Ok, guys. Last chapter at last. ^o^ I know its moved a little fast these past couple of chapters, but that's what happens sometimes. Honestly, I'm not great at endings. I'm better at building the plot, so my endings usually seem a little rushed from what I'm told. So I apologize in advance!
Disclaimer: Sorry. I don't own Hp. Sigh.
Chapter Twenty Break Me Down
Harry leaned against the throne, watching the Death Eaters file out while Cordelia scrambled over the rafters and flew about in play, stretching her wings. Tom rolled his eyes at the sight and sighed, running a hand through his hair. He seemed as if his thoughts were elsewhere.
"Long day?" The Inferi questioned lightly, nodding to Creed who had gone to show the UnForgiven to their new ground in the cemetery behind the Manor.
The Dark Lord leaned back in his throne, closing his eyes as if he needed to relax.
"You've no idea." He snorted, pulling his reading glasses from his robes and turning to the reports that he had sitting beside him.
Harry plucked the glasses from his hands with a smirk and slipped into Tom's lap gently. The Dark Lord looked surprised but something else lay buried in his eyes that the teen couldn't decipher.
"You need to relax. Let me help you focus on other things." He purred and leaned up to kiss the man for the first time since they had made amends.
Tom made a sound in his throat that he quickly smothered off. The Dark Lord's mind was in turmoil once more. He could feel himself start to shiver. It wasn't that he didn't want Harry or that he didn't find him attractive. It's just that he was so…cold. It's not like the thought that Harry was dead hadn't crossed his mind before and he enjoyed the boy's company more than anyone else's. It's just that it was a different thing when the teen was sitting in his lap and the chill from his body was seeping into his own. He couldn't stop the shudder he felt when Harry's tongue traced his lip nor the image that flashed in his mind of kissing one of the normal, rotting inferi. The image made him nauseous. Tom carefully lifted the teen from his lap, earning a frown from his companion, and stood calmly.
"I really have to get these done before tonight, Harry. Thank you, but I can't right now." He said before giving him an apologetically smile and making his way out of the room.
Harry's eyes narrowed. He hadn't missed the shivering or the flash of revulsion he gleamed from the Dark Lord's mind while his defenses were partially down. He watched the man walk away with his thoughts racing and his stomach squirming in anxiety.
~ o ~
Harry watched Tom moving above the young man through the crack in the door. He felt his still heart ache, the pain sudden, sharp and unforgiving. He couldn't watch anymore. That man...Blonde, blue eyed. He didn't even look like him. If Tom wanted him so much then why would he take a lover that was his exact opposite? Light skinned, blonde...alive. The blow was hard but he suddenly understood. Why Tom had not touched him again since they had reconciled with one another. The revulsion he had felt when he'd kissed him. Harry turned away quickly. He couldn't understand love. Not fully. Yet, pain was something he was very familiar with if not to this agonizing degree. He didn't understand the wetness in his eyes. Or the weakness in his limbs. He had held such high thoughts for their situation. They had been doing so well! Or so he had thought...Why hadn't he seen it? Tom didn't want to desire a corpse. He made his way down the dark halls. Why couldn't he be special to Tom? Did he not too deserve a place in someone's heart? He strode into the room he had taken at Tom's new manor, catching sight of himself in the mirror. He had no place in Tom's heart. His body was cold. His heart longer beat but it could still break. He glared at the tears in his reflection's eyes. He didn't breathe and he didn't have a pulse. He was still but he could still hurt. He smashed his hand through the glass, unable to look at himself any longer. Falling for Tom had been the weakest thing he could have allowed himself to do. He scrawled Creed a note, leaving it on his pillow. The Shadow was occupied with their Liche presently but would be back later. He would look in the library first. When he did not find him there he would come immediately to their rooms. He would find the note. Harry strode out of the room, not once looking back.
'Creed, Stay here and command the UnForgiven in my stead. I've gone back to ground. Harry.'
Perhaps...He supposed he should stop by and see Severus before he left. The man of anyone deserved an explanation the most. He found himself shortly at the man's door. Knocking three times brought the potion's master to the door. He had apparently been working long into the night for there were dark circles beneath the man's eyes and his hair was pulled back.
"Harry? Are you-...Are you alright?" He asked at seeing the teen's distressed state.
Harry shook his head, walking in at the man's insistence. "I'm leaving. I'm going back to ground. I thought you should know."
Severus frowned deeply. He knew that the chances of Harry returning after going back to ground were very slim. He was returning to the cave where he had died; returning to the still waters and his creator sleeping there.
