Disclaimer – I do not own Harry Potter.
Important A/N- Right, this story is AU – very AU, especially in the fact that Harry is more of a normal eleven year old boy who is a little selfish, not really that noble and gives into pressure quite easily.
Also, JK said that Voldemort was a psychopath – I'm not sure what books she was reading when she diagnosed him that but he isn't. I've applied my knowledge from my readings about psychopaths and have tried to make my Voldemort as psychopathic as possible. Hopefully, I have succeeded.
This story is to help me plod my way through writer's block (understatement) but I'm hoping my writing doesn't reflect how much trouble I am having. This is also going to be a dark fic - very dark, as this war is going to be as realistic as I can make it.
Please forgive any mistakes that you find as I am sure there will be some.
All of Harry's life he wanted to be a normal child yet all his life he had been anything but.
He wasn't selfless and noble, he was eleven years old and like all children he was a little selfish – maybe not to the same extent as other children around him but he still didn't want to give up his life for the philosopher's stone.
Despite the whisperings of the sorting hat about being put in Slytherin, Harry still firmly aspired to the Gryffindor ideals as he knew that the wizarding world would accept a Gryffindor Harry Potter more than a Slytherin one.
It was easy to pick up on the negative atmosphere towards Slytherin on the train to Hogwarts and Harry had always been good at picking up on the atmosphere – it was key to his survival in the Dursley household.
It was through being this attuned to his surroundings that Harry understood the role he was supposed to play in school life…and that was why he had been pushed into finding the philosopher's stone. His friends expected him to get the damned thing when he really just wanted to tell a teacher – they wouldn't let first year students charge into this type of situation would they?
The only reason Harry had gone after the troll was because the troll was already there with Hermione in the bathroom and he didn't have the chance to back out – all he could do was fight.
It didn't mean he wanted to though – he was only eleven after all.
Though it was the pressure and fear of losing his friends (children wanting an adventure and not knowing what they were getting into) that had lead him here, facing the darkest wizard alive whom was on the back of Professor Quirrell's head.
Harry was in well over his head and like any other eleven year old he was scared. Yet he was also oddly entranced by the chalk white face with blazing red eyes that was promising the only thing Harry truly wanted.
There were in the mirror, the same mirror in which he had retrieved the stone from, and they looked on encouragingly at him. Give him the stone, Harry.
Harry wanted to say something, anything but all he could do was stare mesmerised by the flickering image of his smiling parents in the mirror.
He wanted to yell LIAR! He wanted to scream himself hoarse with the anger and the fear.
Voldemort smiled grotesquely as he saw Harry's struggle and the image of James and Lily smiled softly at Harry again.
"You do not have to fight, Harry." The man whispered huskily, his red eyes glimmering gleefully unable to project softness.
Harry wanted to believe that so much, he wanted to be a normal eleven year old enjoying a school of magic. He was Harry Potter though, he was not allowed that and why couldn't he say anything?
The courage that had filled him when fighting the troll and through each safety measure that protected the stone had fled in the face of this hideous monster.
He knew Voldemort was lying – he couldn't bring Harry's parents back – he just couldn't. Even if he could, how would Harry cope to suddenly having parents to care for him, to restrict him – it was too late and it wouldn't work but he still wanted it.
He felt the jagged stone in his pocket, the sharp edges scraping the tips of his fingers as he pulled it out. He didn't know why he pulled it out, perhaps subconsciously he wanted to tease Voldemort with something he wanted to stop the man's mocking…to make his parents and their smiling accepting faces go away and stop haunting him.
Voldemort caught the movement, his eyes widening and darkening as he saw the gleaming stone catching the light of the fires. For that second, the images of James and Lily flickered with the same expression of greed, their faces cold and hard.
Harry would never be sure why he was so shocked and startled by the change – after all, they were conjured by Voldemort but he felt ice pool in stomach and his body inadvertently stiffening.
Harry felt his fingers spasm around the stone and it slipped from his grasp. He heard it fall, the loud clatter of the hard stone falling down the stairs. It felt as though time had slowed down as the stone jumped step by step, edges catching the light as it flipped in the air.
…And landed by Quirrell's feet, softly bumping into his shoe and entangling with the length of purple fabric that had served as his turban.
