Cake By The Ocean : Pseudonymous Entity
"Every great story seems to begin with a snake." -Nicolas Cage
Summary: Locked in his headmaster's office after the events at the ministry, Harry discovers a collection of memories revealing the childhood of his enemy...and his own. It is what he does with the information that is interesting.
Characters: Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort, Tom Riddle, Albus Dumbledore, Morfin Gaunt
Warnings: Shock. Disbelief. Denial. Bargaining. Guilt. Anger. Depression. Acceptance. Hope.
AN: As always I welcome thoughts, questions, guesses, theories and limericks. In whichever order of importance you feel inclined to give.
ANx2: Setting some stuff up. A little Evan and Harry split personality action.
Ever Yours, Pseu [The clever, magnificent and ridiculously good looking]
"When the violence causes silence
We must be mistaken."
Cake By The Ocean - Chapter 8
Evan thought he could see the wheels turning in Riddle's mind.
The little psychopath analyzing every interaction, every piece of information and reforming it into an image that fitted this revelation. After all, Evan had never actually confirmed any of the deductions the Slytherin had made, he'd only offered his name and blood status really. It was entirely possible he'd been wrong. He could second guess himself. Considering the kid was a genius Evan didn't think he'd entertain the idea of doubting himself for long. He was Tom Bloody Riddle after all. A part of himself dared the other boy to figure him out. To figure out all of it. Never in a million years could that boys guess that the similar in looks wizard before him would be the means of his downfall at the height of his reign as a Dark Lord. That this wizard would continue to thwart him as years passed. It brought up a surge of...something within Evan and Harry alike. Powerful, is that how he felt? Superior in some way? Harry hadn't ever genuinely felt that way in his real life so he couldn't confirm it.
Evan enjoyed it whatever it was. Thrived on it.
Unfortunately, he couldn't continue sitting silently on his desk while staring into Riddle's eyes watching his marvelous brain work while he stared at him in return trying -probably unnervingly succeeding- to puzzle him out. It was starting to freak out the other students for one -which Evan was actually totally fine with, it was Harry who was uncomfortable with drawing too much attention having always had negative experiences with it- and for two he did have a class to teach. Like right now. Merlin, why did he want to pretend to be an adult again? Oh. So he could do this.
"Alright! Let's start." He clapped his hands together. The class jumped. "For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of my company yet, I am not your everyday run-of-the-mill educational administrator. Lesson number one." Evan flicked his wand. The door slammed shut and locked. "You are early or on time. Otherwise you are very, very late." The sound of distressed students knocking on the door to get in made his lips curl into a small grin. "Got it? Lesson number two. I like to start off the first class off the year with an exam."
Groaning. Moaning. Whining. Complaining. Or in the Slytherin's case, dark glares of doom.
"What's the matter? You did do your assigned reading over the summer and then reread the notes your surely took last night in anticipation of a pop quiz, didn't you?" He widened his eyes as if confused and concerned. Evan swore Riddle's lips twitched upward. Hard to confirm because he did that thing where he raised his hand to cover his mouth and coughed, looking some other direction. C'mon Riddle, even crazy people get to laugh. In fact they're kind of expected to.
"No? You didn't? Well that's fine because I have no idea what your assigned reading was if you even have any. Gryffindors can stop hyperventilating. Especially the roundish one over there because that's almost wheezing now and I do not know what to do if you have some sort of respiratory attack in here. I'd probably just keep going with the lesson while the Gryffindors either mocked you or tried to help by making things worse in some heroic way, and the Slytherins internally tried to figure out if you dying in anyway got them money or remained indifferent because you're a penniless muggleborn, okay?"
Something about his soft voice, his open honest body language or both kept the students from laughing. There was something about him, about Evan, that had the Gryffindors unconsciously leaning back and the Slytherins sitting straighter, eyes narrowing. Because he hadn't been joking. He hadn't intended to be funny, though the statement from another surely would have been taken as jest. And somehow they understood that. After all, how often had any of them had someone in authority so bluntly point out the school dynamics like that?
...at least he had their attention.
"No, I won't be testing you on whatever you were supposed to learn over the summer. Instead I'm gonna give you a practical lesson that I made up this morning. See? Now it's fair." The Gryffindors started elbowing one another, smiling tentatively. He shook his head mentally. Poor things. Getting their little hopes up. How...foolish. Should he wait a moment longer before dashing them into smithereens? Oh Holy crap he was like a watered down version of Snape. Delighting in their future looks of despair? Okay a less pale, less sarcastic Snape. Still, Evan's inner Harry Potter felt a tad ill. Just not ill enough to not keep doing it. Because while messing with the students it didn't feel 'good' it did make him feel better. So, what the Hell, right?
