Beta: Shara Lunison & magickmaker17
Pairings: Voldemort/Harry (post-Harry/Ginny)
Warnings: SLASH, AU, character death, semi-super!Harry, Dark!Harry
Summary: Harry's world ends at the hands of those he'd once fought to save. An adult-Harry goes back to his younger self fic. Semi-super!Harry
Disclaim Her: Oh my effin' Merlin! Why the balls is it so hard to write a conversation with Albus. *tears out hair* I swear I spent over a month on this one conversation. Jeebus.
A/N: Sorry for the wait, my luvs. Albus was driving me bonkers, and then FFVIII distracted the crap out of me and I wrote a fic. With Zyxt out of the way and my muse no longer distracted by so much shiny, I can again focus on this fic.
Also, after a bit of chatting with Nimohtar and getting past the Albus bit, I realised that, erm...
This is the last chapter.
King of Anything
Xerosis, once again disguised with red hair and a few years age, whistled to himself as he started the trek up to the castle gates. Dumbledore had been the one to suggest the change in venue, commenting that the vampire already had easy access to the school, since he'd changed the wards, and Hogwarts meals weren't anything to sneer at. (Anyway, Xerosis knew from his own observations during the past week and a half that Dumbledore was being constantly badgered by the Ministry and Order members, thanks to the mundanes picking up their attacks and the Dark Lords' continued destruction on seemingly random mundane towns. Meal times were about the only free time he got anymore, and the Headmaster did like to enjoy as many meals with the students as possible.)
Snape stood stiffly just inside the gates. He offered a nervous little bow as Xerosis came to a stop on the opposite side of the gates. "My Lord. I have been sent to escort you to the Great Hall."
"Oh? He's letting me dine with the children?" Xerosis wondered as he stepped through the wards.
"As you are no doubt aware, the Headmaster has found eating with the students and staff a difficult endeavour of late, so he prefers to do so if he might. When he asked, I assured him that you would do no harm to the students," Snape explained, falling back so he was walking just behind the Dark Lord on their way up to the castle.
"Interesting..." Xerosis murmured, watching a gaggle of students hurry through the melting snow from the greenhouses. "And what did he tell the other professors of his guest?"
"As far as I know, only that you are related to the war effort. It's not the first time he has had someone unknown in the castle, though it is the first time he has invited them to lunch."
Xerosis hummed thoughtfully in response.
Upon entering the Great Hall, he took a moment to glance around the room, catching sight of his other self seated with his Ravenclaw friends. Unusually, Harry was the older of the two of them at the moment and he allowed a brief smile to cross his face when he saw Xerosis in the doorway, which Xerosis took to mean that things would go well. Other students spared him only curious looks, most of which turned away when they recognised the unyielding professor at his side.
As Xerosis and Severus reached the Head Table, Dumbledore greeted them with a smile. "Excellent. Thank you, Severus," he offered, motioning to the empty seat at his side for Xerosis to take, which the Dark Lord did. Snape took the open seat a ways down after offering his Lord a respectful nod. "I take it you had no problems getting here?" Dumbledore enquired.
"None that I couldn't direct towards Tom," Xerosis agreed cheerfully, serving himself some lunch. "There always seems to be a minor problem that needs our attention." Pale eyes flickered up towards tired blue. "I'm sure you understand."
Dumbledore allowed a knowing smile. "All too well. I will admit that I am, at times, jealous of your partnership."
"Having less people vying for your attention helps as well," Xerosis replied drily. "Honestly, Headmaster, isn't the Ministry capable of standing on its own two feet? They're like a huddle of small children looking for Daddy's approval over their every move. It's a wonder they've lasted so long."
Dumbledore sighed. "Amelia is doing what she can, but with the mess that Cornelius left, not to mention everything that's already happening..."
Xerosis snorted. "Yes, Fudge left quite the mess behind. I'll never understand how that man made it into office."
Dumbledore chuckled in response and they both fell silent to enjoy their meal.
Once they'd both finished, Dumbledore made his excuses to the staff and led Xerosis from the Great Hall, commenting, "I never would have been able to invite Tom to lunch."
Xerosis snorted. "His patience and temper are such that he cannot be trusted long around children," he agreed, "however, if both he and the children in question can mind themselves, he can actually co-exist peacefully with them. I certainly trust him with children more than I trust Bella."
"Indeed?" Dumbledore wondered. "Interesting. Ah, here we are. Blood Pops," he said to his guardian, which dutifully moved out of the way.
Xerosis chuckled at the treat which was marketed towards vampires, following Dumbledore up the stairs to his office. Once inside the round office, they were greeted by an irritated squawk and Xerosis offered the angry phoenix a friendly smile. "Hello to you as well, Fawkes."
Dumbledore blinked in surprise. "You know my familiar?"
Xerosis shrugged. "We met while Tom and I were adding to the wards. I may have threatened him a bit to keep him from waking you."
"Ah." Dumbledore considered his phoenix fondly. "Well, there will be no threats this time, I think. Xerosis is only here to talk."
Fawkes pointedly turned his back on the both of them and flipped his tail feathers in an insult, making both wizards chuckle.
They took seats and Dumbledore politely offered both sherbet lemons and tea – Xerosis declined both – before they got down to business, Dumbledore commenting, "You were rather vague in your letter."
"Somewhat purposefully," Xerosis admitted, relaxing back into the plush chair he'd transfigured from one of Dumbledore's office chairs. "I had no interest in you getting the wrong impression."
"You wish for us to live in harmony with the mundanes, yes?" Dumbledore nodded, twinkling eyes curious. "It won't happen."
"Headmaster," Xerosis interrupted with a sigh, "it won't. Not just because of them, but because there will always be wizards and witches who cannot bring themselves to live so near to those they consider inferior."
