Happy New Year f-list and everyone else. ♥
Title: Majestic Shoult Thou Rise
Fandom(s): Harry Potter, Axis Powers Hetalia
Characters: Tom Riddle, Nagini, Antonin Dolohov, England; assorted other magical and not so magical creatures.
Warnings: Crossover, Tom Riddle, references to Poe, Shakespeare etc.
Note: Let me burn in hell, alright.
"There is no good and evil, there is only power...and those too weak to seek it."
The dreams start that night, and he is seven.
The children are crying, and the night is cold, and Mrs Cole rationed the food again. Don't be angry with me, be angry with the Great Depression haunting our nation, she tells them but it's the corner of his mouth she is looking at.
Tom dreams of power. He dreams power is running through his fingers, power bestowed upon him by England herself, but a power so great it threatens to crush him underneath. Tom struggles for breath―
― And when he can’t get it, when he is about to suffocate he wakes up, and he looks at his hands – they shake— and he thinks: I, that, yes. A garbled voice in his head, whispering words to him, and it's soothing, though Tom is in no need for soothing words.
"England does not want me to starve."
His fingers crawl over the sheet. The bed creaks as he shifts.
In the darkness, the voice's words become his strength.
Above his head, there's the beating of wings. Tom looks up, spots a circling crow. The crow looks down at him, its feathers dark and smooth, its beak long and sharp and his eyes red, and it croaks: "Beyond, a new sense― a new entity, prove yourself worthy, child, in this night of unusual gloom."
Tom is eight, and he finds himself at the edge of a forest. The sound of chirping crickets, paws and hooves is carried to him, carried by the wind that gently ruffles through his hair, touches his cheek and places soft kisses on his mouth and nose and brows, makes his lashes quiver. The wind does not want him to be afraid but he― he is not afraid. He turns his head to wrench himself out of the wind's grasp.
And Tom, saying: "Nevermore."
So begins his quest.
And once, there was a lion standing in the middle of a clearance, its head raised high and its eyes directed at them, alert and cautious.
The forest is wide and endless, black as night and made of darkness slicker than water. There are animals, too, strange animals. Creatures of tales long since forgotten, monsters, beasts, and behind his back, to his sides and in front of him are fairies, guiding his way. Tom likes them. They whisper secrets into his ears, secrets of the strength of blood and death.
The fairies had cried in joy as their tiny fingers were sprawled all over him, tearing and dragging him along, near the lion. And Tom, who was never afraid, had stretched his neck and raised his head even higher than the lion. With green eyes, the lion had looked at him before it stood and strolled over to him― them.
The Great King, the fairies whispered, breathed and sang and nudged Tom's arm forward, who watched in awe as the lion drew near, its teeth bared and growling. And Tom, who found himself unable to take his eyes off of the lion's cock, dangling between its legs.
The lion had spoken. It took Tom a moment to realise. But then, when he did, when he felt the lion's tongue lick over his stretched arm, he blinked. "I see," he had replied, not liking how his own voice dripped with bewildered joy.
And then the lion was gone and the fairies petted his hair and face and neck and hands and pressed their kisses against his skin, and Tom sneered.
Even with the fairies, it takes him years to find his path.
Nine and he talks with snakes, ten and he wonders whether he will see the lion again, eleven and the old man visits him, twelve and Tom finds out about the Chamber of Secrets, sixteen and he murders his father and comes in his pants as his father's head hits the ground, twenty-one and he finally finds a path that does not lead into a dead end.
Tom looks at her. "Yes," he says, and the fairies giggle and stroke his cheeks and his hair and tell him he has grown into a fine young man.
Nagini slithers beside him and Tom tells her of the crow and the lion, as he has done many times before, and as she has done many times before, she listens intently, curiously and when he comes to an end, she hisses, "What awaits you at the end of your path must be of great power."
The fairies know what awaits him at the end of his path. When asked, though, they would laugh, snicker, cackle. Tom has long since given up on asking them.
"I am hungry," Nagini says, and the fairies stop petting Tom. Turning to her, they say, "You may eat Oberon for he has saddened our Queen." They sound like one entity.
