Summary: After being turned into a snake by Snape and Dumbledore and unable to change back, Lord Voldemort has no choice but to turn to the only other living Parselmouth, Harry Potter. After making a deal with each other, Harry agrees to help the Dark Lord return to his human form. Forced to work together, how will Harry deal with having Voldemort live around his neck?
Rating: T for language and slash
Warnings: Eventual Harry/Voldemort SLASH (please don't read if you don't like), Grey(ish)!Harry, Slightly-manipulative but not "evil"!Dumbledore
Disclaimer: I don't, and never will, own Harry Potter. All it's plots and characters belong to J.K. Rowling and company.
A/N: As promised, here's chapter 2! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all those who reviewed/faved/alerted, it really made my day. And thanks as well to my unlogged-in reviewers: s, Kini, and Maris. That said, I hope everyone who's enjoyed the story so far will continue to do so :D
I forgot to mention that Harry is in Sixth Year. I also just want to warn people that while I'm trying to keep most things as canon as possible, I've elected to change a few things to fit the story so if anything is not quite canon, that's probably why.
I don't have a beta so any spelling/grammer mistakes/stupid ideas are mine ;)
That night Harry blessedly slept dreamlessly, and as a result woke up fresh and ready for the day.
That is, until he opened his eyes and found himself face to face with a red-eyed cobra.
With a yelp, he flailed his covers, flinging the snake and himself off the bed with a large thump and a much smaller, simultaneous one.
:Potter you imbecile!:
"Uh, Harry, you alright?" Neville Longbottom asked from where he stood by his bed. The boy looked as if he wanted to stand upon it to keep out of reach of the cobra on the floor.
Wincing, Harry stood up from the cold wooden floor, rubbing his backside to ease the sting.
"Er, yeah, Neville, I'm fine." The other boy gave one last wary glance before leaving the dorm room. Harry walked around to the other side of the bed where Voldemort had landed.
:So sorry. I don't usually wake up with Dark Lords in my face, watching me sleep,: he told the snake sarcastically.
Voldemort gave him a hateful glare, obviously wishing he could Crucio the boy. :I was not watching you sleep, merely trying to decide how best to wake you up.:
:Well, I'm up now. Happy?:
:You're alive, so no.:
Harry huffed and rolled his eyes, opening his trunk to grab the stuff he needed to get ready for the day. Before he left for the bathroom, he toed the Dark Lord towards the bed. The snake hissed at him for his efforts.
:Go hide. I don't know how my friends will react when they get back from the bathroom to find you loose while I'm gone. Don't want them to accidentally curse you now, do we?: Harry was lying, of course.
Grumbling, Voldemort did as he was told and snuck underneath the bed.
Several minutes later, Harry came back fully dressed in his school robes. Around him, his fellow dorm mates were in various stages of dress as well. Luckily for Harry, none of them seemed to be overly worried there was a cobra underneath Harry's bed.
Grabbing his bag packed with his class materials, Harry slung the strap over his shoulder and then looked warily at Voldemort, who had come out from under the bed once Harry returned from the bathroom.
:Erm, do you need to use the bathroom? I'm not really familiar with the toilet habits of snakes…:
'Did I really just ask him that?' Harry wondered, appalled.
Voldemort growled something that was definitely a no. Harry swore if snakes could blush he would have been bright pink. Or maybe not. Hesitating only for a moment, Harry bent down and picked up his mortal enemy, causing said enemy to twitch before he relaxed into the hold. Harry allowed the snake to settle himself around his shoulders, trying not to wince as cool scales brushed against bare skin. They had decided it would just be best to try and not hide the fact Harry was keeping a snake, and would be going out in the open together as owner and pet. That thought cheered Harry up a little with its black humor.
:Well, just let me know if you ever do. That goes for anything else, too. I'll get you one of those self-freshening pet boxes, but in the meantime feel free to let me know if you need something—food, water, whatever. You are my pet, after all, and I'm supposed to take care of you,: Harry said, snickering. Voldemort flared his hood, probably incensed about the fact he had to rely on a boy for some of his basic needs.
"Oh, get over yourself," Harry mumbled, taking the stairs down to the Common Room where he met up with his two friends.
"Good morning Harry and…Tommy," Hermione greeted, pausing uncertainly before saying hello to her friend's new charge. Harry poked Voldemort, who told him rather rudely where to put it in a loud hiss.
