to make sure I stay that way."
"Why did you turn your back on the light?"
"Who said I did? I am still a moral person, I follow the laws. I won't use the dark arts except in self defense. I fight Dark Lords when they appear, rescue fair damsels in distress, and win tournaments, etc… The only thing separating me from everyone else is that I am not ashamed to pursue my own happiness through all channels. I've realized that it is not a perfect world and self sacrifice will not bring everyone happiness, so there is nothing wrong in looking out for myself."
"I see. I suppose I have no option but to tender my resignation."
"It is a good thing we are already going to be having a press conference isn't it? This may be the perfect time to announce that you are going to be spending time with your remaining family and enjoying the new era of peace."
"Will it be a new era of peace?"
"It had better be, I worked too hard for it not to be. I will give them peace with an iron fist. They will live free or die."
Dumbledore was trying to wrap his mind around all the things that were inherently wrong with Harry's statement. While he was doing that, someone knocked at the door and guests began arriving in earnest.
Over the next hour Harry dodged questions and outright lied about what had happened. The people wanted surety and a hero, not a reversible solution and a manipulative villain. Who was he to deny them what they wanted? The press and government officials lapped it up like animals dying of thirst. Dumbledore looked defeated as he announced his retirement. On his way out the door, Cornelius Fudge shook Harry's hand and smiled warmly promising him that an Order of Merlin was a forgone conclusion. Harry smiled and brushed it off casually, as if he was happy and proud to have done his part. Dumbledore watched Harry and felt ill behind his all knowing façade. Harry was good, how had he never noticed?
While Dumbledore and the other teachers ushered the others to the carriages and off to the train, Harry set off to Gringotts with a bounce in his step. Two down, one to go.
AN; Not done just yet so don't get your hopes up. We've still got some story here and I mean to explore it a bit. Some might think that Voldemort was tricked too easily, and they are entitled to their opinions, but I think that when you look at the big picture, it could work. Voldemort did not read the fictional account in that "rare book from the restricted section" so he had to trust Harry. He was still locked in the mindset that they would fight it out like men in a battle of epic proportions and never thought that Harry would settle for a partial solution.
Some may worry this would make Harry immortal. That isn't the direction I am taking this fic. This is merely a stalling tactic while Harry cheats like Draco Malfoy on a potions exam.