A/N: this is out of my desire to get Tom to play around a bit because I adore him so much. XD
The Dark Teacher
The little baby in the baby carrier cried. She couldn't have been more than a year or so old. Two Deatheaters on either side of her had already run off as a very tall and thin man walked closer. His head was covered by a hood, but he had bright red snake like eyes and slits for a nose, his skin white like the snake around his neck. He eyed the little child in a very bored fashion, wondering if he shouldn't just leave and let the damned parents deal with her so he could be on his way to the baby that mattered most to him.
The parents lay on the ground on their faces, both blonde though the man looked annoyingly like his old Alchemy professor who he would have rather faced having a root canal than deal with that man once more. It would have given him a certain amount of sick pleasure to kill the man outright, given the resemblance, but he was short on time. Perhaps the man was the good professor's son. Well, that would definitely give him a certain amount of amusement, but they didn't move and he needed to. At least if he was his son, that man laying face down was taller than that damned Alchemy teacher of his could ever hope to be.
He started to walk off when he heard a strange sound. He looked around and saw none of his deatheaters around, but that little rodent Wormtail was nearby and skittering back to hide. He looked up in the air. Two very heavy doors like those he would expect were in heaven came down and stopped above the little blonde baby who had stopped screaming and crying. She was oddly silent as the doors hovered above her. Perhaps she was more interesting after all.
The doors creaked and cracked open, darkness greeting his eyes as they slowly revealed nothing but blackness beyond their borders. He raised his wand and waited for any form of attack. He did not trust these doors, for they seemed oddly familiar to him. Eyes appeared in the black, all blinking at him before several hundred smiles grinned out from the black. Hundreds of black hands reached out and grabbed a hold of him, pulling him in through the doors. He let out a cry of surprise as he fought at the hands, but he could not loose them. As he watched the world he knew disappear, as the doors closed, he saw that baby one last time and cursed the day he ever ran into her.
It was like no pain he had ever known. All the parts he had thought he had locked safely away inside things he could keep safe hovered in front of him. Each part was damaged in some way, looking like shards of a mirror. He was no where and everywhere as he stared at them all around him and laughed. He laughed because the pain was only just beginning. He could see the parts of him and already the pain he had never thought possible was starting. Then, the shards flew at him. He curled up and screamed in agony as each one forced itself into him. The screams didn't go beyond those borders, however. No, he simply took it again and again until all six melded with him, each one more excruciating than the last.
Then, everything went still. The place was white and he stood before the doors and stared up at them. He had forgotten what his purpose was. He had forgotten who he was. Why had he come there? Why was he standing there with nothing more to do than stare at a pair of doors that meant nothing to him? It all confused him. He felt old, very old and dirty. But for all the confusion he felt and the old ache in his body, he felt as though he was needed at those doors for a reason. Perhaps this was supposed to be his hell, for he could find no other reason for his standing there than that.
Amber Elric played with her toy wrench as she sat on her grandma Winry's lap. She was a pretty little girl. She was so very small that her parents had once worried she would not live long, but then they remembered that being small ran in her genes. Her grandfather stood not far off and worked on something he seemed to deem important. He was a handsome man, a very handsome man indeed. Back when he was a kid, one could have called him pretty. His eyes were gold and his hair was blonde and long, his cheekbone high and his jaw squared. Now, his appearance was older, his jaw more square than it had when he was a kid, his cheekbones standing out a bit more, his glasses perched on his nose in the same way his father used to wear them. The only difference between him and his father were his bangs. He had always kept his hair long and long bangs to frame his face with. These same traits had been passed onto his sons and now his granddaughter Amber was beginning to show the same traits as he.
Edward Elric had once been a great Alchemist for the military, but that was in another world and he was here in this one. He had once thought that his alchemy was not to be used in that world anymore, but he soon realized he simply had the wrong way round of working it. This world was far more different in the way one could perform alchemy than it was in his own. He had realized this when he had found himself in Scotland and realized that there was a school for children who could do magic, something he had never previously believed in until then. The headmaster had taken him in and the transfiguration teacher at the time had showed him the ropes of the world. He had told them that he and his brother were alchemists and so they took him in to teach the same art. He had then realized why it did not work the way he had thought before.
Back in Germany, Edward had made a connection to his old world and that was why he could make his alchemy work. Now that he was cut off from it and the people, or rather, person, he loved, he had not tried to figure out any longer how to work the alchemy he had loved. Inside that strange school, however, he had learned something important about that world. Science and magic work together, but the magic has to come from within rather than pulling it from the world itself such as he did in his own world. The equivalent exchange came from nature, but the power to work it was in his own spirit and his own blood.