Harry started in surprise and his breathing stopped as Quirrell bent down and his pale hand and fingers snatched up the red rock.
The sound the man made was equal parts amused and pleased.
"Why, thank you Harry." He hummed softly, the smile on Voldemort's face was dark and satisfied before he met Harry's eyes and allowed the smiling images of James and Lily to suddenly twist in horror and agony as they were consumed in flames. Harry gasped at the horrid detail in the images as his parents skin charred, great flaps of it hanging of their arms and faces.
The Dark Lord watched Harry's expression in cold delight, laughing at the horrified expression on the eleven years old boy's face, before he ordered Quirrell "Kill the boy."
Harry turned and tried to run up the many stairs after hearing that even though the large flames were blocking the exit.
A sudden weight hitting his back sent him tumbling into the stone steps face first, only his hands darting out to catch himself stopping his face from being crushed brutally. A cold hand was at the back of his neck and another snatched at his shoulder, pulling at the jumper he was wearing. He was flipped over to face the pale, gaunt face of Quirrell who was sweating with concentration and pain.
His right hand wrapped around Harry's neck, the touched seared with pain and Harry felt the overly hot touch on his throat squeezing and constricting. Harry opened his mouth to let out a gargle of a scream before his own tiny child hand wrapped around the constricting fingers trying to pry them off.
The odd smell of burning started to fill the air and Quirrell's skin becoming hard and cracked under Harry's fingers. The professor let out a wail of agony, pulling his hand away from Harry in a sharp jerk-like movement, revealing the man's hand in the shape of a gnarled claw as the burn creeped across the healthy flesh turning it to ash. The hand dropped to the floor with a combination of a wet thud and a whoosh of ashes scattering across the ground. The man's blood filled fingers continued jerking and clenching even as the blackness crawled up them and turned them too into ash. Quirrell's other hand wrapped around his wrist as though it wasn't a cauterised stump while a grating sound of agony was forced through clenched teeth and pursed lips.
"You fool! Kill the boy!" Voldemort shrieked, his voice marred with vicious anger and searing pain and his snake like face was twisted into a monstrous mask.
Quirrell's head bent backwards as he tried to ride out the pain before he snapped it back to facing Harry, his dark eyes reflecting the flickering flames and his mouth pulled down into a sneer that bared his teeth. With a coarse yell, he pulled out his wand with his left hand and held it remarkably steady, the tip starting to glow a fierce and brilliant green.
Harry, acting on an instinct he had never felt before, ran towards the man before he could curse him and leapt at him with outstretched hands. Harry's eyes squinted shut as he flew through the air…and then he heard the sizzle of flesh. He could feel the bridge of the man's nose bend under his thumb like rubber as the man melted.
Harry's hands stung but he held in the sounds of pain he wanted to make as he sunk with Quirrell's disintegrating body. He knew the man was screaming with agony, though he could only hear the blood thumping against his eardrums and his heart breaking through his ribs. He could feel Quirrell's mouth opening and twisting as he screamed and could feel the spittle being flung from Quirrell's mouth landing on the back of his hands… it was cold compared to the heat pouring of the professor's burning face. The man's tongue was squirming with the amount of noise he was making and Harry could feel how dry it was becoming. Harry wanted to retch.
Harry's feet soon reached the floor as the body beneath him gave way to ashes. Harry backed away on unstable feet and shaky legs, his eyes wide behind ashy lenses and his hands blackened and pulsating with pain. He wanted to cry out to someone right now, wanted anyone to tell him it was okay – even though it blatantly wasn't! There was a man slowly consumed by flames and making the most god awful sounds in pain as he did so.
Voldemort was screaming also but more out of anger than anything else and Harry felt a vicious thrill shoot up his spine at the sight of Voldemort twisting in pain. The thrill soon turned to fear as he saw Voldemort start to remove himself from Quirrell, his body stretching like elastic, teeth gleaming white as he bore a victorious smirk when he freed himself from the burning man.
There was a wet noise, like when someone sucks their mouth in and their lips makes an almost 'pop' like sound, as Voldemort removed himself and the back of Quirrell's head came with it, a spray of blood, ash and cooked brain sloshing out of his skull.
