Heh, seems like you figured out who's going to be Harry's familiar. ;)
But I do feel the need to straighten out something. Tom's case will be much different. I would never make him the more submissive of the two, and honestly I can't even imagine him submit to anyone for that matter.
I intend to keep Tom's character the way we know him, or imagine him to be since we don't know much about him.
And for those of you who are confused, this chapter will definitely clear things up!
He was shaking for some reason, or rather someone was shaking him, and quite violently for that matter. Harry groaned; they had no classes today so couldn't they just leave him to his slumber?
And he had been having such a wonderful dream.
For some peculiar reason, he dreamt of forests and trees. Strange, but he still didn't mind. There were no animals in his dream, only those endless green walls in every direction. Perhaps he should have been scared, but the only thing he could think of was how peaceful that place felt.
Why did they have to wake him?
"'M up, I'm up…" he mumbled finally and those hands were instantly dismissed, thankfully.
He rubbed at his eyes with one hand while raising himself up on the mattress with the other. His glasses were gently placed in his palm then, and with a muttered 'thanks' he put them on.
He nearly jumped when Hermione's worried face came into view… only a few inches away from his own.
"Um… hey?" he croaked, voice failing him from sleeping, and coughed into his hand in order to bring it to its usual volume. Hermione's brown eyebrows creased into a frown before she finally pulled away, eyes studying his face as if searching for something.
"Harry, what happened?" He had just pulled the covers off him and was ready to rise from his bed when her question caught him by surprise and he outright blinked.
"What do you mean by…- Why the heck am I sleeping with my robes on?" His gaze drifted from his body, which he only now took notice it was fully dressed, back to Hermione, whose frown instantly dropped and was replaced by her previous concerned expression.
"Don't you remember, Harry?" Okay, now he was the one beginning to worry. What was his friend talking about?
"Remember what, Hermione?" he prompted, absently rising from the bed.
His question seemed to have upset his friend further, for she began fidgeting on her spot, hands clasped together behind her back and mouth opening as if to ask something before closing awkwardly.
"What's the last thing you remember?" Harry couldn't help the heavy sigh that passed through his lips. The last thing…
…What did he remember?
Wait, wait! He recalled going to Dumbledore's office, but their meeting had taken place that morning and now it seemed to be, what, evening?
Oh, that's right. Today was the Summoning Ritual. Yes, he remembered walking into the Great Hall after his talk with Luna, and then the ceremony had started. But that couldn't be right… Where was his familiar then? The ceremony; something had happened in the ceremony…
"I remember green…Wait, did I get into a fight with a Slytherin or something?" Hermione met his gaze deadly on, brown locks forming some kind of halo as she shook her head.
"What happened, Harry?" she repeated, one hand reaching out to smother his wild hair, stroking some of them along the way in a soothing manner.
"I…" Harry sputtered, "…remember going inside for the Ritual. And then, colors were everywhere. All kinds, but then they were gone, leaving behind only green. Nothing else but green. Dark, dark green…"
"Harry!" Hermione snapped, effectively making him blink, drawing him out of his daze, "Dumbledore said he wanted to see you the moment you awake."
"Dumbledore… right." He couldn't shake off the image of those eyes. Why the hell did they seem so familiar? Had he seen the person that owned them before?
His eyes snapped to Hermione, feeling them go wide as the pieces snapped into place.
"Green… Slytherin…diary…Chamber…" Hermione was by now scowling like no other, disbelieving eyes boring into Harry's crazed ones and the silent question 'What are you talking about?' hovering over them both with an undoubted weight.
"…I need to speak to Dumbledore." He stepped away from her but before he could move towards the door, a loud hiss resonated throughout the dorm, making Harry jump this time. He only managed to catch a glimpse of a fluffy tail withdrawing from under his foot before disappearing behind Hermione's legs.
What the hell was a cat doing all the way up to the dormitories?
"Harry, what's-" Hermione started but Harry had already bolted out of the room before she could finish, hearing her shouting his name over and over as he made his way down the stairs and into the common room.
He nearly ran into the person entering from the portrait in his haste, but years of Seeker reflexes had taken their toll on him, helping him sidestep before the inevitable occurred. Mumbling a quick apology, he set off again before freezing on his step when a bark caught his attention.
Turning around slowly, Harry blinked at the sight of that puppy next to the person he had almost knocked over.
"Harry, what are you…?" a familiar blue eyed boy murmured in puzzlement, but Harry shook his head before waving him off.
