He sat at the table in his chambers, a deck of cards in his hands. If his followers could see him now, they would surely laugh. Their Dark Lord, playing with Muggle playing cards? Surely this was a joke.
But thankfully, he had bolted the door so that no one was going to get in. Solitaire was one of his hidden pleasures, and the majority of his planning was done in the confines of his chamber while playing Solitaire.
Methodically shuffling the deck, he then began laying out the cards one by one. Once the game was laid out, his brow furrowed as he looked at the cards in front of him. The cards were as follows: 6 of clubs, 10 of clubs, 2 of hearts, 8 of hearts, 9 of diamonds, 3 of diamonds, and Queen of hearts.
His first move was to take the 9 of diamonds and place it on top of the 10 of clubs. The card beneath the 9 turned out to be a 5 of spades. Time to go to the draw pile. The top card revealed on his draw was an 8 of hearts, which didn't afford him any more moves.
He continued playing for several minutes before exhausting all possibilities in this game. More often than not, that was what happened. It was a rare person who was able to win every game of Solitaire that they played.
Of course, there was always cheating. But what was the point? He had played plenty of games of Solitaire before and lost. He was too honorable to cheat.
Honorable. If someone heard him say that out loud, surely it would bring a laugh. The most evil wizard in the world, honorable? But it was true. He would never cheat at a game such as Solitaire. It had helped prepare him for the disappointments that he had in life.
Solitaire was a game that was akin to war. Of course, looking at it, most would not think that. But it was true. Everyone played Solitaire, in one form or another, every day of the year.
You have your cards lined up, you are ready to play. You have a strategy. And just when you think you are going to win, something is thrown into the deck which throws everything out of balance.
He recalled one such incident many years ago. A prophecy that had been told to him, or at least part of it had been. A child that would be born and would possibly cause his downfall.
That fated Halloween night, he had journeyed to Godric's Hollow to take care of the child and his father. The mother, she would have lived if only she hadn't resisted. But that blasted woman gave her life for her son, thus protecting him from his spell. That protection was what was thrown into the deck and ended that game.
Ten years later he met up with a bumbling fellow of a wizard in Albania. He was sure that he had his aces lined up this time, for this wizard was a professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He had been all ready to steal the Sorcerer's Stone from Gringotts, but was dealt a card that made it look like it was all over. When they got to the vault, it was empty.
But that game wasn't over yet. He found another way, another door opened up. Thanks to some help from a loyal person, he was able to get into where the Sorcerer's Stone was kept. But the game ended there.
It wasn't until a year and a half later that he won his next game, and was given his old body back to him. He was also given an extra ace, the blood from his enemy, Harry Potter. He had overcome the blood protection.
Ah yes, he thought, shuffling the cards again. Life was just one big game of Solitaire, and when it came to the final game, he would be ready.
Author's note Ė I donít own anything except the story concept. I donít intend any infringement and I am not making any money off of this fic. This is one fic Iím really proud of. I want to thank my betas, Arnel and Alley B.