Author's Note: Hey there! So, this is a kind of multi-chaptered sequel to Experimental, which was only one chapter and is technically finished. This has little to do with its prequel, but takes place in the same universe, only much later, the beginning scene right after Harry, Ron and Hermione talk to Dumbledore's portrait in the Deathly Hallows.

Canon, with the exception of that one night between HBP and DH, remains pretty much the same. Now, I've moved on to slowly killing canon after DH, although the horrid epilogue still happens in my universe.

I'm not a Ginny-Fan myself (actually, I'm an Anyone-But-Ginny-Fan), but for the sake of the plot, I'll refrain from portraying her as an annoying b****, and accept that she means a lot to Harry. He just can't help cheating on her.

I dedicate this to all these nice, cool, smart, beautiful... you get the picture... people who took the time to review the prequel, Experimental. These are: natalie668, Walna alaioka, Cool Pen Names Are Tricky., Giara Gryffindor, My Solitude, smiles, Cyranothe2nd, Jacamar, enchanted nightingale, ., PyroxMCRxFan, Silverhineko, DeadandPerfect, Barranca, basiln, Shizaka no Taisho, Ignatia Emrys Nox.

Warning: Generally, this story has mature themes, sometimes more and sometimes less. Honestly, who gives? This chapter in particular has some a sexual content and a little bit of necrophilia, but nothing bad, really. It probably cotains grammar and spelling errors as well, I wouldn't know.

Disclaimer: Okay, fine, so it's not mine, nothing's mine, I'll admit it, just please keep Ginny away from me!!!!


Standstill, Asphyxiating

Chapter 1

Skeleton In The Closet


Ron and Hermione were holding hands as they left Dumbledore's office, Harry trailing a little behind. A small smile formed on his face at the thought that from now on, they could finally live without fear. And finally, there was nothing standing between himself and Ginny...

... nothing, but...

He shook his head, as though trying to shake off the unbidden thought that had crossed his mind. He had chosen not to dwell on this particular matter, and until now, he had in fact hardly done so at all, concentrating only on the task at hand. Yet, in the end, the memory of the unspeakable thing that had occurred last summer, and as soon as it was over, seemed like nothing but a bad dream, was clawing at his mind.

"Harry?" questioned Hermione, noticing that he had mentally spaced off. "Are you alright?"

"Huh? Erm, yes - no, I mean, yes, I'm okay... Could you guys just go back without me, though, I need a little time to think."

They gave him slightly worried looks, but both nodded.

"I'll come after you in a minute," Harry assured with a forced smile.

Ron and Hermione hesitated, but went on in the direction of the Great Hall, where celebrations were still at large.

As soon as they had disappeared around the next corner, Harry pulled the invisibility cloak over his head and took off to where he had seen someone take Voldemort's body. He was not quite sure where they had taken him, so he had to try a number of doors before he found the classroom where a bundle of dead flesh and robes that had once been the Dark Lord had been carelessly shoved into a corner, discarded like a piece of rubbish.

Silently, he closed the door behind him and leaned against it, averting his eyes from the corpse and breathing heavily in and out. Now that he was here, he had no idea why he had even bothered to come in the first place.

What was going to happen with the body, anyway? Surely, they were unlikely to give him anything like a proper burial, weren't they?

Then, as though he were a puppet directed by invisible strings, his limbs moved forward on their own, toward the corpse, kneeling down beside it. The Lord's broken body was huddled twisted at an awkward angle, and Harry thought that he must be rather uncomfortable.

Warily, he reached out for a bony shoulder and turned the body around so it was lying on its back, and hastily pulled his hand away like he had burned himself. Something had fallen out of Voldemort's pocket and clattered to the ground. Harry took the yew wand, brother to his own, and examined it. It felt no different to him than his own did, contrary to whenever else he had used another's wand. Of course, Voldemort wouldn't have thrown it away just because he had found a better one. Harry put it into his own pocket, noticing that one of the dead man's arms had been caught under the back. Harry wrinkled his nose and pulled it out. Judging from the impossible way it was bent, it had to have broken either when Voldemort had fallen in the Great Hall, or later when he had been brought here, ungently.

