Abandoned to the Cold
Authors note: This is my first story, so I would appreciate lots of Constructive criticism and help, if you would. I would also love any questions or comments you might make, even if it is just as simple "nice." I have realized I tend to put in many commas and dashes; I am sorry, and I am working on that.
Disclaimer: No, I do not own any thing, characters included. My ideas were taken from a mesh of many other people, combined, and personalized. BlackenedNightshade in particular, the story 'Seeking Warmth' gave me the initial idea.
Warning: Possible beating later on. Uncle Vernon is quite the horrid character.
Pairings: I have no idea. What happens happens.
^-^ Abandoned to the Cold -^-
Harry stomped through the streets, fuming at Dumbledore, Voldemort, his friends, his 'family', and at the world in general. Why in the name of all that was holy or unholy was he stuck at the Dursley's? It was not summer. It was not fall, nor even spring. No, it was the middle of stinking December, and was he having a happy, happy holiday indeed.
Dumbledore had decided (without consulting Harry) that he would have to go to the Dursleys. For Christmas. Alone. With no owls or letters. For. No. Reason.
Well, Dumbledore claimed he had a reason. Supposedly, the blood wards protecting Harry that had been constructed from Lilly's sacrifice were failing because Harry did not consider Number 4, Privet Drive, his home. Dumbledore had decided to 'fix' that by forcing Harry to spend Christmas break there. Harry knew it would not work. There was no way in the world, heaven, or hell that could get him to consider his personal little hellhole home. Just prison.
Now he was stuck with the Dursleys, and no one would do anything about it. No one cared and no one could come. He had been abandoned by everyone the moment Professor Dumbledore had opened his mouth. They had all just smiled and said, "Dumbledore knows best!" Not one would listen to him, and not even Ron or Hermione had listened to his pleas. No one would owl him, floo him, rescue him, or attempt to call or contact him in any way, shape, or form. Thank you, Dumbledore. Being locked and secluded at my Uncle's for Christmas is truly going to make me call that prison 'home' and then the blood wards will stand strong and Voldemort will never come and kill me. Quite the genius idea, Dumbledore. The only thought that might surpass it would be Dumbledore growing a brain.
Harry truly hated being left at the Dursleys. With Dumbledore personally delivering him, with his cursed twinkle in his eye, and his assurance that "Harry's family is allowed to take Harry anywhere and do anything with him, with no fear from the wizarding world," Harry knew his Christmas break had just been royally screwed over. Without anyone around, the Dursleys would truly make his life a misery and mercilessly abuse him. Harry would have given anything to have someone there with him. Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Luna, Malfoy, Snape, or even Voldemort would help! Harry winced as his scar hurt viciously at the thought of the snake-man.
Harry trod into a nearby park, still grumbling quietly to himself. He was about to put his foot down when he heard a voice hiss ::Do not step on me, imbecile!::
Harry stopped midstride as his eyes widened. On the ground, in the snow, was a thin, six-foot long snake. It was shivering and shaking uncontrollably, with its head lifted weakly off the ground to look him in the face. The white snake gave a huge shudder, pulling at Harry's heartstrings and distracting him from his aching scar and bad mood.
::Are you all right?:: Harry hissed at the snake. If it answered no, he knew he would do his best to help it in any way he could. Since he could not fix his own situation, he could try to help this snake with his instead, if needed.
::Of course I am not all right, you pathetic idiot! I was thrown into the frigid streets in the middle of the blooming winter, and I am a cold-blooded snake! Oh yes, I am doing just fine here, freezing to my humiliating death!:: The snake spat out at him even as a shiver wracked its body again.
Harry blinked. This snake was obviously in a bit of a temper. Understandable, really, since it was slowly approaching its death. ::Would you mind it if I helped you?::
The snake looked up at Harry and glared at him with blood colored eyes shining darkly against its pure white appearance. Harry tried to stifle a shriek and jumped back, feeling as if the snake's gaze was as dangerous as Voldemort's. ::Scared of me, just because I do not look so pretty with my eyes open? I will have you know, I may look deadly and I am, but I am an exceedingly rare snake!:: It hissed, and opened its mouth threateningly as if to bite Harry, showing dangerous fangs.
