By all rights, Lord Voldemort should have been entirely satisfied with his life.
He had everything he'd once dreamed of; he was the head of a blooming empire, the Wizarding World of Great Britain prostrating itself at his feet. He was powerful, respected, admired and feared.
He only had the last vestiges of resistance to crush, and then no one would ever threaten his rule again. He'd have nothing to fear, no challenge or death to usurp his claim upon the world.
It should taste sweet on his tongue, rolling across his palette like the juiciest of summer fruits. He should have felt that old thrill as his people surrendered before him, and a bloody war slipped into something nearing a frigid peace.
He'd done it. Everything he'd once dreamed of, and the pathetic spectre of Tom Riddle had been wiped away, taking all memories of his father and all weak things with him.
But it still nagged at him. The resistance, and in particular the green eyed man who led it. The last link.
He supposed it was fitting, in a way, that the boy who had once made him happy should be the man to itch at his skin and contentment, churning loathing in his gut.
Harry Potter was a problem he should have dealt with a long time ago.
He should have slit the other's throat the second he realized how dangerous he was, before he had the chance to grow, when they were still just school boys sitting laughing on the edge of the Black Lake.
He'd been weak. Sentimental, he supposed, if he could ever call himself such a thing. He'd assumed Harry would have stood by him, by his vision and grand plans for his utopia, after everything that they'd been through.
He was wrong.
He let his eyes close, taking a sip of his wine as he shifted through his reports.
The resistance were slowly evacuating muggleborns away from the country, to France, and that was just so typical of him wasn't it? His jaw clenched. He tried not to think about it.
Most of the enemy forces had given up by now, assimilated and crushed into their new places - taking what they could of this new world, because resistance was futile and would lead only to death or being at the bottom of the new order.
He suspected Harry wouldn't give up. He'd die before surrendering and there was really no reason for that thought to make him so livid. If Potter hadn't managed to grow a brain since he was sixteen, then it was hardly his fault. Harry was just another pathetic specimen who didn't understand the true glory of his vision, and its limitless scope.
This was just the beginning.
But he couldn't move on until the other was dealt with. By his own hand. The man had it coming, he didn't deserve to quietly die in battle.
These thoughts weren't helping. He had far more important things to think about and consider, then some rebel leader who thought he had a chance of turning the fate of the world around.
It was the last piece, then he would have everything he'd ever wanted, and nobody would have the power to make victory taste so sour again.
His eyes snapped open as one of his alarms started buzzing.
It is considered normal for friends to drift apart as they grew older, but even under such sage words Harry would never have anticipated this.
He hurtled down the rain-trodden street, the Aurors - if they could even claim the name nowadays - chasing after him. His heart hammered in his chest. He could see his face emblazoned on Wanted Posters on the walls at every side, some peeling at the corners but still not hiding the obscenely rich bounty available for his capture, or even information on his whereabouts.
Maybe he should feel honoured, but the sight of them, and the acknowledgement of the man-monster behind them just left the most terrible ache in his chest. And it wasn't from the numerous wounds and bruises covering his body either.
He hoped the other members of the resistance got out okay; the Aurors would be focused on him most of all, so maybe they had a chance. Maybe they'd be okay.
There weren't many of them yet, and whilst he should feel happy that the bloody war was almost over, the stiff cruelty of the oncoming peace hardly seemed better.
They were losing, maybe they'd lost already. But Harry refused to go down without fighting to the bitter end. Not after everything. He just wished all the old memories would stop playing in his head.
Harry sprinted around another corner, trying to break away from the Anti-apparation that had sprung up the second their location was betrayed, firing a blasting spell behind him to try and keep them back. He had an emergency portkey, but he would have preferred not to use it until it was absolutely necessary, because it was getting harder and harder nowadays and such things were precious.
He skidded his way around another corner, already guessing that the main entrances to Diagon Alley would be blocked off by now.
Then he swore, eyes narrowing, wand clutched even more tightly in his hands.
His mouth dried out completely.
"Shouldn't you be running the country or something?" the words blurted out before he could help himself, and his chin jutted up in defiance.
Lord Voldemort - because he couldn't call the man 'Tom', not anymore, it just twisted his insides and left a bad taste in his mouth - stared with a pseudo-impassiveness back at him.
However blank that unhealthily pale face was, those unnatural, scarlet eyes were burning.