His feeling of disgust briefly washed away by something else, Harry laid it down and straightened it the way he thought it belonged. He pulled his sweater off and placed it under the head like a pillow. Then he sat back, crossing his legs and looking over his work.

Yes, the Lord looked almost peaceful now... well, not quite, but at least he was more comfortable than before, Harry supposed. Dull, milky red eyes were staring right through him. These eyes that had glared at him in hate, rage, that had mocked him, that he himself had caused to reflect pain, and that had, on a single occasion, softened their expression towards him, were now glazed over, devoid of any kind of emotion, of any life.

Served the son-of-a-bitch right, just right.

Then again, the deformed baby-like thing, eternally tortured... when really, this man, who had once been a little boy, who had never known love, had simply not known better...

Did he deserve this?

If anyone did, it would be him, but Harry was unable to believe that anyone did. However there was nothing Harry could do about it. This creature was beyond any help.

"You should've listened to me," Harry whispered, gently caressing one of the cold cheeks. "I only meant well with you, but you just wouldn't listen." He drew a finger over the outline of a cheekbone. "I didn't expect you would."

Voldemort couldn't possibly answer, couldn't even hear him. He was dead. An empty shell.

"You were too arrogant for your own good, really. You wanted so much, too much, and now you're left with nothing."

Harry brushed his lips over the Lord's forehead, and contemplated closing the lids over the hollow eyes, but decided to leave them open.

"I haven't really even thought about why I came, but I think I wanted to say goodbye. I never liked you, but I guess I really do feel a little bad for you, anyway. You know, everyone is celebrating now, they're all happy you died. Me too..." Feeling rather lost and a little confused, the teen kept talking in a soft voice to the still figure, somehow deeply afraid of the silence that would be unavoidable otherwise. Neither could he completely stop touching the Dark Lord, if only verly lightly. Partly to calm himself down, to have something to hold onto, but also, illogically, to console his dead enemy, he held one of the clammy spidery hands with both of his own, running his fingertips up and down the others and rubbing over the knuckles.

"Remember..." Harry paused and gulped before he continued, "remember that one time when you came to me? That's almost a year ago now. We pretended it never happened. It was kind of nice, actually, though. I still don't know why you did that. Guess I won't find out now. But I do wonder, was it really just curiosity, like, you know, the scientific kind only, or were you maybe just a little interested in me, as a person? I mean, you must really have hated me, you were much too proud not to, but... I don't know, and anyway, I haven't got a clue what I'm doing, sitting here just talking nonsense and you're not even listening. Dammit, I wish you'd say something, laugh about how pathetic I am or whatever, anything would be just as well. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad you're gone, but sometimes, it was like we were so close that now it sort of feels like you took something of me with you, like a part of me has been cut off... granted, it's a part I didn't want, but you've been something of a constant in my life, for a long time... you were my purpose... I'll admit that I'm a bit lost without you."

He squeezed the hand tighter. "But it'll all be better now. I can live freely now, and be happy. You never let me do that. Even if it doesn't really feel like a happy ending yet, that'll come in time, I'm sure of it. I'm only in shock at the moment, see? I think that maybe I shouldn't have seen these memories of when you were young, though. I shouldn't have known you so well. Not well enough to feel sad for you. 'Cause I think I am in fact feeling a little sad. Just a tiny bit. I hate you, but I've been infected with something, with sympathy for you. I know you won't like to hear this, and I'm aware you're much older than me, but sometimes when I look at you, I can't help it, I see you as a bit of a child. A terribly stubborn little child." A low chuckle. "That had to be protected, cause it didn't know what was good for it, and what was not. Only, you never wanted anyone to protect you. Or did you, perhaps, and you just never said so? Like this, it makes talking to you much easier. You couldn't talk back if you wanted to. I could even pretend you cared what I have to say."

While talking, Harry had begun lifting the hand up, then letting it fall down into his lap, taking it again and repeating the process over and over, up and down, up and down, up and down. Fascinated each time that it simply dropped back, absolutely limp.

"Look at you, you've become just like a doll." Quietly, he chuckled again. "Yeah, I think you might almost pass as one. You do look like you're made of porcelain, except that you're softer. And now you're the one who's weak. I could do whatever I wanted to you now, see, anything. Theoretically, if I wanted to."