::S-sorry, you just startled me. Calm down, and if you are cold, I will help you warm up, if you want.:: Harry could not help it, the snake looked so helpless. Even though it appeared to be dying , it was holding onto its life and its words. This magnificent creature would bow down to nothing and nobody. Harry wondered how long it had been there, and how it could have possibly survived so far. When the snake made no move or response, Harry slowly crouched down and gingerly extended his arm to the snake. ::I promise I won't hurt you or abandon you if you come with me. I'll help protect you.::
::Are you seriousss? I can kill you with just a quick bite, and I am tempted to do just that!:: The snake appeared to want to accept, but it also appeared wary of accepting Harry's help.
Harry rolled his eyes. ::Yes, and then we would both die out here. Look, you can change your mind once you are beyond the reach of death. If you stay out here any longer in the cold, you are probably going to end up dead.::
The snake seemed torn between pride and life. With a frustrated hiss, it slithered towards Harry. ::Fine then, snake-speaker. Get me out of this wretched cold. Maybe I won't kill you at this moment.::
Harry rolled his eyes, but he gingerly picked up the snake. ::If you don't mind, I will hang you over my shoulders like a boa and cover you with my coat.:: The snake hissed and sighed, and Harry did just as he had said. The snake shivered, then stuck its tail down Harry's shirt. Harry yelped. ::That's cold!::
::Deal with it. You are the one who offered help in the first place, now see it through! I need heat, and your body heat will do quite nicely. So suck it up, I am freezing here!:: The snake wrapped whatever part of its body that had not fit down Harry's back around his neck, resembling an insanely large, white necklace
Harry laughed softly, aware that the snake could kill him at any moment and take his body heat as his life faded away. ::All right, all right, just don't choke me, okay?:: Harry began walking back to his 'home'. He hated it there, but it was warmer and the snake needed more heat. He walked in silence, before talking to the snake again. ::I am taking you to my 'home', my prison, where we will be warmer. I am afraid I will have to warn you, my family completely hates me. You are going to have to hide, and I will pray that they do not immediately beat me tonight. You would probably kill them if they came too close, wouldn't you? I personally would not mind, but it would most likely break the wards set around the house and thus make my suffering here completely worthless. ::
The snake unwrapped itself enough so he could rise up and look at Harry face-to-face. ::Wards?::
::Barriers. They are meant to keep me safe and protect me from any random Dark Lords that stray across my path.:: Harry snorted. ::Aside from muggles, anyone that is not related to me or sharing blood with me will be unable to come across without my conscious and completely willing decision.:: Harry sighed. ::You will be fine. After all, I am bringing you in voluntarily. While we are on the topic of my protections, I would advise against thinking of killing me inside the house while I am around. My aunt and uncle complain that it causes them no small amount of pain and headaches whenever they attempt to do so, and it has been that way for years. If my blood relatives have that reaction from the wards, I shudder to think at what might happen to you in said situation.::
The snake stared at him, speechless. Harry could practically feel his shock. After a minute, Harry grew quite concerned. ::Are you all right?::
::Am I all right? Are YOU all right? You just said your family entertains thoughts of killing you and neither your face nor your voice wavered for even one second! Are you stupid? Why do you stay here?:: The snake seemed furious now, swaying back and forth.
Harry shrugged. ::It keeps me alive.::
The snake waited for more. When it realized no other explanation was forthcoming, it sighed. ::How am I supposed to kill you now?:: it hissed softly.
Harry laughed. ::I suppose you will have to stick with me for a while then. After all, if you do not kill me I can help you, right?:: Harry paused. ::We will be there soon, so please hide and hope for the best.::
The snake slithered down so that it wrapped Harry's waist like a belt, before pulling his head back up Harry's shirt and whispering in his ear. ::I have your back covered for surprise attacks.::
Harry gave a quiet laugh.::They mostly stopped that when I was seven and I unconsciously used magic on them all. Surprising an underage wizard with no control on their magical powers in order to do bodily harm is never a good idea. Even the retarded Dursleys were smart enough to figure out that. At least, they did after a few…unpleasant incidents. You had better hide now that we are here. We would not like them to see you now, would we?::
The snake lowered its serpentine head. ::I can hide my presence magically. They will never see me unless I want them to, and after I bite them, of course.::
::Don't you mean if you bite them?:: Harry whispered before the door opened.
