I smiled as I felt his presence in my mind. It brought comfort and calm. Yet I knew that wasn't his intention. He wanted to make me suffer. To make me beg for mercy, for death. He wanted to break me. But we both knew that would never happen. I would never surrender to him. Not to anyone. Not to him, not to my uncle who believed that abuse and hatred was the right way to treat me. I would not surrender to Dumbledore, who tried to fill my head with lies.
No. I would not surrender to anyone.
"Good evening, Harry Potter."
I smiled, yet I knew I should be covering in fear instead. Of course, he wasn't there to see it.
"Good evening, Voldemort. What brings you here? Felt like having a nice little chat with your nemesis?"
"We both know you aren't my enemy, Harry Potter. You are much too weak to stand a chance against me. No, you are nothing but Dumbledore's tool. You always have been."
"If I'm nothing but a tool, then how come you haven't succeeded in breaking me yet? Surely, I must be stronger than you think."
No answer. I knew I managed to leave him speechless. But he knew I was right. I had to be stronger than everyone else, if I hadn't surrendered to him yet. In a way, I was proud of myself, for succeeding that. But I was also tired of it all. I just wanted to be a normal boy, not the one destined to fight this evil man. But who was I to argue with prophesies?
"I admit, you have been lasting longer than others. But that doesn't change anything, Harry Potter. You will die by my hand one day. It is inevitable."
"You seem far too convinced for your own good, Voldemort. You know you can't touch me here, at my relatives' house. How will you succeed in breaking me?"
"Don't be rude with me, you brat! And we both now that the wards protecting you will only last until you're seventeen. Then you're mine to kill."
Voldemort didn't know, but during our talk, I was smiling constantly. I enjoyed our conversations every time. Sometimes I got the feeling that he did the same. But when it comes to Voldemort, you can never be sure.
"I wasn't being rude; I was just stating the obvious. But I'm right when I'm saying that you're far too convinced for your own good."
"I'm the Dark Lord; I have nothing to be afraid of. There's no one in this world that can stand a chance against me. Not you, not Dumbledore. No one."
"But you must be somewhat afraid of me if you're trying so hard to kill me."
Complete silence. I knew I'd hit the head on the nail, and smirked, somewhat proud of myself.
"Lord Voldemort isn't afraid of anyone!"
"If you say so. But I think we both know the truth. I'll even go so far to admit that I'm afraid of you, a little bit. I would be a fool not to be."
"Indeed you would. And you are."
"Insulting me isn't a step closer to defeating me. You just love to annoy me."
"But of course."
I chuckled to myself. Now the fun part started. Once we'd passed the more serious matters, we always started bickering. I didn't know about him, but I was having the time of my life, even if it was with my nemesis.
"Right back at you, Voldemort. And I know I'm doing a great job."
"Yes, you're alive. That annoys me most of all."
"Well, I'm sorry, but there's not much I can do about it. And I rather not want to experience 'Avada Kedavra'. It doesn't seem too fun. And I know for a fact that it's not."
"Becoming sentimental, are we, Harry? You're far too young for that."
"Well, if you succeed to kill me, I have t make the best of it, don't I?"
He chuckled, and I smiled widely. I loved it when I managed to make him laugh; it seemed like an impossible thing to accomplish.
My smile faltered as I heard my uncle burst through the front door, cursing and almost spitting anger. Another bad day at work. And I knew he would blame me. I shuddered as I recalled the last time. My stomach still hurt from where he had kicked me. I didn't know if I could take much more.
Voldemort must've felt my fear and pain, for his chuckles stopped.
"What's the matter, Harry Potter?"
I was somewhat baffled by his question. Did he care about me?
"My uncle is home, and he isn't happy. I know he'll take his anger out on me. He always does."
"You mean he hits you? That filthy muggle. Don't get me wrong, Harry Potter, this does not mean I care about you, I'm just disgusted that he dares to treat a wizard that way."
"He didn't dare to touch me when my godfather was alive. But after he died, he went at it again. I think he finds joy in hurting me. I hate him."
"Then why don't you do something about it?"
"I know I'm not strong enough. Even now as we speak I'm laying on my bed, unable to move."
"He's hurt you recently, then?"
"Two days ago."
"Is his treatment the only thing you have to endure? Or is there more?"
"He forbids my aunt from feeding me. He says he doesn't want to waste his precious food on me."
I could feel Voldemort's anger through the bond, and liked to think he cared about me, if only a little. It made me feel safe. No matter how weird it sounds.
"When was the last time you ate?"
"Three days ago."
I flinched as I heard my uncle scream something from downstairs and his heavy footsteps as he came upstairs. I was now shaking with fear.
"He's coming. I don't know how much more I can take. But thank you for being here, talking with me. I know it sounds strange, but it has made me feel... safe."
He didn't reply. I didn't expect him to.