He looked straight into the scarlet eyes in an imitation of their empty stare, not thinking of anything at all. Some moments of silence passed, in which the noise from the commotion in other parts of the castle reached his ears, then, nearly automatically, as though this was something he did all the time, he used one hand to hold the head in place and leaned down, pressing his lips to the Lord's. They did not feel much different in death than they had in life, the only difference being that they were starting to show signs of stiffness, and that this time there was no response. Harry carefully pried them open with his tongue, and slipped it inside. Voldemort's mouth was dry. Harry ran his tongue along the front teeth and nudged the other tongue with his, as if to encourage it to move.

"That was disgusting," Harry remarked when he had pulled back. "Even more so than when you were alive. But I bet you'd hate knowing I stole a kiss from you when you were dead." He contemplated this for a second. "I can't believe you really are dead. Avada Kedavra - poof - and gone, just like that. Well, you ought to be buried. I don't know who'll do that, but I don't think they'll do it nicely. Maybe I could go to the library, as I'm already here at school, anyway, and look up a spell for body preservation, so you don't rot in the meantime." He hesitated, then leaned forward, like Voldemort could hear him better this way. "Do you want me to do it instead? I wouldn't put your name on your grave, though. I do wonder what I should write on that... Or else, if you have no objection, maybe I could, you know, just take you with me, and then we'll figure something out. I don't think you'd mind coming with me. At least not too much, and anyway, I can't ask you. Hm, I even could, but I left the Stone in the forest and I decided it's best to leave it there..." Apologetically, Harry looked into the Lord's eyes again that were still staring unmovingly ahead. "Then again... if you look at me like that... has anyone ever told you that death suits you pretty well, actually? Probably not, so I'll have to do so. You look kind of beautiful when you're all dead. But only kind of. Not really any major difference from when you were alive, except maybe the eyes. I don't get how I sometimes get the impression that you could possibly be beautiful. I truly don't think you are. And yet..."

He kissed Voldemort again. This time, the lips were already slightly parted, and Harry could still feel a remainder his own warmth on them. The way the Lord failed to react at all, did in fact not even notice, stirred something inside Harry, something desperate and scared.

Then, Harry sat back straight. "I can't leave you here, all by yourself. I really can't."


19 Years Later...


In the largest bedroom at Grimmauld Place Number 12, Harry was still awake, propping his head up with one arm and watching the sleeping Ginny and listening to the calming sound of her regular, slow breathing. She was lying right next to him, and had somehow managed to entagle herself in the bedsheet so that there was hardly any left for Harry, her hair spread out all over the pillow. Harry reached out and took a strand, twirling it between his fingers. In the dim light of the streetlamps shining in through the window, its vibrant ginger color appeared to have turned to grey.

Taking care not to disturb Ginny in her sleep, he maneuvered himself over to place a light kiss on her cheek, and whispered into her ear, "Goodnight, sleeping beauty."

He made a fruitless attempt to rearrange the sheets and got up. Dressed only in dark blue cotton pyjamas, he silently tip-toed out of the room and down the stairs, easily finding his way in the dark by memory alone. He made a quick detour to the kitchen to pick up two glasses and a bottle of red wine, then continued on his way down into the basement, where the air was heavy with old dust. In between an ancient cupboard and some stapled cartons with unused children's toys and baby clothes, a free space had been cleared before the wall.

"Let me in," Harry hissed at the wall in Parseltongue, and, out of nowhere, a plain wooden door formed in the wall. Since he couldn't very well use his hands, he pushed the handle downwards with his elbow and pushed the door open.

He entered the small hall behind and leaned against the door to shut it. Right after the Battle of Hogwarts, he had secretly built this extension to the cellar, a few small rooms, just about enough space for a single person to live in relatively well. The most complicated thing had been to charm the hidden door to open at his touch only.

The hall was dark, but Harry could see some light through the keyhole of another door, so he went inside, into a room that was lit only by the light of a fireplace, the flames dancing merrily and throwing moving shadows on the walls. An old sofa Harry had taken from the room that was now James' stood diagonally next to the fireplace with its backside turned toward the door. The furniture was a little mismatched, random leftover things threwn together, but it was obvious that someone had at the very least made a good effort at placing them in an orderly way.

