A/N: Hello, people!

I don't own Harry Potter.

I have no beta.



Hi! So, some info on what's going on. I'm homeless because of a stalking landlady who evicted us illegally but only got a slap on the wrist for it. Times are very hard as I'm living off and on in my family's van, or in a motel whenever we have money to afford it. It's been over a year and we're still waiting for something open up out of 90+ applications we've sent in and reaffirmed for months and months. Unfortunately, we're considered 'too poor' to qualify for housing. :)

You can find more info on the tagged post on my Tumblr. Link to said Tumblr is below if you're curious. Life sucks right now and I'm doing my best and it's not really going anywhere worthwhile. My health is even worse now and I've gotten officially diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, and PCOS. I also need to get tested for ADHD and Autism cuz the primary doctor and some ppl I know have made comments about my behavior. I'm in denial cuz I'm 27 and I'll be really pissed if something that serious went undiagnosed for so long.

TAGS: Drama, Angst, Feels, Flirting, I Cried A lot.

The fic isn't over, y'all.


It was Nagini that woke him up the next morning. The pressure of her extensive weight had vanished, taking the additional warmth she'd provided with her. Also, he heard how her body landed on the carpeted floor in great detail.

When he finally opened his eyes, it was to the sight of Voldemort's face. It also came with full awareness of everything around him.

Like the pain in his throat where he'd literally been sliced open and bled out. That was still a thing regardless of however long he'd been sleeping. Though it did feel like things were better with Voldemort beside him, watching him with intense, red eyes.

How long had he been watching, Harry couldn't say. He looked fond though. As if the very sight of Harry Potter was enough to make his day.

It bought to mind Voldemort's confession the night prior. He'd said, 'I Love You doesn't feel like it's enough' and Harry had damn near cried. Voldemort had always struggled with positive emotions his entire life and had grown up thinking he'd be incapable of feeling them, and yet there he was, finally realising that he could love another, and that love was hard to understand and express no matter what, but that it was still worth it.

He recalled the tear-stained face he'd been greeted with when he'd stumbled into that room, ready to destroy a Dark Lady and save his fiancé. Voldemort had cried for him. Had witnessed him literally be murdered in person and had an obvious, physical reaction. Hell, he'd even cried for Dumbledore!

These things were proof that after everything they'd been through together since their meeting, Tom Marvolo Riddle had indeed changed. He'd improved as a person and a leader and a friend and a lover. He was by no means perfect, but he'd come so far because he'd allowed himself to seek the things necessary to change.

Harry could bluster and be dramatic all he wanted, but at the end of the day he finally had proof of Lord Voldemort's regard. The one thing he'd been hoping for since all this drama had started over a year ago. And he'd finally gotten it!

All that was left was a talk about the immortality bit, but that could wait.

Magical Britain had to be informed of what had happened to both Herakles and Dumbledore. And then Harry's entire family had to have a meeting because no doubt Lily would be going mad with confusion and worry. And then… once everything was settled and they could truly be alone together again, he'd talk to Voldemort about his actions.

Again, he wasn't perfect. He'd improved and changed and became something More, but he was still human, and he was still capable of making mistakes. Voldemort made a big one, even if the results were pretty damn beneficial in the end. He had to learn that even though they'd confessed to each other already, there would still be consequences to his actions.

Harry loved him. He truly did. All those warm and fuzzy feelings. All that pain and panic over his potential death during the pandemic. Everything Harry had been through had been done with purpose and because he cared whether he wanted to admit it or not.

It was because he loved him that he would hold the man accountable for his actions.

"Hi," Harry whispered, mindful of the pain in his throat. "You look tired."

Voldemort trailed a nail down the side of Harry's cheek, eyes following the motion with intensity. "It's been a rough few days. I absorb a Horcrux in a painful ritual, find out you were kidnapped alongside the old coot, witnessed your murder, and then had to battle a powerful enemy almost to death. I don't think I've been this emotional since experiencing The Blitz."

Damn. That was a hard line to hear. Harry hated being reminded of the fact that Voldemort had been through some of the worst danger possible. To think of anyone having to go through that hurt Harry's heart terribly.

"I'm sorry I wasn't more careful."

Voldemort snorted. "You had warded that building from top to bottom. It isn't your fault that you didn't account for a type of Transfiguration that didn't rely on being an Animagus. They aren't exactly common after all. It's especially horrible that you would feel guilt even though you were the victim of it all."