"I'll explain later!" he yelled over his shoulder to Ron, rushing off to the Grand Staircase with a single destination in mind.
He was running, but only vaguely took notice of it, choosing instead to focus on his rapid breathing. There was something seriously wrong with his brain. The conclusion he had come up with had to be wrong. It couldn't, shouldn't be right.
Before he knew it, he was speaking the very same password he had used only a few hours ago in order to get passage and then he was right outside of Dumbledore's office.
Panting heavily, Harry braced himself with his hand against the door, willing his breath to come back and his panic to go away.
"You really expect me to believe such an irrational logic?" The voice had Harry frozen in place. Deep, almost baritone and with an illegal allure etched to it. A voice that had hunted him for weeks after that eventful incident… a voice he wished he could forget.
Placing both palms on the wooden surface, the raven haired teen pushed the door open without trouble, body pausing the very instant he had stepped in.
No, what he was seeing wasn't possible.
A figure was standing there, hands on Dumbledore's desk and back slightly curved forwards. And when the figure turned, he was met with the same dark green pools that he had drawn into right before passing out.
He was exactly the way he remembered him; broad shoulders but with a frame as thin as his own, hair as black as his but way more tamed with a fringe obscuring half of his right eye and definitely a head or two taller than him.
Those green eyes were literally boring into his form, taking in every little detail that was in display for them and making Harry feel like he was under an interrogation of sort.
The other teen then folded his arms over his chest, eyes narrowing ever so lightly besides the rather smug expression that had taken over his features.
"Hello, Harry Potter." the boy said, greeting him exactly the same way he had when responding in his diary, causing Harry to clench his jaw from the reminder.
Harry bristled, purposely ignoring the fact that Riddle already knew his name and the boy altogether, making instead his way over to Dumbledore's desk, staring at the calm as ever Headmaster with a temper ready to explode. How could the man just sit there like nothing was out of place and acting all calm and composed?
"Sir, what's going on here?" he finally asked, aware that he was glaring when the elder wizard made no move whatsoever to reply, seemingly content with merely studying his face.
"I believe introductions are hardly necessary, don't you think so boys?" Harry snorted and was alarmed when his action was duplicated. He turned angry emerald eyes to glare at the person standing only a few feet away, meeting Riddle's amused gaze dead on.
But then Riddle shifted his gaze towards Dumbledore, which instantly hardened upon contact with those blue eyes. "Tell him what you told me, professor. His reaction will definitely be worthy."
"Yes," Dumbledore agreed with a short nod, making Harry's eyes snap to him with a start, "I do believe a little explaining is in order. However…" Those bright blue eyes were instantly on him and Harry would be lying if he didn't admit the nervousness that suddenly washed over him, "first things first. It is essential that we hear Harry's enlightenment on the matter before we proceed to any explanations."
Now Harry was genuinely feeling like he was under interrogation, the way two pairs of eyes were staring so intently at him, studying and watching his every move.
It was pretty clear they were waiting for him to say something. But how was that possible when he didn't even know the subject of their conversation, and the fact that a very much young Dark Lord was there conversing with Dumbledore like they were old pals was of no help.
"What were your exact thoughts during the Ritual?" Ah, so Dumbledore must have seen the clueless look on his face and was kind enough to offer his assistance. But right then and there, Harry wished he hadn't.
How was he going to voice the subject that his thoughts had been focusing on in that time? And certainly not with the very object of those thoughts standing only a breath away.
"I was thinking of getting a familiar that'd help me defeat Voldemort, of getting a familiar as strong as Nagini." he admitted, surprised with even himself that his voice had come out so… sincere? Well, it was half the truth, after all.
"Who's Nagini?" He was seriously tempted to laugh at this, hearing that question coming out of Riddle's mouth, but the moment he caught sight of those green eyes, his intended words caught at his throat.
"Seriously now?" Harry questioned instead, brows furrowing at the genuine interest on the wizard's face. "You really don't know who Nagini is?" It wasn't his fault he couldn't help the bewilderment from his tone. The things happening today… were not an every day occurrence.
"Unless I've spoken to another language, I believe I made myself quite clear." Riddle's oh so smart reply had Harry's lips curling into a snarl, head turning away and focusing on Dumbledore, restricting himself not to do something irrational.
He didn't however keep from hissing out quite a number of swearing words in Parseltongue, fully aware that Riddle was the only other individual capable of understanding them.
