Prologue
Voldemort's Choice

The Song-Bird Tavern was an establishment of well repute that stood betwixt the small boroughs of Little Velmont and Godric's Hollow. The food was good, the drinks were plentiful and the service was always outstanding.

There were other bars and taverns that had excellent food and alcohol in the area so one might be curious as to why Song-Bird Tavernwas boasted as the best place to get inebriated at. One person made all the difference in answering such a question however, and that person's name was Sara DiMarco.

Good with the flute and the fiddle, beautiful and quite single, Sara DiMarco was what drew people to the tavern in groves. She moved crowds with drinking songs, mournful songs and uplifting songs. It was even a well known fact that the tavern was called Song-Bird after her extraordinary talents and lilting voice.

So while Walter's and The Scotsman's Boot were as superb as any other watering hole, they didn't hold a sensation like the Song-Bird did.

All this really wouldn't matter too much come November 1st, as no place would hold Sara DiMarco as the attraction ever again. And to be both cruel and honest, no place had quite held her like Lord Voldemort was holding her now on the October 31st that begins this story.

"Virianoso," intoned the Dark Lord with a crisp voice, cutting an 'S' in the air with his wand and jabbing forward on the 'anoso'. In front of him, a meter away, hovered Sara DiMarco; when the spell began taking effect, her eyes bulged, her skin began to bubble and her body began shaking violently.

Then he began suffocating her with another enchantment and the poor girl began clawing at her neck in futile hope of stopping whatever made breathing difficult. She screamed an unearthly scream when she realized it hopeless.

Voldemort allowed just a touch of a smile to grace his lips; thanks to precautionary measures, no sound would escape the Song-Bird.

The Dark Lord then began pacing around her, admiring the way her rasps and screams grew shorter and less intense with each passing moment; the way her long finger nails dug into her neck, spilling blood profusely and the way her eyes held terror and fear for him only.

Soon she was silent in her anguish and with another lethal spell the enchanting beauty that was Sara DiMarco fell to the ground, stained and spiritless. It was as simple as that – where the Lord Voldemort went, death and destruction followed. He had only entered fifteen minutes ago and where there was once fifty strong, rowdy and well drunken patrons, there stood only the malice that was Voldemort.

This was boring to him, of course, and paled in comparison to what would happen this evening if he had his way. Drawing back his hood and revealing an ill-built visage, the Dark Lord moved around the broken and battered bodies that littered the floors of the tavern to find a seat at the bar. Summoning without wand a bottle of alcohol he preferred, he then conjured a glass and poured.

He brought his index finger to his lips after a swallow and looked to assuage the ill temper that had made its way to the forefront of his conscious. He habitually rubbed his index finger across the bottom row of his teeth and then took his wand and tapped it against the oaken-wood bar incessantly – what sat before him was a great conflict.

The one born with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...

The greatest threat to his power laid north or south of here, he had figured. In Little Velmont lived the Longbottoms, Alice, Frank and their child Neville; in Godric's Hollow, Lily, James and their Half-Blooded spawn, Harry Potter. The Dark Lord scowled. Half-Blood. Mudbloods and Half-Bloods. He hated all of them with the exception of himself – this caused another scowl. Tom Riddle, Sr.

Taking another swig, he rose from his seat and took in the carnage he had wrought upon the tavern. It was practice for him, one would realize, as he gazed upon the man pierced to the southern wall of the Song-Bird with a pool cue through his chest.

"Practice, dear Lily," he said dauntlessly, turning over an old man. He had used a curse that ate away at the face on this one and unfortunately the man had fallen face-forward to the wooden floor. Voldemort merely wanted to check his work and seeing little skin left, he allowed himself another smile. He moved to Ms. DiMarco.

He would kill the Potters and their son, he decided, ending the debate that had tore at him ever since his greatest servant had told him the prophecy – he stepped upon DiMarco's fingers, cracking them below his heel and reveling in the sound.

He stepped back and said softly and listlessly, "Filthy Muggle." He summoned her dead form to stand before him.

Tom Riddle, Sr was handsome – anger.

Ms. DiMarco was beautiful – anger.

How could such filthy individuals be beautiful? The question tore at him. His calm demeanor broke away and he ran his serpentine tongue over the back of his teeth with fury.

