Disclaimer: Do I need a disclaimer if I doubt anyone would read this? If so, I don't own Harry Potter.
This chapter begins after the fourth year, goes through to the end of the fifth year, and ends at Harry's birth.
I'm weird like that.
There is a gate in the properly named 'Death Chamber'. The gate, known only as 'the Veil', was such a mystery that it was given its own chamber, far from the Department of Mysteries but still in the Ministry of Magic itself.
'The Veil' has been subject to many theories. Some view it as a one-way ticket to the after-life, death or whatever lay ahead. Some view it as just simply a void of life, the be all and end all, the alpha and the omega. Others think its just an enchanted door that shows weird colors and emits weird, ghost-like voices. But a theory known only to those who work closely on matters around the Veil is of something at the other end of the spectrum.
The Veil was discovered at the same time and in the same vicinity of the Mirror of Erised, many, many years ago. It bears similar markings, similar references to a human's deepest desire, want or need. Though while the secrets of the Mirror of Erised could be found and recorded easily, the Veil was one to be tread around. The theory surrounding the Veil and its connection to the Mirror of Erised was obvious to the wizards and witches tirelessly researching and finding themselves at dead-ends – the Veil was a pathway to the heart's desire, but at a cost of leaving everything behind.
Of course, this was just a theory, and could never, and probably would never be proven.
Diagon Alley had found itself shrouded in darkness, as the various residents and shopkeepers of the usually busy and bustling area had packed up for the night and reduced itself to abandoned streets, save for the few late night pubs still open.
While everyone was either asleep, or drunk, they failed to notice that one of the most important shops in all of Diagon Alley was under immediate jeopardy. Quietly, the shop had been broken into, secured, silenced and warded, while the shopkeeper himself had been taken off guard, captured, trapped and under the mercy of the only wizard powerful enough to perform such a feat in such short time.
"Crucio!" Voldemort pointed his wand at the body in front of him, as the frail, old man on the other end of the spell crumbled to his knees in pain. "Tell me now, Ollivander, EXPLAIN to me what happened at the graveyard at Little Hangleton. How did a boy escape the killing curse again?"
"I – I do not know!" Ollivander gasped for breath, as Voldemort again flicked his wand at him, torturing the man further. It was more humiliating then painful for Ollivander, as Voldemort had swiftly crept into his shop at the dead of the night, and had Ollivander under the mercy of his own creation, his beautiful product which he never had foreseen as being used on him.
"You don't know?" Voldemort emitted a hollow laugh, as he continued to inflict more pain on the man. He watched the man on the floor in front of him, dangling his wand at his fingertips, pointing right at the man's head. "You dare lie to me?"
"You're supposed to be dead!" Ollivander said, almost yelling, but knowing that a man – if he could even be called that – as smart as Voldemort would have already made sure that they could not be found or heard.
"I'm what?" Voldemort had heard him the first time, but was only challenging him to say it again.
"You're supposed to be dead!" Ollivander repeated.
"So you would like to believe." Voldemort smiled, as he stepped forward and lifted his hood, revealing his bald, grotesque and skeleton-like face, with his gray skin, snake-like nostrils and horrifying, blood-red eyes.
"My god Tom…" Ollivander breathed, almost flinching at the immediately angered expression on the face of Voldemort when he referred to him by his real name. "What have you done to yourself?"
"I am better! Better than any mere human like you ignorant fools!" Voldemort moved his wand in a slashing motion, as a scar tore its way onto Ollivander's chest, as if it had just been slashed with a knife. "You hopeful individuals who believed a mere child could defeat me!"
"Darkness will always be defeated by the light…" Ollivander quoted, as Voldemort cackled.
"You honestly believe that?" Voldemort asked, moving over to Ollivander, bending over and pressing his wand against the throat of the old man lying on the ground. "You believe the 'words' Dumbledore feeds you to get you to sleep at night? All talk, no action, that old man never had it in him, so he sends a child to do his job!"
"Dumbledore is more of a wizard then you will ever be!" Ollivander said, and Voldemort angrily pointed his wand towards Ollivander, throwing the man back into the bookshelf filled with wands, as the sticks fell on top of him, some even making sparks as they made contact with his body.
"Dumbledore is a coward, you are a coward – Harry Potter is a coward!" Voldemort was yelling now, pointing his wand down at Ollivander. "Crucio!"
"You're still the same as before, no matter how much better you think you are now." Ollivander managed to say, but Voldemort laughed.
