Disclaimer – I do not own Harry Potter.
A/N – Spelling mistakes, swearing and unbetafied – sorry :(
Fate hated Harry Potter. That was a certainty, mind you, Harry hated it in return. Then it had to throw a spanner in the works didn't it?
Harry had many peaceful years after the final battle of the second wizard war of 1998, and he was grateful for it. He hadn't settled down after all the years even though he set out with the intention to perhaps one day marry Ginny. However dating for a few months had changed their minds, both of them equally haunted by their experience with Tom Riddle and Lord Voldemort respectively and they could see his adopted traits in each other. He was contagious and both of them saw the quirks in their behaviours, the dents in their armour and the shadows in their eyes.
It was all too much, too soon... so they remained friends, secretly shuddering at the reminders of their horrific pasts whilst smiling at each other over a couple of butterbeers.
Butterbeers? At their age? Harry would scoff at himself.
It was humourless that even now Harry never drunk enough for the world to become blurry and spin a little, even now the shadows at night would oddly feel like the shape of a person. Harry had felt the need to keep his wits about him all the time.
A regular Mad-Eye Moody he had become.
He said enough was enough at the growing favouritism of a hip flask though, and booked himself into therapy for while.
He tore open old wounds and for a while it made things worse – sleepless nights plagued him. He almost had as much sleep as he did in his fifth year when Voldemort swamped his thoughts and invaded his dreams every night.
It had helped in the long haul, the resentment of Dumbledore had simmered down to just a smidgeon of bitterness, the hate of the Dursley's changed to pity, and Voldemort...well there was pity for him too.
Bellatrix... always a sore spot and would always be, his therapist was even alarmed at the amount of hate in him for that woman, but she never went away – he never could escape her laugh, her voice and her maddened eyes. Though, Harry had finally managed to push her into a dark corner of his mind, it seemed years after the war was the only time Harry was finally able to actually understand peace and relax.
He could let go now of his past and found his job as a Auror exhilarating and mostly fun, though of course it never reached the same amount of thrilling terror that Voldemort had inspired within him – though Harry loathe to admit that.
So, relatively, everything was running smoothly in Harry's life by 2006, but then again it was bound to go wrong wasn't it? Because Merlin forbid that Harry Potter had a normal, boring life. He had a muggle telephone connected in his house, for the occasional call from Dudley and of course -Hermione, who would never forget her muggle roots.
It was the 6th of June 2006 that he got a call on his dusty telephone, he had actually stared at it for a few moments as though he couldn't believe it worked - it had not rung in such a long period of time. For the first time in the recent years Harry felt a stirring in his gut – the old flair he felt when Voldemort was near, when his death eaters were attacking and when death was a near certainty. Funnily enough, Harry had grown accustomed to his calm, mellow life and he almost didn't want to answer the call – to which he was almost certain would shake the foundations of his life. So he hesitantly picked up the receiver "Er, Hello?" He said uncertainly, he winced at the crackling on the other end – what a bloody terrible line, he thought irritably.
"Hello, this is Wool's Orphanage calling. Are you Mr Potter?" He could hear the girl's voice quite clearly despite the disruptive line.
Wool's Orphanage? Where had he heard of that before? He was about to ask the girl when he realised he hadn't said anything for an unusual amount of time and he didn't want her to hang up.
"Yeah, I'm Mr Potter." He said instead.
"We believe we have someone you know here...and – wait a second" A hand was placed over the phone and the voice became distorted and distant. The voice continued after a moment, high pitched with worry and strain. "Er – yeah – she is, er, was in, uh, labour."
Harry looked at the phone in a puzzled manor, before placing it back by his ear and asking "Uh, do you have the girl's name?"
"Um...No...just will you come quickly? She's like... proper ill!"
"Okay...sure, I'll come..." He said, more than a little confused, but before he could ask any more questions the phone was cut dead as the girl hung up.
Where the hell was Wools Orphanage? But then it dawned on Harry, and he felt a wave of terror wash over him as he realised exactly where and what orphanage the girl had been on about. It would be typical Harry luck that he would be called there...Voldemort's old home.
None the less he rolled his eyes and grabbed a muggle jacket of one of the many hooks that lined his walls and headed out instantly leaving his paperwork scattered across his desk, floor and coffee table and left the stuffy house. He wondered worriedly who it might be – Hermione? No, she was a smart witch – and to his knowledge she wasn't pregnant, she would have sorted herself out if she was. Luna? No, she had no knowledge of the muggle world. Then who? Who did Harry know that could be in that situation?
