NOTE: This is a translation of a Chinese HP Fanfiction by 墨玉绿
BETA: the brilliant and awesome AzulticSerpens
January 14, 2001
"Are you ready, my loyal followers?"
Blood-red pupils gleamed in the darkness. In a magnificent, high ceilinged hall, the Death Eaters stood in a circle around a raised throne. Their master's appearance was no longer a chalk-white, skull-like face, but one with chiselled features and pale skin as smooth as marbles.
Beneath the throne, the followers of the Dark Arts bowed before him. With reverence and fervent adoration, they answered, "Yes, my Lord!"
"Very well," the dark king chuckled as he surveyed the numerous black-robed bodies before him. He stood and strode out of the meeting hall, a python, its width rivaling that of a human thigh, slithering at his side.
Soon, the whole world would belong to him.
He strode out of the grandiose meeting hall leisurely, only accompanied by the sound of Nagini slithering on marble floor. For a moment, an illusion of peace settled over him.
Peace? He sneered. In the Dark Lord's eyes, there was only fear and destruction and silence of the dead, nothing that resembled peace. The night is the darkest just before the dawn, and such was the Dark Lord's favourite hours. Such was the hours festering with disappointment, fear and an impenetrable darkness, and he, the master vampire stalking the night, only grew more content and powerful as he feasted on their terrors.
It would not be long at all before the wizarding world, too, became enveloped in that darkness. Time would freeze at the right moment, forever in darkness without any hope of dawning sun. His lips curled viciously. No matter how handsome his face was now... The darkness within him only twisted it into a terrible sight.
Yes, it would not be long before the supposed saviour, the Chosen One, lost everything. The boy-who-lived?—HA! Soon, there would come a day when he, too, would fall under a streak of brilliant green light. One day when the boy's legend would come to an end by his own hands.
His red-eyes narrowed with contentment. The thoughts of death and blood woke the hunger in his veins. Pale, bony fingers stroked the yew-wood wand, contemplating.
He could feel his powers returning to him; he could feel his mind reverting back, sharp and clear; he could feel the horcruxes merging into him. Once again, he was becoming perfect.
No one knew more about the forbidden art of horcrux-making than himself... not even that dead, old, meddling coot.
Horcrux — it was a symbol of eternal life, of the immortal soul; however, it had one fatal flaw. It scattered his power, reduced his mind.
Bet that old coot never saw this coming, he sneered. The Dark Lord willingly giving up his state of immortality to merge his soul back together—on a whim more or less— just because he could.
The Dark Lord smirked. Because I can do even better.
Suddenly, he was filled with power and vitality again, with bloodlust and an iron-clad resolve to exorcise that so-called weakness. Immediately.
As he thought about his weakness, his face turned dark, murderous.
Dreams often revealed the subconscious, exposing ones weaknesses and fears. But... buried deep in the Dark Lord's dreams, there was only a fuzzy white screen and some buzzing noises, like vague mists blocking him from seeing real and important details. And... there was also fear in his dreams, an suppressed and sublime terror rising from somewhere within him, like the tide surging in, fast and furious, until it made him feel like he was drowning. It came inexplicably, without warning, but accompanied by an agony felt like his heart was being ripped out of his chest.
Ever since he made his first Horcrux, he'd stopped experiencing such emotional instability. Beside immortality, the Horcuxes had another benefit — they got rid of his emotions, especially those associated with the memories of his childhood. He'd peeled away all of his past memories and feelings —his once happy, sad, painful or warm experiences —and then he stuffed all that those useless emotions into Horcruxes. In doing so, he became superior to men. He was able to observe his memories with a calm, objective attitude, as if he was a stranger in his own — no, in Tom Riddle's —life.
It was supposed to make him calm, ruthless, and cerebral. And, thus, it became rather suspicious when powerful emotions resurfaced in his mind again, even if it was just... in dreams. He became keenly aware of something missing — something important, and something else had erased his memory of this so-called weakness.
He had a weakness.
The Dark Lord could not allow such a weakness to exist, especially one that he couldn't even remember.
He needed to find it! That weakness... and he needed to find the reason behind that inexplicable fear in his dreams. And so, he began to merge the Horcuxes back into himself.
Eventually, even the night's deepest darkness fades. A glimmer of golden dawn was appearing on the horizons. The Dark Lord found the faint lights rather irritating. He turned sharply, black robe flapping in the air like a giant bat's wing.
"Nagini, return to the bedroom," he ordered. He needed to rest at a place of complete darkness. He was the Dark Lord. He was allergic to all things light and soft and sweet.
Because he hated the light, with all his might, and he hated the Chosen One and everything the boy stood for.
Even though the morning sun was smiling outside the window, the Dark Lord's bedroom remained dusky, just how he preferred it.
