Twenty-six Moods of a dark Lord, Chapter 3Author:
This was originally written for alphabetasoup
where I claimed Voldemort and a moods table. This specific chapter fulfills prompt, G is for grateful. Summary:
A series of vignettes exploring Voldemort's life based on his moods.Previous Chapters: Chapter One
, Chapter TwoDisclaimer: It's not mine.
Hogwarts will always be special to Tom. Unlike other past rulers in the wizarding world, he’ll never fail to see the purpose in educating his subjects. On the contrary, when he is able to claim the Ministry of Magic as his own, he will hold everyone to the standard he sets for himself. He’ll make sure they learn, perfect their craft, purify their blood.
Yet even as a mere prefect, Tom can see the shortcomings of the school. The mudbloods and morons are a problem, of course. Muggle studies is a vile joke that taints the education they all receive. But what bothers him the most is the narrow focus of the books one has access to in the library. The restricted section exists, but it has taken years of cozying up to professors to gain enough trust to peruse even the most light-hearted fare that part of the library has to offer.
It galls him, because Tom knows the secret to success is to erase the potential for failure. If he wishes to have complete control, he needs to ensure that no one will ever be able to harm him. He will need to cheat death.
He spends a good portion of his time at Hogwarts searching for a way. Of all the research he’s done, he has only found one possible avenue for accomplishing his goal. He doesn’t know what it is, although he has hazarded a guess as to its definition, but the possibility consists of one word: Horcrux.
Tom considers furthering his research on his own but decides against it. He has spent enough time in the restricted section now that if he persists, it may cast a negative light on his abilities. He’s not ready for that – yet. Still, he needs answers, which means he will have to rely on a professor for assistance. But who will suit?
Slughorn is his immediate answer. The man makes it his business to ingratiate himself to students he feels will have a bright future. It is a weakness Tom and others have exploited in the past. It won’t be hard to do it again, though given the nature of the information Tom wants, he’ll have to proceed tactfully.
Tom purchases a box of crystallized pineapple and waits for a night when Professor Slughorn is relaxed with a glass of wine in his hand and an audience around him. Other students put the man at ease; they unknowingly play a role in their inevitable subjugation, and Tom feels no pity for them.
Slughorn thanks Tom for the gift when he gives it to him on this fateful night. Although he notes Tom’s knack for careful flattery, Tom makes sure that Slughorn is unable to resist his charm when the other boys leave.
No, horcruxes aren’t part of a project for Defense Against the Dark Arts, Tom explains. That would be a lie too easily traced back, and Slughorn would do that eventually if Tom employed on that explanation. No, it’s not for school; it’s just a term he came across.
Tom pretends to be hesitant in asking, makes sure to seem as though he’s trying to avoid being insulting when truthfully he couldn’t care less.
And then finally, finally, after weeks of work, Tom gets what he wants. Slughorn says just enough. A horcrux conceals the soul. The wizard splits their soul, uses the damage received from murdering another to his own advantage. There is a spell, but of course Slughorn doesn’t know it. Tom is unconcerned about this detail. His hunger to know this much is being satiated, and he feels something that could approximate gratitude and glee flit through his system. Slughorn is giving him answers.
Tom makes a mistake when he asks, “Can you only split your soul once?” The question is innocuous on its own, surely, but greed loosens him up to reveal just enough of his thoughts to make Slughorn nervous.
The conversation seems wildly dangerous to both of them in that moment. Tom does his best to confirm that this is all academic, but he isn’t sure he’s convincing.
When the discussion is over however, Tom realizes that he will be safe. If Slughorn suspects something is wrong with him now, he is arrogant enough to choose protecting his own reputation over reporting his suspicions to Dumbledore. Tom thinks he can’t be any more appreciative of Slughorn’s ego than he is at that moment.
This is a lie.
Years later, when Tom Riddle no longer exists, when Lord Voldemort emerges, he hears inklings of Dumbledore’s plans. Perhaps Dumbledore suspects he has made horcruxes to ensure his survival. But Voldemort knows Slughorn has never told Dumbledore about their conversation, and within time, Slughorn will surely tamper with those memories so that Dumbledore can never know the truth.
Whenever he thinks of the potions professor with his gingery-blond mustache, Voldemort decides that he will need to show his gratitude to his former mentor. If Slughorn is located and brought to him alive, if the man cannot prove to be a loyal and useful ally, Voldemort will make sure the man has a swift ending.
After all, dark lords are allowed to show mercy sometimes. It gives others hope that they too will be spared. Voldemort can exploit that. He’ll make sure of it.