Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and I make no money from this hobby of mine.
Outwitted by a Mudblood
Lord Voldemort hated it when he underestimated an enemy. And he absolutely loathed it when he misjudged the character and resourcefulness of an opponent. The Halloween of 1981 the Dark Lord did both and ended up paying dearly for that mistake.
Having heard part of a prophecy, Lord Voldemort set out to ensure that the child mentioned could never become a threat to him. James Potter he dealt with quickly, since the man was a Pureblood and a powerful one too. Voldemort feared what the wizard could do and killed him before he could put up a fight.
Lily, on the other hand, the Dark Lord disregarded completely as a worthy opponent. The woman was a worthless Mudblood; what could she possibly do to the most feared Dark Lord of all times?
Giving the grieving mother a condescending smile, Voldemort gestured for her to step aside, not caring one whit whether she complied or not. Her baby was going to die this night, and it really didn't matter to Voldemort if she joined her family in death or not.
Lily didn't stand aside. Instead, she gave the Dark Lord a defiant look, and for a moment there seemed to be a fire burning deep within those alluring green eyes. Then the moment was lost and Voldemort pointed his wand at the pest, almost lazily casting the Avada curse.
The next instant Lily Potter's lifeless body hit the floor with a soft thud and Voldemort grinned victoriously as he turned his wand on the last Potter.
It was here, however, that Tom Riddle, better known as Lord Voldemort, hit his first major snag. The child did not die.
Harry Potter did not die. Instead the curse was reflected and bounced back towards Voldemort who was too stunned to even think of moving out of the way. As a result, Tom was hit with his own curse and forced from his body.
Hovering above his mortal remains, Voldemort took a moment to get his bearings. The child of prophecy was still alive, much to his annoyance. He himself was dead, to his greater annoyance. Fortunately, his backup plan had worked, ensuring that he would one day come back to fulfil his destiny.
Giving the wailing child a last, murderous look, Voldemort left the wreckage that had once been Godric's Hollow and set off to plot, plan, and regain his strength. Not caring in the least what would become of the child he had just attempted to kill.
That, however, would soon change.
Being a wraith, Voldemort decided, was dead boring, not to mention a pain in the ass. He was unable to do anything due to his lack of a corporeal body. What little amusement he got from being able to move through walls and other obstacles, enabling him to scare the living daylight out of people and animals soon died a painful death.
Never before had he appreciated all mundane things people take for granted. Such as being able to sleep in a comfortable bed. Or eat. Or a million other things that made life worth living.
Voldemort hadn't given the life of a ghost much thought, but he swiftly came to the realisation that it was not a life that suited him. Being a bodiless spirit was not a befitting fate of a Dark Lord, and Voldemort was determined to get his body back as quickly as humanly possible.
This is why he was contemplating the pros and cons of contacting Lucius Malfoy, one of his most trusted followers. Not to mention that the man had in his possession a piece of the Dark Lord's soul.
Together, the two of them should have little difficulty getting Voldemort his body back. Unfortunately, what should have been an easy decision to make was anything but. For some reason, Voldemort was feeling a lot of strange things he wasn't supposed to be feeling.
He was intimately familiar with being hungry. And he was no stranger to being alone and afraid in the dark. But it had been years since the darkness inspired terror in him, and as a wraith he had no need for food, so why in the name of Salazar Slytherin was his stomach tying itself in knots due to hunger? And he really didn't want to know why his private parts felt soggy and disgustingly squishy.
But what truly irritated the Dark Lord was the insistent tugging. As if someone or something was trying to make him go somewhere. No one ordered Lord Voldemort around. No one. So it was rather understandably that said Dark Lord held out for as long as he could before finally giving in to the nagging and allowed the blasted tugging to direct him to where he needed to go.
Arriving at a disgustingly Muggle neighbourhood, Voldemort sneered and wished he had never given in to this impulse. The sheer normalness of the neighbourhood had his nonexistent teeth aching and if he could, he would have hurled every dark hex and curse he knew at it. Unfortunately, his magic didn't quite want to work in his new state, and so the Dark Lord had to be satisfied with sneering and uttering every wile curse he'd ever heard.