"I almost feared you might have forgotten about me entirely," a high voice spoke from somewhere out of view, coldly, "You haven't been around to see me in more than two weeks."

"I didn't have a good opportunity," Harry explained, laboriously creating some space on a small table that was cluttered with paper and books and setting the wine and the glasses down. "I spent a lot of time with Ginny and the kids recently, seeing as we're not going to see two of them until Christmas. It's the first of September today, did you know that?"

"I did, although of course it's not like it matters much to me," The voice sounded a little bitter now. "But I saw the news on that muggle thing, so I keep track of the date."

Harry mentally translated that 'that muggle thing' had to be a derogatory term for the TV in the corner that he had brought down here years ago.

He walked over to the couch, in front of which the Dark Lord was sitting on the floor, a paper notebook on his lap and surrounded by a mess of torn-out, scribbled-on and crossed-out sheets.

Harry raised his eyebrows. "What are you doing?"

"Helping you," Voldemort answered without looking up. "Trying to, anyway. You told me about that problem you had at the Department last time, where the Unspeakables refused to give you the entire files on the security measures. I'm attempting to recreate the rituals that may have been performed according to your information, thus concluding the kind of object they would likely be used to protect, although it is rather hard to calculate equations of this complexity if you're not thoroughly aquainted with the exact conditions, and the information you gave me is indeed not very conclusive. Unless you provide me with anything more concrete, I can't promise this is going anywhere at all."

Harry was speechless. He gingerly stepped around the mess and dropped himself on the couch. Recently, some inconsistencies kept turning up around the ministry. An example was that the Unspeakables were obviously concerned about something that had disappeared from the Department of Mysteries, although they were keeping what that was to themselves.

"Wow, that's... that's really nice... of you, actually. Thanks." Voldemort was still not looking at him, instead scooping up the papers on the floor and making a neat pile. Harry continued, "I'm really sorry I left you alone for so long, but I mustn't let anyone catch on, especially Ginny, and she does wonder where I disappear sometimes, and really, recently I..."

"Spare me your excuses," said the Lord coolly, "I don't care what you do. In any case, what else do you think I should do to pass the time than this? If you were being locked up for decades, you would be desperate for any chance to do something that has any sort of point as well, however insignificant that might be." He casually waved a hand and the pile floated on top of another pile on the table. Simultaneously, the bottle of wine opened and filled the two glasses by itself, and they came floating towards the two wizards to linger in the air before them.

"Thanks," said Harry, taking one. The Lord inclined his head to signal acknowledgement and got onto the couch as well, leaning against the armrest opposite Harry and curling his legs under him. They sat in silence, nipping wine and watching each other, until Harry began to feel uncomfortable.

"If I'd known you'd want to help me, I would've brought you a detailed account of everything the Aurors managed to collect so far. I don't think it's much more than what I already told you about, the Department of Mysteries still won't cooperate with us, but perhaps there are some little things that you could use. I just didn't think you'd want to help, so I didn't ask."

"If you had asked, I probably wouldn't have done. Still, bring me whatever you can find."

Harry nodded, knowing fully well that the Dark Lord had been heavily troubled by feelings of uselessness ever since Harry had resurrected him after his defeat, as proven by the way he tried, every now and then, to get somehow involved in whatever was currently going on in Harry's job.

He didn't seem to enjoy hearing about Harry's personal life much, though, but Harry liked to tell him anyway. "We went to visit Molly and Arthur the day before yesterday. Ron and Hermione were there, too. Ginny's always so happy everytime she sees the kids playing together, they get along really well. Most of the time, anyways. James knocked Rose down the stairs when we were there, accidentally, of course, but she cried really hard. It's kind of refreshing how wild he is, but I honestly don't know what to do with him sometimes..."

Voldemort looked pointedly uninterested, but was in fact listening attentively.

"At the station today, he almost made Al panick about how he might get sorted into Slytherin, not that I'd care much, but I calmed him down anyway. I told him that even if he did, Professor Snape was a Slytherin as well, and he was the bravest man I ever knew, I named my son after him, after all."

