Author: Deritine PM
AU Post HBP. DH semi-compliant: The horcruxes are destroyed- the bits of soul latched on to Harry's own. But killing himself only sends Harry to an alternate dimension, this one desperately vulnerable to the dark soul he carries.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Humor - Harry P. & Tom R. Jr. - Chapters: 19 - Words: 85,503 - Reviews: 524 - Favs: 1,061 - Follows: 903 - Updated: 03-18-12 - Published: 03-27-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2862220
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Obviously I don't own Harry Potter and the Crew We Love to Mess With. Although, if I did, I'd probably write fanfictions about them anyway… or would that be writer drabbles? Anyway, that's off the topic. I would also like to mention that I've gotten some inspiration from other stories. Gods know I've read enough. And occasionally I might make references to them. I'll try to give the link at the bottom when I do that.
Post HBP, spoilers abound. As if you haven't read it. If you haven't: get off your ass and go! WTF are you reading fanfics?
: speech : is Parseltongue
/ speech / is mental speak
A curse slices through the specialty armor of his robes as Harry dodges violently to the right. :I have you now, Harry Potter: A voice hisses in Parseltongue right into Harry's ear. He whirls around with a cry of horror and finds himself staring directly into the eyes of the Dark Lord.
Harry ignores Voldemort as the red-eyed freak starts to cast Avada Kedavra. It is not as though he hasn't been in this same position countless times before. It not be any more effective now than it has been in the past. Harry narrows his eyes and raises his wand. "Legilimens!" Harry shoulders his way into the Dark Lord's mind, ignoring the barriers of the Occlumency as if it were nothing. With the curse scar piping a direct link between Voldemort and Harry, there is no way the pale half-dead wizard can block Harry's attack. He has become much more skilled since the last time they met in combat. Practicing on the five missing Horucrux and backed by their tamed power it seems almost too easy.
Harry rips Voldemort's soul from him. For a second, nothing happens. But then, with a satisfied click, all the six pieces so carefully collected snap together with Harry's own soul. Voldemort's empty shell falls unnoticed at Harry's feet as he battles for dominance with the last remnants of the being that was Tom Riddle.
However, Harry has the upper hand. He has been battling to subdue pieces of Voldemort's soul since he was a year old and consciously since he was eighteen. Harry rides though the uprising of the previously subdued Horucrux with grim determination. Harry grits his teeth together around the scream and battles for his life and very soul. The pain is so intense that it feels as though his very essence is being flayed into pieces with acid and boiling potions. All that keeps him going is the thoughts of all the people relying on him, all the people that have died for him. Dumbledore and Sirius both gone; Lupin lost in killing Greyback, Ron and Hermoine dead in this last battle after the past five years of hiding and fighting. Hell, he's even doing it for that bastard Snape, even if he only betrayed the Dark Lord because he was forced to protect Harry through the Unbreakable Oath to Dumbledore.
Harry holds back howls of pain as he pushes hard on the combined soul shards of Lord Voldemort, screaming out loud finally when he cannot contain the pain any longer. The battle lances off little parts of himself, mixes them with parts of Voldemort, he clings to himself. I am Harry Potter I am Harry Harry … hold… Voldemort, kill keep, dead, Harry…
Finally the pain subsides: he has won. However the last part has already done a lot of damage to his mind. Panting on the ground, Harry looks up at the wands of all the Death Eaters pointed at him. The remaining Order Members are closing in, but they won't be in time. Harry smiles and points his wand at himself. "Avada Kedavra." The only way to remove Voldemort from the world is to take out Harry as well, by his own hand. Everything goes black to sounds of a dozen curses firing.
The light opens in front of him. Opens… like doors. Like really tall doors. Like the doors… to the Great Hall? Harry's eyes finally focus, well as best they can anyway. He reaches up to feel his face. The glasses are gone, but then again he hasn't needed them since Hermione cast the eye-correction charm on him a year ago. They had been hiding in France with Bill and his wife Fleur at the time, trying to locate another elusive Horucrux and get some much-needed training in at the same time. Harry looks down at his hand in confusion. Why do I have a hand? Aren't I dead?
