Title: The One True King
Author: Shara Lunison
Pairings: HP/LV, JP/LE, HP/everyone, ever, SS/LP
Warnings: AU; OoC; character death; dark, insane, promiscuous, Slytherin Harry; pseudo incest
~Meeting You Wasn't Fate~
Harry sprawled sideways across the bed on his stomach. One arm was lying comfortably over Tom's hip where he rested his chin while the other was lazily tracing patterns on the older man's chest. They were both completely nude.
"How did you do it?" he finally asked. Tom raised an eyebrow at him, otherwise remaining as he was on his back with one arm pillowed beneath his head. Harry elaborated, "How did you make yourself immortal?"
Tom sighed, moving his free arm to capture Harry's fingers where they still moved against his chest. "I did something unspeakable. Something I now regret a great deal."
It was Harry's turn to raise an eyebrow. Tom sat up and moved back until he was sitting against the headboard, and Harry moved to curl against his side.
After a long moment of neither of them moving, Tom spoke again. "It is called a horcrux. By committing murder, a Dark wizard can split off a piece of his soul and place it in an object for safekeeping. The books I read dealt only in the making of one horcrux—one is all that is needed to obtain immortality as the soul will always be bound on Earth. Where I erred is in all of my self-important belief that I could do no wrong. I thought that if one horcrux could make me immortal, then I would need another just in case the first was discovered and destroyed. Then it occurred to me that two is not a very magical number, but three would do quite well. I had settled on three, to be honest. But after I made the first one, I felt so powerful, so amazing, that I thought making more would make me stronger. And the strongest magical number of all is seven."
"Seven?" Harry gasped in shock. "You made seven horcruxes? You split your soul seven times?"
Tom nodded silently, his eyes closed.
Harry squeezed his lover tightly around the middle and buried his face in the crook of Tom's neck. "You said you regret it. Is…is there any way to reverse it?"
Tom nodded again, then audibly swallowed. "I need your help, Harry."
Harry looked up, his brilliant green eyes glassy with unshed tears. "Anything."
"Thank you," Tom whispered. He brought his left hand up to caress Harry's face and then dipped down to brush their lips together. "First, we must collect them all."
~I Know it is One-Sided Love~
Harry walked swiftly up the path from the gates of Hogwarts, hoping he could complete the purpose for his visit quickly without running into Dumbledore. Tom had sent him to retrieve one of his horcruxes, Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem, and he was all too aware of the dangers of retrieving it in broad daylight right under the Headmaster's nose.
Entering the front doors, he glanced around. A few students passed through the front hall, shooting him curious looks before going on their way. Harry took the nearby staircase and followed the familiar paths of the castle up to the seventh floor. The room he was looking for was up there—perilously close to the Headmaster's office.
Stalking through the seventh floor corridor, Harry passed the entrance to Gryffindor tower and started to look furtively at each of the paintings and tapestries he passed on his way. Tom told him he couldn't miss it.
When he finally found the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy, Harry had to agree. Glancing around, he quickly passed three times in front of the wall across from the tapestry, thinking that he would rather like to find a place to hide something.
A door appeared on the third pass and he entered quickly, only to stop in shock at the mess that greeted him inside. Towers of hidden items filled the room. Mazes of haphazard books, furniture, contraband, and broken items. Where was he supposed to find the diadem in this mess?
Pulling out his wand, Harry laid it across his hand and said, "Point me, Ravenclaw's diadem."
The wand spun slightly to the left, and he sighed in relief. At least the spell could give him some idea of where to start. He walked a little ways into the mess and tried the spell again. It pointed to the right. He went that way for a while, stopped and did it again. It pointed directly at himself.
Harry turned around and walked back the way he came until he came to a sort of intersection in the junk that he had passed a moment before. "Point me," he repeated. His wand spun gently in a circle. Harry looked around, sure that he was in the right spot. A bust of some long-forgotten man caught his eye. A glittering headpiece was sitting on his brow like a crown.
Laughing, Harry plucked free the diadem and shivered at the feel of Tom's magic in it. "Hello there," he whispered. Pulling a box provided by Tom from his pocket, Harry tucked the diadem away in the Dark-dulling space inside. Now he just had to leave without Dumbledore noticing.
