Voldemort was walking up the stairs to the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts. Dumbledore's office. In Dumbledore's school. In Dumbledore's world. He simply couldn't find another term.
His thoughts were not accompanied by the typical anger. He was calm. He knew he was dead.
Why wasn't he angry? Because it was fair.
Because there is only power.
It was Dumbledore in all his glory, gesturing him to come in.
Voldemort lifted an eyebrow in a half-surprise. "You do?"
"Of course. It's the law of nature. I just like to describe it in a very different manner." Dumbledore was now standing by the window and Voldemort could see his eyes twinkling.
They stood silent for a while.
"I have to say, you almost got me with the taboo curse." Admitted Dumbledore finally.
If Voldemort was surprised, he didn't show it.
Dumbledore continued. "Of course, you should have..."
"Come myself instead of snatchers, I know." Finished Voldemort and Dumbledore nodded.
"Not that I am complaining." Said Dumbledore seriously.
"Of course not." Drawled Voldemort and sat down to the armchair, courtesy of Dumbledore's conjuration. It was a very comfortable armchair, exactly to his tastes. Dumbledore really knew him well.
They sat in silence. For once Dumbledore wasn't mocking him by humming some stupid songs or offering lemon drops. Voldemort always knew it was a sign of Dumbledore's confidence. Others thought it was a sign of dementia or whatever. Fools.
Dumbledore wasn't mocking him now, nor was he boasting his victory. It just wasn't his style. He won the war from beyond the grave. Essentionally using three teenagers and one double-agent against his army. Now that was something. Old man was genius.
It felt oddly pleasant to sit in Dumbledore's office and talking to him. Without constantly mocking him, Dumbledore was not a bad company. Even Voldemort acknowledged his experience and intelligence.
Because there was only power. It is unfair, when a stronger wizard defeat the weaker? It doesn't matter what his ideals are. All that matters is his power. Does it matter if one cheated, if it resulted in his victory?
He won,therefore he is the stronger one.
It doesn't matter what form does the power have. Wisdom, information, anger . . . or love. Voldemort finally admited it. After all, it was just another name for power.
The war was not between good and evil. It was between two men.
Potter knew. He did as Dumbledore said and won. Dumbledore manipulated him. But is manipulating bad? After all, Potter won and that's what matters in the end.
He stood up. Dumbledore extended his hand and Voldemort shook it. After all, Voldemort respected only power. And Dumbledore was simply more powerful.
"Welcome to Hogwarts, Professor Riddle."