After sitting next to my husband while he watched the Super Bowl, I started going through ancient files I saved from my time writing. I have gotten a few reviews about this story and how some parts are quite confusing. I haven't really read over it in a long while, but going through this story's saved files I can now see how and where I cut too deeply in the tale that would certainly confuse people. Mainly Tom's and Harry's abuse while growing up. Being a child abuse survivor myself, I hesitated putting down in writing the instances of trauma the two boys endured from Morfin, Mr Riddle and the towns folk, as well as from Merope (even if her intentions were only for the best). I cut too much out but being the author I could not see these gaping holes because I know what fills them. I'm going to go through this tale and fill those holes.
I also cut out most of the future Voldemort and Harry for some reason, possibly to keep the future a mystery and since their younger selves' timelines kept shifting each time they hit a paradox it got too confusing having to change the future duo. It made each chapter seem like I was writing about new characters (sort of what I'm going through with Pretty Boy, as they go through dramatic personality shifts as they slowly switch places from hero to dark lord and vice versa). I'll add a few cut scenes and try to explain them.
Also, ohmygod, I found my first draft of this tale in my notes. It's soooooo different than the finished product. I hardly remember that I originally had Marvolo rescued along wiht Merope so that he was also alive and living with the boys. Yeesh. That somehow they went to modern times (the present day in canon books) and there was another Harry, and he was spoilt and our sweet Harry was now named Wezen, after a puppy he used to pretend to be…wow, I'm so glad I changed all that (most likely my beta/lovely friend and/or good author friend at that time (Caty-Coconutice and Laura-Weasleywench) steered me in a different direction)
Not sure whether I should or am prepared to reinsert the additional parts, so I'll add them as an extra chapter of cut scenes for now, but if I get some extra time in the future maybe I'll try and incorporate them into the fic for flow.
First, the original outline:
Woman steps from the shadows and places a time turner in her shirt to hide it. She apparates to a house and enters. She is confused, things have changed. Everything around her is ragged and war-torn. Her colleague inside hardly recognises her. They are historians and scientists, young, working on a theory with a willed time turner (one of its kind, as they are outlawed now) and meddling with time to see if the theory of changing history is possible. They are fascinated by Lord Voldemort, and one has deduced that, from the memoirs of Albus Severus Potter, that Voldemort never bonded with anyone, and therefore became the monster that he was.
The other thinks that time cannot be changed, and that no matter what circumstances evolve, Voldemort would always become this dark wizard, but with minor changes. Once the woman returns, her theory is seemingly flawed, and her partner was correct. She carries with her the book by ASP and journals and notes on their actions. This time turner is very old, cut to specific times in the past. She has now, going back in time, saving Merope Gaunt from death, created an even more powerful Voldemort, who has an understanding of ancient love magic, and had defeated Harry Potter a few years after his failure to kill the boy and his return.
Another year of research and avoiding imminent death from watching death eaters, this woman and her partner deduce that more than altering Voldemort's life would need to happen to change history. Before returning to his time, she sets the time turner back to the day Harry Potter was attacked as a baby, to watch the event unfold. While waiting, she tries to spin the time back to the birth of Voldemort, but the time turner cracks and refuses to spin back any more. The setting for years breaks, but its close enough.
She moves to the bedroom and picks Harry up to examine him. She's enthralled, unable to put him down and hardly hears the sirens and shouts. Murder victims have been seen. Special police units are dispatched to the house, to take down the murder. She covers the baby in her cloak and runs on impulse, and is shot in the back by muggle police trying to flee the scene of the crime.
She activates the time turner, as it is easier to reach with this baby and her wound than a wand. She is mortally wounded, and panics. She apparates to Little Hangleton, knowing she must at least try and right her wrong before death, as she has altered history once more by removing Harry from his time. She puts Harry on the Gaunt's doorstep and scribbles out a short note in blood, then stumbles away and dies in the wooded area surrounding the home.
They take Harry before anyone arrives. Without Harry, Voldemort cannot kill him, and this future will not happen, but again, the damage is done. But they cannot kill Harry. On a whim, they decide Harry will go back with them to retrieve the book they left behind.
Historian sees history being made, after he has changed history. Unable to stop himself, he goes upstairs and finds the baby. He cannot put him down. This is Harry Potter. Police are arriving. He runs with the child, unsure of what might happen, and is shot in the back. He uses the time turner, now cracked and spilling, to return to the last settings he had made. He stumbles along, gravely injured and scribbles out a note and leaves the baby on the Guant's doorstep. He stumbles away and dies.
Start with Merope finding Harry here. She is quirky, jittery, nervous and excited to find this miracle.
On November first, 1931, Merope is twenty-five, and finds Harry crying on her doorstep in the morning. There is a note written in blood. The baby's name is Harry, and he is now hers. She is thrilled and terrified, but her son, Tom, calms her down and helps her hide the child from her father. He is completely insane (Marvolo) and on death's door. There is also a brother, Morfin, who Merope fears may try and kill the baby. Feeble at casting spells, she teaches Tom how to cast a silencing charm on her room to quiet his cries.
Merope finds the dead man who had saved her from death nearly four years back. She buries him in the garden, and plants tulips, and places little garden gnomes on top to watch over him. She has his journal of the future, and keeps it hidden.
Marvolo is very abusive to his daughter and grandson. Tom is very bright for his age, acting as a four year old child shouldn't. He is gifted in charms, unlike his mother. He sees Harry as a bright light in their dim world. He is a secret between he and his mother, and he loves that aspect. He is nearly four, but speaks well enough, and is very fearful of his grandfather and uncle. He adores his mother.
The charm breaks one evening while Marvolo is threatening the family. The return of Morfin to their home is dreadful. Morfin loathes Tom, threatens Merope, and when they find the baby, they think she's gone and had another child with Tom Riddle.
Harry is renamed Wezen by Tom, who makes him act like a puppy, to show how cute puppies are.
Marvolo dies soon after. Merope has killed him, but covers it up enough. Merope had Harry's surname set as Gaunt, but is open about finding him on her doorstep. Harry is her miracle. He is the light in her darkness. He is a sweet-faced, pretty child with soft black hair and bright-green eyes. He has a scar on his forehead. Merope changes her surname back to Gaunt, but leaves Tom's as Riddle, in hopes that someday his father might acknowledge him.
Life gets slightly better with the death of Marvolo. Their home life brightens; Merope tends well to the children, but is severely mentally ill. A mixture of inbreeding and years of mental abuse have left her mind in shambles. Morfin is no better. He is a dangerous sociopath, and threatens the lives of the children daily. There are glaring hints of incest between him and his sister.
As the boys begin their lives together, Tom is clearly the leader. He is very tall, whereas Harry is small and effeminate. Both are thin, pretty-faced boys who adore Merope. She has a job in the village and takes the children with her. The villagers loathe her, and some threaten to have the boys taken away. Tom begins teaching himself magic to prevent this. He is very protective of his mother and Harry. Merope is now a spinster, and pines for Tom Riddle constantly.
Tom Riddle avoids her and the boys, but at times sends them money as to quell the whispers of the town that his children are not provided for. He marries and moves away. Merope goes into a great depression. Her parenting skills plummet. Tom grows very concerned, as he is starting Hogwarts soon, and fears she will lose Harry if she does not concentrate on her illness.
In 1938 Tom begins Hogwarts and Albus Dumbledore immediately takes notice of him. He has been forewarned cryptically about Tom and his sway to the dark side, but Tom comes to him, desperate for help. Dumbledore agrees to check up on Merope and Harry from time to time. This sets a change in history. Tom grows trust in Albus, which is very important.
Grindelwald is a great interest of Tom's. He is a dark wizard. He finds out he and Dumbledore were once friends. His friendship with Dumbledore grows, as does his trust. Albus looks upon him as a challenge, seeing the darkness inside of him, and the desire to keep his brother safe.
Sept 1939, World War 2 is upon Britain. The wizarding world has decidedly turned their backs on the mess.
1940, Harry does not get a letter to Hogwarts. He is distraught. Merope and Tom talk to Dumbledore to fix this, and Harry is enrolled on scholarship to school. He is placed in Slytherin, like Tom, and is small, nerdy, and terribly quiet. Many people dislike him, and Tom must protect him. England is being bombed by Germany, and Merope is desperate to get Harry out.
Albus's interest in Harry is piqued. He wonders why he did not get a letter, and watches the child intently. Tom finds the journals of Aralias, and finds out Harry is from the future, and that he was a threat to him, and he's half-blooded like him. He hides this information, intent on changing this future. He will never love anyone, nor will Harry, except each other.
Tom is forming alliances with the worst sort of people. Harry worries about him, following him constantly. The other boys do not trust Harry, and physically threaten him often. Tom is special, talented, gifted in a way they are not. He is a natural leader, with ideals they would like to follow. He promises them riches, power, and they fall like rats to a flute.
Merope's lust for Tom Riddle grows. She watches him court many women, always flaunting it openly by their home. She watches his house on the hill, the manor with thick, grassy lawns. During the summer of 1941, I DON'T KNOW
Albus uses legitimacy on Merope and learns of this time-line and future for the wizarding world. He has just defeated Grindelwald, and must prevent this future dark lord from rising. He must send Harry back to his time, separate them and mould Harry as a weapon to defeat the dark lord since he has part of his soul in him. Now Albus will discover Harry's secret future/past and return him, this will throw Voldemort into a deep depression and obsession to get Harry back.
There are two Harry's now, one who grew up with his parents, is a Gryffindor, arrogant and troublesome, a jock, and has no scar - and the past Harry. Lord Voldemort is rising in power with his Death Eaters, and completely obsessed with finding his Harry. The future Harry is highly protected at all times since birth, and Voldemort cannot touch him. Past Harry tells Dumbledore, since he can no longer go by Gaunt that his new surname should be Wezen. That way Voldemort will know who he is and rescue him if he ever hears of him.
Harry is not issued a wand and cannot attend certain classes. He is to spend the majority of his time with Dumbledore or with future Harry to keep him from contacting Voldemort and to get him to understand that Tom Riddle is no more. Eventually, future Harry takes a great interest in this look-a-like.
