Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J. K. Rowling. No money is being made.
Warnings: This story will have Slash, violence and torture.
A.N.: Hey all. I have a request for all of you. I want to publish my original novel, though I'm really low on funds. So I decided to start a new project on Indiegogo. It's a crowdfunding website, one in which I have my projected posted. I'm hoping to get enough funds to have my book published. I would really appreciate it if you would check it out and spread the link in your social networks. You know how this things work, the more people know about it, the more of a chance I have of getting the funds. I only have 36 days left to achieve my goal, so please help me out.
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Chapter 7 – Savior
"Hey." Harry greeted, falling into one of the sofas in the Hufflepuff common room. He didn't even try to understand why he was there. He hadn't made a conscious choice of going to the Hufflepuff common room, but before he knew it he was in front of the entrance and whispering the password.
It had become such a common occurrence that the Hufflepuffs didn't even glance at him. How strange was it that he felt more comfortable with the Hufflepuffs than with the Gryffindors? Though maybe it was because he hadn't truly known any of the Hufflepuffs. Sure, some of them had been friends, but never close. He had no idea what had happened to most of them in the war.
"Hey." Zachariah replied, "I thought you would be in Hogsmead. We were planning on finishing this and then go join you." he waved at his half finished transfiguration essay.
"I went early this morning. Though everyone was staring so I came back."
"Staring more than usual?" Wayne asked, looking up from his own essay.
"Yeah." grumbled Harry, "You would think that they would have gotten over it by now."
Zachariah snorted, shaking his head.
"You're the Boy-Who-Lived. They'll never get over it."
Harry sighed and slumped back on the sofa. They had no idea just how true that was.
"We don't have to go," Wayne offered, "We could stay here."
"You wouldn't mind?"
"Nah. We don't need anything from Hogsmead. Though you could help us with this essay as thanks for our selfless sacrifice." Zachariah teased slightly and Harry laughed. Really Zachariah was quite funny, it's a shame that they hadn't gotten along in the other time-line.
"Sure. What's it about?" he shuffled a little closer to them and focused on what they were telling him, relaxing in the comfortable atmosphere.
Harry had been expecting many things when he stepped into Riddle Manor the following morning. Chaos, destruction and death among those many things. Well, maybe not death, but at the very least blood.
He didn't know if the silence that greeted him was a positive thing. It was eerily silent. Far to silent for a manor that harbored the Dark Lord and Sirius Black.
Slowly he made his way to Tom's office. He would never admit it but he was a little apprehensive. He opened the door to the office and peeked inside. Then he opened the door and stared. He blinked. He blinked again.
"Oh, you're earlier than I expected." Tom remarked, when he saw him at the door. He sounded slightly relieved.
"Wha-" he stopped when he heard the pitiful whine. He aimed a slight glare at Tom.
"It's not my fault!" Tom defended himself, "He wouldn't shut up."
"So you turned him into a dog?" he couldn't quite hide the amusement in his voice if the betrayed look he got was any indication. How a dog could look betrayed he had no idea, but it did.
Sirius was in his animagus form, though Harry was sure that Tom had made it impossible for him to turn back, and had a muzzle on his snout. He looked really pitiful and Harry felt his lips twitch slightly. The betrayed look grew in intensity.
Shaking his head he did his best to look stern.
"Turn him back, we have a lot of things to do today."
"Fine." Tom looked rather put out and Harry couldn't quite contain his chuckle. At least both were in one piece, as far as he was concerned the night had gone of without a hitch.
As soon as Sirius was turned back the muzzle disappeared. Sirius hid behind Harry, though he would deny it to his dying day, and glared at Tom.
"He's evil." he stated, with a firm nod. As if he was imparting Harry with the absolute truth and nothing else.
"Why thank you." Tom said with a smug smirk and Harry sighed. They were behaving like children.
"I should have guessed that you would consider it a compliment." Sirius muttered.
"Will both of you stop it?" Harry asked, feeling a little exasperation slipping into his mood, "You are behaving like a couple of unruly first year Hufflepuffs." it was difficult to come up with something that would be equally insulting to both Sirius and Tom, but seeing their expressions, being compared to Hufflepuffs seemed to do the trick. "Now, take us to Grimmauld Sirius. Barty can only cover for me for a few hours, so I can't linger for long."
"You've been getting along well with Barty." Tom remarked, getting up from his seat.
"I like him." he replied with a soft smile, taking Tom's hand when he refused to be apparated by Sirius. Sirius grumbled and popped away, leaving both of them alone, "He's so alive. So passionate about life. I think he's my favorite." a second later they popped away too. Harry completely missing Tom narrowing his eyes slightly.
"Charming." Tom remarked as soon as they arrived and he looked around. "The last time I was here the street didn't look so worn out."
"When was that?" he asked curiously, keeping his eye on Sirius who was by the front door of Grimmauld, whispering spells under his breath.
