The Dark Tide's Pull Ch. 12

*Author's Note: Alright, guys. Here it is: the final chapter. I'm really sad to see this story end, now that the time has come. You guys have been so great! I really want to thank everyone, especially those dedicated few of you who have reviewed each and every time. You know who you are, and you are amazing! Well, here it is. Enjoy!*

"As long as there's such a thing as time, everybody's damaged in the end, changed into something else. It always happens, sooner or later."
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Harry's lungs feel tight in his chest, constricted as his body is squeezed through space and time. Then, suddenly, the pressure is gone and he and Tom land in a heap on a hard, tiled floor. Harry starts to sit up, glancing dark, wood paneled walls and a muggle icebox before Tom's angular face eclipses his vision and lips descend on his own once more. Demanding teeth nip sharply at Harry's lower lip, causing a perfectly round bead of blood to well up. A slick tongue swipes the droplet away, savoring its metallic edge. Then, as suddenly as the kiss began, it ends. Tom sits up, then pushes himself into a standing position. Harry quickly follows, taking this opportunity to observe their surroundings. They're in a muggle kitchen. It was clearly well cared for at one point, filled with expensive finishings and fancy appliances. Whoever once called this place home, though, is clearly now gone. It feels too still: unloved and unlived in. All the counters are bare, devoid of any dishes or fruit or signs of human life. All that's left behind is a thin layer of dust.

"Where are we?" Harry asks, frowning. Why would Tom take him to a muggle residence?

"This is the Riddle House," declares Tom disdainfully. "The house of my… relatives." The word 'relatives' seems foreign on Tom's tongue, as if it doesn't quite fit. Harry widens his eyes, looking around the kitchen with new apprehension. This cold house is where Voldemort finally made the transition from manipulative bully to a full blown murderer. This house is where Voldemort first split his soul.

"Some rich old muggle technically owns it right now, but he doesn't live here," continues Tom. "No one lives here. I make sure of it. They may have some stupid little bit of paper declaring this house to be theirs, but this house belonged to my father. It's mine, no matter what some silly muggle deed may say. Mine. The Riddles owe me that at least." These last few words have a bitter tinge. For a moment, he almost sounds sad. Then it passes, and that little glimpse of real emotion slips back under the surface.

"Come on," says Tom, extending a hand out to Harry. "Let's go upstairs." Harry just stands there for a second, staring down at the slender digits stretched out towards him. Then, tentatively, Harry takes the proffered hand in his own. Fingers intertwine, and Tom leads Harry away through a dark, narrow hallway and up the stairs to the second floor. They stop before an ornately carved door at the end of the hall. The pair pauses, Tom just staring contemplatively at the door in silence. Harry knows better than to interrupt. Harry has seen this door before. Not in person, but through the eyes of a frightened old man in his dreams. An old man Voldemort killed. Harry remembers the stab of sadistic pleasure he had felt through his scar that night, the twisted smile that had contorted Voldemort's snakelike face as seen through the old man's eyes. It seems odd to think that the beautiful young man beside him will one day be that crumpled figure the old caretaker had seen huddled in the arm chair in the room beyond. This handsome body is just one of the numerous things Tom will sacrifice for immortality. Beauty is worth nothing; it's fleeting. It always fades and dies in the end. Power, on the other hand, can live forever. It had been a trade Voldemort had happily made.

Tom's pale hand traces the carvings etched into the wood of the door. His flesh seems almost white as it contrasts with the dark wood, like bone. Then, the door is slowly pushed open. The room looks just as Harry remembers it from his dream, only a bit less decrepit. This room has years and years to fall apart between now and its caretaker's death. Two high-backed arm chairs sit facing a massive, stone fireplace. Beneath the chairs rests an ornately patterned rug that clearly cost someone a lot of money. It's looking a bit greyed now.

"Do you know what happened here?" Tom murmurs, his fingers clenching Harry's tightly. He doesn't look at the other boy, though. Instead, he just keeps staring into the still room, seeing the past.

"Yes," Harry replies softly. There's only one thing Tom could be referring to.

"Do you know why he left my mother?" Tom continues. He doesn't wait for Harry to answer, though. "I asked him, you know. Right before he died. Before I killed him. I had thought it was because she had used a love potion on him. Anyone would be upset to be tricked like that. That would've been… understandable. But that wasn't it. He left her because she was a witch, because she was different. He left my mother alone and pregnant, and- and he left me because he was afraid of her magic, afraid that I would be just like her. That snobby little bigot left my witch mother because he knew that she had power he could never dream of! He knew that he was lesser and pathetic in the face of someone really special, and he fled so that he could go stick his head in the sand and tell himself that he's important!"

