The Mysterious Warrior

Chapter 6

Harry gazed at the bags in his hands as he entered the bedroom he'd been given, still reeling over the words 'Why don't you put your new clothes in your bedroom' such a throwaway sentence, nothing to be thought on further. His bedroom, a proper bedroom, it was more than he'd ever had, more than he'd ever expected out of this life until he could break free on his own. The irony was bloody hilarious; out of all people to give him this…extravagance it was the wizard who had tried to kill him three times. Well, maybe two due to the fact he hadn't tried to kill him in the Chamber of Secrets. He couldn't help but wonder if everything Tom was doing was calculated to make him feel this way, or if he was trying to turn him to the dark side slowly without every word meant to draw him in. Harry wasn't sure which one gave him the most comfort; sure he was smart, smarter than anyone knew, but next to the likes of Malfoy and Tom his ability to manipulate was child's play. Sure he played the part of 'The-Boy-Who-Lived' but that was just like acting, to be truly manipulative, sly and cunning took years to cultivate. He'd been too heavily reliant on surviving than upping his game, Harry Potter wouldn't be manipulative after all.

He'd gone to France, he'd gone abroad, not only that but he'd been bought an entirely new wardrobe, and it was more clothes than he'd ever had in his entire lifetime. Not only that but he'd been given money to buy whatever he liked, he'd argued and balked at the idea, but apparently they were going to Gringotts tonight, so he would, if he must, repay Tom then, although he had not been happy about it in the slightest.

How could he tell you might ask? His eyes, his face rarely changed, but when he got pissed off his eyes flashed angrily. Harry didn't understand it, why Tom was so keen to look after him. Buying him clothes, giving him money, even making sure he took potions and ate - even if he couldn't eat it all - he pushed for him to eat as much as he could. Hell, he'd bought that eye repairing potion from the Malfoy apothecary and given it to him after lunch. His glasses were in one of his shopping bags. When he'd asked why, Tom had insisted that he act like a 'pureblood heir' that he was, and refrain from being an utter plebeian -tasteless in fashion - but that was all he would say. Whether it was the truth or not, Harry would have to wait and find out.

They were going to Gringotts after it got dark, later at night, which had surprised Harry, Muggle banks didn't stay open after five o'clock, he'd assumed Gringotts bank was the same - despite never seeing any opening hours times splashed across the front - he didn't bother asking why he already knew that question. Tom wanted to know who his magical guardian was, wouldn't he be in for a severe disappointment when it turned out Sirius always had been his magical guardian. Admittedly he was curious to know about the statements if he was actually meant to get them, why hadn't he? Sure, when he was a kid maybe not, but now that he had returned to the magical world surely he should have received something? He hated that he didn't, hated that he hadn't known about all his money. He'd assumed the small vault he'd entered when he first came back was all he had, that had to do him until he got a job after Hogwarts. Such a fool he'd been, and everyone else not telling him infuriated him, from the eye repairing potion to his inheritance, someone should have been able to tell him about his finances, Sirius or hell even Remus they were his fathers best friends, surely they knew something at least. With a war going on…his parents surely had a will? With as much money as Tom suggested he had…they must have done.

Harry wandered over what he had found out after investigating for a moment, was a large walk-in closet, having assumed it was one due to the fact there was no wardrobe in the room. He certainly hadn't expected it to be a walk-in just a small closet for clothes. This was rich, fancy and just so far above him that he wanted to feel uncomfortable here, yet he only felt a sense of excitement, it was new, it was sophisticated and he quite liked the thought of hanging up all his new things in a proper place. Not keeping them in his school trunk or worse, in a broken wardrobe that was falling to pieces.

He wasn't sure how much longer all this would be his, so he was definitely going to take advantage of it he thought to himself, as he put away his new clothes, decided on a way and determined to keep at it. Play the game see where it led, it wasn't as if he had anything better to do. If he died, well, he knew realistically that he would never stand a chance against Voldemort - or Tom come to that - they were both extremely powerful, they knew more magic than he could fathom. One wanted him to join his side, the other probably still wanted him dead, and Dumbledore just assumed he'd be on his side because of what happened to his parents. Expecting him to defeat someone with so much more magical experience without once even trying to suggest training. Which is something anyone who cared should have done after what he experienced with Voldemort in his first year. Adding the last of his cloaks to the rack, he gave a little groan, as he shuffled out of the walk-in closet and sank down on his bed, sighing in relief. He'd been walking none stop - except for lunch - in heat he wasn't used to, so to say he was actually finding himself exhausted would be putting it lightly.

