Descent into Darkness

BY : Athey1024
Category: Harry Potter AU/AR > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 69308
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters from the books or movies. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.


 



Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter. JKRowling does.



First Beta Pass by Clemex



– –



"You know, I'm really impressed with how well you're handling this, Ginny," Hermione said later that evening as the two sat alone in Hermione's dorm room. Hermione had offered earlier to help Ginny with her Arithmancy essay, and the two had opted to do their work upstairs, since the twins, Lee Jordan, and Seamus Finnigan were busy teaching several of the pure-blooded students how to play muggle poker. They were being quite loud about it too.



"What do you mean?" Ginny responded, trying to look as if she really didn't know what Hermione was talking about.



"We both know how you used to feel about Harry," Hermione said, raising a single eyebrow, as if daring the other girl to deny it.



Ginny rolled her eyes and grimaced. "Yeah... well, not only was there the whole 'Boy-Who-Lived' legacy and my girl-hood crush, but he also saved my life, first year. I think it's understandable for me to have been a bit infatuated," Ginny said defensively.



Hermione smiled knowingly. "Still, like I said, I'm impressed with how well you're dealing."



Ginny sighed and set down her quill. "When the news first came out in the paper that Harry was gay, I was in total denial. I was absolutely sure that that rag of a paper was just spouting more idiotic lies. But then Harry himself confirmed it. I guess it made me realize that there really was no chance of any sort of romantic thing ever happening between us. Sure, a part of me was still in denial, but it was a pretty small part.



"I suppose I figured that if there really was no chance of him being my happily-ever-after, I could at least be his friend. Once the fear of screwing up my future chances with my 'prince charming' were blown out the window, my shyness was a lot easier to get over. It's a lot easier to act like menow, you know?"



"Yes. And that's really great, Ginny," Hermione said, smiling.



Ginny shrugged. "I guess. But like I said, part of me was still in denial. It really does seem so much more real now. It's still hard to wrap my head around the fact that Harry was snogging some boy and got marked up like that!"



Hermione blushed but grinned and nodded her head enthusiastically. "I know! I never would have thought he'd have it in him. But then again, I never would have imagined him dancing with Fleur the way he did back at the Yule Ball."



Ginny groaned. "Don't remind me of that night. I almost melted into a puddle, just watching him."



They both giggled for a moment before the two settled into a quiet moment as their eyes went unfocused and they were each lost in their own memories of that night.



"I wonder who it was," Ginny mused quietly after a long moment.



"Hmm?"



"Who Harry was snogging. I wonder who the guy is."



"I don't know. I'll admit I'm incredibly curious, but Harry does have a valid reason to keep it quiet. The tabloids refuse to leave him alone. Just imagine what they would do with the news that he was seeing someone."



Ginny nodded her head and looked solemn. "He just can't get a break, can he?"



Hermione sighed. "No he can't. I hope that whoever this boy is that he's seeing, he's good for him. Harry deserves whatever happiness he can get. Merlin knows he's seen more than enough misery over the years," she finished bitterly, thinking about Harry's horrible muggle relatives.



"Yeah," Ginny added with a sigh.



– –



Harry felt the sudden dramatic increase in the powerful swirling parselmagic around Tom and set his book down. He looked up and watched with stunned awe as the man sitting cross-legged on the floor several feet from him suddenly began to morph and transform, right before his eyes.



Tom's skin went pale gray and transformed into a diverse patterning of different sized scales. His nose flattened against his face, shifting into two thin slits. His lips thinned until they disappeared, his neck lengthened minutely, and a small, cobra-like hood stretched from the sides of his neck down to his shoulders.



His hair and eyebrows thinned and then vanished, leaving a perfectly smooth, bald whitish-gray head. His ears shrunk down to just two small nubs and holes, and his already slitted, red eyes, went even more serpentine than before, so that there were no longer any whites left to them now.



"Wow..." Harry whispered in awe as Tom suddenly heaved forward and panted from the magical draw the first successful transformation had wracked on his body.



Tom... well, maybe it was easier to think of him as Voldemort when he was like this. Now he looked like Voldemort... he sat there resting for a moment, gathering up his strength before he slowly stood to his feet. Harry scrambled to his feet and stood there, still awestruck by the person he saw before him.



"Will... will it be that hard to transform every time?" Harry asked, honestly a bit concerned.