"Perhaps I will," Nagini muses. Tom stops, bows down, reaches out and Nagini wriggles up his arm, nestles around his neck and shoulders and flickers her tongue. Her eyes glimmer. "I am very hungry."
The fairies shiver. Whether in joy or anticipation, Tom cannot say. He thinks both. These fairies, they are strange little things.
Seven days, a full circle later and an icy hand touches his face and the Lady of the Lake offers him her secrets. "They are not for free," she says with a voice as dark as the waters she resides in, "the price to pay is a high one, you'll find."
Twenty-three and Tom wonders aloud, "This forest does possess a lake, yes?", and the fairies dance around the corner of his vision; five weeks later he stands at the edge of the water and looks down. It's not his reflection that greets him there.
"Go ahead," Tom says and she chuckles to herself. Her hand is smooth and soft and slick and smells of decay and death. Tom couldn't care less.
Twenty-four, with a face that is no longer human, not yet beast, he tells his men: Beauty is the blossom of Vanity, daughter of Decay, pursued by those and only those too weak to challenge Death. We, however, do feast on Him.
Twenty-four and the horror upon seeing his face is written in people's face.
"Yes," Tom says.
The Headless Horseman does not look down, cannot look down, but he hesitates, his sword raised high above his shoulders; he is ready to strike, to kill. This is—
The fairies laugh, Nagini flickers, Tom smiles and the Headless Horseman roars, 'lo! – you brought my head—
It is him who tells Tom everything he wants to know.
Dolohov stops dead in his tracks. Tom imagines the look of sheer and utmost terror in Dolohov's face and chuckles, but when Dolohov turns to meet his eyes, he frowns. "Please, my lord," Dolohov cries, reaches for Tom's hand to press his lips against them, "I beg of you, not him. Do not pursue him."
"I heard Rasputin's ghost wreaks its revenge."
Disgusted, Tom wreathes his hands out of Dolohov's grip. "Rasputin was to Russia what Grindelwald could have been to England if he had not tried to take a throne not meant for him."
"A throne not meant for him," Dolohov echoes and Tom cuts in, hissing, "Yes!— A throne not to be occupied by anyone else than me as was decided by England herself."
And for a while, Dolohov speaks no more.
"It seems you are down on your luck," he says, and takes his eyes off of Rasputin's drowning frame, "you may be used to it by now, though. If you'll excuse, there are by and large more important matters to attend."
As Rasputin refuses to speak, Tom lets go of his collar, watches Rasputin fall back into the water.
Nagini's body brushes past his legs.
"What song?" Nagini asks.
"Let me teach you a song," he says.
Tom pauses, thinks. "A national song. You'll like it."
Nagini tilts her head as she tells him to go on. Tom smiles.
"I'll say it first and then you repeat:
Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame,
All their attempts to bend the down
Will but arouse thy generous flame;
To work their woe, and thy renown. "
"Of course you do."
"I like that."
Tom neither sees the person's face nor the person's silhouette very clearly. The fairies, though— their joy and delight, it sweeps over him, engulfs him and drags him along. They tell him to step forward, into the light of the moon so that the person can see, and Tom—
At the end of the path, there stands a person muffled in a cloak, embraced by night's shadows.
As he strides forward he strokes the underside of Nagini's jaw. "My journey has come to an end at last."
"So it seems."
Thirty-three, now, and his journey has come to an end.
Magic is running through him; Tom twists and bends his fingers and the magic bends with him, bends to his will and desire and it makes him tremble, fills him with heat and lust and longing.
The figure shifts.
"This," he says, "this is power. Ancient and long forgotten and it’s mine, only mine."
"I can show you more", it says, and Tom looks up, wets his lips. "Yesss," he drawls.
"Power is but a mere word," the figure goes on, and Tom feels its breath brushing past his face, which is almost ridiculous. "It is by my grace alone I grant and lend what man calls power."
The moonlight breaks in the figure's hair.
The figure steps out within the reach of light, draws back its cloak, and Tom finds himself staring into eyes made of emerald and a face carved of marble.
