Identity- Chapter One

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter in any form or way. I make no money from writing this fanfiction.

Summary: Harry, from a young age, had always been locked away. A child's mind in isolation turns only to itself, and what Harry discovers there is a bond neither he nor Voldemort had known to exist. Entering the mind of the man who had made the world quail, he begins to draw upon the Dark Lord's memories, and starts to emerge as something quite new altogether...

Includes: Dark!Harry, Voldemort and Harry friendship, prodigy!Harry

Genre: General / Friendship

Word Count: ~6,700 / ~7,000

Cumulative Word Count: ~6,700 / ~7,000

Date: Started- 4th February, '09

Finished- 27th March, '09

Posted- 28th March, '09

Chapter Title: Delving

The child opened his eyes, and just stared at it. Lost himself in it. That all-embracing, encompassing darkness... For now, it protected him. When there was nothing there but the darkness, he was safe.

He gave a small sigh as he felt a spider crawl across his leg. Tomorrow, the light would come again, and they would come. They hurt him. They hated him.

He stared into the very heart of darkness, and tried not to think of what the light would bring. In a way, at night he was free- there was no Dudley, to laugh at him and be showered in love for his cruelty, no Uncle Vernon... to turn those disgusted eyes to him.

Yes, here in the darkness he was free... despite the padlock on his cupboard door.

He hadn't been aware he'd closed his eyes, but they snapped open when he heard the familiar creak of the upstairs landing. Instantly, light flooded his vision and his breath caught as he realised what it meant; He'd fallen asleep. Around him, the dim wood of his cupboard suffocated him, cast with a pale light streaming through the cracks in the door. In the corner, out of his reach, were the familiar cobwebs he hadn't dared touch, and below him he sat on a scraggly, thin blanket that scraped against his bare arms.

Upstairs, the doorknob rattled and the door swung softly against the carpet. Steps continued across the upstairs landing, and judging by the lighter creaks it was Aunt Petunia. Harry listened to the familiar and dreadful sounds from upstairs, pulling his legs towards his chest, fearing the inevitable. The second stair up from the ground made a heavy slamming sound as it was pressed; As always, Aunt Petunia walked on the left of the staircase, while his uncle walked on the right and made that stair creak pitifully under his strain. Harry curled up tighter as his aunt approached.

There was a sharp snap as his bolt was pulled back, and an ominous clank as the padlock was opened. Harry quickly clenched his eyes shut as the door was heavily yanked open, rattling flimsily.

Light streamed in, painful even behind closed eyelids, and his aunt grabbed him roughly by the arm and tore him from his cupboard. He lost his balance, but was pulled upwards painfully by his slender arm so he couldn't splay on the floor. His aunt towered over him angrily, then pushed him into the kitchen.

"Bacon!" she screeched haughtily, and the pathetically frail-looking child below her scrambled to do her bidding. Before he was out of her reach, she kicked maliciously at him and he yelped as he scurried out of her way. When she was satisfied that the child was going to do the task adequately, she moved to the living room to relax and watch the breakfast news, leaving the five year old to serve her breakfast.

Harry despondently followed his aunt's request, using a stool to be able to cook over counter-height, and when he was just about done, adding the eggs to the plates, he heard his uncle stomp down the stairs, shortly followed by his cousin. The television flickered off, and his aunt stiffly instructed him in what chores needed doing.

He left as quickly as he could to weed the garden, eager to avoid his uncle and cousin, and settled down to rip the life away from the weeds. He had no doubt the Dursleys wanted the same for him.

Some days, he could just accept his life. Other days, he longed to escape. Yearned to be anywhere but where he was. He'd read some of Dudley's books from when the fat boy was fed up with them, and for a while he had been pulled into a different world- a carefree world, one where his uncle was nowhere in sight. Of course, when his family had discovered he was hoarding these books, they were furious. He'd gotten the worst beating for a long time, that night, and he'd never dared touch another of his cousin's things again.

He'd deserved it. He really should have known better. He'd never do it again.

