Happy Birthday, Krysania! (Belatedly) Sorry that it took me so long to finish this and get it up, hope you like it :)

To the rest of you, bewarned of more slash attempts from me, as per Krysania's birthday request. Rest assured, non-slashers, that non-slash is still my predominant writing style, and will stay so for my main stories.

Anyway. Here you go -
Five ways to lose a girl, Tom Riddle style. (Goes with Logical Considerations, by the way)


5 ways to lose a girl:

Tom had quickly come to the conclusion that he didn't like it when Harry started dating. Initially, with the whole Voldemort-time debacle, it had never been a concern on either side because they'd simply been too busy.

Now, however, was an entirely different matter.

Harry was a popular hero, a likely candidate for dozens of girls swarming to date him - not that Tom himself wasn't, but he was used to the attention and hardly cared to return it, unless a short-term pretence of affection was of particular benefit to his own agendas.

It wasn't that he was against the principle of Harry having a girlfriend so much, it was the inconvenience of having to share which he so despised.

It would have been alright if the bitches had just accepted that Harry's first priority should always be Tom himself, but most of them didn't under the opinion that they should be the most important thing to the Boy-Who-Lived. It always, inevitably, began to affect his own plans and life, hence being unacceptable.

As far as he was concerned they could (largely) do what they wanted in and on their own time. The problem was that most of them insisted on cutting into Tom's time as well.

With Chang, at first, he'd been patient and supportive; aside from the promise to her that he would tear her lungs out and make her life hell if she broke Harry's heart. The Ravenclaw obviously wasn't as bright as she claimed to be, because she'd assumed he was joking.

He'd been naive then, perhaps, and figured it wouldn't change things too much...and Harry seemed to like having a girlfriend. Oh, how wrong he had been!

Since then, he'd developed the art of losing Harry's girlfriend down to a mastery.


1) Convince the target that Harry was actually gay

The pros were that it was probably the easiest of all the methods, and could also act pre-emptively against later targets if the rumour mill was properly utilised.

The cons were that Harry tended to sulk and get very angry about this, though Tom had always made sure to feign complete and flawless innocence on the matter.

He supposed he could almost thank Chang for inspiring this one, as she came to it of her own accord. After far too long a time, true, and he'd since whittled the technique down to a ruthless level of efficiency. Not that it required much effort, he just needed to make his and Harry's existing relationship more overt because most people were dumbly ready to believe their romantic nature anyway. Not to mention, he was fully aware that he was extremely possessive, so even acting in this manner wasn't any trouble.

This method was probably best exemplified with...Laura, he thought that had been her name, though he didn't really bother to remember or distinguish between them.

It was simple really, the trick was just to exaggerate his habit of touching, for example. Hand holding seemed to be traditional in dating, and so he'd merely made sure to just physically move Harry every single time he wanted him somewhere.

Normally, he only did that only 90% of the time - though the cultivation of that facet of their dynamic was entirely Harry's fault, as the boy refused to move via order, and so physical force was generally easier.

And he enjoyed the power rush, of course.

He may have also planted some subtle rumours to spur the situation - nothing incriminating that could be used against either of them, naturally, but enough to cast doubt.

This cumalitive implication was enough to drive the less dedicated ones away, especially in the light of the slight easing of his normal masks. He knew he made a formidable figure even when he was being genial, and this was only heightened when he didn't bother and turned to cruelly pleasant mockery and ice.

The more persistent ones, or the brave or foolish ones depending on how you looked at it, tended to confront him.

"What's going on between you and Harry?" Laura demanded, coming up behind him, hands on her hips as she glared at him suspiciously.

Tom turned slightly, putting her in his view, eyebrows arching.

"You can't draw your own conclusions?" he questioned, offering neither confirmation or denial. "You know what you know, Miss Montgomery."

Laura stared at him, a suddenly vulnerable sheen to her gaze, appearing lost and uncertain.

