An old short of mine (dated circa Summer of '05) that considers the question 'what if the events that occured in the Chamber of Secrets at the end of Book 2 had gone in a different way?'.
Bound and Determined
an AU ficlet of the HP kind.
I'm going down there.
We must be miles under the school.
... any sign of movement, close your eyes right away ...
Pain. Pain unlike any he'd felt before, burning its way through his body.
Laying in the dark, the dank, with the air smelling of mold and things long dead.
Humid, cold, bathed in eerie greenish light that did little to grant the chamber more than the barest slivers of illumination.
It was one of the sensations that still reached him, apart from the laughter. Or was the laughter merely a figment of his imagination?
Honestly, he could not tell.
Memory failed him when he tried to reach for any sort of hint as to where he was. How he'd gotten there. There was a sense of danger, of foreboding in the background.
But the pain muted nearly all other sensation out.
There was wetness underneath, a slippery, slightly warm wetness matting his face, a stream of warm wetness seeping along his arm.
A coppery taste in his mouth, mixing with something far harsher.
You are dying ... little human.
The words hardly reached him, coming more from within his mind then from any outside source. They weren't really important, at first. Not as important as the pain.
... We ... we are dying ...
Things began to surface from beyond the veil, as even this horrendous pain was becoming more familiar. Still as bad, but less encumbering in a way. As if the body were becoming less and less important, and the mind wanted nothing more than to sleep, to escape, to finally move on ...
Great ... you've potential to be great, little human. Why throw it away? Why face that which brings the inevitable closer?
An unconcerned shrug was the answer, as if the question were not truly relevant. There was no need to hide, no need to pretend, no need to deny ...
To prove your existence? To make others acknowledge your existence? Do they not ... do they not already know of it? ... Or do they see you as something you are not.
Fading. The mind rose, twisting through its thoughts, tracks well worn, branching out and reaching upwards. There was no more reason, in the strictest sense, behind the wheels it stumbled through, the paths it took. Unadulterated honesty.
To ... prove your worth to yourself? For foolish obligation? For abstract ... good?
There was no answer. The mind no longer cared. It merely ... lingered.
... you would end yourself, for this? End me, for this? For this feeling? For this little creature?
The mind felt it fade, that voice, and reached for it to fill the void left by its drawing back. Insidious though its tone, there was something there that sparked an interest in the unburdened intellect. An image of crimson ... fur? No, hair. And brown.
The pain returned with a vengeance, though with it came other, less torturous things. What was that? Loyalty? Principle? And beyond all of them, a deeply rooted desire to climb. Climb to what heights he could reach ...
You have it within you ... the fire ... a desire ... glinting like emeralds. Tainted ... smudged by your ... weakness. Humanity. But still there ...
... grasp the sky in his hands and ...
I do not wish to end here, manling ...
... and scream out, unrepentant, unashamed, unconcerned ...
I would ... offer you this ... a way ... though it would bind us at penalty of death ... a way of old, from before the world ... a way from when Ancestors rather than the pale imitations of this Day ruled the sky ... lives intertwined forevermore ... the loss of something precious in exchange for both our lives ...
... so that the world would hear ...
... a Pact!
... I AM!
And the pain returned, searing through nerves like electricity along a livewire, burning, chasing away the cold. Calling back the mind. Healing, nay, restoring the body.
And two voices cried out, as one, in a roar that shook the Chamber's foundations and ceiling. Rock fell, loosened from the ancient columns and roof, as arcs of brilliant emerald light shot along both of the bodies that lay on the bloody floor.
Two heads came up, then turned.
A cry of disbelief heralded their waking.
Boy and beast moved as one, even as inky black seals formed on both their bodies, marking them until demise, showing what they'd lost.
Even as the one who'd commanded the beast and desired the boy's death snapped out of his stupor ...
... too late, as fangs tore the item that held and animated his memory.
And in the corner, far off, an egg lay, surrounded by ash and crimson feathers.
He stood there, robes torn, caked with dirt and blood.
Right hand raised.
Right palm resting atop a head. Long, blunt, scaled. Big. With a pair of emerald eyes, their shade hauntingly familiar and unlike the amber orbs that had formerly belonged to the creature.
He stood in the hallway, straight backed, head raised. Unflinching.
Their stares were ignored.
The Beast was coiled by his side, returning those stares, indifferent to the raised arms, the wands pointed at it. On its back, an equally dirty, if less bloody, bundle rested.
And screamed, her voice a high pitched squeak as she scrambled away from the Beast. Falling to the cold castle floor. Shuffling back, frantic, until her back pressed against the wall. Breathing heavily.
The boy's left hand reached inside his robes, grasped something.
The black object, tossed at the group that had met him, clattered to the ground at their feet. Causing those closest to step back in caution.
A small, black book, pierced through the center and with pages ripped and torn.
The Diary of Tom Marvolo Riddle, age sixteen. Though, of those present, only one would be able to determine this.
The boy stood.
Lips twisted bitterly, in something that could have been called a smile, once upon a time.
And he turned, head of the Basilisk, his Pact Partner, steady underneath his right hand. The great serpent's body slithering after the motion.
In a way, it was almost ironic. Now, in the end, he truly was what they'd claimed he'd been at the beginning. At least, in a way.
An irony that was not lost on him.
An irony that he contemplated, bitter expression still on his face. As he walked. As the snake slithered.
As he heard the exclamations of relief from behind, from an exuberant and shaken mother reunited with a daughter thought dead.
The demand that he halt.
The cry of accusation.
The fearful gasps of the handful of students come to see the commotion.
As he felt the lone tear finally slip from his cheek. Splatter against the dried blood from wounds no longer there.
As he let the snake see for him.
As he turned his head to meet the gazes of those who'd taken a step towards him, meeting their eyes ...
... with orbs of milky white, seals of lines black as pitch surrounding their sockets.
The eyes of a blind man.
And yet, his stride did not falter.
Those were the first steps of a path ...
... a path he was bound and determined to walk ...
... or was that slither?