He was harshly shoved back into his cupboard by the time they'd finished with him for the day, and the bolt and padlock were secured quickly, as if he'd escape if they were slower. He sighed in relief when they left him, and curled up like he could comfort himself if he was hugging his knees.

For a while, he just listened until all three Dursleys had disappeared, and only then did he allow himself to relax slightly, slipping into his thoughts.

He could use his imagination to get away, couldn't he? He scrunched his eyes closed tightly, and pictured what the world would be like outside of Privet Drive. He'd seen trees, all over the place. They were supposed to make the neighbourhood look nice. He pictured... a forest. What would it be like in a forest? There would be lots of trees. All packed tightly together. And the ground would be like mush under his feet as he pawed his way across it. It had been raining recently, so there was a biting damp chill in the air, and it was hard to avoid the last drops that fell from the trees without getting his fur wet.

Harry marveled at his little fantasy. What was he, some small animal? Bushes towered over him as he ran through the forest, not without caution. When there was the crunch of twigs in the distance, Harry almost leapt out of his skin. He quickly ran up the nearest tree, using his small sharp claws to circle up the wooden trunk.

Ah- Harry recognised what he was now! A squirrel! He'd seen them running through the garden and up and down the trees sometimes. It was quite fun to run about like this.

When he saw the squirrel had stopped, and was observing the forest floor, scanning for predators, he frowned. This was supposed to be his daydream, wasn't it? The squirrel should be more interesting. There wouldn't be any nasty big animals to hurt him, so why was he imagining this? He willed the squirrel to start running around again, but nothing happened. He watched as he, as the squirrel, was finally satisfied that the coast was clear, and once again began moving.

Harry tried to turn right, but he just kept on going forwards. He huffed when he saw that he couldn't get his own daydream to do what he wanted, and concentrated harder on controlling the small mammal. Turn right. Turn right!

...What? Why would he want to turn right? He'd stashed all his food in the same tree he was headed for. He needed to get back, he'd been driven away by that damned fox again!

No. He did want the creature to turn right. It would turn right. This was his imagination, after all. If he couldn't control that, what could he control?

Why did he seem to want to turn right so much? It was pointless! No- he wanted to turn right. Why? Turn right. What for?

Harry watched in elation as he glanced to the side, as if to see if there was something there, beyond the trees.

That's right. Give in.

He didn't see why he did it, but... he wanted to turn right. It was... something he really wanted. He needed to turn right.

Hesitantly, the squirrel stopped running, and turned to the side, peering uncertainly into the fading light beyond. He felt a surge of elation as he did so, though, and relished in it. Finally! He had turned! ...Why was he so happy about it?

The bushy-tailed creature got another strange impulse; He suddenly wanted to chase his own tail. What!? Why? This was stupid.

It wasn't stupid! Harry wondered why he kept feeling so opposed to doing what he wanted. He'd just wanted to have some fun, prove that he could make the creature do what he wanted.

While Harry was distracted, the squirrel seemed to mentally shake itself, and before he could try to stop it again, it had taken off once more, in the correct direction. He couldn't blame it, though, it was just trying to keep its food safe.

Wait, where'd that come from? Harry opened his eyes and pulled himself away from his fantasy about the squirrel. That had been weird. But fun.

The child smiled at the picture he'd managed to create. Maybe he'd finally found his escape. It was a strange one, and it didn't seem to want to do what he wanted, but it was good nonetheless. Next night, he'd think of the same thing.

Once again, Harry awoke to the shrieks of his favourite aunt, who ordered something new this day for breakfast. He wasn't quite as lucky as the last day, though, because it was something he didn't know how to make. He'd been following the cookbook instructions as best as he could, but he'd accidentally burnt the sausages too much, and Uncle Vernon wasn't happy.

He'd been yelled at, and the blow to his head had knocked him over. He was dizzy for a while, not quite as quick with his chores as he should have been. Later in the day his uncle had slapped him for his incompetence, and he'd been locked up again for the night.

Back in the sanctuary of his cupboard, he curled up once again, and concentrated on the forest, and the squirrel.

