~The Flaw in the Plan~
Summary: After seeing Snape's final memory, Harry realizes that Dumbledore planned for The Boy Who Lived to die all along. But Harry has a much better idea... Harry/Voldemort romance. Oneshot.
Warning: M-rated Harry/Voldemort romance ahead!
Author's Note: This story is probably a little rushed and OOC, but it's been a stressful week, and I was in need of a little fluff therapy.
Harry was cursing to himself under the Invisibility Cloak. A horcrux! He was Voldemort's last bloody horcrux. It all finally made sense now: Voldemort's thoughts intruding on his own, his strange ability to speak Parseltongue, that curious scar...
He was a horcrux! And the worst part was that Dumbledore must have suspected as much from the very beginning. The one person in the world who had truly cared for him - or so Harry had believed - had planned the sacrificial death of The Boy Who Lived all along. If the old headmaster had had an ounce of Gryffindor courage in him, thought Harry bitterly, he would have killed Harry himself long ago, stabbed the Dark Lord's final horcrux mercifully through the heart with a basilisk fang before Harry knew what was happening. But Professor Dumbledore did not want to get innocent blood on his own hands; he preferred to hover in the background, planning and scheming, blue eyes twinkling, manipulating people with murmured half-truths until they did precisely what he wanted. Even if that meant going willingly to their deaths.
There had been moments this past year when Harry had doubted that the late headmaster had a plan at all. Perhaps Dumbledore had just been an old man who was losing his grip, as the Ministry seemed to believe. But tonight Harry finally saw that the headmaster had indeed had a brilliant and ruthless plan all along: Harry was meant to die. He was meant to walk up to Voldemort and say: "Please kill me. I am here to die." And then, in a moment of magnificent irony that only Dumbledore could have devised, the Dark Lord would kill his own horcrux.
And then the game would be nearly over; Voldemort would almost be reduced to a mortal man, and someone - perhaps Neville, perhaps Ron or Hermione - would kill the Dark Lord and his serpent, and the war would be over. Gryffindor would win the game, yet again. The ultimate snitch of victory would be caught, right under the Dark Lord's nose.
The snitch. Harry remembered that he still had the blasted thing in a pouch around his neck. His last gift from Dumbledore. Harry pulled it out and stared at the little ball, which glowed faintly in the darkness of the forest.
I open at the close.
Oh, bloody perfect. Even the snitch had been bewitched by Dumbledore into predicting Harry's death and doom. The snitch fluttered hopefully in his hand now, as if waiting for Harry to say something heroic and noble.
"Waiting for me to die, are you?" Harry glared at the snitch. "Ready for the close of the game? Well, I'm not." He flung the little golden ball into the forest with all his might, and it vanished between the shadowy trees. "I don't like rigged games." A sudden sob tore itself from his throat. Dumbledore had never cared about him! Dumbledore had wanted him dead all along. The lying, conniving bastard!
Harry could sense, at the edge of his consciousness, that a few dementors were beginning to circle above him, but he paid them no heed. He was too angry to be depressed right now, and the dementors could apparently sense that too, for they fluttered quietly away as Harry stomped through the forest.
He was Voldemort's hocrux! Well, that changed everything!
Two figures stepped out of the shadows of the trees ahead of Harry now: Yaxley and Dolohov, their wands lit.
"I think I heard something," came Yaxley's rough voice. "Could be Potter, or it could be one of the bloody monsters that roam through the forest at night." He sounded a little nervous.
"There are acromantulas in here, and werewolves." Dolohov's voice was shaking with fear.
Harry decided to put them out of their misery. He flung the invisibility cloak aside. "It's me. Harry Potter. Bring me to the Dark Lord; I believe he is expecting me." To his own slight surprise, his voice sounded calm and even. Harry knew what he had to do now. So very, very obvious... Dumbledore had never thought of this, had he? Harry's heart fluttered a little in his chest in anticipation.
The two death eaters stared uncertainly at him for a moment, their faces pale in the light from their wands. Then Dolohov regained his senses, pointed his wand at Harry, and said curtly. "Potter. The Dark Lord will be pleased to see you. Off you go then. No tricks, or I will kill you on the spot, boy."