"In the late sixties. Orion, your mutt's father, and I were friends."
"Never heard you refer to anyone as your friend." Harry remarked softly, studying Tom's expression.
"No. I guess you wouldn't have." it was a low whisper and Harry almost didn't catch it, "I think that by the time that people started to know me as Lord Voldemort I had lost any and all attachments. I saw it as a weakness and did everything I could to rid myself of those weaknesses. Of course, Orion and Abraxas were always rather stubborn, they never truly did cast me aside."
"Good friends than."
"Yes, I suppose they were." a little smile appeared on Tom's lips and Harry couldn't help but smile as well.
"It's done." Sirius said, getting their attention. "I had to work on the wards a little. The house has been on lock-down since my mother's death." he explained, opening the door for them.
Harry stepped through first, Tom following right behind him. He looked around and almost chuckled. It looked as bad as he remembered from his fifth year.
"Call your elf." he told Sirius as soon as the door was closed. He wanted to be gone as soon as possible.
"Kreacher." Sirius called, scowling at the elf when it appeared in front of them.
Before it could open his mouth to say anything at all Harry spoke.
"Kreacher, I'm here to help you with your Master Regulus' last order."
The elf looked at him, ignoring everyone else. Harry did his best to ignore Sirius' look as well. He knew that he would have to explain some things to Sirius, but at the moment wasn't the right time. Besides, he didn't really want to tell him the truth. It was one thing telling Tom, it was another thing to tell Sirius. He doubted that Sirius would ever understand his blood-lust, his need to see them suffer, to hear them scream and beg.
"Master Regulus' order?" the old elf croaked.
"Yes. I'll destroy the locket. If you give it to me I'll take care of it and you'll have fulfilled your Master's last order." of course he had no intention of destroying the locket. He felt bad lying to Kreacher, the old elf had become a favorite of his children. He had spoiled them rotten, more often than not muttering about them being just as wonderful as his beloved Master Regulus. Even so it couldn't be helped. Kreacher was loyal to a fault when it came to Regulus and he would not give them the locket if he thought they wouldn't destroy it and they couldn't simply take it because Harry was sure that the crafty little elf would be able to steal it back.
Kreacher popped away and not a moment later popped back in, Slytherin's locket clenched tightly in his hand.
Harry knelt and held out his hand, waiting for the elf to deposit the locket in his hand. He smiled reassuringly at him when the trembling hand dropped the locket in his.
"Thank you, Kreacher." Harry held the locket against his chest, "You don't have to worry about it anymore."
"Thank you, Master." Kreacher bowed low and popped away again.
Harry was still clutching the locket close to his heart when he got up and turned towards Sirius and Tom.
"Thanks, Sirius. You have no idea how important this is." he smiled at his godfather, "Could you please be nice to him? I know you don't like him but he helped us a lot."
Sirius grimaced a little but then nodded, his eyes straying towards the locket that Harry still hadn't let go.
"Do you want to come back to Riddle Manor with Tom and I?" Harry asked, ignoring Tom's wide eyes.
Sirius snorted and glared at Tom.
"No, thanks. I think I'll stay here for a while. I'll get in contact with Moony, after that we will have a talk. The three of us. Don't think I don't know that you are hiding things from me. I won't push." Sirius added quickly when Harry opened his mouth to argue, "But we do need to talk. Me... you... Moony. Your parents... Everything is such a mess, Harry." he sighed. "I'll stay here, I'll talk with Moony and then I'll contact you again and we'll set a time to meet alright?"
"Alright." Harry replied, knowing that he wouldn't be able to slip out of it. Truthfully he knew that they deserved some explanation but he wasn't ready to give more than what he already had.
He hugged Sirius goodbye and let Tom apparate him away.
Harry fell gracefully into his usual armchair as soon as they appeared in Tom's study.
"I was kinda surprised that Sirius was able to apparate out of here." he remarked, glancing at Tom when he took the seat in front of him.
"I adjusted the wards as soon as I felt you arrive. They are closed again. No one but us is able to apparate in and out, no matter to which point in the manor. However the Death Eaters can apparate to the throne room for meetings, it's keyed to their Dark Mark." Tom explained, relaxing back on his armchair. His eyes drifted to his horcrux and a smirk appeared on his lips, "You seem rather taken with the necklace."
A slight blush spread on Harry's cheeks and he leaned over to give Tom the horcrux.
"Sorry." he murmured, "Aside from the one in me, that is the one I spent the most time with. I hadn't realized I missed it." he confessed.
Tom hummed, picking the locket up and glancing at it. His long, thin finger tracing the emerald S. He stood fluidly from his seat and stopped behind Harry.
Harry didn't move. He had no idea what Tom was up to, but he saw no reason to move. He trusted Tom, he knew Tom wouldn't hurt him. Though he was startled when he felt a weight around his throat and Tom's fingers brush the back of his neck.