He retraced his steps to the door and stepped outside. But as soon as he entered the corridor beyond, he bumped almost physically into the last person he wanted to see.
"Headmaster," Harry murmured, stepping back quickly. His hand brushed the box in his pocket self-consciously. He trusted Tom's spells, but he still worried that the old fool might be able to feel the horcrux in his pocket.
"Harry," Dumbledore said genially. He clasped his hands behind his back and smiled disarmingly. "It's been quite some time since I've seen you. What brings you back to Hogwarts?"
Thinking quickly, Harry shrugged. "Just feeling nostalgic, I guess. Neville will be starting in a few years, and I just…well, I guess I just wanted to see how the old place looked after all this time."
"Ah, yes," Dumbledore chuckled. "How is your nephew? He's what, eight or nine now?"
"Eight and a half," Harry said, nodding. "He's quite well, thank you."
"He must be very nervous about starting school. Though I'm sure with his parents he'll have no trouble."
"Yes, well…" Harry grimaced, thinking about how long he had to wait for Neville to start showing signs of magic. "It did take quite some time before he started performing accidental magic. Even when I gave him my wand, nothing happened!"
Dumbledore's eyebrows shot up, a slightly alarmed expression on his face. "Oh my!" One wrinkled old hand reached up to stroke his beard in what was clearly a nervous gesture. "Oh my…" he said again, clearly thinking to himself.
"He's fine now, I assure you," Harry hastened to say. He put just the right amount of nervousness in his voice—the epitome of the worried pureblood relative afraid their nephew was a squib.
"Oh, yes, I'm sure he will do quite well. After all, Lily is one of the brightest witches of her age. And James, well…he had more courage than anyone in the end."
Harry nodded, looking away sadly.
"I didn't mean to keep you, my boy," Dumbledore said jovially. "Please, continue with your self-guided tour."
Harry nodded gratefully and moved to leave.
"Oh, Harry?" Dumbledore said, catching him in mid-step. Harry turned to look at the old man enquiringly. "How did your love story end up working out?"
Harry stiffened. Dumbledore had known, or so he thought, that Harry's 'love' was Tom. To be asking now… "I'm afraid he passed away before I could find out," Harry said softly.
Dumbledore's face fell. "I apologize, Harry. I did not mean to pry."
"It's all right." Harry shook his head. "I think, had he given me the chance, we could have been happy together. I think he could have loved me with enough help."
Dumbledore nodded sagely. "Perhaps."
"Good day, Headmaster," Harry said.
"Good day, Harry."
~In This Endless Night, I Have Only One Wish~
Harry studied the small collections of items in fascination. Tom had gone to retrieve one that was rather difficult to get to while Harry went to Hogwarts. Now the diary, the diadem, a heavy stone ring, and a golden cup sat on the desk in Tom's study.
"You went to get two?" Harry asked, realizing that there were four rather than three sitting there.
"I gave one to Bellatrix for safekeeping, much like the diary was left to Lucius. I had her retrieve it from her vault in Gringotts while I fetched the ring."
Harry picked up the ring, admiring the bisected circle inside of a triangle carved into the top. "All of your horcruxes have significance. Where did you get this one?"
Tom shifted uncomfortably where he sat behind the desk. "It is a family possession. My mother's father's ring."
Harry smiled, slipping it onto his left ring finger and then admiring the effect. "I like it."
Tom stared at him and at the ring on his finger before clearing his throat. "Perhaps that will be the one I keep, then. And you can guard the piece of my soul for me."
Leaning across the desk, Harry kissed Tom gently. "I would like that. I was a bit miffed that you gave a piece of your soul to Lucius, as well as Bellatrix, apparently. There aren't any others kept by your Death Eaters, are there?" he asked, eyes narrowed.
Tom chuckled, pushing Harry back across the desk. "No, there are not. But I will need the help of some insignificant soul to retrieve the next one. I will take you with me to ensure nothing goes wrong, but we need a guinea pig."