Voldemort chuckled and it came out with some hisses. "No, Harry. It will get much easssier now. The first successssful transformation is the one that is the hardest. Each subsequent time I do it, it will be come easier and eassssier until it is second nature."



Harry nodded his head, thinking back to his own serpentine transformation that he learned for the second task. It had been the same way.



"So... wow..." Harry's voice trailed off as his eyes trailed up and down the other man's changed body. He could feel his own parselmagic reacting to Voldemort's. It was pouring off him in glorious, powerful, waves and it made Harry feel heady and hot. "Bloody hell... there has got to be something off about me that I still find you incredibly hot," Harry said in a surprisingly husky voice.



Voldemort smirked and rose a single hairless brow at him in amusement. He took a few casual strides to Harry and wrapped one of his gray, long-fingered hands around the back of Harry's neck, pulling him close and pressing his non-lips against Harry's. Harry moaned out in ecstasy as the magic shot through him and he felt his knees grow weak from the intensity. Harry's hands came up and fisted in Voldemort's loose open robes, pulling insistently for a moment before the older wizard pulled away, leaving them both panting with desire.



"You are... unbelievable," Voldemort said, with a wicked grin spreading across his lipless face.



"Wha... why?" Harry said, trying to pull himself back together.



"That you could still find such a creature as me desirable," Voldemort said, smirking. But Harry could see the slightest hint of that deeper emotion in the man's serpentine eyes.



"Harry smiled back up at him and slowly rose his hand up, brushing his fingertips delicately over the scaled skin of Voldemort's neck. The Dark Lord actually turned his head, exposing more of his neck to Harry's gentle caresses and the action filled Harry with surprised exhilaration. Harry's hand rested against the whitish-gray skin and brushed gently up and down, memorizing the strange, smooth texture, before he leaned in and placed his lips against Voldemort's long neck.



He sucked and licked hesitantly at first, still unsure what he was doing, but he slowly grew confidence. He pulled back and looked up to find two red, glowing eyes boring down into him hungrily. Suddenly, the snake-like face looking down at him morphed and shifted back into the handsome features of Tom Riddle.



Harry smiled up at the beautiful man and pulled himself up while Tom bent down and their lips met again. It started simple but grew in intensity as the two began to grope and claw at each other.



It was an occasion for celebration, after all. Tom had completed his transformation at last, and things could finally begin.



– –



"Harry, you have to see this!" Hermione said in an urgent hushed voice as she came to stand behind him in the Great Hall. It had been two days since Tom achieved his full transformation and Harry was supposed to be at the manor house that night for a rather special event. All he could do was hope that whatever it was that Hermione had to talk about, wouldn't make him late.



"What's up?" He asked turning around and giving her a concerned look.



She looked from side to side as if she were checking for eavesdroppers. Harry realized that Ginny was standing beside her looking just as anxious.



"It's about the book, Harry. We need to go somewhere private."



Harry nodded his head and stood from the bench seat he was sitting at. "Sure. I can always grab something from the kitchens later. Lets go."



Harry glanced over at Ron, who was deep into a rather enthusiastic conversation with Seamus and one of the 5th years that Harry didn't know very well. Ron didn't even seem to notice them going, so Harry pushed it out of his mind.



He led Ginny and Hermione to an empty classroom, and at Hermione's insistence, he put up one of his usual privacy wards.



"I really need to learn how to do those," Ginny said as she watched him silently casting the ward around the room.



"It's not that hard. So what's this about?"



Hermione dug into her bag and pulled out the bound parchment book that she had been translating the book into and opened it to a marked page before handing it to him. He looked at her questioningly, but she just nodded at the book. He glanced at Ginny and she rolled her eyes. "Just readit!"



G.s 14252



In the year of Gildred the Second, 14,200, the circle of Sight and Time gathered once again and foretold the end of this world. Just as our great race had to abandon our last home when it befell its fated destruction, we have seen that we will need to abandon this one as well. This saddens us greatly, however it is for this very reason that we convene the circle of Sight every hundred years. We have much time to prepare, this end will not come for many millennium. The High Council sees no risk that we will not find a suitable home and be gone long before this world's fate falls upon it, but it is with a heavy heart that we leave behind so many great and diverse beings. We can only save ourselves. The magical creatures of this world will be left to fend for themselves, and it was the non-magical Men of this world that our Seers have foretold will bring about this worlds destruction. We cannot save any of them. We have no choice but to leave.



