Chapter 12

The Master's Boy

The lavish candlelit study nestled the form of a young man hunched over his work. Fingers walked along the yellowing parchment scattered around his desk. Draco Malfoy was never one to give up on a challenge, but this paradox issue had him stumped. He spent weeks going over the journals he had gathered from the slaughtered historians who had rescued Merope Gaunt, learning everything he could about the risks and dangers of altering a timeline to serve ones needs. It dawned on him then; rather hit him in the head like a sledgehammer; that he and Lord Voldemort had majestically and completely fucked everything up.

It was a miracle in itself that both Tom and Harry were not only alive in the future, but had any recollection of their conscious pasts. The two men had somehow created a universe overlapping the other. There was no repairing it, there was no starting over. Going back any farther into the past would only add another layer upon the two, further distancing the boys from their future selves.

Somehow, he had to convince the Dark Lord to see this blunder for what it was.

"Any breakthroughs yet?" The voice was soft, almost passing Draco's notice.

He pulled off his reading glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose, shaking his head. Failure was not in his vocabulary. He felt cornered and wet behind the ears, but that wouldn't stop him from finding another way. He turned in his chair, facing the tall man. "You want the good news or the bad news first?"

Lord Voldemort sat down opposite Draco's desk. "I don't ever want to hear bad news."

So I shouldn't tell you that you haven't learned a goddamn thing from any of this and you're creating your own paradox by refusing to learn what being a true human being is really about? Or that trying to force your younger self to learn this instead has made him rebel against you, and now he wants nothing more than to be as unlike you as humanly possible? Sure, you'll accept that…

"Well then," Draco murmured, gathering his notes. "We'll start again tomorrow where your memories of the past begin to get blurry, which happens to be right after you left Hogwarts. Tom seems to care for Harry regardless of knowing that they weren't brothers and has only cryptic knowledge of Harry's powerful abilities. This is also the point in time where you stopped feeling – for lack of a better word – emotions." Why can't you see it the way he did?

"I haven't stopped feeling emotion, Draco," Voldemort corrected him, annoyed. "I'm still very… I still feel…"

"Come out and say it, Tom. You mean that you can't feel any emotion worth a drop of piss; anything that remotely resembles benevolence."

Harry was here.

Without looking up, Lord Voldemort kept his grief-laden visage hidden. He carefully closed the biography, 'The Chosen One', resting open in front of Draco and shoved it under a stack of parchment. "What are you doing up so early, Harry?" he asked, forcing a small smile on his lips as he faced him.

Harry smirked. "Don't pretend to be concerned, you insult my intelligence."

Draco scattered to hide his work before Harry took any notice. He slipped everything into a drawer and locked it up as quietly as possible before standing up to address his comrade. "Evening, Harry," he said through a relieved sigh. He wiped the perspiration from his brow and licked his dry lips. If he ever knew what they had done

He was their secret weapon, more precious than any material object in existence. A wielder of the elusive Love Magic, he was the confidant of Lord Voldemort and the only man in the Wizarding World who kept the opposing sides from obliterating mankind.

It was a great humiliation to the Dark Lord not to be able to understand such a gift. Dumbledore had not needed others to fight his battles; he could wield it, too.

Harry stood leaning in the doorway playing with a lock of his hair. He twisted the raven-black wisp around between his fingers before stuffing his hand into his pocket. He was eternally beautiful and clumsy, just as the Dark Lord had wanted him. His eyes shifted from one to the other impishly. "Malfoy," he acknowledged in a pleasant tone, tipping his head at the blond. His vision moved around the now empty desk, his curiosity piqued. "What are you up to? Can I help you with anything?"

"It's nothing, really," Draco mumbled under his breath. "Just some technical babble with that proposed ceasefire in order for that Weasley family to have a wedding in peace. We were considering it… for you. I know how fond you are of Hagrid and he's on the open guest list."

Harry's melancholy façade slipped. He scowled at the two, and his chest rose and fell with noisy hot breaths. "Why are you two are always hiding things from me? You trying to get rid of me? They invited me, too, and I'm going… and maybe I won't come back. How would you like them apples, hmm? If I'm not truly a part of this triad of trust you both boast about like idiots, why should I even bother with you? Don't touch me!"

Lord Voldemort had crossed the room in mid rant and put a hand on Harry's arm, gripping it tightly to prevent him from recoiling too far. "We've been over this before; you're just a little paranoid. Why don't you go back to bed and get some rest, hmm? Draco and I have this tedious paperwork covered."

The little glass containers lining the shelves around the room rumbled, and a clock on the wall burst apart. "Delusional narcissist…" Harry dropped his head against Voldemort's chest. The tears that had only just dried up began to flow freely once more.