He glanced down and saw the locket. He looked up at Tom, who was once again in front of him, and raised an eyebrow.
"It looks good on you." was all Tom said before he sat back down.
Harry looked at him incredulously for a minute then a small chuckle left his lips.
"Soon I'll have more of your soul than you." he had meant it as a joke. He surely hadn't expected Tom's response.
"It couldn't be in better hands."
Harry ignored the concerned glances he received from his friends. It was time for the first task and everyone was on edge, especially his friends. Even Hermione, though he had spend less time with her since his name came out of the Goblet. Ron was still in one of his moods and Harry continued to insist on Hermione spending time with him.
They still talked, but since Ron left the room as soon as he saw Harry his time with Hermione was greatly reduced. On one hand he was rather grateful for it, it had helped him adjusting to seeing all of them alive again. It was easier for him now to see this Hermione as her own person instead of the Hermione he lost.
He smiled reassuringly at his friends, doing his best to convey that he was fine. He doubted it worked since they still looked incredibly pale.
Harry sighed and left the Great Hall, he needed a bit of space. The atmosphere was a little stifling. He just couldn't understand why they were so nervous, they didn't even know that they had to face a dragon, why the hell were they nervous?
He almost yelped when he felt someone pulling him into a classroom. He had to stop himself from cursing whoever it was.
"Potter." Moody's gruff voice whispered near his ear and he turned around with a smile on his lips.
"Professor." he couldn't quite stop the fond smile from appearing on his lips. He hated seeing Barty parading around like Moody. He was really fond of Barty, the man was sharp, funny, loyal, and a million other things. He didn't judge Harry and he felt incredibly comfortable with the older wizard, well technically Barty was younger. Though sometimes he didn't feel as old as he was. He suspected that it was Death's doing. Death's soul made his feel incredibly young and that affected how he behaved. Since his little break down at Riddle Manor where Death comforted him he felt more in tune with his feelings. He wasn't a shell anymore. He was healing. He still had a long way to go, he knew that, but he was getting there. He knew it was all thanks to Death.
He felt a few charms go up and he knew that Barty was ensuring their privacy.
"Harry," even with the added security Barty whispered the words, "Are you ready for this? Do you know what you'll do?"
"Don't worry, Barty." Harry whispered back, his smile stretching a little, "Everything is going to be fine."
"Fine?" Barty sounded a little hysterical, "It's a freaking dragon!" he exclaimed. Harry glared a little and Barty smiled at him. He would have liked the smile better if he actually looked like Barty, but even so he could practically see Barty's soft, bright eyes looking at him, "I know you are incredibly powerful. I know that. Even so, I can't help but worry about you."
Harry smiled at him and had to stop himself from caressing Barty's cheek. No matter how much he wanted to it just felt wrong to touch Barty when he was parading as Moody.
"Thank you," it felt really nice to have someone worry about him. He had missed it, "Though, in this case, there really is no need to worry. I am not defenseless. It will be a great show." he assured him.
Barty studied him for a few moments, then he nodded.
"Alright." he said, "Good luck."
Harry smiled, brought the charms down and left the room.
He hadn't lied to Barty, he truly thought it would be a great show, he just hoped his plan worked. If not then he would become quite crispy.
Still, he was determined to try. What better way to try his power than against a dragon?
He made his way to the tent near the pitch. He knew he was a little early, but he didn't really want to wait for the others. His friends were slowly driving him insane with their hovering and he was sure that he would start hexing them if he spend a moment longer with them.
He fell on a chair gracefully and waited for the other champions.
His thoughts drifted from one thing to another. Most of all to Tom and their future plans. He still couldn't quite believe just how well they worked together. Sometimes he couldn't help but wonder how things would have been if he had just joined him the first time. Part of him was sure that things wouldn't have worked out. He had been a child, with none of the power and knowledge he currently possessed. No matter how he may sometimes feel and behave, he was an adult. He was Tom's equal. Previously the only thing he could have been would have been another follower, or a somewhat useful ally. He doubted that Tom would have had even an ounce of the respect he now had for him. Besides, Tom had been losing his mind. That, more than anything else, made it a moot point. Even if they were the same man, Voldemort was nothing like Tom.
He was brought out of his thoughts when he heard people approaching the tent. Cedric was the first to enter, followed by Fleur and then Krum. Cedric glanced around and when his eyes landed on him he smiled and walked towards him.
"Hey Harry." he greeted, taking a seat beside him, "Ready for the task?"
"As I'll ever be." Harry replied, "What about you?"
Harry saw the brief flash of fear that appeared in Cedric's eyes be squashed by determination and almost chuckled. Cedric was ridiculously gryffindorish sometimes. It was the same reaction he had when Harry had told him about the dragons, though he had looked a little paler then. Not that Harry blamed him, he had been the same way the first time.
