The Portkey deposited him into a small stone cell. Once he had begun to get his bearings, Adam rose shakily to his feet, only to be thrown violently into the wall of the room with a sickening crunch. The force of the impact knocked his glasses off his face. They fell and smashed on the floor.
"Welcome, Harry," a cold high voice said.
Adam felt himself shudder involuntarily and he began frantically searching his pockets for his wand. It wasn't there.
"Looking for something?" the voice spoke again, this time with an eerie laugh.
Adam's world exploded in pain. Pain unlike anything he had felt before. He could vaguely feel his body thrashing around, but it seemed somehow far away. Adam wanted it to stop, even if it meant him dying. Please just let it stop!
Then, as suddenly as the pain began, it ended and Adam lay on the floor gasping for breath.
As he lay there, he felt hands on his body. Hands that seemed to be searching for something.
"It's not here!" a second voice gasped.
Before the cold voice could speak in response, Adam was once again blasted by indescribable pain and all sense of the world outside of his body began to fade away.
By the time Adam had recovered enough to be able to sit up, he was alone in the room. It was a stone room, with a stone floor, stone walls and a stone roof. The only part of the room that wasn't stone was the metal door. The door was also the only source of light in the room. It spilled in through the tiny gap at the bottom of the door. Apart from that, Adam's prison was completely dark.
There was nothing in the room at all, absolutely nothing.
Adam slumped to the floor despondently. He knew he had been tricked somehow. Someone had captured him, he just didn't know who. He knew he had to escape. Ginny and Sirius would be worried about him.
Adam systematically explored his cell, looking for any weaknesses. There weren't any loose stones, or cracks in the wall and the door was securely locked. Adam even pounded on it for several minutes to no avail. He was trapped.
Defeated for now, Adam sat down in the corner of the room and waited.
Sometime later the door opened. Adam started to get up, but once again he fell to the floor as pain wracked his body. At first, it didn't seem as bad as last time. However, as the spell continued, Adam soon found himself consumed by the pain. It drowned out all of his senses. He couldn't see anything except white or hear anything other than a high pitched noise that seemed to echo around his head making thinking impossible. He could only vaguely feel his body thrashing around on the cold stone floor.
When Adam came back to himself, he found a small amount of bread and water in front of him. He didn't want to accept their food, but in the end, his hunger and thirst were too strong.
He was alone for what felt like days. Then, eventually, the pain came back and left him with his next meagre meal.
When the door to his cell opened next, Adam braced himself once again for pain. This time though, none came.
Adam blinked up at the light streaming through the doorway. He couldn't see clearly who was silhouetted by the bleak glow.
"W-Who are you?" Adam croaked.
"I am the one you defeated," the same high cold voice replied.
"Who?" Adam questioned. What was going on?
"I am Lord Voldemort," the voice said.
Then the pain came again, this time far worse than any of the previous times. Adam writhed and screamed on the hard stone floor and for a time he seemed to exist in a world that was nothing but pain.
When he came around he was alone again.
Adam's time now consisted of three things: pain, food, and solitude, over and over again in a never-ending cycle.
He had, by now, lost all track of how long he had been in the stone room. It could have been mere hours, or maybe days. Maybe he had been here for years. Adam didn't know.
He had hoped that the pain parts of his life would soon become more bearable. He was wrong. Each time the pain came it was as bad as the time before it and the time before that. Sometimes it was worse. When the pain became nearly unbearable, Adam could almost feel himself floating above his jolting, writhing body. He could look down as his limbs moved back and forward in a spasmodic pattern. He watched as his head thrashed around without any conscious thought from his brain. Sometimes his head struck the stone floor with a crack, but the pain of that was insignificant compared to pain of the spell that he was held under. The worst feeling of all was when the pain was prolonged. It wasn't the pain itself that disturbed Adam but a feeling that he could only liken to someone inflating a balloon inside his head. It felt as if his head would explode if the balloon ever inflated enough to fill his skull. Fortunately, the pain always stopped just before that point, but sometimes, it came close, very close.