Hermione looked to Harry, who shrugged and said, "He says hello." Hermione's eyes widened minutely.
"Can he can understand me?" She seemed quite flabbergasted at the idea.
"He's a smart snake who's lived around humans all his life," Harry merely replied.
"Well, I think he's bloody creepy, Harry. Are you really keeping him?" Ron asked as he sidled up next to Hermione. The girl hit Ron on the arm, telling him something along the lines of speaking ill of people—er—snakes when they were present. The three turned in unison and left out the portrait hole to head down to the Great Hall for breakfast.
"I find him better conversation than some people I know," was all Harry responded with. Ron looked dubious, but didn't say anything further as he rubbed his bruised arm. If he happened to walk a few inches further from Harry than normal, no one commented on it.
Entering the Great Hall, the trio sat in their usual spots at Gryffindor's table and piled their plates high with the foods set out for them.
As more students trickled in, Voldemort made a point to sit upright on Harry's shoulder with his hood flared, giving anyone who dared look at him a sharp glare in return. Everyone gave Harry and his new companion a wide berth, faces pale and eyes troubled.
"Down, boy," Harry sighed. "You don't want to be forced back into the cold, now, do you?" More quietly, he said, :You're not a Basilisk, so quit with the death glares.:
Voldemort seemed to regain control of his temper, until Dumbledore decided to make an appearance, that is, in which case the Dark Lord started shooting death glares and insults in the Headmaster's direction before Harry was forced to grab the snake's head and shove it under his robes.
:Cool it! Do you want your cover blown? Granted, I won't be heartbroken if you get caught.: Harry tried to hiss under his breath, but still the students around him were giving him wary looks. Harry made an effort to smile sweetly to put them at ease, not at all confident with its effectiveness. "He fell off the wrong side of the bed this morning," he told them in explanation for the snake's seemingly bad temper. That actually might not have been a lie, either, Harry mused with a grin.
Throughout breakfast, Harry tried to act natural while shooting glances up to the Head Table, whereas everyone else was shooting glances at him. While the students seemed overly aware of Voldemort, the teachers hadn't seemed to notice his new addition until halfway through the meal when said evil bastard decided to slip out from under Harry's robes again. Now much of the teachers' attentions were on him and the poisonous snake around his neck.
The one Harry was most worried about was Snape, since if his prediction was correct and Snape had somehow, quite cunningly, slipped Voldemort the potion to transform him into a snake then he would be the most likely one to recognize the Dark Lord for who he was. Harry was riding on the hope Wormtail had mentioned he "killed" the snake. But Snape never showed up for breakfast that morning, so Harry could at least relax about that for a while still. Dumbledore, though, kept shooting Harry curious glances such that Harry knew he would have to explain himself very soon.
Sure enough, as the Great Hall emptied as students went off to class, Dumbledore crossed the room to where Harry sat. As he neared, the elder wizard used that strangely blackened right hand of his to absently smooth down his snowy beard. Harry wasn't positive, but when Voldemort seemed to catch sight of the hand he made a curious hiss that might have been in shock. Harry didn't have time to press him for answers before Dumbledore reached him.
"Good morning, Professor," Harry greeted politely. Voldemort coiled tighter around his throat. Harry knew that the snake was probably restraining himself from reacting overtly to the old man.
"Good morning, my boy. I couldn't help but notice your new friend here." Harry made a choking sound to hide his laughter. Oh, the irony! He covered it with a cough, which was assisted by how Voldemort was practically strangling him with his tensed coils now.
Around him, Harry noticed the few students left who didn't already know about his snake were giving him a great amount of attention, eavesdropping on the conversation.
Reaching up to pet Voldemort's scales, Harry said to the Headmaster, "I found him half-starved and freezing yesterday" — he tried to make it sound as if he wasn't out past curfew— "as I was walking by the Forbidden Forest. He says he had been abandoned some two weeks ago near Hogsmeade from what I gather, and believe me, he looked it. You have to understand, Professor, I couldn't leave him there. He's been in captivity his whole life; he doesn't know how to survive in the wild, and he definitely wouldn't survive the winter." Harry made his eyes as wide and pleading as possible.
"Harry, that's a very dangerous snake. Hogwarts doesn't usually allow venomous pets." Dumbledore eyed him critically from behind his spectacles, and Harry ducked his head.