"Come along then, children, follow me." Harry looks up at the retreating back of Professor McGonagall. Young witches and wizards stream past him. Harry's vision gets even more blurry from the tears. McGonagall is alive? He could have sworn that he had seen her go down during the final battle…
In a daze he follows the mass of children into the hall. When he tries to veer off to the Gryffindor table a small hand grabs him around the arm. "That's alright Harry. You'll be sorted soon enough. Just come with me now." Sorted? Harry shakes his head, confused. "Come on, just wait with me a bit, eh?" Bewildered, Harry follows this mysterious voice that he somehow knows… Jeff? Why does he know a Jeff?
Harry listens to the names, but he doesn't seem to recognize any of them. When McGonagall calls, "O'Donnell, Harold," Harry is much surprised to find himself being propelled forward by the mysterious Jeff.
"Good luck, Harry!" Jeff whispers before Harry finds a bony hand replacing the other boy's.
"Why they are even letting you be sorted… it's a crying shame. You aren't capable of this level of work…" McGonagall mutters to herself before she guides Harry to sit on the stool and places the hat over Harry's head. The brim falls down over even his nose. Harry raises his hand to touch the leather brim but has his hand gently swatted away. "Leave that dear, just sit still for a second." Harry is completely lost, but he lets the hat start to sift through his head. Until he can figure out what is going on, Harry decides to act as innocent as possible and wait to gather more information.
Unlike the first time, Harry is not startled when the voice in his head starts to speak. "They warned me about you, but I don't see why. Got a better mind here than I've seen in a while. It seems almost as if… but no, it isn't my place to speculate I suppose." Just get this over with, keeping my defenses down this long is making me nervous. "Hmm. Playing along, are we? Want to know the lay of the land before taking a step? Very cunning of you, very cunning. And from what the teachers were telling me, you have been doing it very well. Sly and sneaky, hiding from the world, it had better be SLYTHERIN!"
Harry is not overly surprised at the pronouncement, although the crowd seems to be. McGonagall lifts the hat from his head wordlessly and holds onto his hand as she calls, "O'Donnell, Jeffery!"
After a long pause, where even Harry's limited eyesight can see that the boy on the stool is becoming agitated, the hat calls grudgingly "SLYTHERIN!"
Jeff comes back over to Harry and takes his hand from McGonagall. "Wanted to put me in Hufflepuff, it did! Said I was much too loyal and far too clumsy for Slytherin! Well, I told it what for! No way I'll be separated from you, Harry. Tom told me that I was to take care of you and I shall. I thought for sure we would both be Hufflepuff though." Harry lets the babbling boy lead him over to the house tables, as he can hardly see anything. And he has a lot to think about. Who is this 'Tom'? Who is Jeff, for that matter?
Once Jeff sits him down at the table he surreptitiously checks his robes for his wand. To his relief it is right where he always leaves it, strapped to his arm with a leather band. He had gotten into the habit of keeping it there during the war so that it is easier and quicker to draw it. He aims the wand at his face and whispers the incantation for the eye-correction charm under his breath. Hermione had made him learn it. 'What if someone undoes it on the battlefield?' That was something she had said almost constantly about all their protective spells.
Harry sighs with relief when he can finally see again and looks around the room. It is indeed the Great Hall of Hogwarts, there are the four tables, there the four banners. Harry feels odd sitting at the Slytherin table, it gives an odd skew to the whole place and makes it seem strange. He looks to the Gryffindor table, trying to find someone he recognizes. With a shock he realizes that he cannot place a single face! And more than that, there are no red-heads at all at the table. What in the world happened?
Harry rubs his forehead. He had killed himself, hadn't he? He'd dragged down the soul of Voldemort that had become intricately attached to his own, bound by the seventh of Voldemort's soul that had become one with his own. He closes his eyes and looks inside, as he is used to doing, checking on the Horucrux. There he sees the entire soul, coiled peaceably around and within his own, taking the form of a giant basilisk. No no no no no! Harry sinks his head down into his arms. He failed! One purpose, one mission in life and he failed utterly! He should have known the killing curse wouldn't work. It didn't before. Should he use a knife then? What? Had all those years in an orphanage that prepared him for this been for nothing? Harry nearly jumps out of his seat. He was never in an orphanage! That was Voldemort. Harry groans and starts to shake violently.
"Harry, it's alright mate. You'll be fine! There now, calm down." Harry looks over at Jeff, seeing him for the first time. The kid has blond hair and brown eyes and freckles. He's a bit on the thin side and looking at Harry earnestly.
"Sorry," Harry says, or tries to. All that emerges is a strangled croak. He pauses, surprised with how rough his voice is.
