Author's Intro: This is an AU slashy series of vignettes designed to insert between chapters and scenes in Fate's Favourite, a very swiftly-updating WIP by The Fictionist. The idea is that these chapters will read as cut scenes and theoretically (if I can get it right) will not disrupt or contradict the originating story up until the very end. As such, I'm not sure if these scenes would be able to stand alone out of context, so if you're interested in reading Fighting Fate, I strongly recommend that you read it together with its inspiration.
Fate's Favourite is a non-slash, post-time-travel, AU OotP novel-length fic focusing on a 'friendship of sorts' between Harry and Tom Riddle, Jr., who are both now repeating their 5th year. If you've never understood why people like to read slash, Fate's Favourite is the perfect story to find out, as it has all of the intimacy and intensity that makes slash (particularly gryff/slyth slash) so compelling, without any actual sexual interaction or romance between the main characters. If you do enjoy slash, it's a worthy read as it has all of the best aspects of the genre, albeit within a platonic context.
AN: Immediately following the end of Chapter 5
Scenario: Harry's trying to fit into his old persona after a year of being a leader in Tom's core group of Slytherins. Ginny's having a breakdown from having to confront a nearly-diary-aged Tom in the flesh and is taking it out on Harry. Tom tires of Harry's reticence and performs legilimency on him. Extract below in bold, followed by my accompanying drabble.
'Are you really going to stand for her disrespect, her lies?' he asked. He was genuinely curious, but he didn't mind the potential knock-on effects either.
'What do you want, Tom?' Harry asked. He kept his features passive with expertise, choosing only to quirk his lips slightly.
'I want many things - some of which you are aware of.'
'Don't be coy. It doesn't suit you.'
'Teach me better then,' he retorted, knowing Harry would never take him up on the offer. He was too wary, too experienced to fall for such an enticing trap. No, with Harry, it was a different game entirely. It was a subtler, the moves required much more finesse, and much more ruthlessness. A paradox - but everything about them was a paradox, wasn't it? Still, he couldn't help but feel a slight disappointment when Harry shot him a look, before picking up his bags and walking away. The biggest thing about Harry? Neither of them ever had to pretend.
"Ah yes... running away is certainly one way to distance yourself from the 'Gryffindor jock'. But then again, one of the things I always appreciated about 'Slytherin Harry' was that even if you did know to back down, you couldn't be bothered to. Perhaps you've decided to abandon both houses and explore your inner Hufflepuff?"
Harry stopped just before the door and turned to glare at Tom. "I'm not your toy, and you're hardly an innocent child to be playing with them still."
Tom casually sidled up to where Harry was standing, waiting, torso twisted, bag beginning to droop once again towards the floor. "Adults have their toys too, you know, and some of them have quite... fascinating uses."
Tom watched a streak of tantalising red splash against Harry's cheek just before the other boy turned back towards the door. Intriguingly, Harry didn't continue onwards, but remained in place as Tom's arms crept to his shoulders.
Leaning into whisper in Harry's ear, his lips just brushing the outer shell, Tom switched to Parseltongue. "If you're not interested in teaching me, then perhaps," he paused, and ever so gently allowed his incisor to graze the tender flesh, "then perhaps I should be the one to teach you." Wetting his lips, he allowed the tip of his tongue to just barely touch the now scarlet ear, and then Tom dropped his hands and stepped back to observe the boy.
He was beautiful in his delicacy, devastating in his vulnerability. Harry stood there, motionless but for the tremors running through his body and the frantic pace of his breaths. It was like the crystalline moment in which peace crumbles into destruction, the air ringing with the finality of this one last pause of quiet before the symphony of chaos and change commences.
And the glorious thing was that Harry knew, or at least a part of him—the part not firmly in denial—was completely aware of the burgeoning landslide his once safe-yet-enticingly-dangerous precipice had just become. Tom watched Harry sway as if the boy could actually feel the ground beneath his feet convert to rubble destined to tumble and carry him away.
Tom knew that all it would take would be a single breath, a single touch, and Harry would succumb. And that was why Tom stood still, just far enough away. It was too soon. For now, he would content himself with gently picking at the threads that held Harry together. Eventually, he would find the master seam, and then, when he pulled, he would savour the ensuing unravelling of the Boy-Who-Could-Be-Equal.
Slowly, Harry gathered himself, injecting his frame with a core of invisible steel. Without another word or look exchanged between them, Harry repositioned his bag and walked out the door, never seeing the dancing fire in the dark eyes that followed in his wake.
AN: I named this AU-AU "Fighting Fate", because in the Fate's Favourite world—and the whole HP canon universe really—Voldemort is the avatar, the mechanising manifestation of Fate in Harry's life. If you go through the FF story, and replace the word "fate" with "Tom" or even "Voldemort" each time it's mentioned, the phrase or sentence will probably still work. It could become an entertaining drinking game if extended to other fanfiction stories. Not quite sure how it would work, but the vague idea tickles me.