This story was written in response to Entropy's challenge. Credit goes to him/her for the idea and for the first couple of lines which are written in bold. And, of course, Lord Voldemort himself, and all of the events referred to in this story belong to JK Rowling. Which doesn't leave much that I own, does it? Oh, well!!
His name was not Tom. As far as he was concerned Tom Riddle had died long ago, on that marvellous day when he had finally done what he had wanted to do for so long- found where his cowardly Muggle father was hiding out and killed him.
Ever since he had found out about his heritage and the way in which his father had deserted his mother, he had fantasised about finding him and making him pay; teaching him that there were consequences to treating the family of Salazar Slytherin in such a fashion.
Even now, after almost half a century had passed, Voldemort felt no guilt about his actions that day. As far as he was concerned, it was inevitable. A Muggle like Tom Riddle deserting a woman of magical heritage, particularly one with noble blood like that of Salazar Slytherin.
What he had done, he had done to avenge his mother’s honour and there was no question in his mind that it was justified. He felt almost as though the murder of his father had been necessary in order to right the imbalance which had been wrought in the universe by that perverted relationship and the subsequent desertion.
Voldemort had read about Slytherin, of course. Ever since he had found out that he was of that great man’s blood, he had read practically every book in Hogwarts’ library that contained any reference to him. No doubt he had missed a few. The library was a huge resource. But he had done the best he could, and he doubted that there was much information that he had neglected, even if there were books he had overlooked.
And all of the books he had read, and all he had learned in History of Magic, where he had been probably the only student in the history of Hogwarts to actually listen to that old fool, Binns, had led him to the same conclusion. That Salazar would be turning in his grave if he knew that a descendent of his had lowered herself to marry a Muggle.
There was no doubt in Voldemort’s mind that Slytherin’s view of Muggles had been the correct one. Everything he had experienced in his early life among Muggles had led him to the conclusion that they were cruel and foolish and inferior in every way to Voldemort and his kind. Even before he had known that he was a wizard, he had known that he was in some way superior to these people who surrounded him.
He did not want to be one of them and in the Oedipal act of killing his father, he had also killed the part of him which made him ordinary; the part of him that was still Tom Riddle.
Oh, it was a few more years before he could openly discard the name he had been born with, but in his heart the name meant nothing more to him after that. It was simply an alias; a name which he had to use in public for a while, until he could present his true face to the world.
The far more appropriate name of Lord Voldemort was not something he intended to use openly until he knew it would gain the respect that he knew he deserved.
Ok, so he had always been respected at Hogwarts. The teachers, stupid fools, for the most part, had been easily misled into believing that an intelligent boy who had spent so much of his life being ill-treated in a Muggle orphanage, must, by definition, be of a good and noble nature. Fooling them had been so easy that it had been almost disappointing. The only exception had been Dumbledore. Much though Voldemort despised that old Muggle-lover, he couldn’t deny that Dumbledore was probably the second greatest wizard of the day-the only one who was even a credible opponent.
The students too had respected and looked up to Tom Riddle, the prefect, the head-boy, the most brilliant student Hogwarts had ever known.
But it wasn’t enough. The reputation he had gained at Hogwarts was one of which Tom Riddle could be proud, but Lord Voldemort aspired to greater things, and he would not have his real name besmirched by any association with normality. He did not want people to say, in later years, that they had known Voldemort at school or that “Lord Voldemort was the smartest boy in my class” or that they had worked with him. No, he wanted the very sound of his name to strike fear into the hearts of all who heard it. He wanted to be more than human; more even than a wizard.
And he had gone further towards attaining this aim than any man before or since. During his time at Hogwarts, he had already begun experimenting with the idea of creating horcruxes. Getting the information out of that stupid old fool, Slughorn had been utterly simple. Like most of the staff, Slughorn had looked favourably on Tom, and being a man who wanted to keep in with those who looked likely to rise to positions of importance, he was more than willing to do just about anything the future Lord Voldemort asked of him.
The idea of immortality had attracted him greatly, then as now. He remembered his early assumption that magic prevented you from dying; his belief that his mother could not be a witch or she wouldn’t have died. That had been one of the things which had made the magical world so attractive to him, and once he had realised that magical blood did not guarantee immorality, he had set about finding a way by which that ultimate goal could be achieved.
His pride in having achieved it was made even more satisfactory by the knowledge that he had done so without others realising. People knew of his greatness, but they did not know just how brilliant he actually was. That gave him a good deal of satisfaction.
On leaving Hogwarts, he had achieved his aim of inspiring fear in the hearts of all those who did not agree with his view of how the wizarding world should be.
Who could have predicted that the young boy from the orphanage-despised and looked down on by mere Muggles- could have risen to such heights? Heights that would enable him to pay back the Muggle world for the way it had treated him and to ensure that Salazar’s plans for the wizarding world might finally come to fruition.
