Hello, everybody! New long fic from yours truly! As always I promise to finish the story and update as often as I can, hopefully once a week. Okay, now we just have a couple of things to go through before the fun begins:
Disclaimer! This will be true for the whole story. I don't own Harry Potter and I don't make any money writing this. I just do it because I like to write in my spare time.
Warning! SMUT! TORTURE! DEATH! There will be spoilers from all seven books. In this story Hermione and Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort are the main sexual pair. Hermione is 18 when the story begins (I use JK's own statements that Hermione is born in 1979), and there will be lots and lots and lots of smut, some scenes more graphic than others. There will also be quite a bit of "bad" words. If you don't like that, DO NOT READ THIS STORY! There will also be some torture scenes and killing scenes. They will not be very graphic and I will put up additional warnings in those chapters.
English is not my first language. I do try to edit the best I can, and Ankoku Dezaia and Serpent in Red have beta-ed (thank you so much!), but errors are doomed to occur. If you spot any, you are welcome to point them out, and I'll change it as quickly as possible! Constructive critism is always welcomed.
I also want to thank Nerys and Serpent in Red for brainstorming with me about the title of this story. And another thank to Nerys and Ankoku Dezaia for being my muses and helping me out when I get stuck.
And so, it begins.
Tom Riddle, better known as Lord Voldemort, was having a really lousy day. The final battle, which he had been supposed to win by killing Harry Potter, had not gone as planned. First he thought he had killed Harry Potter, and the boy had disappeared. Afterwards, Longbottom's brat had killed his precious snake and final Horcrux. Then Harry Potter showed up AGAIN! When that happened, Voldemort could actually feel all his Death Eaters abandon him. Many just dropped their wands and put their hands up when he and Harry started to fight.
In a last desperate attempt, Voldemort tried to kill the boy, only to have the spell bouncing back again. It was by sheer luck and awesome reflexes he managed to duck. When that happened and he was lying on the floor, he knew the battle was over and his survival instinct kicked in. Before anyone managed to come near, he turned into his Animagus form, a black mamba. In that form, he could move at twelve mph, and his seven feet long body made most people jump away before they tried to attack him. Once he was outside the school grounds, he changed back to a human and Apparated to the first place he could think of: Spinner's End.
It was peculiar that he would choose Snape's home. However, he had a long time ago learned to trust his subconscious. It worked out things much quicker than he and was usually right. Now, when he had time to think about it, he realised the brilliance of coming here. The owner was dead, killed by Voldemort himself, and the house contained a lot of magical instruments he could need.
Voldemort marched down to the basement where he knew Snape kept most of the more interesting things in his collection. He needed a new plan, and he needed it fast. This was almost as bad as in 1981 when he had lost everything as well. The difference now was that he at least had his body with him. However, he didn't have any more Horcruxes, which meant that if anyone found him and killed him, he would actually die.
The thought made him freeze. Merlin, he could die!
Instead of falling into the anguish he felt rising in his body, he started to pull down books from the bookshelves which were covering the whole back wall of the basement. He needed to find a way to become immortal again. No, first he needed to make sure no one found him as he worked on a way to make himself immortal again. Unfortunately, he didn't have the most blend-in-able appearance. When he was reborn into this body, he had wanted it to be clear to everyone who dared lay eyes on him that he was so much more than a mere human. Now, everywhere he went he would be recognised. Sure, there were spells and potions to hide him for a moment, but that was risky. He didn't want to rely on spells and potions all the time. His wand could be taken (even if that chance was very, very small) and potions could be messed with. No, the first thing he needed to do was to change his appearance so no one would recognise him.
Voldemort finally found the book he needed. He had only heard about it before, never thinking he would actually need it. It was a dark potion, of course, and mostly used by old hags who wanted to become young and beautiful again. He would, of course, have to make some adjustment since there were still people around who remembered him from when he was young. However, that would probably be the least of his problems. The ingredients in the potion were very rare. Blood of a Phoenix was needed as well as Golden Apples. Each of the ingredients cost thrice their weight in diamonds, and you could only find them if you had the right connections.
