Summary: Guess who knocked up the Dark Lord? HP/TMR slash, mpreg, CRACK, but with a sophisticated tone
Rating: M for language and slash
Warnings: Harry/TMR non graphic SLASH (please don't read if you don't like), mpreg, crack, fluff, what is my brain?
Disclaimer: I don't, and never will, own Harry Potter. All it's plots and characters belong to J.K. Rowling and company.
beta'd by YumeNoTsuzuki on Ao3 (thanks m'dear)
AN: Helloooo, all! So, this story has been sitting in my computer for ages and I finally got around to cleaning it up to post it.
Before we begin, just know: this is crack! It's supposed to be ridiculous and silly. Wrote it on a whim after thinking 'gee, I wonder what would happen if it was TMR who got pregnant?' So please, don't take it too seriously XP
On with the show!
Nagini was the first to know. She told them so at early dawn one morning. They both thought she was, in a word, nuts. In another word: delusional. It took them until sunset that next day for them to believe her, because at that point they just wanted her to shut up about such an impossible notion. So they performed a simple spell that would easily disprove her obviously faulty sense of smell. Only…it didn't.
Harry Potter was pretty sure he was doomed.
'I'm going to kill the brat!' the Dark Lord Voldemort thought maliciously. ' After…after I lie here for a while...'
Lord Voldemort, ruler of the British Wizarding World, was lying on the cold tile floor of his bathroom. His eyes were closed, and his arms were resting lax at his sides. A black silk dressing robe covered his otherwise bare chest, which rose and fell as he consciously took slow, even breaths.
A voice broke his attempts at calming meditation.
"Tom! I got it!"
Voldemort—or Tom Marvolo Riddle, as only a very small number knew him by—growled (it could also have been a whine, but nobody would ever tell him that) at the exuberant interruption that caused the break in his concentration, and he tightened his clutch on his wand to point it at the interrupter standing in the doorway.
He stopped, as even that partial syllable caused his stomach to heave uncomfortably. Just as well, since if he hit the Potter brat with the Unforgivable he might be liable to drop the potion in his hand and Tom would only have to wait longer for it.
"Ah, heh," Harry coughed nervously. "Here's the potion for your stomach." The young Lord Riddle by marriage approached his seven week pregnant and very pissed off husband, a small bottle of a pale yellow potion in his one hand. A potion that, while designed to relieve the drinker of morning sickness, tasted vile enough it could also induce it. Voldemort wondered if this was Snape's passive-aggressive revenge for all his misdoings in the past. Harry would mix honey into it, but the improvement in taste was meager at best.
Harry knelt down by Tom's head and helped him sit up a little so he could down the morning sickness cure. The Dark Lord drank it in one fell swoop and promptly squeezed his eyes shut as his gag reflex aimed to reject the potion. After that, though, he was relieved to feel his stomach calming. Harry had placed the empty bottle on the floor and was rubbing soothing circles in Tom's scalp. From one irritant to the next.
"Stop that!" Tom snapped. "It's annoying."
"This is entirely your fault, you know."
Now, Harry could argue that it wasn't he who experimented with all sorts of Dark Magic throughout his youth and adulthood. Apparently something Tom did gave him the ability to bear children. How was Harry supposed to know that the once-or-twice-a-year event where he topped during sex would result in a pregnant Dark Lord? For Merlin's sake, Tom was a man! There was no way anybody could have predicted this! Male pregnancy is not unheard of in the Wizarding World, a world of extremes, but usually it was confined to magical creatures and folk tales.
Harry, of course, did not voice this aloud. He very much liked having his unmentionables still attached to him. As it was, he didn't think he could bring himself to ever top again…no matter how nice that sort of birthday sex was. He was happy enough letting Tom have his way with him from now on (which was neither here nor now these past few weeks, to Harry misfortune). Tom hadn't gotten pregnant the first two years they were together, one as lovers and the other as spouses, but at this point Harry wasn't sure he would take the risk of his husband ever getting pregnant again now they knew it was possible. Not to be mistaken, he was absolutely thrilled that he was going to be a father—they were having a baby!—but he rather liked the British Islands and didn't want to see them blown to smithereens if Tom had a hormonal attack. Which, so far, such events were promising to be spectacular.
Yes, they may very well not survive this.
"Are you feeling better now?"
Tom grunted. "Yes," he replied quite sullenly. Harry helped him sit up. At least, for now, Tom seemed to be in better spirits with the nausea gone.
"I have to get ready for a meeting now," Tom stated, standing up with a slight wince that was only signaled by the narrowing of his eyes. "Go away."
Harry pouted. "Will you be at breakfast?"
"Will be fine until lunch."
Harry forced himself to relax and stop being such a worrywart. Tom was right; the baby would be fine until lunch…for today, at least. At this early stage, Tom's body could provide for the fetus without much extra dietary input for a while, he'd read (he'd been reading every baby book he could get his hands on). As long as Tom took the supplemental potions at dinner, there should be no cause for concern. Besides, that morning sickness potion wasn't perfect—but it still wouldn't stop Harry from ordering a House Elf to put some crackers in Tom's robe pocket, just in case.
Placing a quick peck on Tom's lips, Harry turned and walked out of the bathroom. Before he got too far, his husband called out to him.
Said wizard looked back over his shoulder. "Yes?"
Tom gave him an ominous glare. "You do know you will be paying for this, right?"
Harry gulped and took a fearful step back. He might as well kiss his dick goodbye.
Tom sat behind his desk at the ministry, one hand busy with a quill signing papers, and the other idly drumming on the indiscernible bump where his child resided. He didn't really know he was doing it. Of course the baby was too small yet to show, so other than a few select people, no one would ever know he was expecting.
Expecting. What a ridiculous word for the absurd business he was going through…like he was looking forward to a screaming brat that messed its nappies.
Nearly two months along and the morning sickness was only mildly better with the potion to control it, but he found himself cycling through an array of emotions that left him dizzy and in a foul mood.
He didn't even want to think about the…bathroom issues.
The—very discrete—Healer assured him all his symptoms were normal and a good thing to demonstrate his body, despite not being designed for it, was undergoing the necessary changes for a pregnancy, but that did nothing to improve his mood. Was he supposed to be thankful for being reduced to a puking, urinating, hormonal mess?
There was a knock on his office door.
Lucius Malfoy walked in, and Tom gagged.
"My Lord?" The look on the blond's visage was highly alarmed, and it was further expressed in the slightly higher pitched tone of his voice.
"You have finished your meeting with the Americans?" Tom ground out through clenched teeth.
"Yes, My Lord," Lucius said, clearly bewildered.
"And…was there coffee there?" Americans were notoriously dependent on the bitter and rather odiferous drink.