"I... yeah, yeah, I'm good." the smile on his face was nowhere near as bright as his usual smiles but at least he was trying.
"Everything is going to be fine." he felt the need to reassure the other champion. Cedric was the only death in the whole war that he saw as truly pointless. There had been no reason for him to die. True, during his year on the run there had been hundreds of people who died seemingly for no reason, but it had been different. They had been truly at war then, it was to be expected. But Cedric... Cedric's death had been a waste. One that he wanted to avoid at all cost, at least for now. When the war started up again... well, to each their own. It would be Cedric's choice then. It was, in his opinion, much better than dying just because he was there.
"You look pretty confident." Cedric remarked.
"Not really." Harry replied, "I just know that there will be handlers all around in case something goes wrong. I doubt that the Headmasters and Ministry officials would risk our lives for entertainment."
Cedric didn't need to know that he was lying through his teeth. He didn't trust the Ministry officials or the professors as far as he could throw them. True, they hadn't done anything to him yet, but he remembered their incompetence quite well.
"Yeah," Cedric mumbled, "I guess you're right. Though if I had know that they would make us face dragons, even with the handlers nearby, I don't think I would have put my name in the cup."
Harry snorted and he caught the twitch of Krum's lips.
"I don't think any of us would haff." Krum remarked taking a seat near them.
"Hey!" Harry mocked scowled, "Don't lump me with you guys. I was smart enough not to put my name in."
Krum's eyes flashed with amusement.
"Sorry. I will not make the same mistake again."
"See that you don't." Harry did his best to sound as snobbish as possible. He may have borrowed Malfoy's tone, and from Cedric's twitching lips he recognized said tone.
They managed to keep the serious air for a few moments before they broke out into laughter. Harry saw that both Cedric and Krum needed it. Even Krum who usually was a rather stern individual seemed to revel in the lightheartedness of the moment. Harry understood. They had to face a dragon, even with the handlers nearby it was a daunting task.
Their little moment was broken when Bagman walked into the tent. Harry almost sighed when he saw the familiar bag.
From that moment forward everything went exactly as he remembered, though he was nowhere near as panicked as he had been the previous time. He was still a little apprehensive about his plan. He knew that it may not work, but could he really waste the monumental oportunity that was presenting itself to him?
He could still use what he had used in the other time-line. The broom thing had worked rather well and people had been impressed.
No. He shook his head firmly. It may have worked but he hadn't shown any magical talent when he did that stunt with his broom. Sure it showed his flying skill but that was it. He needed to awe people with his magical power. They needed to see what he could do. They needed to know that they would lose if they went against him. It was the best way to dissuade people from opposing him and Tom. No matter what he wanted to avoid killing as many magical people as possible. Even if that meant gaining Dumbledore's attention far sooner than he wanted.
It was his turn. He stepped into the enclosure and for a fraction of a second let the noise around him engulf him. This time there were far more people cheering for him than the last time. This time people were actually on his side.
Then his eyes caught the dragon and he stopped breathing for a second. It was far larger than he remembered and if he wasn't sure that he couldn't die then he may have rethought his plan. But he couldn't die, so he didn't.
He took one step forward and that was all it took. The dragon breathed in and the next moment a wall of fire was launched at him.
It was breathtaking.
It was deadly.
It was fire.
It was an element.
And he was an elemental and every element obeyed him.
He pointed his wand at the fire, more for show than anything else, and willed the fire to obey him. Inches from his body the fire stopped. He could feel the scorching heat coming from it, but it didn't burn him. It didn't hurt him. It couldn't.
He willed it to take shape, to gain life. It obeyed. Growing stronger with the fire the dragon was still breathing at him.
In a matter of moments a replica of the dragon that he was facing was standing beside him. It opened it's fiery maws and let out a deafening roar, silencing the crowd around them. The Horntail looked at its counterpart, deeming it the more dangerous threat.
Harry willed his fire to move, to keep the Horntail distracted.
It obeyed, spreading it's flaming wings and took to the air. Harry had never seen anything quite as mesmerizing and he knew that every person present felt the same.
Every single person in the crowd had their eyes locked on his fire, mesmerized by it. The Horntail was just as fixed on it as the crowd, though Harry was sure that it had nothing to do with fascination.
This was his chance though. He had to get the egg. He silenced his footsteps and masked his scent. Then he ran towards the nest, keeping an eye on the dragon, just in case it decided that he was a bigger threat than his fire dragon. Luckily for him the Horntail hadn't notice him at all, though to be fair no one was really looking at him. He reached the nest in less than a minute, grab the egg and raced back out of the enclosure. No one, not even Bagman, noticed that he had completed the task. He couldn't quite stop the chuckle that left him. Well, he had wanted to awe them.
He willed his dragon to land and as soon as it did he extinguished the flames, willing them to die out. It did, though Harry felt a slight struggle against his control. He would have to look into that. He couldn't afford to lose control of an element in a more critical situation.