James and Lily Potter have known for a very long time that this Harry would be coming, and have agreed to take him and raise him. This will keep Harry/Wezen protected from Voldemort.
Voldemort, a dark wizard, but yet not the evil overlord he could have been, is wiser and more powerful than before. He uses stealth and patience. He is handsome, devilish in appearance, and soon learns that his Angel is in Hogwarts being held prisoner by Dumbledore.
When Voldemort hears of Harry's appearance, it causes Harry's scar to burn. This has never happened before, and is the first sign that they truly are connected though the scar and the soul attached to Harry. This worries Albus greatly. Voldemort has killed, and now his soul is torn, and wanting to reconnect to Harry. Albus knows now that Harry is a Horcrux and Voldemort cannot die unless Harry is killed.
Merope answers the door and is given a bundle. "You again? Though we saw the last of you."
Harry refuses to talk to Tom, feeling abandoned by him after what happened. He cries and tells him how Morfin hurt him more than once while he was away, and he won't go back again. He is happy now, and wants to be a muggle. Tom is angry, bitter; he storms off without any more words. Another week goes by and Harry has grown closer to Tom Sr. They ride their horses past the House of Gaunt and Tom sees them. He hurries to their manor, (he has Morfin's wand) slaughters the old man and woman, and waits for Harry and Tom Sr. to return.
Harry takes a nasty fall after the first death, but as he is a wizard, he isn't hurt as badly as he should be. Tom Sr. rides him back. His scar had burst open and a painful rush of power surged through his being. He is weak, physically ill, and when he returns, Tom immediately overpowers him. He then murders Tom Sr. and carries Harry home.
As they enter their next year. tom discovers the true destiny of albus and Gellar's relations. They are gay. This intrigues him like no other, it is possible to carry on such a relationship between wizards without the world knowing. It also confirms that it is not such a bad affliction, these two men are more powerful in their skill than any other to date! Harry is flourishing in his studies, while the other Slytherins resume their torment on him about blocking tom's true destiny. Tom is now more interested in harry than in finding out more about mastering his art.
In the future, Voldemort reigns supreme. There is a small band of rebels, called the order of the phoenix that has thwarted his efforts to continue on by kidnapping the one person on earth he loves: Harry. If Voldemort is struck down, his soul will live on unless Harry is killed. Yet, they know if they kill Harry, the war will cease to be in station, and feral destruction will come to every living soul. Voldemort has kept his part of the bargain as of yet, desperately yearning to learn and understand the power of the ancient Love Magic that can conquer and equalize the wizarding world, but his heart bleeds for Harry's return, and without this will and strength he knows not, he will slaughter everyone in his wake.
Voldemort's goal has little to do with blood status, as Harry has taught him. Blood means nothing, being magical means everything. As his past inches closer to the present, he feels himself strengthening, knowing more and seeing things he could not see before. Love has fixed his cold, lifeless soul, and still cripples him in a new form. He loves Harry more than anything, and it tears him to think that he might die.
As the odd unknown of time travel barrages him, he realises that the more he goes back into time, the more he learns. His future is running out. Without Harry, there is nothing. He will become what he was destined to be, and he has no desire to become that monster.
-Yeah, I know, it doesn't make any sense to me, either.
Chapter 1 cut scene: This happens between Tom and Harry waiting at the pond for the sun to come up and Morfin finding them. Tom and Harry are sitting together on a large boulder at the edge of the pond. It is covered in frost and both boys fall into the pond and nearly drown. Draco Malfoy appears suddenly to stop this event in time from happening. He then gets to understand the boys' personalities and conjures up that rope Tom suddenly has in Chapter 2.
Neither he nor Harry heard the loud crack of magic resonate around the pool.
Harry and Tom were yanked up out of the water and hung suspended limply by their ankles. Harry was barely conscious, but Tom instantly caught sight of the tall man draped in black, standing on the edge of the pond. Taking a step closer, the man smirked at the older boy. "You're supposed to be a lot more intelligent than this."
"Put us down," Tom cried through clattering teeth.
"Do you realise that you nearly killed the both of you? I simply cannot allow that, boy." A flick of the man's wand dropped both of the children at his feet. Crouching, thrusting a warm blanket into Tom's hands, the man uncorked a phial and parted Harry's blue-tinted lips. "Drink this, sweet heart. I promise it won't hurt you."
Tom wrapped himself inside of the wool and perched down beside his brother to snatch him up. The man with flowing white hair stopped him. "Give me a moment, he'll be fine. This stuff takes the chill right out."
"Who are you?" Tom asked him, and pulled Harry into his arms to quiet his wracking coughs. He did not remember their first encounter three years back. He only remembered his mother speaking of a guardian angel who delivered Harry to her from heaven. Could this possibly be the same person?
The man handed Tom the phial. "Finish it. It burns going down, but you won't catch cold."
Steam was billowing out of Harry's ears. The young boy clapped his hands over them, giggling and coughing. "It tickles too," he chirped.
With a shrug, Tom downed the remainder of it. Instant warmth soared through his veins. His skin felt as if it were roasting over an open flame, melting the icy cold away. He also covered his ears, embarrassed by the nasty side effect. "Make this stop!" he demanded, glaring back at the man. "If you're so bloody powerful then make this stop right now."
"I can't. It goes away in a few hours, and you'll stay warm while you wait for your mum to wake up." Another wave of the wand dried the children's clothing. Harry hummed lightly in his throat as he leaned up against Tom, feeling toasty warm. "Perhaps we'll remember to stay off of the slippery rocks during cold weather. This is an important lesson to you, Tom, and you too, Harry," the man said firmly, gripping Tom's stubborn chin. "You cannot die. I forbid it. From now on I'll be watching the two of you very closely."
There was something odd about this man that Tom could not put a finger on. Perhaps it was his unusual clothing, so fancy and tailored to fit his form. Tom had never seen anything quite like the robes he wore, or the fine material they were crafted in. The man's hair was long and white like an old man's, despite his youthful appearance. No one from the village looked remotely like this person, no matter how wealthy they were. "Are you a Wizard?" Tom asked, cringing at his own words. Of course the man was a Wizard; he had used magic to rescue Harry and he. "I mean…are you an angel? My mum said you were an angel. Do you have wings?"
Harry gasped, his reverie of enjoying the steam coming out of his ears forgotten at the sound of hearing the word 'angel'. He looked closer at the man crouched before them with squinted eyes. "Yes, yes I see it, Tom. Are you the angel that gave me to mummy?"
"I'm not an angel." Both boys seemed to slump their shoulders at the words. The man inclined his head, almost enjoying this bewilderment he was causing. It would be amusing to see his comrades' younger selves speak with him with such naivety. "That is… I mean to say that I don't have wings, but I may very well be an angel. I do kind of look like an angel, don't I? Who knows, I could be." There was no harm in indulging the children's fantasies. On the contrary, it was quite entertaining. He watched as Harry immediately perked up and nudged Tom.
"Ask him about rope, Tom," Harry whispered excitedly. "Then we won't have to ask Morfin."
Tom sat stiffly, not trusting this man as of yet. He looked at Harry out of the corner of his eye and shook his head. "I don't know, Har…he's so strange."
"What do you want to ask me?" the man said, looking slightly smug.
Harry shrugged. "Could you conger us some rope, angel? We need to make a raft to steer clear of Morfin."
"Conjure," Tom corrected him sharply under his breath. He looked up at the man, sighing. "He's still a baby. He doesn't understand magic words yet."
"He will in time." The man stood up and held out the wand. "How much rope will it take to make a proper raft?"
"Loads," Tom tried to say as coolly as he could, but gave off a sniffle. "And we'll need a great pile of sticks."
The man cocked an eyebrow. The arrogance in Tom's words was quite familiar to him. The temptation to thrash the boy's backside and wipe his memory of it tickled the back of his mind. But no, it was too risky. He could not chance Tom remembering this moment for any reason. Instead, he kept his wits about him, focusing on the smaller, more eager-to-please boy beside him. "There are sticks everywhere, Tom. You and Harry should have no trouble making your own 'great pile'." Regardless, he conjured a long coil of rope beside them. "That should be plenty."
"You look so silly, Tom," Harry said through a giggle, watching a steady stream of mist rising out of the older boy's ears. "Mummy's going to wonder how we got this way."
"Hmm…" The man rubbed his chin after replacing his wand back in his cloak. That was true. Their mother, Merope, would wonder why the boys were obviously bearing side effects from a Pepperup Potion. He had wanted to keep this meeting a secret, to not give her the realisation that she too was being watched. It was important that the boys' upbringing be kept as it was.
This next part was most likely cut in order to progress the plot sooner as I was getting a lot of reviews of impatience for wanting to see Tom and Harry get it on, haha. It was my part in leaving the vestiges of the persona Wezen, the person Harry would pretend to be (which was totally cut out). Since I dropped that storyline I dropped this as to not confuse anyone (too late!). This would take place between chapters two and three.
Lie, Cheat, and Steal
Moving around, unable to sit, Draco Malfoy paced away his lethargy to clear his troubled mind. Things were changing before his eyes, things that no one else seemed to notice. He glanced behind him at the sweet-faced man sitting peacefully at his desk with his nose in a book. He looked down at his own hands, revelling once more at the tissue-thin skin covering them. They were the hands of a young man. He dipped one of them into a bowl of black cherries and picked a larger one up by its stem.
"Can I ask you something?"
The sudden break in the silence startled Draco. He turned, facing the young man and popped a cherry into his mouth. "Hmm…what?"
"Well, we've got a lot of research to catch up on here, and you've been doing that all day." He pointed at Draco.
Draco looked around him, confused. "Doing what?"
"That thing there," the man said, pointing to him once more. "You're just pacing around…jabbering to yourself. What's going on with you?" He shifted around in his chair to watch the silvery-blond's reaction. Draco had been acting so peculiar lately.
Again, Draco looked down at his hands. "You remember what I asked you yesterday at tea?"
He shrugged. "You asked me if Lord Voldemort had always looked like that."
"And what was your answer yesterday?"
The young man shrugged. "I said 'yes'."
Draco shook his head, shocked. "No, you didn't."
"Yes, I did."
