Title: Dead Boy's Ballet

Author: Unspoken Tragedy

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: I don't own Snape. I don't own Riddle, or Dumbledore either. I don't own Hogwarts.

Summery: "You just must understand, Tom, that it all was ultimately for the greater good." What would the wizarding world be like without Voldemort? AU

Series: None

A/N: Everything else is currently being worked on. I promise.


Dead Boy's Ballet

Prologue: No One Will Cry at My Funeral

He was only thirteen years old. In the eyes of the rest of the world, that would make him almost-but-not-quite an adult, but to Albus he was nothing more than a child. Blood caked the side of his head, and he lay in a pool of that dark liquid as if merely resting. A small leather bound book lay at his outstretched hand. Dumbledore picked it up.

Blank. Aside from the cover, the entire book was blank. The transfiguration professor cast a few quick revealing charms on it. Again, nothing. There was no indication whatsoever of why the young wizard had taken this book to his death. He slipped it into his robes anyways.

Black hair half-covered the child's face, but Dumbledore would have known Tom Riddle from anywhere. An expression of quiet hatred was ever present, even in death. "It is such a shame," a calm voice said from behind him.

"Headmaster Dippet." Albus looked at him questioningly.

"In the days of the Founders many children died at Hogwarts due to experimentation. It was especially prominent in the Slytherin house, where students practiced Dark Arts." Dippet moved over to Riddle's body.

The professor shook his head. "There should be an investigation. We don't know that this was an accident at all."

"He's an orphan, Albus. No one will come to claim his body. A murder in Hogwarts may shut down this institution for good! I know that I do not have to tell you that the ministry has been questioning the safety of this school again." The Headmaster turned away from the dead child.

"It's better this way, Professor Dumbledore."

"And if I don't agree?" There was steel in his voice now.

Dippet caught his gaze before answering. "How embarrassing it must be to be fired. I, you see, have never been so unfortunate. It is highly unlikely you would find another job after being sacked from this one…"

"So, it comes to that, then?"

"Doesn't it always, professor? You know, I've been looking forward to retirement for quite some time now. You understand that it is customarily the Deputy that follows in the Headmaster's footsteps. Who shall I choose in your absence?" The look on his boss's face was thoughtful, and quite frankly, it disturbed him.

Dumbledore sighed. Riddle was really only just another child that no one cared about. What would it matter should he just disappear? No one would mourn his passing anyhow. He leaned over the Slytherin child, brushed away a bit of black hair covering his face. "We can have a quiet ceremony for him here, keep his ashes in the Headmasters quarters, remember this child forever," Dippet whispered. "It would be more than he would get any other way."

"He deserves more than that."

"Yes," the Headmaster answered. "But this is for the greater good. Without this institution, how many children would be left without a magical education? Hogwarts is important, Albus. And if you ever hope to be headmaster, then you must learn to place her above anything else, including your morals."

The professor nodded, and in one smooth movement he lifted the boy into his arms. The limp body felt more like a doll than a child. "Not here."

Dippet smiled at him sadly. "We can perform the ceremony in my office."

Though the body of Tom Riddle was not light, Albus remained while the other cleaned the third floor bathroom. He felt like a murderer as the last remnants of proof that the boy had died were cleaned away. Were they erasing his existence too with this act?

The ceremony was a quiet cremation performed in the late hours of the night. Riddle's possessions were summoned and burned with him- the only real tribute they could offer this child whilst still hiding his death.

As the golden flames engulfed the lean body, Dippet spoke a few words on Tom's behalf. It may have been quite moving had the only witnesses not been the few wakeful portraits hanging on the walls of the headmaster's office. They had agreed with the Headmaster that controversy could very well destroy Hogwarts forever and they, now more than ever, were charged with protecting the school that they had also served in life.

How unfair it was to sacrifice this child's very existence for the sake of an institution. How sad it was that most would forget him within a handful of years. He had been such a brilliant mind…

They scattered his ashes from the astronomy tower. Dippet smiled sadly as he laid the container that had held them on the ledge and banished it. Albus felt a few warm tears snake their way into his beard. He would be the only to mourn this child now.

His boss had already carefully constructed lies to cover the death of Tom Riddle. He was called back home to attend to the death of a friend. And should he not return? Well, that was certainly his choice. He had packed all of his bags as if he would not.

The Transfiguration professor knew that the stories would run rampant from there, but it mattered little when no one could possibly guess the real reason their classmate had left their ranks forever. Thank Merlin he was a Slytherin. The only ones who regarded his leave-taking seriously were sure to be others of his house. And how very easy it was to ignore their concerns. The Snakes were pretty strongly cut off from the other houses. The number of Dark Wizards (including Salazar Slytherin) that came from Slytherin was daunting. Of course the students would be wary of the students residing in that house. And their own subsequent suspicions did not help their case at all.

He winced at his own thoughts. He shouldn't think so negatively about one fourth of his students. He was silent through the rest of his exchange with Dippet; after which he wearily made his way back to his own quarters.

"I'm sorry," Dumbledore whispered as he laid the journal on his nightstand. "It shouldn't have ended out like this."

"You just must understand, Tom, that it all was ultimately for the greater good."


TBC

A/N: Bad News: This is not going to be a happy story.

Good News: This will be quite a bit different from any story like this you have seen thus far.

But in this story Dumbles gets his. I swear.