"I think he's in love with you," she stated, a slight quaver in her voice. "And you with him. Obviously, you don't like me that much because of that. Not that you deserve him."

"I take it you will be breaking up with him then," he stated, his tone abruptly cold. She bit her lip, fearful, taking an involuntary step back.

"You should tell him, you know," she murmured,nonetheless, quietly. "Or you'll lose him. He just thinks you find his having a social life inconvenient and are being a bastard."

That comment did annoy him, for some reason, though it proved he'd played his part masterfully in regards to her absolute conviction.

She left before he could muster a suitable response.
Harry spent that night furiously trying to figure out where people got the idea he was gay from.


2) The surprising effectiveness of an honest opinion

Pros; they normally broke down very quickly and couldn't take it. Whilst it didn't lead to an immediate break up, it damaged the longevity of the relationship irreparably, especially when used in combination with convincing the target of his and Harry's relationship, or method three, with its focus on the target's intrusive nature.

Cons; one time use only, and limited by thick skins. Harry had got incredibly aggravated and refused to talk to him for three weeks for being a "total git." Of course, he didn't know when Harry had gained the impression he was anything but a total git at heart, but that was a different matter. Nonetheless, though he rather enjoyed the effects, he was banned from ever giving a honest response to "what the hell is your problem with me" again.

Case study: Emily Saunders.

She'd been a feisty and courageous girl, he could see - in a clinical sort of way - why Harry had dated her. She was his type, and vaguely pretty too, in a petite, cute sort of way that was at complete odds with her personality.

She wasn't his least favourite, though he held no love lost for her because though she had her good points, they were highly outnumbered by her failings.

-
"Seriously, what the hell is your problem with me?" she'd exploded, after enduring his icy aloofness for about a month, as well as some of his other methods of exclusion.

Harry's eyes widened with something like horror, before he glared at Tom, warningly, almost pleadingly - jabbing a finger in his direction.

"Don't answer that. Don't you dare!" he growled, only to be cut off by his girlfriend.

"No, by all means, do," Emily stated coldly, glowering at him, her cheeks flushed. "You've been a dick ever since I've met you, Riddle, and I'm sick of playing nice with your - issues!"

"Guys," Harry tried again, but he himself had flared up now, though he only smiled at her.

"Problem one, you don't know your place. You're insolent, uncouth and unrefined, hardly suited to the leader of a political campaign. You like to think you're clever with all your opinions about the world...seeing as no one ever told you, love, reading a few books does not make you clever. You're dull and you're dumb, especially in contrast to Harry. Honestly, I don't know how he suffers through conversation with you...

You're also not a pureblood, or even a halfblood, and really, if you love your precious muggles so much you should leave the Wizarding World and rid it of your presence. Go and be a muggle instead!

Indeed, your only reason for staying is that you idealise the world far too much due to an obsession with fictional characters and worlds, which also makes me believe you're with him more because of the excitement of it all, rather than any more altruistic motivating factor -"

"-Tom!" Harry snapped, standing up angrily at the table, seizing his arm, ready to drag him out. Emily's eyes were aflame, though she'd gone a little pale. He shook off Harry's grip, pressing his finger firmly to the other's lips.

"-Hush, Harry, i'm answering her question...didn't you tell me to be less standoffish with your various, ah, companions?" He eyed her coolly, continuing his fast recital as if without pause. "This makes me believe you are not worth him, and, considering the fact you're magically only average at best, this is further enhanced...

Personality wise, you are inferior to him in every single way, and he is so out of your league I'd suspect a love potion, if Harry wasn't so much in the habit of taking pity on stray cats and bringing them home. Clearly, this is a similar scenario.

I've already identified that you're rude and somewhat stupid - though a nice person, like Harry, may mistake that foolishness for bravery. You're also a slut, I know, I looked up your records. Callum Johnston, tsk tsk, is that like an on-off 'it's complicated' type of thing or are you just rebounding now? Pathetically afraid of being alone, which is why you cling to Harry and abuse his affections...