"You don't remember him looking like…well, less human, do you?"
Harry pulled his glasses off and snorted. It was a rare thing to see the troubled young man find humour in anything anymore. "Why would he look less than human? What's gotten into you, Draco?"
"Because he was a monster! He was…Harry, you don't remember? Last time I was here…he's always looked…well, he's changed."
Harry got up and patted the man's arm. "You've gone mad, you poor thing. Let me get you a drink."
Draco sighed as he slid back into his chair. Perhaps going back through time had hitched his memories, or maybe he was going mad. "Yeah, I'll take a double," he said, and popped another cherry in his mouth.
In the four years that Harry and Tom spent together, the angelic man never came, and just as Tom had done, Harry now anticipated going to Hogwarts...
"It's running!" The hurried footsteps of small feet pounded along the crooked, narrow path. Gripping the smaller boy's wrist, Tom pulled Harry through the hedges and landed face-first on the grassy slope. "C'mon, Harry, keep up!" he cried, getting up from all fours and bounding off toward the animal that had invaded their garden fortress.
A bowlegged mangy dog darted in and out of the trees, staying just out of reach of the children. Harry ran as fast as he could; his coltish legs pumped to stay in stride with the older boy. Faster and deeper they ran, dying to catch the dog. It was so exciting. He had never seen a wild dog before and Tom had promised Harry that if they caught it they could keep it as a pet for his birthday. The sky disappeared as shadowing weaves of branches blocked the overhead sunlight. Nettles and thorns cut through the rags covering his long limbs and razor-sharp rocks stabbed at the soles of his feet, but he ran as fast as he could behind Tom to stay with him.
"C'mere, doggy!" Tom beckoned, snapping his fingers as he leapt over a fallen tree lying rotting on the floor of the forest. A loud thud boomed behind him and he threw himself into a halt, immediately forgetting the dog. "Harry, you all right?" he called, and retook his steps through the darkness.
Harry fought to catch the wind that had been knocked from his sail as he sat by the side of the rotten log he'd just tripped over. His knees were skinned. He rubbed them excessively to stop the pain. "I'm okay," he said in a sigh, letting Tom help him stand. "I fell."
"Gods, you're so clumsy. You need to watch out," Tom chided.
Harry knew that he was far less graceful than his older brother and that he always pointed it out. Everyone always pointed out how inferior Harry was to Tom, mostly Morfin, and Morfin hated Tom. He was less graceful, not showing any magical talent at his age, he was not tall or quiet, and his mind did not yearn to learn everything the way Tom's did. He was well aware that he was inferior, that he was a runt. "I'm sorry, Tom."
Tom looked over his shoulder for one more fleeting glimpse of the dog, but it was gone. Gripping Harry by the hand, he pulled him back to the copse where their house stood. "We've lost it. I hope you're happy."
Small tears of embarrassment clung to Harry's dark lashes. He sniffled back the lump constricting his throat. "I'm sorry, Tom," he muttered again sadly, disappointed in himself for causing such a travesty. An arm slipped over his shoulder. Harry looked up at the tall boy and the tears clinging to his lashes rolled down his cheeks.
Tom smiled at him. "Stop crying, you big baby, we'll catch another," he teased, rubbing Harry's shoulder.
Harry shrugged, pretending not to care. He found it quite impossible to do so. "Easy for you to say, that was my birthday present. We'll probably never see one again."
Looking over his shoulder, Tom noticed the distinct zigzagging of grass. The eleven year old stepped closer and crouched, watching it slithering toward them. "Look, Harry, it's-" A loud smacking sound filled his ears. He stood and turned, seeing Harry holding his hands to his mouth. His eyes were clenched shut, the front of his shirt was splattered with blood, and he hissed a warning to his brother before he was struck too. "Run, Tom!"
Tom threw himself at Harry, knocking him out of the way at the exact moment Morfin dropped out of the tree beside him. They grappled with Harry; Tom had him by the wrists while Morfin took his ankles. "Let him go, you bastard!" Tom screamed, incensed, unwilling to let him drag Harry off into the woods again to beat him half-to-death, then hang him up by an ankle somewhere deep in the woods so that Tom and Merope could spend the night trying to find him before he perished.
Harry kicked off as hard as he could and gripped Tom's wrists, anchoring himself to the other boy in desperation. "Let go!"
"He's the one bringing them owls! They want yous in school!" Morfin hissed venomously. "Bringing owls, bringing letters all week! Stupid boy should be strung from a tree!"
"That's not true!" Harry cried.
Gawping in confusion, Tom shook his head. "What are you talking about, you loony old fool? What owls?" Morfin released his hold and stepped back, panting for breath. Harry stumbled into Tom's embrace, again cupping his mouth to slow the bleeding.
"School brings the owls! They sent them Muggles out here last year at this time to get you two in school, and now they're trying owls to get you! I remember papa killing them owls that come when they try to take me to school when I was a lad." His wand was in his hand, wavering. "He's doing it somehow, the dirty-blood runt."
Tom knew something very bad was going to happen. Morfin's mismatched eyes narrowed and his wand was raised at the ready. "Put the wand down, Uncle…we'll stop the owls, alright?"
Slowly, Morfin relaxed, but not before lashing out and striking Harry and Tom both in the face with his fists. He stomped off, leaving Tom to clean up the mess and stop the owls as he promised.
"You have such stunning eyes, Harry," Merope said in her sweetest voice. "The brightest of green I've ever seen and lashes so thick it's like God pencilled charcoal around them. You're my beautiful boy. You're going to break so many hearts…You and Tom both. My smart boy and my pretty boy. I'll have so many grand-babies I won't be able to remember all of their names."
Lying side by side on their small bed with their fingers laced together, Harry and Tom listened to their mother coo at them while she tended to the littlest one's wounds. Merope dipped a rag into a pot of sudsy water, wrung it out, and wiped the tear-streaks off of Harry's cheeks. "I don't know anything about puppies. I've never had a pet before," she informed them, looking sad. "I wonder how fun a puppy might be to watch."
"It would chase the rabbits away," Tom added, hoping to pique her interest. "Imagine if Morfin didn't have to chase rabbits out of the garden."
"Maybe he'd be nicer," Harry injected, and squeezed Tom's hand.
Tom sneered and looked away at the wall. The blood that seeped from his fractured nose had dried on his lips and chin. "I doubt it."
Merope shifted toward her oldest boy. Her hand darted out to catch his face before he could recoil. She ran the warm cloth over the blood to clean him up. "I'll think on the puppy. But for now, get some sleep. You're both going to town with me tomorrow. I think it best, really. Yes, you'll come with me to work," she whispered. Er instinct to protect her boys outweighed her fear of Morfin's retaliation, as it rarely did.
Harry squealed with glee, but Tom looked much less enthusiastic about it. He had been to town with Merope before, had seen the Muggles' stares and laughter as they looked at her. "I hate Muggles. I mean, except Harry, if he's a Muggle."
Harry pulled his hand back; shocked that Tom would say such a thing about him. "I'm not a Muggle!"
"He's not a Muggle, he's a Wizard," Merope promised. She was smiling, with her head tipped to her shoulder while she played with Harry's messy hair. "He's very special. He's my angel's baby."
Tom looked at her thoughtfully, wondering what was going through her scrambled mind. "How do you know that? He's not done a lick of magic."
"I'm not a Muggle!" Harry repeated firmly.
Merope patted both boys' knees. "Trust me, I just know. Harry's going to be a fine, powerful Wizard. You both are. Besides, he's a Parselmouth, and only very special Wizards are Parselmouths, right?"
That was true, realised Tom, and he grinned brightly while retaking Harry's hand. He so hoped that Harry would grow up faster and begin showing some magical talent. The only inkling of his magical-being status had happened during one of Morfin's frequent attacks. Somehow Harry had set his bird's nest of hair on fire and the man ran off screaming into the woods. He wasn't certain Harry had caused it, but Tom prayed that would happen again more often.
Standing fully, Merope pulled the quilt up and tucked it under the boys' torsos. "Get some sleep. You two fetch the water for breakfast and washing when you wake, alright?"
Tom nodded. "Good night, mummy."
"Good night, mummy!" Harry chirped.
Closing the door, Merope put her back to it and let off a deep, heavy sigh. She looked worriedly to the door beside her, Morfin's door. She clenched her fists and entered the room.
A single candle flickered in the dark room. The relentless squeak of rusty springs pounded along with Tom's dull headache. He tugged off his pyjama bottoms and threw them at Harry, hitting the smaller boy in the face. "We don't have much time, the sun's rising."
Harry crinkled his nose in a sneer and feebly threw the pyjamas back at Tom.
"Stop bouncing and try it again."
Tom clucked his tongue. "That'll do. So what should we call you?"
Harry shrugged. "Do I have to do this?"
"Course. Now what would you want your name to be if you were a puppy?"
Again, Harry shrugged. The nine year old boy with messy black hair hopped in place on the bed. His tattered pyjama bottoms caught every rusty spring protruding out from the frame, and they tore a little more with each bounce. He rubbed the sand from his eyes, trying to adjust them to focus to the rush of morning, but they refused to comply.
"I'll name you then," Tom said indifferently. He fell back against the mattress, lacing his fingers behind his head. He was lean and as pale as porcelain. His jet-black hair fell into his eyes and he blew at it, feeling it tickle his nose. "What was the name of that horse we saw the other day? The one we petted."
Harry dropped his head on his fists, and the bouncing abruptly stopped. "Er…Matilda, I think. Or maybe it was Mir... Miranda, I don't know. The black horse?"
"Yes, the black one. The only horse we've ever petted, you bogie eater," Tom teased "Hmm, what about Wezen, Harry?"
"Okay," Harry mumbled, and climbed off of the bed to get on all fours. "She's not going to like it. This won't work."
Tom was on his feet, striding to the door. "Of course it'll work. She as nutters as a fruitcake, just don't give up."
Harry tipped his head as he crawled up behind him. "What's that mean?"
Tom rolled his eyes as he stepped into the living room, pulling on the leash tied around Harry's neck. "I heard that old Muggle crow, Morella Wilcox say it to her few days back. I don't know what it means. Maybe that she's mad."