This time, it was a little less cold and there were no foxes around, so he was happily out scavenging for things to eat. Harry just watched this time, fascinated- Aha! He'd found a hazelnut. It was funny how tastes change with different animals, he thought as he dug into the delicious nut; He'd always used to dislike nuts before.

Had he? Harry couldn't so much as remember trying one...

Lucius had been mortified, once, when he served him a pudding absolutely drenched in them. Knowing him, he had probably castrated his house elf for it afterwards.

Harry chuckled at this thought, and then immediately wondered why. Who was Lucius? What on earth was a house elf?

What? Why was he thinking that? They were insignificant servants... Why was he answering himself? The squirrel shook its head slightly and continued to search the ground. Hm. Maybe he could use up all of his food again, and give that damned fox what-for? It certainly deserved it, even if it was more effort to find food as a fox. He'd only been a fox a few times, too.

Er... Harry wasn't even sure what he was thinking about any more. Wait... is this what squirrels thought like? Were these random things he kept thinking about actually the squirrel's thoughts?

He sighed. He wanted a bath sometimes, he really did. Wait... was that the squirrel again? The squirrel wanted a bath? He frowned, perplexed. Of course he wanted a bath, he'd been stuck as a various animals for far too long, now.

Looking up at the sky, he decided it was getting too dark now. Wearily, he scampered back up his tree, and snuggled into the hollow, twisting to get comfortable. They'd all regret it, someday. The next time they crossed Lord Voldemort, they'd rue whatever trick that brat was! Dumbledore would die! Damn that old man!

Harry decided to leave his imagination-animal's thoughts alone. That squirrel seriously had issues. Trust him to come up with a furry critter who was hell-bent on taking over the world.

He did not have issues! He was the most feared wizard of the century! ...A wizard? The squirrel thought it was a wizard. He laughed at the idea of it, and the squirrel clucked in amusement too, before forcibly stopping itself.

He frowned as the squirrel tried to go to sleep, once again willing it to get up and do something interesting. This was interesting! If he didn't get enough sleep he might miss some food, or get caught by a cat or something...

Harry frowned. Once again, it was his daydream, so it should do what he wanted it to. Unknowingly, he pressed past more mental barriers as he forced his will onto the creature. Run around! Get up!

Harry lifted his head from the hollow, and was thrilled as he could feel every inch of the squirrel as himself. Tentatively, he clung onto the bark outside and tried to move. It was a wonderful feeling when he found he could do it naturally, and he was soon able to run around the tree, up and down.

He kept feeling reluctance and confusion as he did so, and concentrated on these feelings. What were they, exactly? He pressed further into the animal's mind.

Why was he up and running about like a lunatic? What was he doing? Harry instantly handed the reigns back to the squirrel, listening to its thoughts intently.

Ah! That was better. He didn't know why he'd started running about before. This was all getting weird. Perhaps he didn't have quite as much control over the animal he was inhabiting than he thought?

Harry observed silently as the squirrel returned to its sleeping place, and curiously pushed past even more mental barriers. What was the squirrel?

Lord Voldemort. He pushed in further. That was his name, wasn't it? Why was he here? Felled by a prophecy. An accident. A baby. He remembered...

Harry left the squirrel as he plunged into its memories. The earlier years had faded, somewhat, but they were still there, he was unable to forget.

The other orphans didn't like him. To them, he was a freak. Unnatural. Some of the older kids would beat him up, and that's when he discovered it: magic. He could get his own-back on them. For once in his life he was powerful. He hurt them, and it felt good.

That look in Alexander Robinson's face as he looked up at him from the floor... a look of fear. His eyes were wide as he gasped for breath, he silently begged him to stop... Which only made him smirk. Now, he was the one in control. It felt wonderful.

Harry sunk deeper into the earliest memories of Tom Marvolo Riddle. Slowly, he started to learn life as Riddle had, from the bottom upwards. Maybe he could make his family cower like that? No... it was all make-believe. The squirrel didn't even exist. He'd never be the one in power, would he?

The next morning, Harry met his aunt with a silent indifference. As she wrenched him out of the cupboard, he glared at her. He could have better than this, couldn't he?

How had he done it back in the orphanage? No... he'd never been there. If he tried to make her feel pain, it wouldn't work because all of his memories from the orphanage weren't real.

