A/N: Posted by popular request - here's all the remaining part of this fic that I have. This is a partial chapter.
Chapter 5: A Soggy Meeting (partial)
"Nice crash there," Tom Riddle said affably as Harry slogged to the shoreline and clambered up the slope to the loud congratulatory crowd, the previous look on his face wiped off and replaced with a smirking smile.
Harry got back slaps, shoulder bumps, handshakes, and gushing recounts of his trip through the rings. He was the first one to get to the end of the course; the other two Ravenclaws going alone had yet to make it out.
The group of sixth years in Slytherin and Hufflepuff had been told by their professors what was going on in brief for DADA. Apparently Dumbledore and Kettleburn had said when they had finished their tasks in the Care of Magical Creatures and Transfigurations they were to come down to watch. Coursework had gotten done in record time.
The Slytherins especially couldn't wait for their time with Professor Merrythought after lunch so that they could try their luck at it. Several pumped him for information about it, though Tom remained silent. It was obvious he hung onto every word Harry gave and the glint in his eye noted every evasive answer to questions.
A particularly starry eye fifth year with a prefect badge asked him if he was on an international Quidditch team and for his autograph in a single breath. Harry looked at the kid blankly for a moment then shook his head. The kid was the last straw for Tom who deftly stepped in and maneuvered Harry out of the circle of students and away onto the grassy knoll.
"You're new to Hogwarts, yes?" Tom asked, studying Harry shrewdly.
"Transferred from Durmstrang," Harry answered. He knew he'd have to meet Riddle eventually, but this was throwing him for a loop. What was he supposed to do?
"Don't mind my house mates," Tom said, nodding backwards. "They are overeager to prove that they're better than the other houses when it comes to Defense. Slytherin is known for it's excellence in the subject. There's a bit of a rivalry with Gryffindor. It's kind of silly really."
Harry knew he looked as flabbergasted as he felt and nearly swallowed his tongue pulling himself back together. "Er right. Durmstrang doesn't do houses. We're sorted by years and gender, so there are really two kinds of rivalry at school there."
"I heard you faced a Hungarian Horntail," Tom inserted, fishing for information.
Harry laughed. "Gossip sure travels fast here. Faster than at Durmstrang."
"It's not true?"
"No, it is. I faced one in my Care of Magical Creatures class. A nesting one. Had to grab a fake egg. Nasty experience."
"I think I'd like to transfer to Durmstrang," Riddle joked. "Hogwarts is too tame. There's only so much one can learn in classes. I find I learn more teaching myself."
"Heavy reader, then?" Harry asked, knowing it to be true, and thinking of the book with horcruxes in it that Riddle would find this year.
"Yes," Tom answered. "I'd admit to being a bit of a bookworm. You have to be if you're Muggleborn or raised if you live in Slytherin. Only way to not look stupid if they mention anything wizardry related as they're mostly all Purebloods and grew up immersed in the wizarding world."
"I'm a halfblood," Harry offered, knowing he could connect with Riddle on this. "I was raised in the muggle world though, because of my mother."
"We've similar experiences then," Tom said with a gleam in his eye. "My mother is the reason I was raised as a muggle also."
They stood there for a moment unsure of what to say next. Tom broke the silence. "How do you think you did?"
"Overall? Pretty good. I was first through the course and I went solo. Most everybody else is going in threes as a team."
"Any pointers?" Tom asked, raising an eyebrow and waggling it.
Harry thought for a moment. "Keep pushing forward. Don't give up if a task seems impossible. Try several options."
Tom nodded. "Solid advice. I'll be sure to pass it onto Slytherins." He pointed across the lake to the open castle doors. "Ogg told us to send everyone there when they were done."
"Oh, okay," Harry said, turning to walk that way.
"Harry," Tom called, stalling Harry. "We should get together one evening in the library. I have a few things to show you that you might be interested in, and as you're from Durmstrang you might be able to explain something to me."
"Sure," Harry said with a queasy feeling.
"Oh and one more thing," Tom said affably, a large grin breaking across his face, which was quite scary truth be told. "Congratulations on being first through the course, but don't think for one minute I'm going to let you get the highest score."
Harry let out a half chuckle, waved, and dashed to the castle doors, his heart pounding loudly in his ears.