(A/N: I'm not even going to bother explaining myself this time. Its gonna keep happening, no matter how I resist. This one came from rereading the forth book and listening to a song called fly on the wall. LT has been incredibly hard for me to write lately, and these little tangents I keep going on are my way of inspiring myself. I do plan to finish it, and I hope you'll all bear with me. Eventual slash, more warnings as necessary, because I'm not sure what other mature themes will be involved here. Also, disclaiming everything and everyone you recognise.)
"There is a little more in the bottle, my Lord, if you are still hungry."
The Dark Lord glanced at the ever cowering form of Wormtail, and cringed.
"Later," He replied, instead of spitting on the rat like he so wanted to. But he was much more dignified than that.
The ever present and infuriating cold was, as usual, harassing the Dark Lord's small child like form, and Voldemort resisted the shiver that almost overtook him.
"Move me closer to the fire, Wormtail."
The snivelling rat like man placed the bottle clumsily on the floor and crossed the room in jerky motions, as if his body and mind were fighting desperately with each other, and they seemed to be at a stalemate.
The Dark Lord wondered how long it would be before one won out.
He was curious as to whether the small fat man would remain loyal, or try and escape.
No one ever escapes me, Voldemort smirked to himself as Wormtail dragged his chair closer to the crackling flames.
"Where is Nagini?" The Dark Lord asked, curious and also slightly worried.
"I – I don't know my Lord."
Voldemort fervently wished his legs were long and strong enough to kick the balding man in the mouth, but that would be undignified, even if he had.
"She set out to explore the house, I think ..." Wormtail finished a moment later, jerking the Dark Lord out of his momentary wish that he weren't so proper.
"You will milk her before we retire, Wormtail,"
"I will need feeding in the night. The journey has tired me greatly." Voldemort was mortified by his current predicament, to be sure. He wasn't sure how much longer he could stand being nursed like an incapable infant.
Wormtail gave a short, jerky nod in response.
"My Lord, may I ask how long we are going to stay here?"
"A week," The Dark Lord replied, glad that the fat man had sense enough not to mention the embarrassing situation they were in.
"Perhaps longer," Voldemort began again after giving more thought to the question.
"the place is moderately comfortable, and the plan cannot proceed yet. It would be foolish to act before the Quiddich World Cup is over."
Wormtail looked confused, and Voldemort had to exert great mental strength to resist the sigh bubbling in his throat.
"The – the Quiddich World Cup, my Lord? Forgive me, but – I do not understand – why should we wait until the World Cup is over?"
"Because, fool, at this very moment wizards are pouring into the country from all over the world, and every meddler from the Ministry of Magic will be on duty, on the watch for signs unusual activity, checking and double-checking identities, lest the Muggles notice anything. So we wait."
Wormtail stared almost blankly at his Lord for a moment, making Voldemort worry about his own patience.
He could easily kill Wormtail in a fit of anger, but then who would feed him? As much as he loathed it, he couldn't kill him.
"Your Lordship is still determined, then?" Wormtail whispered, once again drawing the Dark Lord from his own thoughts.
"Certainly I am determined, Wormtail." Voldemort couldn't hide his desire to slaughter the fat man from his voice, though he didn't really give it much effort.
Wormtail remained silent for one blissful moment, probably trying to figure out whether or not he had been threatened. When he spoke again, he sounded braver than usual, and his words came in a rush.
"It could be done without Harry Potter, my Lord."
The Dark Lord had considered this before, and now he considered it again.
He hated this predicament, and would do most anything to be done with it, to have his full strength back. But that was just not possible. Not at this point.
"Without Harry Potter?" The Dark Lord breathed, his voice soft and violent in the same instant. "I see ..."
"My Lord, I do not say this out of concern for the boy!" Wormtail all but shrieked, obviously coming to the wrong conclusion about the Dark Lord's venom.
"The boy is nothing to me, nothing at all! It is merely that if we were to use another witch or wizard – any wizard – the thing could be done so much more quickly! If you allowed me to leave you for a short while – you know that I can disguise myself most effectively – I could be back here in as little as two days with a suitable person -"
"I could use another wizard," The Dark Lord began softly, cutting of the rat man, a tiny, angry smirk forming on his face, "That is true ..."
"My Lord, it makes sense," Wormtail began, relief in his eyes.
"Laying hands on Harry Potter would be so difficult, he is so well protected -" The balding man continued, picking up steam.
"And so you volunteer to go and fetch me a substitute? I wonder … perhaps the task of nursing me has become wearisome for you, Wormtail? Could this suggestion of abandoning the plan be nothing more than an attempt to desert me?" The Dark Lord hid a grim smile, certain now that he was correct in his assumption that Peter would leave him for dead, if his horrified expression was anything to go by.
"My Lord! I have no wish to leave you, none at all -"
"Do not lie to me!" Voldemort hissed, making the fat man stumble back slightly.
