The Road Not Taken
A Xenocide Production

A/N: It seems I am obessed with the eternal battle between good and evil. I can't help but wonder why people make the choices they make. When it come down to it, all evil in this world can be traced back to a single decision that a single person made. This was written on a rainy day, as cliched as that is to admit. The rain is carthartic sometimes, and there is nothing like listening to the raindrops beat down the roof as you illuminate your soul.

Summary: Delving in the the recesses of the soul is not always a pretty thing. But sometimes, every once in a while, we come across that tiny flame inside of us that refuses to be snuffed out, no matter how hard we try to extinguish it.

Disclaimer: I own nothing that involves the world of Harry Potter and all things involved.

Sometimes he wonders.

Ever so often, when he is sitting in his comfortable armchair in front of the fireplace, he wonders.

The hearth is cold, bereft of the loving embrace of flames. Instead, one candle on the bare mantle is diligently holding back the encroaching darkness of the room.

It is a dangerous thing, his pondering, but he feels that he can afford to indulge himself occasionally. On days like today, when a candle will suffice where a fire will not, it is safe to look deep inside one's self. There is no danger of seeing too much.

Idly, his memory follows familiar paths, paths visited often enough that a mere thought sent his feet flying down the familiarly worn trails.

He never lingers too long in one place, preferring to reminisce of snatches and glimpses of a life rather than dwell on them. Some parts of the path are darker than others, though in some brief instances, he doesn't have to squint nearly as hard to pick out the faint outlines of the path. The darkest places, sections of the path where darkness envelopes all of his sight, are usually towards the beginning, though there was a spot here and there as he continued on.

Gradually, the crowded woods began to clear, until it came to a clearing as familiar as the path itself.

Coming to a standstill, his gaze focuses on the boy who is the very center of the clearing. He is continually turning in circles, his head whipping from side to side and his eyes frantically searching the imposing wall of leafless trees for a path to take.

The man looked on the boy with some sympathy, for he could understand his plight. The boy was quite close to madness. The difficulty in the boy's choice wasn't so much in discovering a path, it was deciding among the infinite ones to set his feet upon.

Some paths were darker than others, their shadows would surely swallow the boy's sinuous figure whole in their depths. But perhaps their strenuous trials would make the boy stronger.

Others were lighter, some so bright that it was painful to look upon them. No doubt the boy would have little trouble seeing his way down those particular trails.

Even more numerous were the paths that were neither deep in shadow nor bright in sunlight. Instead, they were a bland mixture of the two, shrouded in twilight and soft mist. They often branched off into the darker and lighter paths further down the way.

More often than not, he witnesses the boy dash down the deepest, darkest trail he could find, not in the least mindful of the treacherous shadows, focused only on the strength he would be sure to find at the end of it. Sure that he would find acknowledgement and fulfillment at the end of it.

But today……an oddity.

The boy becomes entranced with the bright light spilling out softly from a large opening in the woods, flanked by two majestic oaks in full foliage as if it were the height of summer. With a last backward glance towards his usual haunts, he sprints down the path, his visage growing fainter with each step he took into the light.

The man's incredulity is betrayed only by a slight raise of the eyebrow.


How entirely unexpected.

The boy sought the light in place of the dark paths? An interesting choice, but unimportant.

It is the idle fancy of the mind, and nothing more.

Opening his eyes, Lord Voldemort's gaze lands on the small candle flame on the mantle.

Suddenly, for one aching moment that he thought would rend his heart to pieces, he wished that the candle had been replaced by a roaring flame.

Convulsively clutching his chest, the fabric of his shirt bunching up in his hands, he grits his teeth and fights off the pain in his chest.

In a short moment, the pain passes, leaving him slumped in relief against the chair. Old age had finally begun to catch up to him, though his outer appearance would have one thinking otherwise. Immortal or otherwise, something things cannot be kept from the grasp of time.

He shook his head and snorted half-heartedly at his thoughts before the pain hit. What good would a fire do this time of the year?

A candle was all that was needed. Nothing more, and nothing less.

It would do him no good to pine away for a luxury that he could not afford.

A candle was more than enough to light his way.

If there is sufficent interest (i.e., reviews) I will consider taking a sojourn into one Dark Lord's soul. Who knows? Maybe I can find the tiny flame inside of him and fan it into a roaring fire.