Disclaimer: All rights belong to J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. I'm only a fan writing for pure entertainment and do not mean to gain any sort of profit from this.
Warnings: SLASH LV/HP
A/N: Amazing response guys, I can't thank you enough. Hope you like what's to come.
The customary chime on the door tinkled as Voldemort pulled it open, holding it out for Harry. Still sombre enough from their previous talk to not comment on the chivalry, Harry stepped inside, shaking his head slightly to disperse the stray raindrops that had gathered on him.
Harry took in the interior of the shop, memories from his second year making their way to the forefront of his mind. The shop was as he remembered it, dark and dreary, with an assortment of dark artifacts littering the shelves and displays. No lamps lit the inside, despite the heavy shadows the lack of sunlight caused. His eyes caught the vanishing cabinet that he had hidden in once, at the time not knowing what it could do or where it led. He wondered idly whether the passageway was still open when a soft, murmured voice caught his attention.
Such was the howling of the wind outside and the clutter of the shop that both him and Voldemort, who had just come up behind him, were practically hidden from the view and unheard. Because of this, the other two occupants of the shop had failed to notice their arrival just as Harry had done the same of them. Harry moved forward slowly and as the wind outside died down a little, the oily words of a pasty-looking Borgin made their way to his ears.
"-trying my very best, ma'm, I assure you. It is not an easy job. The current times are harsh an-"
"Spare me your excuses, Borgin," a second voice hissed, unmistakably female and vaguely familiar to Harry. He tried to inconspicuously edge around the glass shelves he was peering through but the owner of the voice remained behind a shadow, invisible to him.
"As harsh as the current times may be, remember that they can be harsher. We had a deal, Borgin and it's high time you held up your end of the bargain."
Borgin paled visibly and Harry strained his eyes again, hoping to catch a look of the woman. Her familiarity nagged at his mind, although the words sounded misplaced when voiced out of her mouth. He leaned sideways slightly, not knowing why he was so intent on remaining hidden, until he felt a hand touch him lightly upon the shoulder. Having all but forgotten about Voldemort behind him, he jumped noticeably, jostling a small silver goblet off the shelf.
The goblet fell with an ear-splitting clatter and he heard a mumbled oath from near the counter. Moments later, a quivering Borgin stood before them, wand out and expression contemptuous.
"May I... help you?"
Harry opened his mouth uncertainly, not knowing what excuse to provide. Thankfully, Voldemort chose just that instant to step out from behind him. He loomed over Borgin, his mouth set into a hard line and expression arrogant.
"I presume you are the owner of this... shop," he cast a disdainful eye around, the perfect picture of a high and mighty pure-blood.
"Aye, I am Borgin," the shop-keeper replied, eyes still suspicious.
"I've come quite far, looking for a certain object... I was told that you may have it in your possession." Harry cast a side-along look at Voldemort at the words, not having the slightest clue as to what he was on about.
Borgin nodded and waited patiently for Voldemort to continue. Voldemort turned his head slowly towards where the woman still stood hidden and said in a voice that carried slightly, "It's something of a private matter..."
There was a rustle from the shadows. Borgin cleared his throat and said, "If you would be so kind as to wait here for a moment." He looked at Harry as he said this, as though knowing that he had been trying to eavesdrop.
Borgin limped his way back to the counter, talking softly to the woman. Harry's hands clenched. If the woman was to leave, then she would have to step out and if only for a moment, her face would be illuminated by the small window over the door. Harry took a quiet step forward, eyes trained at the counter. He could feel Voldemort looking at him but was glad he remained silent. Harry himself didn't know why he was so curious of the woman, only that she was someone he had known. If only she would show herself...
And she did, only not in the way he had expected. The woman who stepped out of the shadows was of a medium height, her form hidden beneath a large, dark cloak. Apart from this, Harry was unable discern much else for she kept her face concealed under a drawn hood, hardly exposing her chin and lips.
The cloaked head turned slightly towards where they were standing and then within seconds, the door opened of it's own accord and she disappeared into the rainy street.
Harry cursed softly and felt the eyes that were crimson only for him turn to him once again. He looked up at Voldemort, shaking his head hurriedly before looking back at the door.
Harry wanted to go after her but as he took a hesitant step forward, he found Borgin blocking his path. The man's expression was shrewd and he cursed the Slytherin, knowing that they would have to play their part convincingly in order to leave the store.
"Well then," Borgin asked in a raspy voice, "What is this possession you ask of me?"
