They went to the Pensieve that night.
Even beyond curfew, Tom knew the workings of Hogwarts - day or night - like he knew his own body. He knew which corridors would be patrolled when, where the lovers went to steal secret kisses and whisper to each other in the darkness, where the insomniacs wandered sleepless and bleary and the paths each troublemaker took to their business and at what time.
He knew it all and they moved like shadows through the castle.
Evans had gone quiet, his face pale and lips chapped and chewed in the snatches of their wandlight.
Tom watched him. He didn't expect anything Evans showed him to effect his opinion in the slightest. The other boy evidently had an unparallelled bias against Lord Voldemort, and seemed to cling desperately to a gold so light and bright that even the smallest smudge of grey must seem like a black taint upon his sanctimonious virtues.
Well, maybe nowadays that wasn't quite true. He'd scratched away the shiny coverings himself to see the silver beneath it, the grey gentle and fragile like the downy feathers of a fledgling yet to leave the nest. With time, Tom would see him fly to his true potential.
But not tonight, not with this. Because how could this boy ever know Lord Voldemort better than Tom knew him?
They finally arrived in the quiet of the room the Headmaster's Office.
Harry looked around him with a marked nervousness - and it seemed somehow both funny and insulting that Harry should show that now, about Dippet, when he fought Tom like he really was the model student he pretended to be.
"Everyone's fast asleep, darling," he said. "Or are you hoping to get out of this? Perhaps you're afraid-"
"I'm not scared!" Harry glared at him then, shoulders squaring. "Let's just get this over with so I can get some sleep. What do I need to do?"
"If you find Legilimency easier-" Tom kept his voice light, mocking.
"Just tell me what to do. I know what it does, but I've never put a memory in," Harry snapped.
Soon enough he was watching his future stream into the swirling liquid like dashes of moonlight. His anticipation tightened, coiling.
"You sure you want to do this?" Harry asked.
Tom glanced at him, and nearly froze. Something in Evan's expression had changed now - not quite slyness, not quite pity, something implacably between the two that made rage boil in Tom's blood.
"Why wouldn't I?"
"Ignorance is bliss?"
Tom's jaw tightened and he moved to submerge himself in the memory - Harry followed a moment later.
It was Hogwarts, undoubtedly Hogwarts, and a mirror gleamed before him with some awful irony of truth reflected back to the beholder. For a moment, Tom couldn't believe what he was seeing. He looked around the room for someone else, for some dark creature in the shadows or- or anything.
He stared at himself rasping out the back of another man's head. Unable to support his own form, seemingly incapable of even magic.
It curdled Tom's body cold, his knees turned disgustingly jellied. Like if he took a step, he could buckle, but he couldn't get his legs to move.
Worst of all, he could feel Harry's stare burning into him. Seeing him, laying him bare and vulnerable and - and the look on Harry's face came back to him. Slyness and pity, and that stupid heroism.
He'd never wanted to kill anything more in his life.
Little, eleven year old Harry Potter stood defiant. Fifteen year old Harry Evans stood like judge, jury and executioner.
"Show me something else," Tom ordered.
The memory shifted, warped around them. Even the compliance mocked him.
He'd expected a grotesque exaggeration of monstrosity, to see something terrible but beautiful beyond all measure. Most of all, he'd expected to see power. Lord Voldemort was always about power.
A hideous babe, weeping blood from cracked skin, stirring helpless in an armchair…pathetic hateful…
Tom's ears rang.
"I told you to show me Voldemort." His voice shook, despite his very best effort. His nails bit into his palms hard enough to draw blood. He hated Harry Potter for that. He hated Harrison Evans.
"I just did." The boy's was quiet, perfectly in control - as if he was leeching Tom's composure to do it.
"That's not Voldemort!" Tom wrenched himself away from the scene, turned to the phantom beside him took a step forward, eyes ablaze. "This is a trick. Really, it's sad that you would feel the need to resort to such obvious deception in your futile crusade. Perhaps I held you in too high regard."
Harry's eyes flashed then, as he took a step forward in turn. "Just because you don't like what you see, that doesn't mean it's not true. That's your precious Lord Voldemort! How can you even a fake a bloody memory? Or whatever you're accusing me of!"
No. No, absolutely not. Voldemort wasn't that. Voldemort was never supposed to be that, he couldn't be. That wasn't his future. It wasn't his fate.
Voldemort was power - all he saw in Harry's memories were weakness.
"Show me the memory that gives you nightmares," Tom hissed. He closed the gap the rest of the way, their faces inches from each other as he seized Evan's nightshirt in his feet, drawing him up onto his toes. "Show me the real Voldemort. Show me -" his voice softened, even as his eyes stayed hard and cold.
His other hand rose, as Harry stared at him like a bomb that might go off at any second. It was gratifying, at least, that Evans still looked at him like he had any power at all.
Tom wet his lips, and brushed the boy's hair back from his forehead, ghosting his finger along the lightning bolt scar.
Harry sucked in a sharp breath.
"Show me the night I gave you this," Tom said.
"I was a baby, it's not like I can remember," Harry said, after a moment. Too long of a moment to be convincing.
Tom's eyes narrowed.
Harry's jaw clenched. He jerked his head away from the touch, staggering back. The memory around them froze.
"Harry," Tom almost sang it, pouncing on that hesitation. "Such lies."
He didn't care if it was traumatic for the boy, he wanted trauma. He wanted terror in Potter's eyes and the rightful respect that Lord Voldemort demanded. He wanted power. The truth, not this - not this.
