Summary: After the war, Harry discovers that Voldemort dabbled in more than Horcruxes. Slash. HP/TR. Post Deathly Hallows.
Pairing: Harry Potter and Tom Riddle
Warning: This is a story that features a slash pairing, meaning a homosexual romantic relationship between two men. Flames are a waste of my time and yours. If you don't like slash or the pairing of Harry Potter with Tom Riddle, don't read any further.
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters or locations from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. All rights go to her.
Author's Note: This story is about a journey. A big part of that journey will be about Harry and Tom and their relationship, but it's also about Harry's individual journey to find himself and make that final step from boy to man. Now that the war is over, he is discovering that everything he thought he knew is suddenly coming into question. His beliefs and preconceptions are being challenged and many of his illusions will be shattered, and he will have to put himself back together. As such, despite the dreams and revelations from the last chapter, Harry isn't going to just jump into a romantic relationship with Tom. They will get closer and closer as they get to know each other but there will be some bumps in the road ahead, and they will be friends first (although there will be a clear and undeniable attraction between them all the while, and a growing sexual tension of which they are both aware). Harry needs closure about certain things in his life and on top of that, he has a lot of new responsibilities to juggle, as the Heir of three estates and just as importantly, as the master of Death. This story is going to delve into some very esoteric territory which will play a huge part in the plot, as it will be the driving force behind the events to come. The relationship between Harry and Tom will develop at its own pace, one that will be realistic, considering all the factors mentioned above, as well as the strong personalities and the damaged psyches of the two young men. Tom might be changed but he's still Tom Riddle. He's experienced some eye-opening things and is undergoing his own profound transformation, but that doesn't mean he's turned "good" overnight. He's a complex character with a lot of baggage. So is Harry. They both have a lot to overcome and it's not going to be easy - but hopefully it will be interesting!
I've made a couple of photo manips of Harry/Tom. Check out my profile for the link to my livejournal to see them. In an effort to make this story more interactive, I've also posted two YouTubes at my livejournal that are the perfect accompaniment to this chapter and the next.
Thanks again for all the reviews, favourites and author/story alerts. As always, I welcome your feedback and would love to hear what you like about the story and what you might enjoy seeing in the future.
Harry stormed into his bedroom, slamming the door behind him with a blast of magic.
"Potter!" Voldemort squawked. "It's about time you showed up after making me wait so - " He broke off when he took a good look at Harry, who had immediately begun pacing back and forth in a kind of frenzy.
Waves of wild, uncontrolled magic swirled around him, whipping the air up in the room.
"What's this?" Voldemort asked brusquely. "Potter! What is the matter with you?"
Harry turned his head to glance at the portrait, then resumed his frantic pacing.
"Potter! I asked you a question. What's wrong with you, boy?"
"He's obviously upset," Tom said quietly. "Potter!" he called. "Potter! Harry. Look at me."
Harry stopped pacing for a moment and looked at Tom.
"What happened?" Tom asked.
"Dumbledore!" Harry spat.
Voldemort cackled. "Of course! It's always Dumbledore! What did the old fool do now?"
The lamp on one of the bedside tables exploded.
"Shut up!" Tom snapped, glaring at the man in the mirror. "Can't you see he's lost control of his magic?" He turned back to Harry. "Potter, listen. You have to calm down."
The other lamp exploded.
"Harry, look at me!" Tom said sharply. When Harry obeyed, Tom said, "Come here."
Without thinking, Harry walked over to the portrait, his eyes fixed on Tom's.
"My my, Riddle!" Voldemort taunted. "How terribly clever of you. It appears you've trained him well! How ever did you manage such a thing?"
"Ignore him. Just keep looking at me," Tom said. "You need to calm down and try to rein in your magic. Let me help you."
Harry nodded. It was true, he realised distantly. His magic was out of control, the same way it had been that night he blew up his Aunt Marge the summer before Third Year.
"Take a deep breath," Tom commanded.
Harry inhaled slowly and deeply, his eyes on Tom's all the while. There was something in Tom's gaze, a kind of force that was irresistibly compelling; yet, instead of riling Harry further and making him want to rebel and fight against it, it soothed him and instantly made him feel more centred.
