February 19, 2001
The Death Eaters chose to stay a few dozen miles away from the Forbidden Forest.
They paced like wolves, eager for the pleasure of blood flowing down their throats; but the Wolf King was more looking forward to playing with his prey.
So they chose to stop here - enjoying the ensuing panic and desperate resistance; waiting for the excitement to reach a climax - before swallowing their prey whole.
"Stop talking, Reid! We're standing guard," The hooded Death Eater seemed to merge with the night as they stood guard, coveting the distant towering castle with green eyes.
"No! Look!" A Death Eater pointed into the forest spread before them. "There's light!"
The group of Death Eaters instantly became vigilant, quickly assuming defensive postures, their sight sweeping.
In front of their temporary residence was a sinister-looking rift valley; the bottom was even richer than night, appearing as if it could even swallow and distort light. Opposite the rift valley was the ancient Forbidden Forest.
There was nothing there.
"Tch." The other man sneered, his face hidden in the shadow of his hood, like a mole hiding in the dark. "Did I have too much fun playing with your little thing yesterday that you've become blind? Where's the light?!"
As soon as he spoke, a light flashed across the rift valley. Just like a sudden burst of accumulation, it involuntarily caught people's attention, but it instantly dimmed from insufficient stamina, like a child playing with 'fluorescent blinking'.
"There's only one person." The Death Eater narrowed his eyes, and the person standing behind him was immediately relieved.
The person didn't seem to have any intentions of crossing the rift; judging from their figure, they appeared to be a young man.
"And… They seem familiar."
"This wand really isn't easy to use." Harry rubbed his cold arms, the light still flickering at the tip of the wand.
February in London was during the cold winter season. Moreover, the sun had already set; all light had carefully converged to allow darkness and the cold upon the world.
Harry didn't know what expression to wear when faced with Tom - or should he say Voldemort? Since he came back until now, he'd always avoided touching on that issue; the issue that made him feel ashamed, ugly and scared.
They performed the most intimate acts in the world. He was forced to embrace the other despite gender, kiss, make love - but now they were once again incompatible opposites.
"You are his only weakness."
'Either must die at the hand of the other.'
Fate controlled the past, but couldn't get involved in the future, so it left that task to Destiny. And although Destiny liked to contrast and compare, it'd never produced such an amazing comparison, nor such an excellent contrast.
"Harry Potter, standing alone by the entrance?" Voldemort smiled; he placed his hand over the snake's cool head and stroked gently, like an innocent child holding a white rabbit. Oh, the Dark Lord didn't like this metaphor; other than the Phoenix, his most hated animal were rabbits.
"Yes, Lord! The stupid boy delivered himself to us!" Bellatrix screamed madly, her originally beautiful facial features appearing particularly terrifying due to her hostility.
The Dark Lord smiled; the handsome man looked especially gentle under the light of swaying fire, his expression as peaceful as a devoted Christian bowing his head in prayer. "No, Bella. He's the Boy-Who-Lived."
"I hope he can survive this time." Bella's lips hooked up into a smile; with her robe flying by the Dark Lord's, they came out of their Wonderland palace.
Voldemort stood on the edge of the rift, his loyal Death Eaters behind him. On the other side of the rift valley, the Saviour stood alone, light still flickering from the tip of his wand.
Ha, another stark contrast by Destiny.
"Well, well, look who's here." Voldemort's voice was as soft as a swaying flame, polite and gentleman-like, but his crimson eyes were extremely dazzling even in the dark. "Good evening, my beloved Harry."
Harry didn't respond.
Voldemort, or Tom Riddle, always understood what he'd been trying to do these past twenty years - kill Harry Potter.
Because of that prophecy - either must die at the hand of the other.
And he needed to be the one who survives.
Tom had never been sympathetic; since the first time he took a piece of cheese from someone else in the orphanage, he'd been completely isolated by humanity. The same applied here; he'd never sympathise with the Saviour, who hadn't done anything wrong.
Who's fault was it for Harry Potter to be Harry Potter?
He broke free from the curse, gradually reached perfection, and his power was approaching the peak. As for those who'd be branded humiliating losers by history? He needed an opportunity to overthrow them for once and for all.
As long as he killed the Boy-Who-Lived, the so-called 'power to vanquish the Dark Lord' would naturally become a joke, and the prophecy that 'neither can live while the other survives' would completely fall.
He couldn't wait to see the green light hit the body.