The rest of Quirrell turned slowly to ash, crumbing and screaming in agony but Voldemort was a wraith and had the life-giving stone clutched in his gnarled claw of a hand. Harry heard the horrid hiss of a laugh and Harry's scar lit with pain as it never had before until his vision went white….then black. He heard more than felt his bones hit the steps as he fell, his body juddering as he fell into unconsciousness.
- For Victory-
He was awoken sharply but Dumbledore's aged hands shaking him urgently, the man's blue eyes worried behind his half-moon glasses. Harry noticed the stone ceiling of the secret chamber come into focus as his head pounded angrily. He hadn't even been moved…
"Harry!" Dumbledore whispered, "What happened, my boy?" His tone was urgent and Harry's vision swam as he sharply turned his head to look at the Headmaster.
Harry's breath caught, dizziness making his stomach flip, before he whispered. "Voldemort. He-he's got the stone!"
Dumbledore looked at him unblinkingly for an infinite moment before crushing disappointment seemed to shutter his gaze. "It will be alright, my boy." He patted Harry's shoulder gently, though his tone contradicted his words. "Let's get you to the hospital wing, shall we?"
Harry was pulled to his feet and a feeling of shame filled him, as though he had let the Headmaster down greatly, but really? Was saving the stone an eleven year old boy's duty? It shouldn't be but Harry felt that he had let everyone down immensely. In a way he had, but who puts a stone like that in a school? How did Voldemort even get into Hogwarts?
Harry noticed that his scar hadn't stopped burning since the confrontation and it continually simmered even now the Dark Lord was gone.
It was only two weeks later when Harry's scar burst open in agony and he received his first vision of the Dark Lord's return and the beginning of the war.
Harry's second year had been awful. Awful was an understatement.
The papers had run his name through the mud Potter or Plotter? They were calling him a liar among other names, they also run the Headmaster's name down Dumbledore: Daft or Dangerous? Harry could see the distrust in everyone's eyes and the cold disbelief that the Dark Lord was back, only did Malfoy not look at him with disbelief but a smug, arrogant glare. Harry also hadn't had a decent night's sleep for the whole year, every night filled with blood, torture and pain. The purple bags under his eyes grew darker and larger every day. The only positive was the fact that the visions had shown Arthur Weasely's attack by Voldemort's snake. Occlumency hadn't helped in the slightest, though Snape had also said Harry was too young to really learn the mind arts.
Harry felt very isolated and alone, no one was telling him anything and no one was there to support him. He wondered about the mysterious corridor that he always saw but no one would help in the slightest and Dumbledore avoided him even though the man seemed to have a very active interest in Harry through other people.
His friendship with Ron and Hermione became strained with his shortening temper and their fear of the prospect of Voldemort returning. Harry could also tell that Ron was a little angry and disillusioned about the supposed greatness of the Boy-Who-Lived. It wasn't fair.
On top of that the Heir of Slytherin had risen again and Ron's little sister Ginny was missing. Ron had given Harry a look that begged for him to help and apart of Harry jumped at the chance to prove himself. So, Harry had figured out where the chamber was and went down it to get Ginny. He hadn't had a chance to think about what he was doing yet – perhaps if he had he would have told a teacher where to find the chamber instead, but then again, would they believe him? Harry was sick of being called a liar so he went himself. He constantly felt he had something to prove.
When he finally arrived at the chamber he was dirty, smelly and even more tired than normal.
Unnoticed by Harry, a boy was leaning against one of the statues, his arms crossed over his chest and Ginny's wand hanging loosely from deft fingers. The boy looked up from his contemplation at the sound of Harry's hurried steps. He watched the small boy stagger up to the prone form of Ginny and fall to his knees as he tried to rouse her.
Riddle smiled apathetically as Harry frantically tried to shake the girl to consciousness, the pitch of his voice increasing and it wavered uncertainly as the girl remained unresponsive.
Harry was panicking.
Her flesh was almost like ice, except her temples which held lingering warmth. Her pulse was weak and flittering and Harry didn't know whether he dared to move her or not.