Lucius replied that, yes, there was coffee at the meeting, not exactly sure how this was relevant before his eyebrow rose in understanding. It had been a while since Narcissa was pregnant with Draco, but the Malfoy patriarch would never forget the experience. He now recalled how his expecting wife, or more specifically, her stomach, could not tolerate the scent of garlic or pepper, resulting in some rather bland dinners for several months. Lucius was one of the select few privy to knowledge the Dark Lord's pregnancy, and with the little experience he had with the powerful wizard's condition, he had an inkling as to what ailed his Lord.
"Ah, My Lord…shall I ban coffee from the Ministry for the indiscernible future?" He cast a quick freshening charm on his robes to get rid of the lingering scent.
Tom gave a sharp nod. There would be complaints, for sure, but dammit he was their Lord and they would just have to deal with it. "Have it done by today," Tom ordered. His nose curled in slight abhorrence. This was another thing he had to deal with—a heightened sense of smell. Lucius may not have partaken in any of the bitter drink, but the man positively reeked of it when he had walked in. "Have a report of the meeting on my desk by tomorrow morning," he added as an afterthought.
Knowing he was being kicked out, Lucius bowed silently and left. How long was it until the baby arrived?
Tom, alone once more and breathing more easily, returned his hand to the still-flat surface of stomach.
:You, child,: he hissed in Parseltongue, knowing his heir would be able to speak and understand the language, :are…: But he didn't know how to finish. It wouldn't do to insult is own progeny, but he wasn't ready to try and voice the unnamed emotion he felt whenever he thought he sensed a fluttering, no more noticeable than the step of a fleet-footed unicorn, within his belly.
Tom uncharacteristically collapsed in an ungraceful heap onto the sitting room couch. Immediately Harry crowded to his side, his face full of concern.
"Tom, do you really think you should be working late anymore? You're going to exhaust yourself."
"I'm fine," Tom snapped, slapping Harry's hand away from his face. "I am the only one who can keep everything in line, because Merlin knows those imbeciles can't do it."
"You made three people cry today, and two of them were grown men," Harry said blandly.
Tom refused to admit that is was because their failures made him want to cry, and he just couldn't allow that to happen. Besides, it made him feel better to see someone else suffering as he did.
Eyes closed, Tom felt Harry remove his footwear before he started rubbing his husband's feet. Tom relaxed back into the cushions to properly enjoy the pampering that he clearly deserved.
He kicked Harry in the face when the younger wizard tried moving his hands above Tom's ankle.
"Don't even think about it."
Harry chuckled and shook his head to clear it. "I promise I wasn't trying anything." Oh no, he knew better, thank you very much. Even still, Harry couldn't help but feel a stab of longing.
Tom hadn't really been up to any sort of intimacy these past few weeks—a combination of his condition and Harry's punishment for putting him in it. Having been used to a certain level of carnal activities during his relationship with Tom, Harry had to resort to wanking sessions in the shower. A lot of sessions. Despite the mood swings, vomiting, and maybe just a little weight gain recently, he found he was attracted to Tom more than ever right now. Who knew pregnancy was so…sexy? There really were no physical signs yet, but just the thought tended to drive Harry wild. It was ridiculous.
"You know you're going to have to take more time away from ruling over your minions, right? I promise you, Britain will still be there when you get back."
"Well, what about me?" Harry wasn't a trophy husband, after all, and helped run the Ministry just as much as Tom did. Harry fully expected Tom to say, "Of course I trust you," but his not-at-all cantankerous husband (yes, that was sarcasm) remained silent. Harry narrowed his eyes.
"Tom…?" he prompted, and said man merely looked at him and raised an eyebrow.
"Yeah, okay, ha ha, very funny," Harry grumbled. "I guess I now know you don't expect much from me, so I'll stop trying so hard, alright?" He scowled. "That one incident doesn't count and you know it."
Tom wriggled his toes, demanding that Harry work his ministrations in their direction. "If you say so, love."
Harry harrumphed, but his hands never stopped kneading Tom's exhausted feet.
~~About 3 Years Ago~~
It all started with a plan that, for once, completely worked out. Sort of. With Dumbledore as good as dead—the fool having touched his Horcrux ring, activating the curse that had been placed on it when he first had hidden it—now Lord Voldemort was putting his mind to another matter. He had thought long and hard of ways to finally rid the world of Harry Potter, coming up with several options of varying difficulty and creativity. After musing on these options, it quickly became clear that he was quite partial to the plans that would make Harry Potter suffer. He wanted the boy broken, beaten, and completely and utterly defeated. One idea intrigued him the most—one that provided a unique sort of torture, one Voldemort was surprised he even came up with. It was the probably the most difficult, the most complicated, the most time consuming, and odds were high that it would never work. But if it did, the victory would be oh, so sweet. The Dark Lord was confident in the fact that, being who he was, he could accomplish anything…even this.
The plan was set into motion the spring of what would be Potter's Sixth Year in Hogwarts. Once a month, Voldemort sent a letter, simply signed "A Friend". And what clever letters they were, if he did say so himself. Clever enough to slowly get Harry Potter's to begin to trust this stranger who wrote to him. Or maybe that was the work of the compulsion charms, expertly masked so as not to be detected. Either way, eventually, Harry wrote back. Monthly letters became bi-monthly, and then weekly, and then sometimes even more than that. Voldemort would grin with malicious glee every time he received one of Potter's letters and found that another brick had been brought down in Harry's carefully constructed emotional wall as he began to confide in this stranger who called himself his friend.
Summer came. Voldemort spent much of his focus on the plan to utterly destroy Harry Potter, and he forgot he usually caused some sort of mayhem in the spring. No matter, as he knew mayhem of grand proportion would befall the Wizarding World soon enough, and Dumbledore's painful illness finally amassed to his death at the end of June, sending half of the British Wizarding kind into mourning. Fools.
The day Harry returned to the place he stayed for the summer holidays, that wretched Muggle home, Voldemort sent him a small trinket—a gift to celebrate another school year over. It was a thoughtful gift, one meant to smother people's perception of the person who wore the small charm around their neck. It would ensure that Harry's Muggle relatives would leave him alone for the most part, often times forgetting he was even there. Harry's gratitude was delicious, and Voldemort soaked it up, pleased with his plan's progress. It had sickened him to think of the group of Muggles actively abusing a wizard for his magic, even if said wizard was his mortal enemy.