Harry felt a sudden urge to roll his eyes at the death eater's fake bravado. "Lord Voldemort wants to see me alive, Dolohov. Don't you think he might be a tad displeased with you if you bring him my corpse?"
"Don't say his name, muttered Dolohov weakly.
Harry shrugged and walked silently through the forest with the two death eaters. He could hear them whisper to one another behind his back: "Why isn't he more nervous, you reckon? The boy should be terrified. Something's not right about this..."
They paused when they reached the clearing where Aragog had once lived. A crowd of Death Eaters was watching silently as Harry and the two men approached. Voldemort himself was standing in front of a large fire that burned in the middle of the clearing, the flickering light casting strange lights and shadows over his pallid features.
"We... we brought you Harry Potter, my Lord," said Yaxley, his voice a little unsteady.
"Oh no! OH NO!" Hagrid, who was bound to a tree nearby, shouted out as he struggled in vain against the magical chains that restrained him. "Harry! No!"
"They didn't bring me. I decided to come." Harry turned calmly to Voldemort. The scarlet eyes met his for a long moment.
"You decided to come? How very wise of you, Harry." Voldemort's voice was soft. "You knew that this moment was inevitable, didn't you?" He lifted the elder wand and pointed it at Harry's chest. A shadow of a smile danced across his pale face. Harry could hear Hagrid crying loudly now. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Narcissa Malfoy, clinging to Lucius as if she were about to faint.
Harry drew a deep breath and gazed into the scarlet eyes of the Dark Lord. Then he did the one thing that Dumbledore had never imagined that he would do: He opened his mouth and spoke.
*I am your horcrux, Tom. There is a shard of your soul embedded in me. You accidentally made me your horcrux the night you gave me my scar. I am your horcrux, and I have come back to you.* The Parseltongue words flowed from his lips as naturally as human speech.
"What?" Voldemort stood frozen for a long moment, staring at Harry. "What... What are you saying-?"
"What is he doing?" Bellatrix' voice rose to a hysterical pitch. "What is he saying? My Lord, he is using some strange magic..."
"Silence." Voldemort spoke quietly, but a hush immediately fell over the crowd of Death Eaters.
Voldemort stepped slowly closer to Harry, his face even paler than usual. *You speak Parseltongue, Harry?* Nagini whipped around as she heard her master's serpent-speech, fixing Harry with her yellow gaze.
*It is your soul in me that gives me the ability to speak Parseltongue, Tom. I am your horcrux. I am the bearer of your soul.*
Voldemort stood quite still for what seemed to be an eternity. Then he breathed: *You are my horcrux-? You are mine?*
Harry nodded. *That's why Dumbledore planned for you to kill me. He wanted to trap you into destroying the final shard of your own soul.*
*He wanted me to kill you?* Lord Voldemort looked thunderstruck. He reached out and touched Harry's arm. *Dumbledore planned for me to kill you? He wanted me to harm my own horcrux?* He stood there for a long moment, his hand heavy on Harry's arm. Then he whispered: *Oh, Salazar, how blind I have been!* There was something new in his gaze now, a strange tenderness Harry had never seen in those scarlet eyes before.
Long white fingers brushed quickly over Harry's forehead. *My horcrux. Yes, I can feel it now, my soul stirring within you...*
Harry held his breath. It was almost as if he could feel it too: Something in him reaching out for the man in front of him, something in him that belonged with the Dark Lord.
Voldemort turned quickly to the gathered Death Eaters. "Go home, all of you. Now! Release the giant; we have no more use for him. The battle is over. I have found Harry Potter, and I will kill anyone who dares to harm him. The boy is to remain alive."
"My Lord!" Bellatrix' voice was a wail. "He is bewitching you somehow, with his strange speech! Do not listen to him! I will kill him, my Lord. Ava-"
The Dark Lord pointed his wand at Bellatrix. "Avada Kedavra." His voice sounded calm, almost disinterested. Bellatrix crumpled to the forest floor. "Unless the rest of you wish to die as well, I suggest you follow my orders and go home now." Voldemort wrapped a dark-robed arm around Harry's waist. *Hold on tight, Harry. Nagini, come with us.*
The next moment, the world went black, and Harry felt the familiar pressure in his limbs that told him that he was apparating. When he opened his eyes, he was standing in an elegant sitting room, covered with a fine layer of dust. Lord Voldemort's arm was still around him.