"By show of hands, who would say that they're competitive? Everyone. Awesome." Evan slid off the table and flicked his wand again. The students scrambled out of their chairs as the desks started pushing back against the sides of the room to leave an open space. "Grab your stuff people. I will not be replacing anything that gets messed up because it didn't occur to you that leaving it in furniture I'm cramming into other furniture might have negative physical consequences on your belongings. Seriously. And I've got better things to spend my gold on. I also don't care." He waited patiently for everyone to have their stuff and stand in some sort of organized conglomeration before him that mostly amounted to red with red and green with green because heaven forbid they touch and catch each others moronic bravery or insidious cunning germs. Bless.
"The winner or winners of this exam slash contest-"
Someone knocked on the door loudly. It sounded authoritative. Uh Oh. Evan waved a hand. The door unlocked and swung opened. Dumbledore strode in and glancing around with interest. Didn't he have his own class to teach? Evan felt the smallest bit of unease, as if this man may have figured him out. But no, how could he? He forced himself to stay relaxed in his posture, unwilling to show any weakness. Definitely not in a room full of Slytherins nor in front of Dumbledore whom he didn't think he would ever trust and whom Harry certainly didn't.
"You seem to have lost some of your students." Dumbledore pointed out obviously. "Not to worry, I found them in the hallway."
"Oh good, that's just where I left them." Evan gave him his best pretend smile, carefully hiding his annoyance. This man was simply incapable of minding his own business no matter what time one found themselves in. "I'm glad to see they haven't moved. You see, in my class I expect people to be on time. Perhaps next week they will be."
Dumbledore blinked. Perhaps he wasn't used to others not immediately doing as he implied they should? "I see." It didn't really sound like he did. "Perhaps you could reconsider-"
No he didn't think he would.
Evan rolled his shoulder and pretended to wince. It was amazing how quickly Dumbledore changed his attitude. His gaze zeroing in on Evan's shoulder, flickering to Riddle and then back. Did he wonder if Evan had informed Riddle of the incident? Was he worried Evan would proclaim it aloud if he continued? Did he feel guilty for hurting him or was he only concerned about what such an incident would do to hs reputation? He hadn't defeated Grindewald yet. He was just an especially clever Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts right now.
"I apologize. It is, of course, your prerogative as the one teaching the class. I do hope you reconsider it in the future, if I may present my own opinion on the matter. Have a good class, students." Dumbledore left. Ah, the threat of revealing you accosted a seventeen-year-old.
Now, where they Hell was he? Oh right.
"The winner or winners of this exam slash contest get the choice of two prizes. Actually, you're gonna be making a lot of choices this afternoon. But here's the first one you might get if you win. You can get a free passing grade on an assignment you fail miserably, didn't finish or didn't bother to start because you spent all weekend flying over the lake pretending to be bait for the giant squid instead of doing your classwork. I'm looking at you Gryffindor."
They were still watching him warily. In his time there would have been some snickers if a teacher had made a similar comment. Hell, even Moody had gotten laughs and they were half terrified of the scarred man. He couldn't quite stop his grin. Honestly. so far he was playing nicely. He hadn't raised his voice even once, keeping the soft one he'd become known for as Evan. He was slight in stature, his eyes large and young looking. Perhaps he should as Morfin what...oh. Maybe that wildness of Morfin's had rubbed off on him a bit? How...delightful.
"Or if you have the misfortune of attaining a detention you can ask to have it with me -if you don't already cause I'm gonna be in charge of a lot of them so yes that's something for you to look forward to this year- and we can do the educational activity of your choice -as long as you can justify it as in some way educational- instead of oh I don't know carving out eyeballs for potions ingredients or scrubbing all of the seventh year male showers." The Horror.
"Here's another choice for you. You get to choose your own teams. Huzzah for freedom of choice. You can be in a group of five. A group of two. Or you can choose to go it alone. Note, how well you chose will matter later. You can be with members of your own house or not. Be prepared to defend your choice. Go."
When they were done he gave a nod. "Good. Now, for your activity. What will I have you do? Well-"
"Sir? Aren't we going to have to defend our choice?" Asked some busy body Gryffindor who did, in fact, raise her hand but didn't wait to be called on so she really should have just spoken without pretending to be polite.