Harry remained silent, waiting for Voldemort to take the stage, which he did.
"A book, which I have learned through sources was in your possession, or that of your partner's, fifty years ago."
Harry glanced again at Voldemort, masking his surprise. Was it not around fifty years ago that Tom Marvolo Riddle himself had worked in this very shop as an assistant?
"You ask a great deal of me. The book in question could be anywhere by now," Borgin had lost some of the suspicious air around him, now looking genuinely interested in what Voldemort was looking for.
"That it could be. But if I recall correctly, this shop has quite the reputation in keeping track of even the most oldest of it's possessions... if they were valuable."
Voldemort stared unfalteringly into the man's eyes and Borgin swallowed, rubbing his hands as though they were perspiring at the mere mention of valuable.
"And you feel that this book might be... one of these objects?"
"What is the book called?"
"That, I do not know." Borgin looked surprised at Voldemort's flat words and though Harry thought he must have been mistaken, even a little relieved.
Voldemort took a step closer to him and said quietly, "What I do know is that the book was last possessed by none other than... Albus Dumbledore."
Harry's curiosity was now a raging beast inside him. First the woman and now this? A book last possessed by Albus Dumbledore fifty years ago...
"Albus Dumbledore?" Borgin said with a forced sneer. "What would a great man like him want with a book from the likes of our store?"
"Oh no," Voldemort said in his deathly quiet voice. It sent a shiver down Harry's spine, reminding him who exactly the wizard in front of had once been... "The book was sold here by him... for a price that certainly did not justify it's worth. But still, I know it was last here, in this very shop."
Borgin was silent. Harry noticed the sweating palms were still rubbing against each other slowly. He looked up and saw that Borgin's beady eyes had darkened and that his breathing had become the slightest bit laboured.
"Wh-who are you?" he finally asked in a trembling voice.
Voldemort leaned closer to him, almost whispering in his ear but the words were still loud enough for Harry to catch. "I am no one, Borgin. But I know of the betrayal... as I know of the book."
Borgin paled considerably more, going bone white. His whole body was trembling now, staring at Voldemort in fear. Harry watched with bated breath.
"I will be back, Borgin, in a weeks time. I want the book found... or at least it's location. Do not disappoint me."
Voldemort moved back swiftly, grabbing Harry's wet upper arm and dragging him out the door along with him. Harry looked back to see Borgin still standing there, with his mouth agape and the hands rubbing together once again, all the more furiously.
A fierce wind swept at Harry's face as soon as they stepped out of the store, making conversation impossible. The weather blared signs of a storm now and Harry saw Voldemort give up all hope of opening the umbrella, instead just tightening his hold on Harry and steering them through the street.
The rain stung at Harry's bare arms and face, making it hard for him to even see clearly. With only Voldemort's arm to guide him and whatever little of his feet he could see, Harry struggled through the street with each step, now wishing they hadn't left the warmth of Borgin's store.
His mind raced with questions but he held his tongue, wanting to wait for the right moment when they could be answered to the fullest.
A small, narrow alleyway formed the bridge between Knockturn Alley and Diagon Alley, protected by stone walls of a building on either side. Reaching between them, Harry made himself stand flat against the wall, out of the rain for the moment and protected against the wind. Voldemort did likewise and they both stood there for a while, catching their breath and listening to harrowing sounds of the wind.
Harry looked at the other end of the alleyway, mouth falling open in surprise. He turned back to Knockturn Alley and then back again, frowning. Whereas a storm seemed to rip through the alley that had just left, it looked as though only a mild rain fell in Diagon Alley.
Pushing himself off the wall, Harry continued forward, looking curiously at the end of the alleyway. He stepped out into Diagon Alley, surprised to find the street windless, with only a drizzle of rain falling from the sky.
"A climatic charm," said Voldemort from behind him, looking thoroughly wind-swept. Harry nodded mutely, looking at the sky in wonder.
His gaze dropped to the street around him, nostalgia filling him. He recalled the first time he had come here, escaping the Dursleys with Hagrid and learning that he was a wizard. It had been one of the happiest moments of his life.
The street had been bright then, full of odd colours and shapes that had enthralled his eleven-year-old self to no end. The shops had been full of impatient buyers and the alley itself had been so packed, it'd been a task just to move around.
He looked around eagerly, with an unbidden smile stretching his lips at the memories. The smile slowly diminished as he beheld how the street looked now. It was not the same.