"Welcome to the Riddle House, Harry," said Voldemort softly. "This is where I will keep you safe from harm. I trust you will find it comfortable; if not, you must let me know."
Nagini's yellow gaze lingered on Harry's face. *He is us, Master? He is our soul?*
Voldemort nodded, and there was a sudden softness in the scarlet eyes. *Yes, Nagini. He is our soul.*
Voldemort spoke little in the hours that followed; he merely sat and stared at Harry, as if in wonder. Harry ate the food that was offered to him by a frightened-looking house-elf, but Voldemort ate nothing. Harry was hungry, and it felt good to eat, although it was a little odd to sense Voldemort's gaze on him as he ate.
Afterwards, the house-elf drew Harry a warm bath and gave him a set of clean clothes to wear. When he was clean and dressed, the elf showed Harry to a large bedroom which appeared to have been dusted in a hurry. Voldemort was waiting for him there.
"Sit." Voldemort pointed to a large four-poster bed. He was holding a bottle of some strange-smelling lotion. "You have cuts and bruises all over. They must be healed at once, before they get infected. Take your shirt off."
"Wirry can do it, Master..." piped the house elf nervously.
"Leave, elf. You will not touch him. He belongs to me." Voldemort's voice was cold, and the house elf retreated hastily.
Harry took his shirt off obediently.
"What?" He could feel the Dark Lord staring at him again.
A slight smile now. "How strange; I remembered you being a mere child, Harry, but you have become a man, it seems." Voldemort began rubbing salve onto Harry's many bleeding cuts and scrapes. "You are strong, too." His glance rested on Harry's shoulders.
Harry could feel himself blushing a little. "Running from you kept me fit, I suppose." How odd, how terribly odd, to feel those long cold fingers moving over his skin! The Dark Lord applied the salve clumsily, as if he had never attempted such a thing before, but he took his time and made sure each tiny scratch was covered with the healing salve. It felt so utterly strange, being cared for by Lord Voldemort, and yet there was something about it that was almost soothing. Someone was finally caring for him. Someone wanted Harry to stay alive, to stay healthy. Even if that someone was Voldemort... Harry closed his eyes in satisfaction.
"You are getting sleepy." There was a hint of laughter in Voldemort's voice. "You must rest now, Harry. Don't worry about anything. You will be safe here. Always."
And Harry lay down on the bed, obediently, and closed his eyes. For the first time in his life, he drifted off to sleep feeling perfectly at peace.
Halfway through the night, Harry woke up. Before he had even opened his eyes, he could sense that Voldemort was still in the room with him.
"What are you doing here?" whispered Harry into the stillness of the room.
"Watching you." Voldemort's voice fell softly.
Harry opened his eyes slowly. The room was only illuminated by the silvery light of the moon slanting through the window, but he could still make out Voldemort's pale face in the faint half-light. His eyes seemed more black than red in the shadowy room.
"Why are you watching me?"
Voldemort sat still for a moment, apparently pondering the question. Then he said quietly: "I am not entirely sure. But I like looking at you. My horcrux." He brushed a cold finger over Harry's cheek. "So new and so familiar... A lost piece of my soul."
Harry smiled to himself and closed his eyes again.
Many hours later, as the first blue-white light of dawn shimmered through the window, Harry woke up to find Voldemort sleeping next to him. Harry lay quite still for a few minutes, listening to the quiet breathing of the Dark Lord. How terribly strange it was, to see Voldemort lying here like this, asleep, defenseless. Harry had thought a great deal about Voldemort and his doings over the years, imagining the Dark Lord pacing, laughing, scheming, screaming, torturing, killing... But somehow, the idea that Voldemort would ever sleep had never occurred to him.
Harry leaned up on one elbow and regarded the Dark Lord curiously. Voldemort looked utterly different when he was sleeping, Harry decided. Perhaps it was merely because Harry couldn't see those unnerving scarlet eyes behind the closed eyelids, but somehow Voldemort looked more human when he slept. Harry could even make out a trace of Tom Riddle in the contours of the pallid face now, a sculpted beauty under the skin. Harry felt a sudden urge to touch the face that had once terrified him so. Would Voldemort's cheeks feel cold and hard, like marble, or soft like the skin of a man? Harry brushed a finger tentatively over the high cheekbones. Voldemort's skin was cold under his fingers, but smoother and softer than Harry expected. Oh, if Ron and Hermione could have see him now, touching the Dark Lord as he slept, how horrified they would have been! And if Dumbledore could have seen him...