While it probably wouldn't change Harry's mind for a while, it was nice to hear such reassurances. It was also nice to know where Voldemort stood on matters such as this one. Victim-blaming was not a part of his mindset it seemed.

"Are you going to make an announcement at the Ministry or do it from home on the radio?"

Voldemort sighed. "Something as big as this will require a press conference because there will be questions and it'd be best to get them all out as soon as possible. Plus, as you defeated Herakles, you'll need to be given an Order of Merlin for your contribution to Magical Britain's continued well-being."

"But I wasn't the onl-"

"Dumbledore will receive another one as well, posthumously of course."

"What about yo-"

"I made it a law ages ago, that all political leaders of Magical Britain cannot be awarded an Order of Merlin. It would be seen as favuoritism and I simply despite such things. While I may not be in the Ministry, I am the leader above all others and am the one the masses turn to first. It would be disingenuous for me to be awarded for anything."

He'd truly given such a thing some thought. Harry hadn't even been aware of such a law until now.

He wondered what inspired the need for it. Like, which political leader of the past had done something shady involving the Order of Merlin and its Classes?

"I don't need an award," Harry chose to say."

"Yet your contribution cannot be ignored, so rewarded you shall be, darling."

Harry flushed at such an endearing term. Was Voldemort one of those people who liked using all manner of nicknames and lovely-dovey terms? Did he actually like it when Harry teased him and called him a Twat Waffle? If so, Harry would simply have to never stop.

"And how are we going to explain away the mess of a state I'm in? It's a tad obvious that my neck had suffered some terrible trauma and I've no doubt in my mind that you'd want me to hide the results of what she'd done."

"You are a Healer, are you not?"

Indeed, he was. They were going to spin some kind of story about how Harry had valiantly kept himself alive as he and Dumbledore fought the maniac together. How Voldemort arrived in time to protect them from Herakles' most dangerous efforts, but it was too late for Dumbledore who had succumbed to the mutilations he'd been put through. And then Voldemort and Harry dueled her down until Harry landed the finishing blow or something of the sort.

It would be suitably dramatic to gain pity and admiration from the masses, but not too overdone because some things weren't easy to fake no matter how good of a liar one was. Herakles had been obliterated by the curses Voldemort had sent her way. There was nothing of her left save for her wand, if he recalled correctly. Dumbledore's body was mutilated beyond repair, and Harry was covered in all sorts of swollen bumps or inflamed gashes barely kept together by bandages.

He lacked the energy to try and heal himself all the way and hadn't trusted anyone else to fix him up as a result. Voldemort, while supremely talented in most anything, wasn't not a Healer. Harry would only trust him in such a role after they'd had months of training together where he taught the man everything he'd learned.

"I suppose we need to get up," Harry murmured, forcing his body into a sitting position. "I can tell it's almost noon and I want to get all of this done and over with. I've got a family to calm down, a shop to fix up, and a bunch of wounds that need to be taken care of properly lest Pomfrey comes kicking my door down in an effort to fix me herself once she hears the news."

"We must also hear Dumbledore's Last Will and Testament," Voldemort huffed. "While I'd just go along with the funeral I would for anyone else, he was a peculiar man and had peculiar beliefs. Who knows what he wants done to his dead body."

It was sweet how even though it was Albus Dumbledore, Voldemort still intended to do right by his Will's instructions. After all, it was his right as a citizen of Magical Britain, to leave such a thing behind.

Harry could feel the stinging in his eyes and grumbled to himself over its unnecessary presence. Didn't he cry enough yesterday? Why did he have to do it all over again?

And Voldemort, the Cockwomble that he truly was, just had to be all sweet and understanding in wrapping an arm around his shoulders!

Today was going to be a bitch.

The lights were blinding. The cameras of the reporters and the questions flying from every angle. Harry had no idea how politicians handled things like this constantly, because they were tiresome. He'd been standing by for only a few moments and he was already tired.

And the day was nowhere near finished.

Voldemort stood at the podium in his usual Glamour. The Ministry workers who could afford to miss being at their desks for the moment, had gathered behind the reporters, waiting with bated breath as Voldemort revealed exactly what had happened.

Or rather, an abridged version of what had happened to better save everyone's sensibilities.

