Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to Rowling. This story follows canon through book six.
AN: Stories where Voldemort raises or mentors Harry are becoming more and more common. I couldn't help wondering what would happen if it were the other way around, and so my first Harry Potter fanfic was born. Enjoy!
This could not be happening.
Harry Potter scrubbed his hands over his eyes, blinked rapidly, pinched himself, yelped, and decided that no, he was not dreaming. Or hallucinating. He somehow didn't think himself dead, either.
At least he hoped he wasn't. His head ached, his knee throbbed, and the earth heaved beneath him. Really, he was just going to lie here until the feeling of vertigo passed. If death was this unpleasant he swore he would strangle the first Higher Power he came across.
But back to the matter at hand; this could not be happening. It simply was not possible.
Because if he was not dead, it was fairly logical to think that he was alive. And for some reason that he couldn't quite recall, being alive was not a state he expected to find himself in at the present time.
But he was most definitely alive. His heart clamored for attention against the patch of cold, hard dirt beneath his chest. Behind him, over the sound of his own loud panting, came noises common to a large Muggle city. He couldn't see the sources because he was staring at a barren fenced-in courtyard and the dilapidated square building at the opposite end of said courtyard. When he eventually found the will to move, he was sure he would have dirt smeared across his cheek, currently pressed uncomfortably into the pebbly ground.
He had the unsettling feeling that if his brain would start working for just a moment he'd recognize the building in front of him. He didn't really want to, though, because he was equally sure that he would not be happy once he did, and for now it was enough to know that this was definitely nowhere near where he should be.
He should be talking with his parents in the afterlife, or on his next great adventure, or, barring that, at least in a recognizable wizard hospital. Hogwarts hospital wing, preferably.
This definitely was not Hogwarts. And it didn't look at all like any of his fantasies of life after death.
Harry made a quickly aborted attempt at getting up and quickly decided that attempting to recall what happened to dump him in this peculiar situation would be far simpler than convincing his body to move. Besides, he was curious to know how he'd managed to land himself in trouble this time.
He had a vague recollection of spinning, being buffeted by a high wind: a feeling not unlike a cross between a time turner, a portkey, and the floo network. It all combined into one mass of sensation before his memory went black.
Well. At least that explained the nausea. He'd never much liked portkeys.
The door of the building slammed open and a group of shrilly laughing children ran out into the small courtyard. Harry was off the ground and over the fence before he'd even begun to think about getting up. Pressing back against it to regain his balance, he winced as his head throbbed and knee protested the sudden activity. He waited for his head to stop spinning before opening his eyes and peering back through the wooden slats. At least he had been in a shadowed portion of the courtyard; it didn't look as though he'd been noticed.
One last child followed the others into the sunlight and Harry froze. The headache that had thus far been centered on his forehead spread sideways to hammer at his temples as well.
Oh, Merlin, no.
He was starting to get an idea of where he was now.
He really wished he wasn't.
The first time he'd seen this place was in Dumbledore's Pensieve. The second time had been when he, Ron and Hermione came to the abandoned shell of the building in order to destroy the Horcrux hidden there.
The child stepping out into the sunlight was none other than Tom Marvolo Riddle.
The instinct to protect himself against this particular face had a nasty curse springing to his lips the moment recognition settled in. His arm was halfway through the gesture before his throat closed up and forced him to awkwardly cut off the spell. A shudder ran through his frame.
He couldn't do it.
Not again. Not so soon. He'd just done this. He deserved a break! The suddenly vivid memory of recently dueling and defeating an older, twisted version of this boy flashed through his mind.
Maybe that was why his voice refused to cooperate. The snake-like abomination he'd just banished from the earth looked nothing like this boy who, even as he watched, settled on the ground in the opposite corner of the yard, opening the thick book he'd brought outside.
Common sense finally made itself heard over the raging headache and manhandled his Gryffindor impulsiveness to the back of his brain. Harry forced himself to relax and his brain to think rationally. This was Tom Riddle, not Voldemort. Voldemort had committed many crimes; Tom Riddle had not. He was a power hungry, bullying child, but a child none the less. This boy was not yet a murderer, not yet guilty of anything even close to deserving a death sentence. Killing Tom now would make him no better than the wizards he'd devoted most of his wizarding life to fight against.
Harry exhaled sharply, scrubbing a hand over his face.
He was tired, injured, and in an unknown location. He didn't even know if he'd simply traveled through time or if this was a separate dimension altogether. Attacking a child in cold blood was most likely not in his best interests.
And Harry was so tired of killing.
But sitting here and watching his recently-dead-now-twelve-year-old nemesis read a book was not solving any of his immediate problems. He needed a pain reliever, shelter, and information. Preferably in that order.
With a sigh of half pain and half frustration, Harry Potter slipped away from the fence and began limping down the street, hoping to find someone or something that could provide him with answers.
Two long weeks later, he was back.