"Hello, Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived." A voice spoke from behind him and Harry jumped to his feet sharply, clutching his wand between sweaty fingers as he turned to see who had spoken.
The boy was tall and thin, very good looking although wearing an old fashioned uniform. He was smiling, a small and soft smile that did nothing to appease Harry's growing sense of unease. He didn't feel frightened though – this was odd but he was only a boy, right?
"Who are you?" He demanded quickly, mindful of Ginny's deteriorating condition.
"Ginny knows me as Tom Riddle, but I have gone by other names too." The boy – Riddle – looked at Ginny in what could only be an indulgent, fond look that a parent would give to a messy and thick child.
Harry didn't like that look, although looking patronising and sympathetic, it held a hint of maliciousness and cruel delight that turned Harry's stomach and set his nerves alight. "How did you get here…and what are you wearing?" He asked, as he discreetly manoeuvred himself in front of Ginny, blocking the other boy's line of sight.
Riddle gave him a look of incredulity, as if he was shocked that Harry didn't know who he was, before a smile smoothed over the handsome features. "I am a memory preserved in a diary for fifty years." He ran his hands down his blazer jacket before saying "I am wearing my school uniform." He looked at both Harry and what he could see of Ginny, "It has clearly changed a lot since my time."
Harry hummed distrustfully under his breath. "How come you're here?" Harry pressed, feeling a little bit of confidence return because the boy didn't seem too dangerous and even maintained a fair distance away… but he was holding a wand. "Is that Ginny's wand?"
"What?" Riddle questioned, a little shocked at the sudden second question. "Hmm, oh yes, you see Ginny wanted me here – remembered me, as it were. She leant me her wand, after all she did invite me."
"….B-but how?" Harry spluttered angrily and full of confusion.
"I hear that Lord Voldemort has returned." Riddle said, all of a sudden with a spontaneous burst of energy. He gave the impression of the topic only just coming to mind but to someone who was on edge as Harry, who had and entire year of mistrust and abuse, the look in the elder boy's eyes was too sharp – he had been dying to bring the topic up, dying to talk about it and the look reflected the maddened obsession the boy had with it.
Instantly Harry became still and his jaw clenched. Despite the whole year of his constant insistence that the man was back, he suddenly felt the instinct to not say a word to this memory.
"Yeah," Harry said carefully, his eyes narrowed. "Why do you want to know? What's Voldemort to you?"
Riddle's impassive face creased in anger, the smooth skin tightening around his eyes and the lips pulling down. "Voldemort is very important to me, Potter." He stated coolly, pushing himself of the serpent statue. "In fact, his return is of the utter most importance to me and Ginny was ever so helpful regarding information about that."
Harry scowled, feeling oddly betrayed by the girl – even though he barely knew her. "She did?" He asked as he licked his lips nervously.
"Oh yes, she told me all about it!" Riddle continued in perverse glee. "Poor Harry! Oh Tom! It's awful how they are treating him!" It was a uncanny imitation of the young girl. "I have heard some of the headlines from the Daily Prophet too." Riddle made a hissing sound as though wounded. "They are rather cruel – especially seeing as you're…twelve is it?" He waited for Harry's reluctant nod before he continued. "A twelve year old defeated the Dark Lord and is now being bullied by the papers for saying that Voldemort is back." He smiled lazily. "If there was ever negative consequences for the truth…It isn't fair is, Harry?"
"What has Voldemort got to do with you?" Harry demanded, feeling a little perturbed by the unnerving manner of the other boy.
"I am Voldemort!" Riddle said with irritation, and he waved his hand in arrogance. "Voldemort is an anagram of my birth name!" He seemed oddly dismissive of that fact, as though he was keen to return to the teasing of Harry.
Harry felt as though he had been slapped, he stopped breathing for a moment and his heart skipped a beat. "You're…Voldemort?"
"Yes, yes-" Riddle acknowledged but waved away the importance of it, frowning thoughtfully. After a second it was gone and replaced with a macabre teasing look. "How did an infant defeat me? What act of insanity did I commit to end up dead?"