Tom is now clenching Harry's fingers in an iron grip. Harry ignores the pain, instead staring into Tom's furious face. This is where it all started. Voldemort's hatred of muggles started here in this anger, this hurt at being abandoned by the one person who's never supposed to. Voldemort's hate began in his father's fear and loathing. It was passed down, in his blood, in his very genes. A muggle man hurt Voldemort in the deepest way someone can be hurt, so Voldemort turned that weakness into his strength. In a choice between hating all muggles and admitting that his father's abandonment really hurt him, Voldemort chose genocide. It was easier, less painful. And then, as Voldemort grew more and more powerful, he was proving his father wrong, proving that he's worth something, that he's better than his coward of a dad. In this moment, looking into Tom's pained and angry eyes, Harry finally understands.

Harry's fingers tangle in dark curls as he turns Tom's face towards him. Soft lips press tenderly together. Tom almost seems surprised. Then pale fingers are curling around Harry's hip, turning the brunette in towards Tom's body. Tom gently tugs on Harry's frame, dragging him backwards into the drawing room. Lips trail down Harry's jaw, feeling the sharp bone beneath the skin. Tom unclasps Harry's cloak, allowing the fabric to pool to the floor in a black puddle. Harry's shirt quickly follows. Sharp nails scrape down Harry's now exposed chest, leaving soft, pink lines in their wake. The motion isn't quite harsh enough to break the skin, just agitate it. It doesn't even hurt, really.

"Shoes off," orders Tom, the command whispered intimately against the shell of Harry's ear. Harry complies, kicking off his sneakers and then his socks as well for good measure. No one looks dignified wearing nothing but socks. Without needing to be prompted, Harry shimmies his trousers and boxers down his legs as well. While Harry is busy undressing, Tom is getting naked as well. He tugs his shirt off over his head on one elegant sweep. Every motion is graceful, effortless: Tom's own little bit of vanity. Then both boys stand there, in the room where three people once died, murdered by Tom's own hand: the very same hands now caressing the sharp line of Harry's collarbone. Harry shivers; now that there's a pause, some stillness, he is suddenly very aware of the room's empty chill. Tiny bumps erupt along his arm, causing the fine, dark hairs there to stand on end. He's suddenly very grateful for the warmth seeping from Tom's caressing hands.

Tom curls one hand loosely around the base of Harry's neck, stroking the fragile flesh there tenderly with his thumb: a dangerous caress. Should his hand tighten, Harry wouldn't be able to breath. Blood and airflow to his brain would cease, and the world would slowly begin to grow fuzzy and dark. Harry doesn't protest at the gesture, though. He allows the slight threat, the subtle test of Harry's trust. Tom stares into Harry's emerald eyes, gauging the other boy's reaction as he tightens his grip ever so slightly. Not enough to hurt, but enough to emphasize that it could hurt if Tom so desired. Harry remains perfectly still, his expression blank, allowing this little example of Tom's power over him. Tom's free hand caresses Harry's bare torso, moving down slowly over each slightly jutting rib. Then exploring fingers splay over Harry's taut stomach, pressing slightly into the hard muscle of Harry's abdomen. Tom slides his hand down until his wrist is pressing teasingly against the elevated tip of Harry's erect penis. Slowly, fingers curl around the engorged flesh, squeezing it at the same time that Tom's other hand clenches down on Harry's neck. It's a strange experience for Harry, having his attention split like this between the danger of the fingers around his neck and the pleasure of the ones currently pumping his cock. At first, the pleasure seems to hold more ground as Tom's thumb flickers over the head of Harry's penis, spreading out the droplets of pre-cum there. Then, however, as lack of oxygen and blood begins to be prolonged, Harry's attention snaps upward. He's starting to see flashes of colored light flicker across his vision, starting to see blackness eclipse his visual field. Harry gasps, trying desperately to inhale as his hands shoot up to tug sharply at Tom's clenching fingers. The second Harry's fingertips make contact with Tom's flesh, the brunette releases Harry. Tom would gain nothing from Harry's death. His horcrux is worth more to him than the pleasure he would gain from watching the life slowly drain from Harry's eyes.