Delusional

Yes, perhaps he was for thinking that he could find a quick fix to learning the secrets of Love Magic by sending back the living embodiment and a great source of the stuff to his past. If only he could feel it for himself, but there was no time for such matters at the moment.

He had a war to run.

Voldemort petted his brother's hair softly. "Good boy," he praised him, feeling the strain disperse from Harry's muscles. He lifted his chin with a finger to wipe the tears away. "Such a good boy. Now off to bed with you, and take that potion on the night table."

Harry sniffled. "Yes, sir." He disappeared into the corridor, and Draco dropped back into his chair, relieved that nothing had been destroyed.

Lord Voldemort carded a shaky hand through his hair. "He's getting worse. No matter what I do we grow farther apart. Do something about this."

"Right." Draco closed his eyes in irritation. The Dark Lord would never realise that the true answers were as close to him as his own heart. If only he could see that. The truth lie hidden inside of him, if he could reach out and touch Harry the way he needed to be touched, and love him for what he was… not what he held for him. "Have you had a moment to think about what I said before? About trying to repair it now, in this time?"

"I'm offering you eternal life and this is what you come up with?" His wand was in hand, his jaw firmly set. "I suggest you get back to work. I want results, and I want them now."

Draco chewed on the inner portion of his cheek until he was sure the other man had left the room. "Yeah, great," he said, throwing a book across the room, "some real triad. I feel completely confident and secure…"


The thunderous ovation reverberated off of every surface in the Great Hall. Students cheered, pounded goblets on the tables, and clapped unanimously as Tom Gaunt, Head Boy and one of the most brilliant students to ever grace Hogwarts, stepped away from the podium to join his fellow Slytherins at their table.

As proud as any living thing could be of another, Harry clapped his brother hard on the shoulder. "That was bloody amazing! Look at everyone; they're just so taken with you. You should run for Minister of Magic or something!"

"Bully that," Tom scoffed, shaking his head. "Although I wouldn't mind taking on a position in the—oh, thank you, sir, yes, I wrote the speech myself." He stood up from the interruption, tipping his head in appreciation at the headmaster and took his outstretched hand, giving it a firm shake. "It was a great pleasure being one of your students in the finest Wizarding School in the world. I will always treasure my time here under your tutelage."

Armando Dippet nearly squealed with giddiness. Everyone in the room knew that Tom was going to be someone very special some day. He was charming to a fault, highly intelligent; aspiring for perfection with every opportunity… he was damn near perfect. "And what are your big plans for the future, Tom? I admit that I'm not the only curious admirer at the teacher's table."

Tom hitched a thumb at Harry. "I was just about to tell my brother about a desire to work in the Ministry of Magic's Department of Mysteries. I've become recently fascinated with the possibilities of creating and harnessing new forms of magic."

The headmaster placed a hand over his heart, awestruck. "An Unspeakable, you say? I think that's a lovely vocation for someone so brilliant, if only to work the ladder up to Minister himself! I will compose a letter of recommendation this very afternoon and send it off to Madam Marchbanks, a personal friend of mine. We're all very proud of you." He gave a small nod to Harry, letting a sparkle of hope twinkle in his eye. "We see a bright future for you two. Well, I will leave you children to partake in the feast. Good luck to you, Tom."

"Oh god but that's fantastic! You're going to get… a letter… hey, you awake?" Harry gave Tom a cheesy grin, catching his brother's liquorous leer on him out of the corner of his eye. The older boy had gotten lost in his own lust-filled world once again. It had been happening quite often lately. "Tart?"

"Hmm?" Tom blinked awake. "What?"

Harry held up a treacle tart in front of Tom's nose. "I asked you if you wanted to try a tart."

Tom's tongue swept over his canine as his eyes narrowed in hunger. He gently pushed Harry's offering away, leaned in close to his ear to take the lobe between his teeth. "I'd love one," he growled.

"Your room or mine?" Harry breathed, quelling to the tease of long fingers working their way up his robes from under the table. He dropped the tart while shifting precariously, parting his thighs to allow Tom's fingers better access to his needy parts, but they stopped.

"I won't make it that far." Tom stood up and smiled at his fellow classmates one last time before making his way toward the doors.

Harry stuffed his pockets with sweets and counted to ten in his head before standing, tripping on the hem of his robes like a clod, and racing to the doors to find his brother. He moved through the deserted hall in search, finding no sign of anyone else. "Tom?" he whispered, biting his lip. He touched the rail of the dungeon stairs, in mid-step until something large and strong grabbed him from behind.