"Ollivander, you are not without things you love, am I correct?" Voldemort asked. "You see me, Ollivander, I like few things – power, inflicting pain – not tangible things. But you and others like yourself... You love your 'families', your 'friends', your 'possessions'. You have 'things' to lose. Now, how would you feel about losing them?"
"You wouldn't dare."
"You are in no position to make threats." Voldemort taunted him. "Getting angry?" Ollivander paused, and with one last look at Voldemort, began speaking.
"Fine. I'll tell you." Ollivander spoke in a soft, quiet voice. "I'll tell you why you couldn't defeat Harry Potter at the cemetery."
"Good." Voldemort's scowl twisted into a sick grin. "Tell me all you know, right now."
"Your two wands are one and the same." Ollivander explained. "Your two wands were made from the same Phoenix, and they recognize each other as both brothers and enemies. His wand will always attack you no matter what, and your wand always will fight back, and vice-versa."
"And how can I overcome this? Do I need a new wand?"
"No. Even a new wand will bring on the same results."
"Then how do I defeat him!" Voldemort demanded, as Ollivander began to laugh, to the annoyance and fury of Voldemort. "TELL ME NOW!"
"From what I can deduct, since his wand will always recognize you as the enemy because of what you did to him as a child, and since your wand will never be able to overcome his due to being its brother, you two are equally matched." Ollivander said. "I'm sorry, Lord Voldemort – but you will never be able to defeat Harry Potter for as long as either of you live."
"We shall see." Voldemort hissed, the wheels turning for a new plan in his head. "I still might need you later. Obliviate."
Because of what you did to him as a child you two are equally matched…
"Matched? How can a boy match me?" Voldemort asked himself, as he paced up and down the frail shack. None of his followers were with him – if they could see him distressed and frustrated it would show weakness, something he despised. "The prophecy! I need the prophecy…"
Voldemort recalled the prophecy of which his most loyal servant, Severus Snape had informed him of so many years ago, when he had first set out to kill the boy. The boy had managed to foil his every attempt at winning – he had to try something new. Maybe there was something in the prophecy that he needed to find out, Snape was not able to hear the whole thing, after all.
"I need to find the full prophecy." Voldemort hissed. His genius mind calculated everything – the different ways, the risks, whether it would even be worth it or not. "If only I had killed him then and there, instead of wasting all that time…"
Before Voldemort could continue his thoughts though, Peter Pettigrew came stumbling into his presence, his loyal servant 'Wormtail' quivering before him. "Master… master…"
"What is it, Wormtail?" Voldemort asked, the annoyance and frustration more evident in his voice then he would've liked.
"Crouch is dead."
"I knew he would eventually die, Wormtail, so why tell me this?" Voldemort asked, as Wormtail's face twisted into a smile that showed a mix of emotions – mostly fear and anxiety.
"He was given a 'Dementor's Kiss'… Before the Ministry could interrogate him, but after Dumbledore did." Wormtail said, waiting for his master's reaction.
"Good. That gives us more time." Voldemort's chalk-white faced managed to form a lipless smile, as his spider-like hand turned into a fist, and Voldemort began tracing out his next plan. "The Ministry is too ignorant... Still too afraid to believe the boy's word…"
"What shall we do about it?"
"We prove them wrong." Voldemort stared down at Wormtail, who could only watch and try his best to read his master's inhuman face, and wonder what emotion he was even capable of. "They're fools, Wormtail. Fools."
"Do you have a plan?"
"A plan?" Voldemort asked, rhetorically. "I storm the Ministry of Magic, with all of my most loyal followers, and then, everything that should have been will occur, and everything shall happen exactly like it should have."
"Now?" Wormtail asked, and Voldemort shot him look as if he had just said the most stupid question in the world – though to be honest, it had come close.
"Soon enough, Wormtail – when I am ready." Voldemort said. "When everything is in place."
"When we recruit more followers, master?"
"We have enough with us now." Voldemort quickly calculated.
"But sir… What if it isn't enough? It is the Ministry of Magic, after all."
"It will be. I only need enough to get me in there." As soon as the words had escaped Voldemort's mouth, Wormtail was afraid of what he knew he had to ask next.
"What about getting out, my Dark Lord?"
"You'll manage." Voldemort's hollow laughed echoed through the room, as he swept past his servant, leaving Wormtail the same as he always was – full of fear and anxiety.