You have some ambition, but lack the true drive to get to where you want, and instead have a horrible complacency about you...you may be able to fool some people into thinking that's contentedness, but the secret-supply of anti-depressants would suggest otherwise, and you are weak for accepting pills as a solution to your problems instead of confronting the situation head on.

As for physically, well, you're not exactly what I would call beautiful. You're plain, you wear too much make-up and you're overly aggressive in your approach. You think those clothes make you look trendy, they don't, they make you look pretentious and fat. More reason why I have problems with you, as, unless we're going for the sympathy vote spin, you're not ideal considering the amount of photo shoots we do."

The girl's eyes were started to look a bit wet, her hands and jaw clenched furiously.
He continued once more, only pausing for breath.

"You own a dog, I don't like dogs, so I have a problem with your appalling taste in pets. Now, that's the general overview of my problem with you, would you like me to go on detail as to my problem with-"

"Tom, for god's sake! Stop it! You're being cruel-" Harry snarled.

"-She asked, darling," he hissed, in return. "With your relationship with Harry too, or have I made my contempt for your complete and absolute unworthiness evident enough?"

Emily continued to stare at him, white as sheet, looking utterly shaken. Then, without a second gone by, she rounded the table, slapped him hard across the face with tears rolling down her cheeks, and strode out with her shoulders hunched defensively.

"Well done Tom," Harry sneered. "Really, thanks. In future, next time when my girlfriend's ask anything like that, don't give an honest answer." He strode out after her.

"Just looking out for your best interests, my dear," Tom called after.


3) Passive Aggressive date sabotage

Considering they ran a political campaign, and, really, with all the trouble in their lives, he was actually only being reasonable here.

They had crises - it was important that Harry didn't miss too much. It wasn't his fault such crises so often happened to collide with when Harry was on dates. To be fair, half the time there was something to deal with, that seemed to be the nature of their lives. The other half...he may have exaggerated in severity.

Unfortunately, Harry seemed to catch on to those pretty quickly, and would become rather annoyed. He didn't mind though. He personally found it rather funny when Harry got annoyed - not furious, but annoyed in a milder, grumpier way in which he just became even more snarky than normal and prone to flare up. It was fun.

Whilst this wasn't the most decisive strike, it tended to erode and chip away at any relationship longitude, especially when used in combination with his other methods.

Case in point: Lucy Coleman

Tom strode into the expensive restaurant in person, looking around for a moment, before decisively stalking over to a white-clothed table in the corner.

"Hi? Lucy, was it? Need to borrow your boyfriend, state of the nation at risk and all that..." he said pleasantly, gently snatching Harry's knife and fork out of his hands and placing them back on the table, already tugging to pull Harry's chair out too. "Come on, sweetheart, let's go..."

"Whoa - Tom," Harry grabbed his hands, seeming to not notice his girlfriend's sour expression at that, bless him. "What the hell? I'm kind of, er, busy, if you hadn't noticed."

"...Harry, we need your help. The campaign's in crisis!"

"And you can't solve it without me?" Harry questioned skeptically.

"Your side of the campaign. You know I don't like dealing with all your magical creatures. Besides, it's you they're used to, unless you want the centaurs to think their welfare within this country is secondary to your desire to get laid?"

Both Harry and Lucy flushed at that statement, and he suppressed a smirk.

"What's happening with the centaurs?" Harry questioned, looking like he had a headache building.

"I-you can't seriously be considering going, can you?" Lucy whispered harshly. "It's our anniversary!" she looked at him, obviously trying to be patient and reasonable. "Can't you deal without him for one night? Or at least a few more hours, Tom?"

"I'm afraid not," he sighed. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't urgent."

Harry shot him a look at that, though he kept his features entirely innocent.

He came that time. And the time after that.

By the third time, he'd given up on Tom's genuine intentions and his relationship was crumbling.

Job well done.

The fact he'd physically dragged Harry out by his tie one time probably didn't help.