He apparated sharply on the corner of the street of the orphanage and shivered suddenly as the cold air attacked him in his light spring jacket. He looked around and could see no difference in the weather from his home – but the air was distinctly colder. It was like it was bloody winter!
He hurried along towards the tall grey walls that surrounded the dark, dreary building. He swallowed loudly as he looked at the engraved sign that said 'Wool's Orphanage'. He pushed open the gate frowning with worry and walked in, hearing the gate creak and whine loudly as it shut.
He approached the orphanage he had only seen in a memory with a sense of déjà vu and a tendril of fear running up his spine. The air hung ominously around him as he walked through a gravelly courtyard towards the large front door. It was freaky how it hadn't changed at all in the last century, the still air made Harry for a moment believe he was back in that memory. The silence was oppressive and Harry found it hard to breathe for a moment before he brought his clenched fist up and rapped on the door several times.
Harry waited for a few minutes, even attempting to peer in through the letter box and finally seeing a pair of legs run towards him.
He hurriedly stepped back and waited as he heard the chain rattled and the door was heaved open revealing a frazzled looking woman. "What?" She snapped, her eyebrows drawing together and her sharp eyes took him in.
"I was called a few minutes ago – apparently someone I know is here...in labour?" Harry said softly in his shock. The woman was the pitting image of Mrs Cole. Though it was only coincidence – it had to be.
Her face went slack for a moment the wrinkles smoothing out as her mouth opened but no words came out. Her cold eyes turned sympathetic and she gestured for him to come in. She took him by the arm and said very calmly and soothingly. "I'm afraid your too late. She died," She started to pull him towards the stairs and continued in hushed tones "Literally seconds ago. She had a healthy child though – a little boy, lived just long enough to name him." She smiled faintly, a hint of sadness twisting the corners of her lips. "The child is such a beauty, for a newborn especially. It's a shame that she passed away – but thank God she had your number! I presume your family?" She babbled, attempting to smile as she shooed a little child into his room.
"Uh," Harry said as he looked at the green tiled walls and cold floors that Dumbledore had walked down years and years before. His eyes roved around the familiar hallways "What was her name?" He asked distantly.
"Well she never told us hers but from what she named the boy I would have to guess her name was Mrs Riddle." The woman said thoughtfully, as she turned to go up another set of stairs.
Harry's eyes widened and he staggered falling to the side and leaning heavily on the wall, his hand a claw as he grasped at the smooth tiles.
"M-Mrs Riddle?" He managed to gasp out as he pushed himself upright and staggered up the stairs after her, his hand clasped around the banister to keep himself upright.
The woman turned to him, her countenance brightening slightly. "So you do know her?" She let out a loud sigh and placed her hand over her heart. "Oh, thank God! I thought he might not have anywhere to go!" She gestured with a bit more enthusiasm and hurried along; lifting her skirts a little higher – Harry startled – skirts? She was wearing odd looking clothes – hardly the clothes suited to 2006. Funny how he only noticed it now – it was as if for a few minutes he had thought he was in that memory again and she was wearing normal clothes for her time. Harry shuddered but none the less he followed her, curiosity urging him forward despite the risks. "What did she call the boy?" He asked as he hurried after the woman.
She turned and smiled again, just as she spoke it was like the memory – word for word. "I remember she said to me 'I hope he looks like his papa', and I won't lie she was right to hope it, because she was no beauty — and then she told me he was to be named Tom, for his father, and Marvolo, for her father — yes, I know, funny name, isn't it? We wondered whether she came from a circus — and she said the boy's surname was to be Riddle. And she died soon after that without another word."
Harry gaped at the woman, his breathing speeding up and pulse beginning to race before he said in a strangled voice "Ah, sorry, how rude of me - but what's your name?" He peered at her, begging within his mind that she wouldn't say what he thought she would.
She led out her hand proudly, and with a professional air said. "Mrs Cole."