There had been only a very few times in which Voldemort had gone for the most dangerous, risk-filled option in desperation for an answer. The first resulted in him becoming a Dark Lord and assuming powers most wizards feared even going near. The second resulted in him nearing death after attempting to kill an infant Harry Potter. And the third resulted in him nearing death after attempting to kill an infant Harry Potter – again.
Voldemort's choices were usually chosen from a variety of carefully, meticulously, thoroughly-thought out plans, each with every single step gone through and every single consequence accounted for. The one flaw that did exist in every single one of these choices was his overconfidence in his 'immortality', his reliance on his horcruxes, and his dependence on his vast powers.
While one could consider this ignorance and stupidity on Voldemort's part, he was nearing immortality, he did have his horcruxes just in case and he did have the vast powers that brought many great wizards crumbling to their knees and begging for mercy. But in the desperation-fuelled choices, these three flaws stood out the most. In his fear for his own life and safety, Voldemort abandoned his usually systematic reasoning and went straight to action, straight to the one thing he knew best and feared the worst of – death, the solution to all his problems, as long as he wasn't the one doing the dieing.
Voldemort didn't see a flaw in the second showing of desperation though. He should have succeeded – he found where the Potters lay, killed them with a flick of his wand and was just about to kill the baby, until the prophecy came in. So Voldemort, rather than find out what the prophecy could tell him, as they meant only 'words' to him, decided to go somewhere where 'everything would be perfect'. If Voldemort had told himself what he was about to do a year ago, he just might've killed himself.
But no, in the next reality it would be different. Harry Potter would be dead.
"Wormtail?" Voldemort asked.
"Yes, my Dark Lord?"
"Are the preparations ready?" Voldemort knew they were, he was constantly probing his servant's mind, but he enjoyed watching him squirm anyway. For months and months they had planned, calculated, and put all the necessary motions in place. Harry Potter would be distracted because he thought Sirius would die, Dumbledore and the Order would think he was after the prophecy in the Department of Mysteries, thus with both groups close to him, but at the same time out of the way and with the Ministry of Magic itself still not believing a word Dumbledore or Harry Potter said he was free to roam the Ministry to do whatever he wanted.
"Yes, master." Wormtail bowed.
"Good." Voldemort said. "Prepare the Death Eaters. Bring Bellatrix to my side. And Wormtail, I hope you haven't told any of the other Death Eaters of my plan. Because there are consequences, even if I may not be there to act them out."
"No master, never." Wormtail replied, shivering with fear, and Voldemort knew he was telling the truth.
"Good." Voldemort smiled. "We leave soon, let me show one last thing to the boy's mind…"
The plan was simple, and like all others, Voldemort had calculated it carefully.
Harry Potter and his band of buddies would come to the Ministry like fireflies to a lamp, and they would head for the prophecy, what everyone assumed he was after. Voldemort would send a large majority of his Death Eaters to meet Harry Potter there, as these Death Eaters were also under the assumption that it was the prophecy that they had to obtain for their Dark Lord.
A battle would take place and then the rest of the Order of the Phoenix would join in the battle, distracted by the happenings in the Department of Mysteries. Bellatrix, in a combination of a polyjuice potion and transfiguration would appear to look like Voldemort, and would 'temporarily distract' Albus Dumbledore upon his arrival – as she was under the assumption that Voldemort would step in to help her.
Wormtail would then accompany him to the Death Chamber to end up near the Veil, which he would walk through to find his heart's desire on the other side.
And if all else failed, he still had his horcruxes.
For a year now he had privately researched, with the help of Wormtail, the Veil. He had captured and interrogated Ministry researches, Aurors, guards, anyone who had ever been close to the Veil and knew a shred of information about it.
Voldemort was to go through the veil and achieve his heart's desire.
The first time Voldemort had heard of the Veil was by passing, when researching the horcruxes in his younger years. He brushed it off as a myth, an urban legend, though as he delved deeper in the Dark Arts, he had heard truths that sounded more unreliable than the theory surrounding the Veil, so he decided to pocket the idea, just in case he ever needed it.
Voldemort had deliberated what he could do. If Ollivander was right, he would die in the future trying to kill Harry Potter. There was no way out of it, no way around it, no way to get through it without himself actually dieing.
He assumed on the other side of the Veil would be a world where he was king, Harry Potter either never existed or was dead and he had triumphed over everyone who dared oppose him.
A perfect world.
He was wrong.
