Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, I do not make any money out of this.
Keep Your Enemies Closer
A/N: This fic explores what would happen if Voldemort discovered his human horcrux, and how that fact might change the interaction between Harry and Voldemort. I wanted to create situations in which the two arch-enemies meet while keeping them in-character. There's not going to be any Dumbledore-bashing or the 'Harry-Becomes-Evil', nor is Voldemort suddenly 'redeemed': no easy solutions in this fic. This story is non-slash and not focused on parings, however, there will be some inevitable forced intimacy between Harry and Horcrux Riddle when the youthful Dark Lord inside his head starts to act up.
I've included a bunch of regular side characters - such as Order members and Death Eaters. Snape gets a prominent role (because he's such a great nasty bastard). There are one or two OC's, but they will remain very small in number. There will be some minor Harry/female interaction along the way (Harry being an adolescent) but this will remain minor, since the HP/LV and HP/TR non-slash dynamic remains central to the story.
The story begins around sixth year Easter holidays, so halfway HBP. I hear from readers that the real fun starts at chapter 7. Please keep in mind that though this is often a grim story, it will also have lighter parts. The first chapter is a prologue: all will become clear later. Enjoy, and your thoughts and criticism is much appreciated!
Chapter 1 - PROLOGUE
He was stunned by the sight before him. He blinked and looked around again, but his surroundings stayed firmly in place.
What the hell?
Even before he'd opened his eyes he knew full well the company he would wake up in. He imagined Voldemort standing over his chained-up form, finally deigning to show up to see his mortal enemy for himself.
The walls of the cold and remarkably grimy Malfoy dungeon had been filling his vision for the last two weeks. But now he seemed to have landed himself on a luxurious sofa, among low tables and wide, sun-streamed windows. The high-ceilinged wall on his left was covered by dark brown bookshelves containing massive leather-bound tomes; glass cases in the same rich colour stood against the far wall with all kinds of gleaming items on them, above which hung a large painting of some lord or other.
Harry shifted into a sitting position, the soft fabric pleasant at his back. He noticed he was wearing his old cloak again. The forested land behind the windows didn't offer him any clues.
Had the Order rescued him at the last minute? But then, where was everyone? He should be in Pomfrey's care by now with the amount of injuries he'd sustained. A flash of memory ripped through him, sending a shock through his already adrenaline filled thoughts. Howling laughter… cutting ropes… ripping, biting skin.
And there had been no escaping… His fist closed around the armrest. No, he was not going to think about it.
Better find out what's going on then.
Just when he was turning to stand, the door flew open, freezing him on the spot.
"Mr. Potter." Lucius Malfoy walked in, and Harry felt a familiar numbing fear tingling over his fingertips. The grey eyes were coldly assessing as the man walked towards him. He held no other weapon aside from his wand that Harry could see, however.
"Our Lord is requiring your presence."
"Why have I been moved?"
"You will stay silent or I will make you," the elder Malfoy sneered, pointing his wand. Harry quickly judged that there was no point in resisting. He shakily placed his feet on the soft carpet and noticing the black slippers, slid them on. They took off at a brisk pace.
The small chamber led to a long passageway with countless dark oaken doors. So he was still in Malfoy Manor then.
Harry tried to ignore the various portraits of long-dead descendants, pale-skinned and blond-haired, looking on with interest as he passed. The corridor ended in a grand staircase winding down to the entrance hall, a symmetrical staircase leading down on the opposite side.
Most of the wounds he'd received had been inflicted on his upper body. Breathing was difficult, probably because of some not-yet healed ribs, and his back was still on fire. Under his robes he could feel tight bandages encircling his chest.
Lucius turned right and descended the staircase, through an ante chamber. He knocked once and opened the door to a spacious drawing room. The occupants turned towards them. Harry locked eyes with Voldemort immediately. He stood next to a burning fireplace, goblet in hand, his red eyes reflecting the glow of orange light. A corner of his lipless mouth curled upwards. Harry recognized the man next to him as Evan Rosier, one of the older Death Eaters.
"My Lord," Lucius bowed respectfully.
Voldemort spoke. "Hello Harry, I trust my Death Eaters have kept you properly entertained?" Harry glared at him, his mouth twisting.
Voldemort's smirk broadened. "Still with that spirit, I see." He motioned to the sofa next to the hearth. "Sit down." Harry did so slowly. Meanwhile his nails were biting into his palms.
"Leave us," Voldemort ordered his servants, his eyes on Harry. They bowed deeply and walked out, closing the door behind them. Voldemort took a seat next to him on the sofa, which made Harry's heart rate shoot up a notch.
Long white fingers took his jaw and forced him to look at the gleaming eyes. He wanted to resist what he knew was coming – but already the Dark Lord was tearing through his mind, his icy presence leaking through his thoughts. Images flew past his mind's eye, of Ron choking on poisoned mead, Hermione's disapproving stare as he showed them a creative curse from the Prince's book… Tom Riddle uttering "I mean, for instance, isn't seven… "
No! Harry thought fiercely. But suddenly the attack stopped. As he looked at the intricately carved ceiling he realized he had blacked out, with his head slumped against the back of the couch. He raised it slowly.