With little else to do, Harry sent letters several times during the week and Voldemort more often than not replied in a similar fashion. They talked about anything and everything, jumping from topic to topic with little reason to how they came up with them. Every now and then Voldemort would send Potter another gift, thoughtfully dismissing Harry's claims that he was usually unable to send anything in return. Occasionally the boy did manage to send something; classic Muggle literature, new sorts of sweets, and once a box of cookies Harry had baked himself. Voldemort had laughed wickedly at Harry's gullibility while he ate those surprisingly delicious baked goods.
The week before Harry's seventeenth birthday, Voldemort underwent a very old and complicated ritual to rid his body of the taint that caused his appearance to be inhuman and snake-like. Polyjuice potion did not work on his magically resurrected body, as it turned out, and he needed to be able to use the potion as a part of his plan. Glamours, in this instance, would not be enough. The ritual had been painful, exhausting, and had not at all gone the way he had expected it to, but by the time it was over several long hours later, he felt so incredibly perfect that he thought nothing of it.
The first time he met Harry, disguised as a twenty-year old brunette and claiming the name Ambrose Levant, it was at a Muggle café in London on July thirty-first to celebrate the boy's coming of age in the Wizarding World. Harry had smiled so brightly up at him that day, making Voldemort so incredibly pleased at the success of his deception. That day he took Harry to get his Apparition license, and then "Ambrose" treated the boy to an International Floo trip to Madrid, Spain where they traipsed around in the Wizarding sector until Harry was boneless and nearly falling asleep while standing up and even Voldemort was feeling a touch drowsy. They returned to England and stood at an empty Muggle street where they intended to part from. Harry would be returning to his Muggle home one last time only to collect his belongings before leaving that place for good—Voldemort was not quite sure where the boy would be going next.
As they stood there, looking into each other's faces, Harry's smile was the shyest one he'd given that night. But it was what came next that let Voldemort see just exactly how clearly his plan was working.
"Thank you so much for today," Harry had said. "I think it was the best birthday I've ever had."
And then Harry had stood up on his toes and unknowingly gave Voldemort, the Dark Lord, a chaste peck on the lips. Voldemort had acted accordingly, letting a slight flush cover his cheeks and a small smile to grace his lips. Harry returned the smile and Apparated away a moment later. Voldemort's smile widened into a satisfied smirk.
In hindsight, he could hardly blame himself for not knowing how utterly his plan was failing, when in all appearance it was going so well.
Now that Harry was seventeen and able to use magic outside of school, their weekly letter exchange became weekly visits. Voldemort forced himself to get used to the taste of Polyjuice, as he had to use it so often, but he didn't mind having to drink the vial drink as he merely saw its use as a sign of progress. It was odd, though, as he found himself becoming accustomed to laughing often while around Harry, and it wasn't always an act. He couldn't remember the last time he had laughed freely in that way.
Even then, he still did not recognize the signs.
He had hoped by the end of the summer Harry would have responded the way he wanted him to, but when it became clear that despite the touches and kisses he was bestowed by the boy, it was not yet time. He was a patient man, after all, and he would eventually get what he wanted: Harry Potter's agonizing death following a broken heart.
Harry being at school, they had to resume their letter writing in substitution of physical visits. Voldemort thought his anticipation for Harry's owl was only because he was eager to write a beguiling response to further draw the boy into his crushing hold. He never realized his smile always grew soft whenever he read what Harry had to say to him.
For Hogsmeade weekends he made sure to meet with Harry, choosing a different pub or eatery every time to meet at. His friends supposedly knew about Harry's beau and willingly left them alone, though Voldemort had been forced to suffer their company once, not that he gave the impression of anything other than eager friendliness.
Voldemort did notice that, during these meetings, he would stare at Harry's lips whenever he wrapped them around the edges of his drink, or feel the urge to run his hand though Harry's dark and perpetually windswept hair to see if it was possible for even his magic to tame it. At one point he did rake his fingers through the brunette locks and found them to be wonderfully soft.
Finally, finally, uneasiness was beginning to register in his mind, but he naively dismissed it. How would have things turned out if he hadn't ignored his intuition?
During this time, his Death Eaters continued to perform acts of madness and mayhem, but without his clear guidance, many of the stupid and reckless grunts were captured and thrown into Azkaban, and Voldemort couldn't find the personal initiative to get them back out again. He still had many working inside jobs in the Ministry and other places, and they were able to do more in a week than any of those idiots could do in a year. Besides, he found that subtle tactics left him with more time to focus on his plan to finally kill the Boy-Who-Lived. At least he had been able to acknowledge at the time that he was seeing more progress to his cause than ever before, even if that fact did confuse him a bit.
He would never admit then that his world was slowly contracting into a small focus, that of which being the one and only Harry Potter. It was a completely different sort of obsession than before, a new kind of foolishness. Later, he would find that he couldn't bring himself to regret that fact.
The Yule Holidays provided a perfect opportunity to get Harry to himself for several weeks. It was also the time that marked the point in which he finally became aware of how terribly wrong everything had gone. He hadn't realized the genuine reason for that thrill of excitement of getting Harry really and truly alone for the first time in ages. It had taken some surprisingly Slytherin maneuvers for Harry to convince those around him to let him escape for a while, but the Light had been rather confident in how the war was going, so eventually they acquiesced that Harry was an adult and to let him do as he pleased.
Christmas Eve ended with the two of them falling into bed together for the first time at the modest cottage Voldemort had made to be "Ambrose's" home. Voldemort was no innocent, but this sexual encounter was unlike any he'd had before. The feeling of taking Harry for the first time, of being the only one to have done so, was intoxicating and drove his pleasure to new heights. After, as Harry lay asleep in his arms, he himself lay awake, unseeingly staring into the fire that heated the room. His mind had been too disjointed to sleep, and his chest had a mysterious pang that kept him up as well. He told himself he was just worried that the Polyjuice would wear off while he slept and Harry would discover who he really was and ruin everything.
But wasn't that what he wanted? After all, he had finally accomplished his goal of making Harry Potter fall in love with him. The boy had said so himself just a short time ago, in the quiet moments they let the sweat cool from their bodies. Now was the time to reveal who he really was, to destroy Harry with the knowledge that the person he fell in love with was really his parents' murderer, had merely acted the part…and would never love him back. Voldemort had planned all along to use Harry's exuberant and disgustingly weak capacity for love against him, to break his spirit and make sure that when he killed him, he knew it was with the agony of a broken heart.
Voldemort remembered taking hold of his wand and gripping it in his hand, not understanding where the indecision was coming from. But before he could rudely wake Harry up himself, the boy had opened his so very green eyes, his gaze inexplicably immediately meeting Voldemort's. And he had smiled, almost sadly, and reached out with one hand to caress the other man's cheek.