"MUMMY! DADDY! The freak is back!" Dudley had opened the door. The snake let out a low hiss from where it was hidden.
"BOY! ROOM! NOW!" Uncle Vernon yelled from where he lay sprawled out on the sofa. "You had better not set one FOOT outside your room before I come in to deal with you! The MOMENT my show is over, you WILL learn your lesson!"
Harry flinched. "Yes Uncle Vernon," he muttered before running up the stairs to his room. He opened the door and closed it behind him, then turned to throw himself onto the bed. He lurched to a stop as he realized that the action would have squashed his passenger. He slowly took off his coat and jacket, leaving only a long, ragged, obviously handed down shirt on. It covered him midway to his thighs once he untucked it. He gently pulled the snake off himself and placed it on the bed.
The snake curled up as Harry lay gently down beside it Harry's hand slowly reached out and began stroking it. The snake hissed and slowly moved closer. Harry felt its slow approach. ::It's okay. You are still freezing and I am a good heat source. Unlike you, I won't bite, so you can move closer if you just swallow your pride. It won't kill you, you know.:: Harry gave a small smile.
::You know, I might still kill you.:: the snake hissed. Harry shrugged, rolling his shoulders up and down while the snake slowly curled up on his chest.
::It would be an ironic death. The "great Boy-Who-Lived," the parseltongue who lived through numerous death-defying encounters with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the most powerful Dark Lord since Grindelwald and possibly centuries before him, was sent home to be safe and subsequently met his death at the fangs of a snake. Oh, that would be a horribly rich irony! The press would have a complete field day with that- Rita would probably claim I talked the snake into biting me so I could commit suicide.:: Harry snorted. ::If you killed me, I would have to stay as a ghost just to see how everybody responded. Hmmm…now, I am wondering whether I actually want you to kill me or not…::
::You fight the Dark Lord often, then?:: The snake seemed a little angry, now.
::Yeah, on average once a year since I turned 11. Why? Do you know him?::
::The fool who kept and tried to kill me did. He was constantly afraid that this Dark Lord would come and kill him, so I eventually began rooting for this person. The fool often read the newspaper articles about him aloud, so I listened in and learned about his noble campaign. My fool owner was quite mad; I am exceedingly glad to be rid of him. How did you, a mere child of 16, defeat the decades old greatest wizard who lived?:: The snake seemed truly curious, raising its head to look at Harry.
Harry could not decide if he should be flattered or angered. ::I must argue with you about some points later-I mean, noble cause? Killing over half of the wizard population? –but I will debate that with another time. He tried to kill me in my first year several times from the back of my DADA- Defense Against the Dark Arts- teachers head. In one of my Quidditch matches, he jinxed my broom to throw me off, but Snape stopped him. Later, he tried to kill me in the Forbidden Forest after I- and Malfoy, the coward- saw him drinking unicorn blood, but a brave centaur named Firenze saved me. At the end of the year, I beat him before he got the Sorcerer's Stone with the power of my mother's love.:: Harry snorted. Mothers love, like no other mother ever died for her child.
