Title: Fate's Hand
Warnings and pairings: Refer to the previous chapters.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs of J.K. Rowling and Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
Author's Note: I realize that the update came very late and I wish I could offer a reasonable excuse. Mine is plain and simple. In a bout of utter stupidity, I decided to watch the Twilight Movie. I had heard that it was an improvement on the book so I decided to give it a shot. I regret it most heartily! The acting is awful. The interactions are awkward and uncomfortable. When Bella and Edward confess their love to each other, it hits you in the face because there is no visible sign of it developing through the course of the movie. Edward's voice, I might add, is crappy and meek. Throughout the movie, he seems like a zombie. Bella can't seem to talk without uttering uh and umm to show her indecision and utter lack of personality! I liked Jasper, Rosalie, Emmett and Alice so much better! Heck, I even liked Jessica and Angela better than the principle characters.
It is utter agony to write Rhyian paired with that creep Edward! Seeing him in the movie is really no improvement at all. I wish that I could change the pairing and put Harry with Jasper or even Emmett. At least, they don't sound like pansies. I can't even think about the villains without gagging. Laurent and James are pathetic. Victoria, I admit, did seem a little scary and sexy but ugh... so not worth the title of antagonists! They are weaklings with no personality as well.
I am sorry for the rant but I needed to vent. I think I picked the wrong book to make a crossover with Harry Potter. Heck, even a crossover with Vampire Knight would have been better and I hate that manga!
A warning to you all. Edward is getting a very hard hand in this chapter but I planned it that way. I also wish to inform you that the story will soon move back to the Harry Potter world. I have no interest in getting into the New Moon, Eclipse or Breaking Dawn plot-line. After this, Edward's character transformation will start with full swing. Also, I am still keeping the Edward/Harry pairing. That is not going to change.
Despite being able to function normally during the day, Vampires were primarily the creatures of the night. The darkness of the night gave them life as well as shelter. It was a time of silence, something that all the Cullens appreciated.
Humans never really seemed to appreciate silence until it was gone. They never seemed to understand just how beautiful it could be. How serene and comforting it was to someone who could not only hear spoken words but thoughts as well.
Edward cherished silence. Silence first attracted him to Bella's mind. It was a different kind of silence though, disconcerting because it was so hollow, so impenetrable. One couldn't breach that desperate silence, that vacuum that enticed panic and discontent.
His ma- Rhyian's silence was so much more beautiful. It was like the darkness of the night, soothing, pleasant and thoughtful. There was something inexplicably comforting about Rhyian. The kind of security that one would feel with a person they trusted completely.
Trust was the word. Why Edward was able to apply it so easily to Rhyian was unknown to him.
Rhyian was an unknown entity. His father's friend had only added to the confusion by stating that Rhyian was the Dark Lord's son. Carlisle could only conclude that Rhyian was a wizard, that too with great uncertainty.
Edward wasn't convinced. Rhyian was something more. Whether his own partiality was affecting his judgment or his instincts leading him in the right direction, he didn't know.
"And one such as him is to be my mate."
Alone in his room, staring out of the window to gaze at the darkness, he allowed his thoughts to wander. Rhyian had managed to upend his entire perspective of the world. His notion of good and bad, right and wrong was now in question.
What was right for humans may not necessarily be right for him. There were so many instincts that he felt as a vampire and majority of them were disgusting to him but exactly what were his instincts trying to tell him? There was so much he needed to learn about himself, his instincts and his world.
And Rhyian could teach him.
Life was taking a new, unexpected turn. Something very pleasant and refreshing loomed on the horizon and all it needed was Edward's acknowledgement. Rhyian was a storm that had disrupted the monotony of his existence, showing a glimpse of a world where Edward wouldn't feel so… disconnected with everything.
He wanted that. He wanted what Rhyian could offer. He wanted to be ordinary without losing his identity. He didn't want to repeat his schooling. He didn't want to move from one place to another. He wanted to do something with his life instead of just existing without any purpose.
There was so much he could do. He had invested long hours in creating musical compositions that he couldn't share with anyone but his family. It would be so satisfying to let all those concertos and sonatas see the light of day. He could do it. He knew he could. He could be a career pianist, share his works with others, teach and participate in concerts because he could be popular.
In a world that vampires were a fact rather than some horror story, he could live instead of just surviving on the fringes of society.
It would do his family so much good.
His father wouldn't need to go from one place to another, never having his brilliance in the field of medicine acknowledged because they couldn't afford to acquire fame.
His mother could easily establish her own firm, letting her hobby of designing homes become a profession.
Emmett would no longer need to use pseudonyms to get his articles published. He wouldn't need to look wistfully at the series of action/adventure novels that he had written and wonder if he'd ever be able to publish them.
Alice would finally be able to become a teacher, spreading her wide knowledge of known and some, not-so-known languages.
He could see it. Alice would love to be amongst other enthusiasts, discussing about Latin, Greek and several other ancient languages. The sheer number of modern languages she was fluent in was astounding but Edward knew that very few outside their family knew of it.
Then there was Rosalie and her painfully poignant poetry.
She, perhaps, was the most misunderstood amongst them. Her depth and understanding was hidden underneath a thin veneer of icy perfection. She was also multi-talented. Her singing voice was beautiful as was her writing. Her talents could bring pleasure to many people but she was forced to hide it.
Edward regretted that. Rosalie deserved better.
Then there was Jasper. Just how much at ease would Jasper be amongst people like Rhyian? It would be easy for him to adapt to their lifestyle. Jasper wouldn't have to constantly worry about his control. He'd be able to live peacefully, maybe then, he'd be able to follow Carlisle into the medical field as he had desired to do for so long.