4) Honey and Flies

This one was probably his least favourite, and largely accidental. It was more a result of Harry growing suspicious of his other methods and going to some effort to prevent him repeating their "cruel" usage. It had a high chance of going wrong too.

The pro was that, for once, Harry didn't blame him in the slightest and that, if it worked correctly, the girl left Harry.

The worst part was that Harry was uneccessarily hurt by it, and it only exacerbated his friend's self-confidence issues.

Forced into his masks of charm and friendliness sometimes, just sometimes, the girl developed feelings for him - or, indeed, dated Harry in an effort to get his attention and get closer.
Tom hated them most of all.

-
Tom looked up as Harry strode into the Office, looking utterly stressed out as he collapsed at his desk, rubbing absently at what seemed to be a growing headache.

He frowned slightly, though Harry made no comment about anything being out of the ordinary (not that he expected the man to.) His shoulders were hunched defensively though, and his posture was otherwise a bit too casual, his features too smooth.

He made none of his normal conversation with their employees, or even Tom himself, keeping to himself, gaze lowered to his work.

Tom abandoned his own paperwork for a moment, studying the other openly.
Harry glanced up, clearly sensing the scrutiny, raising his eyebrows pointedly before looking away again.

He didn't make an effort to question further, not then, anyway. He waited for the day to finish, and for them to head back to their home.

Except, Harry seemed absolutely determined to work a ridiculous amount of overtime. It was ten O clock, neither of them had eaten since lunch time, and everyone else had long since gone home.

He made his way over, leaning against Harry's desks, arms folded.

"That peace treaty plan will still be here tomorrow, sweetheart. Let's go," he instructed.

"You go on ahead," Harry murmured, not looking up. "I'll catch you up later."

"No. You'll come now."

Harry ignored him, and, impatiently, he leaned over, across the document Harry was re-reading.

"Tom," Harry growled. "Now you're just being annoying."

"And there was me thinking I was being a good friend," he replied, smirking. "Your girlfriend would kill me for over-working you."

Harry stiffened, as if suppressing a flinch. Tom's smirk vanished, and he regarded Harry more closely.

Megan. It was something to do with Megan...he thought that was her name, anyway...

"Girl trouble?" he questioned, a tad awkwardly. "Did you two have a row?"

"We broke up," Harry stated, his tone clipped, brooking no further questioning.
Tom's eyes narrowed. This time, for once, he hadn't actually done anything to sabotage, so he was slightly at a loss as to what the problem was...though he couldn't quite suppress his glee.

"Why?" he demanded.

"Just leave it, alright?" Harry said, irritably. "I don't want to talk about it. Are you planning on giving me my peace treaty back?"

"Not until you tell me, no," he responded. Harry scowled, before just simply standing and heading for the door.

Well, at least that was something. He followed, falling into step next to the other easily, though his scrutiny remained intent.

"It wasn't going to work between us," Harry said finally. "Satisfied?"

"Why not? I mean, in your opinion," he added. "I personally thought she was dull and pathetic from the start, but I presume you initially viewed her in a more favourable light as you agreed to date her in the first place..."

"Let's just say she likes someone else," Harry muttered.
Tom's brow furrowed marginally.

"...whilst dating you?" he asked. "Who?"
He could feel a dangerous surge of fury beginning to build inside him.

"Doesn't matter," Harry said dismissively, spinning to apparate. Tom grabbed his arm as he did so, forcing it to become side-along so Harry didn't just disappear. Nonetheless, they merely arrived at their house, and Harry shot him a look - knowing exactly what he'd just been thinking, probably.

He returned the look, utterly unrepentant.
"It matters to me," he replied, as if there was no pause in the conversation. Harry continued to the kitchen, rolling up his sleeves.

"Will pasta suit you for dinner, or are you going to order take-out for yourself?" Harry questioned instead.

Harry was cooking - stressed. Harry liked cooking, he found it relaxing, the fact he was doing so now at ten O clock at night after their exhausting day with the campaign only furthered that something was wrong.