Dumbledore frowned. "I will give you that; many purebloods seem to be incapable of living peacefully with muggles. That doesn't mean you have to kill them all."
"Mm, no, though it makes us feel better." Xerosis smiled, vampire teeth flashing in the sunlight.
Dumbledore's frown deepened. "Your point?"
Xerosis shook himself from his thoughts. "There are too many mundanes for us to successfully kill them all, and we do require the occasionally magical offspring to widen our own gene pool. This, I believe, is something we can both agree to?"
Dumbledore nodded, brightening at this admittance. "Yes."
"Yet they are too dangerous to be left aware of our existence, but there is no way for us to continue sharing living space with them without their knowledge. Do you concur?"
Dumbledore frowned a bit, but reluctantly agreed, "Yes, I suppose."
Xerosis nodded. "Tom and I have created something of a compromise; a way to both let the mundanes continue to exist, yet allow the magical people as a whole to live in peace."
Dumbledore looked intrigued. "Indeed? And you've come to me with it?"
Xerosis fought a frown and was, mostly, successful. "It was pointed out to me by someone I trust that keeping you in the dark about our plans will only have a negative impact on them. Alternately, letting you in on our plans may very well allow them to proceed smoother than they otherwise might."
"You trust someone who doesn't dislike me?" the Headmaster wondered, amused.
'He trusts me,' Hogwarts offered to both of them. 'I believe their plan has some merit. Listen to him without bias, Albus.'
Dumbledore's eyebrows had raised in surprise at the castle's intervention. Xerosis just smiled faintly and offered, "Thank you, Hogwarts."
The castle let out a sense of amusement before her presence retreated to keep an eye on the students and staff joking in the Great Hall.
The Headmaster chuckled. "Very well, then. What is this compromise you and Tom have figured out?"
Xerosis cocked his head to one side, still smiling, and said, "If we cannot live in peace on the same planet, why not simply move off it?"
Dumbledore blinked dumbly, mouth half open.
Xerosis smirked and enjoyed the rare sight of a speechless Dumbledore. He'd have to tell Riddle all about it later.
Dumbledore shook his head after a long moment of staring and asked, "Is that even possible?"
"You thought I'd come to you with some sort of half-baked idea that we weren't certain would even work?" Xerosis wondered scornfully. "Of course it's possible; Tom and I have been working on making the moon habitable for months."
Dumbledore blinked and asked, "How would you talk everyone into moving up there?"
"Ah, see, that's where you come in handy." Xerosis lips curled with pleasure. "If Tom or I were to tell people they were moving to the moon for their own safety, they'd think we were planning to kill them all en route. If you, however, were to tell them, they'd go oh so compliantly."
Dumbledore nodded. "Indeed. And how do I know you're not leading them to their deaths?"
"I could take you up there and you could see our work," Xerosis offered. "Unless you think I'd kill you en route, of course."
The Headmaster chuckled. "No, you wouldn't chance it, not if you need me to convince everyone else."
"Hm, good point." Xerosis let out a regretful sigh. "I guess I'll have to tell Tom to bin the portkey into the sun, then."
A number of the portraits – they'd mostly remained quiet other than the occasional curious sound or fake snore – let out angry noises at that, but Dumbledore merely chuckled again and shook his head. "A portkey?"
"Mm." Xerosis pulled the extra portkey he'd filched from Riddle's stash and altered to land at Hermione's Haven and tossed it on the desk. "It's an unusual sensation, portkeying through a vacuum, and the landing is unusually difficult to master, but it's an experience I think you would enjoy."
"Indeed." Dumbledore carefully picked up the portkey and considered it. After a moment, his eyebrows raised. "Impressive work. I take it Tom made this?"
"That one, yes." Xerosis pulled his own portkey out of his pocket, which had been made out of a moon stone. "This one is my work."
Dumbledore nodded, still considering the portkey in his hands. "I'm surprised that it can get through the Hogwarts wards," he allowed after a moment, "although I suppose I shouldn't be; Tom did add a ward once, after all."
Xerosis snorted. "The password for that one, I believe, is 'Muggle Solution'."
Dumbledore frowned at that. "A bit German Nazi, isn't it?"
"You honestly expected better from a couple of Dark Lords intent on mundane extermination?" Xerosis wondered, amused.
Dumbledore sighed. "Perhaps I'm simply overly optimistic." He grimaced at the portkey. "I don't suppose we can change the password?"
Xerosis snorted, but held his hand out for the bracelet, asking, "Would 'To the moon' work better?"
"Yes, I believe that would work perfectly," Dumbledore agreed, beaming.
Xerosis changed the password and tossed the portkey back. "There you are," he offered, then activated his own portkey with a smile. As soon as he came crashing to the ground, he jumped to his feet and out of the way, only to laugh when Dumbledore crashed to the ground himself, a nearby bookcase narrowly missing his head with a few books.
Dumbledore smiled good naturedly and climbed to his feet. "Ah, that was quite the trip. Travelling through a vacuum, you say?"
"It creates the lack of sound," Riddle commented as he stepped around a bookcase and into sight. The tenseness in his shoulders belied the easy tone he spoke with as he snapped shut the book he'd been reading through while awaiting their arrival. "The lack of light is from travelling through space itself. However, we've discovered that, if you slow down the portkey travel a few seconds, you can see the stars in the distance." He turned to Xerosis while Dumbledore considered that. "You took your time."
"I was invited to lunch while I was there," Xerosis informed his partner, absently changing his glamour to appear like Xerosis properly. "I wasn't about to turn it down."
"Hm." Riddle waved his book back towards the shelf it belonged on and turned to the Headmaster, who was fixing the books that had fallen at his entrance. "Professor," Riddle offered.
"Hello, Tom," Dumbledore replied, smiling faintly. "You look well."
