"Honestly, Lucius." Tom crossed his arms as he frowned at the man currently occupying his couch, recovering from the massive shock of seeing the Boy-who-lived in the house of his master. Said boy was currently dressing himself upstairs. The sitting room that the two where in was unchanged from the previous day, save the empty grate of the hearth. The scion of the Malfoy line continued to carry on about enemies and wards until Tom had enough. The 'Dark Lord' was more than annoyed. "When I asked you to come over it wasn't to watch your histrionics."
"But, my Lord…"
"Silence. I called you here for a reason." He turned away from the blond, a hand raising to rest against his chin. "I believe that I have figured out that old man's crazy scheme."
Malfoy's eyes widened.
"The events of that night that stripped me of my family have never ceased to confound me. That last missing element… it was Harry himself. The old man wanted to turn him against me, and to mold him to his own ideas of how the foretold child should be. What he didn't count on was Lilly," Tom snorted. "And yet, he managed to make everything fit together so smoothly. Even I am impressed. But no more."
"What do you plan to do?" The blond sat up, leaning on his elbows.
"Tell him the truth."
"Honestly? The truth is enough to make my head spin. How do you think the boy will take it?"
"I don't know." The sharp eyes of Riddle surveyed the room, coming to rest of the mop of hair peaking around the edge of the open door. "Why don't we ask the boy in question?"
Sheepishly, Harry stole into the room, twisting his hands anxiously as he approached the duo. He hadn't meant to spy, but as he had turned the corner he had stilled at the name "Lilly." Hadn't the saying always went, 'curiosity killed the cat?'
"Harry, we were just speaking about you, and about how everything turned out as it has. Come, sit." Riddle gestured to the open chair.
"Thank you, sir."
"There is no need for formalities. But I digress. I suppose that you are curious as well about that night."
Harry nodded. Lusicus had arranged himself in a more dignified position by this time, and was staring at the younger male is intense concentration. It made Harry nervous to be observed like that, but resolutely he bore it out. His silent fortitude impressed the aristocratic blond.
Malfoy spoke, "How much do you know about the night that made you famous?"
"Not very much," Harry answered. "Only what Professor Dumbledore told me. I have had visions of my parents' deaths when dementors come near me as well, and I have had dreams…"
The two men exchanged significant looks.
Riddle steepled his fingered focusing solely on the squirming wizard. "Tell me everything that he told you, or that you can remember, and I will tell you what really happened."
"I remember screams. Dad said, 'take Harry and run." Mum cried a bit later, 'kill me, not Harry.' You said something, and laughed. And then a bright green light and pain. Dumbledore said that it was my mother's love that saved me, that she created a protective ward when she died. " He took a deep breath. "I'm not going to go into more detail. I think that summarizes everything."
The room grew silent as he stopped talking, and remained that way for several minutes.
"Harry…" The jade eyes of Riddle looked sorrowfully at Harry. "What if I told you that everything, everything that you were told, remember, or felt from that time… was a lie?"
The boy's eyes widened slightly. Truth be told, he had been expecting something like this, but not the utter truth reflected in the depths of those glittering orbs. There was something… it wasn't tangible, but it hovered over their heads like a cloud of Veritserum. He knew that Voldemort wasn't lying, he felt it in his bones, and that fact scared the piss out of him. He had never felt like this when he spoke with Dumbledore.
"Your father was in fact James Potter." Their eyes locked. "But you never had a mother."
"What?" He couldn't keep his childish exclamation down. "That's impossible!"
A benevolent smile tugged the corner of his mouth. "Have you forgotten so readily? Magic. There are many ways to conceive a child in the Wizarding World."
"So how was I conceived then, and what about Lilly?" Harry was completely confused.
"Lilly was never part of the equation. Your father and I…" Riddle trailed off at a loss for words, a cherry red color creeping across his cheeks. He looked helplessly at Lucius. "You really shouldn't have had to find out like this. Lucius, help me out."
The blond sighed. "Potter, you are the child of Tom Riddle and James Potter."
"I suppose it would be a little too cliché to faint right now." The shocked boy whispered. "How is it even possible?"
"I thought we already covered that." Malfoy smirked.
Rebuked, the Malfoy cast his eyes to the floor. Riddle looked anxiously back at Harry who was sitting as still as a statue.
"How do you explain my memories then?"