"The murder of Albus Dumbledore is a tragedy that I'm sure none of us were expecting," Voldemort said softly. "He and Harry Potter were able to hold Herakles off until I arrived to lend my assistance. She was a formidable opponent, and it took the joint efforts of both of her victims to finally take her out. Unfortunately, she managed to land a killing blow to Albus as she went down. In the end, he departed this world in the only way a true, lionhearted Gryffindor could hope to. We will now take a moment of silence in his memory and appreciate everything he's done for our community."

Personal grievances aside, everyone did in fact remain silent as requested. Even from the people who did not like Dumbledore. He was a very polarising figure in Magical Britain's recent history so of course people would have feelings regardless of how good or bad they might be.

Once the moment was over, Voldemort continued with his announcement, telling everyone that Dumbledore was to be posthumously awarded an Order of Merlin: First Class for what he'd done, and he used that point to segue into Harry also receiving the same award since it was his attack that had put an end to her to begin with.

"All that remained of Herakles was her wand," Voldemort revealed. "It will be held in the Department of Mysteries where it will be thoroughly inspected and studied. And, should Greece's Ministry wish to have it back, they simply need to meet with me in person for negotiations. Until then, it will be considered a spoil of battle from one of their citizens-turned-villains."

Basically, if Magical Greece tried to start shite Magical Britain, Voldemort had enough over them to cause a lot of international problems. Their inability to control their own citizens had resulted in the deaths of a lot of innocent people. In the middle of all the drama, Voldemort, through Harry', had secured beneficial connections to many European countries and they would choose him over Greece's Ministry if it came to it.

Of course, it was always like Voldemort was playing 5D chess or something. This was supposed to be an announcement to put the community's fears to rest, but Voldemort had somehow managed to manipulate his audience effectively on several fronts, knowing full well that information would spread by the end of the day and everyone in the world would know what was going on in Magical Britain.

Harry's fondness for Voldemort and his genius brain was as strong as ever.

He wondered, if the Consort Tournament had never been initiated at all, would he and Voldemort still somehow have ended up together in the end? It seemed as if that regardless of how he felt in the beginning, the man had managed to have successfully roped him in anyway.

It might seem presumptuous, but he had a feeling that Voldemort would have still managed to find him and pursue him anyway. And without the stress of the tourney on hand, Harry Potter of that hypothetical universe, would have totally fallen much more quickly, though he wondered how genuinely it would have been in that world.

With an approving look, Harry watched as his fiancé did his job with all the finesse expected of a great leader, and he realised that he didn't mind it all that much. Watching Voldemort be great was good enough in his opinion. He could stand at his side for that at the very least.

Harry was sufficiently distracted by the sight of his father and godfather in their Auror robes, waiting at the very back of the atrium. Yeah, he had to see his family next.


"My poor baby!"

He expected this. The news breaking to the rest of the community meant that the moment he stepped foot in his parents' home, Lily Potter would wrap herself around him like an octopus, trying to comfort both him and her at the same time. He could feel her shaking, and sighed, knowing that there was nothing he could do but to let it happen.

If only Voldemort didn't have extra business to attend to. Harry hated having to face emotional people on his own. Harry had displayed a lot of emotion in the past twenty-four hours and had been forced to feel many things he wished he hadn't, but overall, he would not say he was an emotional individual at heart. His family though… bleeding heart, the lot of them.

Harry had always felt distant form them in a way because he wasn't like that.

And while he appreciated the concern, he just didn't feel like crying again so soon. So despite the sombre situation, he was pretty apathetic at the moment. It was less like Harry Potter was there, and more like a human-shaped rock was in his place, taking his mother's fear and worries for him.

"I can't believe that Albus is gone," she went on to say, pulling back to look over and James and Sirius. They had been there last night. They'd seen Dumbledore's body and what had happened to him. It had to be especially triggering for two people who used to look at the man as a mentor figure, to see him in the state he was in when he'd died.

It wasn't a hero's death, despite how heroic it had been.

Tales of heroes falling in battle didn't ever have the grimy details added in. Sure, it was usually done in protection of some cause or some person or place, but storytellers often left out the blood and the gore because people didn't want to think of those things. They didn't inspire a vision of glory and victory in the minds of the listeners. Those were unhappy things and being a winner is supposed to make you happy.

There was a sort of haunted look in their eyes. The faraway kind that spoke of seeing too much and not having the time to accept it.