Riddle sniffed and turned away. "Your mudblood has good taste in books, Xerosis."
Xerosis rolled his eyes and motioned for the Headmaster to follow them to the stairs. "I'll let her know you think so. Although I might have to leave out the insult; I don't much care to see if she'll actually try cursing you for it or not."
"She wouldn't dare."
"If she could blame it on me, she would," Xerosis replied with certainty, then turned to the smiling Headmaster as Riddle pushed the door to the roof and said, "Welcome to the moon, Headmaster."
The moon had rotated enough so the sun was shining over half the city that sprawled in the distance, the other half lit by lamps spaced out along the walkways. There was an empty distance between Hermione's Haven and the rest of the city, waiting for the magical schools and the train tracks that would connect them. Beyond that, however, lay clusters of buildings painted all colours. Far to the south, visible only because both it and the library were so tall, stood Riddle's base.
Dumbledore glanced back at the two Dark Lords; Xerosis was leaning casually against the railing that surrounded the roof at chest height while Riddle stood a few steps away, speaking quietly into a strange device in his ear that Dumbledore hadn't noticed before. Since Riddle was busy, he focussed on Xerosis, asking, "How many people can live up here?"
"We figure we've got room for about one million in the housing district," Xerosis offered. "There's only about five hundred thousand magical people worldwide, so we've got plenty of room to grow." He straightened and motioned at the empty space around them. "This is the schooling district, Ravenclaw. We've got room for the twelve biggest schools, and we're going to connect them by train, which is what the lowest level of this building is for. That way we won't have to modify any existing wards."
"You intend to bring the schools here?" Dumbledore wondered, impressed.
"Hogwarts suggested we could manage it, and we've moved two manors up here already with no problems." Xerosis paused for a moment, then admitted, "That's also part of the reason we require your assistance. Turning buildings into portkeys is, understandably, draining. The larger the building, the greater the drain. Tom and I agree that we'd like to move all the schools up here before term lets out in any of them, since it will enable us to bring the children up here with minimal fuss. The parents will follow much quieter if they know their children are already here."
"So you intend to kidnap the children?" Dumbledore sighed. "I suppose I'm not all that surprised."
Xerosis grinned. "It'll be indefinitely easier to talk people into migrating if their children have been kidnapped. Admit it."
"That doesn't mean you should," Dumbledore replied tiredly.
"It's an easy way to prove that it works," Riddle commented, joining them. "Xerosis, someone wants to speak to you," he added, holding out his headset.
"Oh?" Xerosis took the contraption and fitted it on his head. "Yes?" he asked as he stepped away. He was vaguely aware of Dumbledore asking what would be done about the mundane-borns and was glad he'd escaped when he had; let Riddle weather that particular storm.
'I know we weren't originally going to let him see the students,' Harry said through the headset, 'but it will be in our best interest.'
"Oh?" Xerosis raised an eyebrow. "That should be interesting. Yourself as well?"
'I wouldn't be here if I wasn't including myself,' Harry pointed out drily. 'It will help him to see all of us working here peacefully. Especially me. Us. Whatever.'
Xerosis chuckled. "I thought Hermione and Neville weren't coming up today, since they've got Charms in an hour."
'Mm. They weren't going to, but I convinced them it was in their best interest. And since both Hermione and Terry are mundane-born, they can allay some of Dumbledore's fears. Which reminds me, you should probably go stop Tom from killing the old fool.'
"Good point. Alright, we'll be there shortly." Xerosis tapped the headset off as he strode back towards his partner and the Headmaster, who looked near to coming to blows. "Now, now, Tom, there's no need to throw a tantrum," he soothed, smiling cheerfully.
:Do we really need him?: Riddle hissed, reluctantly slipping his wand away.
:Regrettably, yes. Did Harry mention his thoughts on taking Dumbledore to Slytherin District?:
:Yes. I think it's foolish, but he's done this once...: Riddle rubbed irritably at the bridge of his nose. :I don't like the idea of letting him know Potter is working with us, especially with Severus knowing who you are.:
:He'll find out eventually, Tom. It can't be helped, especially not if we're all moving up here.: Xerosis sighed and shook his head. :We're going to both need our full attention on dealing with everything for the move, anyway. I'd like to give up the student persona completely, if I might.:
:It would be easier if you weren't splitting your attention,: Riddle allowed. :But you're not telling the old fool yet.:
Xerosis snorted. :I have no intention of telling him until we've already moved Hogwarts. Don't think me so stupid.: He turned his attention to Dumbledore, who had been watching the hissed conversation with a curious expression. "We think it might benefit you to meet some of our assistants. If you'll lend me your arm?"
Dumbledore, looking intrigued, held out his arm and Xerosis apparated them to just outside the base, Riddle landing behind them and offering, "This is Slytherin District. The government buildings and resources are over here."
Dumbledore took a quick look around, but then he spotted the group of students talking around a nearby tree and his eyes widened. "Wha–?"
Harry happened to glance over then and he quietly mentioned it to his friends. They all strode over, Harry the only one not apparently nervous. Harry grinned at them and said, "Hello, Headmaster. Xerosis, Voldie."
"Potter..." Riddle hissed, narrowing his eyes. "I will turn your skin inside out if you do not cease referring to me as such."
"It's not my fault you made everyone fear your name so much that speaking it makes everyone let out little shrieks of terror."
"We do not shriek," Morag informed her Housemate with a scowl.
"But you admit there's terror involved."
Hermione reached over and covered Harry's mouth, offering the wide-eyed Headmaster a trembling smile. "Hello, Headmaster."