Pursing his lips, Harry let himself fall back onto his bed, situating himself comfortably, he'd done what he had to in order to survive a life with the Dursley's. Reined in his temper, tried to prevent any magical displays, not that he'd known he was a wizard for Merlin's sake. Become a 'slave' in order to survive with as little injuries as possible - although it rarely worked - as he got older his anger grew, as did his magical core, leading to many outbursts that caused his uncle to starve or beat him for weeks on end.

Then just like that on his eleventh birthday, he had discovered a whole new world, one that expected greatness from him, expected him to be perfect and if he wasn't they turned on him quicker than lightning. Saw him as a carbon copy of his father, and he did it, went along with the ruse - at eleven he'd had such a great desire to fit in, make friends - but he wasn't a child anymore. How could he be when he had been attacked by trolls, defence teachers, nearly had his mind wiped, been forced to listen to his parents dying, almost had his soul sucked out by Dementors. He'd been turned on so many times by his classmates, and for what? The loss of House points? Because they thought he was Salazar Slytherin's heir? Because they thought a twelve-year-old could be killing people - idiots the lot of them - although the worst of it was when Hermione went to a teacher about his Firebolt, that had hurt, he knew she was only looking out for him though so he forgave her.

The person he acted like at the Dursley's wasn't him, nor was he the person he played at Hogwarts. Harry couldn't help but admit even only to himself, he felt slightly lost here. The only place he could actually be himself was usually the cupboard under the stairs, his old bedroom, and of course, Dursley's second bedroom when he was alone. Here though, he wasn't really being either of those things, too bewildered to even try. It made him anxious but at odd times utterly exhilarated. He was still clueless about so many things, he'd admit freely, and he hated that.

Hated being confronted with questions he didn't know the answer to.

At Hogwarts, he pretended not to know, but he was ahead with many subjects especially DADA, Charms, and Transfiguration, those were the most exciting subjects. It was only a year he was ahead though; he could only do so much and be gone for so long before returning to his Dorm. So, yes, not knowing was very, very irritating. Especially when questioned as though he was particularly stupid, no, Tom hadn't really been derisive in his question, but it's definitely how it made him feel. The worst of it? He hadn't really thought of it the way it was described.

The war wasn't just tearing families from the light side, but it was tearing apart the lives of those on the dark side.

What if there was a way for everyone to get what they wanted without another war?

If it was possible he had to find out about both sides, real not watered down versions and peoples views maybe then he'd have a fair idea.

Determination gleamed in his green eyes, well, that would work in his favor, since Tom was already determined to lure him to his side. It was kind of obvious if you asked him, trying to get him to see the other side of things.

The sound of a House-elf popping in caused him to jerk up and eye the House-elf curiously.

"Master Harry? Dinner is being served, you are to go down immediately," it said, giving him a serious look before disappearing.

The first thing that crossed Harry's mind was the fact the damn House-elf had a proper attire on. Like the Hogwarts House-elves. He pondered very briefly as he sat up, if the House-elves came with the place and whether or not Tom had anything to do with it. The second was the House-elf had been subtly warning him not to be tardy, either they were scared of Tom or worried for him. House-elves weren't stupid; they knew what happened, and probably knew Tom was Voldemort and who he was.

Down three flights of stairs later, Harry found himself once again in the presence of Tom Riddle; it was astonishing how quickly he got used to this version of him. Although it really shouldn't, all he knew was the wraith form of Voldemort, and only for a few moments, before he was being choked almost to death.

"Are you going to sit?" Tom enquired; looking highly amused, "I don't bite," eyes gleaming. "Much,"

"Hilarious," Harry muttered drolly, as he made his way to the same seat he'd had this morning - boy it did not just feel like a day he'd been here - he wasn't going to let his guard down. If Tom thought that he wasn't going to change sides…or was too much bother, he honestly suspected he'd be killed.