"I know, Professor. I promise he won't hurt anybody. Tommy's all bark and no bite."
"Tommy?" Here Dumbledore seemed half amused and half alarmed.
Harry let himself smirk slightly in a mischievous manner and spoke quietly so only Dumbledore could hear. "Well, you have to admit he has a certain resemblance to another Tom we know, but that's where the comparison ends. I don't know, I just thought it was a fitting name instead of something like Venom or Spike. Of course, perhaps Fluffy would put people more at ease…?" Voldemort hissed in indignation. Dumbledore's eyes merely twinkled merrily.
"Very well, my boy. Your situation is unique, as you have a means of controlling the animal. I will, however, have to give your snake a probation period of two weeks to see if he really isn't dangerous. During that period you will keep him with yourself at all times. I do not want him loose among the students before his loyalty is assured. To ensure the students' safety during that time, I must insist you allow me to place a proximity binding spell on the two of you as a precautionary measure. It will prevent you two from getting out of viewing range of one another, and thus you will always be aware of what…Tommy, is doing. Fair enough?"
"Yes, thank you Professor!" Harry gushed, grinning widely while internally he was thinking, Oh Merlin! We're not going to have any privacy at all! How the hell am I supposed to go around with bloody Voldemort always around my neck? Screw our agreement, we're going to end up killing one another anyway.
"I promise, Tommy won't touch a hair on anyone's head." Harry really hoped his smile hadn't turned into a grimace as muscular coils tightened around his windpipe.
Dumbledore nodded and silently spelled the two of them with his wand before making a shooing gesture with his hand. "Now run along, before you're late for class."
As Harry walked to his first class behind Hermione and Ron, Voldemort twisted under his robes so he was eyelevel with Harry.
:When did you become a Slytherin?:
Harry bobbed his head. :Oh, I think I've always had the capabilities for it. The Hat's first choice for me was your House, oh Great Slytherin's Heir. Oh dear, I seemed to have shocked you,: Harry said, unapologetic. Now several years after the fact, Harry had come to terms that he very well could have been happy as a Slytherin, and sometimes wondered what his life would have been like if he'd let the Sorting Hat place him in the House of the Snakes. Not to say he wasn't happy as a Gryffindor, because he clearly at least half belonged in that House as well, but sometimes he felt there were parts of him that would never fit in with the Lions.
After some silence, Voldemort finally responded, :Potter, I really hate being surprised by you.:
:You, my dear Dark Lord, seem to be under the impression that I fit into some type of set "Savior" mold like everyone else. Well, I don't, and you and others who don't like it can kiss my arse.:
:I'd rather not.:
Classes went on as usual for Harry, except for the fact he had a large cobra wrapped around his shoulders. But said cobra was a genius, and actually quite helpful during class, even if his helpful remarks were often sandwiched between scathing and insulting ones. Nevertheless, Harry found himself more enjoying the lessons as Voldemort frequently supplemented the lectured material with less well known but increasingly useful information when he was appalled by the lacking information in the Hogwarts curriculum. The Dark Lord was probably bored if he was willing to help his enemy, or showing off.
As the day progressed, students whispered and gave Harry sideways glances whenever he spoke in the quiet hissing of Parseltongue, but he for the most part ignored them, no longer so self-conscious, per se, about his supposed "Dark" ability, but he tried to mostly use it surreptitiously just to avoid the rude stares. But then again, he never asked for their limelight, so he wouldn't give them the satisfaction of acting like they thought he should. The Slytherins even kept their distance for once, which was almost a bonus. At one point, though, he had to stop and comment to a group of obviously gaping Fourth Years, making sure to speak loud enough for everyone else in the crowded hallway to hear.
"May I ask why you are staring at me? It's quite rude, you know."
One confident boy, a Ravenclaw, stepped forward. "You're talking with that snake. You-Know-Who can do that, too."
"That he can," Harry nodded, using a duh tone of voice. "He even has his own snake, Nagini. What do you think of that?"
Everyone stood in rapt attention of the conversation. Many eyes widened at the mention of Voldemort's familiar.
"Are you becoming like him, then, Potter?" a voice called out. Harry couldn't tell who it was, as the rabble-rouser remained hidden in the crowd. Coward.