Harry gasps in a much needed breath of air, then lips descend on his, kissing him almost brutally hard. Teeth clack together painfully, but Tom doesn't seem to care about the minor discomfort. A hand on Harry's hip guides him backwards as they kiss, tongues sliding wetly together in Harry's mouth. Then, suddenly, Tom's lips are gone as Tom drops down into one of the arm chairs in front of the fireplace. One more sharp tug on Harry's hip sends the green-eyed boy sprawling across Tom's lap, one leg on either side of the Slytherin's narrow hips. Tom looks up into Harry's startled face almost ponderously, taking in the boy's flushed cheeks and dilated pupils. He wraps a hand around his own hard cock, stroking it languidly as he continues to watch the other boy. Then he leans forward, still stroking himself slowly, to kiss Harry's bare chest. Lips close around Harry's dusky nipple, a tongue swirling around the rosy bud until it's a hard peak. Then, suddenly, Harry yelps as a finger is pressed into his puckered entrance. The invading digit is dry and feels uncomfortable encased in Harry's warm flesh: very foreign, very much as though it does not belong. Tom bites down on Harry's erect nipple, dragging another surprised gasp from the Boy-Who-Lived. Then, without bothering to wait for Harry to adjust to the first intrusion, a second finger slips inside him. This time the intrusion isn't just uncomfortable: it hurts, the stretch stinging in Harry's most sensitive place. Tom kisses Harry's chest almost tenderly, almost soothingly, but his motions remain bluntly insensitive as he scissors his fingers inside of Harry, stretching him out.

"This is the same chair my father was in," Tom comments between kisses, his fingers pumping in and out of Harry's sore flesh, touching Harry in the most intimate of places. "The same chair he sat in while I tortured him with the cruciatus curse. The same chair I killed him in." Tom's erection twitches against Harry's stomach with these words, arousal making the Slytherin's cock rosy and so hard that it almost hurts. Small beads of pre-cum leak from the head of Tom's penis, dripping slowly down his hard length. Tom spreads the salty fluid around a little with the tip of his thumb, then tugs Harry's hips up, raising the other boy over his throbbing erection. Harry gasps, his hands shooting up to clench Tom's shoulders for support as the Dark Lord begins to slowly lower him down onto his cock. It feels as though he's being split in half, as though he'll never be able to fit anything so large inside of him. But his flesh stretches, reluctantly making room for the intrusion. Tom groans as Harry's tight flesh engulfs him, squeezing his cock so hard that he too almost thinks he's going to break. Harry is so tight, so new; only Tom has ever touched him like this, only Tom has ever been inside him. First Tom's soul, and now his throbbing member. Harry quivers gently in Tom's lap as the other boy is finally in him all the way to the hilt. Harry's erection has flagged slightly due to the pain, but Tom wraps tender fingers around the wilting muscle, stroking him gently back to full hardness.

"You should have seen it, Harry," Tom whispers, pressing a kiss tenderly to Harry's shoulder. "You should have seen the way the light just drained from his eyes, the way his face just froze, suddenly unable to move, stuck forever in that state of terror. Terror I caused. Me." At this point, Tom starts to move inside Harry, guiding Harry's hips up and down to meet each thrust. It still hurts, still feels impossible to have something as big as Tom's engorged erection filling Harry up, but it's manageable. Then, as Tom's thrusts change their angle slightly, Tom hits some spot inside Harry that has him groaning.

"That muggle bastard died exactly where we're sitting, where we're fucking," continues Tom, his words surprisingly even despite his cock pumping in and out of Harry's tight entrance. "We are going to be the perfect team, you and I," says Tom, gruesome excitement flooding his voice. "Together, you and I will be invincible. Not even time can stand in our way; with my soul inside of you we shall be immortal, invincible. No one will be able to stand against us, no one. And together we shall put muggles in their proper place. They all think that they're so superior, with their narrow minded views and ignorant ways. But we'll show them. They're nothing compared to those born with magic, nothing compared to us. They can only dream about the kind of power we have." Tom is slamming into Harry now, thrusting upwards so hard that Harry practically shakes with each impact. Despite the horrible things that Tom is saying, Harry can feel his orgasm approaching, pleasure coiling tightly in the pit of his stomach.

"Muggles will serve wizards or die," Tom goes on, his voice strained now as his orgasm, too, builds rapidly. "Together, our power will be so great that everyone must bow before us or be wiped out. No one will be able to stand up against us. No one. Together-" Tom's rant is cut off here as pleasure overtakes him, his seed spurting out deep inside Harry's warm body. Harry cums too at the look of twisted pleasure on Tom's handsome face, white fluid spurting against Tom's smooth chest and splashing lightly against Harry's own stomach. The pair sits still for a moment, catching their breath as Tom's spent erection begins to wither in Harry's body. After a moment, Tom pulls out, his cock red and slightly sore from forcing itself inside Harry's tight passage. Harry can feel Tom's seed dripping wetly down his leg, seeping languidly out of him. It isn't a pleasant feeling.