The sudden memory of Dumbledore and his chilling plan felt like an icy stab to Harry's heart. Dumbledore had never cared about him. Dumbledore had wanted him dead all along. But Voldemort... Voldemort wanted to look after him now, to make sure he was safe. Someone cared about him. Harry turned the thought over and over in his mind, marveling at it. Perhaps he didn't mind so terribly being a horcrux. There was something strange and sweet about this sudden sense of belonging...
Voldemort did not move, but he smiled slightly in his sleep. Harry gazed, fascinated, at the Dark Lord's mouth. He hesitated for a moment, then kissed Voldemort quickly on the lips. Perhaps it was the horcrux in him that made him do it, or maybe the it was the sense of finally belonging to someone...
The Dark Lord stirred then, and Harry drew back, half terrified at what he had done. Would Voldemort be angry with him now? But there was no anger, just confusion, in the scarlet eyes that met his gaze a moment later.
"What are you doing?" Voldemort's voice was a whisper, and he sat up with a start.
Harry flushed. "I don't know. I just..."
"You were kissing me?" There was a note of disbelief in Voldemort's voice.
Harry nodded, cheeks burning, and looked down. "I suppose I wanted to... to pledge myself to you, somehow... To surrender. To be yours, if you will just promise to look after me..."
Voldemort was silent for a moment. Then he said softly: "You have my word, Harry. I will protect you for ever, my precious one." Harry felt something cold against his forehead, brushing against his scar. It took a moment before he understood that Voldemort was kissing him. The cold touch sent a tingle down his spine.
Then Voldemort pulled back, but Harry wrapped his arms around the Dark Lord's neck and pulled him closer. Harry suddenly felt as if he had longed his whole life for someone to kiss him, and the gentle touch had been much too brief. His lips searched hungrily for Voldemort's mouth. For a moment, Voldemort held quite still, Harry's mouth against his. Then the Dark Lord drew a shaky breath and kissed Harry back. He kissed Harry's lips, his face, his hair, his throat.
"Mine," he breathed against Harry's throat. "You are mine." The kisses became deeper, more possessive, more dangerous. "Mine..."
Harry registered vaguely in the back of his mind that kissing Voldemort was something entirely different from kissing Cho or Ginny. He hadn't felt much except flustered awkwardness when kissing Cho. With Ginny, he had felt a pleasant little flutter in his stomach on occasion. But Voldemort's kisses were a storm that swept him away until he could neither think nor breathe. Harry's body seemed to respond on its own accord, and Harry found that he was kissing pale skin, tearing at a dark cloak, moaning, moving against the man above him, a dark fire pulsing through his very being.
"Stop," whispered Voldemort suddenly. "Harry, no!"
No? Harry pulled back, stung to the core. It felt as if Voldemort had cursed him. "You...You don't want me... I'm sorry, I shouldn't have..."
Voldemort pressed a long finger to Harry's quivering lips. His breathing was shallow and rapid. "Of course I want you, Harry. How could I not want what is mine? But I need a moment to compose myself. I can't let any harm come to you, and your touch is sparking a strange madness in me. I must regain control over myself before I accidentally damage you."
"What?" Harry looked into the pale face of the man he had once feared. For some reason, he saw Tom Riddle's beauty there more clearly now, beneath the mask of the monster. "Damage me? How?"
Was he imagining it, or did a slight human blush brush over those pale cheeks now?
"I have seen what happens when men lose control over themselves like this." Voldemort's voice sounded breathless. "Their desire to possess another person becomes physical, and they force themselves on the ones they desire and hurt them. I cannot let that happen to you."
Harry swallowed. He reached up and touched Voldemort's face. "I trust you not to hurt me."
Voldemort closed his eyes. "No, you don't understand, Harry. You are still quite young; perhaps you do not know about these things. This... kissing... makes me want to do things to you, things that men do to women and sometimes to other men. I want to enter your body and possess you. I want to let this fire that is raging through my flesh consume me, and you as well. I want to move inside you..."