"Tell me, people, why might it be a good thing I am a Parselmouth?" Silence. Harry sighed, as if disappointed. "Well, if Voldemort" —here everyone winced visibly— "can talk to snakes, and I can talk to snakes, then that means he doesn't have that as an advantage anymore. You could say we are equals—"
:Not on your life, Potter.:
"—in that regards," Harry finished, unendingly amused at Voldemort's repugnance.
Some faces, still pale at the mention of the Dark Lord's name, seemed to have a dawning understanding, while others looked confused or doubtful. For the pièce de résistance, Harry smiled roguishly.
"And come on, people, if I really planned on becoming the next Dark Lord do you think I would name my snake familiar something as lackluster as Tommy?" Shaking his head, he muttered, "Honestly," before wandering off, leaving behind the group of people, half of whom had amused expressions planted on their faces. Harry looked at the ground, trying to hide his smile.
:Potter, I really hate that name.:
:Oh, but you have to admit, it comes in handy, right Tommy?:
Voldemort seethed in silence.
Harry didn't have DADA that day, so he didn't see Snape until dinner at night. But even then, the man did not deem Harry worthy of his gaze and so didn't see Harry's companion.
Ron and Hermione had finally become comfortable enough to mostly ignore the cobra Harry sported on his person, and for that Harry was glad. He didn't want to alienate his friends all for Voldemort's sake. The others in his House were also getting used to the sight, only giving hesitant looks every now and then. Harry knew that by now his little scene in the hallway earlier would have made it around the gossip chains. Hopefully his "I'm not a Dark Lord" spiel came out intact. Harry couldn't help but notice, though, that some of the Slytherin's looked depressed.
:Hey look,: Harry indicated to Voldemort. :Seems like the Slytherins were hoping I'd be on their side. Looks like I dashed their hopes to win,: Harry said with false sympathy. Malfoy, sitting at the Slytherin, noticed Harry looking over there and scowled at him. Harry grinned cheekily and turned away.
:Your humor is terrible.:
:No, you just can't take a joke…or is it the truth you can't take?:
:Shut up and eat your food, boy, so we can leave all this accursed chatter.:
Later that night, Harry returned to his dorm room. Earlier he had made a request for the House Elves to leave him a small empty box, and so he was unsurprised when he found they had left a small wooden crate with the word "EGGS" on the side sitting on his bed. With a well-controlled cutting spell, he cut a hole in the crate's side and borrowed some of Hermione's self-freshening cat litter she used for Crookshanks to put inside.
:Here's your litter box, Tom,: Harry said, placing the crate beside his bed out of traffic's way. Voldemort slithered up to it, hesitatingly at first, flicking his tongue to scent the air.
:It'll do, despite its crudeness. And must you call it that?: he grumbled.
:What, should I call it "The Dark Lord's Throne Room?: Harry giggled at the joke. It was all the Dark Lord was going to get, and if he didn't like it then too bad. He could find somewhere else to take a shit.
'Oh gods, Voldemort and bathroom jokes…' Harry mused, somewhat appalled at himself.
Same as last night, Harry sealed shut his curtains and silenced them, letting Voldemort curl up at the foot of the bed before laying down himself. Harry read for a bit, listening to the almost inaudibly soft breathing of the snake before his eyes drooped too much for him to read further. Once again, he cast a heating charm on Voldemort, put his book and glasses aside, and fell asleep.
That night he dreamed. He was either in a forest with the biggest trees he'd ever seen, or else he was very small. It was cold and his belly felt like it was rubbing his spine he was so empty from hunger, but he forced himself to ignore it. Whenever he tried to cast a spell he momentarily felt a rising of panic, as no matter what he tired, from a simple Lumos to advanced spells, nothing worked. He felt helpless which he hated and strangely alone. The only thing that kept him going was the need for revenge and the possibility of help in the most unlikely of places, though this thought made him blanch more so than his helplessness. He'd never had anyone to rely on, so why suddenly was he forced to now and with that one person, of all people? He felt pervasive rage and revulsion. All this he saw and felt in a broken and fragmented manner.
When Harry woke it was a soft transition. He noticed his skin felt a little clammy but he wasn't the sweat-soaked mess he usually was when he received visions from Voldemort. Squinting into the dark, Harry could just barely make out the ghostly shape of the cobra curled at the foot of his bed, still asleep. Harry put his head back down on his pillow, shifting onto his back.
