This is a fic that I had posted to other fanfiction sites back when I wrote it, but those sites no longer exist, and I love the story too much to not share it. I got the idea for this just after HP and the Half-Blood Prince was released, so keep in mind that it is AU to the seventh book. There was barely even speculation kicking up about Deathly Hallows when I wrote this story. Don't read it if you're only going to complain about the lack of canon-awareness. Do read it if you want a fun ride, and be sure to leave a review and tell me what you think. :)
He had always known that it wouldn't be enough.
He didn't have what it took to defeat the Pharaoh; deep down inside, he knew that. He just didn't want to admit it to himself. But this fight against the royal wizard, the Pharaoh's lackey...it took too much out of him. If he hadn't known about the traps in the tomb, he would already be dead. As it was, he was barely holding out, even with Diabound's help.
Then the wizard did something very foolish, something that went against the bounds of reason. He stepped into the path of the blade that swung from the ceiling nearest him.
Even as the sharp metal pierced through his chest, even as the Sennen Ring, that item he coveted so much, flew away, right into his grasp, the king of thieves knew that this fight was only going to get harder. But he had what he came for. Now he had to make sure he survived to fight the Pharaoh.
He knew of a way to do that, fortunately. Even if the wizard priest defeated him here, he would live. The wizard wasn't the only one who knew the secrets of magic, after all. He, the tomb robber, the king of all thieves, knew of one very useful secret.
The priest's murder had left his soul torn in two. Before that rip could heal, before his soul could be restored, he poured part of it into the Ring that he now held. All his anger, all his hatred, all his determination to defeat the accursed Pharaoh…revenge would be his; there was no stopping it now!
But he overestimated himself. Consumed with his fury and lust for vengeance, he poured too much of himself into the item. He poured the greater part of his soul into the item. And thus he bound himself to it forever. If ever he removed the Ring from his neck, he would no longer have control of his body; it would become an immobile, comatose thing that would eventually wither and die. His own consciousness would become trapped in the Ring, perhaps for eternity.
In the five seconds it took him to do and realize all this, the royal wizard came back, taking the form of his spirit monster. The tomb robber was mildly surprised, but he put on a face of greater shock for the wizard's benefit.
After all, it didn't matter if the wizard killed him. He'd still be alive.
* * *
In the end, the royal wizard wasn't the one to kill him. It was Zork Necrophidius. After convincing the priest Akunadin to summon the monster, it killed him.
But he didn't die. As he had known, his soul, his consciousness, remained in the Ring. Trapped, but alive. The lesser part of his soul, the part that had been within his body, fled the dying vessel, passing across miles and centuries in search of a new vessel.
The thief felt it go, and if he had lips to smile with, they would be stretched in a wide grin. He was still alive. His plan had worked. Now all he had to do was wait.