"Miss Granger," Dumbledore replied, shaking off his surprise. His eyes wandered over the nervous children, who offered him varying expressions based on their own trust in him, then back at Xerosis and Riddle. The taller of the two Dark Lords looked irritated, and Dumbledore recalled Xerosis' earlier, off-hand comment about how Riddle could be trusted with children. Clearly that was true, and it was clear, now, how Xerosis would believe as much, though Dumbledore wasn't sure how much he trusted his ex-student's temper, especially not around Harry Potter.
"Luna was the one who came up with this idea," Xerosis commented idly, rocking backwards on his heels. "Harry was the one who brought the idea to my attention and I mentioned it to my Lord Voldemort. There was work and figuring to be done to make it a reality, but we managed well enough." He smiled at the city beyond the children. "My Lord Voldemort and I agreed that, since it was the children who figured out this solution, they could assist in making it a reality. Luna, Terry and Li have been working on moving magical and mundane animals up here; while Neville, Hermione and Millicent have been working with the greenhouses. Morag, Tracey, Lillian and Harry have all been helping to conjure furniture in Hufflepuff and Gryffindor or paint buildings."
Dumbledore looked over the students. They looked almost proud of their work, judging by the smiles they all managed when their duties were mentioned, and he didn't doubt that they'd done well, having watched those students flocking to Harry as they grew and flourished over the years. But something Xerosis had said bothered him a bit. "Harry, my boy, you contacted Xerosis?"
Harry blinked ever so innocently and pulled Hermione's hand from his mouth, which she'd yet to remove. "Yes? I've known Xerosis since before I started Hogwarts." He looked confused for a moment. "Didn't Andy tell you? She sort of found out, and I thought she would have let everyone know ages ago..."
Dumbledore sighed quietly. Indeed, Andromeda had mentioned some concern over the people Harry was friends with, but he'd brushed her off, seeing nothing wrong with the Slytherins the boy often spent time with. "I see." His eyes flicked to Xerosis, only for the apparent vampire to shoot him a toothy smile, completely unconcerned. And he really had no reason to be concerned, because there wasn't much Dumbledore could do with such information, not now. "I see," he said again.
"Oh!" Hermione checked her watch and grabbed Neville's arm. "We're going to be late!"
"No, you're not," Xerosis said, amused. "You still have half an hour before you should leave, and almost forty minutes before you have to leave. What's wrong, Hermione?"
Hermione shot the smaller Dark Lord a frown. "Some of us still have respect for the Headmaster."
Xerosis chuckled. "Which is why I'd like you to stay and talk until you have to leave. Will you?"
"Does that mean the rest of us can go be productive?" Lillian asked, hands on her hips. "There's only so much standing around, looking like Gryffindors, that we can stand. My Lord."
Xerosis outright laughed at that, and even Riddle looked amused as he waved at the teenagers. "Boot, Potter, Granger and Longbottom, stay. The rest of you, out of my spell range."
There was some nervous laughter at that as the crowd dispersed to their duties. There was a floo access in a building nearby that the students used to get to the other districts, so they all tumbled into there and vanished, none of them interested in testing the red-eyed Dark Lord's patience.
"Headmaster, I believe you and my Lord Voldemort were discussing the mundane-born problem?" Xerosis wondered, rocking back on his heels.
Dumbledore zeroed in on the apparent vampire, eyes narrowed. "We were." His eyes flickered towards Riddle, who was leaning carelessly against the side of the building, expression smug. "He seems to think you'll be refusing to let them see their parents."
"That's what he'd like to happen," Hermione muttered, flinching when Riddle shot her a warning look.
Harry stepped between his friend and the Dark Lord, shooting the man an unimpressed look, before saying, "It's something of a debate, really. Voldie–"
"I can use Luna's name for you, if you'd prefer," Harry snapped.
Xerosis sighed and shook his head, interrupting before his future self could give them away. "Could you two not attempt to kill each other every ten minutes? Please? I don't want to have to clean up any blood, especially not out here; it'll stain the soil." Xerosis paused to consider that while the two turned their furious looks on him. "On second thought, go for it; I'd love to have reason to mock you every time we walk past the spot."
"It's a complicated situation," Neville offered before someone could draw their wand, proving how he got into Gryffindor. When they all turned to him, Riddle the only one actually looking angry, Neville slouched a bit, but explained, "It's not really... safe, down on the planet, not with the way the muggles are bombing anyone even suspected of having magic, so sending muggleborns to stay with their parents just isn't going to work. Visitation, maybe, but it can't be forever."
"It's like visitation rights," Harry offered, shrugging. "When a couple divorces, you have to figure out who the kid spends all their time with, right? They're going to live with the more fit parent, the one who can keep them safe and provide for them, not the one who can barely remember to eat. But that's not to say the kid shouldn't visit that parent, just that they can't stay with them."
Dumbledore shook his head. "So, what? You intend to set up visitation with these muggle parents?" He turned to Riddle and Xerosis, clearly displeased.
"You'd rather we leave them on the surface, where they could be blown up?" Xerosis wondered, smiling patronisingly. "Or, perhaps, you'd rather we invite their parents to live up here, knowing they'd never be allowed to visit their mundane families again?"
"I..." Terry looked down at his feet. "I would rather my family know I'm safe, than live in fear that, one day, their house might explode under them because of me. They..." He shifted uncomfortably. "My grandmum's in and out of hospital with heart attacks, and dad can't leave her, not now. He could never move up here, not getting the chance to say goodbye. But if it's just me, that's okay."
"None of this will matter in another decade or so, anyway," Harry pointed out as he squeezed Terry's shoulder in a silent show of support. "The mundane-borns now who wonder about their parents will have largely outgrown them, and weren't you planning to sort of steal the newborns?"
"Switch them for muggle orphans, yes," Riddle agreed.
"You would take children from their parents?" Dumbledore demanded. "And not even warn them?"