Evan turned toward her slowly, smiling. "Oh yes. But it'll be after you've had the consequences for your choice. It's like a life lesson. So is this. Detention for speaking without permission."
Her mouth fell open. "But I only asked a question!" The teammates she'd chosen looked less than pleased at this, backing away slightly.
"No, you asked two. Neither time did you wait for me to call on you, instead, you totally interrupted me while I was talking. What if I was going to tell you I released a poisonous unscented gas in the classroom and you had five minutes to figure out how to get out of the room before the lots of you started dropping like flies? We would have like a minute and a half to save ourselves at this point. You are so selfish. Also, it's really irritating, oh and I'm a staff member so you get a detention because I said so."
At the slightly panicked looks, he realized he should elaborate. "There is no such gas." They relaxed. "Today." They unrelaxed.
Maybe Snape was on to something. Huh. Because this was freaking fabulous.
Evan swished instead of flicked his wand at the board behind him because variety was the spice of life or some other such overly used saying that no one really understood. And also he was enjoying showing off his mad non-verbal skills. Even if they were incredibly basic and not nearly as cool as the stuff he was learning to do wandless from his fake uncle. But that was a story for another day.
He turned to watch the chalk start scrawling across the board. "This is a list of stuff you need to somehow acquire, and then return here. You will only have a half an hour so you're going to need to be creative. That's code for by whatever means necessary for you Gryffindorks."
"Oi!" It was immediately shushed but he'd heard it.
"Detention whoever that was. I admire your house loyalty but I hate being interrupted." A small groan. "You'll get imaginary points deducted if you get a detention or me into trouble got it?" He looked over his should and stared until they started nodding. "Here you go. Memorize it in some fashion because I'm erasing the board in three minutes. One Ravenclaw tie. One Hufflepuff tie. One Gryffindor tie. One Slytherin tie. The Herbology professor's favourite colour. Any book written the year of your birth. Something purple. A portrait with an awesome beard. A quidditch jersey from an opposing team. One item from the Hufflepuff common room. One from the Ravenclaw. One from Gryffindor and yes one from Slytherin. Good look with that. Imaginary bonus points if you can get someone to give you these things. Bribe. Intimidate. Seduce. Whatever you have to do. You will have to prove the authenticity of your spoils so keep that in mind. Well, what are you still doing here? Time started six minutes ago, you got twenty four left. Leave."
The dash toward the door was madness. Satisfied Evan twirled around and sat on his desk prepared to start a game of hangman. He froze. Riddle remained. Unnecessarily the wizard looked at the watch on his wrist and then up at Evan. "There's three minutes before we need to start."
"Yup." Evan didn't deny it. They both turned and watched the students shoving at one another out the door and into the hallway. He was pretty sure that was a second year Ravenclaw surrounded by a ravenous horde of fifth years students attempting to get his tie. He looked petrified. When would they realize they'd have to negotiate with one another in order to get the tie and item from the other house? He almost wanted to follow them so he could see the realization of having to possible bribe -act Slytherin- in order to get a Slytherin tie hit the Gryffindors. Almost. Right now he had a future dark lord. With him. In the classroom. Alone.
"They're descending into chaos," Riddle mentioned.
"Yup." Evan agreed. Mostly because his use of 'yup' appeared to annoy the other wizard. "So, why are you still here?"
The future dark lord's eyes flicked over him, doing that calculated deduction thing he did.
"Careful. Someone might think you're checking me out." Evan quipped. Though if he were it'd be narcissism in the highest degree because they looked just about as alike as any two people could.
"Do you happen to have a Ravenclaw tie in your desk?" Asked Riddle.
Evan kicked his feet back and forth. "I might."
The Slytherin nodded. "And perhaps almost all of the other items on the list?"
"I thought I'd at least get to see you run around a bit before you figured it out." Evan deflated a little.
"You thought I would guess you were tricking us?"
"Well yeah." Evan put up his hands about a foot a part. "Your brain is like this big. Metaphorically speaking. So how did you figure it out?"
"Your eyes kept going to the desk while you were writing out the list. You either had a list, in which case you could have just brought it out to look at it, or you had the items with you and were visualizing them to help you remember what else was on the list. Also, I was swarmed by first years this morning who inexplicably managed to 'bribe' me with this month's pocket money for me to get something out of the Slytherin common room for them."
