[EDIT 7/21/13] Going back and making a few grammar changes and adding a bit more description in some places.
Death seemed to follow Harry Potter. Only just 16 and he was already a cause for many deaths. His parents risked their lives for him to live. He had inadvertently killed one of his professors when he was 11. He killed a basilisk, at age 12, that was trying to kill people at his school. It had actually succeeded in doing so, once before, decades ago. When he was 13, he survived a run in with a werewolf and freed a hippogriff that was going to be put down. Not to mention he helped an -innocent- convict escape the law. At 14, he was chosen to partake in a dangerous competition that could have easily killed him, evaded an angry mother dragon, saved a girl from drowning, and finally was the indirect cause of Cedric's death. Not only that, but the Dark Lord who tried to kill him as a baby came back from the dead, using Harry's own blood, to try to kill him again. Finally, right when things seemed to start to look up, Harry's godfather was pushed through the Veil, never to return to the land of the living.
Death follows Harry Potter. Harry's whole life has been shrouded in Darkness. There is even a Prophesy about him that states "Either must die by the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives." Dumbledore knew The Prophesy all these years. He was using Harry as a weapon against Voldemort. One of them would die. If that is indeed true, why shouldn't he just end it? The Dark Lord grows stronger every day. Harry can feel it through their link. Harry is only feeling weaker and more pitiful as the days go by. Harry knows he's going to lose in the end, so why even bother trying? He was more than ready to die. But he must die by the hand of the other. He must die by the hand of Voldemort. That was his fate, and he was ready to accept it.
As the sun went down, Harry snuck away. A week of planning how he would sneak past the wards and watch had paid off. Before leaving, he set Hedwig free, knowing his relatives would not treat her well in his absence. Harry took only his wand, the clothes on his back, and a bit of money to get him to his destination. Thanks to the link, he knew exactly where to find Voldemort: Malfoy Manor. Malfoy Manor was famous in the Wizarding World, so it wouldn't be too hard to find, even with wards. Wand in hand, he summoned the Night Bus. He made sure to disguise himself the best he could, fearful that he would be recognized.
The bus took him as close to Wiltshire as he wanted, as to not draw attention to himself and his destination. He walked the rest of the way to the Manor gates. Nearing exhaustion from the walk, he stopped to rest and felt the raw energy coming from the grand Manor that sat past the gates. The wards were strong. Putting his hands up to the gates, Harry tried to send a mental image of where he was through the link. He concentrated very hard, not knowing if what he was trying to accomplish would work. Surely enough, within the next 10 minutes, Harry found himself standing face-to-face with the Dark Lord in the middle of a parlor. Two Death Eaters, the ones that were sent to get him, were holding him tight by the arms. Something seemed different about the man, but Harry was too dazed to figure out what.
"What do we have here? Harry Potter? What brings you here on a night such as this?" The calm, sadistic humor in Voldemort's tone did not escape Harry. "Aren't you a little far from the safety of your bed?"
"I'm done." Harry solemnly fixated his eyes on one of the many tiles lining the floor. "I've come here to end this."
"Oh?" The curiosity in the elder man's voice made Harry meet his eyes to the other's. It was then Harry realized what the change in the man in front of him was. He was just that: a man. A man with red eyes, but a man none the less. He looked to be about 40. But how? Oh. Magic. Of course.
After Harry got over the initial shock and realization, he continued stating his reason for being there. "Yes. I'm tired of all of this. I'm tired of the secrets and lies. Death follows me. I've had enough of it. I can't possibly defeat you. According to The Prophesy only we can kill the other. I don't see me being able to kill you anytime soon. I just decided to make it easier and come here to you so you can kill me and get it over with." He let out an exhausted sigh. "I'm just...tired."
"You know The Prophesy?" The raven-haired man in front of him raised a curious eyebrow.
"Yeah. I heard it that night in the Prophesy Room. 'Either must die by the hands of the other, for neither can live while the other survives.' That was the missing part I believe you were looking for. After that, it just repeats itself. If you want to know anything else, I'll tell you. It doesn't really matter to the dead anyway. And I'll be dead soon enough."