"You would have them hunted, instead?" Riddle snapped. "Think for a minute, Professor! With your head, not your blind heart! If we leave the little mudbloods on the surface, they'll be dead by their tenth birthdays!"
"Wouldn't it be kinder to switch them with an orphan before their parents get attached?" Xerosis added lightly. "The mundane family gets a kid to raise, and some poor orphan gets parents. Everybody's happy."
"Right up until daddy thinks mummy cheated on him," Harry added, eyes sparkling with amusement.
"And I should care about the squabbles of mundanes, why?" Xerosis retorted.
Dumbledore shook his head, admitting the apparent vampire had a point, even if he didn't care for it. "And what would you do once you got them here?"
"Magical families would adopt any orphans," Xerosis reported. "We've got an orphanage built and ready, but we're expecting a fairly quick turn-around, so it shouldn't get over-crowded. In my experience, a lot of what the purebloods dislike about mundane-borns are their immersion in mundane thoughts and beliefs. Perhaps, if they started out with all the same beliefs and knowledge as your average wizarding-raised, some of that ridiculous scorn could be dropped. Never mind how much simpler classes would be, with everyone starting on a similar level." Xerosis shrugged at Dumbledore's frown. "Just be happy we're planning to let them into our community at all."
Riddle let out an irritated sound, but fell silent when both Xerosis and Harry shot him sharp looks. There was only so much he would push about mudbloods when the other Dark Lord outnumbered him, especially when Dumbledore was there, as well. He wasn't a masochist any more than he was suicidal.
"I am...curious about something," Terry offered uncertainly.
"Go for it," Harry suggested, smiling.
Terry shrugged and shot his friend a grimace. "What about mixed families?"
Everyone turn to look at where Riddle and Xerosis were having a silent conversation of raised eyebrows and scowls. Finally, Riddle snapped, "Fine!"
Xerosis smirked victoriously and announced, "We'll leave that to them, I think. If they want to live up here on the moon, they can, but they will be pretty much dead, so far as their mundane relatives on the planet are concerned. If they choose to stay on the planet, they'll be treated as a mundane family and will see any children during scheduled visits."
"And if they prefer their child remain with them?" Dumbledore wondered. "If at least one parent is capable of magic, they can teach–"
"No," Xerosis said, voice hard as the air chilled. "I will not sit back and watch a child be murdered because their parents are morons. If they're overage, they can choose, let that be on their shoulders, but if they're seventeen or younger, they will be moving up here."
"That is kidnapping–"
Xerosis darted forward, too fast for the old Headmaster to follow, and got in his face, his lesser height not detracting from the sense of danger in those pale eyes. "I am not a good man, Albus Dumbledore, and I ask you not to mistake me for one again. If I think kidnapping a child will extend their life, I will do it, no matter what you or any other bleeding heart might say about the right of family. Let the parents commit suicide if that is their wish, but I will not allow them to force that fate on an innocent. Am I clear?"
"Y-y-yes..." Dumbledore chattered through the freezing cold that surrounded him.
The air abruptly warmed and Xerosis stepped back, all easy smiles and cheerful voice as he said, "Hermione, Neville, I believe it's about time you returned for class. We wouldn't want you to be late."
"Oh!" Hermione grabbed Neville's arm. "Let's go!"
"Bye," Neville offered as he was dragged off by his bushy-haired friend.
Terry, Harry and Xerosis all offered amused waves as the two Gryffindors portkeyed away.
"Did Longbottom lose his portkey again?" Riddle snapped, noting that Hermione had been the one to portkey them away.
"I don't think so, but I'll ask," Harry offered.
Riddle shot the green-eyed teen a disgusted look. "I'll make the next one out of his hide."
"No need to be so drastic," Xerosis soothed. "I've already explained to him why he needs to tell me if he's lost it. And since he's not terrified of me–"
"Merlin knows why not," Riddle muttered under his breath.
"–he'll tell me if it happens again," Xerosis finished, ignoring his fellow Dark Lord. He turned to Dumbledore who still looked shaken, yet also amused by their interactions. "Headmaster, you should probably be returning as well. You know how to reach me if you have further questions." His eyes flickered towards Harry. "You know many ways of reaching me, actually..."
Dumbledore glanced over at where Harry was leading Terry off with a grin towards the floo. "Yes, I do." He looked back at the two Dark Lords, one smiling, the other scowling. "I don't suppose I'll be welcomed up here at any time, unlike my students, however?"
Xerosis chuckled. "No, I'm afraid not. We cannot guarantee your safety, and there's no reason to start a minor war up here just because you and the Death Eaters don't get on. If you wish to return up here, you can get in contact with me and I'm willing to bring you again."
"I'd like to start creating the portkeys this weekend," Riddle interrupted, pushing away from the wall he'd been leaning against and stepping up next to his partner. "We've got everything figured out, including the activation, we just need to set them up. Are you free this weekend?"
Dumbledore blinked and nodded. "You wish to start with Hogwarts?" he guessed.
"If anything goes wrong, she'll be able to let us know," Xerosis agreed. "And she'll be able to tell us, also, if a long-term portkey reacts poorly with her wards."
"You intend to work the portkey into the ward stone?" Dumbledore wondered, intrigued.
"Essentially," Riddle agreed.
"That would require a warding team," Dumbledore pointed out.
"We three and Harry will be the casters," Xerosis offered. "We can use Lucius and Luna as the setters, again, and maybe Severus? Barty did okay the last time, but..."
Riddle nodded. "Severus would be a better substitute," he agreed.
"Miss Lovegood?" Dumbledore wondered. "And Harry? You think it's wise to utilise students?"
"Harry and Luna helped with the wards the last time," Xerosis replied, shrugging. "Harry has plenty of magical power, and he picks up the theory quickly enough; Luna is capable of directing the magic, and has the concentration to not get overwhelmed, which is all that's necessary for her. They'll both be fine, and we trust them."