"Don't call mummy names!" Harry growled.
"Quiet, Wezen, you don't want to wake Morfin up, do you?" Tom quipped, cocking an eyebrow as he looked down at the boy on the floor. "Now, be a good puppy and wag your tail and pant or something."
"I don't have a tail," Harry groaned. His nose and whiskers were painted on with charred wood, and two knobby socks hung from each side of his head as floppy ears. He squinted up at Tom, sticking out his tongue. "Should I wag my bum instead?"
"Whatever, just be ready. I'm going to wake her up," Tom whispered behind his finger, holding it to his lips to quiet the smaller boy. Harry moved down, flattening his belly and putting his cheek to the floor to look under the door. There was no hint of light on the other side, but he and Tom were certain they had heard voices and moaning coming from the room minutes back.
Tom turned the knob and pushed. The door creaked as it opened, and a distinct gasp filled his ears. "Mummy, you awake?"
Merope sat up quickly, pulling a quilt up to her chin to cover her nudity.
"Get out, you useless lump!" roared Morfin from the dark end of the room.
Visibly shaken, the woman wrapped herself in the bedding and hurried to the door. "Tom-Tom, go back out. Mummy will be right there."
Swallowing hard, craning his neck as he stared at her to see if she was hurt in some way, Tom frowned as he stepped back into the living room and had the door slammed in his face.
"I told you it won't work, stupid," Harry beamed, feeling superior.
Tom simmered, feeling his face burn with redness. He tugged on the leash, yanking Harry up to his knees. "You can't even do magic yet, little baby. Another word from you I'll take you outside and tie your leash to a tree and you can live out there forever."
Harry whimpered like a puppy might, and pouted pathetically. His bottom lip jutted out just so, causing Tom to burst into a giggling fit. He bent down and ruffled Harry's messy hair. "I'm only pulling your leg. C'mon, Wezen, let's go fetch the water."
Merope dragged herself out of the bedroom, looking more dull and worn than usual. Her misaligned eyes caught sight of the two boys as they moved toward the front door. "What is this?" she called out gleefully. Her features brightened as she scurried toward her children. Dropping to her knees as Harry turned to face her, she grinned toothily at him and petted his hair. "And who is this, Tom? Is this your puppy?"
Caught off guard, Tom felt a current of jittery enthusiasm pass through his body. "Yes!" he cried. "This is Wezen, my puppy. He's nearly nine and does loads of tricks. Do you like him, mummy?" It was amazing at how quickly this ploy had worked on the woman. Harry always bewitched her. Throwing himself into the performance, he knelt beside Harry and she, sharing a grin.
Harry yipped playfully. He was not sure what else puppies did to entertain wizards, and glanced at Tom for a little help. "He gives fantastic kisses, rolls over, plays dead, and can help me fetch the water every morning by keeping all of the monsters outside away!" Tom said, giving Harry a wink.
Merope tugged at a sock-ear with one hand while scratching Harry's chin with the other. "He looks hungry! What does Wezen eat?"
"Oh, I'd think he might like to eat something like old bones and slugs. Puppies like those things." Tom was wearing a devilish grin, watching Harry squirm out of the corner of his eye. "And maybe dead cats."
"I won't!" Harry cried.
"Puppies don't talk!" Tom castigated. "Do they, mummy?"
"I've never met a talking puppy before," Merope confessed. She stood and crossed to the kitchen, looking over the shelves above the grimy stove against the grey stone wall. Grabbing a ceramic bowl, she set it on the table and turned back to the boys. "We could give him some water if we had any," she hinted, pointing to the large rope-handed buckets by the door.
Tom tugged on Harry's leash. "Grab a bucket, Wezen," he ordered, lifting one by the handle, but Harry refused to move.
"Puppies can't carry buckets," Harry smirked back.
Merope waved them out. "Harry's too small to carry a bucket on his own. You'll make two trips as you always do." Then a sound of something stirring rang out from the master bedroom. It sent chills down her spine. "Go, hurry!" she anxiously whispered, fearing Morfin might rise at any given time.
This next part was to take place instead of Harry's bumping into Mr Hitchens in town. This part would solidify Harry's fears of being put into an orphanage that he always whines about. But I didn't feel comfortable making Mr Riddle so blatantly wicked, I wanted him to be more of a mystery. He's an asshole not evil, but he's clever and cunning, and passes this trait onto Tom rather than his magical family as none of them seemed to possess an ounce of either. Also, of course, I wanted him to believe Harry was his son so this whole part of the storyline was scrapped.
Harry stood by the entrance of The Hanging Man, leaning against the wooden shingles of the outer wall. He had completed the task of cleaning mugs and shining mirrors, and jingled the coins in his pocket out of boredom. Merope had asked him to wait on Tom there so they could all meet up together after finishing the chores she normally took on for money. He never minded taking on a job or two for her if it meant he could get her out of this horrible village and return home that much sooner. It seemed Tom had had the same idea, and was on his own excursion to help out elsewhere on the downtown street.
"Isn't that one of your boys, Riddle?"
"Certainly not, those rumours of that common filth being mine are greatly exaggerated."
Harry looked up, hearing the name of his supposed father spoken beside him. The instant he centred on the tall, handsome man a snarl curled on his lip. The older woman standing beside Tom Riddle laughed and walked into the pub, but Riddle remained. He stood smirking superiorly at the scrub-of-a-boy.
"What are you gawking at?" Harry hissed at him.
Riddle looked around the area very carefully before moving closer and gripping Harry's arm. "Come with me, boy," he ordered, jerking him away from the wall. "I want to have a discussion with you."
"Don't touch—" One hand silenced him before he could finish, and the other curled around his waist. Riddle hefted him up, lifting him off the ground.
Harry found himself dragged off and shoved up into the stone alley wall, blocked from view of the main street.
The man was angry, massively towering, and held him by the neck to keep him from running off. "Tell me now," he said in a low tone, looking the boy up and down. Harry pushed his spectacles up to the bridge of his nose, amazed at how similar this man and Tom appeared. "Has your mother done something, some new witchcraft, trickery, to make me forget how you were born?"
Harry shook his head frantically. "N-no, sir, I was given to my mum by an angel when I was—"
"Of course," he cut in, sneering. "We've all heard the tale. Do you honestly think anyone believes that another human being with a sound state of mind would hand over a child to that beastly woman?"
Harry paled, and his heart thumped hard in his throat. "Shut up," he warned him. He was shaking-mad and wished he had brought Morfin's knife with him.
Tom Riddle laced his fingers in the boy's hair to force his head back against his shoulder. "No…your eyes, your face…you're different. She's seduced someone else into giving her a child. How fucking pathetic." Riddle's nose was crinkled in disgust as he scanned over Harry. "And your brother, how does he feel about having an ugly whore for a mother, hmm?"
Keeping his hands on the wall, Harry thought his neck might snap under the extreme pressure. But he had learnt long ago that men only prolong your suffering if you retaliate. He stood there hating himself and this man, but did nothing to stop him.
A slight smile curled on Riddle's lips. His hands fell away, releasing Harry. "You're obedient, at the very least. Tomorrow, you be at the manor on top of the hill, bright and early. I have some things for you to do."
"No," Harry groaned, rubbing his neck.
"You like your brother, like living with him? I could take that away…And your mother—she needs the work in town, right? I could take all of that away, boy. How would you like to finish growing up in an orphanage? You think I couldn't have that accomplished? I'm the richest man in town. Everyone believes you're my son. And your brother, he could join you there…or maybe I'll just keep him with me. Unlike you he looks like me. He's tall, handsome, grown…so unlike you."
Harry blanched before him. "Don't do that," he whispered, feeling the world around him come crashing down. How could someone so wicked look so much like someone so wonderful? "I'll be there, alright?"
Riddle clapped Harry on the cheek. "Just tell your mummy you got yourself a nice little holiday job. You'll be able to bring home loads of money for her to drink herself to death with."
Slipping out of bed before anyone else in the house rose, Harry gathered up the pile of clothing he had set in the corner, slung his shoes over his shoulder and sneaked out as quietly as he could. The sun had not yet appeared. He felt his way through the wooded path toward the pond, intent on looking as clean as possible before making the journey up the hill toward the Riddle House. He did not want to embarrass his family any more than the embarrassment they already endured by showing up to the finest manor in the village looking anything less than presentable.
This next part, again, takes place before Harry goes off to Hogwarts. Having not been born yet in this time-line his name has not yet appeared in the book that would send him an invitation to attend Hogwarts. Tom again finds his mother in bed with her brother but this time catches them in flagrante delicto. Disgusted, he and Harry run away. Merope goes insane, seeing Tom as a kidnapper of her favorite boy and sics Morfin on him so he can bring Harry back.
In the dark, Harry wept openly against his brother's arm. He was overly emotional, feeling more rejected than he had at not receiving his own Hogwarts letter. It made no sense at all. He could do magic, he was a magical being. Why had he been forgotten? They had remembered Tom; someone from the school had actually come to deliver his letter to him in person when it seemed impossible to do so by owl post.
Tom pulled a leg up into his chest to rub the welts on the back of his thigh while his tongue darted around over his split top lip. Both were battered and both of them were ill. Finding it hard to breathe. Tom endured a wrack of coughing while he was deep in thought about this conundrum. He peered out of the tiny window above him. The stars glittered like prismatic halos through the greasy, grime-covered window pane. "Do you think that Morfin killed your owls, too?"
Harry shook his head. "No, there would have been feathers everywhere and someone would have come to deliver it… like they did for you."
"Well, we're going to get to the bottom of this." Tom dragged Harry off of the bed and walked them to the living area. He was to return to Hogwarts the next morning and had really imagined, up until that very morning, that Harry would be going with him. And there was no way in hell he was leaving Harry alone all summer with Morfin again. They sat outside of the other bedroom quietly, contemplating in their heads on what to do.
"I think we should ask mummy to write to them. Stop crying now, I'm going to wake her up but I don't want Morfin to hear you," Tom whispered behind his finger, holding it to his lips to quiet the smaller boy. Harry moved down, flattening his belly and putting his cheek to the floor to look under the door. There was no hint of light on the other side, but he and Tom were certain they had heard voices and moaning coming from the room minutes back.