When he was alone, he had other concerns. Mainly eating enough food to keep himself alive, and taking care of other… basics. Being free of the pain gave Adam time to think. It gave him time to recover from the pain before and it gave him time to dread the pain that was to come. It gave him time to be lonely and hope that one day he would be free again.
When Adam was feeling especially down, he conjured up an image of the red-haired girl he knew. She always made him feel happy. Sometimes he could remember her name, sometimes he couldn't. Being free of the pain also gave Adam time to understand the effects it was having on him. For one, he used to know the name of the red-haired girl, why didn't he anymore? Much to Adam's horror, he had also noticed that the more pain he experienced, the more sluggish his body was becoming. At first he had written it off as clumsiness. Then he had assumed it was due to malnutrition, but there was no mistaking it now. The longer he spent here, the more useless his body was becoming. Three pain times ago, when he awoke, he had been unable to stand. Adam had tried to lever himself to his fleet, but his legs had simply folded underneath him. This had motivated Adam to take an inventory of his body. He was still able to make his legs move, but it took great effort and they now seemed to jerk, slightly uncontrollably, rather than their usual movements.
The cycle of pain continued until one time when Adam awoke something was different.
"I would see him as he truly is, Wormtail," the cold high voice said.
Adam slowly, painfully and jerkily levered himself up from where he was lying on the floor. His arms were still more or less functional, but like his legs, they too had slowly begun to deteriorate.
Adam squinted up at the figure that was standing in the light coming through the doorway. It had its wand pointed at him. Suddenly, Adam felt the strangest sensation. It was like the entire surface of his scalp and forehead were tingling. It lasted for only a few seconds then stopped. The second new sensation was far worse. His eyes. Suddenly his eyes began burning, Adam tried to rub them, but his arms and hands were now far beyond the precise task of rubbing his eyes, and they thumped uselessly against his face. The third sensation was the worst of the three; it felt as if someone was twisting something inside of him. It too lasted for a few seconds before stopping. As Adam opened his eyes and looked around, he realised with horror that the entire room around him was now hopelessly blurred. Something had happened to his eyes!
Adam heard a cold echoing laughter in the room before he was blasted back into his own private world of pain.
The cycle of pain continued again for some indeterminable amount of time. Adam's time now consisted largely of pain and sleep. It was difficult, very difficult, to stay awake for any length of time when the pain wasn't there.
However, one time when the door opened, Adam wasn't fed or blasted by pain. He distantly felt someone tie his arms and legs, and he was slung over the person's back like a sack of potatoes.
Adam felt himself being carried. The temptation to sleep was strong but he forced himself to stay awake.
A short time later, he was thrown to the floor. Adam heard someone moving around and he felt sleepy again. He dozed off.
When he awoke again, he was being tied to a cold, hard object. He felt the ropes go around his neck, arms and legs. Adam tried to kick in resistance, but all his limbs did was spasm slightly and eventually he was bound securely to the object, whatever it was. He was then gagged. Not that it mattered much; Adam didn't think he could talk anymore.
He felt a chill wind against his skin. He was outside! He raised his head tiredly and attempted to look around the place where he was. With his now poor eyesight and without his glasses, he couldn't make out much except that it was dark.
Suddenly, Adam saw an orange glow directly in front of him. It looked almost as if someone had lit a fire.
"Hurry!" the cold voice said.
"It is ready, Master," another voice, one that sounded vaguely familiar to Adam said.
"Now," replied the cold voice. "The time has come! Tonight must be the night! All is in our favour!"
Adam could hear a slithering noise near him. He didn't know what it was, he couldn't see it. He hoped it wasn't a snake.
A loud plopping sound coming from near the orange glow attracted Adam's attention.
"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!" the familiar voice was speaking again.
Adam heard a cracking sound from beneath him.
"Flesh… of the servant… w-willingly given… you will… revive… your master."
Suddenly a scream echoed around him.