Harry had no answer but fortunately Riddle didn't seem to want one as he eyed Harry speculatively. "What was so special about you, Harry Potter?" He looked Harry up and down and seemed to find him lacking – not that Harry did not think so himself. "I must be hunting you, Harry Potter, I must be. My pride must be sorely injured due to you. Am I hunting you?" Riddle started to circle Harry and Ginny, hands clasped behind his back with Ginny's wand held calmly between the two. "No need to answer that, of course I am." Riddle stopped and pivoted on his heels, facing Harry directly. "Yet, here you are. Still alive." Though the voice and face of the teen was calm, his eyes blazed with anger. "I am not doing well in this future of mine, am I?" The boy briefly looked down at his shiny immaculate shoes before asking. "Who is helping you?"
"…What?" Harry asked
"Who is training you? You idiot – who is helping you survive?"
"What? No-one." Harry affirmed, feeling stupid and oddly vulnerable.
"Oh, Merlin! Really?" Riddle's grin was large and manic as he bent over in silent laughter. "Oh, really Harry? This is much too precious!" He placed a hand over his ghostly stomach as though it ached. "Of course I know about that farce of extra potions lessons you were having with that Snape." He continued as though he hadn't laughed. "Lovely Ginny told me that her brother told her that you were having Occlumency lessons, not that they have done any good – even I can see that from here." Harry blinked in surprise at the secret being revealed. "Yes," Riddle continued upon seeing Harry's look, "That one couldn't keep her mouth shut about anyone!" He started to move again, his leg movements exaggerated as though he was struggling to walk. "Even beloved Dumbledore has abandoned you in your hour of need!"
Harry would have loved to have stood up for Dumbledore at that moment but the feelings of resentment and loneliness had built up over the year. He scowled a little at the man's name.
"Oh Harry? No defence for your headmaster? I'm ashamed!" Riddle laughed a little, his voice sounded more rich and vibrant and with a little more life behind it. "Then again, Dumbledore has as good as left you to rot. He has been kicked out of the school hasn't he? He has left you all alone to face the horrors of the world – and trust me Harry, I am out there, so there are horrors waiting for you."
Riddle let the silence build and become turgid for a few moments before he casually dropped into the conversation.
"I can train you, if you like?" He asked as he twirled the wand with his left hand, his focus on the wood as it spun before he turned to meet Harry's eyes with his own dark ones. He lifted a brow in question, and Harry got the distinct impression that the boy was laughing at him, though only the slightest twitch of his lips suggested so.
"Why should I trust you?" He asked, standing up from where he had kneeled by Ginny's cooling, pale body and moving himself in front of her. Perhaps he could recompense if he stopped this Voldemort… "Why should I trust the future Voldemort?" He hissed angrily, shifting his feet in case he needed to snatch the wand from Riddle.
The teen looked even more amused now, as the spinning wand stopped with an abrupt movement as Riddle's fingers wrapped around the wood sharply and pointed it at Harry. "We want the same thing, don't we?" He circled Harry, his feet making no sound on the damp floor and his swishing robe making no noise either. "I want my elder counterpart out of the way as much you do. He is clearly insane and incompetent if he cannot kill a child… Or, perhaps you are more than you seem, Harry Potter, either way you've caused a lot of trouble. Too much, I think for it to be coincidence." He looked at Harry with consideration "And really? Two of me? I don't think you want two of me around now, do you Harry?"
Harry's jaw tightened with his anger and his tired eyes struggled to keep on the fasting moving wand which was now twirling again.
"I know Voldemort better than anyone else, Harry." Riddle continued, moving closer to him again. "We both do not want him here, do we? Why not let me help you?" He asked, as he leant closer to Harry. Riddle smiled, suddenly and dashingly, Harry found it almost hard to believe it wasn't genuine but the smile was too oiled, too slick and too…practised and those dark eyes were cold and dead – like a shark's. "No strings attached." He tilted his head to the side, like a cruel inquisitive bird, making him seem less genuine by the second. "I promise."
Harry stare sharpened and he hissed out from clenched teeth "You're lying!"
Riddle's face didn't change in the slightest – only a quick blink before he spoke again. "Okay, maybe I am lying a little bit." He finally moved out of Harry's face and backed away again and leant on one of the damp serpent statues. "But, Harry Potter – who else has tried to train you?" The boy put his acquired wand in his ghostly pocket. "Who else will? I'm sure Dumbledore will step up to the mantle soon though – or will he just wait until it's too late?"