Jeff's eyes widen and light up from within. "It's alright Harry. Just calm down, alright?" He grins broadly. "It's like you are actually looking at me, today."
Harry just nods his head and stares back at his plate. He will have to do some research about how to rid oneself of a second soul. But he is in Hogwarts, and that is more reference materials than he could have ever hoped to have on the run from Voldemort. But first, perhaps he should find out where he is. That might give some clues as to what in the world happened.
Dumbledore's voice brings Harry out of his contemplation of his meal. His eyes start to water at the long-absent view of the Headmaster standing at the Head Table. Harry doesn't know how it is possible that he is still alive, and he looks better than Harry can every remember him looking. Younger somehow. "And without further ado, let the feast begin!" Harry doesn't notice when the food appears on the table. He is caught looking at the staff table. There hardly seems to be anyone he recognizes. Wait, there is Flitwick, and there McGonagall. But who is that sitting next to Dumbledore? Harry looks intently at the stranger. He looks so familiar. Dark hair, pale complexion. Why does he feel uneasy looking at this person?
The man turns and sees Harry looking at him. He smiles slightly at Harry before returning to his discussion with Dumbledore. Harry stares at him for a few seconds more, utterly puzzled. Harry continues down the line. The next person is almost as surprising. It looks like a very clean and almost… happy? Severus Snape. But that can't be right. He looks like he is younger than Harry. Or rather, younger than Harry was before… whatever happened to him.
The young man turns to look at Harry as well and smiles encouragingly. Harry is dumbfounded. This doesn't seem to bug the man at all and he returns to eating. Why does Snape look like he's a teenager? Is that even Snape? Maybe it is a cousin that just looks like him. Were there more Princes around? Harry shakes his head and continues down the line. Next is Slughorn, chatting animatedly to a woman that Harry does not in the least recognize. She has long straight brown hair held up by what looks to be sticks and wire-rim glasses perched on her nose.
On the other side of Dumbledore, besides Flitwick and McGonagall, there is Professor Sprout and another woman he doesn't recognize who looks suspiciously like a gypsy. Harry is very lost. Who are these two strange women and the one somewhat familiar man? And is that really Snape? Harry also notes a couple empty seats. Who else could there be? It seems to be a lot more seats than Harry can remember there being when he was at school. In fact, there seem to be a good deal more students as well.
"Harry, you should eat something. Here, I got some good food for you." Harry looks down at his plate absently and notes that Jeff has lumped a good load of chicken and potatoes on it.
"So, I hear this bloke's a few twigs short of a broom." Harry looks up at a sneering Slytherin boy absently as he picks through his food.
"There is nothing wrong with Harry!"
A girl to the other side of the obnoxious boy speaks up. "Yeah, I hear that the only thing he does is cast spells. Any spell you ask, isn't that right Jeffery?"
"My name is Jeff, and don't ask him to! He just is confused that's all."
The girl smirks. Harry chews. Apparently he has been out of it for some time. "I hear that your foster mom and dad found him when they were going for a broom ride over the country. That they almost didn't see him he was so dirty."
"Shut up about Harry! You don't know what he's been through!" Jeff looks like he is about to start crying. Harry isn't about to end this, though. He is learning a lot about what supposedly happened to him.
"You don't know either, isn't that right?" The boy sneers, leaning in. "I bet I know just as much as you do. He's so retarded the only things he can say are spell incantations and his name, over and over. 'Harry. I'm Harry. Harry. Harry!'" A hand grabs the back of the boy's robe and pulls him back.
"That will be quite enough Mr. DuBrey." This is the Snape that Harry is used to. All his doubts have been cleared. Now that Snape is scowling and angry, it is easy to see that it could be no other. Harry frowns. What manner of strange magic made a nice and clean Snape? And did he take a de-Aging potion? It must be some result from all the curses fired at Harry right before he Avada-Kedavraed himself. He can think of no other explanation. Snape pushes the boy back into his seat by the shoulder. "I would suggest you stop harassing our new students before you become the first person in detention."
DuBrey looks sullen and mutters under his breath. "Just because you want to protect the little freak doesn't mean you can suddenly give detentions."
"On the contrary, Mr. DuBrey. I do have the power to assign detentions. It is part of my student assistance to Professor Riddle this year." Riddle! Harry's eyes dart over to the dark haired man laughing with Dumbledore. Of course! That is why he looks familiar. He is an older version of the Tom Riddle Harry saw in the diary, the second Horucrux. Harry feels himself pale. "Do not worry, Harry." He says with a friendly wink before making his way back up to the staff table. Harry's jaw drops. Snape just winked at him?