There was silence for a heartbeat. Then the crowd went wild.
"Oh, dear Merlin! Did you see that?!" Bagman was shouting over the cheering crowd, "Did you see that!?" he sounded part incredulous and part awed and Harry chuckled again. Well, it had worked far better than he had expected.
"That was magnificent." a voice breathed near his ear and he almost felt his heart jump out of his chest. He spun around and his eyes locked with deep blue ones that flashed red for a second.
"Tom?" he asked incredulously, "What are you doing here?"
"I was curious about what you would do." Tom replied, leaning a little away from him.
Harry looked at his glamor and relaxed a bit. He looked nothing like Tom Riddle. He was blond, with deep blue eyes, and a slighty lanky body. He was Tom's complete opposite. Reassured that no one would recognize him Harry smiled at him.
"I'm glad you enjoyed the show." he smirked.
A dark, seductive chuckle left Tom's lips.
"You have no idea how much I enjoyed it." Harry completely ignored how that voice affected him. "Will you be coming to the Manor tonight? We have plans to discuss."
"Not tonight." Harry told him shaking his head, "I doubt that I'll be able to get away all that easily. Tomorrow."
"Alright." Tom agreed easily enough. He looked up when he heard footsteps coming their way and with a small sigh melted back into the shadows leaving Harry alone with a golden egg.
Moments later he was almost tackled by a witch with bushy brown hair.
"Harry!" she was trembling and Harry wrapped his arms around her. He felt a little bad for putting her through so much.
"Hey Hermione." he whispered, "Did you like my dragon?" he couldn't help but ask and it got him a somewhat hysterical laugh form her.
"Oh, Harry," she let him go, though only far enough away so that she could look into his eyes, "It was beautiful. How did you do that? I've never seen anything like it."
"I'll tell you later," he deflected, "I can see Madam Pomfrey coming our way and I just know that she'll try and force me into bed rest." he muttered, making Hermione laugh.
His prediction came through and Harry shared a pained look with Hermione. Thankfully when the medi-witch made sure that there was nothing wrong with him she let him go see his score.
Ten from Dumbledore. Ten from Maxime. Ten from Crouch. Ten from Bagman. Nine from Karkaroff.
He almost snorted when he saw the sneer from Karkaroff. It was clear as day that if it didn't show clear favoritism than the man would have given him a much lower score. Not that it surprised him, Karkaroff was just that kind of man.
"You're in first place!" Hermione shouted excitedly. He grinned and pulled her into another hug, enjoying this little moments where he could be carefree.
He hadn't even closed the door and he already had a wand digging into his neck.
"Would you really curse me, Barty?"
"Harry." came the breathy reply and he smiled, turning towards the man.
"Hey," he looked at the man and saw that he only had sweatpants on, "Did I wake you?"
"No." Barty told him, stepping away from him. Harry missed the warmth of his body but didn't pull him back, "I was reading. What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be with the Gryffindors celebrating?"
Harry sighed and fell gracefully into one of the armchairs by the fire.
"I got tired of hearing just how awesome I am." he muttered.
Barty snorted and took the other armchair.
"I hate to say it, but I kinda understand where they are coming from."
Harry glared at him and Barty raised his hands in surrender.
"You only have yourself to blame, Harry." Barty told him unapologetic.
"I know." he grumbled, "I wanted to awe them, but I wasn't expecting this."
"If you wanted awe, you got it." Barty said and Harry looked at him. His eyes were shining and Harry could see the wonder in them. But it was overshadowed by respect and something else that he couldn't quite place.
"Yeah. Tom liked it too." he remarked, a small smile on his face.
"My Lord was here?" Barty sat up straighter.
"Yes, he said he wanted to see what I would do. He said it was magnificent."
"I see." Barty murmured, leaning back on his seat, his eyes losing some of their shine.
"Is something wrong?"
"No. No, it's nothing." Barty reassured him, a smile on his lips.
Harry didn't truly believe it, but he didn't push. Sometimes Barty behaved in ways that he truly didn't understand. If he wasn't sure that he was wrong he would think that Barty was jealous of his relationship with Tom. But he knew that wasn't it. Barty had said that he had long ago accepted the fact that Tom couldn't see him as a son, as more than a valuable Death Eater.
"Can I stay here tonight?" he asked instead, the real reason why he had sneaked down to his room.
"What?" Barty was looking at him incredulously and he blushed a little, mentally cursing his pale complexion.
"I want to sleep here." he said. He truly wanted it. He missed sleeping beside a warm body. It was such a comfort during the war. It made them remember that they weren't alone. He missed it. He hadn't had that comfort for over a year. And Barty... Barty was becoming someone he felt close to. Barty was someone he could trust. Barty was warm, alive, and he wanted to feel that.
"Alright." came Barty's soft reply and he sighed in relief.