"I can always tell, Wormtail! You are regretting that you ever returned to me. I revolt you. I see you flinch when you look at me, feel you shudder when you touch me ..."
"No! My devotion to your Lordship -"
"Your devotion is nothing more than cowardice." Voldemort stated matter of factly.
"you would not be here if you had anywhere else to go. How am I to survive without you, when I need feeding every few hours? Who is to milk Nagini?" The Dark Lord enquired, disgusted with his reliance on this balding fat disgusting man.
"But you seem so much stronger, my Lord-"
"Liar," The Dark Lord breathed, an aching fury was building in his gut, twisting and turning and making his vision blur.
"I am no stronger, and a few days alone would rob me of the little health I have regained under your clumsy care. Silence!" Voldemort snapped, as Wormtail had been trying, rudely, to butt in the entire time the Dark Lord had been speaking.
Silence bore down for a long moment, Wormtail remaining quiet and almost sullen after his lecture, and the Dark Lord stewing in the anger that he could do nothing to vent.
After roughly three minutes of uncomfortable quiet, the Dark Lord heard the unmistakable, almost silent hiss of Nagini, and decided she would be the perfect distraction from his still boiling anger.
'Nagini, precious, come to me. I grow tired of present company.'
Barely a second later, Nagini nudged the slightly ajar door open further, to fit her massive self through.
'Tom, there is an old Muggle man behind the door. May I consume him?'
'No, at least not yet,' Voldemort hid his surprise well, though he could scarcely believe that he had been unaware of the Muggle.
It was testament to how far he and his ability had fallen.
"Nagini has interesting news, Wormtail," The Dark Lord said, suppressing his now more prominent anger. If he were honest, there was also shame, buried deep and fuelling the already blinding flames.
"In – indeed, my Lord?"
"Indeed, yes. According to Nagini, there is an old Muggle man standing right out side this room, listening to every word we say."
Wormtail took this as an order to stand and do something.
The rat man opened the door wide, revealing the shocked old man with a walking stick in his hand.
"Invite him inside, Wormtail, where are your manners?"
To both the Dark Lord and Wormtail's surprise, the man stepped into the room, bravery written on his gnarled features.
"You heard everything, Muggle?"
"What's that you're calling me?" The man replied with a question, only serving to poke the angry fire roaring in the Dark Lord's solar plexus.
"I'm calling you a Muggle." Voldemort replied with very convincing calm. "It means you are not a wizard."
"I don't what you mean by wizard," The Muggle said, not bothering to answer the more pressing question that the Dark Lord had asked.
"My wife knows I'm up here, and if I don't come back -"
"You have no wife," Voldemort held back a snigger. "Nobody knows you are here. You told nobody that you were coming. Do not lie to Lord Voldemort, Muggle, for he knows … he always knows ..."
"Is that right?" The Muggle man said gruffly, trying to ignore the violent shiver he felt.
"Lord, is it? Well, I don't think much of your manners, my Lord. Turn around and face me like a man, why don't you?"
"But I am not a man, Muggle," The Dark Lord smiled a cold smile, when an idea hit him. And idea so brilliant he was surprised he hadn't thought of it earlier.
"I am much, much more than a man. However … why not? I will face you … Wormtail, come turn my chair around."
the fat man gave a whimper, almost in protest.
"You heard me, Wormtail." The Dark Lord insisted, some of his anger forcing its way into his command.
Wormtail made his way to the chair reluctantly, appearing to avoid the giant snake at all costs, and turned the chair slowly to face the Muggle.
The old man screamed louder than he himself had ever imagined possible, and collapsed in fear. He had never seen anything like what he saw now, sitting before him and glaring like a monster from a horror movie.
"Wormtail," The Dark Lord said when the Muggle's scream had become a whimper,
"Change of plans. It seems that you will be heading out to find me a substitute wizard."
"My – my Lord?" The balding man inquired, confused.
"This Muggle will stay and care for me. Wont you, old man?"
"Wha – what?" Wormtail spluttered. The old man did and said nothing, and had collapsed to his knees, sobbing quietly.
The Dark Lord raised his wand to the Muggle, grinning manically.
"Imperio." His voice bland and uncaring.
The unforgivables were a great strain on his magical reserve, but the Imperio took no more than the killing curse would have, and didn't take much upkeep.
He would force Wormtail into an unbreakable vow, and control the Muggle with his magic.
If all went to plan, which he would make sure it did, he would be at full strength much sooner than he originally thought.
Not long after he finally explained his idea to Wormtail, the Dark Lord became aware of the strangest sensation. Like an almost pleasant tickle in his mind.
He was instantly on full alert. He had never felt anything like it, and it made him nervous.
Was someone in his mind, watching?
If there was, he would find out, and then find them.
No one fooled the Dark Lord.