"B-blood of the enemy forcibly taken… you will resurrect your foe."
Adam saw a blurred figure coming towards him from the direction of the orange glow. He saw something glimmer slightly and then felt something penetrate his right arm. He felt blood trickle down his arm.
Adam slumped where he was hanging. He could just about make out the orange glow through his fringe that hung down over his eyes. Suddenly, the orange glow became blindingly white and sparks began to erupt from it in all directions.
Then nothing happened for what seemed an age and Adam once again had to fight off sleep.
"Robe me," the cold voice said. This time it seemed stronger, far stronger, than it had before.
Adam squinted, trying to make out what was happening around him. He couldn't. All he could see was the faint glow and the blurred figure of a man in front of it. Suddenly, the stone that Adam was tied to shuddered. Surprised, Adam moved his head and tried to see what was going on. He could hear a faint crying noise coming from beneath him. When nothing else happened, Adam succumbed to the fatigue and he let his head drop again.
"My Lord…" a weak, feeble-sounding voice said faintly from beneath Adam. "My Lord… you promised… you did promise…"
"Hold out your arm," said the cold voice.
"Oh, Master… thank you, Master…"
"The other arm, Wormtail."
The other voice was Wormtail! But who was the owner of the cold voice?
"Master, please… please…"
"It is back," the cold voice said softly. "They will all have noticed it… and now, we shall see… now we shall know…"
Suddenly pain blossomed on Adam's forehead, but all he could do was lower his head and grunt slightly. He had felt far worse.
"How many will be brave enough to return when they feel it?" the voice whispered. "And how many will be foolish enough to stay away?"
Adam saw the blurred shape of the man with the cold voice coming towards him.
"You stand, Harry Potter, upon the remains of my late father," the man continued. "A Muggle and a fool… very like your dear mother. But they both had their uses, did they not? Your mother died defending you as a child… and I killed my father, and see how useful he has proved himself, in death…"
His mother! Voldemort had killed his mother, but Voldemort was gone. Adam vaguely recalled a man in his cell telling him that he was Voldemort. Was it true?
Voldemort laughed again. "You see that house upon the hillside, Potter? Where you have been staying? My father lived there. My mother, a witch who lived here in this village, fell in love with him. But he abandoned her when she told him what she was… He didn't like magic, my father… He left her and returned to his Muggle parents before I was even born, Potter, and she died giving birth to me, leaving me to be raised in a Muggle orphanage. I think you know only too well what that is like. So I vowed to find him… I revenged myself upon him, that fool who gave me his name… Tom Riddle.
"Listen to me, reliving family history…" he said quietly, "why, I am growing quite sentimental… But look, Harry! My true family returns…"
Suddenly Adam heard sounds all around him. He heard footsteps, and the slight pops of Apparition. More people had arrived! Adam felt his energy begin to fade. If Voldemort was expecting them then they wouldn't be here to rescue him.
Adam heard vague murmurings. "Master," repeated over and over again.
"Welcome, Death Eaters," said Voldemort quietly. "Fifteen years … Fifteen years since last we met. Yet you answer my call as though it were yesterday… We are still united under the Dark Mark, then! Or are we? I smell guilt," he continued. "There is a stench of guilt upon the air," he paused. "I see you all, whole and healthy, with your powers intact, such prompt appearances! And I ask myself… why did this band of wizards never come to the aid of their master, to whom they swore eternal loyalty?
"And I answer myself," whispered Voldemort, "they must have believed me broken, they thought I was gone. They slipped back among my enemies, and they pleaded innocence, and ignorance, and bewitchment…
"And then I ask myself, but how could they have believed I would not rise again? They, who knew the steps I took, long ago, to guard myself against mortal death? They, who had seen proofs of the immensity of my power in the times when I was mightier than any wizard living?
"And I answer myself, perhaps they believed a still greater power could exist, one that could vanquish even Lord Voldemort… perhaps they now pay allegiance to another… perhaps that champion of commoners, of Mudbloods and Muggles, Albus Dumbledore?"