The closest time that Diagon Alley had resembled it's current state was during his sixth year, after Voldemort had been reborn. Although the street did not look quite as desolate as it had then, it was still a poor imitation of the splendour it had once held.
Many shops were still boarded up and others still bore signs of wear. The crowds of buyers were gone, replaced only by few shoppers here and there, intent on going about their business. Turning his head to the left he saw the archway that led to the Leaky Cauldron, frowning to see that it was firmly shut. With the rain added to the backdrop, Diagon Alley now looked like any other London street, the gloom of recovering from the war heavy on it's shoulders.
It was this sight that made Harry realize that although the war had ended, the wizarding world still struggled to become whole once again.
The thought made him melancholy. He hadn't realized how much he had been depending on the sight of a blooming wizarding London to cheer him up. Now it only brought more questions to mind. Were his friends really okay then? Or were they struggling too, still trying push their way out of the mass destruction that had been left behind by the war...
"Harry..." Voldemort's voice startled him out of his thoughts and he realized he looked like quite the fool just then, standing in the middle of the street with his mouth open and eyes wide.
Closing his mouth firmly, he looked back at Voldemort, reeling in his confusing emotions. Here was the man who had caused it all... standing in front of him, dead as he was. And yet...
"Who was the woman, Harry?" Voldemort asked quietly.
Harry frowned, trying to remember her voice. He was sure he knew the owner... he just couldn't pinpoint who exactly it was.
Voldemort nodded when Harry told him this, saying, "The woman does not strike me as familiar. I suppose it is only you that'd known her... We may be able to ask Borgin sometime, when he's a bit more disposed to talking."
At the mention of Borgin, Harry's curiosity stirred again. "I'm sure his indisposition had more to do with you than anyone else. What is the book, anyway? And the betrayal? What about Dumbl-"
Voldemort grabbed his hand lightly, silencing him. "Not here, Harry. I will tell you what I can, but at a time of my choosing. The book... is somewhat related to our predicament. Or my predicament, I should say..."
Harry considered his words then shook his head, a wry smile touching his lips. "For all it seemed like you were just suggesting we get into Diagon Alley through Borgin and Burkes. I never would have imagined that you had any sort of intent behind the thought."
"Futile actions are for the irresolute. I am anything but."
Harry chuckled lightly at Voldemort's pompous words. He may have reformed, but Tom Riddle's personality was still his to the tee. Harry found himself preferring that though. Tom Riddle had been an interesting person and Harry hoped he would get to know more of him in the little time they had.
"Where to now, then?" asked Voldemort.
Harry looked around the street, at a loss himself. They were in a bit of a loop. They had no money and they had no wands. In order to get wands, they needed money. But in order to claim anything from Gringotts, they needed identification... which was essentially, their wands. How they would even claim anything in the first place was also still a question... He could hardly go into Gringotts and announce that he wished to make a withdrawal from Harry Potter's vault.
"Wands," Harry muttered, "We need wands..."
Biting his lip, Harry continued his survey of the street, eyes finally coming to rest on a small shop some ways off. It looked shabby and narrow but Harry recognized it immediately. Walking closer, ex-Dark Lord in tow, Harry read the peeling gold letters over the door. Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C.
"Ollivanders..." Harry murmured, looking at Voldemort.
If Voldemort was uncomfortable at the thought of meeting the man he'd tortured thoroughly a few months before his death, he did not show it. He remained silent, looking at the shop with slightly narrowed eyes.
"Can we go?" asked Harry, nodding towards the shop, "I just have this feeling..."
Voldemort only nodded and they walked over. Harry peered inside through the tinted windows, able to make out a lamp burning indoors. Not knowing what to expect and acting merely on hunch, Harry pulled open the door, as another bell announced their arrival.
The shop looked untouched, with its high shelves of countless wands and the wheeled ladders running along the length of each shelf. Harry glanced back and saw the chair Hagrid had once sat on, almost breaking it in the process. Hand itching and wishing desperately to hold his old eleven inches, Holly and phoenix feather wand, he called out softly as he had once done before. "Hello...?"
A small snort came from behind a heap of boxes that were piled up on the counter and out emerged a frail looking Mr. Ollivander from behind them.
He gave a small yawn, blinking his watery silver eyes at where Harry stood. Harry turned back to see that Voldemort still stood beside the door, face slightly hidden in the shadows.