Harry's narration was interrupted by a half-amused little laugh. Bemused, he asked, "What is it? Snape betrayed you, so what? Get over it."

Voldemort laughed again. "No, no, that's not it. The thing which I personally just can't get over is how people could ever call me heartless when there is someone out there prepared to call their child 'Albus Severus'."

"Oh, be quiet, Tom Marvolo. Anyway, now another one of them is old enough to go to school. Time passes so fast."

"Not when you're dead."

"Can't you ever stop blaming me?"

"No, sorry. I'm sure you'll live." The dead wizard's voice was practically dripping with sarcasm. He directed the empty glasses back to the table. "So how is your darling Ginevra, then? Judging from the lateness of the night, I imagine that the two of you took your time to celebrate the children-free time."

"Jealous?" Harry joked.

Obviously deciding that this did not deserve to be granted an answer, the Lord tipped his head back and studied the ceiling.

"There's a crack up there. See, it's shaped like three quarters of a triangle."

"That's fascinating," Harry commented tonelessly and stifled a yawn. The heat from the fire in his back was pleasantly warm, but it also made him a little tired. "Well, you're right, anyway. Ginny and I did finally get some time alone, and oh, she knows how to make it worthwile."

"I bet she does." Murderously sparkling eyes turned upon Harry. "I seriously am wondering why you keep coming back to me."

"And I'm seriously starting to wonder whether you really might have become a little bit possessive of me."

"I merely thought that if you had anything you wanted now, and your life is so perfect without me... one might believe that you would be able to let go of me."

"Do you want me to?"

"No. I had a taste of death, and I'd rather not go back there ever again." The Lord's face was expressionless. He hated to admit even to himself that he was entirely dependant on Harry, but that did nothing to change the fact that he was.

When he had first awoken in this cellar and gotten over the shock, he had been furious. He had raged and desperately tried to escape, but had in the end resigned, realizing that Harry had, this time, outsmarted him, and that he could not harm... his creator, as it was. If Harry died, then so would he, with no chance of coming back. In an effort to keep his dignity, he had at least made sure to let Harry know that his so-called help was less than appreciated. As time passed, however, with Harry being his only contact to the outside world, he had eventually begun to tolerate the boy-now-man. These days, both of them had grown accustomed to and rather comfortable with each other's company, and most of the time Voldemort even looked forward to Harry's visits. If asked, he would say that it was only because there was never anything else for him to look forward to, but indeed, his ex-rival had slightly grown on him. Yet, this did little to change his feelings of aggression towards Harry, that had at this point also extended towards anyone remotely close to the Chosen One, his immediate family especially.

Harry, on the other hand, still had a life of his own, had a great job as an Auror, had amazing friends and a family whom he loved and who loved him back. In spite of that, he had chosen to keep this one skeleton in his closet. The thing that drew him to the Dark Lord the most, however, was something akin to guilt. Even if he was doing so by means of imprisonment, taking care of the dark wizard made him feel better about himself. Telling himself that the other wizard needed him, could not be without him, felt unexplainably good, and he had managed to create a situation in which this was the truth. Also, he had become used to viewing Voldemort as the only person he could be absolutely truthful with about anything, the only one who knew him through and through. A mostly one-sided thing, as the Dark Lord much preferred to veil himself in obscurity. After all these years, Harry still had trouble interpreting the rare glimpses of emotion he occasionally allowed to shine through.

"So, I also met Draco Malfoy. He's not a bad guy, I know that now, but after everything that happened back then... I actually saved him twice, but I could never see us becoming anything like friends. We're on polite terms now, anyway. Don't know if I already told you, by the way, but his son is called Scorpius."

"You did. So what about it?"

"That's not a very good name either."

"More original than your choices at any rate. Would you be so kind and do me a small favor?"

"Depends, what do you have in mind?"

"Kill Scorpius."

"Hell no. And why Scorpius, you don't even know him."

"You might as well kill the entire bunch of cowardly traitors, but I figured that would be asking too much, so the last heir would have to do."

"Well, that's still asking too much."

"It was worth a try."

