Author's Note: If used, letters, thoughts, Parseltongue, and some other forms of writing in this story will be written in Italics. On the rare occasion, bolded writing will be used.
Disclaimer: Mme. Joanne Rowling owns the series as a whole, and I own the fanfic-made and self-created modifications in this story in particular. I take no claim over the Harry Potter series. Any review or feedback accusing me of plagiarism will be automatically deleted. You will be given credit where credit is due, rest assured.
Story: A Morbid Riddle
It was all too easy. Standing before him stood Morfin Gaunt, a broken man living in a disgusting home that had once been his now deceased mother's. He looked like little more than a primate with his overgrown hair and beard and disgusting oder, and for a brief moment, the teenage Lord Voldemort almost let out a disgusted gasp. Almost. He would not, however, let emotion or expression pass over him. Not to this entity, which was apparently human.
"Who are you, then?" he asked with a frown, speaking in Parseltongue. He saw that this man had the ability to speak the serpent language, just as he, Lord Voldemort, did.
"I'm Morfin, ain't I?" the only living Gaunt replied, sounding drunk even through his hissing.
"Marvolo's son?" Voldemort pressed on.
"Course I am, then ..."
Voldemort stared at the man, one eyebrow carefully arched. So this was his uncle, his dead mother's sister. He knew enough about his family's history to know that Marvolo Gaunt was his grandfather, his mother's father. That was where his name came from – Tom from his father, and Marvolo from his grandfather. He had never met either man, though he could never meet the latter man, as his grandfather had died years ago. He was going to have a nice reunion with his father, though. A painfully nice reunion.
Before then, however, he needed to get around the Trace issue, lest the Ministry of Magic trace the magic he intended to use straight to him. He didn't need or want that. It didn't fit in with his plans for revenge, and that was one thing that motivated Tom Riddle, otherwise known as Lord Voldemort, more than anything.
As he scrutinized the man before him, he noticed Morfin push the hair out of his eyes with a free hand, and with a jolt he saw it: the Gaunt ring. His grandfather's ring.
The perfect item to use as one of my beloved ties to this world, to make myself immortal.
"I thought you was that Muggle," Morfin Gaunt said suddenly, and Voldemort turned to look back at him. "You look mighty like that Muggle." As he said it, an unnatural look of hatred crossed Morfin's face, though Voldemort took no notice. His uncle's qualms with Muggles meant nothing to him, though he was curious none the less.
"What Muggle?" Voldemort asked, his tone sharper than he perhaps intended.
"That Muggle what my sister took a fancy to," said Morfin, almost sneering, "that Muggle what lives in the big house over the way." He spat at the floor, but Voldemort ignored the gesture. "You look mighty like him. Riddle."
So that's the Muggle my uncle hates, Voldemort thought. His features darkened momentarily. It appears my hatred of my dear father is not unique. This Morfin seems to hate the man just as much as I ... I do believe I can use that to my advantage ...
"But he's older now, i'n 'e? He's older'n you, now I think of it."
Morfin seemed to be experiencing scattered memories all at once, for he did not seem to know what he meant, though the intention was crystal clear to Voldemort. As Morfin spoke, he staggered slightly and grabbed the table harder so as not to fall over.
"He come back, see," Morfin added, his voice displaying his lack of intelligence.
Voldemort stared at Morfin. His ideas for using Morfin's anger and hatred towards the senior Tom Riddle were more forward in his mind than ever.
Stepping forward, he asked, "Riddle came back?"
"Ar, he left her," Morfin replied, "and serve her right, marrying filth!" He spat at the floor again. "Robbed us, mind, before she ran off! Where's the locket, eh, where's Slytherin's locket?"
Voldemort provided no response, though the mention of the locket caught his interest. Another possible item to use for my ties to immortality. Yes, my Horcruxes will be the most powerful objects in history!
Enraged by an unknown cause – perhaps his own hatred and fury – Morfin pulled out a knife and waved it around, earning an inward chuckle from Voldemort.
"Dishonoured us, she did, that little slut!"
This struck home for Voldemort, who, for the first time since entering the crumbling home, felt emotion: anger was billowing inside him at the insult towards his mother. Though he did not care for those who succumbed to death – he felt it was a weakness that made humans just that: weak – he had a soft spot for his dead mother that even he did not understand. He did not know love, the kind of thing that his Transfiguration teacher, Albus Dumbledore, might feel and experience, but he knew that he felt something for his mother, Merope.
This man will pay.
"And who're you, coming here and asking questions about all that?" Morfin yelled, angered at the man before him who so greatly resembled the Muggle he hated. "It's over, innit ... it's over ..."
As Morfin looked away, still stumbling a little, Voldemort stepped forward, raising his own wand with the hand that wasn't holding the lamp. He knew what to do now; he was going to use this man for a very useful cause, whether Morfin knew it or not.