"In here," Tom said harshly, dragging Harry along with him. His back hit a door. He reached behind him, fumbling for the knob while Harry struggled with the buttons on his brother's silver robes. Both boys fell into the darkness of the antechamber the instant the door parted from the frame, panting and clawing at the other's belt buckles.

Tom shoved Harry up against the wall. "I'm so fucking hard I'm about to burst."

Grinding back against Tom, yanking the blasted material off of his shoulders, Harry tried his hardest not to come in his pants. He could do this a hundred times a day; the feeling of wanting to press and rub into Tom's erection never left his mind. Their lips met. Harry moaned selfishly against Tom's virile tongue rolling around in his mouth, while his fingers tangled in once neatly-combed hair.

Legs were parted, lifted up to wrap tightly around hips. Fingers dug into bared skin. Tom slipped a hand between them to drive them both to orgasm without mercy. "You like that? You wanna come for me?" he grunted, driving Harry wildly mad with each delicious thrust.

Harry's choked, uneven panting pounded into Tom's ears like a symphony of angels. Oh lord how he wanted to tear the remainder of their clothing off and bend the boy over a desk. Harry was so good at giving pleasure, but the sounds he made when Tom forced himself on him were worth more than any silly old power he sought. This was power.

The soft click of the door went unnoticed under the heavy panting against their mouths.

"…do believe I left it in here."

"Well, that would be convenient—ohmygarters!"

Harry gasped loudly, mortified, and buried his head in Tom's shaking-mad chest as light pooled into the room and two tall silhouettes appeared in the doorway. Albus Dumbledore and Galatea Merrythought drew a collective breath, turned their heads away, and blushed furiously at the shocking sight they had just stumbled upon.

Tom sucked on his teeth and nonchalantly set Harry back on the ground. He was livid, trembling with hatred in struggle to buckle his trousers. "Fucking knock or something before you burst into a room."

Harry held his robes together and gathered up his remaining clothes off of the floor when Albus turned back around. "Finish dressing and be in my classroom in ten minutes, boys," he said calmly.

"I am so sorry, Professors," Harry confessed, flushing head to toe from a mixture of arousal and humiliation. His chagrin could hardly match the heat of choler boiling Tom's blood pitch black.

"Shut up, Harry," he hissed under his breath. "Don't apologise for anything."

Merrythought clutched her handbag as she shuffled past the boys to grab her peacock feather hat off of a table in the back of the small room. She placed it on her head as she retreated, thankful that it impaired her vision of the boys by the iridescent blue-green plumage that fanned out to shroud her face. Her final day as the teacher of Defence against the Dark Arts should have been a memorable one, but as she passed Tom, she stumbled over air and left the room in a rush. Curiously, Professor Dumbledore was certain she had glared in his direction.

"As I said, ten minutes," Albus asserted.

Tom frowned and gripped Harry's arm, pulling him over to the door. "You'd better not tell anyone, Dumbledore. I'm warning you."

"Tom!" Harry cried, shocked.

Albus stopped by the marble stairs leading to the first floor. "Or what, Tom, you'll alter my memory as you've done Professor Merrythought's?"

Tom smirked wickedly at him. "Right. The Memory Charm was nearly as devious as your conjuring her hat inside there with us when you opened the door, sir."

"He didn't do that," Harry piped up, looking a lot less apologetic than he had a minute before. "Did he?" He was growing wary of Albus and his strange intentions. He leaned into Tom's side, wrapping a protective arm around him. "We're all we have. We just don't want any trouble, sir."

Albus gave the boy a nod. A few students had filed out of the Great Hall then, disturbing the quiet of the room. He waved to Tom and Harry over his shoulder as he turned to ascend the staircase. "Come with me to my classroom; it's very close."


"Sit, both of you," Albus instructed, gesturing to the closest desk to his own. He watched the boys' movements as they took their seats, noting their heated expressions and the sense fear in their body language. The separation anxiety being demonstrated by them tugged ominously at the older man's heart. Nonetheless, he took to his high-backed chair and clasped his hands together on the desk, prepared to get to the meat of this experience.

Neither boy was the exact embodiment of masculinity, but Dumbledore had never dwelled on matters such as sexual orientation. What worried him was the fact that they were brothers, brothers who lived together without any sort of parental supervision. It did not weigh right in his mind. Their upbringing, as he recalled from memory, appeared rustic and unclean. Their mother did not seem entirely stable, and someone in the home had slaughtered a number of owls trying to deliver Tom's letter. He sat on these thoughts, surreptitiously watching the boys huddle and whisper.

"How long has this been going on?"