They both got up from their seats and he quickly transfigured his clothes into sweatpants. He followed Barty towards the bed and waited for him to get in. He took the other side and crawled under the covers, scooting closer to the warm body beside him.
Almost hesitantly an arm warped around his waist and pulled him firmly against Barty's body. He sighed in contentment and burrowed deeper into the delicious warmth.
"Goo'night, Barty." he mumbled, falling asleep without even realizing it.
Barty tightened is arm around the slight body. His eyes landed on the necklace around Harry's throat. He recognized it. Almost subconsciously he pulled Harry closer to himself. He closed his eyes and buried his nose in the raven locks.
He knew he was courting death, but at the moment he truly didn't care.
Harry woke up slowly. He felt warm and safe. He couldn't quite remember the last time he had felt it. Wanting to hang on to the last vestiges of sleep he burrowed deeper into the warm beside him. He grumbled a little when he felt his comfortable pillow shaking.
"Good morning." Barty's husky voice whispered near his ear. He stilled for a fraction of a second the previous night coming to him. When he felt the arms warped around him he relaxed and pulled his head away from Barty's chest, his comfortable pillow. He smiled sleepily at the man beside him.
"Good morning." he whispered back.
"Did you sleep well?"
"Better than I have in a long time." he answered truthfully.
"Good." Barty muttered, pulling him closer to his body. Harry smiled and went willingly.
They stayed like that for a few more minutes, both enjoying their time together and wanting it to last. Harry because he didn't really want to face the people outside of his little bubble and Barty because he just wanted to keep Harry close.
"We have to get up." Harry grumbled, not moving from his place.
"I know." Barty replied, tightening his arms around Harry.
Harry grumbled a bit more about anything he could think of, making Barty laugh, until he finally pulled himself away. He glared a little at the sun that was peeking through the curtains, blaming it for making him leave his new found haven.
He felt the mattress shift and glanced up to see Barty leaving the bed as well.
"You should go before they start searching for you." Barty advised him.
"I know." he stretched a little and transfigured his sweatpants back to his clothes from the previous night, "I need you to cover for me tonight. I have to see Tom and I don't know how long I'll be."
Barty turned around to look at him. His eyes were unreadable and Harry frowned slightly.
"Of course, if anyone asks I'll cover for you."
Harry smiled at him, letting the matter go just as he had the previous night. He knew that Barty would tell him if he pushed but he didn't want to push. He wanted Barty to come to him on his own. He wanted Barty to trust him and for that to happen he couldn't push.
"Thanks." he walked towards the door, then stopped and turned around, "If I want to sleep here again... would you mind?"
Barty's eyes had their shine back and a fond smile appeared on his lips.
"Of course not. You can come to me every time you wish it."
Harry smiled brightly at him and left Barty's room. He couldn't quite keep the smile from his lips all the way back to Gryffindor tower.
He sneaked back to his dorm, doing his best to not wake the others. He knew he would be teased endlessly if they knew he had spend the whole night out. If they didn't see him then he could always say that he had gone to bed after they had already fallen asleep and that he had woken before them. When he reached the bathroom he congratulated himself on his sneaking abilities and took a quick shower to get ready for his day.
He was rather thankful that they didn't have any classes that day. He was quite tired. Controlling the elements was difficult. He hadn't truly tested it before the task. Sure he had played around with wind, water, earth, fire, and shadow, but he hadn't truly done anything with it, aside from giving Tom a body back. Though he had assumed that the only reason he had been that tired was because he had used the element Life, one of the hardest to use and control according to his father. But he hadn't really used any of the other elements. He had aimed a few jets of water at Barty. He had also build miniature forts and castles with earth. And he had spend a great deal of time lighting the fire in the fireplace and controlling it's intensity, but it had been nothing compared to the dragon.
Truthfully it had been staggering having all that fire under his control. He could understand why true elementals had been feared.
Part of him wondered if people would fear him for it as well. Though he admitted that if they didn't fear him for his power they would fear him for siding with Tom. Which, in his humble opinion, was a far more valid reason to fear him. Especially because Tom brought out his sadistic tendencies quite easily.
He was somewhat resigned to know that people would fear him, which was the reason why he had opted to show his power. One way or another people would fear him. What did it matter if he gave them reasons for it or not?
The only thing that would have made him change his mind was Dumbledore. He hadn't wanted to catch the old man's attention quite so soon, but the pros outweighed the cons. If nothing else the students were awed by his display. The older ones had been a little wary of him, he could see it in their eyes, but they had accepted him well enough. Even if they had seen the task with different eyes than the younger ones. He had made them think. He had made them realize that having him as an opponent would not be good for them. He could only hopped that they remembered it and that it would help sway them to their side. Or at the very least make it so that they wouldn't side against him. He wouldn't begrudge them if they opted for neutrality.