With a mere flick of his wand, without a word or thought, Morfin fell to the jet of red light that left Voldemort's wand, the disgusting man's knife and wand hitting the floor before he did himself. Voldemort stood over the unconscious man who was his uncle, wishing he could kill this unworthy pig himself, but knowing that his plan would be ruined if he didn't have someone to take the fall. He bent down, picking up his uncle's wand, and took the ring from his uncle's hand, pocketing it. The ring should have been his, anyway. As for Slytherin's locket, he would track that down and bring it into his possession in due time. For now, finishing the task he had set out to do was all that mattered.
Without another word, Voldemort left the rotting villa. He would be back soon enough.
The home of the Riddles was large, vast, and stank of riches. Lord Voldemort hated the mere sight of it. His hood covering his face, his long black cloak billowing behind him, Voldemort quietly walked up the long path leading to the front doors of the manor. He debated on knocking, just for the suspense, but decided that blasting the doors open would be more satisfying.
It was a large entrance hall, to say the least, but he paid it no mind. Voldemort calmly entered the house, Morfin's wand twirling around in his fingers, and scanned the hall. The sound of voices led him to where he needed to go, and he followed them like a predator sneaking up upon its prey, until he stood in the doorway of the drawing room, and gazed at the three people he knew he was related to.
Two of the three Muggles could have been anyone, but he knew them to be his Muggle grandparents. They were old, but not wrinkled, and looked as though they had reigned in riches all their lives. The third Muggle, to Voldemort's shock, looked exactly like him. Though clearly decades older, the senior Tom Riddle was nearly an exact replica of Voldemort, and the self-proclaimed Dark Lord hated the sight. He would make sure that once he was in full control of his own life – after he was of age – he would rid himself of the look of his father.
"Who are you?" Mr. Riddle barked, seeing Voldemort in the doorway to the room. "How did you get in here? You are not an invited guest!"
Voldemort had to stop himself from laughing outright. The man had not yet seen his face, which was concealed beneath his hood. He could only imagine what the old man would say if he saw what Voldemort looked like.
"We asked you who you were," Tom Riddle said coldly, and Voldemort turned to look at his father. The man even sounded like him. "You will give us an answer, or we will have you arrested right now as opposed to later."
"Detain I?" Voldemort finally said, his voice cold and rather high in tone. "You are a fool to assume that you can overpower Lord Voldemort, Muggle." He would not call him father yet. As far as Voldemort was concerned, Tom Riddle was not his father in anything except name anyway.
"Lord, eh?" Mr. Riddle said with a jeer. "You don't look high up in the rankings to me, boy."
Voldemort hissed angrily at the term 'boy', and Mr. Riddle's resolve faded momentarily.
"If you could see my face," Voldemort hissed, his attention now on his grandfather, "you would not act as you are. However, you will never see my face, Muggle. You will be the first to die for your disrespect."
Before the elderly man could say anything, Voldemort raised his uncle's wand and pointed it at Mr. Riddle's heart.
His hatred, his anguish, his pain at being raised in an orphanage, abandoned by his Muggle family, all poured into the Killing Curse as its green light hit his grandfather, ending his life before his body even had the chance to crumple.
"Father!" Riddle shouted, rushing to his side and taking his hand. Voldemort resisted the urge to scoff at the sight.
"Don't bother, you fool," he sneered. "Your father is dead, as you will be soon."
"Who are you?" shouted Mrs. Riddle, his grandmother, who was in tears. "Why are you doing this?"
For the first time, anger entered his voice as he spoke.
"You want to know why I'm here?" he demanded, his tone colder than ever, and both remaining Riddles shuddered. "You want to know why I hate you so? You want to know why I'm here to end your lives? It's because you abandoned me! You left me, not even caring if I lived! You walked away not even knowing or caring whether I survived, and because of that, I spent my life as an orphan, a common child, no different from any other kid who lived amongst me! I have never known anything other than anger, and it's all because of you!"
He pointed the wand at his grandmother.
"I do have one thing to thank you for, however," he said coolly, "and that is that without your abandonment, Tom Riddle, I would never have known true power!"
"I don't know what you're talking about!" shouted Riddle, standing up to face Voldemort.
"I wouldn't expect you to, Muggle," Voldemort replied, his attention on his father even though the wand was trained on his father's mother. "Though I will grant you the satisfaction of knowing exactly who I am before you die here and now."
Without another word, he pulled back his hood.
For a moment, there was silence. Then Mrs. Riddle screamed.
"It can't be! You look like a younger replica of Tom!"
"Of course I do, you foolish woman," said Voldemort's cold voice, filled with hatred, as he stared at his father. "I'm his son. My name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, the child of that scum" - he pointed at Riddle – "and Marvolo Gaunt's daughter. Do you remember, Riddle?"