Even if Jasper never found the control necessary to go into the field, he could find something else. With the new world, new opportunities would come. Surely, he'd be able to find something that was ideal for him?
The vampire stilled, looking at the door to see Rosalie silently standing there, observing him with an unusually kind expression.
"Will you speak with me?"
Edward instantly shook his head, understanding what she was asking. He wasn't ready to talk. He hadn't even begun to sort out his thoughts.
"Please." Her mind whispered to him, "Just this once, listen to me, Edward. You aren't talking to anyone… you haven't spoken to anyone in our family for days." She walked forward confidently, "You haven't been in school for days. He seemed somewhat concerned as well. Jasper sensed it."
Edward tensed, his fingers twitching spasmodically in agitation. "Rose…"
"Whatever you tell me… whatever we discuss will be in the strictest confidence." She assured him, "No one needs to know. You can tell me anything, Edward and I will not judge you. I promise you that." She placed her hand on his arm, her long fingers grasping his sleeve, "Will you come with me for a hunt? We can talk then."
He looked at Rosalie, her earnestness surprising him to some extent. It was true that he was neglecting his family off late but Rosalie's worry in particular told him that she understood how important the situation was. She understood how it would affect their family.
He finally nodded to her, getting a small, relieved smile.
As she quietly pulled him away from the window and lead him out of their home, he contemplated her. To Rosalie, family was very important. In some ways, she was more of a sister than Alice could ever be. She was selfish and protective and because of that, she ensured that only the best was reserved for her siblings.
She was the one who secretly purchased his beloved Aston Martin for him. She was the only one who actively discouraged him from pursuing Bella, warning him that he was made for better things.
Even now, with Rhyian, she was the one who understood his feelings better than anyone else.
"Thank you, Rosie." He whispered to her, "You have been very patient with me."
She scoffed before pulling him towards a secluded spot. "Sometimes I wonder if your mind, along with your body has been frozen in time." Edward cringed, smirking crookedly at her. "We may not be related by blood, Edward but we are your family. Whatever decision you take, we will support you." She looked at him, her beautiful face open and honest, "We may not always agree but we will support you."
Edward nodded before turning away, looking up at the night sky in contemplation.
The silence that followed Rosalie's assurance was long and comfortable. She let Edward gather his thoughts, unwilling to rush him. Her consideration was noted and appreciated by her brother and he sought to put some very painful thoughts, to words.
"Rose… is what Rhyian said true?" Edward questioned softly, "Am I really that…" he groped for an appropriate word but failed, looking at Rosalie helplessly.
She walked a little away from him, "Rhyian is a teenager, Edward, you must understand that." She whispered, "For all his intelligence and wisdom, he really is very young to have a true understanding of your personality or the situation at hand. He doesn't show it, but he is going through a very difficult time. He is separated from his family, from a father he so obviously loves, his life is threatened and he is dealing with a very serious injury." She looked at Edward, watching as his eyes widened in understanding, "Do you really think that Rhyian understands his own feeling and instincts? I don't think he does. Under all that bravado, he probably is just as lost as you are and at least you have the support of your family, who does he have?"
"Oh Lord." Edward whispered, combing his fingers roughly through his hair.
She smiled, "It has been so long since we were children." Edward chuckled in agreement. "It has been a long time since we became Vampires… but," he looked at her in question, "None of us, excluding father, have accepted what we are." She closed her eyes in silent regret, "I still want to have a child… so much." She whispered painfully, "Life feels so empty without it."
"Rhyian doesn't understand how difficult it is for us to adjust but we have to understand why we must accept our change." She said with conviction, "You heard the Mr. Delacour. We don't belong in the human world. We belong in that world. Perhaps, we are lucky that Rhyian came when he did. "
Edward sighed, "I've been thinking." He confessed, "That's all I've been doing. No matter how much I try to think about our family, I end up thinking about his welfare. There is something going on and his life is at risk because of that. Somehow, I get the feeling that he doesn't want me involved in it. These people Rhyian associates with, Rosie… they are much more powerful than the Volturi, I'm certain of it!"
"If Rhyian has the power to incapacitate you with one blow, Edward, then it is obvious that these people are powerful." She said easily, "Mr. Delacour's warning about Rhyian's father is not something that we can afford to take lightly."
"Yes, the Dark Lord." He whispered, the title sounding absolutely ridiculous to him but the man's presence was so powerful and intimidating that no other designation seemed to suit him better. "I don't think Rhyian compares to his father." He confessed, "There was something so… so dangerous about Mr. Riddle when he looked at me. It was almost as though it would take a single thought from him to end my life."
Rosalie looked at him in with a frown. "That worries you."
"Of course it does!" Edward said vehemently, "We have to think what we are involving ourselves in, Rosie. The change that he mentioned… the change all Vampires must go through to become true vampires… What is it? How do we achieve it? I have spent years believing that Vampires have no soul and will never be permitted in heaven."
"Edward," Rosalie said hesitantly, "The question of going to heaven or hell doesn't arise here. Don't you remember…"
He nodded, "We fade away and become one with nature. That is our purpose."
She snorted, "Now don't make that sound depressing! Don't you realize that our existence means something? You always lamented that our existence was useless and unnatural and now we find that we are made to assist nature."
Edward fell silent at her vehement declaration, observing the dark canopy with a frown. "I am coming to understand that." He confessed softly, "But I am at a loss. I don't know how to deal with Rhyian. These secrets that lie between us are only going to make things very awkward."
