'Try for some remorse Riddle.. Be a man.. I've seen what you'll be otherwise...'
The color of Salazar Slytherin, his great ancestor. The color of his mark, his followers, his triumph.
The colour of his downfall.
Was it ironic that some also claimed green was the colour of hope?
As it rushed back towards him, the light of a curse deflected by that damned boy yet again, he could feel nothing but shock. No, at first he actually didn't believe it. His mind must be playing a trick on him, all the magical residue from the fighting and his own memories of that night years ago must have created this strange illusion. It would disperse in a second and he'd see Harry Potter's corpse, really dead this time, and his triumph would be complete.
Yet that second somehow lasted awfully long and the green light did not disperse, but faded into black.
And then the pain started.
It clawed into the core of his being and made him want to scream and howl, but he could utter no voice. He had felt pain so many times before and thought he was used to all its forms, but this was beyond what he thought possible. It was an enormous, yawning hole that tore him apart from within and surrounded him at the same time. He felt a strange urge to grab onto something, to curl up, but he no longer had control of his movements, he no longer had a body. All he had, all he was, was pain. It was incomparable with the previous time he had been hit by the killing curse and as much as he tried to deny it, he knew this time was final. He knew what it was, but his consciousness convulsed at the very flicker of thethought.
He was dead.
It was his corpse that lay in the Great Hall of Hogwarts right now, and Harry Potter was probably looking down at it this very moment. As much as it should enrage him, he could not ponder this thought for more than a second, because it was soon wiped out by more disturbing ruminations.
His ever-calculating and curious mind was used to immediately analysing every event and so inevitably arrived at the most pressing question connected with his defeat.
The answers that he received were worse than the pain.
He had heard them a thousand times before and always invented a way to dismiss them, but now he found himself defensless against the voices which uttered the unwanted words.
His name was not Tom. He hated the way Dumbledore said the word, the tone of his voice, as if he were speaking to a child. Condescending old fool. Lord Voldemort was not a child, he had never been a child.
What were you then, Tom? A small, defenseless human being quietly sobbing in his grey tunic in a cold, shabby room of a London orphanage?
I never cried.
True. Your eyes were always dry. But your soul..
Suddenly, the pain that devoured him and tore him apart grew more violent.. Could the-thing-that-must-not-be-named have found a name?
The pain, the pain that seemed to be searching.. desperately grasping for something that should be there, for missing pieces.. Something was lost and it could not be replaced..
'You must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is and act of violation, it is against nature.'
Oh please. Trivial warnings for the naive and cowardly.
Then why does it hurt so much?
The pain... it wouldn't let him let go of the thoughts he always so successfully dismissed, it deprived him of the control he had enjoyed so much. His mind must be clear to deal with the situation at hand..
It was insupportable. Struggle as he might, it made him powerless, it pervaded every attempt at rational thought and forced him to give it his full attention. It was an angry pain, a pain that wanted justification, that demanded satisfaction – as merciless and notorious as Lord Voldemort himself.
Where is it? – it demanded incessantly, plaguing him with its insatiable craving after something he could not, would not recognize existed.
It was hungry.
'There is a power the Dark Lord knows not...'
Oh, spare me!
'His mother died in the attempt to save him – and unwittingly provided him with a protection I admit I had not forseen..'
'She wouldn't even stay alive for her son?'
'That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped.'
Where did those accursed voices and thoughts come from?
And why were they suddenly transformed into his inner certainty, into knowledge? Why could he not deny and silence them as he had so successfully done in life?
You cannot cheat death, Tom.
And so, the knowledge sank in deeper and deeper and Tom Riddle's incessant thirst for knowledge was quenched, and he learned.
A small, naked child, curled on the ground, its skin raw and rough, flayed-looking. Iit lay shuddering under a seat where it had been left, unwanted, stuffed out of sight, struggling for breath.
'What is that, Professor?'
'Something that is beyond either of our help.'
And the flayed, abandoned child whimpered in the cold while vibrant, green grass grew over a nameless grave.