He could not understand why those ideas met with so much opposition among his own people. Muggles did not belong in the world of magic; it was as simple as that. And no matter how people tried to maintain that Mudbloods were witches and wizards by virtue of their ability, the fact remained that they were bringing dangerous Muggle ideas into this world and creating a serious danger that the wizarding world would be discovered.
His own mother’s experience was a cautionary tale about what could happen when the two worlds came into contact with one another. It was obvious that Muggles had absolutely no respect for magical folk. History recorded the amount of discrimination which witches and wizards had suffered in the past. And it hadn’t disappeared, whatever Muggle lovers like Dumbledore might think.
It was easy for Dumbledore to defend Muggles. He had never lived amongst them. Voldemort had, and he knew just how they treated anybody who was a little bit different; a little bit special; somebody destined for great things like himself. He had been feared and despised in the Muggle world.
He was feared in the wizarding world too, but it was a different sort of fear to the one he had previously experienced. In the Muggle world, people had feared him because they did not understand his abilities. Wizarding folk, on the other hand, feared him exactly because they did understand his abilities.
They knew that he was the greatest living wizard, possibly the greatest wizard who had ever lived since the days of Salazar Slytherin, and they knew just what he was capable of doing to them should they oppose him.
Their fear made him feel powerful. He had always appreciated the feeling that he was feared. Ever since he had taken those two children in the orphanage into that cave, he had known just how good a feeling it was to have people terrified of you. As a child, the knowledge that he could inspire fear in others and make them pay if they mistreated him had given him his only feelings of power and control. When you grew up in an orphanage and had your entire life controlled by impersonal beings, feelings of power and control were a heady experience.
He had known, even then, that he would grow into a man who would inspire fear and respect in far more important people than little children. And when he found out that he was a wizard and that his special powers were actually real magic, his belief had been strengthened all the more.
It had worked out as he had planned, of course. Most of his plans did, and always had. It had taken a few years, but eventually Lord Voldemort had gained all the respect Tom Riddle had craved.
And he had gained a few more names. The name of Lord Voldemort had become such a powerful one that few even dared to speak it. The called him “the Dark Lord” or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named” or “You-Know-Who”. On the whole, he liked the Dark Lord best. Lord of Darkness- just the impression he wanted to give to the world.
He didn’t think much of You-Know-Who. It sounded slightly disrespectful, although, of course it pleased him that people did know who. Even without the use of his name, people knew exactly who was being discussed.
It was a good reputation to have, a reputation so formidable that even his defeat at the hands of a baby had not destroyed it entirely. Anybody with any intelligence or discernment had realised that Lord Voldemort was not a man who would allow himself to be destroyed that easily.
It was his one failure, he admitted rather ruefully, and he had to admit that he was glad that he had taken precautions so early in his career. It had never occurred to him that the horcruxes would be necessary before he had even reached the age of 70. For a wizard, that age was reasonably young.
And yet, in one sense, he was not altogether dismayed. He was disappointed that he had not managed to kill the child, of course. And it was frustrating to be as weak as he had been for so many years. But it had been exhilarating to know that the horcruxes had been successful and that, unless they were all destroyed, an event he considered to be unlikely in the extreme, Lord Voldemort would never die.
Yet, he was not truly living either. For years, he had been trapped in a state somewhere between that of life and death, and it was only the return of one of his followers that had finally given him hope of a return to his former self. Wormtail had not been one of his more loyal or able servants. Voldemort had always known that the main reason the man had sworn allegiance to him had been fear and not real loyalty. But fear had always served Lord Voldemort well, and anyway, he had little choice. His other supporters had deserted him, believing him destroyed, so he had to make do with what he was left.
Luckily, Wormtail had not been the only one to remain loyal, if you could call him loyal. There was one other Death Eater on whom he could depend- Crouch. With the help of both men, he had managed to attain the three things which he needed in order to rise again- the bone of his father, the flesh of a servant and the blood of an enemy.
And now, finally, Lord Voldemort was ready to complete his plans. Admittedly, his return had not been the unqualified success he had anticipated. Once again that Potter boy had managed to escape from him, and the most faithful of his servants had been kissed by a Dementor and was no more use to his master.
But all of those things were minor compared with the return of his body and the reformation of the Death Eaters. With those two successes, Voldemort was once again ready to take on the wizarding world. Soon all magical people would know of his return.
Soon he would take the position he had been born to hold. Nobody would dismiss him once he had taken control of the wizarding world and purged it of those who did not belong. Determination welled up in him. He knew he would succeed.
Soon the wizarding world would become the utopia dreamed of by Salazar Slytherin and ruled by the one true heir of Slytherin. And the name of Lord Voldemort would be revered beyond all others.
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