Rosalie shrugged, "You can't keep hiding like this Edward. Some day or the other, you'd have to face Rhyian." She looked at him earnestly, "He isn't doing anything to make us uncomfortable. His interactions with us are normal and friendly as one can expect." She smiled in amusement, "He has even developed an amazing rapport with Jasper. The more Jasper stays in Rhyian's company, the more he relaxes and smiles. I don't think we have any reason to fear him."
"We have every reason to fear him." Edward said bluntly, drawing a surprised stare from Rosalie. "Didn't you hear what he said that day, Rosie? He told us, not in so many words, that he was an immortal being. According to Mr. Delacour, only vampires, Lamia and Elf are true immortals." Rosalie's eyes widened, "Think about it. We can be damn sure that he isn't a vampire. That much is obvious. So, he must either be a Lamia or an Elf."
"But Elves are Lords of the Light." She whispered in realization, looking at Edward with wide, shocked eyes.
"Precisely. Elves are not Dark beings. Considering how eloquent Rhyian was about Darkness, we can only conclude that he is a Lamia." He looked at her seriously, his expression grim, "We are talking about a young, but very influential being. We don't know just how powerful he is nor do we know what he is capable of. Moreover, a Dark Lord, according to Carlisle, is someone who has major political and magical influence. If tomorrow, Rhyian's father suddenly decides that we are a threat to his son or that we have gained too much information, what would he do?"
Rosalie frowned, leaning against a tree as she contemplated the new information.
"Funny…" Edward murmured with a scoff, "How fragile my mortality appears now, in the presence of such creatures."
Rosalie chuckled at the comment, aware of its truth.
They shared a moment of companionable silence before Edward turned to look at her. "Frankly speaking, I don't know how I should proceed." He confessed, "I don't know how I'll react when I see Rhyian in school. I have so many questions."
Rosalie observed him for a moment, wondering if she should tell him. If she did, she knew he'd rush to Rhyian, trying to see if-
"Tell me what?" Edward asked, narrowing his eyes at his sister.
She sighed. She had quite forgotten that he was a telepath and couldn't help but overhear her thoughts. "Rhyian has been… well, he seems a little out of sorts." She shrugged, "Almost as though he is sick."
"Sick?" he sounded skeptical, naturally assuming that lamia would have the same invulnerability as vampires. However, just as soon as that thought entered his mind, he recalled Rhyian's injuries. Hadn't Carlisle once told him that Rhyian seemed just as vulnerable as a human being was?
Just as Rosalie suspected, Edward's entire demeanor changed. The air of uncertainty that he had been carrying about himself for the last few weeks disappeared in an instant. His eyes were on her, sharp and focused. He stood, his stance stiff and ready while a trace of protectiveness graced his features.
"How?" he demanded. Everything took a backseat when it came to Rhyian's well-being.
Rosalie smiled. This was what he needed when he dealt with Rhyian. He needed strength and confidence because his mate had those two qualities in abundance. He couldn't afford to be uncertain around Rhyian. That would only serve to drive the boy away.
"You remember that day, in the cafeteria? Both you and Jasper sensed that something was amiss." Edward nodded absently, recalling the incident. "Well, it seems that that problem has only escalated in the past few weeks. In fact, this morning he looked distinctly peaky." She frowned in concern, "You know how Rhyian carries himself, right? There was this easy grace about him but now he seems to almost slouch. He was holding himself gingerly, as though every step was painful to him."
Edward let out a string of curses, furious with himself. The mere thought that he had abandoned his mate when he was vulnerable stung him like nothing else. "Damn it! What have I been doing!"
Rosalie frowned, "You were confused by your circumstances, Edward. No one is going to blame you for that, least of all Rhyian. In fact, I don't think he'll appreciate you meddling into his affairs."
"He'll just have to live with it." Edward growled, "If he's sick, why the hell is he coming to school?"
"Don't be like that." Rosalie warned, "Don't push the boy, Edward. He'll only push back. Rhyian is far too sure of himself and too independent to take any form of possessiveness without being offended. Don't do with him as you did with Bella. If he gets even a hint that you've been spying on him when he was asleep, he'll hit the roof."
Edward chuckled at the image, "True." He agreed. "I had no intention of doing that." He seemed concerned, "I guess I'll just have to watch from afar."
"Come now, Ed." She frowned, "All of us have managed to befriend him. I'm sure that if you speak to him, he'll respond. He did ask after you, you know. He was concerned."
"You're right, I guess." He murmured, almost to himself. He sighed and leaned against a tree, looking at her in slight amusement. "We always complained that our life was boring, now we have this guy who is making things almost too interesting for my comfort."
"Young master…" Henry called for Rhyian's attention softly, having watched his charge play with his food disinterestedly for fifteen minutes now. "Shall I ask the chef to make something else for breakfast?" he asked in concern, "If this is not to your liking, I am certain something else can be arranged."
Rhyian waved his hand dismissively, frowning at the plate in silence.
Henry wasn't about to let the matter go. "Sir," he prodded once again, "You are neglecting your health, sir. Please, if there is nothing I can help you with, may I contact your father for assistance? Perhaps, Mr. Snape will provide you with some potion. You seem very ill."
Rhyian remained silent, pushing his plate away. He stood, walking over to the large French windows that showed the view of a beautifully cultivated garden.
"Enough, Henry." Rhyian snapped finally, his eyes narrowed in barely restrained irritation. His fingers twitched spasmodically, dark red tendrils of magic dancing at his fingertips. "Must you nag like some housewife?"