Looking around, wondering what he was supposed to do next, Voldemort felt another hunger pang course through him, and the next moment a gigantic tug sent him through the door of the nearest house, causing Voldemort to curse in surprise.
His mood didn't improve with such harsh treatment, and it took another nosedive as he saw the horrible Muggleness of the hallway he had ended up in. Glaring angrily at anything and everything, Voldemort snarled, "Alright! I'm here! What is it you want from me?"
"I want you to look after my son!"
Voldemort jumped and whirled around, astonished to see the spirit of Lily Potter standing before him.
"You want me to do what?" he asked incredulous once her words had had a chance to sink in.
"I want you to look after my son," Lily repeated, and there was something decidedly predatory about the smile she gave him.
"Why would I want to look after your brat? He has the power to bring me down in case you had forgotten. Why would I want to look after the child who could destroy me? Besides, it is your brat, why don't you look after him yourself?" Voldemort asked with a sneer.
"Because you killed me, you moron!" Lily hissed, advancing on the Dark Lord, an accusing finger poking him in the chest. It disconcerted Voldemort greatly that he was able to feel that ghostly finger poking him, causing him to back away and put as much space between himself and the revengeful mother as he could.
"I never trusted Peter to do an adequate job as our Secret Keeper – I knew there was reason his animagus form was a rat," Lily muttered under her breath. Shaking her head, she refocused on the Dark Lord. "I knew there was a distinct possibility that both James and I would get killed. So I made preparations."
Voldemort's interest piqued at that admission and he slowly drifted closer, hoping to learn just what Lily had done.
The redhead witch merely smiled serenely at the disembodied spirit. "Did you really think that I would tell you what I did? Unlike some, I'm not an idiot," she said sweetly, but the look in her eyes was anything but sweet.
"I will, however, inform you of the consequences of the deal I struck. From this day forth, until the day my son is of age, you will be responsible for his wellbeing."
Voldemort arched an incredulous eyebrow. "And why in Salazar's name should I care for your spawn?"
"Mayhap because you will feel any pain, any discomfort, that is inflicted on my son?" Lily asked with a smile that Voldemort did not trust.
Frowning in confusion, wondering just what kind of ritual the Mudblood had performed, it certainly wasn't like any magic he had ever heard of before, Voldemort was taken by surprise when another hunger pang caused his stomach to cramp uncomfortably.
Doubling over, realisation finally hit the Dark Lord. "Your son is hungry?" he asked in confusion. Why would Potter be hungry? Weren't his caretakers taking care of him?
"Yes he is. And I believe that his diaper needs to be changed as well," Lily said angrily, sending a longing look at a small cupboard.
Following the glance, Voldemort's confusion grew. Giving in to his curiosity, the wraith drifted through the door and promptly gagged at the sight before him.
Backing out of the cupboard with alacrity, Voldemort refocused on the spirit before him. "Where are we? And why is your son with these... people?"
"This is the house of my sister, Petunia. She always was a jealous bitch, and it would seem she is willing to take out her hatred of me on my son. Albus Dumbledore in his infinite wisdom decided to place my Harry here, why I haven't the foggiest idea. Rest assured that once that old man crosses over, the two of us are going to have words."
Voldemort shuddered and was secretly glad that the witch wasn't talking about him. He didn't think he had ever seen such hatred on anyone's face before. Not even on his own.
"Fortunately for Harry, I planned ahead," Lily went on, calming herself with some difficulty. "And this is where you come in," she added, giving Voldemort another sweet, untrustworthy smile.
Voldemort retreated a few steps, just to be on the safe side. Who knew what this clearly deranged woman was capable of?
"As I said, I struck a deal, and until Harry is of age, you are charged with his welfare. And to ensure that you take your responsibility seriously, you will feel every discomfort and every pain, no matter how small, that is inflicted on him."
