Catherine or Cate
Throne Room, Riddle Estate
The Man- who- wished- he- was- Tom- Riddle- Again looked down at the Sunday edition of the Daily Prophet with a grimace. His spy had said that Harry Potter was in a battle for the hearts and minds of Wizarding Britain and Merlin help him, Tom or Voldemort or whomever he was, was being swayed to the dark-side, which was actually meant the light-side, Potter's- side.
A boy who was almost one third of his age, was doing everything Tom wanted to do, before he became Voldemort, but better and with more style.
Last summer, Potter and company had killed Bella. Voldemort had retaliated and killed a whole bunch of house elves willing to die for the people that lived in Lakeside. Hogsmeade had burned. The vampires attacked. Back and forth it went until it took three demons six minutes to kill seventeen of his minions in the early spring attacks. The demons, were on Potter's side and they were reason enough to quit while Tom/Voldemort was alive.
"Perhaps the power of the boy is to use his natural charisma to achieve his goals without force," Tom mused aloud making his Voldemort persona cringe and look back to the paper in his lap and the cuttings stuck to the walls around them.
In the past week Potter, mostly uncredited, had changed the face of Diagon Alley, permanently, by ripping down buildings that were so old they were held up by magic and replacing them with elf built ones in less than a day. On a note pad, Tom made a reminder to research the muggle saying 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. There had to be something magical behind that.
Along with the changes to Diagon Alley there had been advertising for a Magical Library with three branches, one in Lakeside, one in Hogsmeade and one in a Muggle pedestrian district in London that was promoting a natural bohemian lifestyle in the centre of the city. Closer inspection by his spies had concluded that a magical village was being constructed in the high rise buildings. Streets had been closed to encourage exercise, garden beds on street level were filled with herbs and flowers while the rooftop greenhouses held exotic and valuable plants. Ground floor businesses sold food and clothing that could be worn in either world and it was all accessible by muggles all the time. It was the middle ground that he had needed when Tom was an orphan teen sent back to an orphanage every summer.
There was a new Women and Children's Hospital of which the name alone encouraged magical pregnancy and repopulation. The stadium, Potter had constructed for the Knights the previous summer was the marvel of the quidditch world, hugely popular and countries across Europe were clamouring for access to the designs. There were new businesses and new fashions that were feeding each other and the sales of the hugely popular magazines of the Bicorn group.
There was photo after photo filling the pages of newspapers and magazines alike, of sixteen year olds moving and shaking with some of the most important people in the Magical World. Except him. And except Dumbledore.
Potter had gone ahead and revolutionised print media, the airwaves (there were now three radio stations with more promised) and the gossip chains couldn't stop talking about it all, not that they knew they were talking about Potter.
Tom looked around him.
He was left with a fifth of his former death eaters, most having been picked off by vampires or demons for unsociable behaviour during the course of the past year. Those who were left were like teenage girls behind the iron curtain in the late sixties, pretending that they didn't listen to the Beatles. There were stronger family ties due to more magic friendly accommodation being available and children, parents and grandparents not all sharing the same bathroom.
There were university villages and master's programs being established if the word on the street was true. And Britain was fired up. They weren't going to be outdone by the French, anymore, nor the Americans. Magical Britain was going to shine, again, for all the right reasons.
The question was, did Voldemort want to follow Tom and be a part of it?
He had committed crimes, horrible crimes, but what Potter was doing was in his vision of old. Tom shook his head, because Voldemort had lost his way. He'd tried to become god, invincible and everlasting, when his greatest strength was his humanity.
Failure after recent failure had shown him this. The question was, could he maintain change?
Just before noon, Voldemort stood in the middle of London, heavily glamoured, looking at the new wizarding village that had popped up.
Tom couldn't help but admit it was glorious!
There were fliers in his hand about how the whole area was designed to allow Muggleborns interaction with the Magical World a little more slowly, or those with interests in both worlds, to keep one foot in each without having to worry about spilling secrets. The fliers also emphasised the importance of the wizarding economy and that if Muggles were adding to it then the wizarding community only got richer.