There was silence for several minutes.
"It is a disappointment to me… I confess myself disappointed…"
"Master!" someone shrieked, "Master, forgive me! Forgive us all!"
Voldemort began to laugh. "Crucio!"
Adam heard a shriek of pain. He felt no pity for the man.
"Get up, Avery," said Voldemort softly. "Stand up. You ask for forgiveness? I do not forgive. I do not forget. Fifteen long years… I want fifteen years repayment before I forgive you. Wormtail here has paid some of his debt already, have you not, Wormtail? You returned to me, not out of loyalty, but out of fear of your old friends. You deserve this pain, Wormtail. You know that, don't you?"
"Yet you helped return me to my body," said Voldemort. "Worthless and traitorous as you are, you helped me… and Lord Voldemort rewards his helpers."
Adam heard Wormtail's sobbing stop abruptly. He mustered the strength once again to try and see what had happened. He raised his head and looked around but he couldn't make anything out.
"My Lord," Wormtail whispered. "Master… it is beautiful… thank you… thank you…"
"May your loyalty never waver again, Wormtail," said Voldemort.
"No, my Lord… never, my Lord…"
"Lucius, my slippery friend," he said. "I am told that you have not renounced the old ways, though to the world you present a respectable face. You are still ready to take the lead in a spot of Muggle-torture, I believe? Yet you never tried to find me, Lucius?"
Lucius Malfoy was here. He was a Death Eater! Adam vowed to try and remember this.
"My Lord, I was constantly on the alert," came Lucius Malfoy's voice. "Had there been any sign from you, any whisper of your whereabouts, I would have been at your side immediately, nothing could have prevented me."
Adam heard Voldemort talking again, but he was becoming sleepy now. He could still feel blood trickling down his arm. Focusing on the voices was tiring… so tiring.
Some time late,r Voldemort disturbed Adam from his stupor. He gripped his face with his arm and forcibly raised his head upright.
"All begins and ends, with my young friend here," he said from only inches away from Adam.
"Who is he, my lord?" A voice asked.
"Why, my friends, this young man is Harry Potter."
Adam could hear murmuring from the assembled crowd.
"This boy caused my downfall. I killed his mother right in front of him. She sacrificed herself for him. That is why I fell."
Adam felt the cold tip of the long finger touch him, his head seared with pain. Adam recognised that this was a different sort of pain. It began on the inside and worked its way out. Voldemort laughed softly in his ear, then took the finger away and continued addressing the Death Eaters.
"I miscalculated, my friends, I admit it. My curse was deflected by the woman's foolish sacrifice, and it rebounded upon myself. Aaah… pain beyond pain, my friends; nothing could have prepared me for it. I was ripped from my body, I was less than spirit, less than the meanest ghost… but still, I was alive. What I was, even I do not know… I, who have gone further than anybody along the path that leads to immortality. You know my goal, to conquer death. And now, I was tested, and it appeared that one or more of my experiments had worked… for I had not been killed, though the curse should have done it. Nevertheless, I was as powerless as the weakest creature alive, and without the means to help myself… for I had no body, and every spell that might have helped me required the use of a wand.
"While I was suffering and body-less, one of my servants was moving for his own end. Wormtail here took the boy and hid him. Purely for selfish reasons, of course. He was lost to the wizarding world. Even to Dumbledore. This proved advantageous to me. It convinced Dumbledore that I had perished.
"So I waited. I remember only forcing myself, sleeplessly, endlessly, second by second, to exist… I settled in a faraway place, in a forest, and I waited… Surely, one of my faithful Death Eaters would try and find me… one of them would come and perform the magic I could not, to restore me to a body… but I waited in vain… none came to me. None came to help me take advantage of Dumbledore's error.