Harry flung his arms around the other man's neck. Something dark and sweet was stirring in him at the sound of the Dark Lord's voice. He moved his lips closer to Voldemort's ear and whispered: "I want you to do it. I want you to be my lover."
He could hear Voldemort's breathing becoming even more rapid now. "You want me to-? But you don't understand, Harry, it will hurt you." Voldemort's voice was uneven.
Harry tightened his arms around Voldemort. "Then use some oil. Or a spell. Now, before I die from wanting..." He kissed Voldemort deeply and searched for his skin under the dark robes.
With a long trembling sigh, Voldemort arched into his touch."You really want this? With me?"
*More than anything,* whispered Harry in Parseltongue. *Do you want me?*
Voldemort looked at him for a long moment, and Harry felt something stir in his memory as the scarlet gaze rested on him. He remembered how Quirrell had stared into the mirror of Erised, his face transformed by a fierce longing, his eyes searching frantically for a glimpse of the magical jewel hidden within. Harry recognized that desire now, in Voldemort's eyes, and it made him shiver. He longs for me. I am as precious to him as the jewel was...
Voldemort pressed a sudden frantic kiss to Harry's lips, and Harry felt strong arms wrap themselves around him. Something was stirring deep in his soul at the touch.
*I will be gentle with you.* Voldemort's voice was a whisper.
But he wasn't gentle.
At first, Voldemort seemed hesitant, almost fearful as his hands lingered on Harry's skin, as if afraid that Harry's body was too fragile for his touch. But Harry's frantic response quickly made an end to all gentleness. They tore at each other's clothes, hands and lips brushing feverishly over burning skin. Warm... Voldemort felt warm to the touch now, human... A hurried spell fell from Voldemort's lips, and then Harry felt the weight of his lover above him and a heart beating furiously against his own.
Voldemort's hands and his hardened shaft were searching frantically for entrance to Harry's flesh. There was a brief moment of pain, and then a glorious fullness and furious, desperate movements... Voldemort moaned Harry's name again and again as he was entering him, as if he were reciting an ancient magical incantation. Their eyes met, and Harry felt his lover's magic tugging at him, tearing at him, consuming him, setting his very being on fire.
"You are mine," breathed the Dark Lord. But when Harry looked into his face, flushed with desire now and so beautifully human, he suddenly knew: Voldemort may not have realized it yet, but it was the other was around. Voldemort was his, possessed by his horcrux... Harry surrendered himself to the savage frenzy of the Dark Lord's strokes, to the wild, furious pounding, and to the strange tenderness he saw in Voldemort's eyes. Harry watched, breathlessly, as the Dark Lord came undone in his arms, crying out as his body stiffened and arched. Harry felt the warmth of his lover's seed, and he whispered as he came himself against Voldemort's body: *Tom.*
Voldemort rested his forehead against Harry's, trying to find his breath again. "Oh, Merlin, that was... More than magic." A soft kiss pressed against Harry's mouth. "Did I hurt you?"
Harry smiled. "No, Tom, you didn't."
"Tom?" Voldemort brushed his hand clumsily through Harry's hair. "Why do you call me that, Harry? I am no longer Tom Riddle. He was human, fragile, mortal. I have become something else."
Harry lifted his lover's face and gazed into his eyes. "Right now you are human, Tom. Right now, with me, you are you."
A trembling hand stroked Harry's hair again and again. "Is that what this is, this curious sensation that is tearing at my heart when I am becoming one with my horcrux? A touch of humanity?" Voldemort kissed Harry softly on the lips. "I thought I had left all of that behind. Well, if some humanity is the price I have to pay for finding my soul, I suppose I will have to pay it..." His kisses found Harry's throat. "And to think that I was planning to kill you... My heart trembles at the thought that I might have harmed you. I once thought that the prophecy about the two of us left me no other choice. I had it all planned out, Harry, your death and my immortality. And I suppose Dumbledore had my death -and yours- all planned out as well. But there was a flaw in his plan, and a flaw in mine, and a flaw in the destiny the prophecy had predicted for us both."
"A flaw?" Harry traced Voldemort's mouth with his finger.
Voldemort kissed him again. "You, Harry. You were the miraculous flaw in the plan, my love."