"Yes," Tom murmured in a soft, steady voice that was almost hypnotic. "Keep looking at me and just breathe."
As Harry stared into those unfathomable dark eyes, a sudden sense of peace began to wash over him and the wind that had been whipping about the room started to die down. After about a minute, he felt things level out.
He blinked and let out another breath.
"Better?" Tom asked.
"Yeah." Harry gave him a little smile. "Thanks."
Tom's lips quirked upwards the tiniest bit and he inclined his head. "You're welcome."
"If you two are quite through," Voldemort sneered, his voice cold with irritation, "I want to know what happened with Dumbledore! What did the old man do?"
Harry's expression darkened as he turned his gaze to Voldemort. He cast a venomous look at the man in the mirror then turned and stalked over to his bed and sat down.
"He made Sirius take a magical oath swearing he wouldn't tell me of my true connection to him and the whole Black family," Harry said. He laughed bitterly. "He also made Mr. and Mrs. Weasley take one. And Lupin. And Snape. He made everyone in the Order who knew that Dorea Black was my grandmother take the same magical vow. Couldn't have me finding out I had dark ties in the Wizarding World!"
Harry looked at Voldemort then at Tom. "He never trusted me. No matter what, despite everything I did to prove myself, he never really believed in me. Did he think any little thing would push me over to the Dark side? Why would it, when the childhood he forced me to endure didn't do that already?"
Tom frowned. "What do you mean?"
"He engineered almost every aspect of my whole life, yet he ignored my existence until I came to Hogwarts. Just dumped me on the doorstep of the Dursleys the night you killed my parents," Harry said, looking at Voldemort. "Did you know that? He just left me there on the doorstep, wrapped in a bundle of blankets with a note tucked inside that said my parents had been murdered and since the Dursleys were my only living relatives, they had to take me in. I don't even know if he stuck around to see that they actually brought me inside. Aunt Petunia told me she didn't find me until morning when she opened the door to put out the milk bottles." He shook his head. "And that was all, until I got my Hogwarts letter. He just left me with those people and never once checked on me to see how I was doing. No one did. I didn't even know I was a wizard until my eleventh birthday."
Tom looked angry by the end of Harry's rant and even Voldemort looked surprised.
"That is how he treated The Boy Who Lived? His precious Savior?" Voldemort said contemptuously.
"He was so afraid I would turn out like you. But he made the same mistakes! In some ways it was worse. With you, he didn't help you when you needed it. But with me...he purposely set me up to live with magic-hating Muggles, instead of finding a place for me in the Wizarding World." Harry jumped up from the bed and started pacing again. "He forced me onto them. And then later, when I came to Hogwarts, all he did was lie to me, and keep things from me. He abandoned me whenever I really needed him."
"You didn't know you were a wizard? Until you got your Hogwarts letter?" Tom said. "But didn't you know you were different from Muggles? Didn't you do accidental magic as a child?"
"Of course, but I didn't understand that it was magic," Harry replied. "And yes, I did know I was different, but only because the Durselys made it clear I was. They hated anything that wasn't considered normal. They hated me. They thought I was a freak. And sometimes things happened - bouts of accidental magic - and they made sure to punish me for it, though I never understood why I was being blamed for the weird things that happened. I didn't know I had done magic."
"What kind of accidental magic did you do?" Voldemort wanted to know.
Harry thought about it, then snickered. "Once, I accidentally set a snake loose on my cousin and his friend when we were at the Zoo," he admitted with a grin. "I didn't know I was a Parselmouth at the time and I was talking to the snake and it was responding. When my cousin and his friend noticed, they pushed me out of the way and I fell, and that's when the glass vanished and the snake got loose."
Tom and Voldemort both laughed.
"I'd like to see your memory of that!" Tom said.
Harry paused, then shrugged. "Alright. I'll show it to you if you want."
The snake incident had happened on Dudley's eleventh birthday, Harry remembered. He thought for a moment. He had never talked at any length about his childhood with anyone before, in great part because he knew no one would have understood. But Tom would understand. And so would Voldemort. For some reason, that made him want to show them what his life with the Dursleys had really been like. So Harry decided to start the memory from the beginning of that morning when Aunt Petunia woke him, and go all the way up to the end when he was being punished and locked inside his cupboard.
