Note; this is Sora Hoshi's prompt, given as follows;
Harry Potter - Harry/Kinda-good-Voldemort(Tom) - Parseltongue=weakness
Harry was dreaming of flying, when there came an insistent tapping at the window. Being a naturally light sleeper, as one had to be in the Dursley household, he woke. He checked firstly upon Hedwig to the source of the noise, finding that her amber eyes were intent upon the outside, so Harry looked there for the source of the sound, finding an owl resting on the window sill, tapping impudently against the open window. It was being polite, in the manner some owls took.
Hurriedly he got out of the bed, his sheet had seemed to tangle around him of its own accord during the night, yet he struggled free. It was not one he recognized, but the package addressed to him by name proved it was not sent in error.
Harry absently gave the owl a handful of treats, while secretly finding the golden and brown feathered bird a bit intimidating; it was clear enough an Eagle Owl with its piercing yellow eyes and ear tufts tilted almost inquiringly. Hedwig was watching the larger fellow carefully, but he only hooted scathingly.
Harry watched to two for the first sign of a fight, quickly unwrapping the package, during the night was the only time that Harry allowed Hedwig out of her cage for some midnight flying, so he dared not make a sudden move to put her away with the stranger owl so near. She wouldn't likely approve or go along at all with such a plan.
In his hands was a black journal, he flipped though the blank yellowed pages. On its cover was a single name Harry couldn't make out in the darkened room. Harry turned it over, as if the odd item would reveal more about itself, there was nothing else to learn from the outside. He looked up, toward the owl that had brought the package, thinking that there was maybe a letter to go along with the mystery.
Harry looked up just in time to see the owl fly silently out the window and into the night sky.
'Who do you belong to?' Harry wondered at the journal, not truly surprised when there was no answer aloud. He trailed his finger along the spine, it was indeed in good condition, the book was made out of something like leather, and it certainly felt very old.
He took a quill from beneath the loose floor board that hid his school things, his magical school things. It had come as a shook, learning that he was truly as different as he had suspected and been treated. He was a wizard born; his magic was in his blood, his mother and father being a witch and wizard. He knew some spells, granted, but none that could tell him the answer to his question, or why.
The tip of the quill dabbed into the ink, and Harry made a mess of the first letter in the word 'My', but he finished more carefully made wary of the ink, 'name is Harry Potter.' He was still getting used to writing in the magical way, with parchment and quills.
Harry scribbled down the date, and then, to his shock, the words he'd just written started disappearing, and new ones replaced them.
'Is that really the date, Harry?' The journal asked, and there was a sense of urgency in the neat lettering.
For a long while, Harry found himself watching those words, which he had not written, and no one else could have because he was alone in this room save Hedwig. He pushed his glasses further up his nose, wide eyed and staring at the page until those words faded. Harry looked away then - finally, to Hedwig, feeling awkward yet relieved that those eerie words were gone, until he looked back at the page –planning to close the journal, and found a plea.
'Please, Harry, are you still there?' Harry swallowed down the strangeness he felt at this; he was – after all – a wizard. Or, rather, a wizard in training - compared to that, what was the oddity of a journal that wrote back? Harry had thought only to write down his name, the date, and what had been happened to him since he'd gotten his first letter from Hogwarts. Maybe this was simply how journals were written in the magical world. Shaking off his unease, Harry decided there was no real harm in answering the journal.
'Yes'. He wrote, sharp and to the point.
'Hello, then. I am Tom Riddle; you're a wizard, aren't you?' There was something spine tingling odd about this, how different it seemed, to see the writing on the page, how the words were so different from his own sprawled letters, the journal's – Tom's – writing was neat and readable. It was strange, yes, but oddly compelling.
'Yeah, I am.' Harry saw no harm in admitting this to a journal that called itself Tom. Harry thought there might be no answer as the letters seemed to fade on their own, without hurry, as lazy seeming as the letters.
'Very good, so was I.' Tom declared for his eyes alone, and there was something flushing and triumphant about how the words read. Harry found himself smiling a little; amused by the apparent glee another took in the fact of being wizard. He would have thought himself alone in the entire world with the knowledge, if not for Hermione, who was as 'real' as he to muggle eyes.
'Are you trapped in the journal?' Harry wrote, as the worry occurred to him. He could not imagine how Tom would be put into a journal, and he did not dare consider how Tom might get out. Harry decided if that was the fate of this boy in the journal, Harry would do what he could to help – even if he had not the least idea to how.
'Oh, no, I put my memories away in here, like a Pensieve. Do you know what a Pensieve is?' Harry did not, but he wasn't about to admit that to some wizard's journal that looked enough like a school book to give a second glance. Though Hermione would think, probably, a book that told you all the answers to your questions was a useful tool indeed. It seemed somehow condensing, that question, but Harry could not have said what it was about the words that clued him in to the fact that admitting such a lack of knowledge would do more harm then good.
'Why would you put your memories away in a journal that anyone could come by and take?' Harry wrote down instead of yes or no, as it seemed a more intelligent question to ask. There was a long pause as the words faded and for a moment Harry thought that there would be no answer, and then letters slowly and carefully appeared.