"I wish I could see you," he had mumbled sleepily, and Voldemort assumed he said such because his glasses were currently on the bedside table. Harry had then pressed himself more firmly against the warm body beside him before falling back to sleep. The yew and phoenix feather wand was shoved under the pillow and he went back to holding Harry and staring into the fire the rest of the night.
It was on December thirty-first, coincidentally the day Tom Marvolo Riddle was born, that Harry made his own mistake. Voldemort had the boy pressed into the mattress, heated skin sliding together as he thrust into the younger wizard's body, unable to deny how incredible it felt. The boy was his, in every way. Harry's eyes were locked on his own, urging him on and shining with blithe intensity. And then he had thrown his head back and said a name just as they both reached completion.
How could something so absolutely wrong have been so right? Tom had been well aware that Harry should not have called him that name, and that he should not have been inordinately pleased that he had. They had lain panting on the bed, Tom still leaning over Harry and their eyes still holding the gaze of the other. When Tom felt the twinges that indicated his Polyjuice was wearing off, he did nothing about it. Soon, his real form was revealed to Harry, and still neither reacted for a long time.
"I can finally see you now," Harry had whispered, reaching up to touch Tom's cheek in exactly the same way he had done several nights before. It was at that point Tom placed his hands on either side of Harry's skull, holding the boy's head in place as he unmercifully forced his way into his mind. The boy had limply let him.
It was shocking what he found there.
Harry, ever since that not-quite-right ritual, had known exactly who his "friend" was. Harry, it just so happened, was his Horcrux—a shock in itself—and had been pulled into Voldemort's mind when the ritual a few months ago had opened up a connection to all his soul pieces, drawing in nearly all of them to heal his body.
At least he now knew why he felt the ritual had gone strangely. The magic had actually recovered the soul pieces he'd placed in inanimate objects. That left him now with only two: Nagini, and Harry bloody Potter. Perhaps it was because those pieces were so insignificantly small, or because Horcruxes anchor differently to a living body. But whatever the case may be, it didn't change the problem of the boy before him; in fact, it complicated it beyond belief.
Harry knew his plan had been to kill him in the end; he had willingly gone along with it, even. He was going to sacrifice himself to Voldemort's wand for the greater good, Dumbledore's legacy. It came as a surprise, then, that somewhere along the line of this farce he had actually fallen in love with Voldemort. A disguise can only go so far when a person already knows who you are.
Harry had given up. Harry's heart, however, had given up in an entirely different way.
Voldemort threw himself from the bed, uncaring he was naked. His wand snapped through the air and into his hand.
"And now you know, Tom," Harry said, voice muted and dull.
"Don't call me that!" he had spat, not understanding where this pain in his chest and sudden desperation had originated from.
"Your plan worked," the boy continued as if the other wizard had never spoken, green eyes never leaving the glittering red ones before him. Those eyes were so sad…his plan had worked, Voldemort realized, and now here was Harry, defeated, in his grasp, and ready to die.
Voldemort raised his wand.
It fell back down again less than a minute later.
"Why?" was all he asked. A tiny wrinkle at the bridge of Harry's nose displayed his confusion. "Why do you want to die?" the Dark Lord clarified.
"Because I have to. Dumbledore—"
"Dumbledore! Haven't you realized by now that Dumbledore may have been a great wizard, but he was also man capable of foolishness?"
Harry's eyelids fluttered. "Of course I have," he whispered.
"Then tell me why," commanded Volde—no, he was Tom in that instant. He was bloody well standing there starkers, for Merlin's sake. A Dark Lord never did that.
"The Prophecy," Harry answered him. "One of us has to die at the hand of the other." A spark of hot fire flickered in the boy's eyes then. "Call me selfish, but I don't want to be the Savior anymore. Besides, you can't die unless I die first. In my mind, you've won. Just kill me, and you can take over the world, or whatever the bloody hell you want."
Tom snarled. "You're my Horcrux—I can't kill you."
"You can make more," Harry said with a scowl, his hands fisting into the bed sheets. "I love you," he said simply, after a pause of several heartbeats.
"I'd rather it be you who killed me, than it be me who killed you. It would hurt me a lot more to kill you than it would you if you killed me."
Still Tom said nothing.
"I'm giving you the war. Just…take it!" Harry wasn't looking at him anymore, his fingers desperately gripping the sheets in a tight fist.
"I won't kill you." Tom's tone held finality in it. A sound, almost like a sob, ripped past Harry's lips.
"You have to!"
There were tears in Harry's eyes. "You have to. I…I can't go back there, not when they expect me to meet in you battle. I can't…I won't…lift my wand to you."
"Good," Tom clipped. "You won't be going back there, anyway."
Harry's breath stilled. "What do you mean? Will you lock me up somewhere?" he asked in a small voice.
"You're staying here. With me. You're giving me the war; I don't require your death anymore."
"But," the younger wizard protested, "the prophesy…"
"It doesn't matter."
"You're not serious; you've been following it ever since you learned of it. So, what? The last sixteen years of you trying to kill me was just a fluke? Of course it matters to you!" Harry keened in deep frustration.
"Why would a useless prophesy matter to me?"
"'Useless'?" Harry scoffed dubiously.
Tom shrugged…actually shrugged. Being naked must really have lowered his inhibitions into the banality. "Self-fulfilling. I'm going to ignore it, and you are too," he commanded, asserting his authority over the matter.
It was Harry's turn to be silent, and it gave Tom time to build up his mettle, because damn if this was something he'd never had to do before. He stepped over to Harry's side of the bed, where he stopped and simply looked at the boy. Then, in a flurry of motion, he had the boy lying on his back once more while he lay overtop of him.
Tom searched Harry's eyes, peering into his very soul, looking for any doubt. "You love me? Even after everything I've done?"
"Yes," Harry breathed without pause. Tom kissed him then, slowly, possessively, until he was sure Harry had taken the hint. In case he hadn't, though, he decided to make it undeniably clear.
"I think…I return the sentiment."
"Tom," Harry sighed. "I don't think you will ever be a romantic," he said with a slowly widening smile, pulling the other wizard down for another kiss in an unspoken pledge.
That was over two years ago. Harry, obviously, had stayed. Soon enough, they performed a complicated ritual that mutated the Horcrux bond into an ancient marital soul bond, effectively making Harry no long a Horcrux but something so much more—he was Tom's soul mate. He was a greedy bastard and was only perfectly content knowing Harry would never be anybody but his. Luckily, Harry didn't seem to mind. Not long after that, Tom's takeover of the Ministry was complete. The many months where he had only the slow infiltration of the Ministry workings as part of his orders, forgoing raids and violent riots, had paid off in a huge way. With Harry Potter's sudden support and even guidance in some areas Tom lacked a certain…finesse in, he had hardly needed to lift a finger. Total reform happened more slowly, once the people realized just what had happened, but two years later he had Wizarding Britain securely under his thumb.