Harry snorted and shook his head, unwillingly amused at Voldemort's antics. He had long ago given up on trying to teach the Lord empathy, declaring it pointless. He had even begun to admire the simplicity of the older man's uncaring ways. If your entire world revolved around yourself alone, Harry surmised, then perhaps you had an easier time finding your way in it. Still, Harry wished that Voldemort would learn to regret, if only to save his broken soul. Harry wouldn't be able to delay his fate forever.

He noticed that the Lord had taken to examining his own fingernails, carefully comparing the lengths.

"Is there anything wrong with you?" Harry asked. Some days, they had long and deep conversations, on others they would be all over each other by now, again on others, they would be fighting and insulting each other as badly as they could, and some, like today, the Lord seemed to be in a very strange kind of mood. "Have I done anything wrong?"

Voldemort shook his head, still acting fascinated with his nails.

Harry rolled his eyes and crawled over to the other side of the couch as well. Half-expecting to be pushed away, he leaned himself against Voldemort, guiding the other's arms around him.

The Lord did not object, instead pulled Harry closer so that they could sit comfortably. Long fingers ran through black hair, softly tugging at it and then snaking downwards to caress Harry's neck. It was clear enough what the Lord was fantasizing about as his hands closed around Harry's neck, playfully applying just enough pressure to make it harder for Harry to breathe.

"Is it absolutely certain that I cannot have a window?" he asked.

"Not this again..." Harry rasped.

"I'd really like one," Voldemort said dejectedly. Already knowing that he was fighting a losing battle. He wasn't to put much value on nature, but he had not seen sunlight, had not taken a single breath of fresh air in over nineteen years. "All you have to do is give me my wand for a day, and I can make myself one. I'll hand it back to you afterwards without causing any trouble." He loosened his grip on Harry's neck, letting him breathe freely again.

"I'm sorry, but you know well that I'm not going to do that. And I can't make them myself, you know I've tried," Harry said, truly sorry but not willing to take any risk.

The Lord made a non-commital noise and buried his face in Harry's hair.

"Just stop finding thing to complain about all the time," Harry told him in a gentle voice. "I know it's not a great situation, but you said yourself that this is better than the time when you had no body at all, or when you were really dead. And honestly, it is your own fault after all."

As an answer, the hold around Harry's neck tightened painfully, this time choking Harry until he was struggling and tearing at the thin arms, forcing them away.

"Jesus Christ..." he muttered, rubbing his neck in annoyance. This was going to bruise unless he applied Murtlap Essence later.

Behind him, the Lord smiled maliciously and pulled Harry's body tightly to his own with one arm, using the other one to scratch the soft skin at the nape of Harry's neck.

"Ah, this feels good, don't stop..." Harry said, relaxing against the skeleton-like thing that was clinging to him. "Can't you be like this all the time?"

Voldemort took his time to nibble at the shell of Harry's ear, before he answered, "If you fulfill my each and every demand, then yes. You will see that you belong to me one day, my little Chosen One, and you'll come crawling to plead for my guidance." He trailed butterfly-kisses along the edge of Harry's jaw.

"You must be delusional to believe that," the Auror stated automatically, sighing at the sensation of the gentle touches.

"Maybe, but it's the only hope you have not taken away from me," the Lord hissed against Harry's skin. He slipped his hands under Harry's shirt, letting them wander over his stomach and chest, lightly pinching the nipples and twisting bits of flesh between his fingertips.

Harry tensed at the cool touch on his bare skin, and at the way Voldemort was using his fingers and nails, running them teasingly over his skin in a careful balance between tender and hurtful.

"Kiss me," Harry gasped, turning his head as far around as he could to give Voldemort access to his mouth. The dark wizard ignored him and moved a hand lower, easily able to slide it past the elastic band of the pyjama trousers. He wrapped his fingers around Harry's member that was only just beginning to harden, causing it to twitch a little, and massaged the soft piece of flesh between his fingertips.

Half-closed eyelids fluttering as a thumb glided over the glans and played with the skin around it, pushing it back and then letting go, Harry let his head fall back into the curve of Voldemort's shoulder, moaning for the first time.