...But he wanted to make her feel pain. He wanted to make her suffer for all she'd done. He was still glaring when she turned back to him and gave him the look of a bug under her shoe. He'd known that look all too well.

"What are you looking like that for, you little freak? Toast!" When Harry didn't move straight away, still with the defiant glare etched on his face, his aunt slapped him so hard he almost toppled over, hand clutched to his face to ease the pain.

"Toast!" the woman repeated. Scathingly, Harry complied. Toast, at least, was an easy one. They didn't have a toaster, but years of practice had made him adept at fine-tuning the grill so he hardly ever went so wrong that he couldn't just scrape off the charred bits with a knife.

At the orphanage, they cooked the meals for them. There wasn't much to go around, but it was way more than Harry got. He was lucky if his family tossed him some scraps at the end of the day.

No... he should be thankful to them. They had taken his ungrateful self in, and were kind enough to feed him, to house him, to clothe him. He would have had it much worse off if he was elsewhere.

Would he? The orphanage wasn't that bad, except he hated all the other children there. They were better than the Dursleys. Only the bigger boys beat him up, and they were usually busy...

When he was done with the toast, he scurried away to do his other tasks. Today, he got to dust the living room, while Dudley went to school. Dudley was in year one, and Harry might have been, too, but his aunt said it was a waste of time for him.

Once again, at the end of the day, he was locked up in his cupboard.

When he returned to the squirrel, he went straight back to its memories, continuing where he'd left off. Now, as he got older, he could control his powers a little more. He found that when he was really angry, he could make other people's eyes sting a little when he looked at them for too long. It was not as good as what he'd done to Alexander the first time, but he was getting better with it. He wondered what else he could achieve with his powers... where did they stop? Could they stop?

Harry watched in awe as he learnt to read, not just the picture books but things with several sentences, and eventually even more. The letters got smaller, but he could read it just as well.

Their teacher had beamed at him- she'd told him that he was a very intelligent boy. And Harry knew it to be true. He was far ahead of all his classmates, who were all despicable scum in his eyes. His handwriting was beginning to look nice, with 'S's that were the right way around, and nicely-looped letters.

And his powers were still growing. By the time he was eight, he could narrow his eyes and squeeze his fist when he was angry, and his victim would start to find it hard to breathe. All the children avoided him now, and the beatings got worse, although less frequent. The other children were all beginning to be scared of him. Good! Let them cower!

Harry stood out of sight at breakfast, not making the beds as he was supposed to. Instead, he was intently watching his family – the fat gluttons – as they gorged themselves on the meal Harry had made himself.

Nervously, he stretched his hand out in front of him, as he had done many times before... No, he'd never done this. His breath caught in anticipation as he slowly began to clench his fist...

There was nothing. He let out a shaky breath. Magic didn't exist.

No... he fixed his eyes on his cousin, and thought of how much he hated him. Dudley got the toys. Dudley got the praise. Dudley got to go to school. Dudley got the attention. Dudley got the love, while Harry got to be locked up in a cupboard, a slave to them.

He clenched his hand with all the fury he could muster, and squeezed so hard that his nails dug into his palms, close to drawing blood. His hand shook with the strain, his jaw clenched, his eyes narrowed with the hate and fury he felt, he snarled. And then...

His eyes widened as he watched his cousin crumple over, onto his plate, choking and wheezing hard, gasping for breath. When he lost his composure, the boy seemed to recover greatly, but the damage had been done. He'd made his cousin feel his hate. He'd been the one to hurt him.

His aunt and uncle had gotten up to worry over their child, and Harry gasped when he saw Uncle Vernon raise his head to look about suspiciously. His eyes flicked over to Harry, who was still half-hidden by the wall, and Harry's stomach plunged when the man's face purpled.

Yelping, he tore away from the room as fast as he could, but he knew he wouldn't be able to escape for long. He'd never seen his uncle this angry. Harry could only hope he'd be able to make it out of this one alive.

The whimpering child was thrown bodily into the dark cupboard, and the door was locked and bolted, although he couldn't move to escape if he tried.