"Look at the idiot, he can't even keep his mouth closed." DuBrey mutters under his breath. Harry snaps his mouth closed and glares at the older boy. DuBrey looks vaguely surprised.
The rest of the meal passes in relative peace. Harry savors the pumpkin juice and sweets as well as the calm atmosphere. If all he has to deal with while he figures out what is going on is a couple jerks, he will be thrilled. Jerks tend not want to kill you, as such.
"First years, follow me." Comes a voice from behind the table. Jeff grabs Harry's hand and leads him off after the Slytherin prefects. Harry follows along, noting that they are actually going a longer route than one he would have taken. Likely this is because it is considerably straighter and easier to remember.
When they finally get to the entrance to the Common Room the male prefect says the password, 'Scales of Justice,' which Harry thinks a rather odd password for a Slytherin room. When they are about half way down the hall all becomes darkness.
Harry immediately sinks into a fighting crouch, pulling away from Jeff who starts to search for him frantically. Harry shuffles off to the side, racking his brain to try to remember the lay-out of the hallway to the Common Room. He casts a darkness-piercing charm on himself and can now barely make out the walls. He sidles along one swiftly back towards the exit. In front of him a figure appears, hooded with red glowing eyes. No! Harry freezes, looking around in the now slightly brighter hallway, looking for cover with one eye trained on Voldemort. His reason for being here is suddenly clear. Somehow, the soul he has trapped is not enough to kill Voldemort. The bastard tricked him. He stealthily moves to an alcove just behind the figure, carefully maneuvering so as not to attract attention. It seems to be working.
: Hello little snakes! Welcome to your first year. The darkness will be your friends at some point, but not right now, of course. Worry not, this is only a little test. Not that you will know what I am saying, of course.: Harry is so startled that he stops moving, wand trained on the dark wizard in front of him. Harry of course can understand every word… that doesn't mean however that he can comprehend it. What is going on:: Lumos rufus: Voldemort (?) says, and the end of his wand turns a bright red reminiscent of the stunning hex. Harry looks back at the students with one eye and notes them all frozen in terror. Harry finds himself again mightily confused. "Finite Incantatum."
The darkness falls away and Tom Riddle stands revealed. He throws back his hood and looks at the huddled and frozen first years. "I am Professor Riddle. I am your Head of House. This was to wake you up to the trials that shall be asked of you in the near future. Slytherin must be sneaky and cunning. They must not freeze in terror at the mere sight of a cloaked figure in darkness."
"But it was scary!" squeaks one of the first years. There are some nervous chuckles.
"Indeed, as it was intended to be, now what…"
"Harry! Where is Harry?" Jeff cries out. Riddle's eyes narrow at being interrupted before taking on a look of mild concern.
"You lost him already?" Riddle sighs in exasperation. He has the look of a man whose dramatic entrance has been well and truly spoiled. "Harry, come out here, if you would. I won't have you lost before the first day is even over."
Harry stands up from his concealing crouch. No one seems to notice him; everyone is looking behind where the first years are still nervously huddled. Harry sighs to himself and pokes Riddle lightly in the back. Riddle whirls around in surprise; pointing his wand right at… he looks confused. Right beside the head of Harry? Harry has settled into another crouch, this time with his wand pointed at Riddle's head.
"Harry." Riddle says. "There you are." He reaches out a hand to Harry but Harry ducks back, wand still raised. "What's wrong, Harry. I'm sorry if I scared you. I should have remembered you were in the group." He looks over Harry's shoulder. "Severus, could you come take Harry for a second?" He turns back to the first years. Having his sworn enemy turn his back to Harry confuses him to the core. And Riddle seems… fond of Harry. Whatever is going on, he seems to be in no danger. Harry relaxes and sheathes his wand with a confused sigh when Snape comes from beside the doorway toward him. Harry allows the concerned looking Severus to take his hand and look him over for… whatever it is that he is looking for.