Ms. DiMarco's long, clean golden hair... Merope's hair – anger.

Ms. DiMarco's perfectly fine eyes... Merope's eyes – anger.

His temper mounted and with fervor, he conjured sharp, steel instruments. He wanted to mutilate her – mutilate that filthy, Muggle face and her filthy non-magical body.

Blood that was similar to the blood that ran through him, the greatest wizard in a century, ran through this foul urchin that dared to look beautiful when his mother had not.

Using his wand he commanded the knives to run across her chest, marring her voluptuous chest that no doubt had driven men crazy; he commanded sharp, steel scissors to slice open her stomach, spilling her on the Song-Bird floor and with the same intensity, he commanded long ice-picks to rake her eyes out – eyes that dared. With a final flick of his wand he magically threw her body across the room with as much speed as he could force into it, breaking her on the eastern wall. The body once again slumped to the floor, still spiritless but now degraded, in betwixt two patrons who had been forced to eat their shot-glasses.

The anger fled him and his wild, wide, crimson eyes settled into their calmer form, if such a form could be called even that. He began contemplating this evening's greatest task again, the perverse act he had just performed flitting to the back of his mind without care.

He would have time for only one strike, he had surmised.

He could choose only one family to act upon and then after that, everything became uncertain. The Order of the Phoenix would then know what he knew. The other family could be moved. The other family could hold the true threat. It was all very uncertain and if there was to be one thing that Voldemort did not like, it was uncertainties.

He preferred a plan that was from A to Z, plotted and planned with little room for error. It was a quality bred in members of his house – Slytherin's house. He was overly cautious and planned many weeks and sometimes even years, ahead. That he was sitting in a filthy Muggle bar trying to figure out what he was going to do brought great fear to him.

Everything was setup. He knew the defenses of each house, thanks to the spies planted firmly next to Dumbledore; he knew how to pass all of them; he even had Peter Pettigrew, secret keeper for the Potters!

But here he was, playing politics in his mind. It was at this thought that something caught his eye. He turned fifty degrees and began pacing towards the mirror that adorned the space of wall next to the "Gents" Restroom – he made certain to smash as many fingers, as he could, along the way.

Standing before the mirror, he peered at his reflection. An abomination. The serpentine tongue ran along his teeth again. He was an abomination, clear and simple. His clammy, pasty white skin was better suited to a zombie and his serpentine nostrils were anything but enticing. People hated looking upon him, a Half-Blood, he thought. It was the Muggle in me, he defended, looking away from the mirror and instead at the broken body of Ms. DiMarco.

He looked back and thought of Albus Dumbledore. He only admitted it within the safe confines of his mind, but Albus Dumbledore was more powerful than him. Still. He hissed. All the rituals he had undertaken, the blood he had spilled and the families he had torn asunder for more power and he was still nothing in comparison to the Pureblooded, insufferable Headmaster of Hogwarts.

He hissed and turned. His mind was his greatest enemy he realized; far greater an enemy than this child of prophecy would ever be. He drew his hood up and now all that could be seen of Lord Voldemort were his unnatural, red eyes that promised retribution for the tampering of his bloodline. Stalking forward and moving between the bodies once more, he exited the tavern thirty minutes after he had entered it and stood below a great oaken-wood sign that read in bold, red letters: Song-Bird Tavern.

The Dark Lord Voldemort looked towards the borough of Little Velmont and then with great care towards Godric's Hollow.

One choice, he reiterated within his mind – one choice. That he was the one who could choose who would be his equal, he did not know. That he would mark him and leave a lightning-bolt scar that would identify him as a great symbol of all things good in the world, he did not know. That he would be disembodied for thirteen years, that his followers would abandon him in belief that he was truly gone and that one-seventh of his soul would be destroyed before he ever gained another body – all of these things, he did not know.

One thing he believed he did know though, was that what looked back at him from the mirror within the Song-Bird was only half of what he could have been.

And with that thought in mind, he turned north and began walking towards Little Velmont.


Some elements in the HP Universe that will not be in this story:
- Silent casting
- Portkeys
This story will be a Slytherin!Harry Potter-centric story; Neville Longbottom will be the Boy-Who-Lived.