Henry flinched at the sharp voice, his head bowed, "Your welfare is my responsibility, sir. I rather not fail at it." He replied, "Something is wrong and you aren't telling me for the fear that I would inform your father."
Rhyian tapped his fingers against his bicep, scowling deeply at his faint reflection on the window glass. "I received the latest report from Draco." The young Slytherin heir commented, seeming and behaving so strikingly like his father that Henry drew his gaze away from the boy, keeping his eyes submissively on the ground. "The Ministry has seemingly grown in arrogance. With Dumbledore's decline in popularity, the public opinion on Fudge has soared. That fool!" Rhyian hissed in fury, "He's pushing for the systematic extermination of all muggle vampires and werewolves. They are to most defenseless, after all."
Henry's eyes widened in shock.
"After that, he wishes to move on to magical vampire and werewolves." He scowled, snapping his hand out and watching as a bolt of crimson colored energy collided with a potted plant, destroying it completely. "The thoughts of revenge have clouded his mind. When his sister was bitten by a werewolf, he was the one who ordered her assassination. If she was so important to him then he should've mustered the courage to support her instead of killing her off and then blaming the entire werewolf population for it!"
His control over his own magic was now very fragile.
"If he dares to come after us elven and lamia folk, he will realize just how fragile his hold over his life and power is." He raised his hand, watching it glow in a color that every wizard had learned to fear.
Avada Kedavra Green.
"S.. sir… you must not-" Henry eyed the glowing hand warily, while he was well aware that Rhyian would never direct something so dangerous at him, he was rather concerned about the affect of such volatile dark magic on his young master. "Rhyian," he whispered, daring to use the heir's given name. He needed to distract the boy somehow, "Surely, Minister Fudge would never dream of harming the Lords of Light and Dark?"
Rhyian struggled to retain his calm, "Fudge fears power." He hissed wrathfully, "The Elves and the Lamia are on a pedestal that no wizard has been able to touch for a long time. They play their little games, fight wars on behalf of light magic and dark magic without truly understanding their cause. As long as there is harmony and friendship between the Elves and the Lamia, there would never be a true war between the two factions." He narrowed his eyes in a fierce glare, "But now, none of us can afford to sit back. By trying to exterminate the vampire and werewolf population, Fudge will tickle the sleeping dragon awake. Our Elders will never condone such an act."
"Then surely the Elders will put a stop to this foolishness." Henry commented with a puzzled frown, "I don't see why you are so concerned."
Rhyian scoffed, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "You fail to understand something, Henry. There is a reason why the immortals very rarely interact with the mortals. There is a reason why we don't interfere in their affairs. We aren't supposed to. The entire world, be it Wizarding or Muggle, is generally unaware of the sheer extent of our power and influence over all things magical. We would prefer to keep it that way."
"The last time when these wand-wielders forced the Elders to act, an entire civilization was wiped out without a trace." He confessed in a whisper, "Not a single man, woman or child survived the combined wrath of the Lamia and the Elves. England with burn if Fudge continues on this foolish path."
Henry paled, his eyes widened as he looked at his solemn-looking charge.
Rhyian waved his hand, his magic crackling around his arm in an irritated fashion. "While the situation is something that bothers me, my main concern is how Dumbledore and father will react." He closed his eyes, worry lining his handsome features. "Dumbledore has been waiting. He is frustrated and wary of my father's silence. All attacks have been stopped, recruitment is in full swing but Dumbledore doesn't know about that. Uncle Severus tells him nothing but the most harmless information. Dumbledore declared it to the world that the Dark Lord is back but there is no evidence of it to present to the public."
"You believe that Dumbledore somehow influenced the Minister to take such a step?" Henry asked with a frown.
Rhyian shook his head firmly, "Absolutely not. He would never condone senseless killing." Of that, Rhyian was dead certain. Dumbledore was a master strategist and a manipulator but he would never agree to mass slaughter. "However, he's not above taking advantage of the situation. He won't step up and try to protect them either. That man likes to sit on his arse until the enemy hits too close to home. He did the same with Grindelwald, hiding like a bloody wimp until that man nearly had his way before stepping in and stopping him"
The butler silently handed Rhyian a plate of sandwiches. In his frustration, Rhyian absently accepted them and started eating his breakfast. "How will he take advantage of such a thing?" Henry asked softly, hoping to keep Rhyian distracted until he consumed the entire plate.
"This will force father to come out." Rhyian replied gravely, "Father will never sit back and allow this blasphemy. He had been waiting. He was pining his time, gathering allies in the ministry, allowing Dumbledore's reputation to fall. He was certain that Fudge was completely in Uncle Lucius' pocket. His final blow would have been to let my Doppelganger die, therefore dealing a devastating blow to the ministry as well as Dumbledore."
The Slytherin heir took a sip of the exquisite coffee that the cook had prepared before continuing his explanation. Talking to Henry was helping him sort his thoughts out. "He wanted to do all of this without anyone knowing that he even existed. I had convinced him to try his former tactics once again. He has created a new inner circle to battle this out through politics and negotiations. There are some very formidable and influential people on his side now." He scowled, "Uncle Lucius is trying to convince Fudge out of this but it seems that our dear minister has finally grown a spine!"
Henry wanted to sit down and try to deal with what Rhyian was telling him but he couldn't do such a thing when his master was standing, could he? Shifting his stiff stance subtly, he leaned against the wall.
He was a simple servant, his family having served the Malfoys for generations. He, and a few others, had accompanied Lady Adrianna when she married the Dark Lord and left her childhood home as a part of her dowry.