And Harry, while he loved his family, didn't think they should go one making assumptions. "He could have put up more of a fight," Harry told them quietly. "Fawkes was there and he ordered Fawkes to not help him the entire time. Fawkes was heartbroken when he informed me of Dumbledore's plans. He was ready to die and had been planning to go out in confrontation with Herakles by himself. Me being abducted at the same time wasn't part of the plan, but the rest of it seemed to be along the lines of what he expected."

It was James who looked the most hurt by Harry's revelation. "Why would he want to die in such a way? Why die at all?"

"He was old," Harry shrugged. "His lover had already died, and then his long-time friends died, and many of his other friends had died years ago in the war. It can really begin piling up once the ball starts rolling. He was tired and he wanted to die on his own terms."

And Harry could understand in a way. He'd lived a full life. The ups and the downs and everything in between. There wasn't much else for a man as old as he was, to do. Not when he was mostly alone in life.

Remus drew Sirius into a tight embrace, because he obviously needed the support to stay upright. Sometimes, for people who lived good lives, it was difficult to understand the woes of those who were used to suffering and pain.

Despite his family, Sirius lived a life of privilege and overall acceptance. The same with James. Purebloods of the Sacred Twenty-Eight who had every opportunity available to them in life. Even in the war they hadn't lost much because they hadn't been out there seeing the worst of it. Dumbledore wouldn't have let them at their young ages.

It was hard to sympathise with a mindset unlike your own. Neither man was suicidal, nor had they had much experience with people who were.

Harry's experience was geared more toward animals than people, but the concept was the same. Animals felt just as strongly as people did and suffered many of the same sicknesses and ailments as well. His experience with creatures like Crookshanks for example, had prepared him for this.

He didn't like it, but he understood.

Lily's cold hand trailed across the bruise still visible on Harry's throat. "What exactly caused this?" she asked, eyes dark and knowing. It seemed she had put the minor clues together.

"It's fine, mum. I happen to be very good at Healing Charms." Which he was. He didn't work all that time with Pomfrey for nothing after all. None of that effort to become a Magical Veterinarian did not go to waste!

The mottled purple line from where his throat had been slit, still hurt a bit. Harry wasn't in the habit of self-medicating when he didn't think it was necessary. The pain wasn't too terrible and frankly, he didn't have the energy to do more, nor the interest in taking potions when he didn't have to.

"It's a good thing the bitch is dead," she declared. "I would have hunted her down and done the same to her in return."

Lily Potter was a terrifying woman, and she knew it. She'd done many things to protect her son, and she didn't care about morality or legality. Not when it came to family.

Harry appreciated the love his family had for him, even if he wasn't good at showing it most of the time.


For the sake of those here, I simply wanted to inform you that I do
not regret what has happened. I have long since expected this day
to come and have been preparing for quite some time. While I was
not sure exactly how it would happen, I knew that it would come to
this eventually and I was ready for it.

I am not afraid of death. I have been alive for a long time and have
seen and experienced more than most could hope to. Humanity has
shown me all that it has to offer, and I have appreciated the life I've
lived in all its glory. I prefer to think of this not as a goodbye, but as
an invitation for us to meet again someday soon, on the Next Great

To Harry James Potter, I leave my home in Godric's Hollow. It has
been in my family for many generations and was a place I wish I'd
appreciated more in my youth. Everything within those walls I leave
to Harry to do with as he pleases. I trust his judgment completely.

I've also entrusted the care of my good friend Fawkes to Harry. They
have become close these past few months, and they have proven that
anything is possible, even between those of entirely opposite species.
Fawkes has found a new friend and I hope they share many good times

I simply ask that Harry distribute the letters in my study, to the people
they are each written for, and deliver the plant on the desk in my study,
to his fiancé.

To Tom Marvolo Riddle, I leave a small, Snakewood tree that has been
cared for in a traditional bonsai style. The tale of this tree lies in Tom's
ancestry. Salazar Slytherin's wand was Snakewood with a Basilisk Fang
Core. That wand was passed down in Tom's maternal family for years,
until one of his ancestors took it with her as she stowed away on a ship
to the newly founded Americas.

Eventually, after striking up a relationship with the magical natives of
the New World, they started a school together called Ilvermorny, and
shared their combined knowledge of magic with future generations. In
the courtyard of the school, Salazar Slytherin's wand was planted and
tended to. It sprouted a Snakewood tree capable of healing almost any
ailment. For years many have tried to prune said tree, but only once did
it yield, and it was to me during some time in the late 1950s. I took it
home and planted it and made sure to tend to it as best as I could.