"Well well…" Voldemort whispered. His now-familiar snakelike face was very intimidating up close. Harry swallowed at the intensity of his expression. "Whatever would Dumbledore think, his favourite pupil using dark curses?"
Was he talking about the Sectumsempra? Probably, as it was the only time he could remember throwing a dark curse at someone. Snape had told him at some point during Occlumency last year that he could see fragments of his thoughts, not all of it. He hoped fiercely that Voldemort had missed the memory of his younger self.
"Your focus is weak. He should have been dead," Voldemort commented. He stood abruptly and walked to the center of the room. "You may practice on me. Catch."
A slender piece of wood was thrown his way and when he caught it he recognized the handle of the wand. He had his own wand back!
The familiar magic running through the wood soothed him. Voldemort didn't consider him a threat, that much was clear. Well, he thought crankily, that arrogance would one day become his downfall. Trying to portray a calm he didn't feel, Harry strode towards the other end of the drawing room and took a position opposite the Dark Lord.
Voldemort was waiting, his face showing nothing of his thoughts. Maybe the test was to survive as long as possible. All he knew was that he had to keep Voldemort distracted. He pointed his wand and uttered:
The Dark Lord stepped lazily out of the way of the blasting curse while murmuring something Harry couldn't hear. Harry's shield was not enough to repel the streak of red light and the world spun dizzyingly as his back hit the floor.
Something seemed…off. What was that heat pouring into his brain? He was supposed to be doing something now. Right, he probably should… hit back. His sluggish mind searched for the words of the spell he had been studying for emergencies…
"Protego," Voldemort responded and the curse was absorbed by his shield. When it disappeared however there was no one standing behind it. Harry felt a malevolent magic behind him and spun around fast. Not a smart move, as his momentum careened him and he lost all semblance of orientation. As the ground slowly started to rise up from under him, a firm hand clenched in his robe front and pulled him roughly against the Dark Lord, claws digging into the fabric.
He gave a pained gasp as the heat in his brain increased and combined with his searing scar, his head felt like it might burn off any second. The heat or whatever it was spread through his body, tingling under his skin.
"What…" he began but was silenced by a hand creeping over his forehead. It felt cool to the touch and strangely seemed to ease the pain in his scar.
"Your magic, Potter," came the reply from above him. The energy surrounding Voldemort seemed to crawl around Harry, threatening.
And suddenly the feeling changed.
No longer did the magic surrounding him feel cold and sharp, like the metal of a blade ready to cut him at the slightest misstep: it felt inviting, alive and moving inside him, waves of heat charging his nerves, little electrical currents sparkling over his body. And he felt what he could now discern as his own magic responding, pulling it in, soothing, creating an almost meditative dynamic between them…
He floated in the feeling of wildness, of power and possibility. His eyes closed involuntarily. He had never known that magic could feel like this. So pure it felt, surely it was not Voldemort's doing… but the Dark Lord was standing right behind him, he shouldn't enjoy it, this was wrong, wrong…
And then, just as abrupt it was over.
Harry yelped in pain. Voldemort's claws had sunken into his belly wound. They withdrew a moment later. The arm in front of him shook however, and he felt a chill going through him at the sight. If the man's rage couldn't be contained... he didn't want to think of what that might mean.
Then he felt a breathy laugh pass through his hair. It felt forced, like a cover.
"So receptive you are Harry," Voldemort mocked. A finger stroked his cheek. Harry tried to get away from the touch, but he was held firmer in response.
He felt his cheeks flush. Shame made him bite his lip. The Dark Lord turned him around and Harry avoided his eyes. Voldemort's good humour could be felt as a tingling along his scar. Harry tried to distract himself by asking:
"What happened? The magic, did it … combine?"
"Yes. I gather it was pleasant."
It wasn't a question. Voldemort's eyes had now taken on a strange, intense gleam. It made Harry feel like he was missing something, like there was an undercurrent to things that he wasn't privy to. Harry searched for another question to distract the most evil wizard around.
This was probably the moment were he had outlived his usefulness, he thought frantically. Before he could ask anything more the Dark Lord's looked at him in disgust and hissed in parseltongue:
"You may go little one, run back to that old coot."
Harry could only stare at him in disbelief. But surely, his own eyes saw Voldemort accio his wand and holding it out to him between spidery fingers. He took it with only barely shaking hands. Voldemort's eyes were focused on the wand while he whispered something - was he going to curse it?
The answer came when a force yanked at his stomach and in the next moment Malfoy Manor had whirled out of sight.
*To tear up the skin.
Yes, Voldemort is acting weirdly here: it was a test, and Harry passed... All will become clear soon!
I would like to dedicate this story to Mizuni-sama and her fantastical world of Prince of the Dark Kingdom, in which she created a unique and believable bond between Voldemort and Harry.