The whole area was painted like a win-win situation.
And you could walk into Diagon Alley from there in less than twenty minutes at a rather leisurely pace.
So Tom overrode Voldemort's grumbling in the back of his mind and walked to the alley. Once inside he let his admiration bloom. The once patchwork alley had several sections that had been renovated and were absolutely stunning with their new sandstone buildings. Large windows and excellent lighting invited people into newly redesigned stores. There were no rickety stairs to negotiate inside and outside there were discreet doorways leading to upper floor apartments and planter boxes overflowing with fragrant herbs and flowers. Several doorways also had small trees next to them. There were even street lights hanging far overhead and set into building walls to light the alley at night.
Tom could see the soft glow in his mind's eye, turning the golden sandstone pink and orange in the crisp evening air once the weather turned. Voldemort growled somewhere in the back of his mind.
Looking around, the newly rebuilt areas also had removed the dangerous cobblestones and replace them with new antislip flagstones and by the looks of those areas drainage has been improved. The rebuilding of Diagon Alley had been practical and inviting and far more space conscious. Tom could see at least ten businesses with shop fronts that didn't formally trade in the Alley.
And as Tom walked past the entrance to Knockturn Alley he saw the biggest change of all. There were buildings down the unsavoury side street that had been rebuilt to look the same as those rebuilt in the alley. As he wandered Tom noticed that all the new buildings had purpose. One building was labelled a refuge for werewolves and in the ground floor office was a business promoting heavy lifting workcrews for hire. The building next door housed hags and their nannying service. There was also one for demons.
Tom didn't know what he was doing but as soon as he set foot in the room occupied by several demons it went silent.
"I need to speak with Harry Potter," Tom declared while Voldemort protested loudly in the back of his mind increasing his headache exponentially. "Could someone please let him know?"
Then he turned and walked out again.
Unknown Loch, Scotland
Tom sat on the ancient wall skipping stones into the water.
It wasn't even two hours since he was in Knockturn Alley but he knew that Potter wouldn't be far away.
"You wanted to see me?" the teen in question asked appearing at his shoulder.
A quick glance told Voldemort that Potter was not without back up and that made the more violent side of Tom wary.
"I like what you've done," Tom said. "It's everything I wanted to have when I first entered the wizarding world. But I was jaded and in Slytherin and thought that the only way to succeed was through personal physical power."
"Looks like you were wrong," Potter replied.
"I want to change. I hate you a little for being able to do what I wanted. And the more I think on it I still can't remember where the blood purity ideals I had came from."
"I am guessing Slytherin brainwashing of sorts. You had to survive," Potter said.
Tom smiled bitterly at Potter's forgiving nature. This boy could kill him in a second but here he was giving him a chance. That was more than Dumbledore ever did for him.
"What's your plan to change?" Potter asked.
"Well, I am going to get all the pieces of my soul and attempt to reunite them," Tom said.
Potter clicked his fingers and there were very familiar objects sitting on the ground in front of them.
"Disband the Death Eaters and remove their Dark Marks," Tom said. "Do some painting at the house I am in so that everything isn't so dark and depressing. Maybe even get some potions to give me a continuous mood."
"Sounds like a great start. Get to it and keep at it," Potter declared. "Contact me when you have some other ideas."
"I was thinking of becoming a Runes and Rituals Master," Tom said quickly. "I happen to have some knowledge and a degree of talent in that area."
"I will get you an application pack for a mastery program supervisor," Potter said slowly. "Expected it to be delivered in the next few hours. I'll see who I can find to oversee your studies."
Potter vanished and Tom slowly gathered up the pieces of his soul before quickly planning a trip to a personal library or two so he could construct a ritual to reunite himself, hopefully as Tom. He had a lot of work to do to find a way to stop Voldemort destroying everything Tom wanted and Potter had created.