G.t 14252



The Higher have managed to commune with the Magic of this world, and has told it of our Sight of this world's fate. The Magic watches over those of this world with the magical connection and would not want to see it's Children come to an end at the hands of the non-magical Men who are slowly spreading across the lands like vermin.



The Magic, however, was already aware of the eminent End of days, and did not need our warning. The Higher has documented that which the Magic has said of it's great intentions to save its Children.



The Magic cannot personally save those of the world, for its ability does not lie within direct interference. It can only provide its Children with the tools to save themselves, and point them in the right direction.



We have seen that there are those among the magical creatures who have chosen to breed with the non-magical Men. Their half-breed offspring have gained access to the magic, and have begun to learn to master their powers. But Magic has deemed that Man is not to possess this power, for it is their lust for the magic that will bring the End.



The Magic has decided to chose those among the magical half-breeds who are worthy to keep the powers secret and safe from those not worthy. It will be the day that those Men of non-magical blood, learn to steal it from those who have been deemed worthy, that the End will come.



G.t 14309



A half-breed Man of Magic has come to power. He is a cambion – the child of an incubus daemon father, and a non-magical daughter of Man – and he goes by the name Merlin Ambrosius. Magic has deemed him the first Lord of the Dark Magics. He has allied himself with one a non-magical Men, a king of Men by the name of Arthur Pendragon. Arthur's half-sister, by a different mother is also of the Magic. Her mother was of Fay decent and possesses great skill. Her name is Morgan LeFay and she has been deemed the first Lord of the Light Magics. Magic has chosen these two great powers to help guide those of both Magic and Men, to keep the power of magic from the non-magical Men. The two Lords must fight to maintain balance, but also to keep the power of Magic within those who Magic has deemed worthy. Each generation will spawn a new Lord – one of the Light, and one of the Dark, to take on the task.



The Lords have to keep the magic from the non-magical Men. If those of Magic's choosing can succeed in this task, they can save themselves, and the other magical creatures of this world from the coming End. If they fall to the non-magical Men, then all will perish.



Will these actions be enough to save this world? We do not know. We can only pray for those of this world as we make our final preparations to leave. We have found our new homeland and many are ready to depart. What will befall this world that we have called home for so many millennia? Will Magic's great plan save it's magical Children? Is their fate sealed? We will likely never know, for once we have left, we can never return.



Harry reached the end and paused. "Is this the end of the book?" He asked, looking up at Ginny and Hermione.



"No," Hermione said, shaking her head, "but it's as far as we've translated. It's almost at the end, there's only a little left."



"We need to finish it," Harry said, looking back down at the collection of bound parchment in his hands.



They were silent for a moment before Hermione spoke, "Do you... do you think it's true?"



"I don't know. I think it's possible. I know that those who speak parselmagic are descendants of a human and naga union."



"Naga!" Ginny gasped.



"Where did you hear that!" Hermione asked.



Harry looked up slowly contemplating his next words. "I... managed to find a book on the history of parselmagic. I special ordered it earlier in the year. Cost a small fortune," he lied easily. "Probably got it sometime around November. It was back when I was preparing for the first task and the dragons. It talked about how the magical lines that retained the ability to practice parselmagic were all descended from the Naga. Parselmagic is their type of magic.



"That's why I can perform it wandlessly. It's like how house elves and goblins can do magic without a wand. Naga don't need wands either, they have their own kind of magic. That's parselmagic. Thats also why parseltongue has a written language. Its the script that the Naga use."



Ginny and Hermione looked stunned.



"But how would that explain muggle-borns?" Ginny asked suddenly, glancing over at Hermione.



"Descendants of squibs who got exiled by their magical families, I reckon," Harry said, shrugging.



"You think I'm descended from a squib!" Hermione gasped and then looked thoughtful. "I wonder if it's true... I wonder if there's a way to find out."



"I'm pretty sure Gringotts can do it," Harry said, shrugging.



"Oh! I bet they can!" Ginny gasped.



"What? The goblins? How?" Hermione asked.



"They can do blood tests that determine lineage. Its one of the ways that the figure out if a claim to an inactive vault account is valid."



"Isn't that a dark art? Blood magic is banned!" Hermione gasped.