"Two years, and that's the greeting you give to an old friend?" The Dark Lord returned, softly. "I heard you were in the area. Thought I'd come see if it was true or not, seeing as you escaping my team is the only time I'd have the opportunity to run into you again."
Harry's throat felt thick, but he squared his shoulders, jaw tight.
"I suppose I should feel flattered," he replied, carefully, already starting to try and edge his way around. He was skeptical if it would work or not, but he had to try. "But then you've already killed all your old friends and anyone who used to know you, so I suppose it's more ominous than anything else."
"I should kill you," the tyrant replied, in a dangerously conversational voice. "You've been causing a lot of trouble for me with your insistent little resistance. Last I heard you were in Birmingham blowing up my factories."
"Last I heard you were considering war on France," Harry spat back, "as if forcing Britain into your twisted playground wasn't bad enough. When is it going to be enough for you?"
The Muggles were all but gone, and Britain was now a First Class Magical Zone.
Purebloods - Halfbloods - Muggleborns at the bottom of the heap. It sickened him.
Tom had...Tom had never liked his heritage, Harry knew that, and had made his early distaste for muggles and his convictions of superiority more than clear, but Harry still hadn't thought…
Maybe he'd convinced himself that, with everything between them, he could convince his former lover of another way, another path. One of less hatred.
Looking at Lord Voldemort was like looking at a stranger, the half imprint of somebody he used to know but who had changed beyond repair to become almost unrecognizable.
Tom Riddle was an old photograph.
Whilst Lord Voldemort may have some similarities in appearance still - and everything would be so much easier if he didn't, and the same velvet undertone to his voice - a lot had changed.
Skin that had once been a healthy cream was now like bone, slender figure becoming skeletal and god - the eyes were the worst. It wasn't even just the colour, saturated with the blood of a thousand murders and dark arts rituals, but the ice in them.
Tom had never been the affectionate kind, at least not stereotypically, even when they were together - but now. Now he seemed hollowed out and sharper around the edges, and he'd never been nice either.
It made bile claw its way up Harry's throat to see the man he'd loved - who maybe he still loved in some way that he would never admit to - become this. Monster.
There was no mercy in that gaze as the Dark Lord took a step closer to him.
"When I have everything," the other replied, simply, with a certain unwavering intentness in his expression that made Harry feel like he was pinned under a microscope. It definitely left no doubt or certain things, but it changed nothing, couldn't make it better even if his head spun to see the other again after so long.
At least in person.
Lord Voldemort had headlined the papers often enough, and even more so now when as the ruler of Wizarding Britain.
There was something else there too, just for a flicker of a second, before Harry figured he must have been mistaken.
He clutched his wand tighter, got ready to fight.
"When is it going to be enough for you, Harry?" the man questioned, eyes still fixed on him. "When everyone in your resistance is dead? It's over. I won. The sooner you surrender to that, the better off you'll be."
"Now, we both know I'll never surrender to you," Harry returned, forcing his lips into a smirk.
The other's eyes flashed.
"You could come home."
And all of a sudden he couldn't breathe.
He'd been underground for a very long time, fighting in the shadows, in battles, trying to avoid meeting this man in the fear that he would twist him up all over again. Twist him up and spit him out, because his best friend was gone.
That became clear that day. Wired into his brain. The argument.
He sucked in a sharp exhale, shook his head, as the other stepped closer to him again, hands held up in an almost placating gesture.
Voldemort's expression had slipped into something soft and reasonable, but those eyes hadn't changed.
"Your friends could have some level of immunity too. What few you have left. They don't have to die, Harry. We can still go back to the way we used to be…"
Harry's eyes were wide, and despite his prowess in battle and reputation for being near unbeatable, he felt like nothing so much as a deer in headlights at that precise moment.
He hated it. Caught a stirring of movement, and slammed his hand down on his portkey to see the other's eyes widen too, with rage.
Back to work it was.
A/N: I'm not entirely sure what this is. I guess I'm testing out the idea of a 'Voldemort won' ficlet. I've wanted to do one of those for a while, and BH part 1 is almost done, so...I figured why not. I don't work well with plot bunnies in my head.
The idea behind this one is that Harry and Tom used to be friends/lovers and really close, but it didn't stop Tom becoming Voldemort, and now Harry is the head of the last bit of resistance against him. Um, yeah. I shall hide now...feedback would be much loved! :D