Disclaimer: I obviously own nothing from the Harry Potter series. The Vanquisher of Grindelwald is fanfiction and written purely for fun and no profit.

Author's note: This story is rated M primarily due to violence. Reviews are appreciated.


The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to one unwillingly, born as the year dies... and the lost heir will have the power to surpass the Dark Lord, for he will have a power the Dark Lord knows not... and one must die at the hand of the other, for only one can master death... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the year dies...

The phoenix will rest when the hallowed one consumes his soul... summer and winter combine with the kiss of death... and death will touch the one who dies and the one who lives time and time again... the phoenix will rest when the hallowed one gives him the kiss of death...

In another life, Merope Gaunt was a poor, uneducated, abused, inbred, near-squib of a witch.

In another life, Tom Marvolo Riddle's father was a rich, handsome muggle named Tom Riddle.

In another life, Merope, despite her life circumstances, managed to obtain the ingredients for and brew Amortentia, the most powerful love potion in the world, which surely would involve highly expensive potion ingredients and a highly complex brewing process. It is a mystery how that Merope knew about the potion, let alone was successful in making it herself.

In this life, a different set of circumstances was involved.

Merope Gaunt was a poor, abused witch, but she was not uneducated, inbred, or nearly a squib. She attended Hogwarts and was sorted into Slytherin like other members of her family as she was a descendant of Salazar Slytherin. Her older brother, Morfin, also went to Hogwarts and was in Slytherin house. Merope and her brother, like their father, Marvolo, and other family members descended from Salazar Slytherin, were Parselmouths.

Merope's mother, Marvolo's wife, was a muggleborn witch named Elizabeth Riddle. Elizabeth was not the first outside of the Slytherin family line to marry into it; the Slytherin line never got into the habit of inbreeding as they were intelligent enough to realize early on that inbreeding would lead to the birth of squibs rather than keep the bloodline powerful.

William Hangleton was a rich, handsome pureblood wizard whose family owned the village of Little Hangleton where the Gaunts also lived. He attended Hogwarts at the same time as Merope, though he started two years before her, and was sorted into Slytherin like other members of his family tended to.

William, simply put, was not a good person. He was spoiled rotten by his parents and was never punished for bad behavior. He felt he was entitled to whatever he wanted when he wanted and was not the type of person to accept "no" for an answer. This became especially problematic as he got older, starting during his teenage years.

Sometimes whispers could be heard around the school that William had done something inappropriate to other students, particularly female students, but the details provided by the victims were often vague, and those who spoke up were silenced quickly whether it was through money, threats, or the use of certain types of magic. While nothing could ever be proven, those who were smart did their best to avoid having to be anywhere near William.

Morfin Gaunt was a brutish wizard and graduated from Hogwarts shortly after Merope began attending school there. It was during Merope's second year at Hogwarts that Marvolo and Elizabeth contracted Dragon Pox, and by the end of Merope's third year at Hogwarts, Marvolo and Elizabeth died from the disease. Morfin became Merope's legal guardian, and his violent outbursts, which before had largely been controlled by their parents providing him with sedative potions, increased in frequency and severity and became largely centered on Merope whenever she came home from school.

While attending Hogwarts, Merope managed to avoid the attention of William Hangleton and managed to go through her schooling without anything really unusual happening to her. She got along decently with her peers though people avoided getting too close to her because of her blood status, her poverty, her ability to speak Parseltongue, or some combination of the three. She was quiet and studious and scored highly on her OWLs and her NEWTs.

During Merope's seventh year at Hogwarts, an incident occurred in Little Hangleton where Morfin attacked William and some other people in the village. This resulted in Morfin being sent to Azkaban by the time Merope graduated. (William had graduated from Hogwarts two years prior.)

William, being the cruel person he was, did not feel satisfied with Morfin being sent to Azkaban and decided to target Merope. He had the money, the knowledge, the skill, and the deviousness to obtain the ingredients for and brew Amortentia. Dousing her with the love potion wasn't difficult; he simply poured a bit in her drink when she wasn't looking while they were both separately attending an event in the village. Future doses of the love potion were even easier to give.

Over a period of several months, Merope began to deteriorate. She got more pale and sickly in appearance, her eyes lost their sparkle except when she was in William's presence, and she found herself unable to focus on really anything other than William, which led to difficulties with employment.

During this time, William took advantage of Merope's potion-induced infatuation on a regular basis, and it resulted in a pregnancy. Eventually, William decided he was no longer interested in continuing to have any connection to Merope and stopped dousing her with Amortentia. By the time Merope realized what had happened and what her predicament was, it was too late, and she had no choice but to carry the unwanted pregnancy to term.

With no money and no one to turn to for help, Merope sold Slytherin's Locket for much less than it was worth out of desperation and ended up giving birth at Wool's Orphanage. Before she died, she named her son Tom Marvolo Riddle: Tom after a cute, kind Hufflepuff she had been on friendly terms with and briefly dated while at Hogwarts; Marvolo after her father; and Riddle after her mother, for Merope didn't want her son to be raised by her rapist nor her abusive brother whenever he'd get out of Azkaban - she felt a muggle orphanage or even unknown muggle adopters would likely be better.