Through the door was the furious voice of his uncle- "You won't be getting out of there for a long time,boy! I won't have any more your freakishness in my family! If I deign to let you out, nothing freaky will ever happen again, you hear me!? Never touch your cousin again!"

Harry could only sob quietly as the pain strangled him. He couldn't move from where he lay, his arm wouldn't move and his head throbbed so much he was sure he'd black out if he tried anything.

And once again, he tried to forget about his own life. Did that mean that he did have powers? He was in this position for it, but... He'd gotten revenge on Dudley. It had been worth it, to see him choke and wheeze and splutter.

He smiled a little, before slipping back away to the squirrel, and into its memories.

As he was getting older, the memories were becoming sharper and more distinguished. Now nine years old, he remembered learning about plants, and about the weather, how the world worked. But he'd never been able to fit his magic into it. How did it work? It was an amazing skill, but others didn't seem to be able to do what he could do, so he never told them about it.

It was taking longer and longer to go over memories as he got older, but Harry didn't mind, he watched all the new, more detailed memories with awe.

His powers had progressed so much that he could glare, just thinking about how much he hated them, and people would wince in pain. Harry wasn't going to try anything again, but it was fascinating to know he could do it. Maybe some day, he'd get actual revenge on his family, without being badly beaten up again. Maybe he could make his family leave him alone like most of the children did for him at the orphanage.

He used to steal the others' toys, and keep them for himself, but he got found out a few times, so he had to figure out how to do it a little more discreetly. For the most part, he had all the adults wrapped around his finger. No matter how much evidence they had, Tom would always be the perfect, lovable angel, because that's what he wanted them to think. The children, though, had started to despise him.

Tom Marvolo Riddle. That was his name. He'd never liked it. It was a stupid, normal name, just like everyone else's. But, it was better than being Harry, wasn't it?

He just lay there for as long as he could, falling in and out of sleep between the crippling pain he was in, and the vivid world of his imagination, learning everything Tom had once learnt, ignoring his hunger in favour of focusing on the rapid amount of new knowledge he was gaining.

When he hit eleven, things really began to get interesting. Come summer, he had an unexpected visitor.

Albus Dumbledore; A man who claimed to be a wizard, who taught other wizards like himself. He'd already accepted that magic existed- he controlled it himself, after all- but when the man had set his wardrobe on fire, it had really widened his eyes to the possibilities. And finally! There were more of him! Not those stupid, weak children he was forced to live with! He was so excited, and the man had been telling him about accidental magic, so he let it slip that he'd already started controlling his magic- to hurt people. Harry winced when the thought of this. Not the best idea, evidently, because Dumbledore had given him an alarmed and then wary look, and from that point on would always keep an eye on him. He'd only wanted to make the man proud... to gain a little recognition for his abilities...

Later, he'd been taken to Diagon Alley, a part of London exclusively for wizards. He'd gained a powerful wand- so said the shop keeper, Ollivander- and a whole hoard of books that were full to the brim with new knowledge for him to devour! And he did so, over the holidays. He read every single one of them, so he could go to Hogwarts prepared.

Harry's mind swam with everything he took in, as did Tom's. The memories were slowly improving in clarity, from scarce, muddled scenes to remembered, exited nights of many hours of reading and intense study, being surprised at all the things there were for him in this new world.

He'd read about blood-status, and muggle-borns, and it worried him. He came from an orphanage... He certainly wasn't a pure-blood, but what could he do about it? The pure-bloods had all the power, if he said he was one of the filthy muggle-borns, he'd never be accepted, always looked down upon... He'd just have to lie.

So, when the time came for him to actually go to Hogwarts, he was completely prepared. The sights were wonderful and breathtaking, and he was filled with an immense pleasure at these new opportunities. When he saw the castle for the first time ever, it was stunning. He knew that he'd always love the castle as a home, from that point on. It was much better than the orphanage!

He was nervous at his sorting, but the hat placed him in Slytherin, commenting on his ambitious nature- he was going to become the most powerful wizard of all time!- and his ruthlessness and cunning. He felt a blissful sense of self-pride at all this.