Harry was struck dumb by the statement – in his heart he wanted to snort dismissively and tell Riddle that of course Dumbledore would help him, train him but the behaviour from the man this year suggested otherwise.
"Harry – you're twelve years old – and fighting against a Dark Lord who is fifty-four years your senior." Riddle continued, looking perversely amused by this as he smiled at Harry's worried face. "You need help – and here I am, the only one offering it to you."
Harry shifted anxiously on the balls of his feet, feeling the cold dampness of the place sink into his bones. Licking his suddenly dry lips he tried to pull up a feeble defence "Someone will-" but he found himself stuck for words – he'd had no help this year, apart from the feeble attempts at Occlumency that Snape had tried. Nothing but sleepless nights full of blood, sweat and tears, the papers abusing him and dragging his name through the mud and no one doing anything about it.
He remembered the isolation and embittered loneliness of the year and the fragile support of Hermione and Ron – but even that wasn't much their friendship was only a couple of years old and the forging of it was not entirely strong enough to survive the storm of angry newspapers and the calls of liar.
Harry rolled his tongue around his mouth worriedly, looking steadfastly way from Riddle's smug face but keeping his eyes on the boy's hands and movements. Riddle made no sound, nor movement, only tapped his fingers in a pattern on his thigh.
Harry didn't relax but asked "What would this training involve?"
Riddle smiled and it had a horrid edge to it, "Anything you like, and everything you need." He held his hands open in a welcoming gesture that did nothing to appease Harry's fear.
Harry then asked "And if I refuse?"
Riddle smiled, a leer with his shiny white teeth bared as he pointed Ginny's wand at the giant statue of Slytherin surrounded by stagnant water. "I'll call the basilisk, she enjoys her outings and even more so when she is allowed to eat man flesh." Riddle stared at him, before turning his back on Harry, "But, Harry, we both know I shan't need to do that because you have already decided to accept my offer."
Harry wanted to object but this version of Voldemort was going to help him – obviously to his own ends but if Harry stood any chance of ever beating Voldemort he needed training that no one else seemed to be offering him. Of course, training with Riddle would also mean exposing all his weaknesses to him…but in the end something was better than nothing, right?
"Very good, Harry!" Riddle applauded as though Harry had consented verbally but the grin sent his way showed that Riddle knew exactly what Harry had been thinking and the exact moment Harry had decided.
"What about Ginny?" Harry questioned as he looked down at the prone body of his best friend's sister.
"Your first lesson is now and it is sacrifice." Riddle said, as he walked up to the dying girl and Harry realised how he could hear Riddle's footfalls as he crossed the wet floor. Harry could hear the water being dislodged from puddles in wet sploshes and when Riddle was almost next to him he could feel the slight disruption in the air.
His heart rate sped up and he croaked "Sacrifice?"
"Yes," Riddle put his hand on Harry's shoulder – it was cold and ghostly but oh so very real and heavy as he pulled Harry away from the almost grey girl. "One of the most powerful, important lessons you'll learn. In order for me to live, Ginny must die."
Harry stirred against the tone and tried to remove himself from Riddle's grip hold in protest.
"Ah, but Harry, without this sacrifice you lose your teacher."
"You're not worth her life!" Harry protested
"Fine then! Try and stop me – and if you succeed you'll be accorded the honour of witnessing her death by someone else!" Riddle's grip on Harry's shoulder was almost brutal. "Probably a more painful, bloody death than this one. Although, she is a pureblood – she may become a concubine for someone."
Harry frowned at the word concubine in incomprehension and Riddle clarified "Whore."
Harry felt winded and wanted to disbelieve Riddle but the boy kept digging in the verbal knife and twisting the blade. "Some men like them as young as her – get as many bastard children out of her as possible. After all, pureblood is pureblood and seeing as she is from a family of blood-traitors…the less she enjoys the process, the better. Many are in the mind-set that blood-traitors need to be punished. But, if you are sure, by all means try and stop this."