"Does Tom know?" At Harry's silence and the heavy, uncontrollable tears that filled his eyes, he gathered the answer, "I see. Well, thank you for telling me. I will do my best to dispel any confusion here. Will you promise to return and see me? Preferably before am I dead." Harry nodded and with a final goodbye, he left the grim Severus behind.
Harry sighed as he apparated once outside the wards. He sighed at the mouth of the cave, bringing to mind what a forced action it was. He wasn't meant to breathe. He was dead. Tom's heart still beat strong, though. Death separated them and always would. The Dark Lord was immortal after all. He wouldn't ask him to ever give that up. Not after a lifetime of fighting desperately for it. There would never be a happily ever after for them. Tom was alive. He would be disgusted to be with a corpse, no matter how living he may seem. He preferred his partners to have warmth to their bodies. He had played the human for him once and had failed. But Tom would never accept him as he was. He approached the underground lake, the wall opening for him immediately. The Inferi sleeping beneath the water's glassy surface awakened, coming to the surface to welcome him back into their fold. He was their lord after all. He stepped into the water that he knew was frigid although he could not feel the difference. His heart ached at the painful reminder. Whether he was being burned by fire or buried in the freezing water, he felt no difference. He was submerged, allowing himself to sink to the bottom. On the rocky shore above, he left the golden locket with a winding snake engraved on its surface.
~ o ~
Severus felt somewhat sad at the grim departure and so went about his duties that day in an even darker mood than usual. When he saw Tom that evening, he couldn't help the feeling of anger that overtook him. He didn't have to ask what happened. He could guess. He gave the man a frosty look as he handed him the potion, careful to avoid his eye as much as was acceptable so the man didn't notice the glare burning there, waiting to be unleashed.
"Severus, are you well? You seem very angry this evening." Tom said calmly, raising an eyebrow as if daring him to unleash that fury within him.
He bit back the dozen hateful things he wanted to say, so instead, he gripped his hands into fists at his side and replied simply, not able to mask the hint of anger that leaked into his voice.
"Have you seen Harry?" He bit out darkly.
Tom's eyes widened for a moment before being masked quickly.
"No. Not since this morning." His eyes flashed but this time suspiciously." Have you, Severus?"
The potion's master snorted at the undertone the man's simple question held. He thought that he and Harry were sleeping together.
"He stopped by for a moment."
Creed floated quickly through the wall with Harry's Liche at his back, flinging the door open.
"Harry's left! He's gone back to ground!" The man cried.
Severus spun on his heel, glaring at the far wall, and walking away. But of course, Tom called him back, sensing his rage.
"Severus. You knew about this? Why? Why has Harry gone?" He asked.
Severus didn't even turn around. He didn't need to. Tom could hear the disgust and contempt he held for him in his voice.
"Because. He saw you with your pet." He spat the final word, his voice venomous. He turned, and seeing the frown on the man's face, his hissed out loud. "Don't you understand?! Harry may be dead but he still has feelings, however deeply buried they may be! He had feelings for you! Merlin only knows why!"
Tom's eyes narrowed but he seemed to ignore Severus's slip of the tongue.
"I'm going to find him."
The potion's master glared full out now. "No. Not unless you're going to take him back. Not unless you can accept ALL of him this time. Not just half. If you can't, then don't waste his time. He can't handle anymore of this indecisiveness. It will destroy him to be rejected by you again. No, peace." He said at Tom's attempt to defend himself, "You may not have realized your rejection but it was clear. You would not touch him. Harry's heart may not be beating anymore, he still feels hurt. You can't do this to him again. He may just choose a fire next time."
Tom's eyes did widen at this point but he nodded silently, sweeping out of the room. Severus's rage calmed, dissolving into sadness. He had to be sad. He had to defend Harry because the teen would not defend himself. He didn't understand emotions, even though, in a way, he had the greatest understanding of them of anyone. He knew that if you were in pain, you did whatever was needed to alleviate it. If you loved someone, you got together with them. But what if the person you loved...didn't love you in return? Where did that leave you then?
