Breathing Space

I suppose he finds it ironic, amusing or even as if some inevitable sense of justice has been provoked. It annoys me no end that I can't condemn his damned smirk that I just know is sitting on his lips. His face is revealed to the world and he looks young, perhaps a few years older than me. His eyes are no longer crimson, thank Heavens – 'cos that was really creepy – but instead a deep garnet, the colour of a nice rich wine and they make him look, dare I say it, handsome?

Tom Riddle really has moved up in the world and I sadly have not. I have been pushed higher and higher but there's only so far up you can go before you begin to fall and fall I did. I cannot help but resent them all for forcing me. People are fickle. One minute I am God on Earth and the next I might as well be a demon for the way they treat me.

So I stand here, alone despite the many minions and hangers-on that Dumbledore has procured to give a show of strength. Everyone knows it's all down to me and Tom, Tom and I, always Tom and I, and neither of us feel inclined to give each other a duel right now.

It's one of those phases you go through in life. For most it's running, playing Quidditch, smoking, being an arrogant jerk. For him it was vengeance, and for me it was, well, something else.

I discovered I was able to manipulate my mental link, courtesy of my cursed scar, a few years ago and that realisation came with some surprising results. I found myself hearing sarcastic but always inherently amusing, and honest, comments murmured so gently in my mind as I watched the everyday tediousness pass me by. The anger, fury and rage did nothing to dispel my avid watcher. The Dark Lord is certainly disturbingly voyeuristic.

I suppose a 'truce' would be the best description to describe our, shall we say, situation. Perhaps it will evolve into something else. I find myself sadly lacking in friends at the moment. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger both decided not to bother wasting too much time on me once I started spacing out and were content enough to believe all hype and abandon me at the first sign of trouble. I was shocked that I didn't mind one bit.

They're somewhere at the back. I know they pestered the old man to let them come, but only so they can say they were here, at the greatest battle of an age. Where Harry Potter defeats He Who Must Not Be Named, but they were going to get a completely different show altogether.

I can see him winking at me, the audacity of it. Bloody git. I can sense the shifting as his presence marches into my head and laughingly orders me to move my arse. I draw my wand and force a look of grim determination on my face and turn to look at my army of idiots just so they can see it.

"This is it. Good Luck" and off I trot. I can hear, even from here, Granger and Weasley discussing my chance of surviving and how lame my speech was and I smile inside. I really have lost my tolerance. I was such a nice patient boy and look at what I have become. I don't really know the full extent of that but I'll know once I get to the other side of this damned field.

It was raining yesterday and I don't appreciate my robes getting muddied but it would look odd if I cleaned them mid-march. Perhaps it would amuse Tom though… perhaps not. He'd just think me an imbecile.

My footsteps are silent as I cross the ground and I can hear the more sedate pace of Dumbledore and his lackeys behind me. They've never heard of subtlety, or blessed silence.

"Harry. I know you can do this, end this. We are all with you." I want to scoff at the man easily prepared to send me into no-man's land as his bloody pawn. It is a good job I know where all the pieces are, and what colour.

He is getting very close to me now. I can see his eyes, the curve of his lips, the slight flush from the exercise, which I have to tease him about later, and the way his hair is being tugged in the wind. His army are motionless. It is just the two of us in the middle of a war, a battle that will never begin. I can hear the inhale of every person there, except for us.

Now that I'm here I'm not actually sure what to do. Do I kiss his robes? Do I bow? Do I kneel and crawl up to him? Do I hold out a hand and say cheerily 'G'day mate'? I scowl and I know how ridiculous I must look, but at least only he can see me.

I am only a few steps away – crunch time. I begin to offer a polite bow. It does not show subservience but respect. I thought it the best option but he leaps forwards and stops me. He straightens me up and I can practically hear the cogs working in the light's heads.

He pulled me close and he kissed me.

It was like the eye of the storm. The spells were on the cusp of their lips, the curses; the hexes, the words they wished to shout and I silenced them all when I laughed.