The stricken look on the wizard's face was simply priceless, whether from hearing the snake language or from having someone valiant enough swear at him, Harry didn't know and he didn't care either.
"Professor," Harry began, "clearly this is Voldemort." Dumbledore didn't so much as bat an eye at his declaration, merely stealing a glance at Riddle before looking right back to Harry, a soft, almost teasing smile playing at lips.
"In a way, yes."
Ignoring that 'in a way' comment, Harry went on, "I don't know how, but I must have probably brought him here with the ceremony?"
"That you have, Harry." Dumbledore answered with that ever so soft smile.
Okay, so it seemed that he would have to do all the asking and Dumbledore the answering. Fine. Anything to finally get some answers.
"Sir, I'm pretty sure that something like this can't possibly be considered normal." He made a sweeping motion with his hand towards the seemingly apathetic teen that was studying his fingernails with such a devotion, making it seem as if they were far more interesting than the conversation taking place. "Any suggestions about what could have caused this?"
From Dumbledore's pleased softening of the eyes, he could tell that he had finally asked the right question, though the elder wizard's expression didn't falter as he spoke next.
"Oh, there's a plethora of suggestions, all of them questionable. We could blame it on the connection you share with Voldemort and all would be well. However…" that foreboding twinkle was now back, "we shouldn't neglect the fact that this was a Summoning Ritual, in a literal way."
Dumbledore paused then, glancing between him and Riddle with an unreadable expression, an exceptionally ominous look to Harry's opinion.
"Your magic acted precisely as it was supposed to, Harry. It brought forth the vessel of your thoughts, but your mind was at the time occupied with thoughts of Nagini and exceedingly, Lord Voldemort. Although, it seems that the person you summoned wasn't Voldemort as we know him, but rather his teenage self, for this young man here has no recollection of his future self's activities in these last years."
Harry's eyes, that had gone comically wide by the end of Dumbledore's speech, grew even larger if that was possible. The Headmaster nodded, all too satisfied that the boy was catching on.
"Yes, Harry. The only memories that Tom possesses do not go beyond his sixth year here at Hogwarts."
Needless to say, Harry's jaw threatened to reach the level of the floor. But was that even possible? It would, however, explain certain things, such as the wizard's refreshed looks and a certain lack of knowledge concerning individuals that had come later on in Riddle's life. But still…
"But, sir…" Harry's eyebrows furrowed as he addressed the Headmaster, "every wizard and witch get their familiars in their sixth year. Doesn't that mean that Riddle should remember his?"
A low chuckle caught his attention and he peered from the corner of his eye at the source, just in time to see Riddle shaking his head in a real amused fashion.
"You really are no bright one, are you?" Riddle questioned with that smug little smirk never leaving his face.
Harry turned to face him fully, teeth clenched tightly together.
"In my time, magical children used to get their familiars in their seventh year of education. Obviously, this was later on considered an inconvenience, and therefore it was decided that the young wizards and witches in training should get their familiars during their sixth year, in order to get to know better the being they would spend a lifetime with." Riddle cast a sideways glance at Dumbledore who leaned back on his chair and laced his fingers together, elbows propped up to the armrests and gazed at the two of them expectantly, obviously waiting to see where this would lead to.
Since the elder wizard made no move to correct Riddle's words, the latter folded his arms over his chest, chin rising ever so slightly as he gazed at Harry with a superior confidence, "Something that you'd have probably been aware of, if you had only considered asking."
Harry's hands balled into fists seemingly on their own accord, but he was all too aware of the way his knuckles were turning white from the force he was putting into controlling his emotions.
Willing himself not to fall for Riddle's bait and react to the taunt, the teen whirled around and forced himself to focus on anything else but the other boy, even the grain of dust on the items on Dumbledore's desk would suffice for the time being.
"Then how do we turn this…situation, back? Because, if you don't mind, sir, I would like to have my familiar with me sometime this year." Dumbledore's shoulders grew suspiciously stiff all of the sudden, something that didn't go unnoticed by Harry.
A foreboding feeling began to steadily chew on his gut as the silence stretched on, making his insides clench with uneasiness.
He really dreaded whatever was about to follow.
"You see, Harry…" Dumbledore began almost hesitantly, a fact that caused Harry's uneasiness to intensify tenfold, "that is exactly the most peculiar thing. Much like yourself, more of your classmates had a similar occurrence. They happened to be thinking strongly about a specific animal and, therefore, summoned it. But that didn't make those animals their familiars; they ended up disappearing after a while and your fellows had to retry until they finally summoned the animal that was meant for them.