"Pfft," Harry rolled his eyes. "Like the Goblins give a damn about the Ministry's laws about those sorts of things. The Goblin Nation is sovereign with a mutually beneficial treaty in place with the Ministry. The Goblins are under no requirements to follow all of the Ministry's laws. Especially when the laws are banning something as useful as blood magic. Those bans are just made out of ignorance and fear, blood magic is only barely a dark art."



"You like blood magic?" Ginny asked, looking a bit unsettled by the idea.



"If it weren't for blood magic, I wouldn't be here. My mum used a life-for-life sacrificial blood ritual to save me from the killing curse."



Both girls were rendered speechless by this proclamation. It was Hermione that seemed to pull herself out of it first. "Wha... how... how do you figure that?"



"I've been doing some digging. Asking some people and searching through different things that might explain what happened that night. Everyone is convinced that it was something that I did that stopped Voldemort that night, but I'm convinced it was my mum. Not me. I was a perfectly normal baby up until that point. Dumbledore told me that he thinks the night Voldemort tried to kill me, some of his magic ended up seeping into me, and that explains the parseltongue, but I think it really only activated what was already there."



"What do you mean!" Hermione asked.



"I wouldn't be surprised if there was some naga blood somewhere in my ancestry. Chances are it was way back, and got diluted so much over the generations that any access to the parselmagic was lost. But when Voldemort attacked me and the blood ritual my mum did screwed everything up, some of his magic did go in me. But I don't think that would really have been enough to give me the ability to use parselmagic like I do. I'm convinced I had to have had some actual naga blood in me. Voldemort's power just gave it enough strength to make it active."



The group was quiet for another minute as they all took it all in.



"Are you sure you didn't get Morgan and Merlin mixed up?" Ginny asked Hermione, suddenly.



"Hmm?"



"Well, the translation said that Merlin was a Dark Lord! That's crazy! And it said that Morgan LeFay was a Light Lord! That can't be right."



"I don't know..." Hermione said slowly, "From what I've read, Morgan LeFay was supposed to be really renowned for her magical healing abilities. That's a very Light branch of magic.



"And just because Merlin is known as one of the 'greatest wizards in history', doesn't mean he didn't use Dark magic," Harry said.



"But Dark Lords don't help people!" Ginny hissed.



"Says who?" Harry asked, defensively.



"But... but they're Dark!"



"Dark doesn't equal evil, you know," Harry said, folding his arms over his chest and arching his brows daringly. "Dark and Light are branches of magic that they have a natural affinity for, not a direct indication of of their moral convictions."



Both Hermione and Ginny were frowning, and giving him hesitant, concerned, looks now and he knew it was time to backtrack.



"Hey, I'm just being the devil's advocate. It seemed relative to what we've just read here, that's all."



"Harry's right," Hermione said, eventually. "And he does have a point. Even if Merlin was technically a 'Dark Lord' he was the first one, and it had a much different meaning back then, then it does now. Anyway, do you really think that this could be true? What about the stuff about the... about the end of the world?"



"It made it sound like their prophecy, or whatever you want to call it, said that muggles would be responsible for it," Harry said slowly.



"I think it said that if the muggles found a way to steal magic from those with magic, that it would somehow be responsible for bringing about the end," Ginny said.



"And that it's the task of the Lords to keep that from happening," Harry said in a whispery voice with dawning realization. "That's why Voldemort originally went after the muggles. He figured that if he destroyed them all first, they couldn't destroy us."



"What?" Ginny asked.



"No! You don't think!" Hermione gasped. "You think he knows about this?" she asked, indicating the translated copy of the book.



Harry slowly nodded his head, his mind still whirling with this latest discovery.



Tom was actually trying to save the world, and no one even knew it!



"The thing is, it would never work. There're just too many muggles. And their technology is advancing too fast. Genocide would never actually work. In fact, it would alert them to our existence faster, and give them a reason to fight against us. A reason to try and steal our magic," Harry continued. "There has to be another way to prevent this... this End of days."



That's what Tom is doing now. Trying to find another way...



"Who do you suppose the Light Lord is?" Ginny asked suddenly.



"Hmm?" Harry said, pulling out of his musings and looking down at her.



"It says that every generation there's a light and a dark lord, and they have to fight to maintain the balance and they both have to work towards saving the world or whatever – right? So if Voldemort was the Dark Lord, then –"



"Dumbledore," Harry said with a very sure nod of his head. "It's definitely Dumbledore."



