Warnings: cuddly snake!tired!LV, DADAprof!Harry, years after Battle of Hogwarts, canon compliant (EWE though), hopeful ending, OOC? maybe, there is fluff, and cute, and character development, all that good stuff, journey of self discovery

Pairing: LV/HP (Lord Voldemort/Harry James Potter)

Summary: Harry finds an oddly cuddly pet in the Dark Lord, and Voldemort finds a sanctuary for his heart in his old nemesis. Fate had never been so strange.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling, you guys know this already we've been over it...

Dear Harry,

There has been much conflict in my heart, whether I should leave without a word or at least give you this. In the end, I could not bear to part from you completely—at least this, a token of my memory, should connect you and I despite our distance. I know not where I'll go, nor when I'll be back. There are still things in this world I need to discover, strangely enough.

Before when I traveled, I thought I had seen all there was to see. And only now, after meeting you, do I realize that I was dreadfully wrong back then. The world is vast, magic ingrained into every speck of dust in the land—muggle, mudblood, pureblood, magic does not discriminate who it touches—and from this, I take away the ultimate lesson. That you, who I thought to be a child compared to my years, might very well be centuries older in your understanding. Despite all I know, all that I have learned, no experience will ever compare with the time I have spent with you.

And for that, sincerely, thank you.

When I have found the person who I want to be, the person who I truly am—for at the moment, I am as good as a newborn babe—then I will return to you, and perhaps we could sit down by the fireside and speak of things that should've been spoken of long ago. I could tell you, with my own voice, who I was, who I am, who I am determined to be, and perhaps then—

Perhaps then, I will understand the bewitching power of your smile, and it would be possible for you to grow just as enamored with me as I have been with you.

I do believe some otherworldly force has brought us together, time and time again. There are too many signs in that direction, too much evidence to claim confidently that what we have been, if not what we are now, is coincidence. Part of me is bitter, to be directed so without my knowledge for decades upon decades, but that, I believe, is simply a piece of who I am. I will not delude myself any longer. I know not the full extent of my own nature, have been too isolated from my own soul to know in confidence, and so this is why I bid you goodbye until we meet again.

I do hope I was not wrong to take this journey. There is a degree of risk in it, I admit—part of it, of course, that someone else may happen upon you in my absence and steal you away from me, but it is a risk that, though I am not particularly pleased in the slightest, I will take, if only to be able to welcome and appreciate your hospitality to the fullest.

There have been times—many, in fact—when you have gazed in my direction, and in that split second before you blinked, I wondered if you knew more than you appeared to. I would certainly not put it past you to have figured out my true identity, for you know me better than you think you do. And I wondered—wonder still—if your subtle display of confidence should be encouraging or intimidating.

I still have much to learn of the world, mostly myself, and that is why I leave you now, to find a time where I may return and tell you without hesitation who I am.

Harry, I would never abandon you. In fact, it should be I who fear your abandonment. For me, please do not shed any more tears.

You are—have been, will be—my sanctuary. Await my return, but do not expect it to come quickly. A man, if that is truly all I am now, or truly what I've always been, will always find his way back to his home. And I find, as I regret that I had not previously discovered sooner, that you are my home—your warmth, your smile, the light and the darkness in your eyes… You are my one comfort. My sanctuary. The only place I know, regardless of whether or not I decide who or what I am, that will welcome me with open arms.

Undoubtedly I am the most fortuitous creature in Britain to have you. And I do have you, is what those eyes of yours sing to me.

Let it not be a rose, with its thorns and untouchable beauty—for thorns will prick you as you try to treasure it, and I know you, Harry; you would not let it go even should it stab your hands and feed from your blood—instead, let it be a stone, a pillar, but one piece of our sanctuary, a firm presence that withstands wind and rain, taking in warmth and freely releasing it back. Let it be a stone that represents it, this of mine, from the very soul of the earth, blessed by the caress of magic and inconspicuous to all but those who know what to look for... all but you…

Is it not the best, most tragic piece of irony, that I who would have sent you the worst of letters a lifetime ago, I who would have snarled curses at the very thought of you, whose blood would boil in rage and loathing at the mere mention, whose immediate goal was for your complete and immediate eradication—is it not the most terrible thing, that now here I sit, writing to you a solemn love letter? We will laugh for ages of this, you and I. Later, after the most difficult things have passed, and we may speak as old companions …

I am eager to get there. And so my journey must not be postponed further. Wait for me just a tad longer Harry. After, no more will I ever keep you waiting.

With all of my sincerest wishes.

The Leaky Cauldron was as crowded as ever, it being noon time after all. While he certainly didn't wish any ill will on Tom, the innkeeper, or any of the inhabitants of the establishment, Harry never appreciated crowds. It was with this wry, almost bitter acceptance that he entered, face hidden by a hood, all with the intention of heading straight to the floo.

