Author's Notes: The story is set in an alternate universe where none of the main events of the series took place. Many of the characters also have different ages from canon, such as Tom Riddle being only 11 years older than Harry.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and its awesome characters.
Pairing: Tom Marvolo Riddle and Harry Potter
Rating: T (might go up to M, I'll warn you beforehand)
Summary: Tom Riddle is a prominent member of wizarding society and is well on his way to becoming Minister of Magic. Harry, on the other hand, plans on escaping his adoptive home using his newly acquired animagus form. Through many turn of events, the two meet and change for the better or worse. HP/TMR AU.
Thank you to my beta Stellanti Nocte, who has a great eye for detail! :)
Tom Marvolo Riddle comfortably leaned into the hotel's satin-seated chair and rested his elbows on its elegant oak armrests. On his right, the room's large windows opened to the unique view of Paris' magical villages. It was filled with numerous spelled fountains and neatly trimmed gardens, but instead of glancing over, Tom opted for the more soothing task of simply relaxing against the chair's soft cushions.
It had been a long day's work as the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and he had thoroughly intended to use his free time to enjoy the wonders found in Paris' magical community. Sleep, however, eventually caught up with him and soon took over his body with its gentle drowsiness spells. Before long, he'd found himself back at his hotel room and finally taking the time to rest.
His whole life had been a wild rollercoaster ride of events that he'd somehow roughed through, though not unscathed. After years of hard work and endless determination, he had finally made a name for himself as a prominent wizard well on his way to becoming the youngest Minister of Magic.
His past still played a big role in his life and he sometimes needed a few solitary minutes to himself to replace his scattered thoughts and emotions. The wounds never left him, but had eventually healed over and left deep scars to his psyche instead.
To his knowledge, it had all begun with the marriage of a pure-blooded witch named Merope Gaunt to one Thomas Riddle, a rich muggle with a horribly smug personality. They both lived in a small northern village called Little Hangleton since childhood and were reputed as the odd couple in town.
Merope was hopelessly in love with the arrogant muggle and had enchanted him through the use of daily love potions to chain him by her side. Soon after their phony union, Tom Marvolo Riddle was born and lived as any child his age, knowing nothing of his father's unwilling position.
Years passed and Tom grew up to be a brilliant student with a seemingly normal family. His mother played well the part of a docile housewife and Thomas Riddle stayed blissfully ignorant of his situation until one fateful night.
Tom had been eight and slightly rebellious in his need for attention. His father often worked or spent obnoxiously long periods of time with his mother, not that he objected to them. He simply felt a little ignored and had one day thrown his first tantrum, knocking over his mother's daily serving of love potion in the process.
The effect had been spontaneous and one moment, Tom had been childishly pouting at his father, and the next, the older man was threatening to leave the family. Little Tom had been terrified as he watched his parents' fight turn violent. They never argued and his father never disagreed with his mother. Now, however, the whole world had turned upside down and his perfect little family picture had been stabbed into oblivion, all because of one broken teacup.
The quarrel only grew in volume and size, and Tom was soon hiding under the kitchen table, wishing for everything to be a horrible nightmare. Snot mixed in with the tears running down his face and he sniffled in his little corner as tableware and vases were thrown, crashing into nearby walls and tables. He couldn't watch and didn't want to listen. He didn't understand half the words being screamed and couldn't help thinking it was all his doing.
It was then that all turned eerily silent and everything paused. The quiet dragged on and small Tom tentatively unclasped his arms from around his knees and slowly gazed up. In front of the table under which he was curled, his mother held on to a thin wooden stick and had the object threateningly pointed at his father. The latter had an astounded look of stupor etched into his disbelieving features and had his right hand desperately grasping at his shirt.
A tinge of hope bloomed inside Tom's mind at the pause, but it soon crashed at his mother's next words.
"If you won't stay," the woman gasped, taking in deep breaths as a half-crazed look entered her dark eyes. "I'll make you stay."