::In my second year, his memory of his 16 year old self that was sealed in a diary, which I later found out was a Horocrux-:: the snake hissed ::-tried to unleash a basilisk on the school. Not just any basilisk, The Basilisk that originally belonged to Salazar Slytherin! When we realized that his diary was possessing Ginny Weasley- who Malfoy had planted with for personal revenge- she was taken down into the Chamber of Secrets. Being a parseltongue, whether it was naturally or from the cursed bond I share with Voldemort, I was able to go down into the chambers and saved her. Anyways, after I defeated the Basilisk-::
The snake interrupted, hissing violently. ::WHAT! You defeated the basilisk! How in the name of all that's unholy and holy did you manage that! The basilisk is the King of Serpents; it would not just lie down and let some young fool defeat it!::
Harry scowled. ::That would be just plain insulting, if the story was not so unbelievable to begin with. Yes, I defeated the basilisk. After Riddle sent the basilisk after me, saying that he was the greatest wizard who ever lived, I yelled that it was Dumbledore who was truly the greatest wizard.:: The snake hissed again in anger. ::Yeah, I know better now, but I didn't back then. Anyways, his Phoenix, Fawkes, came down and brought the old school sorting hat with it. While Riddle was mocking me, Fawkes distracted and blinded the basilisk and I pulled the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat.:: The snake softly hissed in disbelief. ::The basilisk could still track me with its sense of smell, but I could look at it without a fear of instant death. As the basilisk lunged at me, I stabbed it through the roof of its mouth and speared its brain even as one of its fangs latched off in my arm.:: Harry pulled back the sleeve of his T-Shirt –it extended past his elbow- to show off his scar. The snake stared at it, cautiously flicking its tongue at the scar. Harry gave a slight, hissing giggle. ::I would have died, but as Riddle was mocking me, Fawkes cried phoenix tears into my wound, healing me and restoring my strength. As Ginny lay there with her strength draining away, I took the basilisk fang and drove a hole through the diary. Riddle died, as the ink linked out of his diary, the Horocrux. Oh, a Horocrux is the darkest of magics, created by ripping your soul in half and sealing it in an object as you slowly go mad, guaranteed to survive until the Horocrux is destroyed. Ginny returned to life, and Voldemort was defeated again.::
The snake hissed, anger showing clearly in its eyes. ::H-hey…are you alright? Snake?:: The snake snapped at him, then slowly lowered its head back onto Harry's chest.
::Sorry,:: it started slowly, ::I just can't believe that. You have impeccable luck. There is no other reason you are alive right now.::
Harry grinned. ::What, my natural talent had nothing to do with it? No, I agree with you. That is why it's so sickening how the entire wizarding world is relying on me. If they were not so pathetic, I would just abandon them. As it is though, I will never abandon them. I would, and probably will, give up my life for any of them. Voldemort knows this, and he is not afraid to play dirty and use this against me. Any lead he can make, he will take. He proved it last year, and it got my godfather killed.:: Harry sighed. ::Oh well. Hey, snake- I can't keep thinking of you as just that. You do have a name, don't you? Can you tell me?::
The snake hissed, long and loud. ::I will not use the name my owner gave to me ever again! I would rather be called dirt than have any link remaining with him.::
Harry looked down at him, shocked at the snakes pride and conviction. ::Alright, then may I give you a name?:: The snake looked at him carefully, then slowly nodded. ::Based on your attitude, your puzzling yet proud nature, and whom you look up to, I think you should be named Riddle. The Dark Lord Voldemort's original name was Tom Marvolo Riddle. If you make an anagram of that, it comes out "I am Lord Voldemort." He doesn't care for it all too much, so he probably won't mind you using it. What do you think?::
The snake stayed silent for a moment, then slowly nodded his head in acceptance. ::I suppose that is a fitting name.:: Riddle looked as if he was going to say more, but Harry froze when he heard a noise coming from downstairs.
::Hide! Quickly! My uncle is coming, and I don't want you in harm's way!:: Shifting quickly, Harry managed to gently lift the snake and stand up, and quickly carried Riddle to a shadowed corner of the room and hid him behind a pile of rags. ::Stay there and stay silent, no matter what, okay?:: Harry had a panicked look in his eye as he begged Riddle to listen. ::Please, I'm sorry, just please don't do anything and stay out of the way!:: The snake sighed, and nodded.
Harry sighed in relief, and backed away slowly. ::Thank you. I promise I'll make it up later.:: As the sounds below moved towards the stairs, Harry moved slowly to the door, standing far enough back he wouldn't be hit if it swung open. It was a wise precaution because just moments later the door swung open with a loud crash. Riddle jumped in his little corner, but Harry had been expecting it and barely flinched.
"Boy! I have told you, you do NOT leave this house! What if the neighbors saw you and your freakishness?" Vernon screamed at Harry, spittle flying. Harry made no move, knowing it would only enrage his uncle further. He just hung his head as his uncle raged at him, waxing on about how freaky he was and how the Dursleys had taken him in out of the goodness of their hearts. "BOY! Are you even listening?" Harry flinched as he nodded his head. "Have you learned your lesson this time?" Harry cringed back and nodded vigorously.