Tom raised a brow, this boy had guts in spades, nobody spoke back to him, and they didn't dare. Yet for some strange reason, he did not want to punish the boy, at least not in the manner he usually would. The Cruciatus curse was and would always be a favorite of his, didn't cause too much outwardly damage but kept all his followers in order. The thought of putting the boy over his knee was very heady indeed, although, in his mind's eye, he imagined the boy at least a few years older, not the young teenager he was right now. Oh, he couldn't wait to see what Harry would look like at full health, an epitome of the pureblood he was always meant to be. He just knew he would be a vision indeed. "Drink the potions and eat," he stated, a bit more sharply than required, he didn't like having to wait for things.

Harry didn't even so much as blink at the order or tone of voice, he was hungry enough to just drink the potions and begin eating. It was always this way, after being starved for weeks, he always felt so hungry, but he knew better than to stuff his face. It would just result in the food making a reappearance. So he forced himself to get used to three meals a day again. He could swear the potions were helping with that though, normally he couldn't eat quite so much when he returned to Hogwarts.

Harry also noticed that Tom was watching him with that look on his face again; he couldn't help but wonder what it was all about. It was almost like Tom was trying to figure him out; did he suspect he wasn't as 'golden' as he appeared? Did he already know what he was going to do? Try to find out about both sides of the war? Nothing would surprise him if he was honest; it was like people could sometimes read him, like the times Snape stared at him with blatant suspicion as if he knew what he was up to.

"What should have happened if my magical guardian was in Azkaban? I mean to my statements and my vault if I ended up in the Muggle world?" Harry questioned thoughtfully as he absently nibbled at the last of his dinner.

"Upon your godfather's incarceration a new magical guardian would have been elected either by your parents will or the executor of your parents will…someone they trusted, if and only if Sirius Black was your magical guardian," Tom replied slowly, Harry was in for a world of surprise, he was almost looking forward to seeing how Harry reacted to it all if he was honest. Betrayal and tears would be predictable, anger and a thirst for vengeance at being played was a primarily Slytherin move. The boy seemed to be under the impression that Black was his magical guardian! Just because he was his godfather, it just didn't work that way, he almost felt sorry for him, or he would have done if he was truly capable of feeling sorry for anyone. He didn't trust people, thus did not become emotionally attached to them, in other words, he commiserated as one would a stranger over someone's misfortune, although sometimes he actually found it amusing, depended on his mood naturally.

Harry's brow furrowed, "I hate that everyone seems to know more about my life than me," he admitted through gritted teeth, and nobody seemed to bother even trying to educate him. There was

"I know the feeling," Tom said dryly, Dumbledore the old fool had known everything about him from the very first meeting, not limited to which prestigious family he was from and yet remained silent on the matter. It was a good job he had cared enough to find out about his lineage to find out, Dumbledore probably would have preferred it that way. He could barely fathom why Dumbledore was repeating past mistakes, if he didn't know any better he would summarise that the old man wanted two Dark Lord's out there. His hubris was believing that he knew best, that he wasn't capable of making mistakes, he wouldn't realize what he had done until it was too late. "Do you have any other questions before we leave tonight?" he could tell by the boy's face that he had many questions; he presumably didn't want to ask him.

Harry shook his head, having to actually bite his tongue, whether he liked to admit it or not, Tom was actually really good at explaining things. Even better than Hermione, who explained things as if people around her were slow, were idiots, with a smug satisfied tone of voice. It was one of the things that made him roll his eyes at her. That and thinking being expelled was worse than death, she wasn't as bad as she used to be when she was eleven though. Ron didn't have as much patience for it all though. Especially her nagging when it came to school and homework if he actually applied himself he would actually be better. If that happened he would be able to actually apply himself a bit more.

"Perhaps I could lend you a book on Gringotts laws and regulations?" Tom suggested, seeing that Harry would remain stubbornly silent on the subject. "Just the information that pertains to your situation?" he could remember what book it was too.