He, an insignificant butler, ended up under the command of the most powerful Dark Lord the Wizarding world had ever seen. He saw Lady Adrianna subtly direct her husband onto a less violent path. He saw the softening of the Dark Lord during Lady Adrianna's pregnancy. He saw the birth of his young master change the entire Dark faction and he saw his kidnapping destroy every positive change that Lady Adrianna had managed.
She had once told him, after Rhyian was born.
"The father would pave the way and the son would build a kingdom."
Looking at her son now, he understood precisely what she meant. With his father's power and intelligence and his mother's restraint and wisdom, Rhyian could be either glorious or devastating.
"Dumbledore will take advantage of this." Rhyian said with confidence, "I know he will. If father exposes himself to the public, all plans could go awry."
Henry observed the heir, watching as he paced, trying to control his erratic magic.
"Dumbledore will sit back and watch as Fudge tries to destroy everything. He won't even lift a finger knowing that this will force father to act." Rhyian narrowed his eyes, "When father acts, he'll most likely pounce on the opportunity."
"Pardon me, sir but I would assume that the Dark Lord is very capable of handling the situation. There is hardly any need for you to be so distress-" Henry flinched when a bolt of magical discharge swept past him and collided with the wall behind him.
"The Dark Lord happens to be my father." He hissed, turning on his heel to stare at his servant in silent fury. "The Dark Lord is also no longer immortal. It might be difficult to defeat him but he can die now. Moreover, Harry Potter is still out there, Merlin knows how powerful he has grown to be."
"Young Master, please calm d-"
"What in the world…" A voice interrupted their tense discussion and Harry spun around in shock, losing his shaky control over his magic in an instant.
With a hissed curse, a yew wand shot forward, slapping the errant magic away and letting it fly out of the house and hit the wards, energizing them.
In an instant, the Dark Lord shot forward, catching his weakened son before he could fall. "Henry, what's happened?" Voldemort demanded, his eyes dark and dangerous as he lifted Rhyian into his arms in one smooth move.
Rhyian blinked dazedly at the abrupt drain on his magic before closing his eyes, relaxing against his father's shoulder as he slipped out of consciousness.
"His magic has been out of control for a while now, my lord." Henry answered cautiously, following the Dark Lord as he went towards Rhyian's bedchambers. "He is not sleeping well nor is he eating as well as he should." He confessed, "I asked him to inform you or allow me to pass on the information but he was adamant, my lord. He ordered me not to speak a word about his recent ill health."
Voldemort stayed silent as he gently placed his son on the bed. He briefly brushed his fingers along Rhyian's cheek, letting his eyes roam over the precious face.
After a few moments of tense silence, he stood, all gentleness leaving his face as he eyes took on an icy glow. With a snarl, he spun on his heel, his wand outstretched and glowing, "Crucio!"
Henry let out a pain-filled cry as the curse hit him, sending him to his knees. He convulsed on the ground, scratching at flesh, trying to escape the pain, trying to find a way to speak, to beg for mercy.
"You fail in your duty once again, Henry." Voldemort hissed in fury, "You were told to report everything about Rhyian to me, were you not?" he asked, walking forward as he lifted the curse, his eyes narrowing at the panting and shivering man at his feet. "You were to inform me about every sneeze, every stumble, every bloody paper-cut that my child endured."
"My lord, young mast-" Henry tried explaining himself, "Young master forb-"
"I am your master!" Voldemort said softly, dangerously. "Ultimately, my commands supersede my son's orders. Too much has happened for me to leave Rhyian to his own devices. That was why I insisted that I should be informed of every detail." He trained his wand on Henry and lifted the man off the ground by his throat, watching with concealed satisfaction as the butler struggled to breathe. "Do you comprehend me, Henry?"
"Ye-yes m-my l-lo-rd!"
The Dark Lord let the magic disperse, letting his captive fall and collide with the floor painfully. "You can be easily replaced, trash." Voldemort whispered, leaning towards the shivering man. "My son is fond of you and I am loath to deny him anything. Be grateful that Rhyian cherishes you enough to be angry with me if you are killed by my hand."
Henry swallowed his nervousness, trying to control the shaking of his body. There was something very dangerous about the protective Dark Lord. It was almost as though that last barrier on his strength had been removed.
The Dark Lord now knew love and that had opened an entire realm of power that he had never known before.
"Now tell me, why did my son forbid you from speaking to me?" Voldemort asked distractedly as he turned toward Rhyian and cast a Diagnostic charm on him.
Henry let out a silent sigh of relief before speaking. "He does not wish for you to be distracted, my lord." He informed, "He is aware of the current political troubles that you face and feels that you are in danger and need to be focused on your mission."
Voldemort frowned before turning to look at Henry, probing into the man's mind.
He snorted suddenly as he viewed the entire conversation between Henry and his son. "This is the first time I have wished that Rhyian was less intelligent than he truly is." The Dark Lord whispered to himself. "Of course, he has deduced everything accurately."
He turned towards the boy as a scroll appeared above Rhyian's chest. "Ah yes, the build up of excess magic." He murmured, "I suspected this. Some Dark Magic is present… I arrived on time. Boppy!"
A house elf appeared by Voldemort's side, bowing submissively. "Provide Henry with the cure for Cruciatus." He commanded casually, "And take him to his chambers. After that, have the ritual chamber prepared for a cleansing ritual."
"As the master wishes." The house-elf murmured submissively before taking the butler away.