Harry felt a tightness in his throat and his stomach swirled with partially digested food. He swallowed the feeling of sickness. Could he let that possibly happen to Ginny by letting her live? He looked over his shoulder slyly at the spectre and wondered could he stop him?
"You won't be able to, Harry." The boy laughed deeply, richly "You have wasted too much time talking to me. Your endeavour would be for naught. You would be dead and so would little Ginny." Riddle's hand ran across Harry's back, the icy fingers brushing the nape of Harry's neck. Harry felt all the hairs on his body rise at the contact, the animalistic sense of predator and prey dominating his senses. "But Harry, I can save you – and Ginny. All you have to do is let me."
Harry could see Ginny's veins now, under her pale and grey clammy skin. Her feet were twitching and her fingers gave little spasms and convulsions every few seconds. Her breathing was exceptionally laboured, her tiny chest heaving with effort as she tried to continue onwards. Harry could see she was almost dead.
So, Harry had to choose to let her die or die with her.
…But if Harry died here, then who else would die due to Voldemort?
How could he choose between Ginny and someone else?
"Well?" Riddle asked and it seemed so unnervingly loud in the cavern, and it rung with all the authority of a judge, jury and executioner.
Harry swallowed his own guilt and self-hatred and struggled as he turned away from Ginny's dying body and faced young Voldemort. He bit the innards of his cheeks in nervousness as the elder boy smiled at him in that oiled fashion. It scared Harry how realistic the manner seemed – probably easily fooling many others, including Ginny but to Harry it was just a little too rehearsed. He could imagine Riddle practising facial expressions in the mirror to fool others.
"I'm glad you chose this, Harry." Riddle continued, smirking as Harry winced when Ginny made an odd choking sound as though something in her throat had collapsed. "Do not mind her, Harry. It will not be long now."
"What will happen afterwards?" Harry cringed as more choking sounds came from behind him.
Riddle looked the picture of innocence "Why spoil the surprise?"
Harrt felt queasy and appalled at Riddle after he said that, so instead he asked. "What do I call you? Tom?"
"I am not Tom!" The boy hissed as all traces of good humour fell from his features.
"You're not Voldemort yet!" Harry retorted.
"I am Lord Voldemort now!" Riddle spat, and the vicious hiss rang out in the empty cavern. "I will not use my filthy muggle father's name ever again!"
"Well, I can't call both of you Voldemort!"
"I am to be your teacher! You should call me master – most students do to the one who teaches them!"
"You are not my master!" Harry yelled in revulsion, the echo repeating what he said again and again.
The way Riddle's lips tightened and his eyes seemed to burn told Harry that Riddle thought much differently but the tight lips pulled upwards into a macabre mockery of a smile. "What do you wish to call me, Harry?"
Harry paused for a moment – he didn't know, Voldemort (though Riddle was him on the inside) was out and Tom seemed too human for him. Harry could think of a whole range of names to call Riddle as well, none of them complimentary. He then indulged the idea of using the name Junior – after all Riddle was named after his father, but Harry could imagine the way the boy's teeth would gnash together, chewing the inside of his cheeks in fury and possibly turning his wand on Harry. In the end he said "Riddle."
Riddle gave him a look of distaste but didn't object, crossing his arms and leaning against the statues again.
In the uncomfortable silence that followed Harry slid down to the floor and hugged his knees as he waited for Ginny to die and Riddle to live. His leg was juddering with fear and self-loathing and he pressed his dirty face into his knees.
Riddle watched with an almost indulgent smile as he became stronger and his organs began to become real, his heart beginning to weight more and beat strongly and his toes began to feel cold from his thin shoes on the cold floor.
"So, Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived…killer, tell me about yourself, you see, I've only heard what Ginny has told me and what she said was hearsay." Riddle asked, almost jovially, mostly cruel satisfaction.
Harry just stared at him from the floor, chin on his kneecaps.
What did he say?
How could he even respond that?
What had he agreed to?
Harry was horrified but a part of him knew that this came with the deal…and in the end; he was doing this for victory.
A/N – Please let me know what you think?
If there is demand for this story then I'll continue, if not I'll recycle bits for other fics :P
So please review and let me know?
Also, a special thanks to Amanda2308 for helping me get through writer's block :D And thanks to Emriel for cheering me up :)