"Despite how much we may want to kill them on occasion."
Xerosis chuckled. "No, Tom, that's just you. I like them."
"More the fool you."
Dumbledore smiled. "When this weekend?"
"Saturday evening, I think," Riddle decided. "We can meet in the entrance hall just before midnight."
"Very well." Dumbledore pulled his portkey out of his robes. "I assume this will return me to my office, then become inactive?"
"Pretty much," Xerosis agreed. "Have a good afternoon, Headmaster."
"And you as well, Xerosis." Dumbledore turned to the red-eyed man next to the apparent vampire. "Tom."
Tom gave a jerky nod in response.
As soon as Dumbledore was gone, Xerosis dropped his glamour and pulled out his time-turner. "Off to classes I go."
"Have fun," Riddle offered sarcastically.
Harry blew him a kiss, then portkeyed down to the planet before Riddle could do more than reach for his wand.
"Little brat," Riddle growled before stalking off to find the version of Harry currently on the moon; he had plenty of curses to test out.
There was nothing wrong with the portkey being added to the wards, so they went ahead and fixed all twelve major magical schools. Mid-May, when they knew all the schools were in session, Harry and Riddle activated the portkeys and all the schools were transported to their areas in Ravenclaw District during the night time in their country, so there was no concern with anyone being out on the grounds. A bit of magical tinkering, and a 'natural' disaster courtesy of Harry had kept the news of the schools vanishing from getting around the globe before the sun set in each region, so no one was evacuated before they could be moved.
By that time, most of the Death Eaters had been moved to the moon, some bringing their manors, most simply packing all their possessions and picking out a new home. There were a number of werewolf tribes currently travelling on the far side of the moon, out of the sunlight, and many other magical creatures had already transported up, thanks to Luna's team.
Beauxbatons, Durmstrang and Hogwarts were the last three schools transported up, and upon waking, everyone was too distracted by their sudden change in position to realise that Harry Potter had vanished. Only Harry's friends, Snape and Dumbledore noticed.
Dumbledore approached Harry's friends as the Great Hall was clearing from breakfast – the students had been given the day off to get used to the new view – and asked, "I don't suppose any of you have seen Mr Potter?"
The students traded looks, then Luna offered, "He's decided to stop playing student."
"Playing student?" Dumbledore wondered.
"Uhm..." The students all shifted uncertainly, none of them interested in explaining who Harry was.
"They mean I've decided to admit that I'm Xerosis," Harry offered, having appeared at the Headmaster's elbow in time to hear Luna's comment. "Headmaster, if you don't mind, we require your presence down on the plant to help calm the masses. They're not much inclined to listen to a couple Dark Lords, and I doubt they'd listen to Harry Potter any better."
"Harry..." Dumbledore whispered, confused.
Harry smiled, but it wasn't that innocent, bright student smile that Dumbledore had always seen from him, but the hard smile that Xerosis all-too-often wore. "Headmaster, the longer they're left to riot, the more people will die."
"Rioting?" Hermione breathed.
Harry shrugged. "We've got them calm and moving pretty much everywhere except Europe, really," he admitted. "But my Lord Voldemort and I don't have quite the same bad name outside Europe, so that's not all that surprising. Their ministries were easier to bully, too. But the European ministries aren't about to listen to a couple of kidnapping Dark Lords, so..." He shrugged.
"I... Harry?" Dumbledore murmured, some clarity finally returning to his eyes, along with terrible sadness.
"Albus?" Harry replied drily, raising an eyebrow at the Headmaster. "Rioting? People dying? Freak out later, you old fool."
"Harry!" Hermione berated.
Harry flashed her a smile as Dumbledore finally managed to shake his shock away and focus on the current problem. "Where to?" he asked, all business once more.
"Conference is in Hogsmeade," Harry reported, holding out his portkey for the Headmaster to touch. "Oh, Lil?"
"Could you let Severus know that he's requested at base? My Lord Voldemort and I need him to make a couple of potions; Barty has further instructions."
"I'll let him know," Lillian promised.
"Excellent." Harry flashed them all a smile, then activated his portkey.
As soon as they'd landed, Harry led the way to the mob of reporters, aurors and citizens. Voldemort was glowering at the mob from behind a shield while various Death Eaters with their foot in a public position, such as Lucius, tried to calm everyone down. Once they noticed a bright-eyed Harry and the amused Dumbledore at his side, everyone seemed to forget about Voldemort completely.
Dumbledore was more than practised with handling the crowd and he managed to calm them down enough to actually hear and respond to their questions.
"Headmaster, are the students safe?" one reporter asked in the calm.
"They are well," Dumbledore promised, placing a friendly arm around Harry's shoulders. "Mr Potter has agreed to come with me to help me assure you that everything is fine."
"Headmaster, where is the school?" someone else pleaded. "Durmstrang and Beauxbatons are also gone."
"They've been moved to the moon," Dumbledore soothed. "Lords Voldemort, Xerosis and I all agreed that it is too dangerous for the muggles and magical people to remain on the same planet. This has been a long-term project which has finally come to a head today."
"The moon is hardly safe–!"
"It has been made safe," Voldemort snapped, coming to join the Headmaster and his smiling partner. "Would you idiots prefer to remain here on the planet, where muggles enjoy blowing up city blocks every week, or would you prefer to move up to the moon, where you're safe?"
"Tom..." Dumbledore tried as the crowd bristled at his tone.
"It's awesome!" Harry gushed, bouncing a bit on the balls of his feet and putting on the face of an excited child. "I looked out my dorm window this morning when I got up and it's a bit weird, kinda, I suppose, but it's cool. I mean, we're on the moon! Living on the moon is awesome! And there's a bunch of other schools up there, too. Have you ever seen Adobe Institute? Or the Three Pyramids? They look so different from the European schools!"