The old grandfather clock by the fireplace began to chime. It was midnight, the eve of Tom's departure. Looking from it to the door, Tom turned the knob to Morfin's bedroom door and pushed. It creaked as it opened, and a distinct gasp filled his ears. "Mummy, you awake?"
Merope sat up quickly, scrambling to push Morfin away from her. "Oh, gods," she breathed, thoroughly startled. She was naked, and Morfin was on top of her. Tom's breath hitched. Without thought he knew what they were doing. He had done that once a few months back. He knew exactly why his mother spent almost every night with her brother now.
"Shut the door, you little pig!" roared Morfin.
Visibly shaken, the woman wrapped herself in the bedding and hurried to the door. "Tom, go back out. Mummy's sleeping."
Swallowing hard, craning his neck as he stared at her to see if she was hurt in some way, Tom frowned as he stepped back into the living room and had the door slammed in his face.
Harry wiped away a dollop of mucous dripping dangerously close to his top lip. He sat up on his knees, watching Tom seething in place. "What's the matter?" he asked him, alarmed. Only a moment ago Tom was calm and rational, but now it looked like he could crush the world under his heel if he wanted to.
The clamour inside of Morfin's bedroom grew violent. Things were hitting the walls. There was shouting and loud wails of distress resonated through the door. It was only a matter of time before Morfin came out and finished what he had started that morning. The large, bleeding welts covering the children's backs and thighs had yet to scab over. Their eyes were black, their cheeks hollowed. Tom knew that Harry could not take another switch mark to his backside. He was so close to breaking, so frightened and traumatised as it was. He could see the poor child flinching through every bang.
"Get dressed, Harry. Gather up whatever you can, and all of the money you've saved," Tom whispered, helping the boy up to his feet. They moved quickly into their room, pulling everything out of the wardrobe and tossing it into a pile on the floor. Tom unlatched his school trunk and began filling it up. "Faster! Shoes on, Har," he hissed, hearing the wood of the other door creaking under the weight of their mother as she blocked it with her back.
Dressed and packed, Tom shrunk his trunk down to a tiny size and put it into his trouser pocket. He stashed his wand and gripped Harry's hand. "Is that everything? I can't use magic once we leave…I don't want to get expelled and we both need a place to stay."
"I think so." Harry looked so frightened and confused. He was numbly gazing around the living room as they passed through, and flinched again when something shattered against the wall behind them.
"Where are we going, Tom?"
Tom yanked the front door open and stepped out into the copse. "Don't follow us, woman, I'm warning you."
On the dirt road en route to Greater Hangelton, walking briskly alongside Tom, Harry tried his hardest to ignore the waking nightmare closing in on them. Tom pressed on, telling him to ignore everything. They had a direction, a small amount of money and a stone-set determination to find out why Harry had not gotten an invitation to Hogwarts. Thankfully, there was a girl from school living in midst of the large town, and her fireplace was connected to the Floo Network. Tom had used it at the start of the summer holiday, and was hoping her family might allow them to use it once more to get to London.
This plan was not obstacle free, by any means. The boys were being actively perused by their mother and uncle in the most frightening of ways. Merope was running down the road and screaming like a banshee in Parseltongue, ordering Morfin to bring the smallest one back to her, and Morfin was firing off random curses in all directions as he closed the distance between them. Harry was so edgy about disobeying his mother, but promptly followed his brother as he darted off toward the woods. Tom had never abandoned him before. Tom knew everything; he would keep them safe.
"I'm taking him with me, old man — we won't be back!" shouted Tom as they ducked into the shelter of the trees. He dropped to the ground, pulling Harry down beside him t o catch their pained breath. "Just stay as quiet as you can, okay?"
Harry gripped Tom's hand and held in a bout of coughing as Morfin passed by. The matted-haired monster kicked at the grasses and shot a spell at a tree to catch it on fire before trudging on to another area, missing both boys completely. But Merope was close, calling out to Harry in a sweetly deranged voice. His scar was prickling so badly. He rubbed it for a while until Tom grabbed his hand to stop him from rustling the bush they were hiding behind.
"Give me back my boy! He doesn't belong at that school, Tom! He needs to stay with his mummy! Give me my boy!" Both Tom and Harry flinched. The nearly indistinguishable sounds of Parseltongue usually went unnoticed whenever Morfin spoke it but when Merope spoke it, as she only did at her darkest times, it's distinct hiss called to both of them, compelling them to answer.
It should have taken under two hours to reach Greater Hangelton, but now this chase would more than likely carry on throughout the night if they could not get away. Tom knew this, and with Harry being so young and both of them so sick, they would quickly run out of the energy they needed to continue - continue if they did not get caught.
Merope was standing on the edge of the road still wrapped up in a quilt. She was so close; Tom could almost feel her hot breath cascading over him. Harry whimpered. He was in obvious pain, again touching the scar on his forehead to quell the prickling while he coughed up choking phlegm into Tom's shirt.
Tom gulped. Merope had spotted them and reached out into the brush to take one of Harry's arms. He yanked his brother backward with him and turned to run but was knocked down along with Harry as Morfin slammed into them with all of his body weight. Harry was ripped from him and dragged off back to the House of Gaunt by his mother, but Morfin was standing over him with his wand drawn. He was snickering down at him. "No where to run now, you dirty-blooded lump." He kicked out, connecting with Tom's side, and again at his face, the last thing he remembered.
When he awoke, Tom found himself lying on his back with his head propped up on Harry's lap. Harry was caressing his bruised face and sniffling. They were back inside their bedroom.
"She's locked us in and said she's never letting us out again."
"She can't do that. I'll miss the Star-of-the-Year-feast. You'll miss the Sorting Ceremony." Tom sat up and peered out of the tiny window above him. "Why doesn't she want us to go? She seemed very excited when I went off on my first year, and even second…I don't understand why she doesn't want us to go back."
Harry shook his head. "What are we going to do?"
With a heated breath, Tom had sat in place for as long as he could. "We're going to get out of here." He gruellingly dragged himself to the door. Testing the knob, he found that it was still magically locked. The window had been sealed up as well, making it impossible to escape. "Open this bloody door, goddammit! You have no right keeping us locked up!"
A small voice on the other side broke through the quiet in the living room. "You're not going. You can say as many little vulgarities as you want, Tom, but keep in mind that I'm adding them up in my head as you say them."
"Add them up, I don't care!" Tom dared to bang his fist against the old wood, gaining himself a painful shock. "It's not fair! We're hungry, we're bleeding, we're sick and we're cold…Open the door, mummy! Please don't do this!"
Merope stood shaking in place, something had badly spooked her. "No, you're not going and that's that. Harry's name wasn't in the magical book. I got an owl from the school saying someone went and paid his tuition to get him in. They want to keep him from me — they want to take him as their own — they want to take my boys away from me. I can't let you go. Tom, go to sleep, I can't deal with this right now…"
"She can't keep us locked up forever," Harry whispered. "Didn't you say that there was a Wizarding family in Greater Hangelton with one of those magical fireplaces connected to the Floo Network?"
Absently, Tom nodded, and kicked at the door, gaining another jolt. "Yeah, some bird in my Muggle Studies class. Her dad let me use it at the start of the holiday to come home, why?"
Harry pulled Tom away from the door to stop him from hurting himself. "Mummy will fall asleep soon, Morfin's already out…The magic on the door will wear off eventually, and we can make a run for it."
Tom sighed. "But tomorrow's the first day. You'll miss the Sorting Ceremony!"
"I'm going to miss it anyway," Harry flatly informed him. "Even if it lasts until the morning, she has work in town tomorrow. No one will be home all day. It will wear off like it always does, Tom. Let's get some sleep, I don't feel so good."
Tom felt Harry' forehead, seeing him shivering in the darkness. He was burning up with fever.
"So are you, Tom," Harry told him. "Let's go to sleep, alright?"
Their best hope was to wait out the magical barrier and run away while the adults were not watching. He gave the boy a push toward the bed and climbed in next to him. "You sound like me now. When did you grow up?"
Harry scrubbed the remnants of tears off of his cheeks. He hissed as his fingers grazed against a deep, rising welt on the side of his face. "Just now, I guess. It only seems right that we don't panic; she's not going to give in." Both Harry and Tom had been worked over before being tossed inside of their room and locked within. Even if they had done nothing wrong, it made no difference to Morfin. All that he knew was that Merope was crying, and when Merope cried – Morfin got upset - and when he got upset – someone got hurt.
"Get up, boys, we've got to move."
The bedroom door was open. Tom opened one eye to see who was standing in the frame. It appeared to be an angel a handsome, whitish-haired man moved to the side of the bed and took each one of the boys' hands to lift them up.
Tom pulled his hand back. "What's going on? Who are you?" Draco retook his hand, grasping it with more emphasis.
"He's the angel who mummy talks about…" Harry whispered, staring at the man with quizzical admiration. He blushed, feeling foolish having said that out loud. "I mean… never mind, that's silly."
"Oh, you two, always flattering me with the angel comments. You sound like my grandchildren." Draco glanced down at the boy with a smirk. "Right, well, if you two wouldn't mind following me over to the sitting room." He yanked Tom forcefully along with him while Harry followed closely behind. "There's a portkey set up across outside of here to take us to Knockturn Alley. If you haven't used one before, it's quite si—"
"I've used one," Tom snapped, sneering at him. He grabbed Harry's hand and pulled him outside with him. He watched Draco point down at the garden gnome sitting innocently beside their fort. He watched the man open his mouth to instruct them but Tom held Harry's hand out with his so that they could touch it together. "On three, yeah, we know."
"Not Harry, he stays with me," Draco replied, then bent down to wrap his arms around the smaller boy. "Once you land, there's a flat above Borgin and Burkes. Enter the shop and tell them Mr Malfoy has sent you to use their furnace. Then use the Floo Network to get to the Head of Slytherins office."
Harry tested the strength of the white-haired man's grip on him. Tom looked pained. He reached out to take his brother back. "I'm not going without him. Why can't he come with?"
"He needs books and supplies…and a Pepperup Potion it seems," he murmured, noting the boy's sudden bought of coughing.