"That makes sense," Hermione said, agreeing. "It probably is him."



"So do you think Dumbledore knows about this then?" Ginny asked, pointing at the translated book.



Harry looked thoughtful for a long moment before shaking his head. "I don't think he does. Or if he knows any of it, I think he's mistranslated it. I don't think he really understands. Or maybe he thinks it's possible to save everyone. He thinks he can save the muggles and wizards. Voldemort was willing to sacrifice the muggles if it meant saving everyone else."



Ginny gasped and Hermione looked dumbstruck.



"You're suggesting that Voldemort was trying to save the world?" Ginny asked in a voice that suggested she thought he was absolutely mental. "That's ridiculous!"



"I'm not suggesting anything!" Harry backtracked defensively. "I'm just making some hypothesis off of what we've just read and what I know. That's all."



"That sounds like suggesting to me," Ginny said.



"Well, he had to have a motive, didn't he?" Harry barked back, defensively. "I personally, would like to know why he did the things he did. Why he came after me and why he killed my parents. If this is the reason why, then I'd like to know!"



"He didn't need a reason why, he was a psychopath!" Ginny yelled.



"And you think that all the dark wizards in Britain would follow him if he were just a psychopath? Besides – honestly? I would much rather my parents died at the hands of someone fighting for something they believed in, than being killed my some lunatic who just enjoyed killing for sport."



"I don't see how it makes a difference," Ginny retorted, but with less enthusiasm now. "Why would you want to humanize that monster anyway? He killed your parents. He's tried to kill you several times! He – he made that d-diary and nearly killed me!"



"I'm not trying to humanize him! I'm just trying to understand, alright? I mean, why the hell did he come after me of all people? Because he was coming after me; not my parents. My parents knew he was coming after me too. That's why my mum had that blood ritual prepared. She knew that Voldemort would be coming to kill me. Why? Dumbledore knows, but he refused to tell me."



"What do you mean, he knows?" Hermione asked.



"I asked him first year after the whole mess with the stone and killing Quirrell and he told me I was too young for him to tell me the truth. Meanwhile, I have to face Voldemort every year, blindly. Ignorant of what is really going on, and totally unprepared. All of the advanced training I've done, I've had to do on my own because he refuses to openly train me. Why? What does he really want with me? I think these are pretty important questions and I have every right to be asking them."



"Did you know that this book would talk about this?" Hermione asked out of nowhere and Harry came up short. "Where did you get this book?"



Harry's mouth floundered for a moment, wondering how to respond. His mind was working fast and he quickly settled on a plan.



"I was told that I would find something in this book that was important. That it would help me to understand what was really going on. But that was it. It was just... really vague and entirely unhelpful, but I was told how to find the book and that it was important. That's it."



"Told by who?" Hermione asked cautiously.



Harry swallowed. He knew that the next thing he was about to say would probably make Hermione paranoid, but it was the best thing he could come up with, and he felt like he could spin it to work for him.



"Would you believe me if I told you I think it was Magic?" Harry asked, cringing slightly.



"Magic?" Hermione deadpanned.



"Yeah, as in the er... entity Magic. You know, like if Magic was a sentient being or something? I think maybe it was a vision?" Harry continued, but it came out more as a question.



"A vision, Harry? Oh Merlin!" Ginny groaned and Hermione looked both worried and skeptical.



"Harry, what if it wasn't some magical entity. What if it was Voldemort or something? You said that you had some strange nightmares at the start of the year. What if it was that? What if it was a trick?"



"It's just a book, Hermione! And I'm positive the idea was not sent to me from Voldemort. Honestly!" Just a detached piece of his soul...



"How can you be sure?"



"My visions of Voldemort always made my scar hurt. This one didn't," Harry finished definitively and crossed his arms over his chest.



Hermione frowned and pursed her lips but didn't retort.



"Anyway, I think this stuff is important. I think that this is the part that I was meant to find. We need to get the rest of it translated so we can see if there's anything more."



The group agreed and finally disbanded. Harry checked his watch and grumbled at how much time that had taken. He barely had enough time to make it across the grounds and port-key to the manor.