If only he had that much control over his own body.
The morning sickness was getting better, but the cravings were only getting worse. Tom was appalled at how he could desire let alone eat praline ice cream with cherry syrup. That may not sound bad, but if one took into account how much he hated cherries, and how he usually avoided any sort of overindulgence in sugar at all costs, then clearly there was something wrong with him.
These days, he was wearing his usual Wizarding robes, and since they hadn't told the greater public about his pregnancy (and never would, by Salazar), the small but distinguishable bump in his abdomen that had recently been becoming more prominent was still hidden from the rest of the world. And that's the way it would stay. In the coming months, a powerful Glamour would disguise the pregnancy. He didn't want any lingering dissidents to see it as a vulnerability and attack.
And pardon him for not wanting those he ruled over to think that he was the bottom in his and Harry's relationship. What happened in the bedroom, once or twice per year, stayed in the bedroom.
Tom barely reacted when arms snaked around from behind him. Eager hands had their palms pressed against his firm stomach. Harry was always doing that these days. Tom was a bit worried his clothing was going to wear thin in those areas.
"Coming to bed?" Tom's young husband asked. Tom let out a heavy sigh and lay down his quill.
"I suppose." It was getting rather late, and Harry, after getting fed up with Tom's refusal to "take it easy," had managed to find the strictest, no-nonsense type of midwifery Healer that even Tom was a little bit afraid to cross. He'd been ordered—ordered!—to get as much rest as possible at night to help prevent any problems from arising and to stop working so late, minimize stress, so on and so forth. Tom still couldn't get over how rude the woman was. Harry, of course, liked her immensely.
Standing up, Tom turned around to face his husband, only to find the man looking at him with a large, smug grin plastered on his face. Tom scowled, and Harry's grin grew wider.
"Well?" Tom snapped. "Are you just going to stand there now that you've pulled me away from my work?"
"Now, Tom," Harry soothed, wrapping his arms once again around his stiffly standing spouse and set his forehead on the taller man's collarbone. "Don't be so upset. I just want—"
"Yes, yes, you just want to ensure the health of the baby," Tom finished for Harry, hating how bitter he sounded. It had been getting difficult keeping himself in check. Obviously, the baby's health was an oft spoke mantra of Harry's, and perhaps Tom was feeling a little…neglected. There were times lately he felt his husband cared more for the baby than for him.
Tom was so lost in his sulky mood that he didn't notice Harry coming in for a kiss until warm lips were pressed against his own. It was short and chaste, and Harry pulled away after only a second or two. Still, for some inexplicable reason, it made Tom feel a lot better.
"I love you so much, Tom," Harry voiced softly. "Every morning I wake up and wonder if it's all a dream, wonder if you'll really be beside me, afraid the baby is a figment of my imagination. Every day, I grow more and more ecstatic that it is all real. That you're there, and that the baby is growing, safe and healthy, within you. You and me, we're making a family…our family. I think it's safe to say it's something neither of us has had before. You can't blame me if I panic a bit at the thought of anything going wrong."
Harry laid his hands on Tom's stomach once more. "I want this baby—I love this baby—but I know how hard this will be for you. I just want you both to be safe, healthy, and strong. I feel a bit helpless, as some things will be out of my control, but I'll do my best to do what I can."
The things Harry was saying were doing a number on Tom's emotions. He could already tell he wasn't going to make it through this pregnancy with his dignity intact, not when the urge to take his husband and go cuddle somewhere was obnoxiously making itself known.
Tom instead went for the more mature action of snogging the breath out of his delicious spouse.
Harry groaned as Tom's lips devoured his. The sound awoke in Tom's body the one craving he had lost interest in the past several weeks. The last time he and Harry had been intimate was before they found out about the baby four weeks into the pregnancy, and it was week twelve now. Afterwards, Tom had wanted nothing to do with the activity, a result of a complete lack of sex drive and perhaps a tiny bit of revengeful spite—there was no way Harry was getting any after what he did to him. So, yeah…no sex. For eight weeks. In that moment, with Harry pressed tightly to him, that number seemed like a lifetime to Tom, and now his body was demanding that he make up for lost time.
"Bedroom, now," Tom demanded with single-minded insistence. He had never seen Harry run so fast out of a room, before.
Tom snorted and exited his study with a little more poise despite the anticipation rushing through his veins for both prospects of sex and the excuse for cuddling afterwards.
Said Harry Potter made a rather undignified squeak as he was bodily shoved off the bed and onto the floor, shoulder smacking into a plush rug with a dull thud. The pajama-clad man scrambled around a bit, eyes squinting uselessly into the darkness as he tried to assess the reason for his rude awakening in what appeared to be the middle of the night. The sound of a clearing throat drew his attention to the side of the mattress, where Tom was impatiently leaning over it to glare at his fallen husband.
"Tom? Is everything okay?" Harry asked worriedly, mind running through all different scenarios that might require him to end up on the floor. Tom quickly disavowed any of those notions by what he said next.
"I require peanut butter."
Harry blinked. "Wait, what?" His forehead wrinkled in confusion, before wrinkling in a completely different way when he came to some sort of conclusion. He tilted his head, grinning slightly.
"Is this like that time with the chocolate and strawberries?"
"I also require sardines."
Harry's lips turned down into another frown of confusion when Tom spoke as if Harry hadn't responded at all to the first demand. "Er…sardines? And—and peanut butter?" Was that considered kinky? "Um…are you sure? I'm pretty sure we have strawberries and chocolate stocked in the kitchen…"
Tom gave Harry an impatient look. "Mind out of the gutter, Potter. Now fetch me what I requested."
Still, Harry continued to sit on the floor, blinking perplexedly and trying to put two and two together. Finally, he exclaimed, "Wait…you want to actually eat that…together?"
Harry received a frigid glare for that comment. "Do you have a problem with that?"
Recognizing the threat of danger in Tom's tone of voice, Harry held up his hands in a placating gesture.
"No, no, that's fine…so, um, I guess I'll go get that…"
Scrambling to his feet, completely forgetting to snag his glasses from the bedside stand, Harry made a hasty retreat in his mission to appease the beastly pregnancy hormones.
Tom did his best to look like he was attentive while at the same time restraining himself from fidgeting in his velvet-lined chair and catching the attention of the other people in the room. The head of Finances was very good at his job, but by the gods the man was long-winded with his report. Tom was finding it harder and harder to ignore the insistent pressure pushing up against his bladder. Women had it bad enough while pregnant, and while he some way or another gained the ability (okay, so he might have misinterpreted that Macedonian ritual for, in translation, "Life" in his search for immortality as a schoolboy), his body was not designed to carry a child.