Voldemort turned to look at his son once again and frowned. It was really a pity that only he seemed to have the power to actually Apparate across the Atlantic amongst his people. He could have used Severus' help.
Settling into a plush leather chair by the fireplace with a resigned sigh, Voldemort wordlessly summoned a book from Rhyian's personal library. He was pleased to find a treatise on Ancient Greek Ritual magic to be amongst Rhyian's most recent purchases.
His son's interests certainly matched his when it came to the subject of magic.
Rhyian's presence and his home was now the Dark Lord's favorite sanctuary, away from the mess in England, away from the groveling Death-Eaters, away from the incompetent ministry and Dumbledore. He had come here with the intention of performing the Cleansing Ritual on Rhyian as well as taking a break in the excellent company of his son.
With a fluid movement of his wand, he cast a monitoring charm on Rhyian before getting absorbed into the book. Fortunately, Voldemort had realized early on that House-elf magic was ideal for repairing the Ritual Room and other required materials. He had personally trained Boppy to ensure that the house-elf could handle magical ingredients and tools and assist him in rituals and potions.
A low but loud hiss distracted Voldemort from the book and he looked up, his lips curling into a smirk when his son's King Cobra slithered into the room. "Vasuki." He greeted, "You have escaped your room again."
Yes, Rhyian's snake had its own room complete with a magically created piece of forest habitat that seemed as though it was imported straight from South India.
"Master grows." The snake hissed, getting himself on the bed and nudging his sleeping master with his head. "The time when he will hunt nears."
Voldemort raised a brow, looking at his son with narrowed eyes. As a bonded familiar, Vasuki was very sensitive to the changes in Rhyian. "He needs blood? I was not told of this."
The snake, with his limited understanding anything but his own nature and instincts spoke very plainly, "Master grows." He insisted, "Too big power, too short body."
The Dark Lord's eyes widened in comprehension and he leaned forward, waving his wand in a complicated serious of twirls and slashes, pronouncing a long Latin spell clearly. He watched as an orb of incandescent white light emerged from Rhyian's chest.
It was a perfect, scaled-down representation of Rhyian's magical core.
Voldemort observed the little ball but paused in surprise when the image wavered slightly before changing.
The orb expanded in diameter until it was just an inch larger than it was before. Thin, wire-like structures started emerging from the orb, stretching out along the length of Rhyian's body like blood vessels. Although the network was large and intricate, Voldemort noticed that a large portion of it was concentrated on Rhyian's hands and fingertips.
Voldemort sat back in awe, his keen eyes taking in the sight of his son's developing Magical system.
"Entirely different from a wizard's magic." Voldemort stated absently, feeling a need to voice his thoughts. Vasuki wouldn't be able to comprehend much of it anyway. "Slightly different from Lamia magic as well." He stood and peered at the representation. "This certainly explains why his magic is so restless. There is nothing to do but let it run its natural course. I'll have to advice him to train intensely every morning before he leaves for school. If he exhausts his magic to a considerable extent everyday, he will be able to control it adequately until his body adjusts."
Just as he was about to let the image disperse, he noticed something.
His eyes widened as he realized what it was. The wound that Rockwell had inflicted on Rhyian had grown. There was a large concentration of dark magic in it and Rhyian's body was taking advantage of it.
His son's body was actually absorbing the alien magic in the wound.
An uncharacteristic grin crossed Voldemort's lips.
His son was finally coming into his Lamia heritage.
"Boppy!" Voldemort called out instantly, allowing the image to disperse. When the house-elf arrived, the Dark Lord leaned back in his chair comfortably, looking incredibly pleased and content. "There is no need for the Ritual chamber now." He waved his hand, "Have a room prepared for me. I shall be staying for a few days, at least."
"Yes Master." The small being murmured, "Will master be needing anything else?"
Voldemort didn't miss the concerned glance that the house-elf directed in Rhyian's direction. He had tried to discourage Rhyian's tendency to get too intimately involved in the welfare of their servants, but to no avail. His son's innate kindness was such that he was openly affectionate towards the little creatures in their employ.
At least, Rhyian had won their absolutely and willingly given loyalty as a result. He didn't want anyone to take advantage of his son's inability to accept anything that smacked of injustice.
Leaning back in his chair, Voldemort contemplated the current situation. Rhyian was obviously beginning to adapt to Dark Magic. He also knew that his son was very diligent in his studies so he had no doubt that Rhyian had at least five or so dark spells mastered by now. At this stage, it would be ideal to take Rhyian back with him to Europe so that his son could grow under the careful guidance of himself and some of his trusted followers.
He knew that both Lucius and Severus would be relieved to have Rhyian back in their protection but now he had other things to consider.
Such as the nascent bond between his son and that Cullen boy.
While Voldemort still believed that Rhyian was too young to have a mate, he knew that trying to separate the two at such a delicate time in their relationship would only be detrimental for Rhyian's own development.
On the other hand, with the onset of Rhyian's maturity, all his lamia senses would start to awaken. The craving for blood would be the least of their problems. He remembered how Lucius was during his maturity. Lamia were predators and Lucius had honed that instinct to perfection even before he graduated from Hogwarts. By nature, those beings were prideful and aloof, their power was such that they could afford to disregard anything that could be considered a threat with nary a thought.
He then remembered his own wife.
Lucius was always in the spotlight. He had the personality, the ability and the desire to draw and keep attention focused on him. He was the light that attracted people. Even those who hated him could not ignore his presence.
However, if Lucius was light, Adrianna was dark. By nature, she was reticent. She abhorred having attention focused on her. She was also very observant. Nothing escaped her. She was the ever-watchful moon, gazing silently at everyone, distant and reserved.
