Becoming Brothers is the continuation of Tom Marvolo Riddle Potter. I suppose you could read this one without reading that one first, but, well… I'm the author, so of course I wouldn't recommend it.
Disclaimer: Rowling owns everything recognizable.
Chapter 1: In Which a Feast is Eaten
As it had been last year, Platform Nine and Three-Quarters was tightly packed. Tom pasted a polite smile across his face and shouldered his way down the tight corridor. He paused just outside the door of a compartment near the front of the train, double checking the occupants before sliding it open.
"Nott. Avery. Lestrange."
And just like that, his school-time persona slid into place.
Tom relaxed, storing his trunk before taking a seat next to Lestrange. He waited a moment as the conversation he'd interrupted started up again, taking in the direction of the discussion before inserting himself into it.
He loved this, loved the power plays, the ebb and flow of a battle of words disguised as polite conversation. And he loved knowing that today, finally, he was in position to make a major win. He sat, waiting for just the right moment, smiling and allowing himself to join in with polite laughter and shared smirks as the train jolted forward, then settled into a rhythmic rocking in the background.
Soon enough, an opportunity presented itself and Tom revealed the first card of his winning hand.
"They've found a new Quidditch instructor. Ellerby's retired."
"How did you find out?" Avery blurted.
"I saw Professor Slughorn this summer."
Nott leaned back in his seat, frowning. "So did I. He never mentioned it."
Tom shrugged. "His name's Potter. Harry Potter."
Startled widening of the eyes from Nott, confusion from Lestrange and Avery. Exactly the reaction he'd been expecting. Tom smirked.
"Potter?" Nott demanded. Then his face shifted from shocked surprise to scorn. "You've got your information wrong, Riddle. There aren't any Potter's left."
Tom sat back, unruffled. "No, his name's Potter. You'll see when we get there."
The Welcoming Feast was no more interesting than last year. Glad as he was to be back, waiting through the Sorting and trying to ignore the noises coming from his stomach was trying. The highlight of the feast came when Headmaster Dippet introduced the newest faculty member.
Harry didn't stand, but waved to the students from his seat, smile somewhat nervous.
Tom smugly noted the unsettled look Nott shot his way. He smirked back, reaching forward as the feast appeared to spoon a lump of mashed potatoes onto his plate. Dinnertime chatter swept through the hall.
Harry was clearly younger than most of the other professors. Smaller, slightly unkempt. The candles lighting the hall picked up the sheen of sliver in his hair. It aged him, but only a bit. Beside the professors, he still looked young and unprofessional. Not too bad a thing for a sports instructor, but Tom wouldn't have minded if he gave a somewhat more dignified first impression.
Dumbledore turned, leaning around Slughorn to make some comment to Harry. Harry's lips quirked up as he replied, the nervous lines across his forehead easing away.
Tom felt his eyes narrow. He didn't care what nonsense Harry spouted about political power; there was more to his attitude towards the Deputy Headmaster than that. There were a lot of things he wasn't saying, for that matter; many, many secrets he was keeping. He'd dodged the questions he'd promised to answer after the Diagon Alley incident altogether, but Tom wasn't going to let him get away with it. He'd left Harry plenty of opportunities to explain how, exactly, he'd survived a Killing Curse. Harry hadn't taken any of them, even though he'd said in the hospital that he would explain.
Tom despised liars, but he understood misdirection, and he understood secrets. Of course, that didn't mean he'd stand for secrets kept from him.
If Harry wasn't going to give him the answers as he'd said he would, Tom would just have to figure it out for himself.
"Riddle," a voice called him back from his scrutiny of the head table. He ignored it, keeping his gaze focused across the room. "Riddle," Lestrange called again.
"Riddle-Potter," Tom corrected in a deliberately absent manner, returning to his meal. The table around them paused. Nott's fork clicked as he set it down on his plate carefully.
"Riddle-Potter?" he echoed.
"Yes," Tom cut a few more chunks from his chicken, mustering his most innocent smile. "Did I forget to mention why I knew who the new professor was?"
"You did weasel your way out of that little detail."
Tom carefully did not react to the slight insult. "Harry's my brother. He returned in June to take custody and we moved back to the Potter grounds."
Dead silence from the second year Slytherins. And none of them would ask for clarification to the many questions that statement left unanswered; that would show a severe lack of subtlety, social suicide in this house. No, instead they would suggest that he-
"Prove it." Walburga Black demanded. Tom frowned at her.
"You can ask Professor Slughorn."
If they actually did so, it would run the risk of their Head of House letting slip that Tom and Harry were only magically related through adoption and not actually related by blood, but the risk was only slight. Slughorn could be perfectly discreet when he wanted to be, especially when dealing with one of his more favored students.
His classmates, well aware of Slughorn's open approval of him, had been growing increasingly cautious in their dealings with Tom. They knew that asking the Potion's Master could very well gain them nothing.
"Or," he added offhandedly, "I could introduce you after dinner."
