Voldemort couldn't believe it. Of all the punishments he could ever have received for the murder, mayhem, and general chaos that he had caused, Tom had never thought that the punishment would be this horrible. Because it was much worse than any sort of torture that he could ever have thought of.

Lord Voldemort was a house elf.

Not just anyone's house elf, but the house elf of Harry Potter, the bane of his existence. And the blasted boy knew exactly who he was. He was Potter's servant, bound by magic to follow his every command, not that there were many commands: Harry usually requested something done, then proceeded to convince Tom to do it. This was definitely punishment of a level that Tom had never imagined before.

Tom felt the summoning call shiver through his body. His magic, and wasn't he glad that he still had magic at all, wanted to react automatically to the call and appear at Potter's side, but his mind refused despite the fact that he would get the urge to harm himself later.

It really was ridiculous how little control he had over this tiny body and its strange magic. His life was still tied to Potters. It seemed like he would never be separated from that menace.

… not that he could think about Potter like that without the spark of pain that flared through his body in warning. That was the other part of his sentence, the part that Potter wasn't in control of. Potter could mellow his actions, but his mind was his own.

Well, it should have been his own but whoever had sent him back here for a "second chance" hadn't even been about to give him a break within the comfort of his own mind. Obviously, having his mind free despite his body never being able to harm Potter was still dangerous. Or maybe they thought Potter would get soft, and give him more leeway than she should have, Tom wasn't certain.

Unable to resist Potter's call for much longer, Tom let out a sigh, allowing his magic to gather around him and take him to wherever Potter was. No doubt it would be another trivial chore for him to do.

oOo…

The only thing Tom was glad for was the fact that Potter lived alone. Tom didn't know what he would have done if Potter had a wife or, Merlin forbid, the devil's spawn people call children. Tom didn't think he would have survived for very long without trying to kill himself.

Repeatedly.

Not that Tom thought that he would be successful with that. It would still be worth the try.

Potter wasn't making it any easier on Tom either. There was not a hint of hatred whenever Potter spoke to him, nor was there any malice directed at him, despite the fact that Tom was certain Potter knew exactly who he had been, and had an inkling of Tom's thoughts and feelings.

"Tom? I spilled some ink on the carpet, would you mind cleaning it up?" Potter looked so sheepish that it annoyed Tom. No one treated their house elves like Harry did, no one was polite and treated them like any other person. Tom certainly hadn't, so he didn't deserve this kind of special treatment.

The creatures were below him. Or they had been, because he was one of them now.

"Couldn't you be more careful?" Tom snarked, knowing he was going to end up cleaning it anyway. If this was the only amusement he could get, then he would take it without question.

"I couldn't help it!" Harry defended as if he was talking to another wizard, and Tom couldn't help the growl that left his lips, but Harry obviously took it another way. "I said I'm sorry! I'll try not to do it again!"

Tom grumbled to himself as he headed up the stairs, half-wanting Harry to hear his words. He resolutely ignored the shouted "thank you!" that followed him up the stairs.

The blasted boy never learnt.

oOo…

Harry had brought someone home tonight.

Tom didn't like it, his body had bristled at the thought. Harry had been his for so long, and he wasn't the type to share. He ignored the little voice in his mind that reminded him that he had only ever wrought destruction in Harry's life, and that he didn't really have any say in Harry's life.

He was watching them now. The lingering glances, the unnecessary brushes, the way Harry laughed a little too loud for a bit too long. All of it incensed Tom to the point that he would have killed the other man if his magic would listen to him. As it were, he couldn't, he was forced to watch, unable to protect his place within Harry's life.

Tom didn't understand why he felt hurt that Harry hadn't called him all evening, not even sparing a thought to summon Tom to him for something. He hadn't even crossed Harry's mind, Tom's magic would have told him if Harry had thought of him. That was the magic that allowed the house elves to be the most effective at their work. It was also the magic that allowed Tom to realise how big a part he played in Harry's life.

And here was this one man who would be able to take that all away, reduce Tom into something insignificant in Harry's mind. Tom couldn't stand the thought. Was Harry really going to forget about him after everything? It had been nearly seven years since Tom had first become Harry's house elf, and Harry hadn't taken another house elf since nor had even mentioned the need for one.

Then why? Why did Harry need someone else? Why invite someone else into their home?

Tom lamented the fact that there was nothing he could do unless Harry summoned him into the room, because Tom could pass it off as a mistake then. He couldn't afford to make the two any closer.

Tom should have kept an eye on the Malfoy boy while he had the chance! He should have known the Malfoy would do something like this! Trying to usurp his position in Harry's life, the nerve of the boy! Tom could see through the entire act. The new Malfoy Lord was clearly only there to elevate the Malfoy standings. Tom couldn't understand how Harry didn't notice it. It was dreadfully obvious if one knew what to look for, and Tom did.

While Tom hadn't been wonderfully fond of Harry in the beginning, he would protect Harry through any means now. So, even if he couldn't touch Malfoy right now, it didn't matter. There was still time.

Oh, Tom would wait for the perfect opportunity, and Draco would leave their home as fast as he had entered it. Tom was certain of that.

Written for October Event: Halloween Carnival Costume Party Contest [House Elf]