"I'm not giving you anything that will mess up the future," Harry said. "But that was Voldemort, whether you want to believe it or not."
The memory vanished from around them, and they were back in the Headmaster's office in a flat.
Harry immediately strode into the corridor, away from the slumbering portraits. Fleeing. Bad thing to do, fleeing, when there was a predator who liked hunting in the room.
Tom followed, pressing forwards again and seizing Evans's arm.
"You said he returned in your fourth year."
"I'm not showing you that."
"Seems like there's nothing of Lord Voldemort's power you're willing to show me."
It gave him some sort of satisfaction, some comfort, to know that. That weakness couldn't possibly be all that Voldemort was, only what Potter was willing to show in his foolish efforts.
Harry stared at him, his expression dark and his fingers flexing at his sides. "It would mess up the future."
"Isn't that what you want? To take away my future?" Tom's head tilted.
"I still think smashing you over a rock would be an easier way to do that," Harry said. "At least then I wouldn't have to bloody well put up with you!"
The air hung suffocating between them.
"Are you traumatized?" a smile graced his lips, as he watched for Harry's flinch. It came like clockwork, and Tom's smile only spread. Cruel and hungry. "Oh you are. You can't bear the thought of facing those memories again…how desperate the future must be, if they send you frightened and alone back to me." His fingers slid down, caressing Harry's flushed cheek as the boy trembled before him with rage and too many other things.
It wasn't enough, the trembling. He wanted Harry weak-kneed and shattered, like Tom had felt weak-kneed and shattered looking at that disgusting lie of a future.
"You asked to see the memories," Harry said, swallowing hard. "I showed you. What you do with them is your own choice. You wouldn't be acting like this if you didn't know what you saw was real."
The caress turned to claws on the boy's throat before he could control himself. It couldn't be real, it couldn't!
Harry didn't flinch now, staring him down with a vicious sort of triumph. He seized Tom's wrist and squeezed, peeling his hand back.
The blood pounded through Tom's skull, the urge to hurt, to tear, to break rearing in his bones. It couldn't be the truth, that couldn't be what Voldemort was, Lord Voldemort was -
"I'm sorry," Harry said. "I know that's not what you wanted your future to be."
It was the apology that made him lose it.
It reminded Harry of Halloween. Halloween, and now, were the only times he'd ever seen Tom Riddle's mask of control and humanity shatter so completely.
But in Halloween, Tom had enough in him to go for his wand. There was a delicious and awful irony to the fact that Lord Voldemort punched in the nose like a muggle. There was no time to savor the fact though, nor to consider the implications of how shaken Riddle was by his future because the next second Riddle was on him again.
Harry's back slammed into the wall, his head spinning stars and - he fought back. Obviously. Smashed his knee forward and twisted, drew his wand quick as a flash and had Tom immobilized the second after that.
With the look on Tom's face - his perfect hair rumpled and in disarray, nothing cool and calculating left in his eyes and his pale cheeks flushed with emotion - Harry wouldn't have been surprised if that moment would be what would cause Voldemort to want him dead with such fervour fifty years from now. The look on Tom's handsome face had all the mania of Voldemort, the same twisted hatred.
Harry stood over him, panting to get his breath back. His cheek stung, and he could already feel his eye swelling from the rather filthy left hook. He tugged a hand through his hair, considering his options. Considering, without the vindictive glee or pleasure that he'd expected, that he more or less had the future Lord Voldemort at his mercy.
Tom spoke before he could.
"If you give me your pity I'll kill you."
"I'll kill everyone you love, and then when you beg for death I'll kill you," Tom said.
"I don't pity you," Harry said. His chest ached, but it wasn't pity. "I pity Voldemort. You're not him, not yet."
It shocked him to say it aloud as much as it seemed to shock Tom to hear it, even if he'd referenced the creeping differences before.
Harry wet his dry lips. "Are you going to attack me again if I take off the spell?"
Tom said nothing - his expression had shuttered again, inscrutable.
Harry was tempted to leave him there, for what he'd done to Roger, for all the terrible things he did even if he wasn't Voldemort. A night stewing humiliated in a cold corridor stuck to the floor might do Riddle some good.
But Harry meant it, when he said he wasn't Tom. That was something Tom would do. He sighed and cancelled the spell, though he kept his wand out.
Tom ignored the hand he offered, clambering to his own feet and stiffly straightening out his robes.
It was less night now, more early morning. A cold, grey, wintry dawn that spread across the castle towards them. Harry watched it, moving over to the window, giving Tom a moment even if he tracked the possibility of another attack in his peripherals.
Tom would never have given Harry a moment to recover.
The Slytherin Heir moved closer, leaning in to the wall beside him, eyes fixed now on the smooth surface of the Black Lake. There was no sign of the outburst and the loss of control on his features anymore, he looked as immaculate as he always did.
Harry glanced at him, and away again, a strange wired tension coiling in his stomach.
"If you ever tell-" Tom began.
"I won't," Harry said. He felt Tom's eyes on him then, prickling and plucking. He still didn't look over. "I won't tell anyone about what happened tonight," Harry said. "If you don't attack my friends here to get to me again. If you don't tell anyone I'm from the future."
"We should get back to the Common Room before anyone else wakes up."
A/N: As you all know, this story was abandoned. I'm still not entirely sure it's not, but I reckon this is a better ending place at any rate. Basically, I was going to do something for April's Fools Day, with Past's Player/The FF verse and then these two idiots made me emotional and as always made things more serious and intense. Godammit. So yeah...enjoy. Happy April's Fool's Day. The universe hates me. I am so done with this.