By Alicia Flint

(Harry/ Tom Riddle Slash)

Disclaimer: Alas, they are not mine . . .

Chapter One - The Binding Spell


It was the summer holidays and Hogwarts was almost completely abandoned -- except for one boy around sixteen years of age. He sat in a high-backed wooden chair in the Great Hall, absent-mindedly practicing his levitation on some schoolbooks. "The Standard Book of Spells" was five feet off the table when the boy heard the door slam. He looked in the direction of noise, his eye contact was broken, and the book fell back onto the table -- hard.

"Well Tom, I see that you have chosen to spend your summer wisely," Albus Dumbledore, Professor of Transfiguration, said softly.

"Oh," Tom said, disappointedly. "Professor Dumbledore. I expected you to go home for the vacation."

"I consider Hogwarts to be my home," Dumbledore smiled. "Besides, I had to stay here and keep an eye on you then, didn't I?"

Tom was not amused in the least.

"It will do you well to work over the summer, seeing as you are so extraordinarily gifted. Levitation is a bit, well, basic for someone of your level though, is it not?" Dumbledore said and Tom immediately blushed vibrantly.

"I was just practicing. Just filling some of my time . . ."

"Would you care to try something a bit more challenging?" Dumbledore asked.

"I'll think about it," Tom said cautiously. He knew better than to agree to something when he had no idea what it was.

"There's a book in the Restricted Section of the library called 'Bound' -- It's about the little-known binding spells. You have my full permission to take the book to your rooms and read it. I, myself, have never been able to perform one. I don't possess that sort of power but you . . . I don't know about you, Tom. You might just be able to . . . Well, take a look at the book and see if you're interested. Just consider it -- For the challenge."

Tom bid farewell to Professor Dumbledore and leaned back in his chair, pretending to return to his levitation. Really, he intended to head to the library and read "Bound" the moment Dumbledore left the room.

Dumbledore smiled to himself as he left the room. Tom had hooked onto the idea of a binding spell since the moment Dumbledore said that he had never been able to perform one. It was the whole concept of power for Tom. Tom wanted to prove that he was more powerful -- that he was superior -- to Dumbledore. He wanted to prove that he could accomplish everything that Dumbledore had failed at.

A binding spell was a challenge but Dumbledore didn't doubt that Tom would be able to figure it out.

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Tom Riddle quickly entered the library, heading straight to the Restricted Section. He scanned through the books until he found the title in question -- "Bound." It was an old burgundy-colored book with gold trimming. Tom opened it and began reading the text:

"The act of binding -- of tying another person to you for life -- has been replicated in many Muggle ceremonies, for example, the Muggle sacrament of marriage. The only true binding mechanism is a binding spell. A binding spell will seek out the one person in the universe who is complementary to the spell caster and bind those two people together through life. When both of the subjects reach sixteen years of age, they will be forever bound ceremonially and will not part from each other until the day of their death. The phrase "bound for life" is not to be taken lightly. When one dies, the other shall also perish. It is a truly powerful spell that binds two people together in this fashion.

Binding spells have been judged as the most complex of all spells."

Tom had been captured at the phrase "the most complex of all spells" and knew that, no matter what the result, he had to attempt to cast one of these binding spells over the summer vacation.

He would begin preparing tomorrow.

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Dumbledore was about ready to begin reading the latest Transfiguration Thesis when he heard a hesitant knock at his door. "Ah, Tom Riddle!" he thought to himself. "It's about time you came to my door."

"Come in," he said cheerfully. Tom opened the door slowly. "My dear boy," Dumbledore said, genuinely happy to see Tom, "Come in and have a seat! I thought for a moment that you wouldn't be coming down here. Have you read the book?"

Tom took a seat opposite Dumbledore. "Yes, Professor. I've read the book and I feel ready to accept the challenge. I'm looking forward to casting a binding spell over the summer."

"Splendid!" Dumbledore said but then he hesitated momentarily.

Dumbledore knew that binding spells had major disadvantages -- the life's partner could be a burden as well as a blessing. As a sixteen-year- old boy, Dumbledore knew that Tom wasn't ready to take on the emotional responsibilities of casting a binding spell but . . . It was such a wonderful way to keep someone like Tom Riddle under control. By having a life's partner to check his actions, Tom would be less likely to overstep his boundaries and less likely to get himself into trouble. Dumbledore was only thinking of Tom's own good . . . Actually, Dumbledore was only thinking of the good of the entire wizarding world. Tom Riddle was a talented boy but his heart was, unfortunately, in the wrong place.

But something still made Dumbledore feel guilty about coaxing Tom to do something that he'd probably later regret.

"You have read the entire book?" Dumbledore questioned.


"And you feel ready to take on the physical and emotional toll that casting a spell of this magnitude might take on you?"

"Of course, sir."

"Well," Dumbledore thought to himself, "At least, they can't say that I didn't warn him . . . Or at least told him to question his actions."

"In that case, splendid!" Dumbledore said joyfully. "I will begin helping you train at once! For, of course, you will need assistance with your preparation. I believe you have an ambitious start to your summer and, as always, I wish you the best of luck, Tom Riddle."

"I will succeed," Tom answered simply.

And Dumbledore knew he was correct in that.

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Days passed into weeks and weeks passed into months. Dumbledore had to admire the boy's convictions. Any normal sixteen-year-old boy would have given up preparing for a binding spell after the first five days but never Tom Riddle. He rigorously gathered herbs, practiced concocting potions, made sure his pronunciation of the incantations was flawless . . . The spell was going to be perfect.

And Dumbledore helped with the process every chance he got. In a way, Tom thought Albus Dumbledore was too willing to help but he quickly waved that off with the thought that a teacher must always be willing to help his student.

Finally, the day arrived and Tom Riddle was ready to cast the binding spell. He had requested the Professor Dumbledore stay in his office that night. The binding spell was something he had to do alone to achieve full concentration. Professor Dumbledore had avidly agreed.

Now Tom stood poised over a pile of herbs, a caldron, a leaping flame, a goblet, and two rings.

"Inter canem et lupum," he began softly, "Advocum animus. Inter canem et lupum, adstringum. Inter canem et lupum, adamum. Santificum amor."

Tom carefully measured out one tablespoon of Artemisia Vulfaris (Better known as mugwort) into a caldron full of rosewater.

"Amor animi," he whispered, stirring the potion three times counter- clockwise. It began to glow a charming pink hue.

"Praebeo," Tom said, filling the goblet with the liquid. He braced himself for what would happen next. He didn't usually trust drinking the results of spell casting . . . One mistake could lead to sudden death. But he had been working so hard on this and he absolutely needed to prove himself . . .

He sipped the liquid steadily and automatically he began to feel faint. He realized that he was going to pass out but he needed to finish the spell first. He tried to steady himself while he said the last incantation:

"Duo . . . Uterlibet . . . Venustas . . . Adamus . . ."

Tom Riddle slipped the golden band onto his finger and then felt himself slump to the floor.

The rest was darkness.

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Tom Riddle woke up three days later in the hospital of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Albus Dumbledore sat by his side, finishing the latest Transfiguration Thesis.