Although it didn't look like Harry was getting anymore sleep, his spirits seemed to have lightened. The bags under his eyes were still visible, but he was smiling like the old Harry that they knew and loved.

The reason for this change in moods was due to none other than his new found invisible friend. For the past couple of nights, Tom had come to Harry in the dead of the night for a chat. Although, he still visited Harry during the day (mostly in potions) they rarely had a chance to talk. Harry knew his friends already worried enough about him, that he didn't want to add 'delusional' or 'talks to himself' to the list.

So Tom would come at night, when everyone else was asleep and they would talk until either Tom ran out of energy or Harry became too tired. At first they talked about nothing of any real importance, weather, school work (Harry was actually starting to gain some potions knowledge thanks to Tom), it was only when Harry started talking about his passion for Quidditch, did they start getting more personal.

They avoided topics like their less than happy childhoods, but whenever it did come up they knew that the other would understand and not pity them. Harry had been right about how similar he and Tom were. It was easy for Harry to forget who Tom was. He no longer thought of him as the memory of his parents' killer. No instead, he was just 'Tom: average teenage boy that wasn't solid' (which seemed like something "normal" for the wizard world anyway).

The only time, they'd ever disagree and come close to fighting, was when Tom would make his opinions of muggle-borns known. It was at those times that Harry couldn't ignore who Tom Riddle was. Harry would argue anyone with the gifts should be aloud in. Tom stubbornly refused to agree and would state facts that Harry had heard enough times from Draco Malfoy and his goons. Harry would point out that Tom's father was a muggle, therefore making him a half-blood, something Tom also didn't feel should be aloud in Hogwarts. But Tom would say that he was an exception because he was the heir to Slytherin and had many natural magical talents.

When Harry let himself examine this new relationship too closely, he was always left feeling guilty. He knew he was betraying quite a few of the people he cared about. Hagrid, Ginny, his parents just to name a few; but whenever he saw Tom, he couldn't bring himself to hate him fully. Sure he still hated Voldemort with a passion, but he had tricked himself into thinking that they weren't the same. He wouldn't go so far as to say Tom was innocent; after all he was the same memory that had used Ginny and tried to kill them both. But he told himself that he wasn't complete evil yet. He hadn't taken a life (unless you counted Moaning Mertel- but that wasn't technically him either, right?). And with Gryffindor hope, he thought that maybe his Tom would be "saved" from whatever made the real Tom go completely evil.

He still hadn't told his friends about Tom. It started out that he himself didn't really believe Tom was really there. After all Harry hadn't been getting much sleep, it could have been the work of his over tired mind. But there was no way that Harry could have answered all those potions questions on his own, so he knew Tom was really there. His reason for not telling his friends now though, he wasn't sure of. Partly because of the guilt that he not only had secret rendezvous with him but that he actually enjoyed Tom's company. Also he knew that Hermione would figure out a way to make Tom disappear, and how could he tell his best friends that he wanted Tom to stick around?

So whenever his friends would start to ask questions about how he was sleeping or his remarkable increase in potions knowledge (when Herm had yet to see him enter the library for study sessions), he would just shrug it off until they got the idea that he wasn't going to talk about it. It was easier to change subjects with Ron, but Hermione was never one to let anything go easily. He was still trying to rack his brain for something to tell her that would explain and satisfy her, but for the life of him couldn't think of anything good enough.

But right now, it didn't matter. Because right now he was with Tom, listening to him tell the stories about how some of his old doormats used to play tricks on the Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs. Although Harry felt bad for the poor students of that time, he was glad for the inspiration of new pranks Ron and he could pull on the Slytherins.

"I think it's time I go," Tom said, the moment of the night which both of them hated.

"Oh," Harry answered, trying to hide his disappointment behind a yawn. He peered out of his curtains to check the clock and couldn't believe it at first. "It's past 4:30 in the morning!"

"Is it?" Tom asked and turned to get a look at the clock. "Humm, so it is. I think this is the longest, I've managed to stay." He seemed quite pleased by this.

"Ugh! I've got classes in less than five hours!" Harry complained. It was bad enough trying to stay awake in class when he got a decent night's sleep (which didn't happen often), but trying to go on the most of four hour sleep? It wasn't going to be pretty.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have kept you." Tom apologized.

"No, No! I don't mind at all." Harry quickly stated. "I like your company."

At this Tom smiled but didn't say anything more on the subject.

"Well goodnight Harry."

"Goodnight Tom."

Tom turned to leave but stopped and looked back at Harry almost uncertainly. Just as Harry was about to ask what was wrong, Tom leaned over and placed a kiss on his forehead, just to the side of his scar. There was the brief tingly feeling he usually got whenever Tom touched him, but Harry would have sworn that Tom felt almost solid for a moment. But it happened to fast, and Tom had already pulled away before Harry could examine it further. So Harry just figured it was his imagination.

"Night," Tom said again with a smile before disappearing for the night.

"Night." Harry answered back, but Tom was already gone and couldn't hear him. Harry sank back into his pillow and sighed. It didn't look like he would get those 4 hours of sleep.


Next chapter: Draco spies on Harry. Harry ponders his relationship with Tom.