Cautious agreement all around. Satisfied, Tom returned his attention to his plate.
Slughorn and Dumbledore kept Harry engaged in conversation throughout dinner. Neither of them let up until the dessert plates vanished and the Great Hall began to empty. Tom saw Harry's shoulders sag over a gusty exhale as soon as he was alone at the Head Table. The chaotic din of the rapidly emptying hall had all but disappeared by the time Tom stood to approach the otherwise unoccupied table at the front of the room.
Harry sighed lightly and tilted his head back, the light from the many candles in the hall bouncing off his glasses. He folded his hands across his lap, slumping back into his chair. Tom cursed him mentally. A pureblood never used posture so sloppy in public. He knew that Harry's mother was not a Pureblood, but to his knowledge no one else but Dumbledore was aware of that fact and Tom intended to keep it that way.
Tom paused at the end of the table, grabbing the hem of his sleeve in his fingers and allowing himself a brief moment to revel in the feel of them. It was wonderful to be back in his full school uniform. He still loved the feel of robes, even after a full year of wearing them.
Harry wasn't moving; seemed to be intently studying the clouds sliding across the ceiling, in fact.
"Train was alright, then?"
Harry still hadn't looked at him.
This was foolish, Tom decided. He cleared his throat, fixing Harry with a mild glare. He was tempted to use something stronger, but that would be no good for his perfect reputation.
Harry lifted his head, finally gifting Tom with his direct attention.
"My classmates would like to meet you."
The new Flight Instructor glanced at the group of second year Slytherins waiting just inside the doors of the otherwise empty hall.
"Uh huh." His smirk said he knew exactly what Tom was up to. Tom was getting tired of that smirk. It had been used on him quite a lot this summer, even when he wasn't up to anything too bad. "Well, I guess we shouldn't keep them waiting."
Harry stood stiffly, using the table edge to lever himself out of his seat. He walked forward easily enough, but Tom saw the tension in his shoulders and quickly hidden grimace as he took the single step down from the raised dais the teachers table sat upon.
Tom frowned, following him down so he could say in a low voice that the wonderful acoustics in the room wouldn't carry too far, "You were getting better."
"Long walk from Hogsmeade. And it's cold outside."
And Harry was too prideful, or perhaps just too stubborn, to want to use his cane in front of the students, even though his knee was apparently paining him. If he even had the cane with him. Tom didn't see it anywhere, but with wizards that didn't mean much.
Harry shifted his weight impatiently and Tom realized they'd paused a few steps from the dias. Irritated, he started walking again.
They stopped side by side in front of the waiting group. Harry had a friendly smile plastered on his face. Tom did not miss the stiffness in it.
"Harry, I'd like you to meet my year mates. Everyone, my brother: Professor Harry Potter."
"We're quite pleased to meet you, sir," Nott said, holding out his hand. "Alexander Nott."
Harry took it. "And you, Mr. Nott," he replied, dropping the hand with a swiftness that bordered on impolite. It could have been taken as simply a brisk manner, but this was a group that had been reading the subtleties of body language all their lives.
Tom spoke before the situation could become awkward, introducing the rest of the group by a complex order he'd taken great pains to learn. Blood purity, social position of the family and in the house, and the actual degree of acquaintance he held with them all factored. By the end of the introductions, Harry was visibly attempting to keep his weight off of his bad leg, his shoulders growing increasingly tense.
"It was a pleasure to meet all of you, but I'm afraid I have a meeting with the Headmaster to get to," he apologized politely. The small crowd murmured equally polite agreements and moved through the Great Hall doors. Tom contained himself until he and Harry were halfway across the Entrance Hall, the rest of the group a decent distance in front of them.
"Is there a problem?" he asked. He'd thought Harry wouldn't be staying past the feast.
"No, we just have to have a quick discussion about scheduling and I'll head home." Harry hesitated. "I'll owl you, let you know when I'll be here next."
Tom shook his head, stepping away. "Don't bother. The first year's lesson dates will be posted in the common rooms."
"Right." Harry's eyes darted from the three who'd lingered behind the rest of their year mates, waiting for Tom across the hall, to the main staircase. Tom understood. Harry might be walking without the cane most of the time, but stairs… stairs were another matter entirely.
He'd give Harry his dignity. No need to flaunt such a weakness in front of his classmates, not when they were both counting on Harry having a positive social reputation. He nodded a stiff farewell and left Harry's side for the company waiting by the dungeon stairs. The group left, allowing Harry to make his painful way up the stairs to the headmaster's office in privacy, the sound of his cane on the stairs echoing faintly after them.
Couldn't find an 'official' name for Nott or any of the Quidditch instructors before Hooch. Ellerby is taken from the HP Lexicon: Ellerby and Spudmore released the Tinderblast broom in 1940. Also according to the Lexicon, Sirius' mother married her second cousin; Black was both her married and her maiden name. She was born a year before Tom, so I'm taking artistic license by putting her in the same school year.