"Pasta suits me fine," he replied... in all honesty, he was actually rather fond of Harry's cooking (not that he'd ever tell the other that.) He watched the other boil water while considering the best approach for the topic of the break up.

It was something new, different then normal; obviously, Harry had never reacted like this to a break-up. Normally he just exploded sooner or later in a 'why the hell does she think I'm gay!' tirade or some other form of rant to get the whole thing out of his system before largely reverting to normal after maybe a week or so.

"She broke up with you," he stated, regarding Harry closely for confirmation, before his eyebrows shot up. "Oh...you broke up with her. This is interesting. Why?"

"Just shut up, alright?" Harry instructed tightly. "This is my life, not just some puzzle to keep you entertained while you wait for food. Do something useful and set the table or something instead of pestering me, why don't you?"

Tom was searching his mind for possible reasons why Harry would break up what appeared to largely be a successful relationship. He'd said she liked someone else.

"Did she cheat on you?" he asked, circling to better assess Harry's expressions. If she had...he silently plotted revenge inside.

"No, she just prefers someone else, I'm sure you'll find out about it soon enough," Harry replied tersely, draining the pasta, before adding sauce. "You're doing the dishes by the way, as I'm cooking."

Tom merely blinked at that statement, though made no protest, more concerned with his current trail of thought.

Find out soon enough...via the paper, or because she was in love with someone he knew, and so she would approach them and he'd find out that...oh.
Memories of the times he'd spent with Harry and...Megan (was it?) flashed before his eyes.

"Oh...oh no," he murmured. Harry tensed even further.

"Yeah," he muttered. "Like I said, just leave it - alright?"
Harry started bringing the pasta to the table, jaw tight.

"Me?" Tom verified. "She's...she's in love with me?"
How repulsive. He nearly grimaced at the mere thought.

"I'd rather not discuss this," Harry said stiffly, sitting down, serving himself. Tom sat down too, in his customary seat.

For a while, they ate in silence. It was good food; not that he'd expected anything less.
He considered for a while again, before standing up, going to the kitchen and getting glasses and wine. He offered one to Harry, with a raised eyebrow.

Harry accepted it after casting numerous spells over it to check he hadn't added anything 'unnatural.'

"I'm hurt, darling," he said, dryly. "All this time, and you still don't trust me..."

"All this time, and I only know you better...how on earth do you expect me to trust you?" Harry returned, teasingly, though it lacked the normal vibrancy and spark.

Tom smirked, but didn't protest that statement. They clinked their glasses together without comment, and if Harry practically downed his own, for once he didn't comment on it.

As happy he was that Harry was no longer with Megan Kissinger, this wasn't satisfactory.

"I...apologise," he said, uncomfortable with saying such a thing. Harry rolled his eyes.

"It's hardly your fault, I presume you didn't encourage her?"

"As if," Tom dismissed, scathingly, before turning a more serious. "I...wouldn't do that. Not to you."

Harry glanced at him for a moment, before nodding once, sharply.
The silence was marginally less awkward this time, though Harry's attention was still rather pointedly fixed away from here. And he drank a bit too much too fast, perhaps.

"...so, does she have some sort of mental affliction?" he questioned.
Harry laughed.

And, later, much later, Tom slipped out into the night to pay the girl a visit.
After all, her status as Harry's girlfriend had always been the only thing keeping him civil...


5) Threaten the target

Pros; this was probably the most satisfying method.

Cons; it was difficult to pull off, with a high risk factor, and a bit too blunt for his tastes in anything other but critical situations.

There were so many things that could go wrong with such a method, and so he had to be careful whenever he implemented this particular one.

Case Study: Pansy Parkinson

Barring the rather notable 'marriage' incident, which was the last, he'd had several run-ins with this particular girl before. For a Slytherin, and even more so as one of his Death Eaters, it took her third time lucky to get the damn hint to back off.