In short, he really, really needed to use the lavatory.
Finally, the man shut up and looked expectantly at his Lord, the other department heads giving looks of relief in various degrees.
"Right, thank you Mr. Burns, for your report. Now, let us—"
What was that?!
Tom sat very quietly, completely oblivious to the awkward, shifting stares he was receiving by the sudden cutoff of his last sentence. Tom himself was blinking into blank space, eyes unfocused and mouth still slightly parted from when he was speaking. Nobody around the table could see it, but he had one of his palms pressed solidly against his lower abdomen, his hand able to break through the illusion of a flat stomach.
After only about five seconds of silence, Tom once again turned his attention to the people sitting around the long, board-room table.
"I'm afraid I am going to have to delay the rest of this meeting until later. If you will excuse me."
Gracefully rising from his seat, Tom exited the room without a voicing of protest from any of the department heads. He gave little thought to their reactions to his sudden departure. No, his thoughts were elsewhere.
Because he couldn't wait anymore, Tom quickly made a trip to the loo before heading to his personal office. The secretary out front gave him a wide-eyed look, possibly because of the very stern and cold look Tom sported on his face as he approached her.
"Get me Harry Potter. Now!"
Tom did not look back to see if the witch complied—he had full confidence that she would—as he went into his large office and shut the door behind him. He immediately took a seat in a wing-backed chair in front of the fireplace, crossing one long leg over the other and agitatedly tapped his fingertips on the arm rest as he waited for Harry to arrive.
About five minutes later, Harry came rushing into the room after throwing the door open, his cheeks flushed and revealing the exertion he used to get here.
"Tom? What is it? What's wrong?"
Harry knelt by Tom's chair with his wand out and began running medical scans the Healer had taught him. He was so focused on his task that he failed to see the somewhat contradictory expression of amused irritation Tom gave him.
"Just a second Tom, I only need to—"
Tom scoffed and yanked Harry's wand out of his hand and placed it in his own lap. He waved his hand in the air, causing the office door to close and the wards to automatically come up after Harry had forgotten to do it himself. This was a private conversation after all.
"What makes you think I called you here because of the baby?"
Harry seemed to digest that question before he flushed for an entirely different reason than some brisk exercise. "Oh. It isn't? Er, I guess I just jumped to the conclusion when your secretary said whatever you wanted looked urgent." Harry reached around and scratched at the back of his neck in bashfulness.
Tom made another noise of exasperation and sat deeper into his chair. "Well, I guess you were partially correct, but I did not call you up here because of a problem with the baby. In fact, I've heard the news I have to tell you is a good thing."
Harry, still kneeling on the floor, looked up at him in confused curiosity. "What is it, then?"
Here, Tom's expression faltered a bit from his indifferent mask as a hint of wonderment and trepidation peaked through. He suddenly felt a little silly himself for being so impulsive and calling Harry to him just because of this. But at the moment he had been so…so…he didn't know what had overcome him. The feelings evoked were just so new and strange and indefinable.
With awkward, uncharacteristic stutters, Tom explained, "I felt…or rather, I think I… it…it moved. The baby moved."
For those that did not know Harry well, the blank look he had on his countenance might have been mistaken as incomprehension, but really it was how he looked when he was feeling far too many emotions for just one to take root externally.
"Moved? It moved? Really?" A giddy grin was mitigating the lack of expression on Harry's face. "You could feel it?"
Tom shifted in his chair. "Yes. I am almost certain that is what it was."
Harry's delighted laugh echoed around the room. "That's…that's…awesome," he said ineloquently. He leaned upwards and kissed Tom's lips. Pulling away and placing a hand on Tom's stomach, he said, "So there really is a baby in there."
"I think that's been made quite clear for the last several weeks, Harry."
Despite Tom's churlish tone, there was a part of him that could relate to his husband's statement. Intellectually, Tom had known he was pregnant—as unbelievable as that sounded—but now he was suddenly pregnant with a baby. His son or daughter was really growing inside him and would one day soon be breathing and living in the outside world. Once it did, it would rely on he and Harry to take care of it.
And following on the heels of that particular avenue of Tom's thoughts was the realization that he had no idea how to raise a child. He didn't even know what it was like to have a parent, let alone be one.
Hell, if Harry wasn't the other parent, Tom was pretty sure the damn thing would be dead in a week with Tom caring for it. It was too late to get rid of the thing…adoption? No, no, that won't work—can't have an heir of Slytherin raised by inferior nitwits, and Harry would kill him. There had to be spells for nappy changing, burping babies…and if there weren't then he'd be damned if he wouldn't invent them!
Tom wasn't sure, but it was possible he was panicking. Inwardly, and with dignity, but it was panic nonetheless.
Luckily, Tom wasn't the only one panicking. Harry chose that moment to turn a very peculiar ashen color as he fell back on his rump, barely supporting himself with his hands on the floor.
"There's really a baby in there," Harry repeated, in a much more dazed and terrified sort of way. He glanced up at his husband. "How can I be really, really happy and really, really scared at the same time?"
Tom scrutinized his young husband keenly, seeing the superficial terror in his expression, but also the wide-eyed joy that saturated his being underneath and suddenly he realized just how much this baby meant to Harry. He realized how much it meant to him as well. To see that happiness in the one person that had meant more than anyone else to him was worth the nausea, frequent bathroom breaks and the effort of covering up the fact that he was the source of the mysterious fires popping up around the Ministry (at least he hadn't killed anyone yet when his temper flared).
But by Salazar, he hoped it wouldn't get worse. It wouldn't be difficult to hide a murder, but he'd rather avoid that scenario…
Arching an eyebrow, Tom asked, "Do you, Harry Potter, really think you could ever be a bad father?"
"It's not like I grew up with one to know how it works," Harry said distractedly, and suddenly Tom grew rather uncomfortable, something in his chest growing tight, and he had to look away. Damn hormones, choosing this moment to make him feel guilty. He heard a faint, "Oh," from his young spouse.
Warm arms wrapped themselves around his waist and a dark hair brushed underneath his chin as Harry laid his head on Tom's chest.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean it the way you think. It wasn't an accusation, merely a fact."
Tom cleared his throat, still feeling the painful twinges of guilt he only ever felt for a very small number of things. "I still have work to do. I shall see you at home," he told Harry, not really addressing the matter his husband had last spoken of.
Harry pulled away from his embrace with Tom and looked up at the older man with large, soulful eyes.
"Yes, dear," he said somewhat cheekily, a teasing, easy grin upon his lips. He leaned up real quick to plant a chaste kiss on his husband's lips.
"I like Isabel."