Edward jerked forward as Amber's toy wrench hit his head. Winry giggled faintly and patted Amber on her head as the little girl grinned up at him playfully. Edward grunted and rubbed his head with his prosthetic hand. "She's getting better at that. What're you teaching her?"
"How to keep an annoying man in line," said Winry, smirking faintly at Edward.
He grunted and went back to his work. Winry had been a miracle to get through to this world, though not so much because it was difficult or near impossible. Apparently, there was some sort of vortex back when he had arrived that was linked right directly with Armestris inside the school he had not know could even exist. When Winry came through, several others came through as well. Ghosts of the dead he had thought were just going to disappear seemed to come through and those who remained alive still came out as well, even his old superior officer Colonel Roy Mustang, who, when he arrived, seemed to think Professor Dumbledore was a quack when he saw him. That man then seemed to find it necessary to tell Edward's sons every little thing that would embarrass him every chance he got.
Now, Roy was dead. He had died in the fight against You-Know-Who when he had attempted to stop him from getting near Edward's son and granddaughter. She had only been a year or so old at the time, but she was not You-Know-Who's target at the time. In fact, he might not have even cared had it not been for the fact that Edward's son and granddaughter both looked like him. You-Know-Who had a grudge against Edward from when he was the man's Alchemy Professor, but it was a mild grudge. At best, he probably would have preferred dealing Edward a blow to him alone and not his children. Edward had asked who had seen the fight and Roy's ghost had told him that Edward's son came upon the Dark Lord when he was trying to get to the temporary home they had made in Godric's Hollow before it got too dark. Edward's son Hughes had told the Order of the Phoenix that he and his family would stay there to keep an eye out for Lord Voldemort and he himself would go out to warn the Potters that they needed to leave. Unfortunately, Lord Voldemort had figured out that the Potters were the ones he wanted to deal with and not the Longbottoms on a hunch a year early. Their son was only a few months old and Lily and James did not realize that that night would mark a strange point in their lives.
No, they did not die, that was the funny thing. The truly strange thing that had occurred was that Hughes and his wife both were attacked as Roy had tried to turn the attack away from them. Apparently, Voldemort had not been trying to kill them, which was odd. The Deatheaters, instead, came up behind him and killed both parents and then Voldemort killed Roy because he had attempted the same toward him. The Deatheaters then left and went to clear the way for Voldemort to the house of the Potters, but the doors of Truth had come down above his granddaughter, sucked in Voldemort and then disappeared.
Now, a year later, Edward was taking care of his granddaughter with his wife Winry and she seemed to be as happy as ever. Her eyes were the same gold color as his and her hair was a little redder than his, but still quite lovely. Dumbledore stood off to the side as he looked out the window. "It has been a year since that night, Edward," he said softly. "Tell me, does the gate of truth come down like that normally?"
"No." Edward wasn't looking at him anymore. He simply looked away as he rubbed the metal tendons of his prosthetic arm.
"And yet it came down to collect him," said Dumbledore idly as he gazed out the window. "I have a feeling—"
Winry's shriek of fright alerted both older men to what was happening. Winry was standing and holding little Amber in her arms, a real wrench in her hand and ready to throw it or beat whatever was attacking her and Amber to a pulp. Two golden doors appeared in the air and opened slowly, a black mass coming out of them and slithering onto the floor as if vomiting something from its insides. Then, the black pulled away to reveal an older man curled up like a child on the floor, seemingly dead. His cheeks were gaunt and he needed a good shave, for he had a graying beard started on his handsome features. His short black hair was shaggy looking and graying in places and his normally tall form was thinner than it should have been. However, there was no mistaking the person before all of them as the doors closed with an evil chuckle and disappeared.
Edward was the first to move, running over with his metal arm ready to beat the offending skull in if the man wasn't already dead. Dumbledore, however, caught a hold of him as Winry watched from afar with a mixed feeling in her blue eyes. "No, leave him, Edward," said Dumbledore softly. Edward grunted and pulled his wrist away from Dumbledore and moved back as Dumbledore walked toward the body of the man he had grown to hate the most, Tom Marvolo Riddle.
Tom didn't seem to move. In fact, Edward was certain he didn't see him even breathe. Then, after a moment of silence, a small, child-like whimper came out of that body. Dumbledore placed a hand on Tom's thin shoulder and Tom cried out, causing Amber to start crying. Tom curled up more and covered his head, crying like one would expect a scared child to do. Dumbledore tried to touch him again, but Tom didn't do anything this time except continue crying and whining. Edward had a strange feeling inside him as he stared at this man before him. He hated him and wanted to see him dead and yet he looked so sad and pathetic that Edward felt a bit sorry for him. It didn't stop him from wanting to kill him, but it did keep him at bay for the time being.