With that, a deathly green light shone out of her wand and hit his father straight in the chest and consumed the man in its eerie glow. The next moment, all that was left was the corpse of a man he used to know and love. The sight would haunt the young man every night in his dreams for years to come.
Aurors eventually showed up and apprehended the unresisting witch. She was found guilty and put in Azkaban, while Tom was assumed to have been asleep during the fight and was left at Wool's orphanage.
The boy grew up lonely and despised by his peers for his family background and the strange events that often occurred around him. Every day, Tom would try and find a new way to leave the hellhole many considered an orphanage. He kept plotting his escape until a fateful letter arrived for him at the age of eleven, giving him the much sought-out opportunity to leave.
He learned much at Hogwarts, but soon dabbled in the Dark Arts when the school curriculum could no longer satisfy his needs for knowledge and power. The Forbidden Section of the library became his second home and he thoroughly immersed himself in the art.
The summer of his thirteenth birthday, Tom returned to the orphanage, as was mandatory by the law before his coming of age at seventeen. He had sneaked many books from school into his trunk and had intended to go through the material during his spare time.
He was not the only one to arrive, however, as a new kid had been entered into the system only a few days prior. Curiosity getting the better of him, Tom went out of his way to meet the new addition and was soon staring into the brightest green eyes he'd ever seen.
The child was only two years old and had a messy turf of dark brown hair framing his thin face. He had a captivating pair of deep emerald eyes and a small lightning-bolt shaped scar marring his little forehead. The boy seemed a little frail and had injuries littering his body, such as a broken arm that had still needed time to heal. A poorly-masked sadness encompassed his every move and the other children seemed to avoid him.
Tom soon learned that the small boy, whose name was Harry Potter, had just recently been orphaned when his father had been murdered. The young child had witnessed it all and was still traumatized. He visibly flinched at every movement, but was otherwise quiet and quite unresponsive.
It intrigued Tom how similar their situations were and, at the same time, frustrated him to see how cruel the other children were. He wasn't a very caring person and would gladly leave crying children alone to their own devices, but Harry's case reminded him too much of his own.
And so, with a slight awkwardness to his actions, Tom decided to keep the kid company. They didn't speak and Harry never did anything more than innocently stare at him with a mix of caution and curiosity. Eventually, Tom had brought the small boy with him to his reading area, where little Harry would occupy himself with the old half-broken toys and Tom would read from his books. He had already made sure to charm the covers and content to any muggle onlookers and so kept up the arrangement until it was time to leave for Hogwarts again.
Afterwards, every summer, Tom would return to the ever-growing Harry whose unique features would always capture his attention. The boy was a little shorter than his peers due to the poor nutritional value of the meals the orphanage offered and the early age at which he had been admitted. With every passing year, Harry seemed to grow skinnier and Tom thus decided to sneak his now-friend some non-magical treats he could find at Honeydukes every time he came back.
On the summer after his sixth year at Hogwarts, Tom returned to the orphanage to the news that an unidentified foreigner had taken his only friend away. For the second time in his life, Tom felt a wave of unfamiliar sadness to which he was helpless cascade through him and locked himself in his room for the rest of the months until it was time again for school.
The school year went by quite uneventfully and he was soon a legal adult in the eyes of magical law. With his newfound freedom, he quickly secured himself a vault at Gringotts and looked into his family inheritance. He soon learned of a long-dead uncle of his named Morfin who had been the previous heir to the Gaunt's measly fortune. The crazed wizard was found dead four years prior after having attacked a man who he'd mistaken for his sister's deceased husband, Thomas Riddle. The mention of his murdered father gave Tom pause, but he soon discarded the thought and trudged on.
The Gaunts, from his mother's side, were a very old wizarding family with roots dating back to the likes of Salazar Slytherin. As glorious as their past may have seemed, they were still dreadfully poor, but surprisingly had an unoccupied seat in the Wizengamot. Tom immediately took advantage of the opportunity and grabbed it, along with the family signet ring that was the vault's only possession.