"Here," says Harry, leaning backwards so as to fish his wand out from his crumpled robes. "Let me clean us up." Harry points his wand at Tom's exposed chest, pressing the tip down into the indent just beneath the center of the Slytherin's ribcage. Tom's hands slide up to rest languidly on Harry's protruding hipbones, one thumb stroking Harry's skin affectionately. Harry pauses for a moment, temporarily forgetting about the cleaning charm as he examines Tom's satisfied face. It's so strange to think that this darkly beautiful boy will one day become that bald, snakelike creature. Harry examines the boy's straight, narrow nose: a classic, aristocratic feature. Tom looks so much better with a real nose instead of just flat, reptilian slits. But someday this body will be taken from Tom: the final transition from Tom Marvolo Riddle to Lord Voldemort. Tom's eventual loss of his body will finalize his separation from his father, will finally provide him the independence he so longs for. When Voldemort remakes himself, it is using Harry's blood, not Tom Riddle Sr.'s. Voldemort's new snakelike body will be clean of his father's genes, will free him from that painful connection. Still, though, that new body will go on to do even worse things than this handsome one. Harry's mind flickers across all of the horrid things the boy before him will grow up to do: the people he'll kill, the families he'll rip apart through torture and death and fear. This beautiful boy will be capable of such darkness, already is capable of it. Harry is taken back to the visions the Dementors made him remember less than an hour earlier. His mother's pleading, the sickening thud of her dead body hitting the floor, the utter lack of any warmth in Voldemort's harsh voice.

"Well?" prompts Tom, a small smirk quirking up the corners of his lips. Obviously he thinks that Harry is caught up in admiring Tom's good looks. "Are you going to clean up this mess we've made or not?" Harry looks down at this boy sitting in the same chair he murdered his very own father in, splattered with cum and sweat and stinking of sex. He nods.

"Yeah, I am," he says solemnly, his voice soft and thin in the oppressive, formal room. "Avada Kedavra." Tom doesn't even have time to look surprised as the jet of green light sinks into his pallid chest. There isn't so much as a second for the future dark lord to fight back; he doesn't even have time to register Harry's betrayal, to realize that the other half of his soul has given him up. Tom dies with a slight, teasing smile still on his face, his expression warm and peaceful. He dies exactly like his muggle father did, the father who abandoned him for his magic, who left wounds so great that they caused an entire war, killed thousands of people. But now, with just one more death, the violence is over. It's almost anti-climactic.

Limp fingers fall from Harry's waist as Harry carefully maneuvers himself out of the arm chair. Slowly, still encased in quiet shock, Harry gets dressed. With each article of clothing, Harry James Potter slowly begins to reassemble himself. By the time Harry has tied both shoes, it's almost sunk in what he's done. It's over. Voldemort is dead. The man who murdered his parents is dead. It's really, finally over. Harry pulls the time turner out of the pocket of his jeans, holding the little hourglass to his chest like a toddler would clutch a teddy bear. Reluctantly, almost afraid of what he will see, Harry turns to look at Tom's body once more. Nothing has changed. Tom hasn't suddenly gasped back to life. Harry feels no hate as he examines Tom's angular face, no sense of satisfaction or vindication. This killing was not about avenging the past. This killing was about fixing the future. Harry does feel a slight pang of regret as he looks into Tom's unseeing brown eyes, not about his own actions, but out of sympathy for the other boy. This broken boy craved power, to be special, to be different, so much that it consumed him entirely. That desire for power left no room for anything else, anything more. And now Tom's dead body is as hollow as Tom's soul was during life: hollow, empty and broken. As soon as Tom split his soul apart through his father's murder Tom was doomed. Even going this far back in time hadn't been enough to save him. By Tom's 17th birthday the damage had already long since been done.

Harry gathers up his cloak in his hands, draping it carefully over Tom's naked frame. No one, not even the darkest wizard of all time deserves to be left dead and naked and covered in fluids. Even he deserves this small amount of respect, of pity. Harry reaches up with tentative fingers to touch Tom's still warm face, gingerly pressing his fingertips to the other boy's eyelids. Carefully, Harry closes Tom's glassy eyes. This is where Tom's lust for power had led him. Tom had aimed too high, desired too much, but all it had left him was a long, long way to fall back down again. Harry strokes a dark curl back from Tom's wan face. Now, with his eyes shut and Harry's cloak over him, Tom almost looks peaceful. If Harry didn't know better, he could've sworn the Slytherin was just asleep.

Harry steps back, away from the arm chair. Solemnly, Harry lifts the time turner up before him. Then, Harry flips it over towards himself, the opposite direction as before. Fine, white grains of sand begin to fall upwards within the glass, defying gravity. Carefully, focusing entirely on the action, Harry begins to count.

