AN: So after combing the Avengers/Harry Potter crossover archive, I've decided to toss my own two cents in. I love "Master of Death" fics just as much as the next girl, but I want to add a new spice to the pot. Beware-this is unbeta'ed.

KEY:

(italics inside parenthesizes equals Harry's inner reflections, past thoughts, feelings, memories, etc.)

Bold italics is the dialogue of whoever is inside the diary.

Plain italics are the writings of someone outside the diary.

'Italics in apostrophe's are thoughts.'

*EDIT 8/12/2013: An anonymous reviewer (quite rudely) implied that I had lied when I said this is not slash. I'd like to clarify that I don't write slash in my stories. If you would like to know why, I would direct you to my profile.

About Harry and Tom's relationship- I believe Harry to be a neglected little boy, who, because of Dudley, never had any friends. Therefore, of course he would be excited to make a friend. And like any good friend, he wants to "hang out" with him often. I apologize if this chapter resembled slash since it was not my intention, but next time, please PM me or phrase your review a little bit nicer. I've edited some of this chapter to sort out the supposed "slashy-ness."

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Ink Stains: Prologue

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He should have known better.

(He knows that now, but still, the thought nags him like a persistent thorn in his side, digging ever deeper, and unable to be pulled away.)

He should have known from the start that he couldn't trust Tom. He should have thrown the innocuous little black book into the wastebasket the moment he'd seen it nestled in his newly bought cauldron, felt its magic curl around him, so alluring and addictive and wonderful—

("Hello Harry Potter. It's nice to meet you. My name is Tom.")

There were a lot of things young, naïve Harry should have done.

But the fact is, he didn't do them, and if he had done them, then his life would have taken a very different turn.

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When Harry found the book, he was puzzled. He hadn't bought it. He was sure of it. Yet the thing, though slightly battered around the edges and bearing a few scuff marks here and there across its black surface, looked polished and well taken care of, like a treasured storybook from someone's childhood.

Except that it was too thick to be a storybook, and mysteriously blank—every single one of its crème-yellow parchment pages unstained and unmarred.

(He thinks upon this memory with a mix of bitterness and hurt betrayal.)

He still remembers the way he had then seen the initials—T.M.R.—and guessed it to be someone's diary. He'd decided to leave it alone, then. It wasn't his property. Even though it seemed blank, it might contain passages of secret confessions written in some sort of invisible ink, or maybe hidden by a charm. It wasn't his business. He had no right to intrude on a person's deepest feelings. The Dursleys' had taught him that well—never ever touch something that isn't your own.

(When he looks back, however, he can pinpoint exactly when he'd started obsessing over it, worrying about it—was it safe? Had someone found it?—until it was a constant shadow lurking in the back of his mind, always there, hovering in the distance, like a constant buzz in his ears.)

(In the end, he blames his curiosity.)

He lasted the rest of the summer holiday at the Weasley's. He kept it hidden in the bottom of his trunk, out of sight, never out of mind. Due to the continual presence of at least one red-haired individual flocking him, he managed to stay his hand. There was never a moment to spare to actually sit down and crack it open.

So the sudden privacy of Hogwarts jammed a foot in the door holding back the tide, cracked it open, nudged it wider, wider—

He wrote one sentence in the black diary, testing. (Magic was ever so wonderful to him, afterall, and he hadn't had the time to learn all the various charms that might be applied to books.)

And then the diary wrote back.

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Tom, I don't know what's going on. Everyone is accusing me of being the Heir of Slytherin. I know I'm not. I can't be.

Your handwriting is shaky, Harry. Are you upset?

No, I'm fine, I just—I don't understand Ron and Hermione. They say I haven't been myself lately. They say I'm pale and sickly.

Maybe they suspect you also.

But they're my friends! They would trust me! Right?

I've met many people who claimed to be my friend, but only wished to extort my influence. Perhaps, a likewise case?

But they're not like that! They can't be! They're the first friends I've ever had!

What was that? Are you crying?

I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to—it just rolled down my cheek and fell— Tom?

Tom? I'm sorry, are you okay?

Tom!

I'm fine… better than fine.

Why didn't you respond?

Hush, Harry. Do not fret. Go and rest. It will be all right.

How do you know?

Well, I suppose you'll have to trust me. Do you trust me, Harry?

Of course. You're my best friend.

Good. That's all I'll ever ask.

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It sickens him how easily he fell into the gilded cage, practically locked himself in and threw away the key for Tom. All for Tom. Just like always.