I flinched again as the door to my room flew open. There he was, panting and cursing like a madman, his hands already curled into fists.
"Hello, freak. Guess what, I had a bad day at work. And you know what that means."
I swallowed hard and tried to remember how to breathe.
I paced back and forth in my office, impatiently waiting for Severus to reply. Where was he? He should be back by now, with the information I asked for.
During my and Potter's talk, I ordered Severus Snape to find out the boy's whereabouts. I know he's my nemesis, and I know I shouldn't help him, but... something deep inside me screamed at me to do something. I couldn't just leave the boy to be abused and hurt. If someone should hurt him, it should be me!
But I had yet to decide what to do with the boy once I've brought him here. Yes, I intended to bring him with me, after I killed his relatives. Potter shouldn't be too fond of them. I wouldn't be.
At last, I could feel Severus's magical aura as he entered my manor. With a flick of my wrist, the doors to the office flew open and he entered.
"Well?" I asked.
"My Lord, I succeeded. I have the boy's address."
I smiled and nodded, pleased with the information.
"Hang on, Harry. I'm coming."
I screamed in pain and tried to protect my already hurting stomach from my uncle's kicks and punches. God, it hurt! Please, just let it be over!
I bled from a wound on the side of my head, and it made me slightly dizzy. I briefly wondered if I would have brain damage after this, and the thought scared me more than anything.
The kicks stopped momentarily, and I gratefully sucked in air into my lungs. I frowned as I heard my aunt scream from downstairs, then it grew silent.
"What the hell?" My uncle muttered and moved towards the door. He paused and turned to me. "We're not finished yet, freak." And with that, he left.
I heard his heavy footsteps as he descended the stairs, then how he, too, screamed in what seemed like fear. I turned my head, but stopped as the pain grew too strong. Please, let my brain me intact!
I once again heard footsteps climbing the stairs, but they weren't my uncle's. These were much lighter. Who was it? I could barely see the person that entered my room, due to my poor eyesight. My glasses had been thrown away. I tried to move away as the person came closer, but a smooth and gentle voice told me to be calm.
"I know that voice."
I felt strong, but gentle hands pick me up and cradled me to the person's chest. I sighed in bliss and closed my eyes. I felt safe. Finally.
When I opened my eyes once again I found myself in a different room than my own at Privet Drive. Very different. First; it was huge. Two of my rooms could easily fit in there, maybe even the bathroom. Second; it was very nicely decorated. The walls were draped in green and silver- Slytherin colours- and four big windows covered one of them. Big, green curtains hang down, making the room bask in a dim light. It must be near morning. Or evening. I had no idea what the time was.
I was lying in a huge bed with silk sheets.
"Where am I? This room is beautiful. Is it a castle?"
"Close enough. It's my manor."
I gasped and looked around. Voldemort? This- this was his manor?
"Why am I here?"
"I came and collected you after you told me about your uncle."
"You did? I- well, thank you. Thank you so much! What did you do to them?"
"I killed them, of course."
I sighed in content and sank deeper down in the bed. They were dead. My tormentors were gone. At last.
"Are you upset that I killed them?"
"No. Not at all. I said thank you, didn't I? But... why?"
"Even I'm not so sure why I did it, Harry. Believe me, I've tried to come up with an answer, but the only thing I can think of is that... when I thought if you being hurt, something inside of me screamed in agony and rage. I just couldn't let someone hurt you. This is what's been puzzling me. I thought I was incapable of feeling these things, but... I guess I was wrong."
I was speechless. Lord Voldemort admitted that he was wrong about something- AND that he had feelings. I thought they'd had vanished when he was resurrected in my fourth year.
"Thank you. If it weren't for you, I'd be dead by now. Where are you, anyway?"
"In the moment, I'm in my office. Why do you ask?"
"Can you... can you come in here? I'd like to thank you in person."
Silence. I waited, eager and nervous. Would he come? I just realized my mistake. I had no idea where my wand was. Or the rest of my things. He could easily kill me, or torture me. But... if that was his intention, why hadn't he done that already? Maybe he waited until I was fully healed, then he would torture me? You could never know with him.
I flinched as the door opened and held my breath as a person entered. To be honest, I was quite shocked. Instead of the snake-like man I had been expecting- a young, handsome man stood before me, staring at me with crimson eyes.
"Hello, Harry." He said.
"Hello." I replied, staring back at him. How...?
"Didn't you know that it's rude to stare?" Voldemort said in amusement. I blushed and looked away.
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to be rude. It's just... you look different."
"For the better or worse?"
I turned my gaze back at him and saw him smirk. He was teasing me. I decided to tease back and pretended to think about it.
"I'm not sure. To see you with a nose are... quite astounding."
I laughed at the face he made, and he chuckled. I felt once again proud that I'd managed to make him laugh.