Harry frowned, not understanding why they needed an animal to fetch the horcrux. "I'm not sure I follow."
Tom sighed, shaking his head as he stared at Harry. "Sometimes I forget you know next to nothing about muggles. It's a phrase. It means we need a test subject. Someone disposable."
Harry's mouth opened in a small 'o'. It took only a moment to think of the perfect person for the job. "Wormtail."
Tom's mouth contorted into a wicked grin. None of the Death Eaters were aware of his return yet. "Call him."
~They Slither While They Pass, They Slip Away~
Tom raged around his large office in Riddle Manor while Harry stayed safely curled up in his favorite armchair in front of the fire. Occasional curses directed at Regulus Arcturus Black could be heard from the Dark Lord, spat in both English and Parseltongue. They had abandoned Wormtail to the inferi as soon as Voldemort discovered that the locket secreted away in the cave was not the same one he had left there.
But where could Regulus have taken the real one? There were only so many places that a Black could hide a secret. Tom was certain that the man could not have found a way to destroy it, as the means of destroying a horcrux were very few and far between—and not discussed in more than a handful of rare and expensive texts.
Add to that the fact that Black had to have had an accomplice, given the protections Tom had placed on the locket, and there were very few places that Harry could think to look for the thing.
For that matter…
"Tom?" he spoke at last, interrupting his lover mid-rant.
Voldemort—for he bore little resemblance to Tom Riddle just then—spun and slammed his hands down on the armrests of Harry's chair to lean close and hiss menacingly in his face, "WHAT?"
"Who did you take with you when you put the locket in place?"
Voldemort spun away again and threw up his hands with a slight wave as though it were of no consequence. "A house elf."
Harry's eyes narrowed. Tom didn't own any house elves. "Whose house elf?"
"It was…" the older man turned to face him slowly, his eyes wide. "It was the Black elf."
Harry nodded, uncurling his legs from the chair and standing. "I will pay a visit to Grimmauld Place. I am familiar with the house, and with the family. They will let me pass freely, and you cannot yet be seen."
Tom hissed in irritation, continuing his pacing, but he did not object. "Bring the elf back with you," he stated ominously.
Harry nodded, uncaring if Tom could see him or not. It was the obvious course of action, as far as he was concerned. Clearly the elf had betrayed the Dark Lord.
He left the manor quickly and apparated to Grimmauld Place, looking up from the little alley he appeared in to see Number 13 across the way. He remembered the elf from his days of being Regulus' plaything. It was a miserly creature that took entirely too much delight in helping Regulus tie Harry up. Bringing it to the Dark Lord would be a sweet revenge.
He walked across the cobbled courtyard outside the house and rang the doorbell. A moment later, the very elf he was looking for opened the door and bowed him inside.
"How can Kreacher be of service, Lord Potter?" the elf asked, his nose touching the floor he was bent over so far.
"I wish to speak with the Lord or Lady of the house, if they are available," Harry stated, not wanting to give the thing a chance to hide away the locket where it might never be found.
"The family is in mourning, and not up to seeing visitors." Kreacher stated sadly.
To Harry's surprise, it was true sadness in the elf's eyes as it straightened. It took him a long moment to think of who had died, and he had to stifle a grin as he realized they were mourning Regulus. Both sons dead. The Blacks were surely hurting without a male Heir to continue the line and all the daughters married off. The family was destined to be folded in with one of its pureblood brethren.
"I came to pay my respects," Harry said, thinking quickly. "I was a good friend of Regulus', and I was sorry to hear he had passed away. I thought…if the family is willing, I thought I might collect a token of Regulus' to remember him by."
The elf's eyes shone with unshed tears. "Of course, Lord Potter. The family has set up a viewing in the green parlor, and the young master's room is open to you. Take whatever you like, if it reminds you of Master Regulus."
And then the elf did burst into tears, popping away to hide his disgrace from the visitor. Harry hurried into the familiar confines of the green parlor and looked at the array of portraits and Hogwarts memorabilia with a sneer. Pulling out his wand, he laid it on his palm and performed the point me spell for Slytherin's locket. His wand spun to point at a tall mahogany cabinet standing in one corner and he could have laughed at his luck.