The lion, Tom thinks, the lion, and briefly, for the beat of a heart, he wonders what has become of it.
The fairies hold their breaths, and Nagini presses her head against his cheeks. Tom simply stares. "You are—"
"I am," the figure says.
Tom steps forward. Raises his arm to bring his hand to the figure's face. "Let me feel you," he breathes.
"You already do," England sneers.
When he touches England a sudden jolt of electricity bolts through him, spreading from the tips of his fingers over the entirety of his body; warm and hot and burning. Although the touch is soft, the heat is not, and Tom think he is drowning, drowning in a sea of flames.
England looks at him, then crooks a brow or perhaps he first crooks a brow and then looks at him, Tom could not care less, the only thing that matters is—
"What are you?" Tom wants— needs to know. His voice is hoarse with delight, anticipation, joy and he adds, "Never, not once in my life, have I felt what I feel now. What are you?"
"I am," England says, "The beginning. The past. The present. The future. I am you."
I did not ask who you are, I asked what you are, is what Tom wants to remark, but what he spurts out instead is, "No. You are not. Voldemort is that. I am Voldemort."
England tilts his head to his side, away from Tom's touch. Dispassionately, he snarls, "I am your past, your present, your future. I am England. I am far greater than anything you will ever hope to be."
"England," Tom repeats, letting the word roll off the tip of his tongue. Then— again. England. England. England. And, finally, "You can't―could―for all I know you could be my dream." He doesn't say, And shouldn't England herself be female?
"I am every bit as real to you as you are to me", England says. " Unless you deem yourself not real. In which case you will have been a waste of my time."
Tom should be annoyed, angry even, but he finds himself chuckling. "Very well then, you are England, you are my nation. And you have come to seek me out. Why? ― No, no, what I want to know is how. How did you find me?"
"I am found. Found by those willing to find me," is all England says.
Tom pauses. "I seek power."
The corners of England’s mouth pull into a smirk. A dark, twisted smile and Tom wants to bring his hands to touch it, to cap it, to trail his fingers alongside. "I am power. I am the ground you walk on, I am the air you breathe, I am the river that brings your water, I am your Mother. Those I favour are those of might, of glory, and of power."
Tom wonders whether England will let him touch his mouth, and his own moves although it feels distant, not like his mouth at all. He wants that power; he wants to know what England expects him to do to gain it.
England holds out his hand, then. "I demand obedience and dedication, and the purity of English blood."
And Tom takes his hand and places his lips on them, on their knuckles and their tips and their underside. "I will prove myself worthy― worthier yet than any man before me," he whispers against them, into them and caresses England's skin.
"I doubt you will," England remarks, "No man will be greater than Arthur, but you are invited to try."
No, I will be greater than Arthur, Tom thinks, and he feels power seeping through him, filling him, clutching at his mind and heart and being, and he kisses England again, and when he lets go of his hand, finally, and looks up England is still smirking.
"What you may be― or become, however, is something that neither Merlin nor Dumbledore ever managed to obtain."
Tom's voice is hoarse when he croaks, "Power—"
"No," England cuts him off and his smirk weakens, turns into a smile, and he brings his hands up to Tom's face, touches his lips and his forehead and his hair, his thumb circling, and he continues, "Staying in my favour after I granted them what they craved for."
― Tom closes his eyes, opens them again, grins and Voldemort chuckles to himself. "Why, how gracious of you, my nation."
Basically, what the crow said and what Riddle replied where quotes by Poe.
The lion said: "I am Richard, King of England."
Oberon made the fairies' Queen cry.
The Lady of the Lake took Riddle's beauty as his part of their bargain.Rasputin, o Rasputin.
I pity the Headless Horseman since Riddle made fun of him. B'aw.
And, finally, the song the title is taken from and also the song that Riddle teaches Nagini.
"The purity of English blood" - I always thought when Muggles are unable to do magic, while England, Hetalia's England, is quite capable of doing magic, that they must stem from Norman descent, while wizards' and witches' ancestors had been Celts.