Harry placed his fork and knife on the plate, finally finished every bite, giving a single nod, grateful that he wouldn't be talking into this situation completely blind.

"Shall I send it to your room?" Tom inquired, "If you wish, I wouldn't be opposed to the idea of company?" after spending so long alone in a diary he was actually being truthful and not manipulative as was his nature. If it served him well then he was all for it, two birds one stone sort of deal. Then when he did have company after sixty long years it was the pathetic eleven-year-old girl, who dared to think she was somehow worthy of Harry just because she was a girl born into the Weasley family and because she'd let herself dare to dream for years that she'd marry him, the hero worship was utterly nauseating. She'd been screwed up before he got her hands on her, everything had revolved around Harry, the fact she wore second-hand clothes and didn't think she'd stand out for him. To a lesser extent, the lack of friends was a knock on her already brittle confidence.

Harry shrugged, he honestly didn't care, which was strange in and on itself.

"Follow me," Tom replied, smoothly standing without even waiting to see if Harry would comply he made his way to his private study.

He was browsing for the book to give Harry when he heard the sound of hesitant footsteps, there was so much he wanted to ask Harry. Questions mostly relating to the past three years he'd been at Hogwarts. Then more regarding his home life and if he had ever told anyone, he knew it probably didn't make an iota of difference, since he had also complained but received nothing but empty platitudes at the time.

"Take a seat," Tom told Harry without turning around, mentally imagining Harry jumping with a caught in the headlights look, he didn't turn around to see if his thoughts were correct. Merely removed the book from the shelf's, turned around, and levitated it over to the now sitting teenager. The room was warm, but he wasn't at all surprised when the teen chose to sit closest to the fire, it would take a while for him to gain weight and be able to retain the warmth his body so desperately needed, especially in winter which thankfully it was not. "Chapter six," he added absently.

Harry watched Tom move over to the large oak ornate desk and take a seat, pulling out paper and immersing himself in it. Sometimes writing things down, but soon Harry gave up watching and cracked open the book to page six and began to read the information contained within. Learning about the habits of Wizardkind, magical guardians, actual guardians - who take you in if something happens to your immediate family - godparents, and even about the laws and regulations regarding your accounts, the do's and don't basic information he should have probably read when he was eleven. An hour in, Harry was still fascinated by what he was reading, fascinated but getting annoyed, he should have had a meeting with the executor of his estate, to begin lessons to learning about his accounts, and to be told what he had, what he could touch and what he wouldn't get until he was seventeen years old and official an adult and responsible for his own money fully. It made Harry wonder if it was his fault, Gringotts fault or the executor of the estate/will. Then again, whoever it was may be dead or unable to fulfill their duty, tonight he would find out once and for all.

Tom glanced at the time, surprised to see that over an hour and a half had gone by since they sat down; his eyes were drawn to Harry again, for probably the hundredth time. He was impressed and quite satisfied that Harry had continued reading the book past the first chapter he'd suggested. While it wasn't the most boring book, it was not by far the most enthralling book. It meant that Harry had a willingness to learn, a thirst for knowledge, this was good, it might not be so difficult for the boy to realize his potential. He was going to educate Harry to the best of his abilities, and hopefully, those abilities would be used for him.

Their appointment was quite soon, he would need to get them there on time; the goblins didn't tolerate tardiness, and would be downright hostile. They saw lateness as rude, that wizards saw themselves above the rules. "Go and retrieve your full-length hooded winter cloak, the black one," Tom told Harry, they were both going to be similarly dressed, he wasn't about to let anyone even suggest that Harry was visiting Gringotts. He was half curious to know when and if the news of Harry no longer being at his Muggle relatives was noticed. Wondered how long it would take for Dumbledore to figure out his little golden boy was missing.

"It's time already?" Harry questioned, his gaze roaming towards the windows, eyes widening slightly upon seeing that there was no light outside, it was dark, what time had they eaten dinner at? Surely they hadn't been sat here for hours! No wonder his bloody feet had been killing him, it had to be close to nine or ten o'clock which was the normal time for it to get dark during the summer time.

