Chapter 13

There was a yell of pain, and Tom was quickly awoke, his torso violently pushed up. He blinked quickly as he felt the feelings of hurt flowing into his mind. /What happened?/ He pulled on a pair of pants and went to where he sensed Harry's presence.

He saw Harry clutching his foot and hopping around the kitchen. He cleared his throat.

"Oh," Harry looked up at him. "sorry for waking you… Er, the knife dropped on my foot… It didn't cut me or anything…"

"You forgot to close our mind-link. I felt it."

Harry apologized again and told him that he was almost done with their breakfast.

Tom frowned at his sudden realization: he wouldn't be able to hurt the boy, without hurting himself.

The Death Eaters had disbanded for the most part, with Tom only keeping his Inner Circle to help play his political games.

Tom served the Dursley's just desserts for Harry's birthday.

Yugi and Ryou decided to stay at Hogwarts for the time being.

*Time skip*

"Harry, what's wrong? You seem a bit… depressed, lately?" Hermione looked at him worriedly.

Harry sighed and shook his head. "I don't know, Hermione… I just… I… I miss him." He finished quietly. "I can't really explain it. I keep expecting him to be sitting at the Slytherin table, to wake up seeing his face…"

Hermione faltered, clearing her throat awkwardly. "Well, I suppose it's normal to miss the person you're married to... even if it is Voldemort…" she whispered his name, not wanting anybody to overhear.

"I don't really think of him as Voldemort any longer. He's really changed since the ritual. Now, he's just… Tom. He's nice, even romantic at times." He paused in his musings. "We've bickered a few times, but I can't really blame him for anything major. He's been really busy with all the Ministry stuff, after all…"

Hermione smiled weakly. "Christmas break is coming up soon. You should tell him how you feel. Maybe it's the same for him?"

The raven-haired teen simply stared off into the distance. "Maybe..."

It was exactly the same for Tom, not that he would be fond of admitting it. He missed the boy's innocently charming personality, his honest answers, his bright smiles, his beautiful body which fit so perfectly against his own…

Time stopped, bent, ran in a doe's playful dance. Space twisted, people blurred. The moment they caught sight of each other for the first time in months was filled with a bursting tension, an intensely sorrowful longing, happiness's bright hopes.

They saw only each other; they felt only the other, as they walked towards each other and embraced; they cared not for the outside world. In that moment Tom abandoned all plans; Harry dropped all thoughts of friends, family, teachers. They seemed to become one, in that moment when they so strongly felt each other's differences and boundaries, in that moment when the space between them solidified and liquefied, vanished and reappeared, a quantum mocking.

As they sat facing each other in front of the fire, Harry was the first to speak.

"I missed you."

Tom was silent for a moment, but then "I missed you too, Harry."

Tom's eyes were burning into his own, and Harry had to look away.

"How is your Minister job?"

"It is fine. I'm sure you've heard of the changes I've implemented in the Prophet."

Harry said nothing.

"You have something on your mind. What is it?"

Harry breathed out, then found his bravery. He launched himself at his husband, tightly wrapping his arms around him. He buried his face in his chest. "I think… I love you," Harry said quietly, gripping Tom's shirt.

Tom's breath hitched. The boy—no, Harry—loved him! His plan of seduction was a brilliant success, a grand achievement… But now, the younger male expected him to respond. Expected him to analyze himself, analyze his own feeling and tell him whether or not he also felt love. He noted his quickened heartbeat, his elevated mood since his arrival, the warmth of Harry's skin against his, his anticipation for the night's later activities. "I think I love you too," he whispered, arms grasping the boy's body and pushing him even closer to him, even further into his dark embrace.

Everybody had their definitions of the word; who would deny Tom his?

They were each other's guilty pleasures.

To be fair, Harry didn't question his morality as often anymore. He defended his self-assurance by noting how well the British wizarding world was turning out, the spreading equality, the weakened habits. The people he cared for were happy, the war was over. There was still evil, but it was masked, hidden, inconspicuous. There was pain, but it was silent, non-physical. Everyone was good; nobody was good. The grey had widened, had swallowed. The darkness was bleached and whitewashed; the light was corrupted, purified, muddied by reality, its caliginous side revealed.

Tom didn't see Harry or his love for him as weakness, as his former self would have. Instead, Harry was his most precious trophy, his priceless semi-possession. Harry was a powerful wizard, Tom knew, and his submission to him brought Tom great joy.

He didn't need anyone else. He did not want anybody else.

There, right in his hand, touching his fingertips was all he wanted, all that belonged to him, all that gave itself to him, all that blinded itself for him.

He had no doubt that soon he would have even more. He would accept it graciously, gladly, out of a modesty that came only after objects became easy commodities, trivialities born in time of peace.

That was basically the end. I might write some epilogues if I think of them.

Let me know if you have any unanswered questions.

I hope this story made you think, at least a little bit! :)