(If Them’s the Rules)
This drabble contains spoilers.
“I don’t think you completely understand the way I operate,” Tom says, giving the older man a cool smile. “You cannot offer me a thing I would be swayed by.”
“Not even emeralds?” Grindelwald asks, and only well-practiced control kept Tom from reacting to what he knew to be a comment about Harry.
“There is nothing you have that you can give me.”
“Not quite.” Grindelwald sets down his glass of wine before leaning forward, offering the younger wizard a mocking grin. “I know of magic you cannot even comprehend, young Riddle. I can help you. You would not settle for a diamond if you could get an emerald, now would you? Or is sentiment keeping you from ensnaring what you desire?”
“You think I’m bound by sentiment,” Tom says, sounding almost sorry. “I thought - I hoped - that you wouldn’t make that mistake. How disappointing.” Grindelwald’s expression does not change, but Tom knows that the Dark Lord is now much less pleased than he was a moment ago.
“Then what is stopping you?”
“I am a patient man, my friend. I have no need to take what will be given to me, and you must understand how much that matters in my… situation.”
“And what will you do until then?” Grindelwald sneers. “Leave the jewels unattended, to mix in ways most unfortunate?
“Hardly. I am not a fool, as you very well know.”
“Then what is it? What will you do?”
“Give him an acquired taste for rubies,” Tom replies, “and keep away the diamonds altogether.”
“And you think that you can change familial love to something else easily?” Grindelwald says, contempt clear in his demeanour. “You think he won’t notice?”
“How can a person defend against an attack that does not appear to be one?” Tom asks, allowing himself another smug smile. “As contrary as you might find it, I can achieve what I want without you.”
“I should warn you, then,” Grindelwald tells him. “This world is divided in two: those who are with me, and those who are not.”