He had the connections, but not the diamonds. And these connections weren't the ones you threatened to kill if they didn't obey. They were much too powerful for that and not human. Actually, they weren't even really alive, but neither were they dead. For over a thousand years, they had been stuck somewhere in between.
Cursing, he smacked his hands at the table. He had to do it. He would just have to offer them something else instead of diamonds. Sometimes, these creatures just wanted to be entertained. However, he feared for in what way.
Before he had time to lose his courage, he Apparated to where they dwelled.
The forest was bright and green, making great contrast to the dark basement he had just left. He was in Ireland and in the most magical place of the world, the land of the fairies. However, these weren't the kind of small, winged, vain creatures wizard children learned about in Care of Magical Creatures. They were creatures of the elements and could take any form they wished. In Muggle folklore they were blamed for stealing human children and replacing them with their own. However, this was not true. Merlin's curse had made sure of that.
Few wizards knew the true story of Merlin, of why he was so famous and praised. They just looked up to him because that was what everyone else had always done. Voldemort liked to believe himself as the only one who knew the truth. However, that was more because he stumbled upon the truth. Some fifty years ago, he had been to Ireland and, quite on accident, found a fairy. Sometimes, the fairies moved to the normal realm to play with humans or other animals. One fairy, dressing up as a human, had become intrigued by him. He had always been a charmer and he hadn't had to pry long before she – or it (he wasn't sure if they really had a sex, but it had appeared to him as a human, and in the folklores, she had always been a woman) – told him about the fairies.
In the time of Merlin, the fairies had great magic. The story went that Merlin had been jealous of their magic, and when they wouldn't tell him the secrets of the elements, he had cursed them to never be alive, or dead. They still had powers, but the only way they could evoke them in the human realm was through a wizard or a witch. Merlin had counted on that. However, because of their free will, they didn't always help wizards. Merlin had not counted on that and so he had never been able to learn the fairies' secrets.
Over the years, as the fairies were forgotten, some of them had simply withered away, becoming one with the elements. A few fairies had retreated to Ireland, now and again finding interest in a witch or wizard and granting them use of their powers.
"Tom Riddle." His name was a breeze against his skin. As he watched, the breeze took form to the woman he had once known. Her hair was long and black, floating around her as if she were in water. Her skin was even paler than his, but her eyes were as green as the trees around them. She was not fully corporal, looking more like something between a ghost and a human.
"Morgana," he replied with a smile.
She sighed as her eyes wandered over his body, looking sad. "What has become of you, Tom Riddle?"
"Minor setback, Morgana. I'm here because I need a favour."
She tilted her head, suddenly becoming curious as he knew she would. Fairies were gentle beings, curious and, most of the time, just plain annoying. They loved to play games and sometimes tricked a poor human. However, now and again, one of them would take great interest in a human's life, becoming some sort of a guardian for him or her.
"A favour, he says," she whispered, her eyes twinkling.
The shivers down his spine increased when he heard other whispers come from all around him. The others were here! Why?
"We don't do favours, Tom Riddle." Another voice came from behind him. It was as hot as the sun, but when he turned around there was no one to be seen.
"I know. But I need Phoenix Blood and a Golden Apple and I don't have diamonds. I thought that we could exchange favours."
He didn't know what Morgana was thinking. She was staring at him, but he could hear the whisper of voices and knew they were talking to each other in a way he couldn't comprehend.
"What can you offer that is as good as diamonds?" another voice whispered in his ear.
Voldemort thought quickly. Diamonds were the only way for them to do magic without a wizard. Although it wasn't active magic like a curse, it was a way for them to store their magic. This method made sure that they had somewhere to rest, so they wouldn't wither away if they didn't want to.
"If you give me what I want, I can steal all the crown jewels of Europe for you," he offered. He was sure it wouldn't be that hard to steal from Muggles.
"Naughty boy. We don't want stolen goods, Tom Riddle," Morgana tittered, floating closer to him.
More whispers were heard in the glade. Morgana's expression lightened up and became filled with mischief.
Voldemort mentally cursed. It was unnerving how they could feel how desperate he was. He had known it would come to this.