Although his Lordship didn't care if the furniture in his room were the best available in Europe, his loyal followers insisted, and so he came to lay in the finest silk, surrounded by the most beautiful trinkets. Not that he cared about the luxuries of life...No, he was the Dark Lord, he only cared about power and war.
As he startled awake from a dream, Voldemort sat up in bed, eye-brows furrowing.
This was a side-effect of merging the Horcuxes. Irritated, he threw a few reducto's at everything in the room, destroying all the best available in Europe. All except for the bed he was lying in, of course.
The side-effect of merging the Horcuxes included re-experiencing his past mood swings. Once again, in the privacy of his dreams, he became haunted by all the useless emotions — hope, lust, obsession, and... a deep, longing sadness.
After reabsorbing the soul-piece in Ravenclaw's Diadem, gradually, he started to recall all the memories after his twenty-fifth birthday, and felt all the tangled emotions that followed. That year, he had applied for the Defence Against the Dark Arts post at Hogwarts and, again, he was unceremoniously rejected for his 'inexperience'. He remembered how his budding confidence had turned into disappointment and full-blow rage, then he turned to the Dark Arts and chose the path that took him here.
Once, he had loved Hogwarts. Any wizard who grew up within her ancient walls would came to love the castle. So even he, with his arrogant and paranoid nature, had wanted to contribute something to his alma mater. But... Hogwarts had slammed her door in his face.
The handsome lord calmed his mind. He smirked, a provocative, almost tantalizing sight.
At last, Hogwarts had fallen under his control. Now, she was no more than a tool to him... a tool to use against the Chosen one. Yes, his motto was true all along —there is no good or evil, only power.
He stood up and dressed in a tailored black robe. The Dark Lord had returned with a vengeance. He looked quite different. No longer snake-like and inhuman, now he had his old body back — a tall, lean figure, with broad shoulders, jet-black hair, and long powerful limbs. Only seventy years old, quite young really. For the typical wizards' lifespan of 300 years, he was right in the middle of the prime of his life.
"My Lord," a hooded figure approached the throne and bowed deeply. When he looked up, his crazed, fervent eyes looked awfully familiar. This was the same Death Eater captured by Ron Weasley not so long ago.
"So, you are back," the Dark Lord nodded lazily. His handsome face twisted by a cruel smile. "How did it go?"
The Death Eater let out a depraved laugh. "Lately, our dearest hero has been quite occupied. He only shows his face once a week. Last I saw of him, he looked as thin as a stick. Weak... Emaciated... Maybe some brute has been fucking our little hero in secret, fucking him bloody—"
A round of lecherous laughter broke out amongst the Death Eaters. Everyone knew that the Chosen One was rather fond of that bulky, idiotic friend of his, Ronald... something — those two had been the butt of jokes in their circle for ages.
All jokes aside, the Death Eater had completed his mission spectacularly. Eagerly, he submitted the map of Dumbledore's Army headquarters to his Lordship. Knowing is half the battle— this gave them the perfect opportunity to attack.
Victory was upon them.
"Hmmm," The Dark Lord drummed his fingers noncommittally.
"My Lord, this is our chance to get rid of Harry Potter— once and for all!" The Death Eaters clamoured eagerly.
Leaning back on his throne, the Dark Lord's thin lips moved as a cruel, inhuman hiss filled the room.
"Harry Potter... Ah, his death shall not be granted so easily."
The Death Eaters listened to the hissing sound with ecstasy. Even though they couldn't understand a word, they understood its significance —parseltongue, the birthright of the Slytherin line.
Rows upon rows of Death Eaters knelt down in front of the throne, hooded faces bent low with utter reverence, like worshippers in front of the altar.
The future is forever mutable... Not even Fate can control what has yet to happen.
Time flows like a chain of infinite events, the future linking the past, all connected through the tendrils of choices— on one side of the link were the Dark Lord and his followers; on the other side, passing through a Time-jump, was a quiet darkening day.
"Why don't we stay at the Leaky Cauldron for a night?" Harry suggested. Although it wasn't much of a long trip back home, judging by Tom's expression, the boy didn't want to leave so soon.
"Yes," the boy nodded eagerly.
Harry smiled. Talking Tom by the hand, they walked toward the old pub.
Tom followed obediently. His face docile, yet his irises became tainted by a darkness that was full of simmering, repressed rage.
Through the whole day, Harry never let go of his hand. Not even once.
At first, it was a protective gesture — Harry was afraid the child would get lost in the endless crowd, so the man tugged him close and watched over him. But, somewhere along the way, Harry's intentions changed. The man clutched Tom's hand, restricting just like cuffs around a prisoner's limbs, as green eyes watched Tom with a thinly-veiled wariness— with suspicion — as if Tom required some unexplained surveillance... As if Tom had done some wrong.