Tom was plainly the overseer of the two. He had not set his eyes directly on Albus since their arrival. He was stiff and untrusting, and it crossed Albus's mind that he may, in fact, attempt to alter his memory of the incident if he allowed his guard down at any point. Tom was an enigma. It was clear now that he studied the Dark Arts and Legilimency, and might possibly know a fair bit of Occlumency, as well.

"That's none of your concern."

Harry, on the other hand, seemed quite nervous yet steadfast toward his older sibling. There was far more going on here than two silly boys experimenting with unrestrained teenaged lust. They were clearly lovers and had probably been so for a number of years.

"An underage boy in the care of his older brother is my concern, Tom."

Tom was rock, but Harry squirmed a little too much. He had normal control over his emotions, setting a bit of ease in Dumbledore's mind.

"You can't separate us. We know all about you and Grindelwald's little affair, and we'll tell everyone if you try and keep us apart," Tom threatened coldly. He cocked a menacingly eyebrow at the man. "I've got proof."

"So, it was you…" Albus remained collected in the face of his blackmail peril. He smiled a light smile and leaned closer to the boys. "I would not have taken you for a common thief of private possessions, Tom. And, you, Harry… were you a part of this?"

Harry shook his head curtly. "No, sir. Tom wasn't looking to steal anything, he was only curious. And he isn't going to tell anyone about you either. We've got bigger problems than that."

"Shut your mouth," Tom whinged, nudging the boy's ribs. "That's our business!"

"No, we should just tell him everything," Harry whispered, but not quietly enough for Dumbledore to miss it. There was urgency in his voice. Something more was going on here than they were letting on, and Albus became intrigued to no end. "You told me yourself he was powerful, Tom. Maybe he can help us."

"Shut up, Harry."

Albus nodded. "Perhaps I can help. I will keep all that is said here to myself."

"I couldn't care less what you say," Tom growled. "I don't trust you."

Harry dropped his head over his folded arms, sighing. They were on their own. The slightest amount of faith Tom had had for anyone evaporated since that strange day three weeks before. The two men that had dragged them into the bowels of the dungeon hadn't even bothered to alter their memories or put them back to bed. It was frightening to think that they were the future… their future. Harry refused to believe that man was his brother. He wanted to tell, he wanted help, but he had promised to believe in Tom because Tom said he could handle it.

"Let's get out of here, Harry. We need to start packing."

"Sit. There's still the matter of whether or not you are taking advantage of your brother, Tom."

"I'm not taking advantage of anyone! Mind your fucking business, old man!"

"I'm inclined to believe otherwise."

"Stop it!" Harry cried, looking up from the desk. The tension in the room was thick and unbearable. Harry feared that Tom might lose his cool and do something stupid if he didn't put an end to this meeting. Tom had not been himself. The enormous strain of finding out that he was merely a pawn had put a great damper on his ability to remain calm. Wild magic pulsed like around him in a raw aura of electricity. "I swear he's not taking advantage of me, sir."

Tom gripped the upper portion of Harry's arm and hauled him out of his seat.

"Harry, if you change your mind—"

"He won't!" Tom muttered, scowling.

As he was pulled from the room, Harry turned to lock eyes with the older man one last time. Instead of being angry or doing something to stop them from leaving, Albus merely smiled at him.


The train ride to King's Cross the next day had been unusually unpleasant. Tom hadn't spoken two words to Harry during their final day of school. They ate last their last pudding in the Great Hall together in silence, packed up their belongings in their own rooms, and shuffled along toward the train in the crowd of students like a herd of zombies. Scores of classmates congratulated Tom on his success and stuffed notes in his pockets so that he could contact them if he ever needed a thing.

Harry got the pleasure of noting that most of the Death Eaters had been eagle eyeing him since he left the front doors of the castle. He felt so utterly out of place as he took his seat across from Tom in their compartment, only to be yanked into the seat next to him to insure that no other person sat beside him. Nott, Yaxley, and Rookwood shoved in soon after, taking up the opposite side.

Harry sighed. There would be no talking to Tom, and there was a distinct possibility of a hexing or two if any of his sycophants started up with him.

"So, what are you going to do about him now that you won't be there to watch him?" Nott asked to break the frigid silence, tossing his head in Harry's direction. "I heard that Ogden and Meadowes had put him on the top of the 'Slytherins Most Wanted' board in the Gryffindor common room. Somebody's in trouble."

Harry yawned with annoyance. "Hagrid tore my name off that bloody thing weeks ago."

"He's not going back," Tom informed them. The smirks faded, and Harry stiffened beside him. Tom hugged him around the shoulders for comfort. "There's no need for him to finish school now, I'm taking care of us," he added calmly. There was no way in hell he would put Harry back into a place where Dumbledore ruled, and Lord Voldemort seemed to be able to enter and leave without detection. They had no one but themselves now to look after them.