"I don't think so!" Vernon advanced and Harry cringed back, knowing what was going to happen. Vernon raised his fist and began pummeling Harry. Harry felt the fist hit his skin, crushing his arm with Vernon's immense weight behind it. As he pulled back, Harry's arm began to feel the burn of pain coming from the quickly forming bruise. He began slowly, but soon began alternating between kicking and punching. His blows were hard and fierce, and he put so much effort into them he could barely talk. After many agonizing minutes, he began slowing, merely punching the barely standing Harry, but his punches held all the force of a raging rhinoceros herd. "We" punch- "have" punch- "To" punch- "Pound" extra hard punch, and a nasty crack- "This lesson" punch- "IN!" Another sickening crack, and Harry was thrown back onto the semi-hard lump he called a bed. He bit off a cry of pain as Vernon snorted and left the room, slamming the door closed behind him. Harry heard him say something about learning his lesson as his vision started to blacken.
Harry groaned, barely managing to hold on and stay conscious. He slowly dragged himself up and began cataloging his injuries. His right arm was at an awkward angle, and blood was seeping out from where the bone broke the skin. Pain was sending white-hot flashes through his mind, killing his thoughts. With great effort, he managed to concentrate.::Sh-! I can't believe he actually did that much damage to my wand arm!:: He gingerly felt at his chest with his left hand, and winced as he realized that some of his ribs had been broken. He sighed, flinching as his chest flamed in agony. ::Can- can you bring me the bandages near you?:: He asked the snake quietly, his hiss barely louder than a breath.
Riddle slowly slid out of his hiding spot. Grabbing some cloths from nearby with his fangs, he moved onto Harry's bed. He dropped the rags near Harry's left hand, and surveyed the damage. ::You came here to be safe?:: His voice was dry, and held a huge amount of incredulous disbelief. Harry gave a weak chuckle, wincing as the movements jarred his chest. He slowly forced his arm bone back into place, biting back a scream and letting out a low whimper. Panting, he bandaged the arm one-handedly as the blood dripped onto his 'bed.' After his arm was painstakingly wrapped, he moved onto bandaging his chest.
::It's not as bad as it looks:: Harry said weakly. ::I am actually decent at wandless magic now, so I can heal myself easily enough. Just- give me a minute.:: Harry closed his eyes and began concentrating on healing his injuries. His bone gradually knit itself back together beneath his flesh. The bleeding slowed, then stopped as new skin appeared to cover the wound. Harry sighed with relief as his chest bones repaired themselves and grew stronger. His breathing steadied, so it was no longer harsh panting breaths. Riddle watched silently.
When Harry was done almost twenty minutes later, Riddle breathed out a slow, snaky whistle. ::I thought you said you were just decent at wandless magic! I'm actually impressed, boy! How did you learn it? I thought Hogwarts didn't teach wandless and wordless magic!::
Harry looked at Riddle curiously before replying. ::They don't. I taught myself, when I was young. The Dursleys never were very…hospitable, so I had to learn quickly or die.:: Harry shrugged slowly, wincing as he pulled at his still tender chest. ::It's a sink or swim world out here. I chose to swim. I just did not have the benefit of rafts and other floatation devices other luckier kids have, nor a steadying parent to hold me safe.::
Riddle let out a quiet laugh. ::No, instead you got a raging riptide and a murderous shark out after your blood.::
Harry laughed softly with him, trying not to pull the attention of the Dursleys. ::Truly, you have a great amount of wit. If Voldemort knew you were named after him, he might almost feel proud to share his name.:: He quieted for a moment, then sighed. ::Thanks for staying put. I just need to pretend that I never recovered for Uncle Vernon's benefits. He knows I heal fairly quickly, but I never let on exactly how quickly I heal. The bandages help in the healing and hide the extent of the wound from the Dursleys eyes. All they know is they can beat me however much they wish and I won't die, no matter what they do. Once, Dudley was truly angry with me and let out a flying punch at my throat. I couldn't dodge, and I very nearly died that day. It was the first true test of my abilities. I managed to reconstruct my throat before I choked to death. Of course, the punishment for my indiscretions became much harsher after that.::
Riddle watched Harry, and then he moved the unused rags back to the corner where he had found them. As Harry lay down on his bed, the snake moved back up to him, and lay down next to him as they both succumbed to nightmares of harsh treatment and dreams of a more peaceful future.
Original Posted: June 16, 2010
Slight update: November 10, 2010
Words: 4,258 without author's notes