After he cast the spell and the memory began, they all watched.
Harry had been asleep, dreaming of a flying motorbike, when Aunt Petunia banged on the cupboard door and told him to get up. As they watched Memory Harry put his socks on (after pulling a spider off one of them), Voldemort spoke.
"What's this?" he asked. "Were you already being punished? Is this how they punished you? By locking you inside a cupboard?"
Harry laughed mirthlessly. "No. That was 'my room' - it was where I always slept. But when my Hogwarts letter came and it was addressed to The Cupboard under the Stairs, my aunt and uncle freaked out and had me move to one of the bedrooms upstairs."
"What?" Tom said. "How many bedrooms did they have? And why would they force you to live in a cupboard?"
"There were four bedrooms - one for my aunt and uncle, one for guests, one for Dudley to sleep in, and one for Dudley's broken toys."
"You must be joking!" Tom exclaimed.
"Nope," Harry said flatly. "And the reason I was forced to live in the cupboard is because they hated me. They made that clear from the beginning. I wasn't wanted and they considered me to be a burden, and as such, I had to earn my keep. That meant I did almost all the cooking, cleaning, and the rest of the household chores, plus I had to take care of the garden."
"And you say your Hogwarts letter was addressed to that cupboard?" Voldemort asked, his voice incredulous. "Dumbledore would have had to have known then. What was the old fool thinking to put you in such a place?"
Harry shrugged and his expression hardened. "I imagine he was thinking he'd find a boy who would be easily led and who would give him unwavering loyalty, once he 'saved' me and got me at Hogwarts."
"And that's precisely what he got, wasn't it?" Voldemort said pointedly.
"Yes," Harry replied, giving Voldemort a measured look. "He played us all, like the expert manipulator he was. He played you too."
Voldemort had nothing to say to that.
They turned their attention back to the memory.
When the entire Dursley family were sat at the table and Dudley began blubbering about his lack of birthday presents, both Tom and Voldemort sneered with disdain.
"What a repulsive, spoilt pig!" Tom said, wrinkling his nose as they all watched Dudley greedily begin unwrapping his mountain of presents.
A few minutes later, Petunia left the kitchen to answer the phone, and once she returned, she glared at Harry and reported that Mrs. Figg couldn't take him because she'd broken her leg. After an argument ensued, it was finally decided that Harry would have to come along. Dudley burst into his fake tears, and started wailing about how Harry would ruin everything.
Tom and Voldemort both made identical sounds of disgust.
When Dudley continued his crying and moaning, but then shot an ugly grin at Harry during the middle of his act, Tom growled.
"Unbelievable!" he spat. "How could you stand it?"
Harry shrugged. "It was all I knew."
Tom's lips tightened in response and he turned and cast an angry look at Voldemort.
Voldemort scowled back at him.
The two of them stared at one another, and judging from the increasingly irate expressions that animated their faces, Harry suspected that they shared a telepathic mind link because, clearly, they were having a silent, but rather fierce, argument. As their standoff continued, it became obvious that was the case when Tom suddenly hissed furiously in Parseltongue :: Shut up! ::
Voldemort raised a brow, his expression victorious, and Tom turned away and crossed his arms over his chest.
The memory played on.
Tom watched in sullen silence, but after a few minutes, he could barely keep still. As the events at the Zoo further unfolded, he finally spoke, launching into a running commentary about what was going on, and voicing his shock and revulsion at the way Harry was treated.
When it got to the part in the reptile house where Harry began talking to the boa constrictor, Tom smiled.
"You didn't think it was odd that you were communicating with a snake?" he asked, but there was no malice in his tone.
"I guess I wasn't really thinking about it at the time," Harry answered.
They all started laughing when Memory Harry made the glass vanish and the snake slithered past Dudley and Piers, who were both snivelling and nearly wetting themselves in fear. But the laughter stopped when Harry got punished.
"It's just like it was at the orphanage," Tom said quietly to Voldemort. "Whenever we did accidental magic, we'd get punished like that." When Voldemort didn't reply, he looked at Harry. "At first, I didn't understand why I was being accused of everything, but I figured it out soon enough...and then, I learned to purposely use my magic to fight back."