Intrigued, Voldemort motioned for his Death Eaters to let the boy go. "Leave us." The two men left the Dark Lord and Harry in the parlor, closing the giant oak doors behind them. "Sit, Harry Potter. Tell me your story. Then I shall decide how and when to kill you. Tell me your life story and why you are so eager to die."
"That fool! That old fool!" By the end of Harry's life story about an hour or 2 later, the older of the two had completely absorbed himself in every word and detail, asking for more clarification on some subjects. He told about the Dursleys and his adventures at Hogwarts. He told about his personal life. He didn't even care that he knew his tea, which Voldemort had summoned early on, was laced with Veritaserum. The Dark Lord had come to one conclusion: "Albus Dumbledore is a great old fool!"
Not really listening to Voldemort's outbursts, Harry sighed and closed his eyes, ready to die shortly after. "I'm done with my story. Now you know why I want to die. Just get it over with. A.K-ing me would be the easiest route, I guess. I don't really care how you do it, though."
Both sat in a tense silence. Harry waited for something. Anything. A curse, a word, anything. The Dark Lord sat in his chair, staring at the younger boy in his company. A young man. Boys who were raised, or the lack of being, as they were had to grow up early. The boy would not be of legal age for another year, but he has already seen and done more than even the Minister can claim to. All this time he has been lied to. He had been sent back to his joke of a home every summer. Sometimes he had even asked, pleaded with, that dolt of a Headmaster to let him stay at Hogwarts, or at least somewhere else. He had been denied. Year after year he faced some different kind of horror, Dumbledore never helping him. It reminded Voldemort too much of his schooling days. This young man just needed some guidance in his life. Voldemort was no fool. He knew he couldn't actually live forever and remain a sane man. He thought to go on a hunch. He thought to go on a gut feeling.
"You're not going to die today."
Harry's eyes snapped open. "What?"
"Instead, let me tell you a few stories. In my younger years, I started to dig around in Dumbledore's past. Did you know he nearly became a Dark Lord?"
"No." Harry looked intrigued about that bit of information, but told himself that he didn't care. "And why the stories? It will make no difference when I'm dead."
"Death can wait for a story or two. You never know what you will discover. Maybe you would even change your mind."
Harry's eyes narrowed at the man, with suspicion. "What good would me being alive do you?"
"We shall see, Mister Potter. We shall see." Without a word, he summoned a plate of cookies and warm tea for the both of them. "Help yourself. Now, I'm going to give you some insight on Albus Dumbledore. He was the oldest of 3 siblings. It was his responsibility to look after his brother and sister. Ah, but he thought himself too good for them. He was always practicing some new magic.
"The reason he knows so much is because he learned it all for the sake of power. He became obsessed. Knowledge is power, you see." The Dark Lord took a leisurely sip of his tea. "When he was running out of things to learn, having just left Hogwarts, he met a boy his age that had the same ideals as him." He paused to look the boy in the eye, waiting to spot some reaction with his next words. "They both believed that Wizards should rule over Muggles." There it was. A slight wrinkle formed on Harry's brow, and his posture straightened some. "They became fast friends. They became best friends. That boy is who you know as The Dark Lord Grindelwald." Harry's eyes widened slightly to that. "Grindelwald and Dumbledore did everything for what they called the Greater Good." Voldemort scoffed. "The greater good really meant what they believed was best for them. They wanted total power over the Muggles. I was quite shocked to discover that. Albus Dumbledore, leader of the Light, and considered a saint by many. Those were his original ideals. What changed? Something happened. One day, Dumbledore and Grindelwald suggested that all four of them move so they could pursue more knowledge. Albus' brother did not want to leave, saying their sister was too ill-bodied. The lust for power made them not listen. Curses flew from the three boys, and next they knew, the girl was dead." A small gasp was heard from Harry, though the boy made it seem as though the story did not affect him in any way. "It's not for certain who shot the killing curse. I guess only they will ever know." The man teased his words slightly, implying that he believed Albus Dumbledore was the one guilty of his own sister's death. The implication was noticed by Harry, and made him wonder as well.