Tom fell into a trance-like state. "Pepperup Potion, you say…" A pang of deja vu captivated him. He remembered something about the potion and a white-haired man in the past. "Have we met?"
"Enough! You're going to miss your first day, Tom." Tom was shoved down at the portkey. Draco poised the tip of his wand to Harry's throat. "Touch it," he said, looking bored. "It's quite simple."
Tom hesitated. "Do you promise he's been enrolled? I'm not leaving him—"
"Do I look like a man who doesn't get what he wants?" Draco boasted, cutting the boy's words off.
Tom looked into Harry's pleading eyes. "But he's scared."
"He'll get over it," said Draco, flatly. "I'll deliver him when we're finished. This'll take time. If you hadn't run off I wouldn't have had to come searching for you! This time-line is certainly more unstable than we perceived. You should have been at home, asleep, with your little arm tucked around your little brother…What made you run off?"
The thought of curling up into a foetal ball and dying seemed easier to endure than the idea of telling this stranger why they ran off. Tom shrugged, kissed Harry's cheek and bent down to touch the portkey.
Harry's head fell to his chest. Draco quickly righted it. He stood with the boy still pressed up against him while he played with his wild hair, deep in thought. "I don't agree with this living arrangement for you boys. Personally, I feel like it's harming you more than making you stronger." His hand dropped to Harry's trembling shoulder. He clapped it a few times. This boy was a friend, a person he highly regarded in his time-line. If Harry knew that his brother kept them in this living-nightmare on purpose…who knows what he might do.
So, anything between chapter 7 and chapter 10 is unchanged. I did, at one point in the beginning, have Grindelwald as the true villain and Voldemort, in accordance to his changing looks, turning less evil over time but it just didn't work in the long run. I started Voldemort out as the villain and he needed to be so until the end. Also, I had Doholov's first name right here. I have no idea how I mangled it throughout the remainder of the fic.
I honestly cannot remember why I cut out so many future parts unless it was making things too muddled. Anyway, here is two cut scenes. First from my first draft, the second in the near final draft when Voldemort and Draco take Harry and Tom deeper into the dungeon, instead I had them take Tom and Harry to another location where Snape was perfecting the Elixir of Life in order to feed it to them to stop their ageing. Voldemort was a lot less professional to the boys in this version.
In the blustery weather, watching the dark clouds overhead rush over the blue skies, several men dressed in black robes surrounded a tall, handsome man. His cloak whipped about erratically, emulating the vapid thoughts bounding through his head. He was in wait for the Order of the Phoenix; one of three factions in rule of the Wizarding World. They would be arriving shortly, and engage in their first meeting of the called ceasefire between them.
Hearing the booming crack of Apparition shatter the cold silence, Lord Voldemort pulled his wand free and waved it in an arc over his head. A band of thick magic flowed outward from the tip and spread, encasing the twelve men in a shimming dome. Again and again the crackling of magic filled the air. They were surrounded suddenly, although this was expected. Albus Dumbledore and his people had arrived.
"Tom, how are you?" The voice made him wince; that kind, gentlemanly drawl that had taunted him so many times before, tore at his every nerve. Dumbledore now stood before him with a quizzical arch to his brow, prodding the magical field protecting Voldemort and the Death Eaters. "Ingenious. You've incorporated conjured metals into the shield, thus, I assume, giving it greater strength. I see no need for it, however. I promised you there would be no violence."
"As far as I can throw you, Albus," Voldemort replied. "My time grows short, as you must know, and my temperament wanes. I want him back. I want what is mine."
"I do not have him," Albus stated pointedly. Several members of the Order of the Phoenix, standing behind their leader, raised their voices in frustration. Holding up a hand to silence them, Albus lowered his eyes and voice. "But you have called us here not for this reason."
Lord Voldemort stared petulantly ahead, ignoring the others. "I am willing to discuss options in exchange for your assistance. That monster you created…you, Albus. And if he hurts him, if he even harms one single hair on his head, I swear to you I will raze this land without remorse."
Albus knew this to be a truth. "Without remorse…I do not find that so hard to believe. Your mask is slipping, Tom. No one here believes your promises of hope any longer. If you so dearly want your brother back, why not use your precious Time-Turner and fix this yourself?"
"How quaint, you know my little secret. So I have a Time-Turner that allows great distances in time travel…so what?" Tom said with disdain. "How long have you known this?"
"I suspected something odd about you and your family on the day I met you, Tom. It was confirmed the day you enrolled Harry into Hogwarts," Albus said, smiling.
"Me?" Voldemort spoke, feigning surprise. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Dumbledore laughed. "Would you deny that it was you, and not Tom Riddle, who showed up that early morning on September first, nineteen hundred-forty, enrolling a small boy into Hogwarts? A small boy who did not receive his letter because his name was never written…a boy who did not technically exist, Tom."
Antonin Dolohov grasped his leader's robes, shaking his head. "I would advise you not to answer that, sir."
"Headmaster Dippet had no problems with this, why should you?" Again, Dolohov shook his head adamantly. Lord Voldemort ignored him.
"Yes, yes, poor Headmaster Dippet. You did seem to have an easy time getting him to see your way, didn't you? Unfortunately, I am not easily swayed by Memory Charms or false documents. Harry Gaunt was not of that time. We both know this. I admit, at that point I had no reason not to believe your lies. The boy could have easily been born in another land, as you stated, and I was not the headmaster. My investigation did not begin until much later."
Lord Voldemort's blood began to boil. "Yes, an investigation that led to Grindelwald's discovery of the time altering events. This thing was necessary. I should not be the one under interrogation here; I am not the bad guy… not anymore."
"Are you saying that before you brought Harry into your life that you were the bad guy?"
"Yes," Voldemort confirmed, nodding.
Dolohov and Malfoy began to twitch. "Sir, please reconsider going any further with this conversation. As your attorneys we feel that anything-"
"I just want to get it out, Lucius," Voldemort interrupted. He looked back at Albus, defeated. "You told me you would help me once. I'm asking for that now. You know as well as I do that Harry's innocent. He's being used to bring us both down and we need to stop it, to stop him."
Albus turned, facing his people. His eyes locked onto Sirius Black's. Sirius nodded and lowered his head. "Well then, tell me, Tom," he began, turning back to the shielded Death Eaters. "Did you murder James and Lily Potter?"
Lord Voldemort hesitated for a second.
"Don't say a word," Dolohov warned him.
"And did you steal their only son, Harry, and take him back in time?"
"And are you willing to pay for these crimes?"
The crowd behind Voldemort gasped and hissed. Several men lunged at the man to stop him from answering the question. Isolating himself with a separate shield, the Minister of the Wizarding World lowered himself on a knee and agreed to his former Professor's terms. "I am willing, yes."
His moment had come. The occasion he was promised, worked so damned hard to achieve, had finally arrived. Draco Malfoy stooped over the Potion Master's desk in awe, watching his former professor and current comrade in arms manipulating the liquid properties of the Elixir of Life.
Severus Snape kept his beetle-black eyes set on his work. His mind was a tight ball of a machine, churning to every precise calculation in order to achieve the masterpiece he laboured on. His stringy-black hair hung in his eyes, moving to and fro as he read over the ingredients lining the surface of the desk. A cauldron bubbled at his side; its mercury vapours creating a soothing ambiance around them.
"It's nearly ready," he murmured, taking a moment to step back and wipe his brow with a handkerchief. He focused on the man standing by the door, propped against the frame with a raised eyebrow and a smirk. "And you're absolutely certain that this is the age in which you wish to administer it to this one, my Lord?"
The man pushed away from the door and walked casually over to the boy standing on the opposite side of the room guarding his unconscious brother. Gripping him by the chin, Lord Voldemort yanked Tom's head up to look him over better. "Oh, yes, quite sure," he replied, jerking the boy's face from one side to the other. "It's all down hill after eighteen, isn't it?"
Draco snickered. Snape tipped his head. Tom found no humour in any of this. Embarrassing as it was to be inspected like a piece of meat by someone claiming to be his elder self, he held a fiery glare upon Voldemort for as long as he could. "Let go," he hissed. "It hurts – let go!"
Releasing him, Lord Voldemort lost his smirk. "My two most loyal," he said, turning to face Snape and Malfoy, "You are the reason we have come this far. I give you both the gift of everlasting life. Please, indulge."
"Basically speaking," Draco said slyly, "you'd like one of us to ingest it before you do."
"Exactly," said Voldemort. "Drink it."
And only after both Malfoy and Snape downed their phials and felt time stop all around them, encasing both forever in that moment in time, did Voldemort offer the priceless nectar to his younger self. "Your turn."
When Tom puffed his chest out and refused Voldemort moved him aside to gaze upon the object of his desire lying on the sofa behind him. "We can do this another way, boy. Maybe I'll have Harry drink it, even before he's turned eighteen. And honestly, I have no idea what it might do to a person who has not yet grown up." Without looking away, he ordered Draco to keep Tom in check. He knelt down beside the sofa, awed at how soft and sweet his brother's face looked while he was sleeping, a memory that instantly filled his head as if it were his own.
"Shh," Draco whispered in Tom's ear while his wand tip poked the boy under the chin. "We don't want to interfere and upset him, do we? We don't know what it might cause him to do."
The Dark Lord lifted the young boy off the sofa and dropped down on the cushions, pulling Harry into his lap. He rested the boy's chin on his shoulder so that he could not fully see his face and wrapped his arms around him in a hug as he removed the spell that kept him unconscious. Giving Tom a smirk, Lord Voldemort nuzzled up to Harry's cheek as he woke. "You alright, baby?"
Harry sobbed and curled up into the Dark Lord's lap. "Is it over?"
"For now." His lips grazed Harry's cheek. He felt his loins stir. Again, his dark eyes glanced up at his younger self. Tom was burgeoning to scream. With a simple gesture Voldemort told Malfoy to silence him so that he could play as Tom for just a little longer. "It's okay, baby, I have you now. You're safe right here with me. I would never hurt you." He took Harry by the chin and kissed him. He shivered when the boy melted in his embrace.