The Dark Lord shuddered. He would feel Potter's pain? At least that explained why he felt as if he hadn't eaten in a week.
Hit with a sudden realisation, Voldemort stuck his head into the cupboard for a brief peek, pulling his head back out as swiftly as he could. Yep, that would explain why his private parts felt so... disgusting.
"What, exactly, is it you want from me?" Voldemort asked, resigning himself to his fate.
"You killed me," Lily spat furiously, looking as if she wished she had access to her wand. "You killed me because of some half-baked prophecy you were informed of. You didn't even bother to learn what the entire thing said, no you just had to act like a rash Gryffindor, didn't you? Rushing ahead like that, no plan, no forethought, what were you thinking?
"Because of that, my son is left alone in this world, with no one to speak up for him. That, Mr I-am-a-fearsome-Dark-Lord, is what you are going to do. You are going to ensure that my son is treated right, or you will suffer along with him!" Lily snarled, glowering darkly at Voldemort, her right hand twitching alarmingly.
Lily was about to continue lambasting her killer, but paused and cocked her head to the side before another word was uttered. Giving Voldemort a disgusted look, she grudgingly admitted, "My time here is up. You better take care of my son, Tom Riddle, or I will make your afterlife hell."
With those ominous words ringing in the silent room, Lily began to glow and then she disappeared in a shower of sparks.
Alone again, it didn't take the Dark Lord long to regain his composure. Sneering at the cupboard where the Mudblood's brat was sleeping, Voldemort had every intention of leaving and never coming back. What did he care if Potter was suffering or not? Let the brat be abused by his relatives. If he was fortunate, the Muggles would do his work for him.
Smirking, Voldemort prepared himself to head for Malfoy Manor to attempt to get hold of his right hand man. However, as he was about to leave, something came alive around him, locking him in place.
"What magic is this?" Voldemort snarled, testing the wards surrounding him carefully. He received no reply, but for the briefest of moments a picture of Lily Potter flashed through his mind.
So, it would seem the witch had managed to pull of some impressive magics. Something that should not be possible considering her diluted and dirty blood. Now what was he supposed to do?
Sulking, Voldemort hovered before the cupboard that was the Potter brat's home. He didn't want to take care of the boy. Why should he? The two of them were mortal enemies. The boy held the powers to bring about Lord Voldemort's downfall for Salazar's sake.
Still, no matter how much he hated to admit it, the Mudblood had a point. He had acted a bit rash when it came to the prophecy. Perhaps it would have been better if he spent some time researching it first. Maybe this entire fiasco could have been prevented if he had. At the very least, he would not be stuck here, in a Muggle house, charged with caring for the son of his enemies.
Sighing, Voldemort resigned himself to his fate. He would look after the brat. Or rather, he would terrorize the Muggles into doing it for him. And once he was free to leave this wretched place, he would find out what Lily had done, locate the loophole that was sure to be there, and then he would find a way to kill the boy. If for no other reason than to punish the Mudblood who had dared to attempt to best him.
No one bested the Dark Lord Voldemort. Lord Voldemort ruled others; he did not serve. Especially not bloody Mudbloods.
Rubbing his incorporeal hands together, Voldemort began to search the house, looking for the one who dared to mistreat a wizard. Oh, but he could have some fun with this. If nothing else, it should act like a great stress relief. Torture had always worked wonders to cheer him up. Cackling evilly, Tom Riddle set about to terrorise the foolish Muggles, never realising the scope of the task he had just accepted. It would be many, long years before Voldemort was able to leave the home of Vernon and Petunia Dursley.
A/N: Someday I will probably continue this story, making it a real story and not just a shorty. Once I have managed to figure out how to keep the POV Voldemort's and not Harry's that is. I also need to decide how much of Harry's childhood to describe, and what Voldie will be capable of doing to punish those who hurt Harry. Sounds easy, but it isn't, at least not at this time. And since I'm swamped with other stories to finish I will leave this one like this for now.
If anyone wants to adopt this story and continue it you are welcome to do so, just drop me a line and tell me where you post as I'd love to read it.