The Great Hall was filled with the chatter of students and the clinking of silverware. Voldemort sighed as he looked down at them all from his place at the head table. His eyes scanned the Slytherin side of the room until he found one Slytherin in particular. Bright green eyes met crimson and the child offered a small wave in greeting. Voldemort merely nodded, his cold, stern expression remaining fixed. Harry knew that Voldemort had noticed him and it brought a smile to his pale, young face.
Voldemort sighed again and Snape, the current Headmaster, looked at him with concern. "Is the food not to your satisfaction My Lord?"
"The meal is superb as usual, Severus," he replied in a bored tone. "I need to speak to you later about a matter of some importance."
Severus offered him a firm nod. "I will be in my office all evening."
Voldemort looked back at his young charge and noticed that Harry had barely eaten anything on his plate. Instead the boy was pushing the food with his fork while staring off into space. Voldemort sighed again, realizing what must be done.
He had known when he decided to send Harry to Hogwarts that it would be difficult for the child. Harry had never had much interaction with others, only his nanny, Miss Fallow, and Voldemort, but the Dark Lord had hoped that Hogwarts would be a good experience. He'd hoped that the boy would make friends and come to love the school as Voldemort had loved it, but that had not happened.
The other eleven-year olds were below Harry in terms of magical power and intelligence, so he was always ahead of them in classes. Many of the children were jealous of that fact. There were also some that were downright afraid of the boy due to his connection to the Dark Lord. Still others looked to pander to Harry every chance they could get, not trying to be his friend, only trying to get themselves into the Dark Lord's good graces.
Voldemort sneered under his breath. He never should have allowed Harry to come here. The boy didn't truly need any friends besides the Dark Lord and a sharp pang of jealousy shot through Voldemort's heart at the thought of Harry leaving him for another. He shook his head. Harry would never leave him and Harry needed to have friends, they would be important in his development. He tapped out a rhythm with his fingers as he lost himself in his own thoughts. Perhaps Severus would come up with some kind of solution.
After dinner had finished, the Dark Lord followed Severus to his office. The place hadn't changed much through the years. Many of Dumbledore's old toys had been packed away after the old man was killed. It had happened exactly a year after he'd taken Harry. Speaking of Dumbledore.
"Albus, my old friend," Voldemort greeted the portrait of the former Headmaster, "Any gossip to share with me?"
Twinkling blue eyes looked at him much the same way they had when he had been a student. "Gossip Tom, you should know I don't put much worth in gossip. But you should perhaps know that Mr. Malfoy has been acting very friendly toward your young charge," his eyes lost their twinkle. "Perhaps a bit too friendly.
Voldemort's jaw clenched instinctively. He should have known considering the way the boy's father acted, the whore. The blonde was always trying to seduce those in power; he should have known that the man's son would be the same way.
"Would you like me to speak to young Draco?" Severus suggested.
Good ol' Severus, always attempting to protect that stupid little brat. Personally, Voldemort thought the man took his Godfather duties a bit too seriously.
"That will not be necessary," Voldemort stated commandingly. "I will be pulling Harry out of Hogwarts and hiring tutors to teach any subjects he may need education in, which will most likely be very few."
"My Lord, he's only been here four months, I'm sure he merely needs time to adjust."
Voldemort shook his head. "Harry is too advanced and his life has been too different from the other children. Add to that his relationship to me and I'm afraid it is quite impossible for him to relate to others his age. I partially blame myself for this, but I'm not sorry for it. He's a very bright boy and I'm sure he'll do fine with private tutors. Of course I still have much to teach him as well."
"But a child needs friends," Dumbledore interjected.
"He has me," Voldemort hissed. "He needs no one else."
Severus frowned. "I'm afraid, with all due respect My Lord, I have to agree with Albus. Children do need to socialize with other children."
"And who should Harry socialize with?" Voldemort questioned sarcastically. "The little whore Malfoy, the students who are afraid to get near him or those that hate him for his abilities?" He sighed, feeling his anger recede, it really wasn't getting him anywhere. "I will be taking Harry home, but I wish for you to locate students to come and visit. They must be intelligent, trustworthy and open-minded. As much as it pains me, I suggest investigating Gryffindor as I doubt you'll find someone with those qualities in Slytherin."
The Headmaster's brow rose dramatically. "You wish for me to pick out friends for Mr. Potter?"
Voldemort shook his head. "No, even I know that friendship cannot be forced, Harry would see right through it. I merely wish for you to find students that would have the best chance at forging a true friendship with the boy."
Severus tilted his head to one side. "I will see what I can do."
Voldemort's eyes narrowed darkly. "See that you do Snape. I do not deal well with disappointment."
A shiver ran up Snape's spine as the Dark Lord glided from the room. Voldemort's lips twitched slightly as he sensed the man's immediate discomfort. Good, he hissed mentally, better that Snape not forget his place.
Things were much easier, he remembered; back when Harry was a tiny child with tiny hopes and dreams. It was so easy to please him then. An ice cream after dinner and a story before bed, and the boy was as happy as a Hippogriff. Now things were becoming more complicated, even the way he interacted with the boy was growing more complicated.
What is Harry? A son, a protégé, a friend, a safeguard…a lover? No, he shook his head; there was no reason to think about such things now. At the moment Harry was merely an eleven-year old boy with great power, great knowledge and a friend named Voldemort.