He slipped into a bathroom, put on his cloak and a silencing charm and began to race out of the castle and across the grounds. His mind was still whirling with what he'd read, and wondering how he would bring it up with Tom. He hadn't told Tom about the book or what he was doing with Hermione and Ginny in translating it. He wasn't sure why, but he just hadn't.



He supposed it was just one of those things that he had wanted to find on his own. Would Tom think he'd been hiding things though? He hated the thought that the other man might suspect him of any form of secrets or betrayal. Especially so early on in their 'relationship'. He was afraid of doing anything wrong that would screw up what was happening.



He huffed in frustration. He needed to tell Tom. He wouldn't keep this hidden from the other man, no matter how scared he was of what would happen. He just had to be honest. The truth of the matter was that he'd long ago given up on the idea of the book providing him with anything other than an interesting glimpse into the history of a dead race. Or, what he had thought to be a dead race. He supposed this latest revelation meant that they weren't dead – they had just left.



Harry finally crossed the wards and pulled his sleeve up, muttering the activation into the port-key and disappearing with a soft pop.



– –



Harry was about half way up the stairs when he heard another pop in the entrance hall behind him. He turned around and saw the grizzled form of his Defense teacher, 'Moody'. He smirked. It had been a while since he'd been in the manor at the same time was when Barty made one of his infrequent visits.



"Hey Barty," Harry said, pausing on the stairs and waiting for the other man to join him. 'Moody' smirked and began to hobble up the stairs.



"Potter," he said with a nod of his head.



"Our Lord has regained his old appearance. Just giving you a heads up," Harry said as they began to climb the stairs together.



"He has? Have you seen it?" 'Moody' asked with an eager fire glowing in his eyes.



Harry smiled and ducked his head again before nodding. "I have. He's glorious."



They came to the door of the study and Harry knocked lightly on the door.



"Come," the voice called out in a commanding tone and Harry pushed the door open a bit and peered through. Voldemort was sitting in his office chair behind his desk. Opposite him in one of three chairs was Severus Snape. Harry smirked.



Snape twisted slightly in his chair and scowled at the sight of Harry standing there.



"We're both here. Is... he supposed to be aware of our other friend?" Harry asked, jerking his chin towards Snape, and then nodding his head back over his shoulder.



Voldemort smirked slightly and inclined his head. "Yes Harry. You are both to enter."



Snape's face betrayed his confusion and curiosity for a moment before he masked the emotions away.



Harry pushed the door all the way open and strode confidently inside and sat down in the open chair to Snape's right. Snape watched him with hatred in his eyes, but his gaze was instantly drawn back to the door. Harry watched as Snape's eyes went wide in absolute disbelief as Mad-Eye Moody walked in through the open doorway, glaring and sneering down at the Potions master.



"You!" Snape gasped. There was no masking the absolute shock on the man's face now and Harry snickered. Snape turned and glared again at Harry, who just kept on grinning as the supposed ex-auror limped his way across the room and sat down in the last remaining chair.



Voldemort didn't waste much time in explaining to Snape who 'Moody' actually was, but Harry had still greatly enjoyed the potion master's reaction to the revelation. Snape had apparently been there for about thirty minutes when Harry and 'Moody' had arrived, so his debriefing was already done. Voldemort spent the next fifteen minutes describing the tasks he had for the two professors at the school, which mostly just involved keeping their eyes open, and reporting on any conversations they had with Dumbledore or the other staff members that appeared to be of any value.



It was already expected that 'Moody' would not be returning as the Defense teacher again the next year. Not only would it look suspicious if a teacher was suddenly able to get around the jinx on the position, it would also be difficult keeping the real Alastor Moody alive inside his own trunk for that long. As it was, the ex-auror's health was already seriously failing and Barty wasn't sure the man would actually survive to the end of term, 6 weeks away.



The two professors were especially instructed to pay close attention and immediately report on, anyone voicing suspicions on Harry's Potter's behavior or loyalties.



The meeting was concluded and Voldemort instructed Harry to remain behind. Snape sneered at Harry as he passed and left the room. Barty smirked and jerked his chin in a departing gesture.



As soon as the magical energy of the two wizards had disappeared from the manor, Voldemort sat down, heavily in his chair, sighed, and morphed back into Tom Riddle. Harry smiled at the sight, pulled out his wand and banished the three chairs to the back of the room and sat down on the floor beside Tom's chair.