Too underestimate either of them was a fault that Voldemort had been careful to avoid.
When Adrianna became his wife, some unspoken rules came into play. She indulged his need to be in absolute control of both their lives. Her love for him was enough to let her bow down to his dominant nature.
Indulged was the key word. Never, throughout the course of his marriage, did Voldemort feel superior to his wife. They were, in every way, equals. She could be a formidable opponent with her keen intelligence and sheer mastery over her magic. There were things that she simply would not allow him to do. Her control over him was just as strong as his over her.
Rhyian took after him in many ways but in the heart, he was his mother's son. That Cullen brat was dealing with someone who, in one masterstroke, could ruin him.
Rhyian would hunt. He would taunt, test and stretch Edward as far as the vampire could bear. It was his nature. He was hardest on those who were important to him. How many times had his son provoked him with cutting words and sneers when Voldemort did anything that Rhyian considered wrong?
Voldemort had a feeling that Rhyian intended to take Edward to the Magical world with him when he returned. He was most likely educating the Cullens, making them ready for their world.
That would pose problems. Muggle vampires had been banished for a reason, after all. It was the same reason why muggles remained ignorant of their world. With the current political climate, it would be difficult for Voldemort to arrange for the Cullen clan's citizenship.
Lucius should be ab-
Voldemort stilled, his gaze inward as the wards around him sent a faint warning toward him.
His lips curled into a dangerous smirk. With an elegant wave of his hand, he placed a monitoring charm on his son and walked out of the room, his robes bellowing. By the time he had finished navigating the halls of the large house, the guests had already been escorted in and led to the parlor.
"Well, well, well…" Voldemort drawled, his smirk almost gleeful at the sight of his son's supposed mate. "How very convenient for you to drop by, my favorite little blood-suckers." He arched a brow at their stunning, disbelieving expressions, "Two are missing." He observed.
The female amongst them, the blonde, regal looking vampire stepped forward courageously just as she did the last time they met. She offered him her stylishly gloved hand, which he took and kissed with uncharacteristic gallantry. Such courteous behavior was more of Rhyian's forte than his, after all. "Mr. Riddle, a pleasure to meet you again." She smiled at him charmingly, shrugging off her shock with admirable ease. "Please forgive our intrusion. Rhyian has not attended school for two days now; we were concerned for his well-being. He looked rather ill when we last saw him."
Voldemort sat down gracefully, his eyes moving from the girl onto the boy who stood behind her stiffly. "Edward Cullen." He murmured, watching as the vampire tensed in anticipation. "You have turned into quite a bothersome individual."
The boy subtly shifted, looking faintly nervous, "I beg your pardon, sir?"
"My pardon," Voldemort narrowed his eyes dangerous, "You shall not receive. Sit, boy." He commanded, "Tippy, my wine."
The house-elf responded without even showing itself, a goblet of wine appearing in Voldemort's hand instantly.
The Dark Lord observed the three uncomfortable looking vampires before him with unfathomable green eyes. "So you have come to check on my child, have you?" he questioned absently, his gaze keen on Edward. "I have heard some rather… unimpressive things about your intelligence." He raised a brow at his son's supposed mate. "Tell me, boy, have you managed to discern anything about my Rhyian yet? Or are you too incompetent for such a task?"
Edward stiffened, wishing to take offence but unable to.
The Dark Lord was terrifying.
"He is a lamia, sir." Edward answered before snapping his mouth shut.
He hadn't meant to say that so… so bluntly.
Voldemort's eyes brightened with unholy glee, "Wonderful! There is hope yet. There must be some Slytherin trait in you, after all."
"Sir?" Edward questioned, baffled and completely off-balance. It was obvious that Rhyian's father knew what they were and why they cared so much for his son. Still, what about having an interview with this man seemed to be life threatening? Edward left as though he would be lucky if he stepped out of this house with his limbs intact.
"Maybe not." Voldemort murmured, looking at the stupidly confused look on the vampire's face. That particular expression was distastefully Gryffindorkish. "And what, pray, do you think a Lamia is?"
Edward looked at Rosalie and then at Jasper, hoping for some clues. They didn't know what exactly a Lamia was, only that they were Dark creatures of great power.
Voldemort scoffed, "And this creature wishes to be worthy of my son?" He arched a brow disdainfully before lifting his hand, "Accio Of those Blessed by Nature - Amadeus Zabini." A thick tome zipped through the air, landing with a loud smack in the Dark Lord's hand.
He held up the book, letting the vampires see it clearly. "Amadeus Zabini is the sole authority in the study of Magical Beings." He said casually, "He, surprisingly, has this rather useless ability to write information in such a way that even the dumbest of all dunderheads can understand." My, how he loved the flash of indignant rage on Edward Cullen's features. He was unexpectedly enjoying the opportunity to torment his son's supposed mate. "Now, if you wish to be worthy of even the soil my child walks on, you shall read this book thoroughly." He narrowed his eyes dangerously at Edward, "Drill everything it says into your feeble, undead mind. It will probably tell you more about your own species than you know."
He tossed the tome at Edward, who caught it with his keen reflexes.
Voldemort was reluctantly pleased to see that the vampire's irritation had given him at least some courage. He couldn't believe his son's mate was such a wimpy creature. Rhyian personified strength itself, both in mind and magic. How did this child expect to be an equal to his son when even his voice seemed tiny and mouse-like? He was deliberately killing his own vampire nature.
No wonder Rhyian was so cross with his mate.