He dressed quickly and went to have breakfast. He expertly ignored the looks he got and when Zachariah and Wayne called him over to the Hufflepuff table he went. He was a little surprised that they had called him. He had expected them to feel a little put out that he had done so much better than Cedric.
"Hello." he greeted them, seating himself between them, "How was the party last night?"
"Not as great as yours from what I heard." Zachariah grumbled, "Really, a dragon made out of fire. The dragon's own fire no less. Could you have picked anything more flashy?"
Harry chuckled and smirked.
"They wanted a show."
"You certainly gave them one." Wayne remarked, "Have you seen how the Slytherins are looking at you? Especially Malfoy and his click?"
"No, not really. Why?"
"Well... I've never seen them looking quite so gray."
Harry glanced over at the Slytherin table and snorted when he saw them. They truly did look gray, though what caught his attention were some of the looks the older students had. There was a calculating gleam in their eyes when looking at him. Almost as if they were reevaluating everything they knew about him. He threw them a smug smirk and turned back to his breakfast.
"I think Malfoy is realizing that you could crush him and that you have been playing with him." Zachariah commented, "He is a Slytherin, his self-preservation must be kicking in." he added with a snort, making Wayne and Harry laugh.
"Do you think he'll leave me alone?"
"I said that his self-preservation was kicking in, not that he was smart." Zachariah told him deadpan and he laugh again. His eyes shone with mirth and the smirk on his lips was almost savage.
"Do you think that he'll need a demonstration?"
"Dear Merlin, I hope so." Wayne said, his eyes alight with glee.
Harry chuckled and shook his head. He wondered how he had never noticed just how vicious the Hufflepuffs could be.
"Excuse me," a voice from behind him said. He turned around and came face to face with a little first year Hufflepuff, "The Headmaster said to give this to you." the little girl told him, handing him a rolled up parchment.
"Thanks." Harry smiled at her, chuckling when the little girl blush and scurried away.
He unrolled the parchment and almost sighed when he read it.
It truly didn't surprise him to receive the summons. He had just hopped that he would have been able to avoid it for a few more hours. He wasn't all that sure how he would deal with Dumbledore. He knew he had to do something, to say something but he didn't really know what.
Depending on how he approached it his life at Hogwarts would change.
Though he doubted that Dumbledore would ever think that he had joined Tom, even if he acted against the old man. He was sure that Dumbledore believed that there was too much bad blood between them for them to work together. Aside form that Dumbledore was sure that Tom would kill him on sight.
Still, he knew if he went against Dumbledore that he could make his life much more complicated.
Did he want to risk it? Was it worth it?
And now that he was thinking about it he had to wonder if Snape had told Dumbledore that his Mark had darkened completely. He had seen how fidgety Karkaroff had become. No doubt a result of his Mark darkening and burning. Snape's Mark had done the same. Had he revealed the truth to Dumbledore? Did they know that Tom was back or did they think that he was only getting stronger?
All of those things made it difficult to know just how to act.
What to do... what to do...
"What is it?" Wayne asked, looking a little concerned.
"Oh, just a summons to his office." he said nonchalantly, concealing his turbulent thoughts, "I'll better be on my way. The sooner I get this over with the better."
They nodded, told him to join them in their common room later if he wanted to and went back to their breakfast.
Harry waved good-bye and walked out of the Great Hall. He dragged his feet a little, trying to delay the meeting for as long as possible. He wasn't afraid of the old man, he wasn't. He had no reason to be. But at the same time he didn't want to face him. He wasn't sure he would be able to completely hide the bitterness and resentment he felt. He didn't want to complicate his and Tom's life, but he knew he wouldn't be able to act as Dumbledore's little Savior.
Sooner than he wished he arrived in front of the entrance to Dumbledore's office. He took a deep breath and said the password.
"Twix." he almost snorted at the password.
He knocked on Dumbledore's door and a moment later he heard 'Enter.'.
The office was just like he remembered it.
"Harry, my boy, thank you for coming. I hope I didn't pull you away from your breakfast?"
"No, Headmaster. I had already finished." he replied, taking a seat in front of Dumbledore's desk when the old man gestured to one of the armchairs.
He sat patiently and waited for the Headmaster to begin. If anything he had learned to be patient.
"Now, my boy, do you know why I called you?" the twinkle in Dumbledore's eyes was slightly dimmed and Harry almost smiled when he saw that.
"No, not really, sir." he knew perfectly well why he was there. But there was no need to make life easier for the old man, was there? He certainly hadn't made life easier for Harry.
"Well, my boy, as you can imagine, yesterday's task left quite a few people speechless."
"No wonder. What were they thinking setting us up against dragons?" he did his best to look as indignant as possible.
"Yes, well... That wasn't really the reason why people were speechless. The spell you used, where did you learn it?" Dumbledore had leaned forward on his seat, his eyes piercing.
"Why does it matter? Shouldn't you be happy that I wasn't turned to ash?" he couldn't quite mask the biting in his tone.