Riddle continues his introduction, rescuing his dramatic example from its tatters of glory. "Harry did exactly what a Slytherin should do. He found a strategic position and covered the enemy without raising suspicion." Harry can hear whispers forming. "Whether he did it on purpose or not is a moot point! The enemy can come in all forms. They might not be what you expect. Never underestimate them. Always assume that they know much more than you do. The ones who are 'idiots' are much more dangerous than the bravest Gryffindor, the cleverest Ravenclaw, the most loyal Hufflepuff, and yes, even the most cunning Slytherin." Riddle hisses, almost sounding as if he has slipped back into Parseltongue. "Plans can go wrong: usually they do so in a way that is completely unexpected. Put a Kneazle in a room with four exits and it will escape through a seventh. You all would do well to remember that Harry did not freeze in terror. He would be the only one still alive if that had been a curse. The only plan that you can rely on is that everything is going to backfire. That is why we are Slytherin; we exploit these situations with all the cunning we can muster. It is your destiny to be able to take any situation and use all the elements, friend, foe or scenery, to further your agenda. Never insult a stranger; you have no idea who they might end up being. You may have ruined an opportunity before it was even available. Remember that, little snakes. Our strengths and our abilities are not to seize assets from under the enemy's control: ours are to recognize assets that the enemy would not even recognize and use it to destroy them." With that Riddle spins on his heal and leaves, stalking out through the portrait that swings wide for him without his having to say a word. Harry has to admit to being impressed. Riddle turned what could have been a disaster into a very effective lesson.
"Harry!" Jeff yells, ignoring the prefects trying to herd them up to the dorms. Jeff skids to a halt right next to Harry. "Are you all right? Were you scared?"
Harry weighs in his mind whether to answer or not. They seem to think him some kind of retarded idiot. On the one hand, now they think him completely harmless. On the other, they think him an idiot and won't leave him alone to do the research he needs. Harry mulls this over briefly, letting Jeff rattle on to himself.
"I was so scared that I'd lost you on the very first day I didn't even notice Tom's scary display. Then again he does that so much back home that I…" Harry ceases to be able to hear what Jeff is saying, his brain seems to be cramping. Voldemort lives with this kid? Harry shakes his head and groans.
Snape squeezes his hand and pushes his hair back from his forehead to look Harry in the eyes. "I think we should go see Tom, Jeff. Perhaps this was all too soon. Harry hasn't been away from the orphanage since he was brought there by Mr. and Mrs. Riddle."
Jeff hugs Harry unexpectedly. To his surprise Harry does not have an immediate impulse to hex the young boy. If anything, the gesture seems… natural. "Harry!" Jeff laments, "I'm so sorry! I should have been paying better attention!"
Snape scowls at Jeff, making Harry feel a bit relieved to have some semblance of normalcy. "Jeff, stop that. We shall simply go see Tom before you two get sent to bed. We probably should anyway, he might have specific instructions." Snape opens the Common Room door and stalks out. Harry follows with a sigh and Jeff climbs through beside him. Snape looks back, but doesn't say anything. Harry decides to keep playing it dumb until he can get more information. Right now he has no plans at all and he can see no detriment to being so completely underestimated.
Snape stops up short at the intersection of two corridors. Harry walks up beside him and peers around the corner to see why. A woman with red hair and a man with black are arguing. Is she a Weasley?
"No, James, I will not help you out any longer. You are intolerably rude whenever I say anything. You already made me miss the Welcoming Feast and you know how I love to watch the first-years get sorted!"
"Lily, Lily! I am eternally grateful for your help on my research. Why, without you I would be lost!" Harry's chest seizes up. His parents! Although they don't seem to be getting along very well. Didn't they get married right after school?
"No, you wouldn't. You wouldn't have even passed your NEWTs. You are lucky that you befriended Remus, otherwise I would never talk to you." With that she turns with a huff and walks down the corridor toward the three of them. "Oh, hello, Severus." Lily says, smiling. She looks down at the two boys. "Oh and here are Jeff and Harry. It is good to see you in school, boys. Well, I have to run and make amends with Professor Flitwick, if you will excuse me?" She continues on past the three of them, pausing just briefly to whisper in Severus' ear, "I wouldn't mind if you cursed him a little bit, but perhaps we should save revenge for later. Wouldn't want the boys involved before they even start classes!" Harry looks after his young mother's retreating back. His eyes are starting to water. She's alive! How she and all the others could be mysteriously back from the dead Harry doesn't know. Perhaps he has died, and this is Heaven? No, then what is Voldemort's soul still doing entwined with his own?
"Snivellus, what did you do?" James snarls at Snape. "I was just about to get her to agree to spend more time with me."