This vision had been drastically different from the others. For one, it didn't hurt at all, and secondly, he didn't think it had been intentional. What he saw was Voldemort's sort-of nightmare, or perhaps more accurately, memory. Apparently their connection was in full working order, but didn't seem to be as controlled anymore…perhaps, like the pain from touch, control of the connection was an aspect of Voldemort's magic and ability to use Legilimency and Occlumency. Harry now wondered what exactly the connection was, and if Voldemort could receive his dreams as well.
Harry pondered these thoughts for a short while more before he fell back asleep and into his own dreams.
The next day found Harry sitting somewhat anxiously in the DADA classroom, waiting for Snape to arrive. Voldemort was wrapped around his shoulders, partially hidden by his robes and attempting to act as inconspicuous (for him) as possible. Harry had given him strict instructions that he wasn't to react in any shape or form to Snape's presence, lest he give himself away. Luckily for him, the man-turned-snake was smart and knew that if he wanted any chance to find out if Snape had an antidote then he should act for all intents and purposes as nothing but a home-grown cobra.
Harry had his doubts the Dark Lord would be able to pull it off, and blamed the notorious temper for this prediction.
The moment Snape walked into the classroom, robes billowing out behind him, everyone made haste to shut their mouths and sit attentively in their seats. Harry followed suit, trying to ignore the choking sensation of Voldemort tensing his coils around his neck in an obvious effort not to lunge at the so called traitor to his cause.
"Please turn to page three-hundred and forty-three," Snape droned, positioning himself behind the podium as the classroom was filled with the sound of books slamming open and pages flipped to the one stated. Harry had to grudgingly admit that Snape was one of the most proficient of the entire DADA professors he's had in the past. His lessons actually turned out to be useful in a practical application. They might have been a bit Darker than some preferred, but anything to help him beat the Dark Lord Voldemort was good, right? Too bad Harry couldn't fully enjoy it as the man still had a burning grudge against him, or, perhaps more accurately, his father. Oh well, life as usual.
The entire lesson, Harry kept sneaking glances at Snape, searching for any indication he recognized, or suspected the snake around his neck. for the longest time it appeared Snape hadn't even noticed Harry's new accessory, but then Harry always did make a point to sit near the back so as to not draw too much attention.
So much for that idea.
"Mr. Potter," Snape said without even looking up, the bastard. "Please tell me how you would kill an Infirius?"
Voldemort actually snickered, probably at Harry's obvious blank expression. Harry remembered Dumbledore mentioning that Voldemort had once created an army of Infiri, but couldn't remember if he mentioned how to kill one. They were already dead, for goodness sakes! Harry also strongly believed Snape purposely asked him a question they hadn't even read about in the book yet.
"Erm," Harry voiced elegantly.
:Fire, you idiot.:
Snape looked up with a sneer. "Correct," he intoned, before looking down once more, clearly intent on asking him another impossible question, but he stopped himself and did a most comical double take. His black eyes studied Harry and, more importantly, Harry's "pet". Clearly nobody had informed the man of the new addition to Hogwarts Castle.
Harry wasn't sure if Snape had seemed so surprised by the snake because he suspected who it was, or because it was simply a shock to see a dangerous animal wrapped around his most hated enemy's son. In any case, Harry, for added effect, reached up a hand and stroked Voldemort's head, surprised when said man-snake butted his head against the offered hand in return. It seemed Harry wasn't the only one capable of milking the situation. The boy made sure to keep his expression carefully blank throughout the whole encounter.
Snape only gaped for a few seconds, barely anytime for students to take much notice, before he shook himself out of his minor stupor.
Calling on someone else, Snape continued the lesson and completely ignored Harry the rest of class. Harry didn't find it within himself to mind.
Afterwards, Harry found an empty hallway to address Voldemort in private.
:What do you think? I couldn't tell if he was merely startled at seeing me with a large snake or because he guessed it was you.:
Voldemort's head hovered over Harry's shoulder as he answered. :I am unsure. His reaction was very vague.: It sounded to Harry Voldemort didn't care about the vague reaction, he just wanted the Potion's Master dead.
At that point, Harry knew what they needed to do, and smiled in anticipation.
:Well, Voldemort, have you ever gone sticking your nose in things you shouldn't with a Gryffindor?:
:…You're going to get me killed, aren't you?:
:Nah, I've already done that, and we know how that turned out. Besides, I think it's time you lived a little.:
Thanks for reading! Drop a review if you'd like, I'd love to read it :)