With time, he made a career for himself as a newly admitted employee at the Ministry and an effective member of the Wizengamot. With every spare minute he found, he made an effort to search for Harry. He figured that a young boy with as striking features as his lost friend would not be hard to spot, but his hopes soon dwindled into nothingness when years of investigation resulted in nothing but thin air.
Tom made his way down wizarding Paris and glanced around the numerous stores lining the magical streets. Unlike Diagon Alley, where the atmosphere was fairly subdued and tranquil, the French favored extravagance in the form of colorful explosions and expressive advertisements. With every corner he turned, Tom received a face full of confetti charmed to disappear at contact and blasts of bright attention-grabbing lights.
"Venez voir nos bonbons volants!" one merchant yelled and waved a handful of flying lollipops into the air, where the winged candies circled around potential customers.
Another vendor showed off an irritated-looking golden eagle and made the large bird flutter its wings every few minutes to attract attention. Tom stayed clear from the stalls, but watched, slightly amused, when the eagle snapped at a passing man's wig and ripped off his toupee.
The large marketplace was filled with many attractions and despite the cacophony of noise, Tom rather enjoyed the change. Compared to his silent office that screamed of doom and death, the Parisian villages were more welcoming and exuberant. He was not usually a very expressive person, but after the series of annoyingly grotesque murders occurring both in Britain and France, by the same criminal at that, Tom was thoroughly done with the dark and mundane…for now.
The Dark Arts still called to him and he would be forever fascinated by its richness in power and history, but he no longer wished to destroy anyone he viewed as unworthy of his world. He still held his own opinions on certain individuals, whom he considered less than useful to society than others, but they were easy to manipulate and did not bother his plans at all.
British wizarding society was not perfect, but far from it. Every day, their world was threatened by exposure to muggles and the blood fight never stopped. There were plenty of problems to pick from, but Tom knew that he would have a blast changing it all. It would take years, decades, but he would do it. If not to reshape the way his society works, but for his own satisfaction.
Tom had been called to France for a board meeting between the Heads of different French and English magical departments to discuss the laws governing over both French and British wizarding criminals. With the recent disturbance of a psychopath fondly dubbed the Soul Stealer, authorities had been baffled at how to handle the murderer. Not only did the culprit commit crimes in England, he or she often crossed the border undetected and left signature crime scenes in both countries.
As Tom drifted off with thoughts of politics and future manipulations, a swift movement near his right side vision alerted him of an unknown presence. He subtlety slowed his pace and gazed towards the disturbance before his eyes widened in surprise at the sight of a large black wolf hidden under the shadows of a fruit stall.
Stray dogs or cats were not a rare sight on busy marketplace streets, but Tom immediately knew, by the way the beast paced and the length of its muzzle and legs, that it was a wolf or, at the very least, a hybrid.
'Probably the latter,' the wizard added in his mind.
From his limited knowledge of the canidae family, the black coloration was not common in wolves and was considered to be a mutation brought along by wolf-dog hybridisation. Hence, the large beast currently making its way through the crowd, mostly unnoticed, was not a common household pet.
However, from its slumped shoulders and its slightly drooped tail, the large wolf did not look threatening despite its size. Tom could not spot any signs of a collar, but it seemed fairly well-behaved and calm in the bristling of activity outside.
The wizard briefly considered ignoring it before finally deciding to follow the animal, in case something happened. He slowly lowered his hand into his long robe's sleeve and wrapped his fingers around his thirteen and a half yew and phoenix core wand.
The wolf was mostly hiding out of sight and seemed slightly disoriented by the way its head swayed from the right, then to the left in a confused fashion. Tom wondered whether it was looking for its master when a small child suddenly seemed to have spotted the animal too.