"Master!" Wormtail trailed behind Voldemort as he swept through the dark halls of the Ministry. "The Order have arrived! They are currently dueling Malfoy and his company."
"And Bellatrix?" Voldemort asked.
"She is waiting for Dumbledore's arrival." Wormtail said.
"Fighting with the Order, sir, waiting for his signal to turn on them." Wormtail replied.
"Good." Voldemort was smiling on the inside, though because of the importance of the event made every effort to not show any emotion on his battle-ready exterior.
"What shall I do, once you have gone through?" Wormtail asked.
"Wormtail, you shall do what you have done all your life." Voldemort sighed, his face shockingly bearing human similarities. "Run and hide."
"You are kind and merciful, my Dark Lord." Wormtail said. Suddenly a large crashing noise was heard behind them, and while Voldemort did not bother to turn around, while Wormtail did in fear.
"And there's the arrival of the glorious Professor Dumbledore to save the day." Voldemort mocked sarcastically. "Say Wormtail, would you like to make a wager on how long Bellatrix survives?"
"I – I…" Wormtail stuttered, confused on how to interpret his master's ruthlessness. Suddenly an even louder and larger crashing noise was heard, reaching even them in the depths of the Death Chamber.
"Too late, looks like she's already done with. We better get a move on before Dumbledore realizes what is really going on and starts looking for us." Voldemort said, as he reached the center of the room. "Ah, the Veil. I can hear it, Wormtail. Hear the voices of the people on the other side. Hear the voices of the world kneeling before me."
"No time now Wormtail, Dumbledore is probably already on his way. For a cowardly servant, you have done me well." Voldemort flashed his lipless smile once again, which turned into a cackled laughter as he stepped willingly through the Veil. "Show me my heart's desire…"
Like all Dark Lord's, Voldemort thought he knew what he wanted – power beyond belief, world domination and the like.
But what would he do after that?
Besides answering that question, Voldemort's 'heart' betrayed him. Sure it had given him what he wanted, but at a price – he had to earn it.
There was never such a thing as an easy way out.
In mere minutes, Godric's Hollow had turned from a warm, cozy environment, with James Potter sitting in the living room, and Lily Potter with her son in the baby's room upstairs to a cold, dark place, with James Potter sprawled on the living room floor and Lily Potter left lying in front of her crying, scarred child.
What was left of Voldemort had escaped Godric's Hollow, and as one Voldemort left, another Voldemort arrived.
There's a reason why Voldemort never considered using a time-turner. Time-turners are only useful for sending full human beings back in time, and Voldemort was only one-seventh of a soul, and thus would be sent back that way.
The exact same happened once Voldemort had walked through the veil. Voldemort, just a mere soul fragment, had arrived in Godric's Hollow. Trying to resist the pull to leave the realm and join the afterlife as a demented, shriveled husk, the soul had shown strength and managed to find and bond with another close soul fragment within a body.
Harry Potter and Voldemort were now one and the same, in more ways than one.
Fate had had a cruel twist on Voldemort, as all he could remember was the one conversation he had had with Dumbledore once he had discovered the Mirror of Erised.
"Professor Dumbledore, what is this?" A young Tom Riddle asked, no older than twelve years of age.
"This is the Mirror of Erised, Tom. I suspect you have figured out what it does already." Dumbledore asked, and a strange expression came over Tom's face, as the usually brilliant boy bore a perplexed, inquisitive look, as if something was wrong.
"No, Professor, I haven't figured out what it does."
"Really?" Dumbledore said in surprise. "It shows the heart's true desires. But if you look at it too much, Tom, you may find yourself obsessed with something that's not reality. Real life, no matter how bad is still –"
"Professor, excuse me for interrupting, but when I look into the mirror, I don't see what I want most." Tom explained.
"What is it you want most, and what is it you are seeing?" Dumbledore offered his help to the confused boy, who continued to stare into the mirror.
"I want to be the greatest wizard to have ever lived, but in the mirror…" Tom continued to gaze into the mirror, almost frightened to even go any closer. "In the mirror I see… I see someone who looks like me… but isn't…"
Dumbledore stared back at Tom for a moment, wondering if the boy was just playing one of his many mind games again, or if he was being serious. "Tom, perhaps the best answer I can offer you is that sometimes we as human-beings find it difficult to distinguish what we truly want, and what we think we want."
"But why would I want to be this other person?"