The room Harry lands in is much like the one he just left. The only difference, aside from a few extra cobwebs here and there, is the lack of Tom's body. Harry gasps, hastily drawing air into his painfully compressed lungs. It was harder to go forward in time than backwards. It had felt as though time itself was clinging to his skin, trying to hold him in place. It was like walking into a strong wind, your skin stretched taut and your muscles aching as you push your way forwards. But now Harry is here, back in his own time again. It feels surreal. Harry logically grasps the situation, the finality of everything, but emotionally it hasn't hit home yet. That will probably still take some time. After all, Harry has spent his whole life fighting off Voldemort; for him to simply be gone, vanished into thin air seems crazy, impossible. Had it even worked? What if Dumbledore had been wrong and Voldemort hadn't simply vanished from this world? What if it had all been for nothing? There's only one way to find out. Harry spins on the spot, disapparating with a crack.

Harry lands outside the gates to Hogwarts with a thump, wavering and almost falling over. A hand on his shoulder quickly steadies him, though. Harry looks up to see twinkling blue eyes shining down on him. A huge smile splits Dumbledore's face, causing his features to crinkle into a sea of happy wrinkles. Tears sparkle in Dumbledore's eyes, but they're not sad tears. These tears drip with relief, with gratitude, and, without anything needing to be said, Harry understands that it worked. Voldemort is gone. Not just in the past, but now in the present.

"You did it, my dear boy," murmurs Dumbledore, his voice soft and warm and soothing. There's pride there: pride and love.

"Harry!" exclaims a familiar voice from behind Harry, and arms fling themselves around Harry's torso, almost knocking him to the ground anew.

"Hermione," Harry breathes, turning around within the girl's embrace to face her. Bushy brown hair tickles Harry's cheek, but he ignores it, sliding his arms around Hermione's narrow waist in return and squeezing gently.

"Oh, Harry!" Hermione gasps, her voice quavering slightly as though on the verge of tears. "You've done it! You've actually done it! I was so worried!" Harry smiles, warmth pooling in his stomach. Through the cloud of Hermione's frizzy hair, Harry catches a glimpse of orange and freckles.

"It worked, mate," says Ron, a massive smile tugging at this lips. "Voldemort just vanished. Right into thin air! Apparently he was just about to hex Draco Malfoy for disobeying him or something when he just went poof! Right into thin air! Almost a pity it wasn't a second later, though…"

"Ron!" exclaims Hermione indignantly, pulling away from Harry to shoot Ron a disapproving look.

"Right, right," backpedals Ron hurriedly. "What I meant to say was thank Merlin weasel-face is alright." Harry chuckles, a smile of pure happiness taking over his face by storm. This right here, this playful teasing and deep affection is why Harry had to do what he did. These relationships, this love make it all worthwhile. Harry would kill a thousand times over to protect these people, to defend these relationships. Even if Tom had somehow grown to love Harry despite his sociopathy, that love would never have been stronger than his love of power. And as long as the love of power overrules the power of love, then no one can be saved. The prophecy about Harry and Voldemort states that Harry would have power the Dark Lord knows not, and in the end, that was true. Tom liked the idea of Harry, but most of all he liked the idea of himself in Harry: his horcrux, his soul. Tom's affection for Harry, when it all boiled down to it, had been pure narcissism. Harry has something that Tom never will: the ability to really, truly love someone else. That love is what gave Harry the will to fight back, is what gave the killing curse its power. Love protected Harry all those years ago when Voldemort tried to kill Harry, and now love is what Harry used to protect those he cares about.

As Ron steps forward to give Harry a slightly awkward, manly hug as well, Harry knows that he would kill Voldemort any number of times to save these people, in the past, present or future.

*Author's note: And thus ends The Dark Tide's Pull. I hope you guys have enjoyed this story. I would love to hear your reactions to the ending. I know there were a lot of you hoping that they would end up together, but I just couldn't feel that for this particular story. Next time, I promise! Also, the results of all your voting is in! More of you want me to write the DADA fic, but there was definitely interest in the time travel fic as well. Soooooo... I'm combining them! Tom Riddle is going to travel to Harry's time and pose as Harry's DADA teacher to find out more about this boy powerful enough to defeat him as just a baby. I hope this solution sounds good to everyone. If you guys want to be told when the first chapter of this fic is posted (within a couple of days I expect) then you should put me on Author Alert. Thank you all so much for reading and following along! You guys have been such a great group of readers, and I really do appreciate each and every one of you! I hope to hear from you all again for my next TMR/HP Story! :)*