Traveler In Time
Disclaimer: All things contained from here on in are property of their rightful, legal owners and I am not benefiting monetarily from this in any way, shape or form that I am aware of.
Tom sighed unhappily as that daft, gray-bearded git set a basket down oh so tantalizingly close while simultaneously convincing one of his underlings that all was well.
To think the legendary man was senile this early in, perhaps he could have bested him. It would have been a glorious, simple thing for the old man to perish now and leave his web of pain unfinished and incapable of destroying so many lives. But should he fail and lose there would be no one to stop everything from repeating again and that single thought stilled his hand.
The two mage departed, leaving the dosing infant apparently unguarded and unobserved. Doubtlessly the old fool expected his recast blood wards to shield the boy despite not even having entered the house proper. But in order for that to happen, Tom would need to intend to hurt one of the people in the house, wouldn't he? And while he wished to slay those vile muggles for being and acting just like the creatures that he'd been forced to room with in his youth, he knew better. They had yet to commit the crimes and abuse he knew them to be capable of.
If anything, he wanted to assist and heal the slumbering child, perhaps that was why the wards designed specifically against him ignored his presence as he stepped lightly up to basket.
Such a fragile, innocent thing, a baby. To think anyone could sleep so soundly after vanquishing a dark lord, how ever briefly.
In an instant his wand was out and flying through an intricate pattern of sweeps, dips and flicks.
The pair, wizard and infant, were made invisible and inaudible. The monitoring charms upon the babe were cast aside shifted to the odious muggle spawn somewhere within the abode, the wards were easily fractured and despoiled, left only intact enough to register as existing, like framework for a wall-less house. The magical blocks were unplugged and the parasitic soul fragment smothered into oblivion before it could truly take root.
Satisfied with his work he lifted the basket and swept away.
He had never raised a child before, never even considered it since his graduation, but he could work that issue out as he went. The boy would be Hufflepuff. Maybe Ravenclaw, but Hufflepuff would be preferred. Slytherin would have been ideal, if not for the head of that house holding a deep grudge and the number of Death Eater supporters found in it. Gryffindor was clearly inadequate, given how things had gone last time. Not that it had ever been, mindless glory-hogs the lot of them.
No, what the boy needed most was not bravado and bravery, much as it made enemies angry enough to commit themselves to errors. He needed friends, allies and diligence. He needed knowledge, comprehension and control. Hufflepuff supplied one, Ravenclaw encouraged the other. Wherever they might fall short, Tom would do whatever it took to make up the difference for.
Things would be different this time.
The wizard quickly forged a portkey and activated it, apparating to a new location as he reappeared, to stand before the decrepit shack the last of his ancestors had owned. A dozen quick spells and the place was renovated into a suitable house, the ring hidden within collected and smothered with energy. Wards were raised and refined. A suitable, if temporary arrangement.
Regrets swept through the adult as he placed the sleeping child in a newly transfigured crib.
For all he was the man was truly, deeply sorrowful.
His crimes were great, true, but never had he actually been made to face their results before.
No, that wasn't true. The whole reason he was here was because in the end he'd been forced to face all his crimes at once. An apocalypse of his own creation where the magical had died. Pureblood, what a foolish ideal that was. There were barely enough witches and wizards to sustain the population after the first campaign, the second, fifteen years later, left it teetering on the brink before he'd started clipping away the muggleborn. Not to mention the creatures killed and harvested to fuel an army.
When he had first realized he was a wizard he had been happy. Magic meant he was safe, capable of anything. It gave him the power to ascend beyond mortal limitations, to make it so that no one would ever be orphaned again. Funny how as he learned the goal shifted into something that made there be more orphans than ever before among the magical populations.
The beautiful and innocent dreams of youth were set aside to build the power to accomplish them and somewhere on that path he'd lost himself to that same power.
He'd succeeded in one way, at least. When he'd finally come down, when he'd finally realized there was no more magical world left, when he'd finally tried to kill himself...
That's when he discovered he was truly immortal. Beyond the longevity rituals, beyond the Horcrux, beyond his own might and comprehension... Trapped within life an unable to free himself...
Years of rummaging and reconstructing ruins had finally yielded his answer, some decades after his first suicide attempt.
There was only one thing that could kill him. Only one means available to him. The one born as the seventh month died, the one he'd marked as his equal...
Perhaps the child would be lucky and find, in his old age, that without the other attempts at immortality he could perish after fulfilling the prophecy. Perhaps.
But as it was there was much to do. Much to answer for and far too many crimes to pay.
And a few more crimes to commit yet. Both Hogwarts and Gringotts would need to be broken into. He'd need to deal with Malfoy as well and in ten years he'd need to go wraith hunting...
Tom chuckled, there was time enough for all of that later. No one knew who he was, a few Death Eaters might see an uncanny similarity but between the revival, the attempts to destroy himself and the sheer amount of time that he'd endured in this shell of a body he could claim to be whoever he wanted. But then again he'd just gotten used to his old name again and no one associated the two. No one but Dumbledore anyway.
He cast his gaze to the young, peacefully dreaming child he was to raise. He felt bad for the boy, but somethings had to be done. Dumbledore had had his senile idea of what to do and even been allowed to fail spectacularly at it, now it was his turn. It would be a kinder life in someways and an infinitely more difficult one in others as he would prepare the boy one way or another.
Fitting in a way, as it was Tom's crimes the child would be raised to prevent.
And ultimately, when the time finally came, it was Tom Marvolo Riddle the boy would be killing.
Who better to train him then Tom Marvolo Riddle himself?
Inspired by Uriah Heep song 'Traveler In Time' on the album Demons And Wizards.
You may note the association is tenuous at best.