His plan of announcing himself as a pureblood failed at the introductions, though; The boys immediately commented on how his name wasn't pureblood, before he could say anything more about himself. He wondered how they could be so sure of themselves, but didn't press the matter further, not saying whether he was one or not in order to not embarrass himself. They all seemed disdainful of him, though, just as he feared.

Harry spent the next few days experiencing his first year of Hogwarts. They learnt spells of all kinds, and he had begun to make friends at Hogwarts... He was a charming person, at heart, and people were drawn to him when he wanted them to be. He was the smartest wizard of his year, and spent countless hours researching even more complex magic and topics in the Hogwarts Library.

Sometimes, Harry played with the squirrel again. It was easy to control it now, but he soon stopped doing it so much as the creature began to start getting worried about it. It was becoming more suspicious of him, it seemed. Still, Harry enjoyed just watching it run about, even if the creature sometimes panicked as it experienced Harry's thoughts.

It was when Harry was just about to retreat back into his own reality to go to sleep again, when the squirrel seemed to try to find him, its mental voice taking on a note of stressed curiosity and a tinge of fear...

Who are you? It asked him, and he briefly wondered if he should answer it or not. It was just his imagination, even if magic was real, so it couldn't do anything to him...

So, who was he? The answer was simple though, wasn't it? He was the person he'd been for years.

Tom Marvolo Riddle. He answered, nice and clearly so the squirrel could understand him. He felt a spike of bafflement, then anger.

So there is someone! How did you invade my mind?! The furious mental voice asked. How do you know that name? No- There was a moment of stomach-sinking realisation- Those memories I've been experiencing! How-?

Harry was beginning to be a little wary of the creature. It was really, really angry, and it was disturbing. He pulled away from the mind, and into his own body once again, to the overwhelming darkness of his cupboard. But something felt different, this time, as he pulled away from his link with the squirrel...

He had his answer as the same furious mental voice now occupied his own mind. He could hear the voice, as clearly as if it was speaking aloud.

"Who are you?" the seething voice repeated, "I'll make you suffer if you don't comply! How did you enter my mind?"

"I'm Tom Riddle," Harry replied with wary confusion. "I'm sorry if I upset you, squirrel."

"You are not Tom Riddle!" the voice threw back. Of course! He couldn't be Tom Riddle- the squirrel was probably Tom, wasn't it? He'd been thrown off by the 'Lord Voldemort' business.

"I am Lord Voldemort. I am Tom Riddle. I ask you again, who are you?" the voice seemed to be trying the patient approach, but he could tell it was just trying to worm the answers out of him faster... he'd done it many times as Tom Riddle, after all. It was a usually infallible technique.

"Yes, I came to realise your little memory-reading tricks... How did you get past my mental barriers?" the voice was once again demanding and furious. Harry's mind reeled; How did he know what he was thinking?

"Don't like it so much at the receiving end, hm?" Voldemort taunted. "Maybe I should control your body for you, then? We'll see how many people I can make you kill before you're caught, shall we?" Abruptly, Harry felt like he was losing all control of his body as it tried to jerk upwards, to stand. Fresh pain chorused through him as he tore a few badly-healed wounds, and his side screamed at him as he rolled onto it. The foreign control of his body was abruptly removed, and Voldemort reeled back at the pain.

"What was that??" Harry could dimly feel the wizard's thoughts trailing along the lines of some sort of mind-controlling magic protections, then simple shock as he realised it could just be the state of his body. "Why are you so badly injured?"

"I'm okay." he answered meekly. "I'm sorry for breaking into your mind, I didn't realise you were real." Harry was beginning to come to the conclusion that whoever Voldemort was, he had to be real because he was here, now. Although it could all still be his imagination... was he going mad?

Voldemort chose to ignore his thoughts. "I'll ask you one more time! Who are you?" Harry could feel the raw anger... it was like his uncle.

"H-Harry James Potter, sir." he muttered in reply, afraid of whatever Voldemort would do to him for disobeying. But he was presented with numb shock when he admitted his name.