Tom could feel Harry's mood changing as they stepped into the wizarding world. Harry became more guarded... No — Harry was always guarded around him, but the man's distrust seemed especially obvious at the moment.
The young man's palm was soft and warm with sweat, and the heat burned against Tom's hand.
Normally, Tom would have no trouble putting on his mask, pretending to be a good little boy grateful for Harry's affection. Normally, Tom would have acted out of self-interest, towards goals derived from cold, objective logic. But now... he didn't feel like pretending.
No matter how much he pretended, Harry never truly trusted him. The young man was always the same — all smiles and warm affections on the outside, but, inside, he was always wary of Tom.
The child looked up at the young man beside him and gave a mocking smile. Anger spread from the numb pain in his chest; bitterness tasting like blood in his mouth.
Harry, too, was a good actor, wasn't he? He was also wearing a mask— pretending to be a good, loving father, while plotting away behind his back.
If so, two can play at that game.
Tom wiped away the vicious expression on his face and smiled sweetly.
"Two rooms, please," Harry nodded toward Tom the Bartender.
Harry paused. He only had eight Sickles and few Knuts left in his pocket.
He grinned sheepishly. "Er... do you accept muggle money?"
Old Tom gave him a stern look. "No."
A little taken back by the old man's firmness, Harry rubbed his nose and opened his mouth.
Before he could speak, Tom cut in. "Just get one room, Harry."
It seemed the boy was anxious to make sure they stayed the night in the wizarding world.
Harry nodded. He took out five Sickles and held them toward the bartender.
"That's not enough—"
"Six Sickles per room," the old man said, his stern expression unwavering.
Oh, so ten Sickles was actually the discounted price? Harry smiled to himself as he fished out another coin.
Wizarding inns were much nicer than the muggle ones. Each room was fitted with its own space-expanding spells and heating charms, as well as other useful house-keeping tricks. After such a long day, even adults would be exhausted, so it was no surprise that the seven-year-old was fast asleep already.
Harry sat on the edge of the bed, gently stroking the boy's hair. It was only when Tom was asleep peacefully that Harry could let down all his guard and treat the boy like how he should— like Tom was his own son. Playfully, he pinched the boy's soft cheeks and grinned as the boy frowned in annoyance.
To be honest, he was scared to bring Tom into the wizarding world. He had so much to worry about. He was worried that Tom would find the Dark Magic section in Flourish and Blotts; he was worried that Tom would find his way to Knockturn Alley; he was worried that—actually, Harry knew worrying won't fix anything. What's the worst that could happen? That the future remained unchanged? Well, in that case, the worst had already happened.
Perhaps all Harry could hope for was to slow down time's progression. To prolong their present relationship for just a bit longer.
Perhaps Harry was being impulsive... Maybe he shouldn't have taken Tom here. He just wanted... Tom to be happy. He wanted to show the boy a place where he belonged, just like how Hagrid showed him all those years ago. He never wanted Tom to ask him again — "so we are not freaks?"
The Voldemort of the future was only getting more threatening, ruthless, and powerful... So Harry had to worry. He smiled bitterly as he tucked the boy's hair behind his ears.
Someday in the future, if he had to fight against Tom— could he see the boy, whom he raised and loved, as his mortal enemy?
Tom feigned sleep. He heard Harry's soft sighs as the man's hand weaved through his hair, as an addictive warmness seeped into his scalp.
Tom feigned sleep, eyes closed peacefully, the very picture of innocence.
Death Eater: "Lately, our dearest hero has been quite occupied. Last I saw of him, he looked as thin as a stick. Weak... Emaciated... Maybe some brute has been fucking our little hero in secret, fucking him bloody—"
Tom: "Are you calling me a brute?... Well, I guess I'm well-endowed enough—"
(Snow_owl01: Haha, I can't believe that this is the one AN I chose to translate.)
Big round of applause for the new BETA — AzulticSerpens
Check out her work on AO3. The Avengers fandom.
LINK: archiveofourown () org /users/AzulticSerpens/works
Also, there is an One-Shot set in 47 Days to Change universe:
It's a one-shot of VERY graphic and mature content, posted separately on AO3. It is written by the original author (Emerald Ink), but it's NOT a part of the main plot. I repeat: the one-shot is NOT relevant to the plot.
NOT relevant at all. And it's super depressing. You have been warned.
WARNING: Sexual explicit content, Angst, Non-Con, Rape, MPreg. Proceed with caution.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION! NC-17 MATERIAL!
Click on my user profile for the AO3 link. FF-dot-net does not allow explicit materials.