"It is," Tom confirmed he'd wanted it to be dark as an added precaution, which only worked so long, while they were outside, but inside the bank was very well lit. Considering how famous Harry was said to be, well it was safer to make all necessary precautions given how…interested Dumbledore was in everything Harry did. That and the fact Dumbledore had been all too eager for his other self and Harry to meet, quite honestly his actions were baffling. If Harry was only one who could defeat 'The Dark Lord' he thought sardonically, then why risk it? Why risk Harry's health? If he had died then…yes, there was something going on.

Which was why he had informed Lucius to give him information on the best times to enter the Ministry of magic, most specifically the department of mysteries. He couldn't wait until all his Knights knew he was back, it would be much easier, he didn't like relying on only one wizard to do what he needed doing. So far Lucius had proven he could be trusted, but he didn't wish for all his eggs put into the same basket, which was what he was doing with the Malfoy Lord. He wouldn't usually use the same contact repeatedly for everything; it meant one person knew exactly what he was up to. Fortunately, Lucius was loyal, terrified, hopeful and eager to please to keep his family safe. If that ever changed, Lucius' worst fears would become realized.

Shaking himself out of his thoughts, Tom realized that Harry had already left the study, with ease; he placed all the paperwork except a letter into his drawers and once again secured them. It wasn't just because he had a curious teenager living with him, but habit borne of never truly being alone, either at Hogwarts or at the dratted orphanage. Tom assumed his older self would have continued to do the same thing, even if most of the Knights could be trusted, not all of them could. The art of war compromised of deception, it was logical for Dumbledore to try and infiltrate his side, using others as a means to accomplish that.

Giving the desk a once-over to ensure he had indeed cleared it all away, he sharply called for his House-elf, instructing it to send the letter to Lucius Malfoy, and not to bother waiting on a reply. The House-elf would end up waiting for days if that was the case, Lucius would need to attend the Ministry as well as asking other like-minded people. The creature was just gone when he heard the sound of feet tapping on the stairs, indicating the boy's return.

Tom Wandlessly summoned his own cloak, which was very similar to Harry's in many ways, material, most of the color but his was outlined with silver and green hemlines and more importantly the Slytherin coat of arms which could very easily be concealed with a 'pocket' where the fabric would slot over it. He was very proud to be Salazar Slytherin's heir, and be Lord Slytherin - technically Riddle-Slytherin - but he was far from stupid. He wasn't about to let his pride get in the way of his work, yes, one day he would move out into the open, but there were a time and place for everything.

Maybe one day Harry would place his own sigils on proud display when he understands and has pride in his lineage. He would wait until the boy asked.

It may be a long wait, he was beginning to realize just how stubborn the teenager was, but given what he suspected it was understandable.

"I will Apparate us directly to the steps of Gringotts," Tom stated, Apparation could not be done inside of the building, well, as long as the wards were up at any rate. "If you have any questions wait until we've been set up in a private room," he cautioned the teenager, hoping against hope that he would at least have the smarts to understand why.

Harry nodded distractedly; they were getting a private room? Just how long were they going to be- and with that, his thoughts were cut off at the feeling of being sucked through a tube as he was side-long Apparated. If felt weird, but he very much preferred this method to the Floo Network, now that, that he hated. He was pretty sure the Floo didn't like him either, it always felt like it was kicking his ass out of the Floo instead of nudging him in the right direction which was how everyone else made it look - utterly effortless and annoying.

"Come," was all Tom stated, both of them entered the bank, looking like two teenagers who were playing dress up as Dementors more than anything else. Not that anyone could see into their hoods to gauge whether they were teenagers or not. Keeping a firm grip on Harry, Tom bypassed the teller area and made his way towards the doors directly to their left, ones that were very, very guarded with feral looking goblins in armor with spears in their hands. Harry actually would have preferred to slink off in the other direction, just as he thought it the arm tightened as if Tom could sense his thoughts and was reacting to it.

"We have an appointment with Derxea," Tom stated, "She is expecting us, it is regarding his account," they knew, without even seeing them who they were, that was just how good goblins were. The Ministry was extremely foolish as to not see their worth, and to think most wizards and witches thought themselves above goblins? It made him want to snort derisively; half the pathetic creatures who call themselves Wizardkind were lesser than the goblins.