"How is this possible?" Voldemort asked himself with a strange mixture of horror and wonder. The next question was asked somewhat softly; "How old are you now, boy?"

"Twelve and a half years old." he promptly replied, and then regretted it.

"That's how far you've gotten up to in my memories? I hadn't realised anyone could take in such vast quantities of memory in such a short period of time... But no, how old are you, Harry James Potter? Not as me. How long has it been?"

"Er... five years old, sir." he said, feeling confused.

"That's all? I thought it had been longer... This is amazing... Such proficiency in the Mind Arts, at such a young age..." the voice was suddenly sharper as it questioned, "How is it you survived?"

"Survived what?"

"The killing curse! You should have died!" Harry briefly remembered hearing the killing curse talked about at Hogwarts. Did that mean someone had cast the curse on him? And he'd survived?? That was impossible.

"You mean, no one told you? Well, I suppose I could understand, you are too young to know about the horrors of the world, aren't you?" there was a hint of amusement in the tone, and then suddenly the anger was back, full-blast. "Why are you so badly hurt? You can't even move!" Harry briefly panicked at what to tell him.

"It's nothing. I'm fine."

"You are not fine. Where are you?"

"Um... my cupboard."

"Cupboard?" the man repeated, incredulous. "Why are you in a cupboard?"

"...I sleep here." There was an immediate rush of blinding fury from the man. "I'm sorry!" he squealed, scared of the anger.

"You sleep in a cupboard?!" Voldemort repeated, snarling.

"It's... nice here! I like it!" he tried to change the topic as fast as he could. "You said someone tried to kill me. Who?" He felt a brief stab of regret from the man, before it was masked with indifference.

"Nobody important."

"You're lying. You always try to cover yourself up by dismissing it if you don't want to talk about it."

There was a pause from Voldemort. "Never read my memories again. You've violated my mind already in the worst possible way."

"...You're avoiding the topic again."

"So are you! Why are you injured, and in a cupboard?" he could feel the growl behind the words.

"I sleep in the cupboard. I'm injured because I did something wrong." his mental voice was quiet.

"...Because you did something wrong? What did you do?" there was a mild sense of horror behind the words.

"...I hurt my cousin." Harry hoped Voldemort wouldn't be as angry at him as his uncle was, but he felt a strange stab of concern from the man.

"Then someone hurt you? Who?" And the anger still hadn't dissipated.

"My uncle. He was mad because I used the 'M' word."

"The 'M' word...? Magic?"

"It's not supposed to exist. I shouldn't have used it."

"Whatever you did... you controlled it?"

"I thought about what I could do when I was you. I'm sorry... I shouldn't have copied..."

There was a rapt attentiveness in the voice; "What did you do?"

"I made my cousin suffocate." Harry couldn't quite conceal the gleam of delight he felt at that. After all the years, he'd finally retaliated! It had been immensely rewarding, but... "I think if I had held it for any longer, he might have been really hurt." He couldn't quite decipher his feelings about that. A part of him really wanted to see it happen, and knowing that alone was frightening. He would have gotten even worse punishment if he hadn't stopped it so quickly, and he couldn't so much as imagine what would have happened to him if Dudley had died. He'd probably be in a ditch by now, if that were the case.

But Voldemort was ecstatic. "You're five. You can control your magic? You're five!" There was a delighted laugh. "It shouldn't be possible- not at that age. I was the only one... No-one else could... And you're younger than I was! Even knowing how it's done, you shouldn't be able to... Your magical core surely couldn't be stable enough..." Harry was getting lost, so he stayed quiet as Voldemort rambled his thoughts aloud.

Voldemort's mental voice was sharp again. "You've seen my first year. Try a spell. Lumos."

"Er... I don't have a wand..."


Tentatively, Harry stretched out his good arm. He could move the other, by now, but it still groaned in pain if he tried to hold it up. He looked at where he imagined his fingers to be in the darkness, and concentrated hard on what magic felt like.

"Lumos." he whispered aloud. Suddenly, the tips of his fingers were illuminated, glowing dimly. He frowned, concentrating harder, until the light flared up completely, casting the walls of his cupboard in a pale eerie light. The mental voice was delighted.