Harry's enthusiasm seemed to catch all their attention and earned him any number of smiles. "You're not worried, Mr Potter?" one reported asked.
Harry shook his head, his cheeks starting to hurt from smiling so much. "Nope! It's really cool up there, and I trust the Headmaster; if he says it'll be okay, it will, right?" He looked up at Dumbledore with wide eyes.
"Of course it will, my boy," Dumbledore agreed, almost forgetting, for a moment, that Harry had admitted to being Xerosis. How could such a bright child be so cold and heartless about the fate of the muggles?
There were a few more questions asked, including the logistics of moving up to the moon. Harry left Voldemort and Dumbledore to handle that – it wasn't his business as a student, technically – and motioned for a couple of Death Eaters to join him a few steps back from the two leaders. "Do we have the recording equipment ready to be placed?" he murmured to Lucius once the man joined him, ensuring that the device they'd created to watch for any further mundane-borns was ready to go.
"We do, my Lord," Lucius replied, eyes darting nervously towards where the reporters were talking with the Headmaster and Dark Lord. "Did you want us setting it now?"
"Please. Take your team to the Department of Mysteries and toss it under some rock," Harry agreed, slipping the man one of his Unspeakable cards. "That should get you in without a problem. And, Lucius..."
"I won't fail you, my Lord," Lucius promised.
Harry offered him a bright smile. "I knew I could count of you. Once you're done, see what you can do to help with the evacuation."
"My Lord," Lucius agreed with a faint bow. Then he gathered his team and they apparated to the Ministry.
Harry joined Dumbledore and Voldemort as the reporters started packing up. He smiled at an irritated Voldemort. "Lucius' team is en route."
"At least something is going right today," Voldemort muttered.
"You're such a pessimist." Harry rolled his eyes. "That went fine, anyway. No one died." Harry paused and shot his fellow Dark Lord a distrustful look. "Did they?"
"Not by my hand."
"Hm." Harry shrugged and glanced at Dumbledore. "Well, Tom and I should probably get back up there to handle the incoming. Merlin knows we can't leave it to the Death Eaters forever. Did you need me to pass any messages on to Professor McGonagall? I'm assuming you intend to remain down here to assist with the move."
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, I believe I will. Let her know I'm assisting on the surface, I suppose. Would you be kind enough as to leave me with a portkey?"
"Oh!" Harry picked up a stone from the road and quickly cast the complicated spell that would turn it into a portkey. "This should let you out in your office, then. It's not two-way, so if you need to get back down here, you'll have to find one of us. Unless you want to try your hand with the spell?"
Dumbledore shook his head and slipped the stone into a pocket. "I believe I'll leave that skill to yourselves." He paused for a moment while the two Dark Lords pulled out their own portkeys, then said, "Harry?"
Harry blinked a few times, confusion in his bright eyes. "Why what?"
"Why would you..." Dumbledore shook his head. "You're Xerosis?"
Understanding dawned and those bright green eyes darkened with memories of death. "I told you, once: Mundanes killed my family in their fear of our kind. They destroyed this world, leaving nothing left for even themselves."
"You're only fifteen," Dumbledore breathed.
"Am I?" Harry smiled a bitter, tired smile, then activated his portkey, leaving Dumbledore to mull over his words.
"Hello, non-magical humans," Harry said cheerfully to the camera. They'd taken over a studio in downtown Glasgow and were using it to record and then broadcast their words the world over, announcing their move from the planet. "My name is Harry Potter, and I am a wizard.
"No, I've not had too many drugs and, no, I haven't had a crack to the head. I really can do magic, just like all those other people your lot have been hunting since medieval times.
"The magical world has recently been under attack by non-magicals, terrified about what we might do to you with these impossible abilities we possess. Given, we started it when we decided to blow up a couple laboratories and villages in Britain, but I suppose we're all human, and we all lash out against what we don't understand.
"I'm not asking for your forgiveness, and I won't be giving you ours. The fact of the matter is, we've both attacked each other, and we've both killed innocents in the name of fear and our own safety. I don't doubt that these attacks will continue until one or both of our people are completely eradicated.
"As I speak, my partner, Tom, is in a meeting with the United Nations, drawing up a peace contract between the magical population, which has moved to the moon, and the non-magical population here on the planet. I can't say for certain exactly what sort of concessions we'll each be making, but I can say this much: We'll leave you in peace if you leave us in peace. If you try to start a war with us, we will destroy your planet before you can launch a missile at the moon." Harry's expression darkened with murderous intent for a long moment, the room chilling.
Then, suddenly, he was all smiles and boyish charm. "With any luck, this'll be the last time any of us ever hear from each other. My people are completely moved, and our way up there was one-way, so there won't be any chance of us returning. You can live in peace without the concern that your neighbour might turn around and curse you to dance naked around the block, or whatever you fear from us. Likewise, we will no longer fear that the water main beneath our building is going to suddenly blow to smithereens under us. As that pointy-eared bloke on the telly says–" Harry held his hand out in the symbol he'd seen on one of James and Albus' favourite programmes, "–live long and prosper."
The camera's red light turned off at a motion from Harry and he hopped down from his chair to join Barty and Luna over the controls. "So?"
"You were wonderfully terrifying, my Lord," Barty assured him as Luna tapped out the directions for the broadcast to relay through the satellite system.
"Hm. With any luck, Tom will have the UN under control and signing away at the treaty. I'd really hate to have sent this message out, only for it to turn out that we don't have a treaty."
"It won't be a problem," Luna said with certainty. "ToMeister can talk–"
"Threaten," Barty coughed.
"–anyone into doing his bidding," Luna finished, shooting Barty a fond look.