The first time had been in their fifth year, in which she'd first began to show an interest in Harry for the sake of securing her own position within the hierarchy of their house.

Harry had, unfortunately, spared the stupid girl from more than a brief period humiliation and some sharp words. He would have preferred the use of a sharp knife, personally, but occasionally he regrettably had to defer to appeasing Harry's sense of morality on such matters.

The first time was perhaps his most subtle of warnings, but, really, he'd hoped she might understand from that. It seemed not; her capabilities for delusion seemed to be on the same atrocious level as Lestrange's had been.

The second time had been more pointed, when she accidentally ended up falling down the stairs after spending a whole time simpering over the Boy-Who-Lived.

The problem with having to fake it as an accident so convincingly, and to so limit his personal involvement due to deals with Harry, was that his performance was so utterly convincing that she didn't connect the dots as to what she'd been punished for.

Nevertheless, her broken limbs had kept her at bay, quite literally - in the hospital bay, indeed. Unfortunately, Harry had visited her there too with some ridiculous notion of guilt or whatever, but he'd soon been distracted with their whirlwind life once more.

Strike three, and her most audacious imposition, proved her finally out, as he made absolutely no effort to sugar coat his intentions if she dared approach Harry in such a manner again. Really, the reaction had been delightful, even if the fall out of Harry's temper had initially been potentially problematic.

On the whole, however, it had worked out well..and, perhaps, indirectly, in the most effective way of all.


+ 1 - He's taken! (Post LC if one accepts this in the LC Headcanon universe :P)

They were at the annual Ministry Summer Ball, and even after several years of them, Harry loathed them as much as ever.

Tom always insisted in the finest of clothes for all of their company, and whoever he associated with, and though acromantula silk was the opposite of a hardship to wear, he still always felt self-conscious and like a child playing dress up.

He kept expected to be called up his attire, though Tom had always had something dark to mutter on that topic whenever the subject was even close to being brought up.

This time was no different, except for the small fact that this time he and Tom were actually going, well...together. It felt a little strange, if he was completely honest with himself, but not necessarily bad.

Largely, however, any change in their relationship had slipped pretty seamlessly into their lifestyle, so there were no particular significant changes except for maybe just the smallest of shifts in the way they treated each other. Even then, not really.

Tom wasn't overly affectionate or anything, and hadn't really changed his behaviour at all, aside from the whole kissing thing, every so often. There wasn't any pressure there, whatsoever, either way.

At the ball, they both had the same lifestyle and duties of mingling as they always had - and they'd always largely been paired anyway.

Whilst some people were unfavourable to the idea of them being together in such a manner, homophobic, a disconcerting amount didn't actually recognise any change whatsoever. They just assumed they'd stopped 'pretending.'

He supposed 'coming out' or whatever was easier when everyone had already spent the last five years or so telling you that you were in love or in a secret relationship anyway...

Not that they'd ever actually announced it or become public about it, officially. People saw what they saw, and assumed what they didn't see.

Now, however, taking a momentary break from dancing at the stress of saying the right thing to everyone and being on perfect form and politically correct all the time, he'd sat by the bar for a while, ordering himself a firewhiskey.

"I'll get that for you," said a voice, sliding over some galleons before he could pay. He turned.

"It's fine, really, I can get it," he began.

"Nonsense," the girl - Felicity, Auror, his mind supplied - said, flapping a carefree hand, grinning. "Humour me."

Harry let it go after a moment, simply tipping the glass in salute, somewhat used to such things by now, even if some remnant from his time in the past made it odd that she would be the one buying him drinks.

"Cheers," he replied, instead, with a smile. "I owe you one."

"I can deal with that," she winked, and he laughed, despite his marginal discomfort.
They chatted for a while, idly, and it was pleasant enough. She was an intelligent conversationalists, and seemed to abhor these events as much as he did.

It became a bit awkward when she started pressing closer to him though, subtly, leaning more and more in the more she drank.