Tom's long fingers ran into Harry's hair and the younger wizard sighed happily. The two remained quiet for a moment before Harry gave a much more resigned sounding sigh and cleared his throat.



"I need to tell you something."



Tom's fingers stopped and he slowly removed them. Harry was about to begin when Tom stood up and motioned for Harry to follow. The younger was confused, but did as instructed. The two made their way down the hall and ended up in the library. Tom went straight to the chaise lounge and sat down on the end that had two backs, forming a corner and then patted the space beside him.



Harry eyed the spot with wide eyes for a moment before grinning and sitting down beside Tom. Tom wasted no time in guiding Harry's head down into his lap and Harry could only grin wider as he sighed happily in what he had just now decided was his absolute favorite position to be in.



"Now, Harry, what is it you need to tell me?" Tom said letting his hand come up and thread into Harry's hair again.



"Back, just a short while before I came to you, but after I had had several visions from in your head, I began to wonder about something I'd heard you think on several occasions," Harry began.



"You had thought about your 'task', but I couldn't quite figure out what you were referring to, even from the context. But I was curious. I asked the portion of your soul in me if he knew or if he could tell me anything about it. He said he couldn't, but he directed me to something that he said would help me figure it out. He told me to look underneath Slytherin's desk inside his study in the Chamber."



At this, Tom's hand stopped moving.



"I found the book. Obviously, it was in some language I couldn't read so I asked him if there was anything that would help me translate it. So he directed me to the book on the Old Aldric language. I slowly started working on translating it in my free time. I couldn't see anything in the book that answered my question about your task, and after I while I practically forgot that was the reason I started translating it.



"It ended up being the thing I used to get Hermione to think I'd started trusting her again. She needed to be included in something I was doing, and the bit of your soul told me that this would be a good project to do that. He told me that it would be 'enlightening' for her if she helped translate the book. So I got her a copy of the original text and she's been working on translating it in her free time ever since.



"All the stories, up until now, just seemed like historical journal entries from the ancient elves. It was fascinating in a historical sense, but none of it seemed relevant to anything important. That's the reason I never mentioned it. Like I said, I basically forgot that this whole thing started out with the intention of figuring out your 'task'. I don't want you to think I was hiding something. I would never hide something from you if I thought it was important, and I really didn't at the time. I feel stupid now, looking back, and I'm really sorry..."



"You got to the end," Tom's voice cut in.



Harry nodded his head. "Just about. Hermione and Ginny have been doing all the translating lately. I've helped a bit, but mostly I've just let them work on it while I hung around. It's given them the sense that we're still close and everyone else in Gryffindor always sees us hanging out together, which has helped convince people that I've made up with them."



"Ginny? Ginny Weasley? Isn't she the girl –"



"That had your diary in my second year, yeah."



"Hmm..."



"Yeah," Harry said and sighed heavily. "Anyway, Hermione and Ginny got to these three entries – one about the old elves' seers making some prediction about the end of the world. Then an entry about some group contacting Magic to warn it? But it already knew. That the prophecy basically said that muggles would bring about the end of the world by trying to steal magic that wasn't theirs. And that two lords would be selected from the magical-human half-breeds – from wizards – a Dark Lord and a Light Lord, and that it would be their task to stop the muggles from taking magic, and save the wizards and the magical creatures from the muggle's apocalypse..." Harry's voice trailed off and he sighed. "Is it true?"



"Yes, Harry," Tom's voice said softly. "There is a bit more to it than that, but that is the gist of it."



"I'm sorry if it seems like I was hiding something from you," Harry apologized in a strained, quiet voice. Part of him was terrified that Tom would be angry with him. "I didn't mean for it to happen like this. I swear I'll tell you of anything like this I'm doing in the future. It just seemed like a side pet-project to keep Hermione and Ginny busy. I didn't –"



"Shhh... it's okay Harry. I'm not angry," Tom said, reassuringly as he began to run his hand through Harry's hair again.



Harry heaved a great, relieved breath. "Really?" he gasped hopefully.



"Yes, Harry, really."



Harry sighed and nuzzled his face into Tom's thigh and smiled. The two were quiet for a moment before Harry spoke again.



"I'm glad it's you," he said in a near-whisper.



"Hmm?"



"I'm glad that you're the Dark Lord. If anyone can do it, you can."



Tom barked a small laugh and then sighed. "I hope you're right."



– –




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