But due to suspicious nature, he merely held the Elderwand and used the Amplifying Charm to reach his voice to the other side of the rift. "For you to visit so late, is something the matter?" His tone expressed familiarity as if he was speaking to an old friend.
The young man on the opposite side pressed the wand against his throat, his complexion and hair tousled, yet his eyes could penetrate through the smog. "Kill me, then let my friends go."
"Tut." The Dark Lord was suddenly controlled by inexplicable irritability.
He absolutely hated these 'sacrifice oneself to save others' spectacles. These kinds of people are too self-righteous and arrogant, believing that they could help the world like Jesus; obviously at a disadvantage, yet still charitably saying 'you can kill me'. So, following Dumbledore and Harry Potter, his third most hated person was the Muggle-created Jesus.
Since he's the Saviour, then I'd let him save the world once.
Voldemort was always keen to watch losers pleading under his wand, to watch them roll and beg for mercy; he was accustomed to stretching the pain out for others, but this time, he didn't.
Voldemort raised his wand.
Harry gripped the wand tightly, using all his efforts to keep himself standing, afraid that if he relaxed his legs would retreat without his control.
The night wind swept across his skin, depriving it of all warmth that remained; it was frighteningly cold.
He thought he was used to death, but when it was approaching him once again, his fears began to expose itself.
Standing on the edge of a deep, bottomless rift, facing a group of Death Eaters, he began to frantically yearn for everything he once had. All his happy memories flashed through his mind, frame after frame, like a movie - Hogwarts, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, George, Fred, Neville… And Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, and even Snape… And Sirius, Lupin, his mum and dad, and… Tom.
He began to regret. He should've stopped and talked to Hermione for a while; just to say 'I love you guys', and hoped Ron wouldn't mind. It's a pity he didn't.
He saw the face, indistinguishable from his memories, soften. He saw Tom part his lips. And the last thing he saw was a green light.
It was over.
Tom watched his spell cross the rift rapidly and hit its target accurately.
Bella watched the Saviour's body tilt from the spell's momentum. His feet, which had been standing on the rift's edge, lost its balance and he fell, just like her brother fell into the curtains ten years ago, into the rift valley.
"Haha, he'd definitely not survive! Even if the spell didn't kill him, the fall will!" Bella shouted before she saw the supreme Dark Lord in front of her suddenly stagger.
Bella quickly pushed away young Malfoy, who was beside the Dark Lord and supporting him. "Lord, what's wrong?!"
The Dark Lord, who was now the prophesied victor because he'd killed his opponent, wore a hideous expression; his originally crimson eyes had precipitated to a terrible dark-red, reminiscent of clotted blood.
"Call Severus over!" The Devil roared in a low voice, venting the uneasiness and panic he attempted to suppress in his heart. Was this a sequela caused by the reabsorption of his Horcruxes? Was it because he regained all his feelings that he'd experience such a mood swing?
"Snape, that son of a bitch, betrayed us!" Bella screamed loudly.
Only then did the Devil recover from his emotions, dark-red eyes staring unfathomably down into the rift valley. "Bella, take someone to find our Saviour; if you find him, send him to Dumbledore's Army, if you can't, then forget about it." The Devil twisted his lips into a mocking smile, suppressing the constant suffocation in his chest.
Tom frowned and turned around to walk towards his temporary residence. "Malfoy, come with me."
Hopefully, young Malfoy had learnt something from his godfather.
After twenty years, Harry Potter was dead and Voldemort survived.
They were too entangled with each other; it needed a death for its abrupt discontinue.
"My guess... Is that no two of the same soul can exist at the same time. Since this Horcrux overlapped with a piece of Voldemort's soul, and since there can't be two Voldemorts... when they came together, Fate must've destroyed the extra one."
"Potter, you're the last Horcrux."
"Potter, don't be so cowardly! You won't truly die! The only thing the Dark Lord would kill is the Horcrux attached to you, so don't you dare hesitate!"
He didn't hesitate.
But he'd never crawl back up ever again.
The wise Dumbledore wouldn't have been able to guess the leaping of time, nor could the intelligent Hermione escape the control of Fate.
Fate said: This person is too much of a burden. He broke the rules of mankind and obstructed the rules.
Harry laid quietly at the rift valley's bottom; maybe there were bushes filled with flowers surrounding him, maybe wounds had marked his body during the fall - but he was unconscious.
He was already dead.
The hero's body laid quietly in the wilderness; nobody asked, nobody cared - fortunately, God knew where to gather the lost souls.
Unfortunately, he never believed in God.