That was the sign that Voldemort had been waiting for to stop teasing and tighten his grip on the penis, jerking firmly up and down. With the other arm he forced Harry's shuddering body to remain in place, and bit down into his neck, hard.

To occupy his hands, Harry seized a handful each of the light fabric the Dark Lord's robes were made of, holding on as if for dear life. He was getting close, so close...

"Kiss me," Harry repeated, more demanding this time.

All of a sudden, he found himself unkindly pushed from the couch before he could even understand what was going on. Trying to still his laboured breathing, he looked up at the Lord, who was still calmly stitting there with a a condescending expression on his face, and questioned angrily, "What did you do that for?"

"Get out," was the only answer he got.


The Lord laughed scornfully. "You expected you could come here whenever you please, after leaving me alone for weeks and choosing everything else before me? That I would take you right after you have dirtied yourself with your little blood-traitor slut? That I would gratefully play your little whore whenever you feel like a small change? You should have understood long ago that I am not a toy to be laid aside as soon as you're done with it, Harry."

Shocked, Harry gaped at him. He had had the impression that something was way off before, but since Voldemort had not addressed it, he had presumed that it couldn't be anything too bad. "I - I don't know what to say -..."

"You can leave."

Feeling exposed and as if he were nothing but a frightened child, Harry picked himself up and hastily fled from the room.

Minutes after he had heard the door close noisily, the Lord remained sitting straight-backed on the couch, triumphantly reminiscing about the way he had caused Harry to run from him, most definitely with quite the problem in his trousers. Then he curled up in a fetal position, placing a large pillow under his head and listening to the cracking of the flames, wondering how long it would take this time for Harry to come back again.


Ginny Potter awoke to the noise of dishes clattering downstairs. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes. Harry's side of the bed was empty.

She yawned and stood up, quickly throwing a bathrobe over before going downstairs to join Harry. She encountered him in the kitchen, having just finished setting the table and cooking something on the stove. Ever since Kreacher had died ten years ago, they had to cook and clean the house themselves, and as Harry was an earlier riser than Ginny, he was often the one to prepare breakfast.

"Morning, Harry," she said sleepily, leaning in the doorway and taking in the delicious smell of coffee, scrambled eggs and toast.

"Good morning." Harry came over to give her a quick kiss.

"Is Lily up yet? It's pretty early for breakfast, nice of you to make it, though."

"No, she's not up yet. I wanted to surprise you with it, but seeing as this won't get cold, I have an idea how we could still pass a little bit of time..." Harry suggestively wriggled his eyebrows.

Ginny laughed, shaking unkempt hair out of her face. "Oh, really? How about you come and show me, then..."


Author's Note, the Second: I took some creative liberties in making certain assumptions, e.g. about the way the Resurrection Stone would work. In the one scene where Harry uses it, the dead are not corporeal, hardly differing from regular ghosts. When he talks to Dumbledore, Dumbledore mentions that to Grindelwald it would have meant an army of Inferi. So, for all intents and purposes, in this story let us assume that if you had actually kept the body of the person you are calling back, their spirit would posess that body.

As a spell or curse usually breaks when the caster dies (see Dumbledore petrifying Harry on the tower), an undead person would 'die' with the resurrector.

Now, they normally would not be happy to remain earthbound, but as Voldemort wouldn't even get a normal death, I think it's natural he prefers his half-life to exististance as the thing Harry saw lying around at King's Cross.

If you found Voldemort's behaviour in this chapter a tad confusing, that's good, because it's supposed to be. He has not, however, mysteriously fallen in love with Harry, grown a new personality, a second head, or changed his hairstyle. There's just been a major leap forward in time, and some things did happen to leave an effect. Still, he doesn't actually care about Harry, but he does view him as something like a very complex object that rightfully belongs to him and unfortunately has a will of its own. At many times he is also trying to manipulate Harry. In addition, his condition forces him to stay on Harry's good side.

Harry, pure-hearted as he is, of course views Voldemort as a human being that he has to save from a terrible fate. While he is not naive enough to believe that he could change, on a certain 'safe' level, he wants to trust him.

In further chapters, their strange relationship will become more clearly defined.

If you have any more questions, or just about anything to say, leave a review!