Dumbledore called in Severus Snape, one of Lord Voldemort's former spies and a double agent for Dumbledore, to help him lift Tom up and take him to the infirmary. The way he was so curled up, it would have been difficult to use a spell on him and he might do something to hurt others or hurt himself if they tried it. So, instead, they worked together to get the man into the infirmary and lay him down for Madame Pomfrey to deal with. She dealt with him for the most part, but told them that mostly what he needed was some good food and water and lots of rest. She had said that he looked as though he had not slept in ages and it may have affected his mind.
Edward had a retort for that, but he kept it to himself in lieu of just getting away from the poor bastard before he changed his mind and tried to kill him. He watched as Dumbledore spoke to Snape in hushed tones, reassuring tones.
"You can't keep him here, you have to get rid of him," said Snape in a much more heated tone than he normally used. "Have you forgotten why it was we were trying to rid the world of his influence before?"
"Do not talk to me in such tones, Severus," said Dumbledore softly, "I am not daft, nor have I forgotten." He looked away for a moment before looking back to Snape and Edward with those clear blue eyes of his. "I believe that Truth had something to do with this and that Tom has suffered for his crimes a lot more than you may think. In order to look the way he does now, he would have had to endure the joining of the pieces of his soul. In order for that to occur, he would have had to be feeling either truly sorry for what he has done or Truth may have forced it upon him. That not withstanding, the joining alone would have killed him anyway and he's not dead."
Edward hated it when Dumbledore spoke sense. It killed part of his anger and irritation and formed worse, pity for that which had caused him the greatest grief he had ever felt aside from losing his mother and brother and father each. Alphonse seemed to materialize from the shadows and grab a hold onto Edward's shoulder. Both men, despite being older than dirt, had managed to retain a certain amount of their good looks in their advanced age. That was the most interesting part of living among all these magic people; none of them aged the same way as normal every day humans. At the age of fifty or so, Tom looked like he might just be turning forty or still be in his late thirties. Dumbledore was over a hundred and still as sprightly as a younger man. Minerva McGonagall was in her sixties or so and she looked similar to Tom, still no more than possibly forty or a little over. Being inside the school, no living inside the school and having a father that could possibly be said to be made of magic himself, had given both Edward and Alphonse a sort of advantage in their looks.
"What was it you found, Ed?" asked Alphonse quietly. "I heard a very loud sound and something inside me seemed to freeze. Was it the gates?"
Edward nodded and watched Dumbledore carefully. "So what would you have us do then, sir?" asked Edward.
Dumbledore looked to him and smiled faintly. "Wait and see what he does. If I'm wrong, we'll give him to Azkaban, but if I'm right and the ordeal has left him in a much better fashion, then I think I have a small plan forming."
Once more, Edward wondered if Dumbledore wasn't dafter than he thought, but he trusted his judgment and said no more. This was going to be a long week.
Snape frowned as he glared at the doors to the infirmary. That man, that thing, was still inside and recovering. If he simply came in with a poison disguised as a helpful potion, it would rid them all of one big problem. One nagging thought kept him from doing this and that was the thought that perhaps Dumbledore was right and perhaps this man had changed for the better from whatever had been done to him in that place.
"Who is standing out there?"
The voice was fuller, not high and cold like and whispery as the one he had become so accustomed to. True, his voice was higher than most men his height, but it was a pleasant tone that would make anyone trust him to be a good man. The accent was a strict one, a cultured tone meant to make himself sound far more than he really was. He did not sound like a man that Dumbledore and Edward had both said had grown up in a London orphanage and playing with broken toys for most of his young life. This was the sound of a man who most likely knew his voice alone would make people believe in him.
Snape opened the door and walked in slowly, closing the door behind him. Tom's eyes were closed as he lay on his back. "Who is it?" he said, uncaring how loud or soft he was. He sounded somewhat bored, really. "If you don't speak up, I will ask Madame Pomfrey to usher you out."
"An old comrade," said Snape softly, watching Tom with a mixture of fear and loathing. "Or don't you recognize my voice?"
"Oh, I recognize your voice, Severus, but your person is a bit hunched over as if you're afraid," said Tom. How could he seem him without his eyes being open?! It was then Tom turned slightly and opened his eyes. They were the same bright red with slits for pupils that he had learned to fear when he was a spy for him.
Snape straightened up stiffly and clasped his hands together, staring into those eyes with some fear coursing through him. After a moment, those red eyes seemed to bleed out with dark blue and Tom then looked normal. True, one could describe his strange blue eyes as holes in his head, but they were not as unnerving as seeing those red eyes of his once more when he had thought them gone from his life forever.