Before the man could run up and stop the kid, the little girl had skipped over to the large wolf and pulled its tail, hard. The animal gave a surprised yelp, but otherwise stayed calmed despite the nasty yank. Tom stayed close behind, ready to cast a stunning spell, but kept himself inconspicuous in case his assistance was not needed.
The girl giggled at the pained look in the wolf's unusually large green eyes and tried to pet it. The animal flinched backwards a little at her sudden move, but eventually allowed her to ruffle its soft-looking fur. The kid laughed some more and brought both hands up to smother the wolf's muzzle, making the beast perform funny faces that made Tom's lips curl up in a small smile at how silly it looked.
Despite it all, the animal didn't budge nor attack and instead sat down on its hind legs in a collected manner. Tom relaxed against a nearby wall as he watched it all from a distance when he suddenly noticed the balloon previously tied to the little girl's wrist coming loose. With another swing of her small arm, the toy floated up to the sky and out of her reach.
The child noticed a little too late and stared helplessly up at her balloon, her hand still resting against the wolf's ear. The balloon rose higher and higher into the sky when it suddenly began falling back down, as if pulled down by an enhanced force of gravity. Slowly and surely, it made its way back to the child and into her waiting hands. Tom stared in slight disbelief at the event and made a quick scan of the area, noting that no one, not even the child's parents, had noticed the floating balloon or the wolf.
It was then that he remembered the animal and saw the satisfied gleam shining in its deep emerald orbs. Tom narrowed his eyes at the beast and wondered whether it was its doing. He knew he sounded ridiculous, for wolves didn't usually perform wandless magic, but he could find no other explanation.
Just then, the child's mother worriedly called out for her and the kid's head perked up at the sound. She rapidly glanced around for her parents, but could not spot them through the thick crowd of adults and teenagers. Tom readied himself to walk over and direct her towards the right way when the dark wolf suddenly began nuzzling the child's side. The kid blinked up at the animal and cocked her head to the side in confusion. The wolf continued to push her into the crowd and she eventually looked forward to the sight of her mother frantically treading through the mass.
With a large grin and an energetic wave, the girl bade the beast goodbye and ran into her relieved mother's arms. Tom watched the intriguing scene curiously before glancing back to the already leaving wolf that had hidden itself even deeper in the shadows of the marketplace.
Without much thought, Tom followed it. All the while, he wracked his brain for information on any dog-like magical creatures he'd read up over the years, but could only come up with barghests. However, the wolf lacked the bulk of a goblin-dog and its eyes were a too lively shade of green to be ghostly.
'Must be an animagus then,' he concluded and tightened his hold on his wand. If it was indeed an unregistered animagus, he would need to bring it in to authorities, as were his official duties. On the other hand, he was not on shift at the moment and the beast did not seem dangerous in the least…
Suddenly, the wolf rounded a corner into a smaller alley and Tom saw his chance. As the animal entered into a darker and more secluded area of the wildly popular marketplace, the wizard swiftly took out his wand and cast the Homorphus charm.
A bright blue light shot out from his wand and wrapped itself around the animal, engulfing it in its ephemeral glow. The wolf paused in its movement and shivered as it promptly began to morph. Its long and dark pelt slowly changed into messy soft-looking curls and its form grew taller and leaner. Soon, as Tom watched the transformation with fascination, the wolf reverted back into the figure of a young man dressed in dark robes.
As the spell's glow continued to revolve around the mysterious animagus, Tom cautiously approached the man. The latter had his back to the other wizard, but abruptly turned around at the sound of Tom's steps and Riddle froze.
Staring back at him through a pained gaze, were the familiar emerald eyes that possessed his richest dreams and calmed his most troubling nightmares. Only one name came to mind and softly slipped passed his lips in a quiet whisper, "Harry?"
A/N: What do you think happened to Harry after his adoption? I'll be dedicating the next chapter to anyone who comes close! Other than that, reviews and favorites make my day :)
Here is the French translation of that one sentence:
"Venez voir nos bonbons volants!" = "Come watch our flying sweets!"
Thank you for reading!