It took only a simple alohomora to open the lock, and a glance to find the ornate golden locket that Tom had described to him. Pocketing it, he locked the cabinet behind him and left the room to approach the front door.
"Kreacher!" he called. The elf popped in at once, its eyes red and puffy and a bit of snot wetting the end of his nose. Grimacing, Harry raised his wand and quickly cast a stupefy at the unsuspecting house elf, then stepped outside onto the stoop where the wards ended. He apparated back to Riddle Manor and Tom's expectant presence.
That evening the Blacks received back the head of their house elf to adorn the main staircase, with Lord Potter's apologies. He arranged for one of the Potter elves to take Kreacher's place, but the Blacks mourned for more than a son that night.
And on Tom's desk in the manor, a collection of five objects shone in the candlelight.
~Ready to Fly, You and I, Here We Go~
Harry helped Tom to light the various colored candles for the ritual, traveling counter-clockwise inside the circle while his lover traveled clockwise around the outer edge. "What are the last two horcruxes?" he asked, giving in to his curiosity.
Tom had a smile in his voice when he answered. "I wondered when you were going to ask. The five we collected are those I intended to make. When I went to kill Neville I intended to use his death to create a sixth, and share my secret with you." He paused to give Harry a fond look, which Harry returned whole-heartedly. "But a great many surprising things happened that night. I created not one, but two horcruxes entirely by accident. One, as you many imagine, is in Neville. The other is in you."
Harry paused, raising his free hand to touch the warm mark over his heart. "I thought…when I brought you back…" He blinked, realizing something obvious. "The parseltongue!"
Tom chuckled, nodding. "I am loathe to take that one back, I confess. I leave it up to you. I want to give you one to wear on your person at all times, but that means I will actually have two horcruxes so long as you live."
Harry lit the last candle and voiced a thought he had been considering since they started this endeavor. "If I make my own horcrux, I will live forever. We can be together, forever."
There was absolute silence in the bare stone room in the basement of the manor. Only the slight spitting of the candles as the wax melted and was eaten away could be heard. Harry hesitated for a long moment, and then looked up at his lover across the circle. Tom's eyes shone.
Feeling his breath catch in his throat, Harry swallowed hard. "I have the Potter signet. I found it in James' things that night. If I made that my horcrux, would you…?"
Tom nodded firmly.
Harry's breath left him in a rush, and he closed his eyes as a smile of pure joy lifted his lips.
"Fetch Neville," Tom whispered to him across the space. "He will die this night."
Harry opened his eyes and smiled at his lover, then turned to go. It was the work of minutes to apparate to his home, steal Neville from his bed still asleep, and return to the manor. Tom was standing inside the circle now, tumbling the Gaunt ring over and over in his fingers as he waited. Harry carried his nephew into the circle and placed the boy with the other horcruxes. Then he looked up at Tom and froze as the older man took his left hand and slid the heavy stone ring over his ring finger.
"Keep it safe," Tom whispered.
"Always," Harry promised fiercely.
He left the circle of candles and watched as Tom prepared himself for the ritual, stripping off his clothes and leaving them pooled at his feet. Then his lover picked up a simple silver athame and began carving runes into his own flesh. The blood was quickly spreading in a puddle around him as the symbols were carved up one arm, across his chest, and down the other. He went up each of his legs, across his stomach, and up the center of his chest.
When he judged that Tom was almost ready for him, Harry stripped off his own clothing and poured a jar of purified water over his head. When the last rune on the front of Tom's body was carved into the flesh over his heart, Harry stepped over the line of candles. The moment he was safely inside the circle, the flames leaped two inches higher than they had been and stayed that way with an unnatural steadiness.
Tom handed him the athame and Harry bent to his part of the ritual; carving the runes into Tom's back as well as the backs of his arms and legs. The sharp blade of the knife made the work easy and quick, and he admired Tom for not once crying out. There was at least a pint of two of blood beneath them now and he left bloody footprints as he moved around the circle.