Snape raises an eyebrow and crosses his arms. "You were close to no such thing Potter." Harry twitches. "Why don't you go back to your mutt friend? Tell him the diversion was a success." Snape sneers. It is almost as effective as the one his adult self tended to sport.
James whips out his wand and so do Harry and Snape.
"Protego!" Harry croaks out, the shield deflecting James' curse off into a wall but deflecting Snape's right into Harry. He grunts indignantly as he falls over from the leg-locking jinx. The three other males stare at Harry while he dispels the curse and stands back up.
James brushes by them without a word the same way that Lily went. Snape dispels the shield and rushes over to Harry. "Are you all right?" He asks, reaching out a hand toward Harry's head. Harry jerks back but Snape adjusts his movements with the ease of long practice to feel along the back of Harry's head. "Good." Snape pronounces. "It seems that you did not sustain injury." He sighs and stands back up with an affectionate rub to Harry's head. "Don't worry about him; he's not an apprentice here like Ms. Evans and I are. You won't see him too often. He just visits that mutt, Mr. Black on occasion." Mr. Black! Does he mean Sirius? Snape leads the way down a short hall to the open door of Riddle's office.
Riddle looks up absently and upon seeing the three boys' smiles. "What are you three doing here?" He asks. Suddenly his expression clouds with worry. "Nothing happened to Harry did it?" He asks concernedly.
Jeff runs around the desk and hops up onto Riddle's lap. Harry feels his jaw dropping again as Riddle wraps his arms around the small boy. "Harry's not hurt, though he was in a battle! It was cool." Jeff adds, grinning. Harry closes his mouth at the odd look Riddle is giving him. "He was acting weird though. Severus thought that maybe he was scared of all the people."
"A battle you say?" Riddle asks, looking bemused.
"Potter cast a curse at us, Harry shielded." Snape summarizes, arms crossed over his chest. "He was hit when my curse rebounded, however fortunately was unharmed." Snape adds grudgingly.
Riddle looks over at Harry, catching his eye. "Are you all right, there, Harry?" Riddle asks, his eyes seeming to grow larger in his face. Harry immediately recognizes the non-incanted form of Legilimens and blocks it without effort. Not only had he had Dumbledore attempting that on him every day while at school, but he also had a fatal mental battle with this man, or…. One… Harry mentally shakes himself. With someone almost identical anyway. With that he finds it natural as breathing to knock the gentle probe away.
"Anything?" Severus asks.
"No, as usual." Riddle sighs. "His barriers are very good. I'm not sure I could break them even if I wanted to." Riddle runs his fingers through his hair. "Poor kid, he must have had an inconceivably hard first few years of life to need defenses that good." Voldemort looks saddened for a moment, then angry, his arms tightening protectively over Jeff's small form. "Come here, Harry." Riddle says, smiling at him. Harry hesitates but is propelled forward by a hand to the small of his back. He lets the push carry him toward his enemy with reluctance, but he senses no danger coming from the man in front of him whose soul is twined around his own. Or his… other soul? Harry leaves that thought for contemplation when he is alone. Voldemort wraps his arm not holding Jeff around Harry and looks him over. Harry feels that he should be panicked, but he only feels a sense of safety in the Dark Lord's arms. Riddle nods to himself once, decisively. "I think he'll be fine Severus. It is bedtime after all, and Jeff knows how to set the wards on the bed so that Harry isn't disturbed, right Jeff?" He asks, looking down at the small boy.
"That's right, Tom. I practiced real hard so that I could help Harry." Jeff grins up at Riddle happily.
"That's my boy. Yes, I think we made the right decision for Harry. He and Jeff get on so well I was leery of separating them. If there was a time for Harry to come to school it is now. If there are problems, you both can come to me any time. As Head of House I can settle whatever happens. And Jeff, you'll look out for Harry, too, won't you?"
"Of course, Tom."
Snape makes a contemplative noise. "Perhaps this is for the better that both boys got sorted to Slytherin, we can keep a better eye out for them."
"Yes, but likely we wouldn't have needed to if they were in Hufflepuff or Gryffindor like we thought they would. Ah well, what's done is done. Off to bed you two." Harry then experiences the very disturbing act of being hugged goodnight and kissed on the top of the head by Voldemort. Even worse, he enjoys it. It makes him feel safe and warm, something he hasn't felt for a while, or ever, really. Except that he has this vague feeling of safety covering the unknown months he has been here without memory. In a confused daze Harry lets Snape lead him out of the office and back to the dorm and into bed.