Harry prided himself on just smiling congenially and shaking her hand firmly although his head was reeling in shock? Fear? He didn't know whether he was coming or going at the moment but he still carried on to the best of his ability. He couldn't run now, though a tiny part of him that he had dubbed 'Slytherin' was telling to run for the hills and not look back. He let go of her hand and followed her through an open door into a well lit bedroom. There was a bed in there and a sheet drawn up over a body, the material showing the outline of her face. He noticed the small crib by the door, but returned his attention to the bed "May I?" He gestured to the body with his hand, and used his other to push up his slipping glasses from his sweaty nose.
Mrs Cole nodded and turned her attention back to the baby, gently cooing and smiling at it.
Harry approached the bed, his heart racing in his chest as his hand grasped the sheet, the thin thing creasing in his clutched fist. He drew it back sharply least he lost his nerve (Snape would have said for dramatic effect – the bloody git) and there lay Merope Gaunt, her face pale and her eyelids purple. Harry would recognise that poor girl anywhere and he frowned sadly, dropping the sheet and it pooled around her midriff. He trailed over her face obsessively with his eyes trying to see the bluff, the roughened edge of a glamour on her slightly twisted mouth or the creases of her eyelids. He grabbed her face in the gentlest grasp, his fingers trailing over her head, through the still damp sweaty locks from the strain of giving birth, mapping out the panes, begging to a God he didn't believe in...just hoping, wanting, wishing that this wasn't real.
A soft, hesitant hand touched his shoulder and he turned quickly in shock. The desperation must have shown in his face as Mrs Cole looked at him with great pity squeezing his shoulder. "I know it must be a terrible shock, and it must be...terrible. Di-Is she well known to you?"
Harry shook his head but then nodded once briefly his eyes still wide open and not blinking. "The...baby?" He croaked suddenly pushing himself up by using the bedside table. He gave one last long look at Merope before he took the sheet and as gently as possible drew it up and over her again. He staggered to the crib and looked down at the child within.
It was beyond irony that on the sixth day of the sixth month of '06 that the devil should be reborn. Because undoubtedly, Harry knew that he was look at the newly born Tom Marvolo Riddle, a stunning child squirming in its confining blankets whilst his Mother was laying a few feet away dead and covered in a thin sheet. The baby was perfect in all senses of the word – magical children were known for it. They never looked squashed and red like the other newborn children, the magic in them seemed to make them look beautiful and unblemished. You would never see a blemished magical child. However, even for a magical child Tom Marvolo Riddle was odd. Harry stared at the child shuddering at the way, barely an hour old, the child's eyes were focussed on him – with no recognition or coherent thought but they were watching him. It was freaky, disturbing and Harry was not sure what to feel.
Mrs Cole approached him again. "It is odd," She began as she tugged the blanket around the child again despite his, surprisingly strong for an infant, struggles "How his eyes focus and he is so young." Her fingers stroked his cheek gently. "He is so strong... A new-year's eve baby..." She whispered, she turned away from the babes captivating eyes but Harry was reeling – this was too much – it was May! New Years Eve? Harry decided to put it at the back of his mind for the minute – he had bigger fish to fry. Mrs Cole smiled at Harry holding out a small piece of good quality paper towards him – thick enough to be called parchment even. "If it wasn't for her carrying this, then I think this poor little thing would have to stay here – and it's a rough life here, we try our best with them...but" She grimaced, and gave a small shrug "There is only so much you can do, and you can't be a parent to all of them – no matter how you try."
She looked very sorrowful whilst Harry took the parchment with trembling fingers, and read the script that he would swear was in Dumbledore's hand.
Please ring Mr Potter in an emergency
He turned it over and looked at it again but could see nothing else on it apart from the crinkles where it had exchange hands a number of times. Harry looked at the child, Tom was angry now and once again trying to get out of the parcel Mrs Cole had got him in, and then he looked at the note. He felt so cold inside and his skin was clammy, he thought he was going to be sick for a few moments but he managed to hear Mrs Cole ask pressingly "You will be able to take him, won't you?"
And Harry heard himself saying – much to his own shock, in a weak distant voice. "Yeah... yeah I will take him..."
A/N – Review?
After watching Deathly Hallows Part 2 I felt very nostalgic, and then this cropped up because for some reason in my mind Harry Potter should not have moments peace and obviously long live the Dark Lord – just my opinion.
Anyway if you are wondering what is going on I will give you a major clue – basically think holes in time which Harry and Tom will be constantly slipping through. That or Tom will be living with Harry in 2006 permanently – let me know what you'd prefer.