I hope that Tom will accept the last remnants of his family, as it is most
likely the only thing of worth I could truly give him in this life. And I hope
he knows that despite everything that has happened, I am sorry, and I
am very proud of him.

Finally, I wish to be cremated, and for my ashes to be spread in the
backyard of my old home. Harry will see something fascinating when
he does so.

Until we meet again, my friends.

Voldemort stared down at the floor, wondering how that barmy bastard managed to be the way he was, even up to his death. And to make things even more annoying, he'd been handing out favours as if they were needed or wanted.

On his own end, he was far too old for the words of his once-teacher to be something he cared about. At the same time, perhaps those were the words he'd always longed to hear from the man. Ever since he'd foolishly revealed his status as a Parselmouth, it had felt like he was Wrong. As if this thing he was born capable of made him a horrible person.

It was insulting to say the least.

But to hear Dumbledore, in his final days, acknowledge it and apologise… it meant something.

Harry was openly crying for the third time in the past twenty-four hours. Voldemort had a bit more self-control than that, but he did feel the urge to do it as well. No matter how much he tried, he wasn't an emotionless husk, and he was affected by the words and actions of those around him.

"Quite a character he was," Harry murmured fondly. "He lived as he believed, and sometimes those beliefs led to the wrong choices, but he dealt with the consequences and continued doing what he thought was best… even if it wasn't what was best for everyone."


It takes a certain amount of courage, Gryffindorish perhaps, to live your truth, regardless of what it means to everyone else.

"We'll have to postpone that talk until tomorrow," Harry murmured as they were finally released from the Will Reading. "Seems Dumbledore had some additional duties for me to handle and I'd rather get them out of the way immediately."

Voldemort trailed a slender finger down the side of Harry's face, watching him almost hungrily as he did so. "That would indeed be for the best. Shall we have dinner?"

He liked that idea. "We can get some takeaway," Harry suggested. "I'm feeling like some Thai."

"Looking forward to more Tom Yum?"

Harry flushed and nodded. "I'm weak to Toms of all kinds it seems."

Voldemort's blazing red eyes dilated considerably in response, and Harry could feel his pulse speeding up in response. He never had to worry that Voldemort was attracted to him, and it was kind of hot to witness someone's attraction to oneself when you liked them in return. An unusual experience but not one he would avoid.

"Perhaps, in the future, we can explore just how weak you are to a certain kind of Tom," Voldemort purred.

Any further flirting was halted by a surly looking Goblin who demanded that they fuck off - in my kinder words than that but the sentiment was there - and Harry skittered away, feeling mortified and trying to ignore Voldemort's pleased chuckles as he went.

He really was a Twat Waffle, huh? That much would never change.


I apologise for not being able to have enough time. I knew all along
that I was going to die soon, and I knew that I had to get my affairs
in order before that time came. I knew that Herakles was sure to be
involved, and I wanted to settle things here before that happened.

As of the time of me writing this letter, I can proudly tell you that I'm
pleased with how things have turned out in our community. In the end,
all of my fears were for naught, and we as a people have managed to
progress further than I ever imagined we could. And all of it was done
under Tom's leadership in so little time.

Yes, I count a couple decades as little time, because for someone who
has seen a dozen decades go by, it is but a small fraction of my life now.
To think so much has changed in such a short time. It makes me feel a
little nostalgic for the past, but happy for the halcyon days ahead.

I left something for you in the lounge. I penned the work myself during
one of my trips around the world with my friend Elphias Doge. We had
only a few months to ourselves, but we did manage to travel the world,
witness many mysteries, and experience some miracles on our journey.
I even recorded some fascinating information about flora and fauna alike.
Perhaps it will be useful to you and your endeavours in the future.

Thank you for being such a welcoming young soul, and for befriending
Fawkes. Despite his dramatics, I can tell he gets lonely very easily. My
old friend may choose to depart for a time, and I simply ask that you'll
allow him the space he needs to mourn. I have no doubt he will return
eventually, once he's sorted himself out.

With fond memories and a calm spirit,

"I have cried enough this week!" Harry hissed, trying to replace the sadness with any other emotion so he didn't have to deal with another headache from crying too much. Of course, the old man just had to throw in some sad words and heartbreaking goodbyes in there.