He suspected it wasn't something she'd do normally - it was the drinking she'd obviously been indulging in with her stressful job and own discomfort at ministry balls that spurred her to do it. She was young, too, hadn't been to enough of these things to realise yet that the alcohol served was stronger than normal.

He tried to gently remove her drink before things got embarrassing, because, really, it wasn't her fault.

She avoided the gesture absently, before abruptly pressing a kiss to his lips and declaring that she wanted to dance with him.

He was getting dragged to the dance floor when Tom appeared at his side, smiling at them both.

"Ah, there you are Harry," the Slytherin Heir greeted, with an almost frightening pleasantness. Before he was even aware of what was happening, Felicity's hand was no longer in his own, and instead Tom's hand was. He was all smiles, but his grip was unyielding, and it pulled him closer to the young Dark Lord.

Felicity's expression flickered somewhat.

"I-oh," she said. "Are you two-?" she was blushing now, looking incredibly embarrassed. Harry couldn't help but feel sorry for her - his and Tom's party were probably some of the youngest at the whole event anyway.

"Yes," Tom said firmly. "We are."
His dark gaze seemed to sear into the Auror's, who suddenly looked like she would have preferred to be out on the field chasing murderers.

"I didn't know," she said, glancing between them both. "Sorry."

"Well, now you do," Tom returned, with an edge of coldness. The next second, Harry found himself being swept up onto the dancefloor once more, only with Tom as his partner.

He raised an eyebrow.

"Possessive, much?" he demanded, lowly. "She didn't know, you probably scared the poor girl half to death swooping in like that - and who the hell said you get to lead anyway?" he added, at their dancing, scowling at that.

"I get to lead because I'm taller than you, and a better dancer," Tom replied, eyes gleaming with the traces of an inner smirk, though that concentrated possessiveness was still very much present. Harry couldn't help but wonder if that was going to become a problem, but Tom was already continuing. "And, yes, I'm very possessive. You should already know that."

"You know, in our line of work, I do kind of have to dance with other people..." Harry said, sincerely hoping Tom hadn't seen everything that happened at the bar.

"...and allowing them to kiss you?"

Damn it.

"Wasn't my fault!" he protested. "Bloody hell, it's not like I knew it was coming."

"You should have slapped her for the audacity," Tom replied darkly, his grip tightening, nails digging in slightly into his suit.

"She's drunk. She didn't know. Won't happen again. Drop it," Harry muttered, feeling uncomfortable.

"She didn't know...you should know better," Tom murmured dangerously. Harry grimaced.

"You know," he said, after a moment, baiting the other because honestly no matter what their relationship status was or wasn't, that was just how they did things, "you have no right to be pissed off because we never actually specified any exclusivity in this...hell, we never specified anything."

"We didn't?" Tom had that alarming smile on again. "My mistake."
The next second, Tom was bounding up towards a podium, pulling him along by the hand despite his effort to pull back. "Excuse me," the young Dark Lord called out, getting some quiet.

Harry paled.

"Oh no - Tom, don't you dare-" he began.
Tom ignored him, flashing another disarming smile.

"Just to avoid any further misconceptions, Harry's with me. As in, dating me. As in, mine and off limits. Thank you all so much for coming, hope you're having a wonderful night."
There was an awkward silence.
Harry resisted the urge to face-palm, or let the earth swallow him up, flushing furiously.

"I can't believe you just did that," he said flatly, as, after a while, the room returned to its normal volume with more amusement than anything else. "You are unbelievable."

Tom pressed a kiss to his mouth, crushingly, before yanking him off the podium again.

"I figured you'd prefer it to a 'property of Tom Riddle' t-shirt, with 'if lost, please return to this address' on the back," Tom drawled.

Harry blinked.

"I'm going to sincerely hope that was a joke, because it would cause a scandal if I punched you right now."

Tom merely smirked at him.

"Of course it was joke, darling," he replied.
The gleam in his eyes said otherwise.

"...go dance with Hermione before I punch you."


A/N: Solace in Shadows next on my update list ;)