"My boy, of course I'm happy that you are unharmed." Dumbledore placated, a grandfatherly smile on his bearded face, "However I am concerned about you. The only spells that can control the elements are some of the darkest known to man, I do not wish to see you walk down that road."
"So what if it was? It kept me alive."
"Surely you don't mean that, Harry." the twinkle had vanished completely from his eyes and Harry wanted to pat himself on the back for managing to do it, "Think about what your parents would have said."
"I think, since they died so that I could live, they would be rather happy that I survived. No matter how." he knew for a fact, thanks to his father, that his parents stood with him. Though he had to give it to Dumbledore, in his previous life that line would have worked like a charm.
"There is another who believes in survival no matter the cost, Harry." Dumbledore told him, his voice grave and Harry could feel the old man's magic fluctuating slightly.
"Oh?" he raised an eyebrow. He knew that he was referring to Tom, and because he knew he couldn't help but answer, "Good for him, than. It's good to see that there are smart people out there."
"I'm speaking about Lord Voldemort, Harry." Dumbledore said after a few seconds of stunned silence. As if knowing who it was would make all the difference. As if it would make Harry realize that he was somehow wrong in his stance.
"You know," Harry said slowly, as if he were weighing every word that was leaving his lips, "He always said we were rather similar. Perhaps he was right?" Harry relished in the shock that briefly flashed on Dumbledore's features, "Maybe our will to live far outstrips anything else. Not that it really surprises me, considering where we grew up." the last bit was more of a mutter, but he delighted in the almost unnoticeable flinch it produced. "I'm not some Savior," the word was spat out, "This isn't a fairy tail, where Voldemort is bad and I'm good and I should strive to be nothing like him. I'm a just a teenager who was dragged into this mess, and I only want to survive. By any means necessary."
"Where did you learn that spell, Harry?" Dumbledore demanded, any trace of grandfatherly personality gone.
Harry sneered, he couldn't help himself.
"It wasn't a spell." he stated gleefully, "It was only magic. Magic and my will." when Dumbledore paled he let a satisfied smirk pull at his lips, "Is that all, Headmaster?" getting a nod from Dumbledore he got up form his seat and left the office.
As soon as he was down the stairs he chuckled. Hopefully that would keep Dumbledore busy for a while. It wasn't very likely that Dumbledore would find out that he was an elemental just from that, but he would spend hours, days, maybe even weeks, researching. As obsessed as he was with the damned prophecy he may even think that it was the mysterious power that Tom supposedly didn't know.
He chuckled again, making his way to Barty's room, at least it would keep the old man out of his hair.
"What are you doing?" Tom asked, looking down at Harry who was sprawled on a rug in front of the fireplace in his study.
"Lazing about." came the muttered reply and Tom had to stop a smile from forming on his lips.
"I see." he sounded far more amused than he wanted. "I thought that we would be working on our plans?"
"We are." Harry agreed, "I was just so damned comfortable at Hogwarts and I had to drag myself here. I wanted to indulge a little."
"What were you doing at Hogwarts?" he asked curiously, taking a seat near the fireplace.
"The exact same thing. Though I had company on the rug, since Barty was there." Harry answered, stretching himself lazily.
"Oh?" that came out far more clipped than he had intended, "You are spending a lot of time with him, aren't you?" there, that was better, only a little bit of interest shining through.
"Yeah." Harry replied, he sounded on the verge of sleep, "He's warm and cuddly."
"My Death Eaters aren't cuddly." he felt the need to say. Not quite sure if he was defending himself or his Death Eaters. Maybe a little bit of both? He was sure that none of them would be able to live knowing that they were considered anything as mushy as cuddly.
"Alright, your Death Eaters aren't cuddly." Harry agreed, nodding his head. "My Barty is though."
His eyes narrowed and his wand appeared in his hand almost without his notice. He absolutely despised that little pronoun before Barty's name. His Death Eater had better not be Harry's anything.
And he would rather not know just how Harry came by the knowledge that Barty was the cuddling type.
"Hmm," he did his best to sound nonchalant, "Should we start on our plans than?"
Harry gave a long suffering sigh, stretched one more time and got up on his feet.
"Yeah, I think it's best. Your Death Eaters know you are back. It's about time that they are put to use."
Tom nodded and accioed a few parchments from his desk. It was time to set things in motion, he would deal with everything else later.
A.N.: Hope you all enjoyed the chapter :)
Next chapter will be fun. We'll have Lucius making an appearance. And there will be more Barty of course. I just can't help myself. And to all those who asked... it is a Tom/Harry pairing, but yeah there will be Barty/Harry as well. Barty does have a crush and poor Harry doesn't realize it. He's kinda oblivious to those things. And when it comes to his attraction to Tom... well, he is pretty good at pretending that he doesn't know what's going on.
Death will be making an appearance soon as well... I miss him lol