"In other words, it matters not that you called a human in your first try. As I said, the peculiar thing is that Mr. Riddle was, in fact, accepted by the Contract." That was it. Harry's insides had frozen all over, he was almost sure that he had actually stopped breathing for a moment there.
More wrinkles made their appearance on Dumbledore's forehead as he leaned forward in his seat, his eyes studying Harry's face with alarmed worry.
"…The Contract-" the boy finally said, his voice croaking somewhere along the way, "surely you don't mean…-?"
Dumbledore breathed a deep sigh. How he hated weighting the boy, this unfortunate, poor boy with even more burdens. But he had witnessed with his own eyes the intensity of the boy's soul; his will was the strongest he had ever seen, brave yet kind at the same time. They had poured all of their hopes and dreams onto one little child, because that's exactly what he had been when he was dragged into this merciless war, an innocent, little child.
When everyone had expected for him to give up, when everyone would have understood even if he had done so, this boy had shocked them all by doing exactly the opposite. Even when all hope seemed to be lost for him, Harry had kept going.
Yet, as Dumbledore lifted his wand, he couldn't fail to ponder how the odds always seemed to be against the underage wizard.
Almost instantly, a golden thread materialized out of nowhere, and Harry was unable to prevent the gasp from leaving his lips once he realized its purpose. That thin, golden thread was wrapped all around his right hand, forming strange patterns as it encircled his fingers, palm and seemed to stop only at his wrist.
But that wasn't all.
Following the length of the thread with his eyes, Harry's heart sank at the sight of it connected to Riddle's left hand. Now, Riddle on the other hand, seemed genuinely fascinated by the display of magic, turning his hand this way and that and studying the thread as if it was the most peculiar puzzle he had laid eyes upon, completely ignorant of Harry's inner turmoil.
"As you are aware, the Redimio Pactum can only be seen by the bonded pair, but I take it that its effect must have taken its toll." Harry jerked his wide eyes to Dumbledore, refusing to let the man's words sink in, for if he did, it would mean they were true.
Seeing the denial in those green eyes, Dumbledore's eyes softened in sympathy. No matter how strongly the boy refused to believe it, that one fact wouldn't change, "Harry…Tom was accepted by the Binding Contract, the magical seal that binds contractor and familiar together."
Harry shook his head, eyes drifting back to the golden thread and watching as it faded into a dull shade of orange before disappearing completely. Oh, how he wished this new predicament he had worked himself into would disappear like that as well.
He ran a hand through his hair, his breathing turning more rapid. It was as if the walls were closing all around him, greedy to squish him, to finish him off.
He needed air. He needed… to get out.
His gaze found that of Dumbledore's. "I understand what you said, sir, but I can't… not right away." Swallowing the lump that had risen to his throat, Harry lowered his head, "I need some time."
And with that, Harry turned on his heels and sped off, not daring to glance at Dumbledore's surely disappointed face and certainly not Riddle's triumphant one.
He went down the spiral staircase and from then on he ran all the way up to Gryffindor Tower. From the sound of it, all sixth years must have been outside, enjoining their first time with their familiars. And he could most definitely use some time on his own, to organize his thoughts and just… make a sense out of them.
But as he stepped through the Portrait hole and caught sight of the two people that were pacing on the common room floor, he realized that what he needed more at the moment, was most definitely not to remain alone with his thoughts.
Ron and Hermione paused abruptly in their anxious pacing, the entire common room filling with their silence as their gazes locked, none of them wanting to speak up first.
Allowing a deep breath to fill his lungs, Harry leaned against the nearest wall, eyes never leaving those of his friends'. A choked chuckle rose in his throat, that made the other two blink, "Remind me why is everything so fucked up with me again?"
A small, relieved smile tugged at Hermione's lips as she shook her head, Ron's grin following soon after, "You're Harry Potter, mate. When have things ever been normal with you?"
The three of them chuckled at that, the chuckles soon turning into full blown laughter as they stared at each other, knowing all too well what the answer to that question was.
END OF CHAPTER THREE
Finally! The mystery is unraveled.
Thanks to all those of you who have provided their support!
In the next chapter; How will Harry cope with the situation, what are the familiars of the more main characters and what about Voldemort?
Till next time!