Okay, now this last part is chapter 13, but not the chapter posted up in this story. I had lost this, put it in a a file that was labelled something else. I wrote it three times and then forgot about it completely after I walked away from writing fan fiction in 2007. I sort of wish I had found it before I finished this tale but I can't quite finger where I was going. My last outline is missing, too, and try as I may I can't find it. The only outline I found basically said "Voldemort does not turn Tom into him, Tom turns Voldemort into Tom." Ah well, serves me right for not finishing it.
For Sorrow is like Dreams
He sat in quiet, his dark eyes flashing here and there to visually mark every curious noise. The dark bedroom brimmed with house-settling groans, arousing his sluggish senses. Something had woken him, yet Harry remained tucked safely in slumber under his arm. There was no room for misjudging what might happen. His brother's dreams were ever prophetic horrors. He woke up screaming in pain and fear night after night. The message was clear; something was coming for them.
God, Harry was so brave. He always played it off as nothing, keeping the wretched details to himself. As long as Tom promised he could keep them safe, that this big plan he had to get them out of this mess could actually work, then Harry would relax. For a time. It wouldn't be long before something spooked him. Something always spooked him. The nightmares would return and the shadows would play tricks with his poor vision. Every sound, any movement set him off to jump from his skin.
Tom heard it again, an eerily familiar sound that perked his ears and raised the hairs on the nape of his neck. Footsteps. He sat upright in bed to rub the sleep from his eyes. He glanced down at the sleeping boy one last time and gripped his wand, ready to face the unknown.
Slinking to the spiral staircase like a serpent, Tom moved with magnificent grace toward the ground floor. His wand was at his hip, his eyes scanning the darkness for the noisemaker. In the back of the house, a strip of light glowed under the door leading to the kitchen. He could see the shadow of someone moving around within its confines, and the sound of pots and pans clanking rang into the air. He snorted, shoved his wand into his pants and stepped off onto the floorboards to make his way to the intruder.
"What are you doing? It's three in the morning," he informed her. His hand absently moved to his forehead to rub the reoccurring headache away.
His mother turned on her heel in surprise. Her exaggerated smile did nothing to lessen the dull throb in Tom's temples. "Morning, Angel. How's my big boy?"
"Don't call me that," he said coolly. He hated that she was back. He was not sure how long he could allow this to continue before he lost it. Goddamn Harry and his constant worrying!
She was preparing something, most likely a potion. Merope had always been an avid alchemist in their youth, dealing predominantly with elixirs that centred on emotions. He did not trust her one iota. "What are you doing? Look at me, tell me, Mother."
"Mummy, dear…" she said softly, setting a sloshing copper pot onto the stove. "Mother is much too formal."
Tom glanced around at the ingredients cluttering the cutting board. "Right, well, at least you know who I am today." Wormwood, asphodel, Valerian roots, sopophorus beans… His air of superiority slipped. He balled his hands into fists, reverting back into childhood. "Bloody hell, Mummy, are you concocting another sleeping draught?"
"Mind your words, Tom. You're not too large that I can't put you over my knee," she warned him, holding up a wooden spoon threateningly. She dropped it into the pot and grabbed up a large butcher knife. "Get another, will you? Help me squeeze the juice from these beans."
Standing there in his skivvies with a wand sticking out of the back of his briefs, Tom sighed as he reached into the utensil drawer to retrieve another knife. There was no use trying to get the woman back into bed and being no slouch when it came to preparation, Tom sidled in next to his mother and began the tedious act of bean crushing. Merope poured a glass of brandy, handing it to him. He was more than happy to accept it; anything to dull the uncomfortable atmosphere between them.
"This one's a lot stronger than the last batch, and there's nothing new about it. The recipe is ages old. Pick up the pace, Tom, the roots are ready," Merope told him firmly. Her demeanour, while buzzing, had shifted to exacting concentration while she worked. If only she could stay half as focused when dealing with everyday events, life would be grand, Tom thought.
"I heard my baby moaning earlier. I went to his room to check on him, he wasn't there." Merope was watching Tom squirm beside her. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "He's in your bed again."
Stop judging me, witch…
Tom swallowed back his pride and slid the knife along the wooden cutting board to catch the majority of the juice. He measured it in a spoon, keeping his restraint in check. "Is this enough?"
She nodded and cocked her head back toward the stove. "Add it slowly, please. I don't want the house to come down on top of us." Tom snickered at the idea of a house dropping on top of her, but her next comment froze him solid. "Tom, are you and Harry making babies?"
"Er…" he gaped. "Men can't have babies together, Mummy."
"Oh!" she exclaimed, and pink rose from her neck to cover her cheeks in blotches. Her expression grew curious as she stood in silence for a moment. "Tom, if you're not making babies, why else would you two be doing that? You know…that."
Her innocent question tore Tom's heart straight in two. For the first time in his life he saw something so different about this woman. She was innocent. Everything that had happened between her and Morfin could not have been her fault. He frowned with remorse, cursing himself for being so blind when realising that she had never known what it was like to be truly loved. "Mummy…"
"Never mind, I don't want to know." She handed him a cup of chopped leaves. "Add that in one at a time until the liquid begins to rise to a boil. Begin stirring counter-clockwise six times, clockwise on the seventh until it turns deep purple. Got it?"
He gripped the spoon, nodding. A sound caught his attention. He looked up at the ceiling, sure he had heard something. "Did you…"
"Yes, it's Harry," Merope stated sadly, setting her work down and wiping her hands on her apron. Tom started to turn but she stopped him, placing her hands on his shoulders. "Add this cup here only after the liquid stops giving off the blue steam. Keep stirring how I told you until the potion turns clear as water. I'll tend to him."
Harry awoke again covered in the standard layer of cold sweat. His throat was dry and raw, his eyes wet with unshed tears. He attacked his pillow, punching it several times to get his frustrations out until the sounds of footsteps ascending the stairs caught his attention. He scrubbed his face, hating Tom seeing him so weak. He was stronger than this; he would learn that damned Occlumency if it killed him. "I'm fine," he hissed as the door creaked open.
Pulling a tattered letter from her apron pocket, Merope glided into the room and sat down on the bed. She placed her hand on the boy's forehead, feeling the clammy skin under her palm. "I found this in the rubbish." She held the letter up in front of him, frowning. "Why did you throw it away?"
Harry pulled away, covering his face with his pillow. "Go back to bed, mummy." Even without his glasses on Harry knew what she was holding. "I can't return to school and I don't want to talk about it, okay?"
Taking him into her arms, Merope began to rock back and forth to sooth away his worries. She combed her fingers through his tousled hair, dragging her nails along his scalp. Harry sighed contently. It felt so wonderful to be reunited with his mother. She was safe with them, with Tom for protection. No one could beat him in a duel. No one was as smart or as cunning. No one had ever dared to defy him.
"You mustn't let Morfin see you crying when he gets home. You know how upset he gets." Harry flinched. It wasn't worth explaining anymore. Merope had fallen into her own little world and nothing was going to change that. The best healers in the Wizarding World had treated her. She was about as good as it got.
Harry put on a brave smile. He even chuckled. "I suppose I've been a bit distracted about my dismal failure at learning Occlumency. I nearly forgot that school starts up tomorrow," he lied. The matter never left him. He shrugged helplessly in her arms as he looked into her fluttering eyes. "It doesn't matter; Tom says he'll teach me everything I need to know that I haven't already learned."
Merope scowled so uncharacteristically. "Oh, how kind of him to determine what you learn. Lovely how he's got all our futures planned out for us."
"I don't think he means it that way," Harry confessed. If she knew the truth about their troubles, she might not feel as bitter. He wanted to break down and tell her about the two men who had threatened them. Why shouldn't he? What could it hurt? "Mummy," he asked her, "have you ever heard of Lord Voldemort?" He blanched as he watched her turn her head to bury her face in her hands. "You have…"
She nodded uncomfortably, shifting Harry from her lap in order to stand. "He's visited me in hospital before. He had hoped I could assist Tom with rearing you properly after destroying you. I wasn't a very good mother."
Harry's eyebrows disappeared into his fringe. "He bloody fucking said that to you?"
"I've made a lot of mistakes, Harry," she admitted through a fresh wave of weeping, not hearing his slew of curses. Her body shook, her chin quivered. She stood with her hands covering her eyes, ashamed at what she had done.
Harry grabbed for his glasses and leapt out of bed. He gathered the defeated woman in his arms, guiding her back to her bedroom. "Come on," he said softly, tucking her into her cosy bedding. "No one's perfect, mummy. And for what it's worth, I wouldn't change a moment of time spent with you." He kissed her forehead and rubbed the tears away from her cheeks. "Go to sleep."
"I love you, Harry," she mumbled, already drifting off into slumber.
Closing the door, Harry took the steps three at a time and landed in the receiving room with a thud. "Tom?" he called, spotting the light under the kitchen door.
"In here," Tom called. "I'm all bubbly and sweaty – just the way you like me."
Harry pushed through the swinging door and inhaled the calming vapours clouding the room. Through a haze of blue he watched his brother sip from a wineglass and beam at him with lecherous desire. Tom's eyes roamed slowly over the undressed form, paying particular notice to the slight line of dark hair starting under Harry's navel and disappearing into his pants. He turned the stove off. "Mm, come here, love."
Harry scrunched his nose furiously as he stepped closer. "That's all you ever think about." Of course, he did, too, but the image of Voldemort harassing his mother could not be shaken off this time. "That man has gone to see her. He's told me in dreams that if we don't do what he says that he'll kill her! We need to tell someone."
"Don't worry on it," Tom said calmly, petting his hair. "I'm taking care of everything."
Harry smacked his hand away. "You promised me, goddammit."
"I know," Tom sighed, letting his tired eyes hood a little more.
The scent of water lilies hung heavy in the air. Amortentia. It was everywhere, clinging to every surface of the white-tiled kitchen. He smiled as his body drooped and leaned into Harry. He pressed his mouth over his. "You always worry too much," he whispered against Harry's pursed lips in a husky voice that smelled distinctly of cherry brandy. He dropped the spoon into the pot and took the boy into his arms, pulling him closer. "You're so fucking sexy."
