"Remember that no matter how your blood changes, you will always be yourself inside. There will always be people that love you and come to love you. Do not forget that, or you will lose yourself."
--Excerpt from Hogwarts' letter to Harry, Noir Et Blanc
It was a clear night and the stars above twinkled with all their heavenly beauty. It was moments like this that the Dark Lord found himself calm, which was becoming rarer by the day.
Voldemort only watched his rationality slipping away like water through dry sand. He knew and admitted to himself that he was not the most sane person in the world, not even normally sane. But with what was happening now, he felt almost like an observer in his own body, feeling the effects of his quickened anger when his wrath bore down on his followers.
Voldemort was a brilliant wizard. He knew the many rituals he'd put his mortal body and soul through would have some effects. Gone was his handsome face. Gone was his recognizable body, and in it's place was a pale grotesque creation born from a mangled ritual. Gone was his mercy. His heart was dead and sanity was finally falling out through the gap it had created.
A soft breeze rippled the grass beside him. The meadow Voldemort sat in was silent, as if sensing his need for it. This was peace. Here there were no Death Eaters to control, no war, no world conquest.
Quite suddenly, pain and rage crashed into him from all sides, and he could tell immediately that it wasn't his own.
Voldemort staggered where he stood as the field began to dissolve around him. He woke up in his darkened room on his bed. The source of his pain was the link, his link to Potter which he'd kept carefully closed off. He snarled.
"What the hell is that boy doing?"
Through the haze he fought, struggling upwards. Strings of the ink black haze seemed to wrap around his limbs and pull him down, but Harry persevered.
Surges of pain and nausea crashed like waves upon a shore, but still he fought his way toward awareness.
Harry tried to open his eyes but they stuck as if sewn shut.
His mind wasn't working properly and he couldn't remember anything. What was wrong? Why did he feel so terrible?
-Sssleep, Harry. All will be well sssoon.-
He drifted away.
There is nothing left for you there. You know it. Your mate is dead. Your cub is too ensnared in the Light to hear sense. Moony is calling you here. I can hear him. The Dark Lord is gathering followers, and he has promised our packs much.
Come home cub. There is nothing left for you there.
Remus clutched the worn letter to his chest and sobbed.
"I'm so sorry, cub. I'm leaving…Harry…"
Harry sat on the couch facing the wall, staring despondently at it. Letalis was silent beside him and he'd let Hedwig out. She perched on the back of the couch, then with a fond nip on his ear she settled into sleep.
He was back in his own time...alive.
Ripped cruelly away and thrown to the last place he wanted to go.
He felt tears build up hotly behind his eyes as all the puzzle pieces fell into place.
He'd never fully explained about his vampiric powers. Thus, a line of reckoning came to mind.
Tom had thought he was dead; he'd gone to Grindelwald for power, though for what reason Harry couldn't fathom. He'd become Lord Voldemort. There were large gaps in Harry's reasoning, things he didn't know yet, but the rest was sound.
Tom thought he was dead. Tom was now Voldemort. He would not want Aspen…Harry back.
Voldemort had done terrible things, Harry couldn't deny it. They were each other's worst enemies, with Voldemort trying to kill him time and again.
But he'd fallen in love with Tom. Tom was now Voldemort. The monster he'd become was still Tom, and Harry was still in love with him.
For the first, but not the last time, Harry thought of his immortality as curse. He wouldn't even be able to end it. Tom…Voldemort couldn't kill Harry, even if Harry let him.
Harry didn't return to Gryffindor Tower that night. When he finally pulled himself together enough to perform a tempus charm, it told him that only seven hours had passed since the time he 'left.' If he counted the period he spent unconscious, it was logical to assume that no time had passed between his leaving and coming back.
-It'sss almossst time for breakfassst,- Letalis said. It was the first time she'd spoken since he awoke.
-I don't want to go down for breakfast,- he muttered. -I'll stay here.- Letalis slithered around the back of the couch and settled on his shoulders, being careful not to disturb Hedwig.
-Dumbledore will be looking for you,- she hissed in his ear. Harry pushed her ticklish tongue away.
-It doesn't matter.- His voice was flat, dead to her ears. Letalis didn't like this one bit. A trickle of magic rushed through her and suddenly she was three times as big. She coiled her body around him, not tight enough to crush, but enough to pinion his arms. She knew very well that Harry could easily overpower and kill her no matter the size, but he wouldn't. Letalis stuck her face in his, locking eyes but making sure he could see her menacing fangs.