The goblin, whose name was across his spear, identifying him as Wryl gazed at the both of them, before nodding bearing his teeth as he stepped aside, a silent warning for both of them.

"Wait…wh-" Harry's voice became muffled as Tom pressed his jaw closed harder than necessary but the warning was there nonetheless, as he was dragged down the corridor.

"Quiet," Tom stated sharply, his eyes narrowing in on the doors, looking for the she-goblin who was going to be answering their questions tonight. After five doors - ten if you count the doors on the other side - he stepped forth to knock when a loud snarling voice - usual goblin voice - called for them to enter.

Tom and Harry both stepped in, as soon as he closed the door he removed his hood and his entire demeanor changed. He stood taller, consciously let his magic feel the room, and didn't bother trying to contain it. His face may not have changed, but he did find amusement in the way the goblin's eyes widened in slight disbelief at the sight of both of them.

"Mr. Potter wishes to know the state of his estate, including guardians, magical guardians, and the executor of his wills right down to his statements," Tom stated coolly.

Derxea nodded her eyes righting, getting straight to business, "Give me a moment to retrieve the file, please be seated and help yourself to any refreshments you like."

Harry looked around the room, it was massive, and it was a conference room of sorts, with one large table and around twenty chairs, with one at the top right corner for goblins judging by its miniature size when compared to all others. Not only that, but there was a table where the goblin had been sitting, for presumably a less formal setting. The large platter of biscuits, pastries, and sandwiches called to him, he couldn't help but nab one and begin nibbling on it.

Tom said nothing of his actions, glad that he was able to eat more, it meant he would recover more swiftly, he hadn't expected anything less especially with the potions he was getting to combat his malnourished state. He did sit down in the chair closest to the goblin's one on the conference table with a pointed look for Harry to sit next to him as he poured himself a cup of coffee, looking regal while he did so.

"Now, what was it you wished to say?" Tom asked giving him a pointed look after he'd eaten the sandwich.

"They knew who we were, right?" Harry said it was a statement really, not a question he just wished for confirmation.

"They did," Tom drawled quirking an eyebrow in silent query.

"Does that mean they know absolutely everyone who comes through the bank?" Harry frowned.

"It would take a great deal of work to fool the goblins of Gringotts," Tom answered.

"So they knew you were here? That you broke in?" Harry hummed thoughtfully wondering if it was true.

"Excuse me?" Tom blinked blankly at the teenager, his mind reeling, why the hell would he break into Gringotts?

"The stone," Harry said quietly as if he feared being overheard. "The other you broke in, tried to get the stone, but it had already been removed earlier that same day. It was in the newspapers and everything, it was when you possessed our Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirrell, and he died when he tried to touch me with your wraith possessing him."

"I see," Tom replied, his lips twitching, it seemed as though Harry was learning to differentiate both himself and his other self in his mind, accepting it too judging by the fact he'd said 'Your wraith' and it was his no doubt, but he didn't say 'You' this pleased him greatly. However, what concerned him was the fact that news had reached his 'wraith' that the stone was going to in Gringotts and the fact he knew where it was, no; he had to find his other self immediately and find out everything. It was becoming increasingly evident that he had to know everything - he wasn't going to rely on Harry knowing things about his other self that he didn't. "We can discuss this later," he added as Derxea made her entrance again, folders levitating effortlessly behind her, with a click of her fingers they were spread out on the table beside her chair.

"What do you wish to deal with first?" Derxea questioned, a poker face on mainly staring at Harry Potter occasionally Tom Riddle, she couldn't believe both of them were together without any battles going on. They looked almost on friendly terms; she sensed a shift in the wind. "And I must ask, do you wish for Lord Slytherin to be present during this meeting?"

Harry was about to nod but remembered the book, they preferred verbal responses. "I do," he agreed, only because he wasn't actually confident he would go if he said no, and that he didn't want to screw this up.

"Very well," Derxea, giving him a go-ahead gesture, as she subtly - or so she thoughts - browsed through the first pages of the Potter folders.

"Er…" Harry cleared his throat, and gave himself a mental shove, "I want to know who my magical guardian is and who the executor of my estate is."