Harry nodded. He could only imagine what kind of treatment Tom probably had to endure at the orphanage, being a magical child, and not only that, but a troubled one - and a prodigy to boot. No. He wasn't going to judge Tom for using magic to protect himself, even if it had been malicious magic. He had already learned that his preconceptions about Tom had been wrong and he was certain that things must have happened to drive him to violence. "I understand," he said.
"Do you?" Voldemort snapped suddenly. "Do you really understand?" he sneered. "What's the worst thing you ever did to those filthy Muggles? Did you fight back? Did you use your magic to punish them?"
Harry thought of Aunt Marge. "Yes. Though it was accidental magic."
"What did you do?"
"I blew up my aunt - well, no...she wasn't really my aunt. She was my uncle's sister."
Voldemort laughed. "You blew her up, you say? Now that is a memory I should very much like to see!" he said, his scarlet eyes gleaming.
Tom looked interested too, Harry noticed, but he stayed silent, and just gazed at Harry with a thoughtful expression on his face.
Honestly, Harry was a bit curious to see the memory again himself.
Closing his eyes, he began to concentrate. And then he cast the spell.
The memory started. It was Harry's thirteenth birthday but no one said anything to him when he came down to breakfast. He sat down at the table and got a piece of toast. As he did so, he glanced at the telly. The newsreader was halfway through reporting about an escaped convict - Sirius.
He looked so wild-eyed and mad, and so terribly haggard in the picture, Harry noticed with a pang. It made his heart ache, seeing him like that. The Harry in the memory hadn't known who Sirius was then, so he hadn't paid much attention to the picture at the time. But now, he stared at it closely, taking in every detail. Harry's mind drifted back to the Battle, and he thought about what Sirius had looked like in the Forest, just over a fortnight ago - he had looked whole again, younger, more handsome than ever.
And he was gone.
Feeling desolate suddenly, Harry steered his attention back to the memory.
Uncle Vernon had just told Petunia that he was off to pick up Marge. He turned to Harry and pointed at him threateningly, informing him that they had a few things to get straight. When he started in about Harry's 'abnormality' and blustered that there better not be 'any funny stuff' while Marge was visiting, Tom rolled his eyes. When Vernon went on to say that they'd told Marge that Harry went to St. Brutis' Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys, Tom looked outraged - so much so, it made Harry wonder if he had tapped into the connection between them and had now begun experiencing what was happening in the memory as if he were Harry himself.
Their eyes met suddenly, and in a flash, Harry knew. Tom definitely had. Knowing what was about to come, he gave Tom a wry look and mouthed, "Keep watching."
Harry couldn't hold back a grin as he watched his Memory self 'negotiate' his deal to go along with Vernon's lie and pretend that he attended St. Brutis' Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys - if Vernon agreed to sign Harry's Hogsmeade permission form. He was a bit surprised to see how confident and poised his younger self was, and how in command he was of the situation, preying on his uncle's fear and holding it over him with that calculated innocence he had obviously, by that time, learned to employ to his full advantage. It was his only weapon, and he wielded it well.
Voldemort snorted. "Really, Potter! You should have let the Hat Sort you into Slytherin. What a waste!"
Tom's lips were curled up in a satisfied little smile. "Yes. Perhaps you should have. You certainly handled that like a true Slytherin." Tom seemed...impressed. And for some reason, that made Harry feel pleased.
The memory went on, showing a few choice moments of Marge's visit, then it jumped to the scene that happened at lunch on the third day.
Marge had started in on what seemed to be her favourite subject: What Was Wrong With Harry.
"You mustn't blame yourself for the way the boy's turned out, Vernon," she was saying dismissively, as Harry sat there, seething with rage. "If there's something rotten on the inside, there's nothing anyone can do about it."
She reached for her wine glass.
"It's one of the basic rules of breeding. You see it all the time with dogs," she continued."If there's something wrong with the bitch, there'll be something wrong with the pups - "
The glass in her hand suddenly exploded, shattering in every direction as wine sprayed all over her.