"Mem…ah, Nemus-…er, -osin?"
"How do you even know that?"
"I get around. And don't be stupid, you can't even pronounce that."
"Well, I was beginning to wonder if something like that would be more to your tastes. Good to know you can at least be somewhat sensible."
There was the sound of rustling pages in a book.
"Let's take a break from that and skip to these. Hmm, let's see…ah! William?"
A dry snort.
"Okaaay...How about Alexander?"
"How can you even suggest that?"
This time the sigh came faster and a little bit more akin to a huff.
"You know, I've always liked the sound of 'Albus Severus'."
"Don't you dare fuck with me, Potter."
Harry snickered from his position on the floor. He was sitting on the plush oriental rug within Tom's office at their home, a large tome spread open across his lap. He held a self-inking quill in his right hand, tapping the feathered end of it against a page of the book. He had intended to write down the options concerning baby names on the sheet of parchment lying on the floor next to him, but he'd been sitting in this position the past half hour, reading through what he was beginning to call "Ye Olde Book of Baby Names" Narcissa Malfoy had lent him, and the sheet was still blank.
Tom Marvolo "I am Lord Voldemort" Riddle, to say the least, was making this task very difficult.
When Narcissa had first given Harry Names Across the Ages, he had been a bit overwhelmed. The thing was old, heavy, and contained every single name on the planet that he and Tom could possibly denominate their child. And then he'd thought, 'How hard could it be to pick out one boy and one girl name?'
He was convinced he'd jinxed himself.
"Tom, please, you have to give me something to work with."
Tom, sitting behind his desk with his head bent over a speech he was composing to give in the near future at second anniversary of the New Order, tilted his head up to glance in Harry's direction.
"The child will be an heir of Slytherin. His or her name must reflect the prestige of their status."
With that high-standing statement, Tom resumed scratching away with his quill, seeming uninterested in giving Harry any more hints. Harry's mouth went crooked in a pout.
"Silly me for not picking anything awesome enough for you," he mumbled sullenly. He thought the names he'd picked were quite lovely.
After flipping through the book a few more times and only finding more names he couldn't pronounce, Harry took a break to stretch out his back from his hunched over position. He sighed and leaned back, placing his palms on the floor to support himself as he stared into the merrily crackling fire chasing the lingering chill of winter the incoming spring had yet to vanquish.
"What do you think it will be?" he asked suddenly, a bit wistfully.
"Will what be?" Tom questioned, once again glancing up from his work. Harry, sensing the gaze, turned his head in the other man's direction.
"The baby. We're picking out names for a boy and a girl, but we're only having one or the other. I was just wondering if you had any thoughts about which it will be." They had, of course, had the Healer take scans for the baby's health, but the information on gender was traditionally kept a mystery in the Wizarding World.
Tom looked up from his work, an odd sort of look on his normally composed face.
"How should I know?"
With a soft scoff, Harry tossed the heavy book aside—gently, of course; wouldn't want to incur the wrath of Narcissa Malfoy or Tom Riddle, now, would he? Unwilling to climb to his feet for such a short distance, he crawled to his husband's side. Tom gave him a vexed look of disapproval for his mannerisms, but nonetheless pushed back from his desk at Harry's prodding. Once there was room, Harry knelt down in front of Tom's knees, and scowled.
"Take it off. You've no need of it when it's just us two."
Tom grunted at Harry's tone and his wand came up to come dangerously close to Harry's nose. But Harry was unconcerned, and for a good reason. The wand tip's proximity to his face was only a matter of coincidence, because Tom was actually pointing it at his own stomach. A moment later the Glamour that kept the obvious baby bump Tom was now sporting had been dropped and Harry could admire the view. He smiled wide and placed his hands around the hard lump, ignoring how Tom was still giving him a mildly peeved glare.
"I've heard of pregnant women having dreams about the sex of their child and it turning out to be true. Mrs. Weasley once claimed she knew she would finally be having a girl when she was pregnant with Ginny, all because she just felt it to be true." He glanced up at his husbands face, chin falling down onto one of his knees, and gave him a musing smile. "Can you really not make a guess? No odd dreams or feelings to speak of?"
Harry knew Tom would be able to tell through his tone of voice that he was teasing, and expected a mocking remark. Instead, what he got from Tom was a raised eyebrow and a thoughtful look.
"A boy," he said after a moment. Harry perked up.
"Really? A boy? And what makes you think that?"
Tom waved an errant hand in the air in a blasé gesture. "Of course it would be a boy. This will be our only child, after all," he emphasized with a wry eye, which caused Harry to snort. He would have welcomed several more children into their family, but he knew there was no way Tom would let himself repeat this "happy accident"—those were Harry's words, but the young man liked to believe that Tom was warming up to this little surprise. Grinning ever so slightly to himself, Harry focused back on Tom's continuing explanation. "His bloodlines will be prestigious. He will make a very powerful heir to continue the line."
Harry's face scrunched ruefully at the highhanded explanation, though the shadow of his grin never fell from his face. "How very old fashioned of you. A girl would be perfectly capable of that as well." But even still, his eyes fell adoringly to Tom's belly. A boy…a son. He could care less what the baby was, but now that Tom had made his prediction, Harry's imagination was conjuring imagines of a little black-haired boy, running through the halls with peals of laughter, flying on his first broom. Harry sighed happily.
A blow to his head drew him out of his reverie.
Tom scowled, the hand he'd used to slap Harry across the head reaching to pick up his quill once more. "Would you desist fawning over my stomach? I have work to do."
"Alright, alright." Standing up, Harry retreated back to his old seat next to the "Ye Olde" baby book. Sitting down and pulling the heavy tome into his lap, he suddenly had an idea that caused him to pull out his wand as well. He tapped the book and muttered a spell Hermione had taught him once in school, a subtle shimmer of magic around the old tome telling him he'd performed the charm successfully. Putting his wand down, he then opened up the book to what seemed like a random page, but upon inspection there were certain words that glowed, drawing his attention towards them. These were the places he would find what he was specifically looking for.
"Hey Tom, I know you mentioned a boy, but it never hurts to be prepared, right? Anyway, how do you like the sound of Adelind? The book says it means something along the lines of 'noble serpent'. Ol' Sally would have liked that, right?"
The innocent look Harry sent his husband did little to placate the annoyed glower he received in return. With his eye twitching as he looked back down upon his work, Tom replied dourly, "Despairing your infernal sullying of Salazar Slytherin's name, I find that name to be…acceptable."
Harry beamed, elated at having found a name both of them might be able to agree on. Happily, he shuffled through the leaves of the book, looking for the next marked page.
"Oh, hey…speaking of names," Harry murmured thoughtfully. "What about us? I mean, will our child call you 'Mother'?"