"Amazing, amazing..." He felt the distaste at seeing the cupboard, though. Harry tried not to look down at himself, afraid of what he would see there and how Voldemort would react to it. "That's staggering, considering how young you are..." Harry couldn't help but feel flushed with pride at the praise. This was the first time he, as Harry Potter, had ever received it. "Now..." The voice suddenly took on a strained gentleness. "Tell me, where do you live..?"

Harry was on his guard. "Why do you want to know?"

"I'd like to meet you."

"Who are you, exactly? I know you're Tom Riddle-" there was disgust from the other as he said the name. "-and I know you're a squirrel-" a barely suppressed snort at that. "-but you said you were 'Lord Voldemort'? Lord of what?"

"The wizarding world. ...And I am not a squirrel."

"You are a dark lord then? Like Grindelwald?"

"Grindelwald couldn't hold a candle to me."

"I'm sure. If you're the dark lord, what happened to Grindelwald?"

"He was defeated by Albus Dumbledore, and left to rot in his own prison."

"...You were the one who tried to kill me, weren't you?" Voldemort mentally tensed at this.

"Smart, aren't we?"

"Of course I am." Harry couldn't help but be smug. "Why try to kill a child?"

"You were a threat."

"Evidently, if I somehow managed to survive this curse..."

"...And you're not scared of me now? I tried to kill you."

"Call it empathy." Voldemort outright snorted at that.

"So glad to be mind raped." the man muttered sarcastically. Harry was puzzled.

"What does 'rape' mean?" The other cringed. It was easy to forget that he was talking to some five year-old version of a twelve year-old version of himself. Gods, that was confusing enough.

"It doesn't matter." Riddle could still feel the boy's dubious reluctance to let the matter drop, so he changed the subject back into the direction he wanted it to go. "Tell me where you live."

"You want me to let the man trying to kill me into my home?"

"Who said I was trying to kill you?"

"You did."

"No... I'm starting to rethink that. A potential like yours should not be strangled..."

"Why did you want to kill me?"

"...A prophecy." Bloody hell, he was telling everything about himself to a five year-old...

Harry, though, was taken aback. "A prophecy? I nearly died over some ridiculous fortune-teller? I would have thought better of an older me than to believe in such a thing- er, sorry, not me... This is confusing... Why did you act on a prophecy? You don't believe in them!"

"I don't like to take chances. Better being safe than sorry."

"But isn't this mental bond a result of the curse?"

"Probably. I wasn't aware of it until you had me acting like a rabid animal."

"Why are you in a squirrel, anyway? I wouldn't have thought it a very fitting place for a dark lord."

There was an angry hiss. "That's your fault, too. The curse backfired."

"You mean, it was your fault. I hardly think I've ever forced anyone to try and kill me..."

"Tell me where you live." Riddle repeated, getting annoyed at the boy. Potter was being too clever for his own good.

"You are a squirrel because...?"

"I lost my body when the curse backfired, but luckily I'd taken the precautions to preserve my soul in the first place. I've been animal hopping for some time now. Are you happy?"

"That's good enough, I suppose, but why a squirrel specifically?"

"This one happened to have a particularly large stash of food for winter, which I happened upon. Now that I knew where to find suitable food, surviving would be far easier." He paused to let Harry think about this. "And now for your end of the bargain, I believe?"

There was a great deal of reluctance as the young boy replied, but Voldemort could only be pleased at finally receiving the address. "Number four, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Why did you want to know, anyway?"

A/N: Like it so far?

I wouldn't normally have posted this without trying to finish off more of it first (I am trying to overcome commitment issues), but I thought I may as well try my hand at live writing on this one. So I haven't finished writing chapter two yet. Please be nice if you review, or it really will scare me off of writing the rest of it. (This happens to me easily, unfortunately.)

Please review with any questions you can think of pertaining to the story, no matter whether you think they're going to be answered or not, as it helps me keep on track and should prevent gaping plot holes.

If you spot any spelling (or grammar) mistakes in the text, tell me straight away! There shouldn't be any, considering that I spend ninety percent of the time on my writing simply reading through.