The book Dumbledore left him was like a personal journal, complete with diagrams and notes made about all sorts of plants and animals he'd seen in Africa and South America during his youth. It was easy to see the care in which he approached such an endeavour, and it made Harry sad to realise that he wouldn't be around to talk to anymore.

Even when he was meddlesome, he was still fascinating to speak to. And now he was gone.

All because Harry hadn't been properly prepared.

He knew Voldemort told him it wasn't his fault, but he couldn't help but feel guilty anyway. If he'd had a few more protections in place, then at least Albus wouldn't have had to die in such a terrible way. Dying at home surrounded by friends would have been better than… what had happened.

Harry took a deep breath and grabbed the rest of the letters. He had a few deliveries to make.

McGonagall, Severus, Voldemort, Sirius & Remus, James & Lily, and someone named Alwyn. He could focus on everything else when he had the free time to do so.


I know, even when I'm no longer here I'm still using the name you hate
so much. I could never understand your distaste for such a name, as it's
always seemed like a fine name in my opinion. Tom Riddle. A simple but
evocative name. And certainly easier to write than my plethora of names.
My name always made me sound pompous and arrogant, but your name
always seemed inviting. Like you were someone anyone to speak to.

You: an enigma.

Me: the noble white bumblebee who pierces the valley of wolves.

Yes, you have always been obsessed with being different and better than
people around you, but a simple name with a handsome face could have
gone a long way. I realise now though, after many conversations with you
and Harry both, that I could have imparted better lessons when you were
my student. Perhaps, had I done better, you could have gotten everything
you've ever wanted without mutilating your body and soul over and over to
get there.

These are all hypothetical assumptions though and will do us no good now.
But it is something I do regret. I wish that I had done better by you in the
beginning, and I wish I made better decisions. We cannot change the past,
but it's better late than never I suppose. You've always deserved an apology
at the very least, and I'm sorry it took me being gone already, just for you
to get it.

Some bravery I have. Couldn't even manage to do it face to face. In the end,
I suppose I'm not a great example of a Gryffindor after all.

Other than the tree, I actually have something else for you. The key inside
the envelope is to a chest I hid. Specifically, in a place that only you would
know of. Think of where you obtained the Gaunt Ring, and you'll know where
to find this last gift. I did not mention it in my Will because I wanted it to be
a surprise for Harry. In my last weeks, I crafted a little something special for
whenever you ask for young Harry's hand properly.

After speaking with him at length many times, and learning about him and
his life, I truly think this will be the best option for your proposal! It took a
few weeks of effort so I hope it pays off.

Good luck, young Enigma.

The Noble White Bumblebee Who Pierces the Valley of Wolves

…Not one time in his life, was Dumbledore ever what the kids would call, 'cool'. He was mortifying in life and in death. Voldemort tossed the letter aside in favour of the iron key that he'd been delivered with it.

Dumbledore placing something in the Gaunt Shack, meant he knew a lot more than Voldemort had ever given him credit for. And yet he'd done nothing with that knowledge. At least… nothing Voldemort was aware of.


A gift for his official proposal to Harry James Potter. Something crafted by Dumbledore's own hands even.

Even in death he was still a meddling old coot.

Voldemort didn't care... he was just a bit tired from everything that happened.

"Okay, I need to begin with how me being annoyed by what you did does not change how I feel about you," Harry said with a serious face.

Voldemort had gone to Harry's flat for dinner, just as they'd planned, and he'd brought the takeaway with him before getting there to save them some time. Sitting on Harry's sofa in his small lounge, made things feel more private and intimate. Just them and the sleeping Pulchriteals in the corner.

Dinner had been casual with small conversation now and then whenever something of interest came up.

He had to admit though, he was nervous because Harry could hold a grudge for ages and when he wanted to say something, nothing was going to stop him. Not even a tragedy in his life.

So, to start off this important conversation with such a line... it made the Dark Lord a bit nervous.

"Finding out that I'm functionally immortal until I age to death, was not exactly something I ever thought I'd go through, and while I acknowledge that without your action I would not be here right now, I am still angry that you went behind my back despite what I told you about how I don't want to be immortal."

Which part was he supposed to focus on?

Harry was technically immortal but also not? Or the fact that he was really angry about Voldemort's clever way of getting all of the Deathly Hallows into his ownership.