~ o ~
Harry opened his eyes in the frigid depths, unable to succumb to that deep darkness of rest once more. He couldn't. Something was preventing his slumber. His creator's arms were wrapped around him in a macabre embrace just as they had been when he died. He shrugged out of them gently, letting himself float to the surface. The Inferi around him stirred with his own restlessness. Their master could not rest, so they could not either. A few had already drifted from the water, shuffling up onto the land, some of them, for the first time in decades. Harry called them all back into the water. They had wandered long enough. He would allow them to remain at the surface of the water but they were better suited for their resting place in the inky lake. He pulled himself up onto the small island in the center of his home, sitting against the far side of the rock pillar that had once held Tom's horcrux. The same horcrux that now lay inconspicuously on the far shore. He felt the water, heavy in his lungs and even more streamed from his hair into his eyes. He lacked the human involuntary reflexes though and so the cold water streamed over his eyeballs, without his need to blink it away. He brought his knees to his chest, resting his head on them as if it were as heavy as his heart. The stone door opened although he did not turn to see who had entered. It didn't matter. Perhaps they would go away. For no reason at all, Harry's eyes filled with tears once more.
"Harry? I know your here." Tom's voice called from the shore.
The teen scooted over so he could be seen just slightly from Tom's place on the opposite side. He kept his face turned away. Tom would not see his disgrace.
"The locket is there. Take it and go." He demanded softly, his voice empty.
Tom sighed, and picked up the Horcrux that lay on the ground. There was silence for a long moment until the Dark Lord spoke once more.
"Harry, please come back with me." He asked, his voice gently pleading.
This time it was Harry who was silent.
"I don't belong there. I'm not alive." His voice was the slightest bit bitter. His future had been cruelly stolen from him. "I tried to play human for you, Tom, but I could not. I am dead. I can't ever be alive again."
Tom took a small step closer to the water's edge.
"But you can be! We can make you a new body, just like they made mine!"
Harry stood quickly, turning on the man. Tom gasped at the tears in his eyes and the heavy one that slid down his cheek.
"NO! To do so would rob me of everything I am! Everything I stand for! What would be the point of my hatred for that old man if I were to get a new body? He stole my life from me and I intend to pay him back in full! It would not be my body in any case. I won't steal life from others just for a body. That would make me worst than him. I live for the day when I can tear into that damnable man's throat and crush his head in my hands!" His anger seemed to be swallowed by the flurry of tears on his face now, his expression falling into emptiness, "And besides…If you will only want me for a life I can no longer have, then it would be a very hollow existence indeed. I would rather die for my vengeance than live for a false affection."
Tom didn't seem to know what to say to his declaration. The man stood, silent and somewhat sad looking. How dare he be upset? He was the one screwing around!! How dare he lead him on!! Harry sank back down to his seat on the island, turning his eyes away from the only person he had ever held fondness for. The same man that had rejected him and gone to another. The Dark Lord's voice called out, echoing against the cave walls.
"I was a fool, Harry. I thought that I could ignore that you were an Inferi. I thought that I could pretend that you were alive and everything would be fine between us. But now I know that that's just not possible." Harry snorted miserably.
Tom was suddenly by his side. "I won't. I want you, Harry. And if that means that I have to accept all of you then I will."
The Inferi Lord was on his feet in a second, fury rekindled, despite Tom's soft words. "Just like you accepted me before?! Face it! You'll never be able to accept what I am! And what about him?! You didn't seem like you wanted me much when you were screwing him!! Fuck you!! You can huddle against his warmth and his beating heart all you like! I want no more of it! I'm not living, I'm dead! And as far as I'm concerned, you can die too!"
And without another thought, Harry shoved his beloved into the dead water, watching him sink beneath the surface. The Inferi at his command did not attack their creator but neither did Tom make any move to save himself. He let himself go, submitting to Harry's will. When Tom did not resurface, Harry stared at the bubbles as they ceased. He immediately became concerned. Tom couldn't die. He wouldn't let himself. He loved life too much. Right? He went to his knees, peering over the water, gripping the edge until his fingers were white. "Tom?"
Suddenly, for the first time since he had been alive and breathing, Harry felt real panic grip him. He launched into the water, letting himself sink. Tom couldn't die! He still had so much to live for! He had had a lot to live for too... He fought against the frigid water, swimming as hard as he could. He reached out until his hand grasped another. One that was not as lifeless as his follower's own. Harry couldn't fathom how long it took to get to the surface and pull Tom up on the island. Every second seemed like it lasted an eternity in which the life was seeping from the Dark Lord who had cherished it so much. Tom was still on the ground and he didn't breathe any longer. Harry pushed on his chest in mimic of the CPR he had learned in elementary school at the Dursley's. Within moments, Tom was choking up the freezing water, sputtering as Harry leaned his head gently to the side so it could fall out onto the stone instead of back into the man's lungs. At the first desperate breath, Tom's body began to shake considerably as if he were about to fall to pieces. He gave the teen a shaking smile.
"What were you thinking?! Why didn't you try and save yourself?! You're so stupid!" Harry cried, hitting the man's chest with anger and relief.