"Only one power remained to me. I could possess the bodies of others. But I dared not go where other humans were plentiful. I sometimes inhabited animals, snakes, of course, being my preference, but I was little better off inside them than as pure spirit, for their bodies were ill adapted to perform magic… and my possession of them shortened their lives; none of them lasted long…
"Then… five years ago… the means for my return seemed assured. A wizard, young, foolish, and gullible, wandered across my path in the forest I had made my home. Oh, he seemed the very chance I had been dreaming of… for he was a teacher at Dumbledore's school… he was easy to bend to my will he brought me back to this country, and after a while, I took possession of his body, to supervise him closely as he carried out my orders. But my plan failed. I did not manage to steal the Philosophers Stone. I was not to be assured immortal life but I was careful. When I realised Dumbledore had thwarted me, I had him sacrifice himself to hide me. So Dumbledore would not know that it was me all along directing the wizard. So once again I left and I waited…
"I was left as weak as ever I had been," Voldemort continued. "I returned to my hiding place far away, and I will not pretend to you that I didn't then fear that I might never regain my powers… Yes, that was perhaps my darkest hour… I could not hope that I would be sent another wizard to possess… and I had given up hope, now, that any of my Death Eaters cared what had become of me…
"And then, not even a year ago, when I had almost abandoned hope, it happened at last… a servant returned to me. Wormtail here, who had faked his own death to escape justice, was driven out of hiding by those he had once counted friends, and decided to return to his master. He sought me in the country where it had long been rumoured I was hiding… helped, of course, by the rats he met along the way. Wormtail has a curious affinity with rats, do you not, Wormtail? His filthy little friends told him there was a place, deep in an Albanian forest, that they avoided, where small animals like themselves had met their deaths by a dark shadow that possessed them…
"But his mission was not smooth, was it, Wormtail? For, hungry one night, on the edge of the very forest where he had found me, he foolishly stopped at an inn for some food… and who should he meet there, but one Bertha Jorkins, a witch from the Ministry of Magic.
"Now see the way that fate favours Lord Voldemort. This might have been the end of Wormtail, and of my last hope for regeneration. But Wormtail — displaying a presence of mind I would never have expected from him. He overpowered her… he brought her to me. And Bertha Jorkins, who might have ruined all, proved instead to be a gift beyond my wildest dreams… for, with a little persuasion, she became a veritable mine of information.
"She told me that she knew of a faithful Death Eater who would be only too willing to help me, if I could only contact him. She told me many things… but the means I used to break the Memory Charm upon her were powerful, and when I had extracted all useful information from her, her mind and body were both damaged beyond repair. She had now served her purpose. I could not possess her. I disposed of her.
"Wormtail also told me what he had done with Potter. Dumbledore by now knew he had survived, but the world did not and still does not know.
"I thought about possessing Wormtail's body, but it was, of course, ill adapted for possession, as all assumed him dead, and would attract far too much attention if noticed. However, he was the able-bodied servant I needed, and Wormtail was able to follow the instructions I gave him, which would return me to a rudimentary, weak body of my own, a body I would be able to inhabit while awaiting the right time and essential ingredients for true rebirth… a spell or two of my own invention… a little help from my dear Nagini, a potion concocted from unicorn blood, and the snake venom Nagini provided. I was soon returned to an almost human form, and strong enough to travel.
"I set my sights on my old body, back again, and my old strength.
"I knew that to achieve this, it is an old piece of Dark Magic, the potion that revived me tonight. I would need three key ingredients. Well, one of them was already at hand, was it not, Wormtail? Flesh given by a servant…
"My father's bone, naturally, meant that we would have to come here, where he was buried. But the blood of a foe… Wormtail would have had me use any wizard, would you not, Wormtail? Any wizard who had hated me… as so many of them still do. But I knew the one I must use, if I was to rise again, more powerful than I had been when I had fallen. I wanted Harry Potter's blood. I wanted the blood of the one who had stripped me of power fifteen years ago… for the lingering protection his mother once gave him would then reside in my veins too…
"But how to get at Harry Potter? For he was now under the protection of Dumbledore. I used my one faithful Death Eater, stationed at Hogwarts. He earned the boy's trust and led him right into my trap. He has been my guest for some time and enjoyed my hospitality while all was prepared.