"Name your price," he said sternly.
"Oh, it's quite simple, Tom Riddle. We want you to restore your soul."
Voldemort blinked. Whatever he had expected it wasn't this. "That's impossible. The parts are gone."
"Not at all. You just need some help from your Soul Mate."
He wanted to laugh at Morgana, but her face had become serious. Fairies knew a lot of things that wizards had forgotten, and if she said he had a Soul Mate, he probably did. No matter how ridiculous the thought was. However, if it was true and he could restore his soul, he could make Horcruxes again and…
"You'll keep this soul in one piece," Morgana ordered, holding up a warning finger at him, probably feeling his thoughts. No matter how good his Occlumency was, there was no fooling them. It was a good thing they couldn't really do anything in the world.
"Very well. Why do you want this?" he asked.
He did not like that she giggled. "The true value of the price will become clear in due time. If you agree, we'll show you who your Soul Mate is and how to restore your soul."
He thought quickly. "But if I have to actually meet my Soul Mate, I have to have the Phoenix Blood and a Golden Apple beforehand. Otherwise, I'm sure my Soul Mate will run in the other direction when he or she sees me."
The whispers seemed more excited now, and he wondered what it was he had promised exactly.
"Clever as always, Tom Riddle. But to save time, we'll help you make the potion right now. There is only a small opening for when you can be with your Soul Mate and that is tonight."
Ah, so at least he wouldn't have to stay with whoever it was. That was something at least. Perhaps that person was dying? The thought comforted him. He didn't like the thought of having a Soul Mate. Whatever it meant to have a Soul Mate, he didn't think it would be anything good. Or rather, it had to be disgustingly good and chipper. Something Dumbledore would approve of. Voldemort hated the thought of that. Nevertheless, he was, after all, desperate.
"Very well, I accept your offer."
Morgana smiled, and he could feel laughter in the air. Now he really started to wonder what he had agreed to, but before he had a chance to ask, she had dissolved into mist again. Another wind came against his back and he was forced forward into the forest. The trees bent to make way for him in a way he rather enjoyed. Since he had accepted they could help him, he could feel a little of his magic being pulled from his body and mixing with the fairies as he walked. Probably so they would be corporeal long enough to make the potion. After half an hour, he was in another glade where a cup filled with potion was standing on a stone.
"Drink it." Morgana's voice was right next to his ear.
"But I needed to make some adjustments," he stated. "Otherwise people will still recognise me."
"We have already taken care of that. Drink. It will give you a new, true appearance."
Since he had accepted, he couldn't back down now. All he had was the knowledge that whatever was in that cup wouldn't kill him. Fairies didn't kill. They played. He brought it to his mouth and drank.
When nothing seemed to be happening, he looked around for Morgana.
"What…" He stopped. His voice was different, deeper. He looked down at his hands. They were still pale, but smaller and more human. He moved them up to his face and felt a nose and lips. Now he also realised he was getting warmer in his skin. His stomach began to rumble as well.
"I thought it would be more painful," he said slowly out into the air.
"Are you sorry it was not?" Morgana appeared from the air again, creating a mirror between her hands.
He shook his head and looked into the mirror, puzzled. Since his body had begun to change in his twenties, he had never seen himself look so old and still normal before. The only thing remaining from his old appearance was the glowing red eyes. That was the only thing connected to the missing soul. The other changes of his body had been from other Dark Arts rituals and spells. However, he didn't exactly look like he thought he would have looked around thirty. The hair was dark brown instead of black, his face a little rounder, even if the cheekbones were still high. His nose was not as pointed as before, and his lips had never been quite so full.
"The eyes will have their new normal colour once you have been with your Soul Mate," Morgana confirmed his belief. "Until then, this will disguise them for you."
The mirror disappeared, and a diamond on a chain appeared instead. He took it and hung it around his neck, feeling the magic of it and was uncertain what it would do. It didn't feel like he knew a fairy's normal resting place felt. Instead, he could feel his own magic in it. The fairies must have used his magic for creating this as well.