It was almost ironic how dreadful this trip was. Harry Potter avoided crowds at all cost, yet here he was willingly braving one. Harry Potter avoided floo even more, and yet here he was, braving the crowds to get to the floo network.

Never mind how he'd gotten into this situation in the first place. He didn't want to recall—too many strange things had happened today, weighing him down with fatigue, and all he wanted to do was get this stupid trip over with—

Then he collided with another body, as people were wont to do when they struggled in crowds and were focusing more on their thoughts than the surroundings, and Harry's patience snapped.

He was tired, he was hungry, he'd been running around Merlin knew how long just to finish up these errands, and now he was falling, onto the cold unforgiving ground, with tons of people likely to step on his cloak and make him trip again, and he probably wouldn't even get an apology

But the person who he'd bumped into caught him instead.

Huh. Harry blinked. Even though he was exhausted, it wasn't in him to be rude to strangers, so he looked up and stuttered out a, "Sorry! Uh, excuse me—" He didn't finished his sentence.

"Excuse… excuse… me…" the words came out only by force of habit, but Harry wasn't even focusing on his mouth anymore. He was too busy looking up into unnatural red eyes, pale skin, thin lips—

The arms that had caught him tightened momentarily, but just as quick as they did, they let him go. Harry, still dumbfounded, couldn't make a sound. "Be more careful," the stranger said in a surprisingly soft voice, before turning and slithering effortlessly through the crowd. Harry spun around and watched him go, black cloak managing to billow impossibly, because there were people and cloaks didn't billow when there were too many bodies in the way and—

Oh Merlin…

"Wait!" Harry cried, finding his voice at the last second. His jaw quivered as the man didn't stop, and Harry found himself forgetting all the appointments and troubles of the day, all of the things he had done and all the things he still had to do, because when it came to this person, none of it ever mattered. None of it.

So he pushed through the crowds the way he originally came, stumbled out onto the clearer streets, and raced after the stranger who'd caught him. Though the man was only walking, his pace seemed to be impossibly fast. Harry didn't think he could catch up, but he still pushed his legs faster, mumbled out apologies to the affronted witches and wizards, pushed past and weaved through obstacles, all because

"Wait!" he shouted again, "Please wait!" I don't think my heart could bear it if you didn't.

Harry ducked into an alleyway after the man, but as he did, the man disappeared. All that was left was a dead end.

"You've got to be kidding me," he panted. Shoulders sagging, Harry couldn't help it. He buried his face in his hands and began to laugh. "You've got to be kidding me! You asshole!"

"You should refrain from calling people names so quickly," a voice remarked wryly behind him.

Harry spun. "Tom—!" A pause. "You… you are Tom, aren't you…?"

"Which Tom do you mean?"

Harry swallowed to try and wet his throat. Tom the snake… Tom Riddle… Tom Marvolo Riddle—Voldemort even—"My Tom," he answered instead.

The man was silent.

"It's okay, you know," Harry continued, "even if… even if you're not the most outstanding citizen ever, or if you're not very nice, or if you haven't figured out how to—"

The man must've gotten impatient, Harry mused, as he found himself pushed roughly against a wall and, well cornered… literally. It must've looked odd should have any outsider taken a glance at them—two men in black cloaks, one significantly taller than the other, the smaller shoved against the brick wall of the alleyway, probably having some dispute. At noon.

Who argued at noon?

Well, apparently the Boy-Who-Lived and the Dark Lord Volde—


"You," Tom, Voldemort, Riddle, whoever huffed, "are utterly exhausting, Harry Potter."

"Me?!" Harry laughed incredulously, "me?! Really? Hypocritical much? You practically put a bounty on my head since age one, make my school years hell by trying to kill me, repeatedly, finally succeed and force me to come back to life to stop you, play dead for a couple years before getting close to me as a bloody adorable snake, cuddly and pouty and all what-not—then you leave me, with a letter, for five years—didn't even bother to owl me you prat!—and then-and then…"

"Are you angry?"

"Well, kind of!" He even had the gall to chuckle, Harry grumbled.

"I'll make it up to you."

Ah… he couldn't help it. Harry gave in and instead of pushing the larger body away from him, wrapped his arms around it and snuggled into the obviously high quality material. Surprisingly, the man was warm.

"If you don't do a bloody good job of it, I'm going to make sure you're dead this time. How stupid could you get? Of course I would've helped you get your body back! You didn't need to leave for—"

Another chuckle, and then a low whisper, "Allow this one to… apologize…"

Because I missed you too.

I'm so sorry for forgetting this existed T_T". I wondered why people were still following this even though it was complete... and now I know... ./facepalm

Sorry guys! But now I can proudly say I've finished posting this!

Btw, Happy Birthday Harry! July 31st :)