Adam felt himself shoved into the pain once more. His body strained against the robes binding him to the tombstone. His gag prevented him from screaming.
Then he was hanging limply in the ropes binding him to the headstone of Voldemort's father. He could hear laughter all around him.
"Now untie him, Wormtail, and give him back his wand."
Adam felt the gag being removed and the ropes that bound him being untied. Without the ropes to support him, Adam slid to the ground and lay slumped, with his back against the tombstone. He tried to move — he felt one his arms begin trembling, but they wouldn't move. He lay there and awaited what was to come.
He suddenly felt someone grab his right arm and a long object was thrust into his hand. Based on what Voldemort had said, Adam assumed it must be his wand. He attempted to grip it but his fumbling fingers were unable to and it slipped out of his grip and onto the ground.
"You have been taught how to duel, Harry Potter?" said Voldemort.
"We generally stand to duel, Potter," said Voldemort and Adam felt himself suddenly lift up into the air; he hovered there, hanging limply just above the ground. Adam heard the Death Eaters laughing at him.
"We bow to each other, Harry," said Voldemort. "Come, the niceties must be observed… Dumbledore would like you to show manners… Bow to death, Harry."
Adam felt his spine curve into a bow, and, as he bowed, his useless arms hung limply down from his shoulders. He was a puppet and Voldemort was the puppeteer. The Death Eaters laughed again.
"I have very much enjoyed playing host to Potter and, as you can see, he has benefited from my hospitality," he said mockingly. "Now, we duel. Wormtail return his wand. Ensure he does not lose it this time."
Adam felt his wand again pressed into his hand, this time it was threaded through his fingers so it would not fall out. Adam tried to clench his fist and felt with satisfaction that his hand tightened slightly on the slender shaft. He tried to move his arm, attempting to point it where he thought Voldemort was.
Voldemort laughed again.
Adam knew he had to try to defend himself; he thought back to the spells he knew. They were murky in his mind. He picked one and concentrated all his mind on the spell he would use.
Adam heard Voldemort shout, "Avada Kedavra!"
Adam attempted to cast his spell, but his throat had not uttered a word for what felt like months.
"Ehhhhaa…" was all that came out of his mouth.
That merest utterance seemed to be enough. Adam saw a jet of light emerge from his wand. He felt his wand begin vibrating in his loose grip but, amazingly, this seemed to serve only to tighten his grasp.
Then, suddenly, Adam felt himself begin to rise up from the ground and move through the air. A few seconds later, he felt himself begin to sink towards the ground again. Eventually, he settled on the ground again and he felt his legs once again fail to support his weight and he crumpled to the ground.
Adam moved his head to follow the line of light that still seemed to be joining his and Voldemort's wands. He saw several golden offshoots of the beam splintering and flickering over the ground like legs of a giant spider. Adam felt a spike of fear shoot through him as he saw several beads of green travelling down the line of light towards him.
Adam didn't know what was happening, but he knew he was no match for Voldemort.
The connection only lasted a second longer before Adam heard Voldemort utter a cry of surprise. Adam thought he saw a large black shape slam into Voldemort's side. When the connection broke, the last of Adam's strength also seemed to fade and he slumped face down on the ground.
As he tried to sit up, Adam could hear cries of surprise around him.
"Kill him!" he heard Voldemort roar.
Adam raised his head slightly and saw green spells crisscrossing the graveyard, as if they were homing in on a moving target. Adam let his head fall back to the ground; he needed to save his strength.
Suddenly, Adam thought he heard more shouts and perhaps even a cheer.
Then another shout went up from Voldemort. "Dumbledore!"
Adam raised his head again and saw bright lights and fire raining across the sky.
Then the sound of popping echoed across the graveyard and the next thing Adam knew he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Harry?" a distant voice said. "We're going to get you home."
Beta's Note: Many of the passages spoken by Voldemort in the Little Hangleton graveyard are taken from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.