As the man came back to wakefulness, his eyes narrowed a bit as he took Harry in. The eyes recalled in Harry the discomfort he had felt when they gazed unblinkingly upon him and he shifted slightly, clearing his throat.
"Not quite the weather for wandering around streets, is it?" the old man's voice was far more thinner than he had remembered, a sort of breathlessness now present in it.
Harry shook his head at the words, still not knowing what to say. He wished Voldemort would step in for him again but knew that it was futile. Coming here had been Harry's choice and so it would have to be him that dealt with it.
"Mr. Ollivander, I am-"
The wand-maker made a noise at the back of his throat, motioning to the door with a jerk of his hand. "Tell your friend to come out of the shadows first, my eyes are not what they had once been..."
Voldemort stepped forth, red eyes gleaming in the candlelight. His pale features seemed to form out of the light itself, the wet hair tousled and still dripping. He wore a small smirk on his face and said quietly, "Don't pretend, Ollivander. Your eyes are still as good as ever..."
Harry, confused at Voldemort's sudden act of familiarity with Ollivander, shut his mouth closed again, resigned to watching the exchange between the two wizards.
"That they are, but you know better than anyone that one must keep up his appearances. That glamour does not fool me... though I do wonder where Mr. Potter's scar has disappeared to..."
Harry took a sharp intake of breath, looking wide-eyed from Voldemort to Ollivander. "H-how..."
"It is a long story, Harry. I'd like to know why you chose to come here to Ollivanders first though, rather than anywhere else." Voldemort was looking at him with an odd sort of look, somewhere between admiration and intrigue.
Flushing slightly, Harry looked at Mr. Ollivander. "I don't really know why. I just thought you would somehow know... but not ask too many questions..."
Mr. Ollivander nodded his approval. "You're a bright man, Mr. Potter. I do have some... peculiar abilities that set me apart from other wizards. I do sense... and I am a bit afraid, I have to admit. But as much as my poor old mind would like to be satisfied by knowing what exactly is going on, I'm sure you will not be able to divulge the information." He looked at Voldemort as he said the last, smiling slightly.
"Quite right. We are under certain restrictions."
"As I had guessed," said the wand-maker simply. "Now, I may have a bit of a surprise for the two of you, if you would sit tight for a bit..."
The chair groaned as Ollivanders small frame hoisted itself out of it. Using a cane Harry had never seen him with before, Ollivander disappeared into the deep insides of the shop.
"We won't get into trouble? For him getting to know?" Harry asked, worried.
"No. He does not know everything and he is a smart enough man to not dwell on it."
"How does he know though? And why the hell are you, of all people, on friendly terms with him?"
It was Ollivander who responded, coming out from between the shelves with his pale eyes shining in the dark. "It depends on who you are referring to, Mr. Potter. I have always been on friendly terms with the man known as Tom. Who he became later on... was not the man I knew."
"And now I am the man you had once known?" Voldemort questioned softly.
"Yes, you are Tom Riddle."
The candlelight flickered slightly as he spoke the name and Harry could feel the shelves rocking slightly from the wind outside. Mr. Ollivander raised his eyes to the ceiling. "It is not a night to be out..."
"It's not too bad in Diagon Alley though," Harry said conversationally, looking outside. He was surprised to see that night had fallen and suddenly felt very tired and a bit hungry, though he was unsure about the last, not having needed sustenance in the Otherworld.
"Do not be fooled. Just the mere fact that rain has touched upon the cobblestones of our alley is proof enough of the weather. Magic has changed tonight. I would ask you if your appearances had anything to do with it-"
"But you won't," Voldemort said, cutting in with a smile.
"I won't." Ollivander conceded with a bow of his head.
Still slightly weirded out by the two men's friendship, Harry sat down tiredly on the chair, pleased to note Hagrid hadn't completely broken it.
"Ah, that's right," said Mr. Ollivander after a moment. "Here you are..."
He pulled out two boxed wands from behind the counter, placing them down with a quiet flourish. Voldemort leaned forward for a look and Harry got up again as well, legs cramping from the cold. Ollivander's long fingers slowly opened each box, quivering a bit. Voldemort let out a small breath as Harry smiled.
Side by side, he lay the two brother wands, the pale yew and the brown holly contrasting. Harry fingers traced the handle of his own, then grasped the wand lightly. Warmth spread through his fingers and he let out a sigh.
Grinning now, he looked up at Voldemort and saw that the other stood stock-still, an odd look in his eyes.
"Take your wand, Tom," Mr. Ollivander said softly.