"I died and ended up meeting the personification of Death Themself and was informed that no matter what happens, I will not die until I grow too old for my body to handle it anymore. They told me what you did and explained the different forms of immortality available to mortals. Once I die for good, the Hallows will lose all their powers and become useless trinkets with no remaining worth."

Death. As a Being. Or perhaps a Non-Being like the Dementors?

Capable of speech and physical manifestation.

And Harry had met... Them.

Harry sighed, his look of disappointment piercing Voldemort to his core. "Voldemort, you are going to have to accept the fact that I will be gone one day, joining Dumbledore on the Next Great Adventure. Are you truly going to remain on this earth forever, pining away for what you once had and will never have again? Would you honestly rather be away from me simply because you're scared of not knowing what happens after we die?"

As always, Harry managed to render Voldemort's valid concerns down to the most childish-sounding explanation possible. But it was more than that.

He sighed. Dumbledore had had words for him over it as well, and he'd known that this conversation would eventually come up once Harry realised what had happened. He just hadn't wanted it to be so soon.

Across from him, Harry was staring through him. Sure, they were facing each other, but there was a vacancy in Harry's expression that told the Dark Lord that he was focused on something else.

Lost in his thoughts as he gave Voldemort time to organise his own thoughts.

"I have so many things I want to accomplish," Voldemort admitted. "It isn't just a fear of the unknown. A common fear among most people might I add. There is only so much time a human has, and while magical humans have the benefit of an extended lifespan, it's not enough. Why would I want to lose such an opportunity for everything?"

All he got was a deadpan look of pity. A remarkable mix of expressions.

Harry did not believe his reasoning, understanding how flimsy it really was.

Not even Voldemort could stand behind it as a legitimate excuse for too long.

"I regret hurting you and violating your trust in me, but I'm not young anymore, Harry. I've been like this since I was a child and for good reason if you recall the details of my past. Being truly happy for the first time in my life isn't going to undo decades of terror at the thought of dying. Yes, I finally have someone in my life who would actually miss me if I died tomorrow, but it's been decades of living this way, and my problems aren't going to be resolved within a few months of realising I'm in love for the first time in my life. It might never go away, Harry."

It was never easy to admit the truth of everything, but if there was anyone he could be honest with it was Harry.

He'd always been terrified of being forgotten. Tom Riddle Jr. was well aware of how unimportant he was as a child. He could have died in so many ways - starvation and bombings being major potential killers in his young life - and no one would have cared or remembered him fondly on the muggle or magical sides. That kind of life wasn't something so easily shed.

He wanted to be special. He would fall asleep trying to assure himself that he was better than everyone else and that he was worth something. He'd promise himself that he'd realise all of his dreams and goals someday, no matter what it took. Nothing would hold him back and people would remember him on his own terms.

Dumbledore would have never understood. As someone born into privilege, he looked at his name with all its dramatic length and meanings and disliked it and the attention that came with it. He didn't know what it was like to be a nobody that meant nothing to anyone. He didn't know what it was like to be overlooked and judged to be less important than another child and therefore have to go without clothes or food in favour of giving another orphan a better experience because people around you did not like you or think you were deserving of the bare necessities in life.

It wasn't even a full two decades of life in such a place, but even now it had a profound effect on his views of the world.

Voldemort wanted to make Harry understand, but it was hard confronting truths you tried to ignore for decades.

A warm had touched his cheek, and he found Harry's concerned gaze awaiting him. "I suppose you have a good point," the young man told him. "We can't expect miracles every day, and natural healing is never a quick and easy process."

Harry pushed himself into Voldemort's personal space, pressing against him so they could be closer. "I'm going to work on understanding you and your experiences better. I want to be someone you can confide in without prompting and who can give you the common decency you deserve. And I appreciate your genuine remorse when it comes to my feelings. I suppose this is something we're just going to have to work through together. Al couples have their ups and downs so this isn't anything we can't handle."

And just like that, his nerves vanished. We. 'This isn't anything we can't handle.' Harry still considered them a 'we', meaning they were still together despite his actions.

Everything would be okay... eventually.

Harry's head came to rest on Voldemort's shoulder. "Think you can drop the Glamour?"

With a huff, Voldemort did as requested, enjoying Harry's pleased hum in response.

"...I like how much bigger you are than me when you're like this."

And the flames of desire decided to burn him alive once more.

Harry would be the end of him.


A/N: Another is done!

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I'm going to be re-vamping this fic sometime soon.