"You have no couth," Harry whispered back, irritated with himself for getting aroused when he should be chastising Tom. Grumbling, he slid a hand under his brother's tee-shirt, pinching his nipple hard between his finger and thumb until Tom yelped with sobriety. "Try and pay attention, alright?"
"I am paying attention…to you." He yanked Harry's hand out of his shirt and twisted his arms up behind his back, pinning their bodies together in the process. "I told you to stop dwelling on these problems. I'm going to work something out."
With Tom's lips attached to his throat, Harry groaned. "Stop that."
His breathing hastened, but he didn't physically protest. Tom continued to lick and suck on the skin, ignoring him.
"I haven't bathed yet," Harry said, rasping. "I'm a mess."
Tom nipped at his earlobe, catching it between his teeth. "You smell good to me."
It sent delicious chills riveting through Harry's body. He dropped his head on Tom's chest, nuzzling his nipple with his nose. "We should get back to bed. I'm cold."
"Not to me you're not, you're burning up," Tom hissed. He growled like a predator, clutching both of Harry's wrists with one hand. The other began a journey along the small of his back. Fingers sank beneath the elastic of his underpants.
Harry's eyes widened. "What are you doing?" he gasped, arching his back through the prodding intrusion. His legs slipped apart, moving with a mind of their own. "We're in the kitchen!"
"'m aware of that, git." Fingers slid along the smooth expanse of skin. He began moulding, kneading the supple flesh under his palm. They called for breath and ground their bodies as one, driving their arousals fully hard. Harry was completely helpless, protesting like a ruffled kitten and loving every minute of it. Tom had him by the scruff. "I'm about to throw you over this counter here and have my way with you."
Tom's wand hit the ground and rolled under the stove while he slipped his and Harry's pants down over their hips. Harry had busied himself, wetting the fabric of Tom's shirt, mapping the dark outline of the areola with his tongue. He put his lips on it, sucking it into his mouth and hearing nothing that was said.
Amused at his lack of resistance to being stripped, Tom smirked. "Or I could drop you on the stove, light a fire under your arse. Your pick."
"Hmm?" Harry's playful yes darted upward, locking onto Tom's. He bit down on the wet fabric, catching his nipple in his teeth. "Say again?"
Getting Harry all hot and bothered always stayed the anxiety for a short period of time. The fragrant aroma lingering all around them seemed to help. Tom felt completely at ease as he pulled Harry up and dropped him onto the counter, taking his face in his hands to kiss his trembling lips. "I said I love you," he whispered, pulling back.
"You did not, you Veela," Harry huffed, running his tongue along the potion drenching his lips. He wiggled around on the counter top under Tom's vicious ticking fingers, desperate not to give in too quickly. He grabbed his hands up, holding them solid. "Tom, listen to me for a second, please. I have to know that you'll protect her."
Tom sighed. "What are you talking about?"
"Don't you listen?"
"No," Tom confessed, shrugging. "What are you on about? Protect who?"
"Mummy," Harry snapped. He folded his arms over his bare chest, pouting. "I'm not going any farther until you promise."
A strong sense of anger began to swell within Tom's chest. It was not caused by his typical bout of low self esteem or whether someone looked at Harry with bedroom eyes. It was pure and fiery and had never reared its ugly head until this very moment. Someone, Lord Voldemort, had threatened his mother. This was his mother; the woman who raised him and Harry as best she could. Tom's jaw set. "How do you know he's threatened her?"
Harry fell into Tom's embrace, stymied. "She told he came to see her in St. Mungo's."
Lifting Harry's chin to look deeply into the soft-green pools of hope, Tom nodded. "Then she's not going back there."
Harry nearly fell off of the counter from fear of fainting. "You promise?" he squeaked, allowing Tom to resume in retracing his previous endeavours. He turned to butter under the firm touches, the breath on his neck. Their bodies moved together, becoming one. Harry fell back against the counter, gripping the edge above his head. He sighed with content as his eyes fluttered closed. "Thank you, Tom."
"For you, Harry," Tom purred, dragging his fingers down the length of his stomach. "It's all for you."
Through the dark white of the winter snow, the yellow haze of street lamps began to extinguish one by one. Augustus Rookwood gripped the sloped railing as he swivelled on a heel to knock at the door. His misty breath fogged the colour-stained glass of the crescent window. "He's here! Tom, he's here, open up!"
"Ooh, I'll get it!" Harry exclaimed, leaping from his seat and clamouring over the half-sleeping brood hindering his path. A chorus of grunts and groans spilt out into the reception room, awakening Tom from his last chance at slumber.
"Bloody hell, Harry!" He stood up and tripped hard over a sleeping Nott, falling flat on his face. "Do not open that door!" he cried. The pounding on the door grew louder, and Harry's excited panting stilled as he gripped the knob. His kelly-green eyes stopped on Tom. He waited, gritting his teeth, for the word. Tom scrambled to step over the wiggling forms situated all around the small carpeted floor as delicately as possible. "Just look outside, tell me if you can see him first."
Harry jumped up and swiped at the window glass. "It's all fogged up. Fucking Merlin's beard, Rookwood, move your arse!" he shouted. "I can't see!"
"Let-me-in!" Rookwood shouted irately.
Tom waved his wand to clear the fug from the glass. "Really, Augustus, I can't see through your head," he murmured eagerly. All of the street lamps had been snuffed out. Only the moon gave off any semblance of light. Tom threw the door open and darted out of the way, letting Rookwood scurry inside to find a good hiding place.
Taking a brave step onto the stoop and with Harry at his side, Tom held his wand up. "–Lumos!— Is that you? Show yourself!" he called, feeling the tingle of worry begin to trickle down his spine.
Harry held his wand out threateningly, repeating the light-giving incantation under his breath. "I don't see a thing," he whispered, nudging Tom's left side. Behind them, a group of edgy friends huddled together to peek out past the two boys. The ominous sound of heavy footsteps dominated the quiet street. Harry started, spotting a large shadow take form at the end of the path leading up to the manor. "Oh, Tom, look!" he hissed, and dashed from the stoop with the will of a freight train.
Dropping his wand hand to his side, Tom exhaled his anxiety. His lip curled in a sneer. "Hagrid, what are you doing here?" he growled, watching Harry hop around and fawn all over the half-giant as he came into the light of their stoop. "Where's Dumbledore?"
Placing his Put-Outer back in his pocket, Albus Dumbledore appeared from behind the large boy. He smoothed his gingery beard as he made his way toward Tom and his gaggle of supporters, smiling like a Cheshire-cat. He held out a hand, taking Tom's. "Always a pleasure," he said, and dipped his head at the others. He looked back at Tom, who was currently ushering everyone clogging the door back into the house. "Have I interrupted a gathering?"
Harry and Rubeus reached the stoop, both brimming with happiness. "Hello again, Professor," he said with cheerful greetings, taking Albus's outstretched hand. "Thank you so much for coming – and bringing Hagrid along with!"
"Everyone was just a bit anxious about any news you may have gathered," Tom said, blushing. The crowd retreated, allowing the tall wizard to enter the home. Everyone wants to know if they've signed their death warrants by trusting you and are they going on a one-way trip to Azkaban. "We can talk alone in the den," he added.
Harry pulled Hagrid through the door soon after, pointing toward the back of the large, plain receiving room. "Let's go downstairs and let them talk."
"Righ'O," Rubeus chirped. Antonin Dolohov and a few other boys followed them. Rookwood, Mulcibur, and Avery stayed firmly at Tom's side.
The two tallest wizards walked through the room and entered the den, while the others waited at the door. "Please, sir, have a seat," Tom directed the older man. He shrugged at the other boys and closed the door, sealing them out. Never one to lose control of his emotions, he felt sick inside from holding everything in. The last six months had been gruelling, filled with threats and nightmares from his older self. They had no choice in the matter, they had to tell someone.
Summoning a service of tea from the kitchen, Tom offered the old professor a cup and took to his chair opposite of him. The cosy warmth of the fireplace at their side lit the room in a friendly glow, easing his trembling fingers as he poured the tea into the cup. "When I got your message, I have to admit I grew worried," he began, and handed Albus a plate of biscuits. "Harry made them for you," he added.
"Lovely," Dumbledore chimed, grabbing three of the chocolate monstrosities up. "Let's start where we left off last time. I do believe that Harry would be very safe back in Hogwarts under my protection, and that your mother would fair a lot better at home with you."
Tom shook his head defiantly. "Harry stays here."
"And your mother? You can't keep these boys guarding her at all times; they need to move on with their lives. This safe house is under the Fidelius Charm. He will never find you here, I promise you that. I cannot promise that protection in St. Mungo's, however."
"She's staying, too. That…that man has been haunting her at the asylum. We worry, he's threatened Harry with taking her life. I can't afford to let either of them out of my sight now. Merlin knows Harry would run off in a heartbeat if he thought that monster had her."
"I see," Albus said. "Then let us start at this point. I need to know everything, Tom. Show me."
And after swallowing his pride because he had no where else to turn, Tom pulled his wand free and pressed the tip of it to his temple. He looked into Dumbledore's eyes, knowing there was no turning back once the man saw everything. "Get ready, you're in for a nasty ride."
After three hours, Harry grew tired of waiting for any word. Mulcibur, Avery, and Rookwood had drifted into the lower part of the safe house over an hour back from sleepiness, and collapsed in a heap near the others. Hagrid was snoring soundly beside him. The cold northern dwelling held little insulation. It was smallish, bare, and reminded him of Little Hangelton in some crude way. When it rained, water seeped in through the roof to puddle on the wooden floorboards. It was cheap and Unplottable, and that's what mattered. Tom could not touch his money in Gringotts for fear of being traced, and they needed a place to stay that could not be linked to them. The only reason they stayed there was that Tom and he did not know where they were. The young men, formally Death Eaters, procured it and moved the brothers in without letting them know where they were.
No longer calling themselves Death Eaters, the gang of young men that had come to their aid was astonishing. There was a great worry about Tom's confession to Dumbledore, at first, but nerves were calmed and jitters set aside once confidence had been gained. The information was locked inside Tom's head, Dumbledore was certain,
And that's that. If anything, I hope if you read this that it helps clear up anything I might have confused you with. If not send me a PM if you want to know. Happy Valentine's Day all!