Tom cast a drying spell on himself and a few warming charms and waited for his body to cease its jerking.
"I knew...that you wouldn't let...me die." He said between his teeth chattering loud enough that Harry half feared they would break.
Harry's eyes were shocked but softened. Tom had trusted him with something more precious to the man than anything. He had trusted him with his life. The man's hand gripped his own softly as red met green. "Please come back, Harry? That man means nothing to me. You mean...everything." Harry shook his head, a small smile on his mouth. He sighed in exasperation but took the locket from the Dark Lord's hand, slipping it over his head. "You're so arrogant..." Harry whispered, leaning down to kiss the man tenderly. Tom smiled, reaching up to brush one of the stray tears away that had escape in Harry's earlier terror.
"I do...care about you." He said, watching Tom's eyes fill with pleasure. "I love you too, Harry."
~ o ~
Harry grinned at the man laying beside him, rolling over to lay ontop of the sleeping Lord of the New Wizarding World. Voldemort sighed with a smile, wrapping his arms around his Lord Consort.
"Happy Birthday, Harry Potter-Riddle." The man whispered in his ear, finally opening his eyes.
The teen smiled brightly. Happy Birthday. His nineteenth birthday. Tom huddled against his warmth just as surely as Harry huddled against his. The teen took a deep breath and reveled in the need for it. It had been a year since they had triumphed over the Ministry and Dumbledore and seized control of their world. When the thought dead Savior made a very public appearance denouncing Dumbledore and revealing the crimes that the man had committed to the masses, they had followed their new leaders like good little sheep. They had left his Inferi status out of the media, instead just saying that the Dark Lord had found him just in time and saved him from certain destruction. An odd twist on the truth but it was necessary. After the victory and the world had settled its ruffled feathers once more, they had performed the ritual that would give Harry his body back, with a few pleasant differences. He looked as he would if the Dursley's had never mistreated him. He was alive again and because of his present mastership in Necromancy, the Inferi, UnForgiven and the rest of the undead legions still followed his every command. Because he was still, even living, saturated in the death magic that called to them, they thought of him as still one of them. Harry had managed to let go of his hate, after Dumbledore's death of course, and start his life anew. He had reconnected with his old friends briefly and the Weasleys but they weren't entirely sure what to make of him at present. After all, he had been dead for some time, then mysteriously showed up to revolutionize their world at the Dark Lord's side and turn around to take the position of Lord Consort. As Tom's fingers ran down his spine, Harry couldn't stop the shudder of pleasure that took over him. That was another change that had happened since he had been reborn. He was so sensitive. His nerves seemed to be constantly alive with sensations of every sort. The first thing that he had done when he had come back from the ritual was drag Tom with him into a nice hot bath. He hummed lightly, wiggling against the grinning man teasingly.
"And how are you going to make it particularly happy for me?" He asked, looking up at him with those piercing emerald eyes that he knew Tom adored.
The Dark Lord smirked and wrapped an arm around him, running the other through Harry's long hair. He traced the winding serpent tattoo on the young lord's lower back, knowing what it would do to his lover's blazing libido. They had contributed the sensitivity to Harry's magic. While he had been full blooded Inferi, his magic had not had any check because his body wouldn't be damaged by the swell. Since his rebirth, his magic had continued to swell like some living thing. During the ritual itself it seemed to have grasped hold of the boy's very body and so when he had emerged, Harry seemed to be more half human, half Inferi. It had been a complication but one that his beloved didn't seem to mind in the least.
"Oh, I was thinking a long hot bath to start, then we can go down to let our companions and allies shower you with attention before going to the Ministry to order some incompetent fools around and make them feel more incompetent before flooing over to Italy to meet with the Minister and his wife. Then getting over to France for a nice, moonlit dinner. After dinner we could come back here and ignore everyone so I can worship you for the rest of the night."
Harry hummed, closing his eyes and laying his cheek against the man's chest.
"I vote that we keep them waiting and you can practice worshipping me now. Just so I know your at the top of your game for tonight." He said mischievously, making his lover laugh out loud.
"So you think I can't please you as well as ever?"
"I think we should have…try outs. Just to make sure."
Tom smirked before pulling the chuckling teen beneath him to show him exactly how competent he was. He would show the little sprite what was what! They heard Creed knock on the door, calling to see if they were awake yet but all the Shadow heard was a giggle and a moan before he rolled his eyes and walked off. The couple would just ignore him until they were done anyways. He sighed before raising an eyebrow and making his way back to his own undead mate with a Cheshire smirk. Well, he couldn't let them have all the fun now could he?