Derxea glanced at the paperwork in front of her, "They are both covered by the same person, your headmaster I believe, Albus Dumbledore."

Harry twitched, his hands gripping the seat arms as he temporarily lost control of his magic as his anger mounted to epic proportions. He was incapable of speaking, he feared if he did that he'd lose what control he was remaining tight control of at the moment.

"Was that position appointed by the Ministry after Sirius Black was imprisoned in Azkaban?" Tom asked shrewdly. Or did the Potters actually trust the old man that much to give over their child who they surely knew Dumbledore would use in order to win the war? If that was the case…why not use him as the secret keeper?

"It was," the goblin replied, still watching Harry closely, she could feel his immense magic filling the room. He was going to be extremely powerful one day.

"And his guardian?" Tom prompted her to continue.

"His guardians are one Petunia Dursley nee Evans and one Vernon Baron Dursley, they are barred from any knowledge of the Potter vaults by Dumbledore the very night he was dropped off on their doorstep," Derxea explained bluntly.

"And to your knowledge, is Mr. Potter receiving his monthly statements?" Tom demanded, eyeing Harry from where he sat. He wished he could say he was even remotely shocked by this news, but he wasn't. He had tried to warn the boy, and what surprised him more was the fact that he took no enjoyment in Harry's tormented expression.

A very subtle look of confusion briefly appeared before it was covered up, a glance at the folder gave her answer before she nodded firmly, "Yes, all appears well with his accounts, every month in which Mr. Potter is at Hogwarts he receives a statement, and during the summer months they are saved up and sent to him upon his return in September."

"Then his mail is being tampered with," Tom snapped, believing Harry fully when he said he hadn't received anything from this accursed place. "And by a Gringotts owl no less." reputed to be the best no less.

Derxea's eyes flared in fury, her black beady eyes zoning in on Harry, "Mr. Potter may I bring in a Gringotts healer to do some tests on your person? To look for spells and charms? Primarily ones that may be redirecting some of your mail to the old man?" she spat the words out as if it was something foul. "Free of charge, of course, this is as much Gringotts problem," hoping that this bit of kindness would help smooth things over and that Gringotts reputation wouldn't be impugned.

Tom sat up straighter, prickling in annoyance, wondering why he hadn't thought of checking the boy himself. All he'd done was check for tracking charms, which he had found, more accurately they're called tracers when they're placed on a person. He was inwardly cursing his carelessness. Although Harry was bound to believe a Gringotts healer over anything he said any day, it would be irrefutable. Perhaps it was a good thing then. He turned to Harry to see if he would go through with it.

His nostrils were still flaring, his jaw ground together, but he managed to get through gritted teeth, "Yes," his mind was going a mile a minute, and he could do nothing to stop it. Had the will been read? Had Dumbledore stopped that or went ahead with it while he was a baby so he couldn't attend it? Keeping it from him? Keeping his inheritance from him? Had he spent his money? What if he had emptied out his vaults? The panic was beginning to set in well and truly now.

Tom placed his hand on Harry's squeezing tightly, giving Harry an anchor, to give him something to concentrate on, focus on and not let the panic get the better of him. "We will figure it out," he vowed to the teenager, and he meant it, even as he felt satisfaction thrumming through him, surely this proved that Dumbledore in no way had anything good planned for Harry's future.

Oh-hoh what else will the goblin healer find out? Shall I avoid the cliches of 'personality changing potions' etc...they have been overdone and truthfully I don't think they'd work unless it's Harry just convincing himself that he's doing it on his own as per the result of the potions? How about magical dampeners that have loosened over the years? Will Dumbledore have been furious that his ability of Parseltongue came about? Will Tom and Harry find out they are very distantly related? hmm, will I have Harry getting on with anyone from the dark side in particular? Or will the Death Eaters all come to hate him for his inevitable 'position' in the dark lord's ranks ;) or will they all like him due to the fact they have their Lord back with only a few jealous and envious people? What about Barty? Will he remain loyal to Tom or will he die along with Voldemort? Setting it up to make it look as if he was truly gone this time? hmmm so many ways it can go! I'm going to have fun writing this! R&R please!