"Hm. Now all we have to do is play with the magical politicians," Harry commented as Luna finished sending the message out. "What fun."
"Better you than me!" Luna said in a sing-song.
"Better you than me being stuck in a classroom all day, thanks," Harry retorted.
"There's nothing wrong with going to class." Luna pouted, but allowed herself to be led out of the studio and past the line of unconscious studio workers and actors.
"Not the first time, certainly," Harry agreed.
Barty shook his head behind them, not even bothering to ask. He'd already come to the conclusion that his Lord would never explain his impossible knowledge and maturity, and asking would only earn him a great deal of laughter from Harry or a crucio from Voldemort, depending on who was there.
"Harry?" Luna asked once they were back in the base on the moon, Barty leaving to take care of other business while Harry settled behind his paper-strewn desk.
Luna looked uncomfortable for a minute, then asked, "What'll happen with your deal? With Death?"
Harry shrugged and looked back down at the paper he'd been working on before they'd left. "There will be uprisings and those who don't care for Tom or my rule. I'll kill again, and someday I'll meet that number he's set me. Maybe, by then, I'll have lived a long life and this place will be in peace."
"A long life with Tom?" Luna pressed.
Harry's eyes flickered up, watching her over his glasses. "Yes."
"Will you court him?"
Harry sighed. "No, Luna."
"Will you let him court you?"
Harry leaned back in his chair and considered that for a moment, brow furrowed. "I suppose. But it's his choice."
Luna smiled, nodded and skipped from the room. Just outside, she said, "Oh, back from your meeting already?"
"Lovegood, get out of my office," Riddle snapped.
Harry blinked, then jerked forward over his papers as the taller Dark Lord stalked into the office and slammed the door on Luna's giggles. He remained quiet as Riddle stalked over to his desk and slapped a paper down in front of him with enough force to make his inkwell jump threateningly.
Harry cast a quick glance over the document, recognised it as the peace treaty, then smiled. "Excellent."
"Potter–" Riddle started before cutting himself off.
Harry looked up and frowned at the uncertain look on his partner's face. "Tom, are you oka–"
"I kissed you," Riddle managed, sounding a little strained.
Harry considered that for a moment, expression closed. "Yes. You were drunk."
"I was not," Riddle insisted. "I was–"
"You weren't at your best, Tom," Harry interrupted firmly. "You're letting Luna get to you."
Riddle clenched his jaw for a moment, then ground out, "What do you want?"
Harry blinked. "What do I... What?"
"What–" Riddle floundered for a moment, confusion flashing in red eyes. "You know what I'm trying to ask!"
Harry snorted. "You're my friend, Tom, and my partner in leading our people–"
"That's not what I asked!"
Harry was silent for a long moment, looking older than his years. Finally, when Riddle was fed up and turned to stalk out, Harry quietly offered, "I don't know what I want. I..." He pulled off his glasses and rubbed tiredly at his eyes. "I want my people to be safe. I want to not lose my friends even though I've left Hogwarts. I want to enjoy dinner more than once a month with my godfather. Hell, I want to be able to visit my family without feeling like the neighbours are moments from shooting me in the back because I'm Lord Xerosis."
"I don't want to lose this... This friendship or whatever we have just because my best friend thinks I need to get laid," Harry interrupted, not looking at Riddle.
Riddle choked and shot his partner a disbelieving look. "She what?"
Harry smiled, but it didn't reach his eyes. "My words, not hers." He sighed and glanced up at the taller man, half-blind without the lenses still in his hand. "You're not unattractive, Tom, and this body is only fifteen, for all that I am much older. I would not refuse another kiss, but I will not force it on you. More than that, however, I know your stance on emotions in general, and love in particular." He slipped his glasses back on and leaned over his desk to continue his paperwork, refusing to say anything further on the matter.
There was a long silence, broken only by the sounds of Harry scribbling his signature across forms and shuffling papers on his desk. Eventually, Riddle returned to his own desk and got to work, adding to the quiet noises of paperwork.
When the clock struck six, the hour of dinner, they both put down their quills and tidied their desks. At the door, Riddle said, "Would you...care to join me for dinner?"
Harry blinked at him, honestly surprised for a moment, before his lips formed a faint smile. "Certainly."
Riddle nodded and that was that.
A/N: I know, I know, it was a bit abrupt, but I sort of ran out of things to talk about after that bit with Albus. And, you know, talking with Nimohtar sort of made me realise that this is... well, this is it. Their relationship would have been the only thing keeping this fic going, and that just wasn't really enough for me to write on about, so I ended it. I wasn't, originally, going to do much of anything at all for their relationship in this chapter, but Shara whined and whined and whined, so I worked in that last bit.
It'll probably take years for Harry and Tom to have a proper relationship, and there'll be loads of bumps on the way, but they'll get there. I'm just not going to document it.
Since I know a couple of you were interested, once larawander5 (LJ) has finished with the magical city map, I'll see if I can't link it on my FFN profile and my LiveJournal. Possibly in this last chapter, as well, for everywhere but FFN.
Now, I think I'm gonna go do something fun to make myself feel better for ending this. Play with the cat, or some FFVIII. Or something.
EDIT 30-Sept-2011: Since I keep getting a lot of the same questions, I thought I'd try and head some of the off at the pass (even if no one ever reads author's notes...).
I HAVE NO INTEREST IN WRITING MORE TO THIS FIC. This is the last chapter. There will be no epilogue, there will be no brief shots of the future, nothing. I like the ambiguous note this ended on. Life doesn't end perfectly rounded or whatever, it's always uncertain. Whether it's on the moon or Earth. So XP
I'm not interested in writing a sequel, but if someone has this burning need to do one, PM me and I can send you my notes on the characters or whatever, though that'll probably have to wait until the city map is done, anyway.