"What is it you wish to pry from my brain, Severus?" asked Tom in a rather bored tone.
"I was simply looking at the door when you asked who was there, that is all," said Snape, attempting to put up all the walls he had become so accustomed to using when the Dark Lord was there.
Tom smirked faintly and sat up slowly, grunting in pain for a moment before dropping back into the bed. Snape, for once, smirked at the plight of this man who had once frightened him beyond anything. He was once more human, normal, though one could suppose you could not call Tom Marvolo Riddle absolutely normal. "Having a bit of trouble?" said Snape lightly. He walked closer toward Tom and stopped when the man glared up at him with those red eyes once more.
"Mocking me so soon, Severus? If I had my wand on me right now I could make you cry and scream without a care, so don't patronize me," said Tom, snarling slightly as he bit out the last words.
Snape moved back a little more to keep his distance from the now human Dark Lord. "Why have you come back and how?"
"As if I know anything, Severus." Tom grunted and lifted a thin, long fingered hand up to rub his gaunt face.
Snape narrowed his eyes at his former "master" and smirked faintly. "Well, it seems you have been able to gain the sympathy of Professor Dumbledore, but not I or even, indeed, the Elric brothers. We are watching you, 'my lord', do remember that and the Elric brothers won't hesitate to use the fact that you are very weak right now against you."
Tom flicked his eyes toward Snape and Snape had to back away a little more. It felt as though the man were attempting to see into his head like he usually did, but he didn't have his wand with him to do that with. However, just the calm and quiet murderous look that Tom was giving him was one that struck a chord of fear in his heart still. Severus straightened up after a moment stood his ground, gazing at Tom with the same cold scrutiny he gave practically everyone else. "You have no power here now, 'my lord'," he said softly, "Don't think you can get away with everything this time."
With that, Snape left and left Tom to lay in his borrowed bed as weak as a small boy. He could barely lift himself up without difficulty and the greasy haired bastard seemed to find it amusing. Now that Tom thought of it, it really wasn't any wonder he was so amused by Tom's plight, given how often he seemed to enjoy picking at the bastard for being his little spy, but he could show a little sympathy for his fellow wizard. Well, at least one thing was for certain, Tom was not very worried about the lot of them getting together and killing him anymore. What he had endured for what felt like an eternity was hell enough that death seemed like a peaceful vacation.
He was about to fall asleep when he heard the door open and felt the presence of a woman, older than him and small. He glanced over and saw Winry Elric standing there, her face older than the last time he had seen it when he was going to the school, but still as pretty as she was when she was young. Her big blue eyes glittered with angry tears and in one hand she clutched a wrench and the other she held up a little blonde haired girl. "If you're planning on killing me, I won't stop you nor would I blame you," he said softly as he looked away.
"You killed one of my sons and his wife, orphaned my granddaughter and then some how you disappeared because of her," she said as she moved closer. She opened her mouth a couple times to speak and stopped herself, unable to voice whatever was on her mind or in her heart. "Because of you, you have ruined the lives of many, destroyed the loves of many and all you can do is lay there."
"If you want a monster to slay, he's laying right here, madam. I said I won't stop you, so why not just relieve your pain upon my person." Tom was getting irritated now. Was she simply going to lecture him instead of just offing him without a second thought?
Pain coursed through his head as a heavy and metallic object was thrown at him with some forced and collided with his skull. He rolled his eyes back into his head for a moment as he tried to make sense of what had just happened, his eyes only seeing stars and his head whirling like one of those children's rides at a carnival. He struggled to move, but found himself unable until he simply fell out of the bed with a loud THUMP on the ground.
The child started crying as Winry gathered her up into her arms. Tom struggled to his knees and then to his feet until he fell back onto the bed. Madame Pomfrey ran out and went over to his side as Winry looked on with those big blue eyes of hers. "Winry, you should know not to hit a patient when he is so weak!"
Winry nodded and looked away. "I'm sorry, Madame Pomfrey," she said softly before she walked out with the little girl.
Tom looked up at Madame Pomfrey and just stared at her for a moment. The witch stopped her fussing about his person before looking to him and moving back slightly. "Just because you're an outright bastard doesn't mean I won't take care of you so long as you are in my care. I'm a nurse and I will uphold that," she said. Then, she leaned in and glared at him. "But don't you think for one moment you are going to get anything better from me or any sympathy for you should you harm yourself, or do something stupid that hurts someone else." Then, she spun on her heel and went back to the small office she stayed in at the back of the infirmary.