He reflects, to himself, why he was so shocked and hurt when one day, Tom stepped right out of the page, and smiled as he accepted Harry's eager, friendly hug. Tom was stiff, his arms locked to his sides. Harry loosened his hold, backed away in confusion, and only then did Tom smile.

It was not a kind smile.

Tom moved forward with the fluid grace of a snake and shot out a long limb, ignoring Harry's startled squeak of surprise, his long fingers digging into Harry's thin upper arms painfully.

And suddenly, Harry was spun around, forced towards the diary- Tom murmured a long, sibilant string of magical words- and Harry was, for some reason, falling, and was that ink splattering all around him?-

Harry realizes too late what Tom has done. Tom was never his friend, never even remotely cared, and certainly never felt an ounce of regret for forcing Harry inside the diary in his place.

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The worst part—Tom still talked to him.

Taunts, ridicules, vicious and stinging, ones that laid him bare and made him beg for Tom to stop, and then, later, soft apologies. ("I'm sorry, Harry, I wasn't myself. Yes, I'm working to get you out. Just hold on a little longer for me. How are you holding up?")

(And somehow, every time that hand was extended to him, he would cling to it shamefully, converse with Tom for hours; Tom freed, Harry trapped. He was so desperate for human contact, for a friend. And Tom would write to him, coax him into replying, until the elder boy was strengthened once more, sated and content with toying with Harry's mind, and did not need him. Harry was just an amusing toy to dust off and pull out when Tom was bored. And Harry would be alone again, until the next time Tom was weak and required Harry to pour out his heart once more.)

Harry still remembers how awful that time was.

Tom told him that he'd entered politics, that he was starting up his movement once again under a different guise, through a sneaky political takeover. Harry had realized the genius of Tom's plan as the elder boy explained it to him in excruciating detail, taking delight in Harry's futile, anguished pleadings. And just as Harry suspected, Tom quickly rose through the ranks as years and years (tortuously slow years of unending nothingness) passed by.

The last time Tom writes to him, he tells Harry that he is now the Minister of Magic, the youngest one ever at only twenty-three years old. Harry listens attentively, captivated, because it's been months since Tom's last entry, and he is so lonely, so afraid of being forgotten.

Will you let me out now, Tom?

A pause. Harry waits. If he had a heartbeat, he's sure it would have been pounding erratically.

No, Harry. I won't. I'm strong enough, now. I don't need to feed off you anymore.

He is horribly numb. Somehow, he thinks, he has suspected this would happen all along.

Are you going to kill me, then?

Another heart-stopping pause. It feels like ages until he senses the caress of a sharpened quill brushing his pages, leaving an elegant script of wet ink behind. He fastens onto the words hungrily. Can he be killed? Is there something to kill? Harry barely even exists as it is.

Not quite, Harry. I did promise you everything would be all right, didn't I? Lord Voldemort always keeps his promises.

All right for you, or all right for me?

If he imagines hard enough, he can almost hear Tom's soft little appreciative chuckles at his sarcasm.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to send you away. Permanently.

He writes back almost immediately, drawing the ink from the surface of the page and re-molding it into his own messy handwriting.

What are you planning?

I've found a new spell, Harry, in my research.

Harry remembers how obsessed Tom is with discovering the secrets and intricacies of magic, especially the darkest ones, and feels a twinge of worry.

One that I'm, admittedly, quite curious about. Oh, I know what it does—were you aware of the existence of alternate worlds?

I am now.

Well, you, to put it bluntly, are going to be my test-drive. I'm going to send you to another world. I'm thinking that it could be a suitable punishment for my enemies—can you imagine anything worse than being torn from your home, your family, your world, (Here, Tom's quill presses hard into the page in his excitement) and thrown into an entirely different universe?

The evident sadism disturbs him. Harry begs one last time.

Tom, please.

Sorry Harry, but you're a liability, and you've outlived your use. I can't risk anyone finding you, discovering all my- our, I suppose- secrets. It's already almost happened three times. I won't let my empire be torn down because of you, and I've already made up my mind. I suppose I owe everything to you, so many sincere thanks. And now, we permanently part ways.

And then Harry feels the cover of the diary being closed, and he is picked up, moved, carried and set down once again. He wishes he could voice his fear when he feels the captivating rush of Tom's powerful, addictive magic sweep over him, taking him away, far, far, away, away from Tom and Harry isn't quite sure how to deal with that, because Tom has been his world for such a long time that his absence frightens him.

The spine of the diary slams onto something hard, and everything is so silent, so empty. Harry is alone once again.

In his head, Harry screams silently.

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AN: Reviews equal love. Love equals inspiration and happiness. Who doesn't want that?