-Ssstop sssulking!- she spat angrily. -What'sss done hasss been done. Tom thinksss you are dead, ssso go and prove otherwissse!- Her grip loosened a bit when he didn't struggle against her. -Tom isss ssstill out there. He'sss ssstill alive in thisss time. He loved you Harry, I could sssee it,- her voice dropped to a soft hiss. She watched as Harry's eyes started to fill up with water. -He really loved you, and I think that he would accept you again if you ssshowed yourssself to him.-
It was all true. She'd really seen it. Even after such a short time knowing him, Letalis knew Tom would have given the world up for her vampire. Perhaps he still would.
She let him go then, sliding off him onto his lap. He sat still for a moment, with tears streaming down his cheeks and occasionally splashing her. Then he touched her scaly head softly. He always made sure his nails didn't scratch her.
-Thank you Letalis. I don't know what I'd do without you.-
His eyes faded back to the Killing Green that he hadn't seen in many months. His hair was already sheared back to chin length, as painful as it'd been for him to do so. He'd grown attached to his shoulder length hair in the time he'd had it.
Harry stared at himself in the mirror. He was back to looking like his 'normal' Harry Potter self. He sighed. It was time to go out and face the world, no matter how he might feel. He didn't want to get another scolding from Letalis, that he knew for sure.
He fished around in his trunk for a pair of clean Gryffindor robes and found them, but he froze. Wrapped up in them was a tiny glass globe, a little smaller than a Remembrall. However, this ball wasn't filled with red smoke. Instead, a tiny glittering galaxy rotated inside. The light of miniature stars sparkled against swirling space dust.
The gift was a present from Tom to him on Christmas morning. Harry's heart clenched. He remembered his utter joy when receiving the present, and how passionately he'd kissed Tom in thanks. How could he not? For him, it had only been yesterday morning.
For Tom, it had been fifty-four years.
The ball went back into the chest.
Harry walked quickly down the halls, stealthily avoiding students heading down to breakfast. Letalis hugged his neck under his robes. Both of them took note of the differences in Hogwarts between the present and the past. Really, very little had changed. A portrait here, a statue there, but otherwise everything was the same.
Finally, he stood before the entrance of the Great Hall. There was no sense in hesitating. That would just mean more people would be in the Hall to stare at him. He would just 'present' himself long enough to let them know he was alive, then he would leave. It was a good plan when the timing worked in his favor. Only the earliest of risers would be up this early in the morning.
Harry stepped around the threshold and into people's line of sight. Without delay he felt twenty pairs of eyes flash to him.
The Gryffindor table was empty. Two Hufflepuffs and a scattering of Ravenclaws were present. Over at the Snake table he saw a clique of Slytherins already eating while another sat apart. He recognized Draco right away. The boy looked more haggard than ever, and he was sending wary looks at his housemates every few bites.
Harry felt a sharp stab of guilt. He'd promised Malfoy that he would protect him, but he'd practically ignored him over the past months, with the blond being so quiet and Harry being preoccupied with his own problems. One of his hands clenched into a fist. He would talk to Draco soon, he promised himself.
Dumbledore was there, but he remained in his chair when he entered. Harry met the twinkling eyes and saw them go just a bit cool. It seemed that the Headmaster was still uptight from their encounter 'yesterday.' Also, Dumbledore still had his holly wand. Harry frowned. He'd have to get that back soon. It wouldn't do to go waving about his yew wand.
Harry moved to the Gryffindor table, near the end closest to the doors. As he sat he felt a sharp edge jab him from the pocket of his robes. He shifted slightly to accommodate the edge. Inside his pocket was a shrunken book.
Harry couldn't help the small screech he made when he'd received the book. Just as he'd been leaving the Room this morning, book slammed into the ground in front of him in much the same manner as he'd dropped the potions book onto Snape's desk. Harry sensed a faint smugness from Hogwarts. He'd supposed it was her manner of gift-giving. In any case, he'd had no time to look at it, as he'd wanted to be early for breakfast. So, he'd shrunken the leather-bound book and now it rested in his pocket.
Harry got up after finishing his fruit salad.
'Thank goodness today's a free day.'
He stopped reading the scribbled text, choosing instead to gape at it.
"If…if this is true…"
-You have to see Tom. Now, tonight, tomorrow, as soon as possible.- Letalis hissed fervently.
Salazar Slytherin's journal fell to the unforgiving floor.