"Dumbledore is anything if not thorough. I have only figured out how he had manipulated everything… even my own actions. There where many possibilities that I have thought of and discarded, but the evidence that I managed to gather has suggested that he used memory spells on you as soon as he stole you from your crib."
Harry shook his head slowly. "Why don't you just start from the beginning and tell me your side of the story."
Riddle began to pace the room, trying to get his thoughts in order. "I suppose that it wouldn't hurt to straighten out a few things. Your father and I were very happy together. We had met completely by accident in a muggle bookstore; weren't looking where we were going and nearly killed each other. Well, to cut things short, we started talking and things progressed from there.
"I had known since I had started attending Hogwarts that Dumbledork was a controlling idiot. I knew that with the defeat of Grindelwald he was riding a power high and as his fame began to die down he did everything in his power to create another dark lord for him to fight. Two guesses as to who that dark lord could be." A sardonic smirk briefly crossed his melancholy features.
"Anyway, James was nearly thirty-five years my junior, but everything seemed to fit together perfectly. He helped me to escape from the old fart's web of lies and gave me hope that I didn't have to be Dark. I had no plans except to have a family and take care of them like I was never taken care for. You know I grew up in an orphanage. I'm sure that Dumbles told you that."
"I'm leaving out details you don't need to know, but suffice to say that soon we were expecting you."
Harry frowned. "I still don't understand… did one of you carry me? Or did you have a surrogate mother, or was there a spell-"
"Slow down!" Tom chuckled softly. "I suppose that technically I could be called your 'mother'."
"My lord…" Lucius grumbled.
"Yes, yes. Back to the story. Um… well, Dumbles found out. He had plans of his own for James, and he wasn't to happy with our relationship. He wanted him to marry Lilly Evans. She wasn't completely horrible, just reclusive and liked to act like a bookworm. James would have none of it, and moved in with me shortly after the Headmaster confronted him. His friends supported him, the Marauders I believe he called them. One was a traitor though. He was loyal to Dumbles the whole time and as soon as he could figure out the precise location of our home, told him everything.
"That night was the worst in my life. I came back from work to find the house in smoking ruins. James was lying dead on the floor of the living room, apparently tortured to death. I'll spare you the details. You were missing from your crib."
He paused to take a shaky breath.
"Dumbledore was waiting there, in your room, with a smile on his face like he had won the lottery. He said to me, "My dear boy, perhaps you should do what you are destined to do. The wizarding world has its hero already, and you know I could never allow the spawn of a Dark Lord to remain alive. Don't worry, I'll take care of everything." And I stood there as he drew his wand and Obliviated me."
Riddle started pacing again, running his fingers through his close cropped hair. "Of course, he underestimated me. It wore off after several weeks, but I thought that you were dead. And I started down the road of vengeance once again."
Harry was appalled. The image that he held of Dumbledore was completely opposite of what he was being told; he didn't know what to believe. On one hand everything that Dumbledore said sounded remotely true… it could have happened like that. But then how about all the other women who had given their lives for their children? Why couldn't the protection of their love have saved their children?
"So have you ever killed an innocent?"
"Yes. I'm sure that I have, in some shape or form. After the memory charm wore off my rage consumed me and I went after everyone that was associated with Dumbledore. After several months my grief overwhelmed my anger and I wanted to know exactly who was responsible for what happened. It was too late to use the backtracking charm in the house, and I didn't even have that option as the house was under Ministry surveillance. I have been working on a potion that would allow me to see the events of that night exactly as they occurred, so that I could have proof of what Dumbledore did to me and mine."
"But what about a pensive?" Harry leaned forward earnestly. "If you showed the Wizengmagot that they would have to believe you."
"I already thought about that. There is a law that was passed just a few decades ago that forbade any memories to be entered into evidence that had traces of a memory charm on them, even if it had been broken."
"There are a few things that I still don't understand. What about the Death Eaters? And the part you had to play in that reign of terror?" The fey looking boy leaned back into his seat, brain working overtime to temper the information with logic.
"I didn't.Voldemort was a name that I invented in school that I never intended to use. Dumbledore, however, had access to my belongings and I believe saw what I had written. The attacks were something that everyone had to live with in those times. Lucius and the rest of my… followers, were part of a special force that I led to target the terrorists and bring them to justice at the ministry. But that's enough for now. I believe that it's nearly time for lunch, and you have much to think about."
Harry sighed as the older two made their way out of the room, staring into the empty grate. What the fuck?