"It will also help you regain your soul when you are with your Soul Mate," she explained. "Once you have your soul back, you'll place the diamond on your Soul Mate's stomach."
He arched an eyebrow (and then had to move his hand up there to feel his new eyebrow). Well, it didn't surprise him that he needed more than just a certain Soul Mate to regain his soul, but why did he have to put the diamond on the person's stomach?
"It's part of your price," she replied mystically when he asked out loud.
He sighed. Right. "Then what am I expected to do with my Soul Mate?"
"You will know when you see her," Morgana answered with a chuckle.
Hermione Granger had a really lousy day. Or well, it wasn't all that lousy she guessed. She had survived the final battle, and the Death Eaters were destroyed. Sure, Lord Voldemort had disappeared, but everyone was sure he would be captured now when all his followers had left him. At least the Ministry and Hogwarts had been reclaimed.
That wasn't why she was having a lousy day. No, her lousy day came from a much more personal issue.
Just before the final battle, she had kissed her best friend, Ron Weasley, and he had kissed her back. She had been sure that if they came out of the battle alive, they would be together. However, then the party had begun. She wasn't sure who had started it, since so many were dead and so many had friends and family to grieve, but she knew where it had started: at the Ministry. With her other best friend, Harry Potter, she and Ron had travelled to the Ministry with everyone else alive in the Order of the Phoenix to see if there were any Death Eaters left there. They had beaten down a few, and the rest had surrendered when they heard their master had fled. A lot of the workers at the Ministry had started to cheer, and soon the party had started.
Hermione, wanting to forget all the horrors she had seen, let herself be swept away by the happiness and relief of others after a couple of drinks. A while later, she had gone to find Ron to see if they could find some comfort in each other. However, when she found him, he was already being comforted by someone else. His ex-girlfriend, Lavender Brown.
With all the other horrible things that had happened, Hermione just hadn't been able to stand it. She Apparated home to her parents' house only to remember that they were in Australia under other aliases, not knowing who she was or anything like that. That had been the final straw, and she went to the nearest pub, deciding that she could try the whole drinking-away-your-sorrows thing she had heard so much about.
She was doing a good job doing just that at the pub when someone sat down next to her. During the night, she had had three men coming over to ask if she wanted company, but she had sent them away with a cutting remark. She was about to do that with this man, too, when he placed his hand on her shoulder.
An electric bolt went through her whole body, and she jumped up from her seat and stumbled. The man captured her and helped her stand. She watched him with wide eyes, and he seemed just as surprise as she was. His dark blue eyes were mesmerising, and whatever insult she had been about to say disappeared.
"Eh, hello," he said sheepishly.
He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. He was almost ten inches taller than she was, and the dark hair framed his graceful face in the most flattering way.
"Hi," she replied, wanting to say something more but not finding the words. She was all too aware that he still held his hands on her elbows to keep her up.
"I…" For some strange reason, he seemed to have the same problem. "Eh… drink?"
"Oh, eh, well… yes, plea-anks," she said, then blushed, realising she had changed word right in the middle of a word. What was wrong with her?
The man helped her sit down on the chair again and then called the server over before he sat down right next to her. When he was looking in the other direction, her eyes wandered over his body. His clothes were completely black and smelled quite… peculiar. Not bad but not good either. They didn't look like clothes usually did, but she just couldn't put her finger on what was wrong. Perhaps it was all the alcohol in her body?
"Ehm." He turned toward her again. "I'm Marcus by the way."
"Hermione," she said, finally managing to get something right.
Their drinks came.
"I hope I'm not being too forward now, but you seem rather sad," he noted.
She made a grimace. "I rather not think about it."
"Oh, okay. Well, that's fine. I'm sure we can find something else to do so you won't have to think about whatever it is," he quickly assured.
When Hermione thought back to the night, there was a huge black hole in her memory. She remembered talking to him for a very long time, but not really what they were talking about. Then she remembered the pub closing and him helping her home since she was quite drunk. When they reached her door, she remembered kissing him and asking him to come inside which he had. Then everything was rather fuzzy. When she woke up in the morning, feeling like crap, he was gone, and a part of her thought it had all just been a hallucination.