"You extorted first years? Wait to go." He paused. "Do you have a book written the year you were born?"
Riddle blinked. "I...no." Gods did he look like a confused rabid puppy.
"Fine." Evan groaned. He stood on his desk and jumped off the other side to pull open a drawer. He took out a book, climbed back over the desk and handed it to him. "You win. But you better show off your creepy genius stuff when the others come back. I want to see the looks on their faces as they realize they didn't have to run around like maniacs."
"Alright." Riddle stood there with remarkable stillness for a teenager. Eerie.
Evan looked around for something to fill the silence. "So...do you know how to play Quidditch?" When he didn't get an answer he glanced up and jumped. Riddle was a lot closer than he'd been a minute ago. And he was...staring at his...arm? Evan raised a brow. "See something you like Riddle?" It was more of a defensive mechanism than a joke this time.
Well he wasn't expecting that. "Come again?"
"I knew you'd hurt your shoulder or your arm yesterday. I could tell from the way you braced yourself when you fell. Just a little while ago you either pretended to or allowed it to show that it still hurt. Dumbledore left immediately. He has to have been in some way responsible either directly or through negligence. I am going with directly because negligence doesn't seem to bother his conscience from what I have known of the professor. Additionally he glanced at me afterward and I am curious why that is as well. Did you have an argument concerning me? But why would you? I haven't seen either of you interact before though it is obvious that you have. I must have had something to do with it. You did see me directly afterward, I assume. Is that why you were so still when I...grabbed you? You were still wary? But why be wary of Dumbledore, he is well liked. Wary of me then. But why again? So many questions Evan St James."
During this analysis Riddle's long fingers had pulled back Evan's robe gently to expose a bruise. It was probably the surrealist thing to have happened since he found himself in 1942. Riddle pulled out his wand. Rather than flinch away, as a part of his brain was screaming for him to. The Harry part no doubt. Evan sat still and watch with interest. The taller wizard merely gave it a short wave. The bruise faded and an ache he hadn't known was there went along with it.
"Thank you?" Evan offered. Was that appropriate? Perhaps, thank you your I-guess-you're-not-so-evil-but-totally-still-evil evilness?
"Why?" Riddle demanded again. "Dumbledore doesn't usually physically interact with other people, let alone fellow teachers. Why would he do so with you?"
"Junior staff member." He corrected. "Honestly? He thought I was you. Want to tell me why he thought grabbing you with his talon-like hands and spinning you around like a top was an okay thing to do?"
Riddle was tense. Evan only knew because Harry remembered this boy, his movements so well. He stood too straight. His face was too neutral. "Because I am Tom Riddle." Well damn.
Searching for a way to change the subject -because wow, and he was not qualified to be a guidance counselor, and Harry had way too many childhood issues of his own that were comparable and good Lord did he not want to compare himself to both Snape and Voldemort's mini-self all in one day, no matter how curious Evan was in this conversation, and God yes he was being selfish- Evan suggested an alternative subject for their attention, mostly to get rid of the headache arguing with himself gave him.
"Wanna play hangman?"
While explaining the mechanics of the game to the Slytherin, Evan decided he would pursue this mystery of the interactions between the Transfiguration Professor and the Prefect even if Harry was against it. Sure Harry disliked Dumbledore but he didn't seem prepared to see evidence of the man doing anything genuinely horrible outside of keeping information to himself and meddling in other people's affairs. Evan didn't have that issue. There was obviously something not entirely above board going on here. He wanted to know what it was and how he could use it to his advantage to keep Dumbledore away from him and Harry and out of their business. Besides, he wasn't Harry Potter here, he was Evan. And while Evan was in control he would do whatever he thought was necessary to keep their ruse going and their game continuing.
If that meant coming between the big bad professor and the big bad miniature dark lord...well, it would be all the more exiting.
Notes: As always I welcome thoughts, questions, guesses, theories and limericks. In whichever order of importance you feel inclined to give.
AN: So that happened.
ANx2: Evan has all of those things because he had two sets of first years already do the scavenger hunt. He kept the items.
Next Time: Slytherins, Responsibility, Memories, Realizations, Blackmail
"I tried to hold these secrets inside of me, my mind's like a deadly disease. I'm bigger than my demons. And all the kids cried out; please stop, you're scaring me!
I can't help this awful energy. Goddamn right you should be scared of me, Who is in control?"