"Your overinflated sense of self will take you nowhere in our world." Voldemort said in a cool, cutting voice. "In this world, you are the most superior species. The most dangerous predator. In my world, you are as harmless as a new-born pup." He leaned forward, looking into Edward's eyes. "Do you know how much of your own power you have stifled, boy? You have been gifted with superior mental powers and yet you can only use Telepathy. Even that, you cannot control to the fullest extent. You are, quite frankly, pathetic. Rhyian can have you on your knees and begging in a fraction of the second." Edward's eyes widened and Voldemort smirked, "Yes, you are that weak. So weak that even a half-trained, immature lamia can easily overpower you."
"Mr. Riddle," Jasper interrupted before the Dark Lord could continue, "While what you say may be true, you must understand that we couldn't possibly have known the truth about our race. We have had to stumble and sort through everything since we became vampires. The information that we were provided was sketchy at best. The only people I suspect know this must be the ancient vampires at Volturi."
"Indeed, sir." Rosalie said softly, "Rhyian is the first person that we have encountered from your world. Until he arrived, we were completely unaware. Can one really blame us for sticking to our human roots when we knew no better?"
The Dark Lord leaned back, observing them through hooded eyes.
"I am trying." Edward confessed earnestly, looking at Voldemort in the eye, "I don't understand most of what your son told us, but I am trying to be what he wishe-"
"Now, Mr. Cullen." Voldemort interrupted firmly, "You are mistaken if you think that Rhyian is in any way asking you to change for his sake. As long as you assume that, you will not succeed. My expectations and the expectations the rest of Rhyian's family will remain unspoken for now. Rhyian is young. I have no intention of allowing him to mate until he has fully matured." The Dark Lord stood and walked over to the window, observing the carefully cultivated garden with a frown. "Rhyian's admonitions are for your sake. A person who possesses low self-esteem and thinks the worst of himself will never succeed in life. He is his own enemy in such cases. He will constantly doubt himself, he will constantly question his instincts and behavior. He will consider himself unworthy of any sort of happiness and will let his own insecurity sabotage any relationship that he develops."
Voldemort turned, narrowing his piercing green eyes at the vampire. "Think, boy. Think very hard before you even look at my child with the intention of becoming his mate. For your own sake, think. Rhyian is a prince amongst the Lamia in all but name. Twice blessed by the most ancient and powerful Elf. Being my son makes him the most powerful teenager in the Magical World, both in magic and politics. Being the nephew of Lucius Malfoy gives him unquestionable status amongst the pureblood and noble families. Being the heir of the Baneraven estates gives him a place amongst muggle nobility."
The vampires sat in stunned silence, the enormity of the situation descending upon them at once.
"Tell me that this doesn't intimidate you." Voldemort challenged. "Let us see if you can lie to my face, Edward Cullen."
Edward dipped his head, closing his eyes as he considered everything.
The Dark Lord leaned against the windowsill, "To be his bonded mate, you must have absolute confidence in yourself. You must be able to meet every single one of those important people that Rhyian considers close acquaintances without a shred of insecurity. If - when they show disapproval, you must face it stoically. You can never doubt Rhyian or yourself. Never show weakness to others, never become a weakness that people could take advantage of in order to compromise Rhyian. You must be secure in your place enough not to envy Rhyian in any way. If you are to be his mate, you must work to become part of our world. There is no way around it. Rhyian does not belong in the human world. He has too much power and too much responsibility to stay here. You understand, Cullen?" Voldemort asked, "You will be marrying into the family. Rhyian will not be taking your name, you will be taking his and I will not have it shamed, do you understand?"
Edward stood abruptly, pacing in agitation.
Rosalie and Jasper looked at their brother in concern. "Edward…"
"That's not exactly fair, is it?" Edward asked, combing his fingers through his hair in frustration. "Making so many demands on me for no reason other than the fact that I am Rhyian's mate."
Voldemort arched a brow, his lips curling into a sneer of distaste. "Indeed." He said in a mockingly thoughtful way. "Of course, you have the option of staying as you are, doing what you have been doing all these years." He tilted his head to the side, "What was that exactly?" he asked with feigned innocence, "Ah, yes, repeating school and starting life over again and again. How very… interesting." He smirked, "Very productive, I must say."
"Must have a charm to it, doing nothing and being nothing." Voldemort went on mercilessly. He wasn't the Dark Lord for nothing, after all. "So used to this charmingly dull, predictable life that even the slightest change will seem unwelcome, is that not correct?"
Suddenly, all humor left him and the dangerous wizard lifted his hand, freezing Edward in his place with a simple charm. "I have never been accused of being fair, boy." He sneered, waving his hand so the Edward floated over towards him, unable to move on his own. Voldemort peered into dark amber eyes, his own now a shade of haunting crimson. "If this is the limit of your strength, stay away from Rhyian. Go mate with your singer and live this pathetic little life. A meaningful existence requires strength that you do not currently possess. Rhyian is to be the next Dark Lord, capable of leading a large faction of people. If you can't keep up with him then you have no right to desire to be by his side. Am I rightly understood, Mr. Cullen?"
Edward gritted his teeth, narrowing his eyes, "Yes-"
Voldemort arched a brow and the vampire hissed.
"Yes, my lord."
Voldemort dropped him, ignoring Rosalie and Jasper's defensive stances, "Good. Now be gone."
With that final command, the Dark Lord spun of his heels and exited the parlor, leaving behind a group of confused and angry vampires.
Edward looked down at the book in his grasp and scowled.
He had a lot to think about.