With a small smirk left behind in his tea, Voldemort continued. "Now the legend is that Dumbledore defeated the Dark Lord Grindelwald. What brought on this, I wondered? The two men were best friends, but mad with power. They lusted after it. They had become obsessed with The Tale of 3 Brothers. It's a Wizarding tale," he added offhandedly. "In the tale, there were 3 powerful objects, the most powerful in the world, given to 3 brothers by Death himself." He noted the boy's small nod and continued. "It's rumored that Grindelwald found the Elder Wand. It is the most powerful wand known. Only the one who defeats the owner of the Elder Wand can control its true power." The smirk found its way back to his lips. "That alone should tell you how Grindelwald came to possess the wand. Albus Dumbledore now possesses that wand. He fought against his best friend, defeating him. Whether it was of his guilty conscious or so he could be the most powerful wizard alive, I cant say." He put down his empty cup at last. "I do know that without that wand, he would be useless. So you see, Albus Dumbledore is not the man everyone thinks him to be. There is just simply no one around old enough to remember, or want to remember, his wrong-doings, so he is praised for the one seemingly-good thing he did." Voldemort's eyes turned stern as he met Harry's once again. "No matter what they did before, the winner is praised and the loser fades in history. I believe there is a saying, 'The Winners write History.' That is the sad truth of this world, Harry." He broke contact with the boy. The smirk on his face had become twisted and pained, thinking of his own fate if Dumbledore won this time around. "That fool will stop at nothing to have his way. Even if he has to become a martyr in the eyes of the Light. Or worse yet, have someone else become martyr for his cause." With that, he looked Harry's way, hoping to catch his eye and make the implication recognized. He did.
Harry let this new information sink in. It made sense to him, in a way. Dumbledore was a manipulator. That was at least obvious. There was that suspicious, all-knowing twinkle in his eye. Harry was sick of that twinkle. Every time Harry and his friends got in some sort of danger, the twinkle was there. Headmasters shouldn't subtly encourage young children to go on life-threatening missions, Chosen One or not. Harry was just a child, looking for guidance from a grandfatherly figure. Before this night, it seemed as though Dumbledore was a saint. Harry had never even considered that he had a dark past. In fact, Harry never gave Dumbledore's past much thought. It brought more questions to light. He started to realize that he knew very little about the history and politics of the Wizarding world. He doubted even Hermione knew everything. It didn't matter now, though. Harry was here to die.
"How do I know you aren't lying?"
Voldemort calmly glanced at the young man from behind his, refilled, raised cup, "What reason do I have to lie to you? I could kill you, and everything I have said here will never get out to anyone. It would be pointless to spin stories to a man condemned to die so soon."
"So you are going to kill me," Harry let out a resolute sigh.
"I said I could kill you. I never said I would. Not since we began our chat."
"Then what are you going to do with me? I'm here and defenseless. You must have some plan brewing for me!" He was so eager to die. He has handed himself over to the one person who wants him gone the most, yet he hasn't done anything except offer him refreshments and chat. It made no sense!
"Actually, I do have a plan, as you said, 'brewing' for you." Voldemort slowly pulled his wand from his robe's sleeve.
Here is comes. Harry thought that torture awaited him. He braced himself against the chair, holding the arms tight until his knuckles turned white. He was ready for the worst.
"Oculus Repairo." Harry's glasses became like new. He could even see out of them, as though they were made for him. The magic behind the spell was obviously stronger than a first year's attempt, even if that first year was Hermione Granger. The Dark Lord stood and advanced toward Harry with a contemplating glare. He took the glasses straight from his face to speculate them. "I don't know how you've been able to see a thing in those." He handed them back to the flabbergasted teenager. "They are absolutely horrid on you, as well. We'll have to invest in some new ones. Perhaps even have a corrective procedure done." Voldemort began to pace circles around Harry, furrowing his brow every few seconds. "I can't have my heir going around looking like he crawled out from under a rubbish bin. It's not your fault, of course. Those horrid Muggles have been dressing you for ages. I believe you'll find that Wizard fashion is much more suited for you, anyhow. Your hair will have to be tamed. I heard that Potters are notorious for their bed-head. If we grew it out some, it could become somewhat manageable, perhaps. Showcase your eyes. Those are your strong suit. Dark greens would bring out your complexion and brighten your eyes by comparison. When I had blue eyes, I had to find colors that worked for me. I found silver made them glisten like the sea. At least, that's what my female peers would tell me." He held a proud smirk as he finished pacing, facing Harry, arms crossed. "Yes. This would work nicely."