He carved the final rune at the base of Tom's spine, and backed away. Now he had to leave the circle and take the blade with him. The only things left in the circle were the bits of soul that Tom intended to absorb.
He sat on the cold stone of the ground, and hugged his knees to his chest. He ignored the blood coating him from the ankle down and splattered all across his arms, chest, and hands. He had eyes only for Tom. If even one thing went wrong, he might lose his lover to this ritual. Everything had to be perfect.
Tom began to chant. It was something like the spell that Harry had cast the night he brought back the Dark Lord, but much more complicated. Tom had to modulate his words and his magic to match the ritual. Too fast or too strong, and the spell would collapse—or worse, implode.
The chill of the floor kept Harry awake for most of the night as the Dark Lord chanted. About halfway through the ritual, the horcruxes began to glow. But around dawn, he could no longer keep his eyes open and drifted off into an uneasy sleep.
He was awakened not by the end of the spell, but by a hand gently shaking his shoulder. Sitting bolt upright, Harry opened his eyes quickly to see Tom smiling at him where he knelt tiredly beside him.
"A bath, and sleep," Tom croaked. "It is done."
Harry smiled and helped his lover upstairs. It was done. Tom was whole again.
Behind them, forgotten on the unforgiving stone floor of the basement, lay the unmarked body of eight-year-old Neville James Potter. Now Harry was Lord Potter in more than name.
Harry slipped the heavy Potter signet ring, and his horcrux, onto Tom's ring finger and stroked the long-fingered hand as he held it in his own. "It's hard to believe how far we've come," he whispered.
"Yes," Tom murmured, as those elegant hands twisted to capture Harry's in their grasp. The Gaunt and Potter rings stood out against their pale flesh, an oddly fitting pair of rings for an oddly fitting couple. Tom touched Harry's ring and leaned closer to whisper in his lover's ear, "With this ring, I thee wed."
Harry's breath hitched as he listened to Tom whisper vows he had never hoped to hear. "To have, and to hold. In sickness, and in health. Till death do us part." Tom paused here, then took a deep breath and plunged on. "I love you. For as long as we both shall live."
And Harry repeated every word, his heart full, and his soul singing. There were no witnesses, nothing official to mark the occasion. But they weren't needed; he and Tom had each other.
~And It Goes Like This~
Dumbledore stumbled toward the parapet on top of the astronomy tower at Hogwarts, his old face white as he held up one hand to ward off Harry and Tom alike. He was unarmed; disarmed before he could realize they were there, his wand spinning off into the darkness below the tower.
"Harry? What have you done?" the old man whispered.
Harry sneered. "I brought back the man I loved, Headmaster. Surely you knew who I was speaking of?"
Dumbledore looked at Tom in surprise, then his eyes narrowed. "You cannot possibly believe he could love you in return, Harry. He is merely deceiving you…"
"I LOVE HIM!" Tom roared at the top of his lungs. His eyes flashed red as he seized Harry's left hand in his right. "Do not spill your poison into his ears, you old fool. You know nothing of what I am capable of feeling. Nothing—no one—will ever take us from one another again. He. Is. MINE."
Dumbledore seemed to be speechless. Harry raised his wand once more, and Tom's joined him. "Goodbye, Headmaster. I hope you enjoy wherever you're going. Say hello to my brother and parents, would you? I'm sure they'll be able to commiserate with you, being killed by Harry Potter and all. Oh, and don't forget about Neville. Poor lad." Harry shook his head sadly for effect. "He didn't know what hit him."
"Neville is dead?" Dumbledore gasped.
"Avada kedavra," they said together. In a moment, the last great Light wizard was dead. There was nothing and no one to stop them now.
"Rather pitiful last words," Tom groused. "Remind me not to ask too many questions when I die."
"If I have anything to say about it, you'll never have any last words, Tom," Harry said drily. "Shall we?" He motioned toward the school behind them, still sleeping and unaware that its Headmaster was dead. Hogwarts today, the Ministry tomorrow. By the end of the week, Lord Voldemort would have the wizarding world in the palm of his hand.
And Harry would be there by his side, every step of the way.
Tom took his hand with a smile and a gentle squeeze. "Let's."