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. But we both knew that would never happen, I would never surrender to him, and not to my uncle who believed that abuse and hatred were 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 trembling with 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 enemy?"

"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 has been."

"If I'm nothing but a tool, then how come you haven't succeeded in killing 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 most if I hadn't surrendered to him yet. In a way, I was proud of myself, for accomplishing 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 prophecies?

"I'll 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 of your own skills, Voldemort. You know you can't touch me here, at my relatives' house. How will you succeed in killing 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 talks, I was smiling constantly. I enjoyed our conversations, probably a lot more than I should. Sometimes I got the feeling he felt 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 fear nothing. There's no one in this world that can stand a chance against me. Not you, not Dumbledore, not anyone."

"But you must be a little afraid of me since 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, at least a little. 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, like death threats and arguing, we always started bickering. I didn't know about him, but I was having the time of my life, even if it was 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 to make the best of it, don't I?"

He chuckled at that, and I smiled. I loved it when I managed to make him laugh, it seemed like an impossible feat to accomplish. My smile faltered as I heard my uncle burst through the front door, cursing and almost spitting in his anger. Another bad day at work. And I knew he would blame me. I shuddered as I recalled the last time. My stomach still ached from where he last kicked me.

Voldemort must've felt my fear and pain, for his chuckles abruptly stopped. "What's the matter, Harry Potter?"

I was somewhat baffled by his question. Was he actually concerned? "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? 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 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 in 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 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.

"When was the last time you ate?"

"...three days ago."

I flinched as I heard my uncle scream something from downstairs and the sound of his heavy footsteps as he came upstairs. "He's coming. I don't know how much more of this I can take. But thank you, for being here, talking to 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 with a bang. There he was, panting and cursing like a madman, his hands already curled into fists.

"Hello, Freak. I had a bad day at work, you know what that means." I swallowed hard and tried to remember how to breathe.

I paced back and forth in my study, 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'd ordered the potions master to find out the boy's whereabouts. I was well aware 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, especially not by filthy muggles.
But I had yet to decide what to do with the boy once I'd have him brought here. He couldn't be too fond of those relatives of his, right? So he probably wouldn't object too much if I were to kill them.

At last, I could feel Severus's magical aura as he entered my manor. With a flick of my wrist, the doors to the study flew open and he entered. "Well?"

"My Lord, I succeeded. I have the boy's address."

I smiled and nodded my thanks, pleased with the information.

"Hang on, Harry. I'm coming."

I screamed in pain and tried to protect my already aching stomach from my uncle's kicks and punches. I bled from a wound on the side of my head, and it made me slightly dizzy. I 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 the air into my lungs. I frowned as I heard my aunt scream from downstairs before it was suddenly cut off.

"What the hell?" my uncle muttered and moved towards the door. He paused and turned back 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 towards the door but stopped as the pain became too much. 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, my glasses had been thrown away. I tried to move away as the person came closer, afraid I'd get hurt again, but a deep and gentle voice soothed me. I know that voice.

I felt strong, gentle hands pick me up and cradled me to my rescuer's chest. I sighed in relief and closed my eyes. I was finally safe.

When I opened my eyes I found myself in a room different from the one at Privet Drive. One, it was huge. Two, it was beautifully decorated. The walls were draped in green and silver, Slytherin colours, I absently thought, with four enormous windows covering one of them. Soft, green curtains hang down, making the room bask in a dim light. It must be near morning. Or evening. I had no idea what time it was.

"Where am I? This room is beautiful. Is it a palace?"

"Close enough. It's my home."

I jumped in surprise and looked around. Voldemort? This- this was his house? "Why am I here?"

"I came and collected you after you told me about your relatives."

"You did? I... thank you. Thank you so much! What did you do to them?"

"I killed them, of course. Even their fat whale of a son."

I sighed in content and sank deeper down in the bed. They were dead. My tormentors were gone.

"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 Harry. I guess seeing, or hearing, someone other than me hurt you just isn't acceptable. That's something only I can do."

"Thank you. If it weren't for you, I'd be dead by now. Where are you, anyway?"

"At the moment, I'm in my study. Why do you ask?"

"Can you come in here? I'd like to thank you in person."

Silence. I waited, eager and nervous. Would he come? I just realised my mistake. I had no idea where my wand was or the rest of my belongings. He could easily kill me or torture me. But, I thought, if that was his intention, why hadn't he done that already? I flinched in surprise as the door opened and held my breath as someone 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 deep, crimson eyes.

"Hello, Harry", he said.

"Hello", I replied, staring back at him. Wow.

"Don't you know it's rude to stare?" Voldemort asked. 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 for 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. Seeing you with a nose is difficult getting used to."