Watching in the present, Harry smiled coldly at the sight, although he could feel his eyes burning with anger. He looked over at Tom, who wore the exact same expression on his face.
Harry smiled again, grimly. "And now for the grand finale," he said as the memory changed once more, to the last night of Marge's visit.
They were all sitting around the table, having dinner. Aunt Marge was drunk, which made her more odious than usual. She'd had a lot of wine with her meal, and had been surprisingly quiet about Harry up to that point, but when it was time for dessert and the brandy came out, she started in on him.
Harry immediately began thinking about his Handbook of Do-It-Yourself Broomcare, a method of defense he'd recently taken to practising in an attempt to block out, or at least ignore, her loathsome comments. All he had to do was get through this last dinner and then she'd be gone and Vernon would sign the Hogsmeade permission form. As Marge got warmed up, and started going on about Harry's parents, he kept telling himself over and over, 'Don't let it get to you. Remember the form.' It was like a mantra running through his head.
He managed to keep quiet and hold it in at first, but when she called James Potter a no-account, good-for-nothing, lazy scrounger, Harry finally lost control and his temper flared as he angrily protested.
Uncle Vernon was quick to see what was happening and tried to intervene but it was too late.
Marge and Harry were shouting at each other. Harry had jumped to his feet and Marge was screaming, "They died in a car crash, you nasty little liar, and left you to be a burden on their decent, hardworking relatives! You are an insolent, ungrateful little - "
She couldn't finish the sentence because suddenly she started blowing up, buttons popping off as she rapidly inflated and began to rise off her chair up to the ceiling. Chaos ensued. Ripper came in, barking madly. Vernon tried to grab hold of Marge's foot to pull her down, and Ripper attacked his leg.
Harry didn't stick around to see what happened next. He ran out of the room and went straight to the cupboard, his magic blasting the door open. He quickly got his trunk and left it at the front door then sped upstairs to his bedroom and tore the floorboard free, hastily pulling out the pillowcase he'd filled with his books and birthday presents from his friends. After grabbing Hedwig's cage, he legged it downstairs.
Vernon came out of the dining room and into the hall. "COME BACK IN HERE! COME BACK AND PUT HER RIGHT!" he shouted hysterically.
Before he knew what he was doing, Harry kicked his trunk open and his wand was in his hand. "She deserved it. She deserved what she got," he spat. "You stay away from me!"
As Harry watched his Memory self aim his wand threateningly at Vernon, he almost gasped. He could see his Memory self's aura, he realised. It was dark and pulsing; and not only that, his eyes were glowing unnaturally.
He could see it, feel it; and the rage inside him was so great, Harry couldn't help but wonder how he'd contained it and not done something even worse. Right at this moment, he was feeling very close to what he felt in the memory and he could barely contain it now.
"Well, well, Potter!" Voldemort said cheerfully. "How vindictive you are! Look at yourself! Look at your eyes, boy! Do you not see your power? That dark fury? How glorious!"
"Shut up!" Harry yelled. He needed to breathe. The room suddenly felt really closed in. "Just shut up!" he panted. He felt really hot all of a sudden and he couldn't breathe.
Voldemort's expression changed.
:: Don't! :: Tom hissed at him warningly in Parseltongue.
"You see how powerful you are, Harry?" Voldemort's smile was cruel. His eyes glinted. "And all it takes to unleash it is to say something about your worthless bully of a father and your Mudblood mother!" he said triumphantly.
"DON'T YOU DARE CALL HER THAT!" Harry heard a roar in his ears as a rage he had never known before surged through him.
And then suddenly he heard Voldemort scream.
The mirror in the portrait had burst into flames.
Voldemort jumped back, brushing his robes frantically, but when he realised he wasn't on fire, he threw his head back and started laughing like a maniac.
Tom hastily drew his wand and cast an Aguamenti, trying to douse the flames.
"Dear me!" Voldemort said when he stopped laughing. "Yes. You're more powerful than I thought." He looked at Tom. "You better mind yourself, boy!" he grinned. "It looks like Potter here can do magic in the portrait...or at least on your side of it," he said smugly.
Harry looked at them both in horror then ran out of the room.