Harry couldn't help but stare at the man that had been circling him, mouth agape. The Dark Lord was giving him fashion advice? And what had he said before that? "Heir? What do you mean by your heir?"
"An heir is someone who inherits a lineage, fortune, and/or estate from their predecessor," the elder wizard commented smugly, smirk still in place.
"No! I know what an heir is! The part about me being your heir is what I was asking about!"
"That?" Voldemort's brow wrinkled in mock-abashment. "It's just as I said. I am going to make you my heir. I came to this conclusion during our talk. You need proper guidance in your life if you wish to survive in the real world, and I need someone I can leave my empire to. I may have foolishly thought in the past that I could become immortal, but actually dying once has given me a new perspective on life. I still plan to rule, mind you," he added flippantly. "Good heirs are so hard to come by. You and I come from similar backgrounds and you have proven to be magically strong. You are the most perfect candidate to be my heir. I can teach you more than Hogwarts has to offer you. I will not require for you to attend Death Eater meetings, nor will you take my mark. I will teach you things from Salazar's own study. You will still attend Hogwarts, because I understand how children need a healthy social life," the last comment was almost made in a undermining manner. "I want to raise you up to your full potential. Past that, even! I am already arranging for Riddle Manor to be readied for myself. I would like it if you would accept a room there. Most importantly, within the walls of my home, you will be allowed to have a childhood away from the war."
Harry couldn't believe what he was hearing. It was all too much to take in. "You have been out to kill me since I was a baby! Do you honestly expect me to believe you?"
"It's your choice to believe what you wish. My offer is no lie, though." Lord Voldemort gave him a stern look, full of determination.
The boy thought about it, gears turning in his head. His skepticism was turning more into intrigue. "If I refuse?"
Voldemort allowed a small, victorious smirk to play on his lips. He saw the look in Harry's eyes. This is an offer that he would not be refusing. "You are free to return to your Muggles, life will go on as it has, and only you and I will know of this conversation. Either way, the Death Eaters who brought you in will be obliviated to forget they ever saw you here. It will remain our little secret."
There has to be some catch, Harry thought.
"No catches…Unless you count summer study as a catch. One of the first things you will be taught is how to occlude your mind. Some secrets are best kept locked away from others. With magic, anyone with enough skill can flip through your mind as if it were a library book. I don't image you'd like that." His smirk had become more relaxed and could even be considered a small smile.
"This is all just too much. I came here to die, and you are offering me a life. I don't understand." Confusion set back in with Harry and he began to feel a bit lightheaded. The tea they had been drinking was replaced with a picture of ice water. He took a gulp of his water, trying to clear his head.
"I will allow you time to think it over, if you need it."
"I want out of the war for now. As I am, I want nothing to do with it. Can you promise me that? You will not harm my friends or me?"
"I can promise that I will not require you to take part in the war. If one of your friends fights me first, I shall be compelled to defend myself, but they will not be sought out to have harm done to them."
"That…sounds reasonable, I suppose." It did. "If one of your Death Eaters comes after me, I will fight back as well."
"I should hope you would." The two shared an understanding look of agreement. "It sounds like you have made up your mind."
"I have." Harry took a deep breath, mentally preparing himself to speak, knowing his next words would change everything in his life. "I accept your offer and terms. I'll be your heir, Voldemort."
"Please, call me Tom, Harry." He did it. He has him. Harry is now his heir to mold.
The original picture for my cover can be found through the link on my profile.