The color in Riddle's face was rapidly fading.
"Yes, I do," he whispered. "That foul witch, the woman who tricked me, made me believe I loved her. She betwitched me into marrying her, something I'll never forgive her for." Anger edged his hushed tones.
"Oh, you don't have to worry about her," said Voldemort angrily, hints of red clouding over his dark eyes, "as she died giving birth to me."
"Good riddance!" Riddle shouted, his fists clenched. He took a few steps towards his son, their eyes locked, though the senior Riddle stood a little taller. "She meant nothing to me! She was the child of a tramp, an inbreeder, and she deserved to die, just like he did! Trash, the lot of them! And whoever you think you are, well, you're no better! You're no son of mine!"
With those words, he spat at Voldemort's face.
"You shouldn't have done that," Voldemort whispered, his voice deadly, the wand he had stolen from Morfin Gaunt still trained on Mrs. Riddle. "Now your mother will pay the price for your mistake. AVADA KEDAVRA!"
The green light once again left the wand, and Mrs. Riddle crumpled to the floor, moving no more.
"NO! MOTHER!" Riddle screamed, running to his mother's side. "No, please, you can't be dead, you just can't!"
Tears were falling freely down his face as he turned to face his son, a carbon copy of himself, who was sneering at him. His anger broke free.
"You will pay for this, child!"
"You really think you should be threatening me, Father?" Voldemort said, his sneer more pronounced now. "I have the power to end your life with two words and a flick of this wand, and you're going to run your mouth? Not an altogether wise decision, Riddle."
"You will pay!" Riddle shouted again. He dashed to a table along the wall, opened the drawer, and pulled out a Muggle gun. "You're going to die, you vermin!"
Voldemort laughed, a high, cold laugh that rang through the room. Riddle pointed the gun at Voldemort, but as though he were a flash of light, he vanished, leaving Riddle's line of sight completely.
"What the – "
Riddle did not know what to do. Pointing his gun left and right, he looked for any sign of his supposed son, but found no trace of him anywhere. He ran out into the entrance hall, but found no sign of the boy who shared his name. His hands were now trembling, and his gun was shaking with them. If there was one thing Tom Riddle feared, it was death, and he had an inkling that he would soon die.
Then, quite suddenly, a voice echoed through the house.
"Where to turn, little Riddle, where to fire?"
Voldemort's voice, magnified several dozen times its original volume, cackled through the silence of the Riddle house. "Where will you look next, father, and what will you find when you turn? You cannot hope to best someone with magic. You are a mere Muggle." The voice echoed through the house, ricocheting off the walls and doors, and Riddle flinched.
"Where are you?" Riddle shouted.
"Just follow the fear in your own voice, and the trembling of your fingers!"
Riddle dashed back into the drawing room, momentarily looking at his parents, who lay dead next to the table, and had run five feet into the room when Voldemort appeared in front of him, laughing madly. The wand he held was trained on his father.
"You will never live to tell of your meeting with your son, fool," Voldemort hissed.
"Please don't kill me!"
Voldemort's eyes widened slightly, his disgust more pronounced. This man, the man who had abandoned him to the orphanage without care after leaving his mother, was begging for his life?
"No more of this game, Muggle!" Voldemort sneered, and he pointed the wand at Riddle's heart. "Avada Kedavra!"
As though held up by strings that had suddenly snapped, Tom Riddle Sr. crumpled to the ground, dead even before his head hit the hard floor. His eyes, dark as his son's, were wide, and the fear was etched into their gaze forever.
Voldemort stared down at his father's corpse without emotion, without regret. This was a day he had wanted to come to pass ever since he had found out that his father was a Muggle, ever since he had abandoned his father's name for the alias he had formed so long ago. Without another word, he stepped over his father's body and walked out of the manor, feeling a great sense of accomplishment. As he crossed the entrance hall, he noticed a black book on a table near the door. It looked to be a diary.
This may come in handy some day, he thought, without knowing why he thought so. One day, the world will know and fear my name, but until that day, I will remain shrouded under mystery. I will lock the memory of my current self into this book, and one day everyone will know that I, Lord Voldemort, was the boy that everyone was foolish enough to believe was a prodigy.
He pocketed the book, promising to make it into another Horcrux, and Disapparated the moment he stepped outside.
As Lord Voldemort stepped into the hovel that was his grandfather's home again, his eyes fell upon Morfin Gaunt, who was still unconscious. His lips curved into a smirk. Raising the man's wand, he performed a spell that would transfer a false memory into the mind of the last of the Gaunts: a memory that the man had entered the manor himself and had killed all three Riddles where they sat. He didn't want the world to know about his own hand in their murders. Not yet.
Tossing the wand down onto his uncle's body, Lord Voldemort left the hovel. His work was finished. He had taken his revenge.