Author's Notes: This series is written for the Livejournal community, alphabetasoup, where I claimed Voldemort and a moods table. Thank you to my speedy beta, Olly, for all of her assistance and encouragement.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter isn't mine. Obviously.

Twenty-Six Moods of a dark Lord
Chapter Two: Surprised
By Duckie Nicks

It's all very believable, he supposes. With his weakness for foul beasts, Hagrid does seem like the type to seek out a monster. This is why Tom implicates him: people would believe it.

They would remember all of the times Hagrid said he wanted to raise dragons and acromantulas. They would recall seeing him carrying cardboard boxes with unknown creatures within, and they would tell themselves that maybe he really had found the Chamber of Secrets.

Of course, they would doubt it at first.

How could a half-giant barely capable of spelling his name discover such a thing? After all, Dumbledore himself couldn't find anything, and they would say Dumbledore was the greatest wizard of the century, so if he couldn't find it, who could?

Yes, they would doubt it in the beginning.

Tom understands that the boldness of the lie will surprise them initially. Eventually though, their mistrust of giants will betray them. Every rumor they've ever heard about giants being violent, unstoppable brutes will slowly seep into their consciousness. They'll be so desperate for an answer, for someone to blame that they will fall prey to their own prejudice and let Hagrid take the fall.

Of this, Tom has no doubt: his plan will work precisely as he means it to.

Yet when it happens, when Hagrid is expelled from the school, Tom still finds himself caught by surprise. He always knew it would work, but he's still amazed at how well it's worked. It bears repeating that he never doubted that it would, but he finds it of note that the professors who taught Hagrid, the students who took classes and became friends with doubted him so easily.

They didn't even give him a chance, Tom thinks with amusement.

Of course, that fact isn't really surprising. Having been raised in an orphanage, he is more than aware of how simple it is to sever ties with another human being. His whole life has been a testament to the impermanence of relationships, and he has never been forgetful of that.

Nevertheless, he thinks this is a loud reminder. The way they turned on Hagrid so quickly, it's not hard to see why trusting anyone is ill advised. The ones Hagrid liked most are the ones who eagerly severed his wand, condemned him, and Tom realizes that friendship can only inhibit the greatness destined for him. He knows friendship is for those too weak to commandeer on their own.

And maybe that is what he finds most shocking. He didn't need anyone's help to aid him in this little adventure. More than how easy it was to blame Hagrid, more than how well the plan worked, it's the fact that Tom masterminded all of this on his own that he's most pleasantly surprised about.

He doesn't want to underestimate his own genius, naturally. He doesn't want to make it seem as though he only ever had a small chance of finding and opening the chamber, much less getting away with doing so. Because in his mind, there was no felicity about it. He succeeded, because he wanted to, because it was in his blood to do so.

Nonetheless, Tom is pleased at the effectiveness of his planning. He is happy to discover that, although he may let others into his circle, he does not need them. His skills finally put to the test – against the greatest wizards in the world, he might add – he knows now that there is no limit to what he can possibly accomplish.

The world suddenly seems bright with possibility, and he goes to sleep that night dreaming of the day everyone realizes just what he has done.