"We'll talk about it later," Tom whispered in his ear. "Is that all right?"

Numb, Harry absently nodded. He did understand the reasoning, but that didn't make it hurt any less. He would miss the beautiful school and his friend, Hagrid.


Through a gasp of pain, Harry clutched his arm.

Scar?

It was his arm that was injured, but it was his scar that throbbed. Tom was standing over him nibbling on his bottom lip. His friends were waiting for him outside. Harry could hear them calling his name through the copse of the trees. "Harry, talk to me. Why won't you tell me what happened? I won't go if you really don't want me to…"

"Just go, Tom, its fine. Have fun with your friends." Everything felt so familiar… but different. He was home. He was eleven years old again and in the house in Little Hangleton. It was dark and cloudy outside, and cold… so very, very cold.

He wouldn't look at Tom. He stayed huddled up in the corner of the bed, wrapped in a quilt.

"Harry, please." Tom's fingers ghosted over the profile of Harry's face, so swollen and bloodied. "Please tell me who did this to you."

"Who do you think? I can't move my arm," Harry whispered through a whinge of pain, at last looking at him. "But I don't want you to tell mummy."

Tom's features were blurred. He stood from the tiny bed and went to the cupboard to retrieve a few books. "Give me a moment," he soothed, while leafing through a text. He ran a finger down one of the pages and stopped. "I've got a spell here that'll mend it."

The voices outside the house faded as the wind picked up and howled through the holes in the roof. Harry looked around the room, at his mummy's empty bed. He could hear bedsprings sagging and groaning in the next bedroom. Morfin was grunting like a stuck pig; primal, louder and harder, in rhythm with each wretched creak. "I wanted mummy to sleep in here tonight but Morfin got angry…"

"Did he?"

The scar, bloody fucking scar hurt so much… "Yeah, he said I'd ruined his life."

"And you haven't?" Tom looked up from the book, but it wasn't Tom anymore. "You don't think you're the ungrateful little half-blood sonofabitch he always said you were?"

Harry strained to see Tom's face. "What?"

He had grown. He was as tall as the room and his face had changed. He was as white as a skull. An unnaturally long finger pointed at him accusingly. "…the filthy fucking little bastard he saw you for? We all know the truth, Harry. You aren't even a Slytherin. The only reason you're alive right now is because I chose to give you a home. I chose your future."

"Who are you?"

The book fell to the floor. "What did you do to change time?"

"Nothing, leave me alone—get out!"

"Don't you dare close your mind to me. You tell me what you've done or I will snuff out your lives without a thought. Your mother is first!"

Searing pain erupted from his scar. Blinding white light filled the room. Harry woke with a scream, rigid and covered in sweat. Tom jumped awake. "Harry—what, what?" he cried, pulling the boy into his arms.

"You'll be sorry…"

Harry quickly composed himself. There was nothing he or Tom could do to stop the nightmares outside of stocking up on Dreamless Sleep Draughts. "I'm all right," he said, tucking his trembling hand between his knees. "It's nothing; just another stupid dream."

It was growing excruciating, these awful dreams and the excessive worry that Professor Dumbledore would burst into their home and drag him off to an orphanage. They had only been home for six days. Harry had a little over a month before he turned sixteen, but the wait for something coming, something big, was heavy in the air. There was a calm hovering above, a perverted peace that seemed so completely undeserving, and only his dreams gave any indication that a massive storm was brewing.

Tom petted his hair, feeling the tension ease from his muscles. "It's going to be okay. I'm going to find a way to keep us safe," he said in a quivering whisper, worried to all get out. That bastard was attacking his mind so viciously every night. It would only be a matter of time before Harry lost his grip on reality. "I would never do this to you. I would never frighten you like he's doing."

Harry mewed in his embrace. "I know."

It took a lot of courage to admit to Harry that he might be wrong. He could hardly admit it to himself. The fear was so great, wondering how long they would last before someone found out all of their dirty little secrets and lock them both up in Azkaban. "Starting tomorrow, I'm going to teach you how to keep those dreams out of your head. And I'll… I'll think about what you said. If it gets any worse, I'll send a letter off to Dumbledore. Maybe he'll know what to do."

"You mean that?"

"I said I'll think about it." At one time in his life not too long ago he had dreamed of finding ways to prevent death and use his talents for upping his and Harry's status in the world. To live like kings, to never look back at the little rogues that they once were. Those matters were hardly in his thoughts anymore. "We'll try Occlumency first, okay?"

Harry curled his fingers around Tom's neck. "Course."