"That, I cannot tell you, Tom." Dumbledore said. "Now, you better head back to your dormitory now or I'll have to take points of Slytherin…"
Voldemort was sure he was different. Sure he had changed from the naive twelve year old boy who still admired Dumbledore, Merlin and other so called 'great wizards'. He was sure he wasn't the child who pursued knowledge for knowledge's sake, rather than the powerful and still growing with power wizard that he was now – or before he became what he is now.
Voldemort felt like he could scream, but he couldn't. He wanted to escape, but he couldn't. He had to choose his next move carefully. He went over what could have possibly happened, he was already over what went wrong. He had to find a way to separate himself. But he couldn't when he had no control over the body he had occupied, and when he was trapped in the mind of a developing baby.
The advantage was that he had time on his side. The disadvantage was many, and obvious. The problem that stood out to Voldemort the most was, what course should he take? He was sure he could somehow communicate to Harry once his mind was developed. Should he attempt to force the child into suicide, and if so would that kill him as well? And was he doing this for the sake of the Voldemort of this reality, who was still recuperating, or for himself? And if it was for himself, the Voldemort of this reality was now his enemy.
Again, Voldemort had nothing but time on his hands.
"What are we going to do, Albus?" The voice of an aged woman spoke, and suddenly, Voldemort felt baby Harry's eyes open, and he found he was seeing what Harry was seeing, feeling what Harry felt. This was a strange, new experience.
"Minerva, we will take him to the Dursleys, as planned, his blood relatives. That should protect him from Voldemort should he ever –"
"You speak as if he is not vanquished! As if this ordeal still continues!" 'Minerva' insisted. "And as planned? You expected the Potters to be murdered like this?"
"It was a back-up plan, discussed with the Potters themselves. And you know what the prophecy said." Dumbledore spoke in a soft but firm and commanding voice.
"I have seen the Dursleys, Dumbledore, they will not care for this child at all! Do you want this child to grow up hating the wizarding world? And Lily's sister! Don't you remember what she did?" Minerva asked. "Don't you think she might even ask the same for Harry as she did for herself?"
Voldemort urged Harry to take a look around. Voldemort recognized the place – they were still in Godric's Hollow, still in the room of baby Harry. Voldemort searched through his memories – the Durselys, Harry hated them, he used to take pleasure at seeing what they did to him between school years by looking through Harry's mind. No, this would not do. As much as he liked to see Harry in pain and suffering, it was at the risk of himself as well.
Adjustments had to be made.
"Minerva, this is what is going to happen. We'll take them to the Dursleys, I'll sort everything out with them and –" Dumbledore was interrupted again, as suddenly baby Harry began to cry.
Voldemort laughed as he realized what he was doing, what was happening. As Voldemort's emotions grew stronger, so did Harry's. As Voldemort lent his magic to the newborn, the newborn couldn't handle it, releasing it and causing the room to quake. Voldemort encouraged the newborn, more and more, more magic, more mania, intimidate Dumbledore.
More, more and more.
"Albus! The boy, what is wrong with him?" Minerva asked. "He shouldn't be doing this, not this soon!"
"It seems Voldemort must have triggered something once he had arrived here." Dumbledore looked over Harry, and gently tried to prod the baby's mind, something which Voldemort felt immediately. To both their surprise, Voldemort and Dumbledore found that Voldermort's automatic mental shields were still in tact, and Dumbledore began trying to prod, harder and harder, but Harry continued to cry, until finally Dumbledore stopped.
"You didn't just try to – did you?"
"It seems you are right, Minerva. We can't leave him to the Dursleys. Uncontrollable magic power like he has as an infant under a muggle household is no good. But still, if Voldemort comes back…"
"I'll look over him, Dumbledore." Minerva said, and Dumbledore smiled, another of his back-up plans. "I owe it to James."
Voldemort smiled as well inside of Harry's mind, as Harry did on the outside as well, this would do for now. Raised by a transfiguration expert who could possibly serve as an asset in this child's development as he grew up. Voldemort continued to think about his plan, when and how he would start communicating to Harry, to what extent should he influence him, all to reach his final goal – Harry Potter, the new Dark Lord.
"I'm sure you've noticed by now that he bears James's likeness." Dumbledore said, as Minerva nodded.
"Yes, he does." She said, but frowned. "But his eyes, Dumbledore. They… they frighten me."
"His eyes." Dumbledore acknowledged, looking at Harry's deep, blue eyes. "Exactly like his, before he… Like Tom."