'I will show you.' They seemed pressed down hard upon the page, and Harry knew from experience that if he had done something of that likely he would have broken his quill.
A box appeared and then became a widow, and words under the page in Tom's hand writing stated; 'Touch it.'
Harry bit at the end of the quill, putting it down on the bed sheets and bringing his ink stained finger to the center of the little window box. The surface rippled like a stone thrown into the lake, and there was no parchment where Harry thought it ought to be. Distance distorted and reality twisted, and Harry shut his eyes tightly, physically sickened by the disturbance.
He opened one green eye, then the other, both his eyes gone wide. He found himself in a room much like his own, with bleach white walls and two bunk beds tucked to each wall, there was door between them. The air was cold, not only in temperature, but in…feeling. It didn't feel like a friendly place to stay the day, let alone the night.
"Where am I?" Harry asked aloud, his voice shaking only at the first word. He had thought he was alone, but someone stirred in the shadow of the corner bed, the lower bunk. One of them was not empty, after all, for there was a boy there – this boy peered at him, all serious brown eyes and messy black hair, a boy that looked a lot like Harry did.
"In my memory." The boy told him, matter of fact, he spoke older then he looked.
"When...?" Harry asked, baffled as he turned about himself, he knew Tom to be a wizard, but like no wizard he'd ever met, certainly. For sure, no wizard would stay in such a place as this if they had another option.
Harry did not, and so that meant…
"This is where I lived as a boy; I grew up here, in the orphanage….every summer I would have to come back." Tom had no choice in this, and Harry saw the similarities between them pulled up and bridging. It sickened him, that they had both been trapped like this, offered no other choice.
"Like me, then." Harry said it softly, and for the first time he was something like annoyance flash over Tom's features, it was gone in that same moment leaving a puzzled sort of look remaining.
"How do you mean?" Tom asked when it became apparent that Harry would say no more. Though he was silent, inwardly his memory played before his eyes, and it boiled up and out, and before Harry could reach in himself for control, realizes at all what was happening, a scene was playing before his eyes.
Tap, tap, tap – on the glass cage, the snake within a lethargic and depressed creature, dying by inches for all that every need was met for its health. Harry had sympathized, oh how he had sympathized, his magic reaching out to let the snake out of a cage, it was the same sort of trap Harry was in, watched and seen and tapped at and everyone expecting some reaction when all he felt inside was tired and empty. So magic had let Harry see what was coming, if only he'd had the foresight to grasp the meaning, to understand.
It was only a spot of self-serving revenge that had trapped another in the glass cage. Harry remembered the snake, and its words – or had that only been his imagination? – Still, would it still thank him now? Had it survived?
Harry didn't know, and then became aware of his surroundings again, and Tom's watching gaze. He's seen it all, Harry realized, and felt a sickening twist in his gut. It seemed to stretch forever, the wait for Tom's next words, but when Tom spoke it was nothing Harry had expected.
"You speak to snakes, then?" Tom asked softly, and hearing the words was strange, like an echo, but then Harry was within Tom's own memory, then things were expected to be a bit odd.
"Yes." Harry admitted, easily, for surely in a world where a wizard could wave a wand and produce magic, one could speak to all sorts of creatures. That would be the easier magic, Harry would have thought.
"You must never let anyone know Harry, it's called Parseltongue and there are those among wizards and witches even who would think you evil for it." Tom was intently serious, and Harry dared not question him on if he was sure.
"It only happened the once." Harry protested, sure that it would not happen again now. Tom's lips quirked up in amused sort of look that seemed too cruel to be true.
"Oh? We've been speaking it sense you showed me your memory, which begs the question, how did you come to learn to do that?" There was keenness there, an intent that seemed as sharp as a blade.
"I don't know what you mean, was I not supposed to be able to? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to…" Harry trailed off, for Tom's expression made it plain that he thought no apology was needed, it was merely the how that Tom appeared to wonder at, not that Harry was sorry for it.
"Never mind that, no harm was done, it is merely…interesting." Tom drawled the last word, lips still quirked in his particular smile. It was not friendly, but cruel and somehow cold for its harshness. It was that intent that would stop at nothing to root out the truth, whatever the cost that made Harry realize they'd been speaking Parseltongue all along.
Harry rubbed at his eyes, feeling tired and drained, and when he opened them again, Tom was watching him. It seemed in Tom's habit, that trait, but Harry didn't think it would bring him any harm, so would say nothing.
"You ought to go to sleep, we can speak in the morning, if you'd like?" Tom trailed off, not seeming too bothered by the show of sleepiness – some trait of a physical body that Harry imagined that a memory like Tom could not feel, but might successfully reproduce by mimicry.
Harry nodded then found himself sitting on his chill sheets, the room very still and lonely around him. It was strange, that Tom seemed warmer, more real, to Harry then this very house he'd lived his whole life in, as far as he could remember. Only magic was so burned into his memory of what made him feel…alive.