"I... I don't..." Voldemort began in a slightly strangled voice.
Harry knew what was going in his mind. As Ollivander had said when they had first met, '-terrible... but great.'
"You've changed." Harry blurted out from nowhere, causing the older wizards to turn to him in surprise.
Flushing again, he repeated, "You've changed..."
A smile touched Mr. Ollivander's lips as Tom Riddle's face tightened. Then, looking at Harry with an intensity that he was sure would make his knees buckle, Tom picked up the wand, holding it tightly in his hands.
The wind quietened.
Mr. Ollivander looked around with same inquisitive expression as he had once before and Harry almost expected him to start saying 'curious' again. He remained silent though, looking at the wands clenched in their hands.
"Mr. Ollivander, how did you come upon these?" Harry asked finally.
"I asked for them. Neither you nor the Dark Lord had any wills... the Dark Lord's possessions were never found. Your possessions were put up for claim, Mr. Potter and your vault at Gringotts was locked down. I claimed your wand while your friends claimed other possessions. The process was regulated by Minerva McGonagall."
Harry nodded, knowing the proceedings would have been fair if his old transfiguration professor had looked over them. He still wondered where his things had ended up though... the map, the cloak... Sirius' house...
"And my wand, Ollivander?" asked... Tom. Harry forced his mind to think of him like that now, as Tom rather than Voldemort.
"A secret I would like to keep, if I may." Mr. Ollivander said, giving the other a challenging look.
Tom nodded slowly and said, "I will eventually find out... you know that."
"I do," said Mr. Ollivander. "Therefore, I offer something in return. If you are back, it is not without purpose. Work here with me for the duration of your time here. I will pay you, of course. You may even introduce as some or the other Ollivander, there is not much known about us..." He gave an awry smile at that and continued, "It has been a while since I've had an academic by my side. There are some... curious things I would like your opinion on."
Riddle grinned in response and the sight made Harry catch his breath. Inclining his head slightly he said, "I would be honoured to."
"It is settled then," Mr. Ollivander said. "Now if you're done, do make your way down to the Leaky Cauldron. The barman could certainly use some business in these times..."
"But how can we pay him?" Harry asked.
"Oh just mention my name. He won't ask for the balance until the end of a fortnight anyway... He's a good man, old as I am now..."
Tom gave a laugh from beside Harry, looking at the wand-maker shrewdly. "No one is as old as you are, Garrick. Not even me."
Then still chuckling, he reached for Harry's arm again and lead them out of the wand-maker's shop.
A/N: Hmm... Mysterious women that indulge in clandestine dealings, a scared Borgin and Ollivander offers Lord Voldemort a job. Even I want to read more.
I wanted to actually update my other story but the next chapter for that requires a lot of thought and planning so I decided to write this one instead :) I can't even begin to explain how easy it is for me to write this story in comparison to anything else. Borgin, Ollivander were all just spur of the moment decisions just like the story was too. All I know about this story is some of the people that will make an appearance for sure and how it will end. Apart from that, I am as much of a reader as you people are.
So with that in mind, I would love to hear ideas or moments you want in the story. I was just thinking while writing I'd want one where Tom and Harry play wizard's chess. So if you want something like that in here, let me know will you?
Questions are welcome of course. I've introduced a few more mysteries, review and tell me what you think. Few questions/comments:
Pamphlet: Harry'll get to know what he needs to as time goes on. I think getting to know the rules of the game as you play is far more fun than knowing them beforehand.
Tragedy: It is NOT a tragedy, just in case I wasn't clear enough. If you want to read a tragedy, Rain and Regret is up :)
Loneliness: A little too close to home for me too, especially these days. I suppose it comes out in my writing. I've always thought of Tom and Harry as rather lonely people too... maybe it's why I'm so attracted to them. Sometimes I think the reason a young Tom, a child, would be so scared of death is because of loneliness. It took his parents away and left him alone... it'd be haunting prospect for any kid. And then give something like magic to that kid and suddenly he wants to be invincible... which I guess he tried achieving in his own way.
Missing somethings: Many of you've got it, it is pretty obvious but let's see how it actually comes to life, shall we? Then there's added tidbits here and there to the plot as well.
Right, I'm done now. I feel like I could write the whole story in one go but I have a very acute sense (only for this story) of where each chapter should begin and end. I hope you don't mind the small chapters but as the aliens decree, I do :P
Please do keep reviewing and thank you for reading.