Yeah, he should have expected for his lips to be hexed away and his mouth sealed shut. He'd have to Floo to his friends' house so Hermione could counter that. Again. Afterwards, he and Ron could sit down with some nice, aged Firewhiskey and bemoan their shared difficulties of having married spouses who had little tolerance for a good joke.
Sighing, Harry scrubbed his hand against his forehead, trying to sooth the ache within his scar that echoed the emotions on the other end of the bond he shared with Tom.
"What's the count today?"
The blank mask of Lucius Malfoy's face was contradicted by the tenseness in his shoulders and the strain of weariness in his tired, red eyes.
"Two job terminations, three desks disintegrated, a handful of sobbing witches and one wizard, one man reduced to a teapot, and one traumatized Dementor was sent to the Department of Mysteries for observation."
With a grimace on his face, Harry carded a hand through his increasingly mussed hair, wondering if the tingling in his scalp he felt was grey hair forming. He had turned around midway through Lucius' spiel, and with the clearing of the other man's throat, Harry turned back around to face him.
"Did you know he could do that to a Dementor?"
Dejectedly, Harry shook his head. "You know, I swear he made it cry too. I didn't think that was even possible."
Harry lay very still, making sure his chest rose and fell in a slow, equal rhythm, effectively pretending to be asleep. And while he pretended, he waited.
A small creak breaking the silence within the room was he first sign his target was in sight. Face passively lax, breaths still even, Harry listened carefully to Tom move around the room. Mostly he heard the rustling of cloth as Tom shed his robes. A few moments in the bathroom later, Tom was treading near silently to his side of the bed. There was a dip in the mattress, a shifting of the bedcovers, and then stillness.
Harry waited a full minute, carefully counting the ticks in his head. When he deemed Tom didn't suspect anything, he let his hand slowly crawl from underneath the covers and reach for the bedside stand, being careful to not shift the mattress too much. When his fingertips hit the smooth, flat top of the stand, he reached just a little further in the direction he knew his wand to be. Warmth shot up his arm as he hand found the handle of the familiar Holly stick, and just as silently as before, he pulled his hand back towards him, wand in tow. There he waited another half a minute before, satisfied, he waved the wand in a meandering yet specific pattern.
Instantly, the room flared to life with candlelight, a product of the strategically placed candles floating in the air. Harry grinned delightedly at the effect—the ambience was soft and what he considered romantic, the perfect mood lighting. He was convinced Tom was running under certain misunderstandings and Harry knew just the thing to ensure his husband realized they were untrue.
Tom's upper body had heaved forward the moment the first candle had lit.
"What in the name of Merlin…?!"
Harry quickly set his wand to the side and rolled over to plaster himself against his very confused and strongly irritated husband, who growled at the contact.
"Harry, dear," Tom said in an exaggerated silky tone, "care to explain this…bright spectacle?"
Wrapping his arms around Tom's neck and leaning in so his nose brushed the older wizard's collar bone, Harry hummed soothingly and smiled.
"It's okay, Tom. I know what you've been thinking recently, and I just want to let you know it isn't true."
"What's not true?" Tom growled, wriggling a bit under Harry's ministrations and trying to see his face. Not that he didn't mind getting assaulted by his husband in bed, but something about this interaction didn't sit well with him. With another rumbling noise of dissent, Tom pushed on Harry's chest to force the younger wizard to put some distance between them. Harry's expression was disarmingly adoring and sympathetic. Tom's eyes narrowed, trying to think of why he even deserved such a look.
"Harry…" Tom said, vocalizing his warning, idly smacking one of the floating candles when it got too close.
Harry smiled that strange, loving smile and brushed Tom's cheek with his fingertips.
"Really, Tom, it's perfectly natural. I find it quite sexy, actually. Did you really think I would condemn you for it? It's more like I idolize it!"
"Potter, just spit it out. What state of mind have you deduced myself to be in?" Tom snarled, losing patience. It had been a long day and his energy lately hadn't been what it used to be. The baby felt like it had been running laps within his stomach and the stress from dampening recent dissent in a small part of community without simply disintegrating the lot of them was taking its toll.
With candlelight reflecting brightly within his eyes, Harry leaned down and kissed Tom's protruding stomach through his light sleeping robes dotingly. Tom barely repressed the urge to roll his eyes. Looking up, Harry said kindly, "I don't think you're fat at all, Tom."
Tom's control over his eyes from earlier was completely obliterated as his mind drew up short, and they widened in pure astonishment.
"Excuse me?" he blurted out, convinced he must have heard Harry wrong, because surely his dear husband did not just imply what he thought he did.
Harry, misinterpreting Tom's reaction, grinned assuring once more. "You needn't try to hide from me, Tom. I don't find you gross, or ugly, or unattractive just because you've gained a baby bump. That's our child growing, for Merlin's sake! Now, I understand lots of pregnant women will feel the way you do at some point in their pregnancies, but really, that's just the hormones talking. You don't have to be ashamed of anything."
Tom, at this point, was very close to sputtering in his utter perturbation.
"What, pray tell, caused that moronic rock you call a brain to come up with such an asinine idea?! I am not worried that you think I'm…fat, as you say!"
A small frown marred Harry's features, though otherwise he kept up his supportive air about him. "I've noticed how you've been avoiding me. For starters, I haven't seen you naked for three weeks now, for sex or otherwise," he said gently. "I'm telling you, you don't have to be embarrassed."
Tom, on his part, could feel a tick developing within his temple. Of all the harebrained, irrational, and thick-witted things Harry could have come up with, it just had to be such a clichéd notion. Really, you'd think he was living in some poorly written piece of fiction…
"Harry, you will disavow this notion this instant. I am fully aware what my condition requires and would not be deluded into thinking your opinion of me might suffer for it. By Merlin, I know that if I'd let you, you'd slobber all over my midsection in your efforts of adoration." As Tom said this, Harry was leaning in to place another kiss close to his bellybutton, seemingly unaffected by Tom's speech as he smiled in a sort of knowing manner. But really, he didn't know at all, Tom huffed internally in frustration. The younger wizard received an electric shock for his efforts as Tom allowed his magic to charge his clothing. Harry was not going to be allowed to touch him until he abandoned this piss poor train of thought.
When another candle floated near his head, Tom took more than the previous passing notice of them. "What's with the damn candles?"
Harry's cheery smile was back. "It's romantic," he replied in explanation.
Frowning in ill humor, Tom huffed. "And what were you going to do, romance me until I was convinced you still found me attractive?"
A different sort of expression fell across Harry's countenance as his eyes darkened and his mouth twisted into a sultry smirk. Crawling up past Tom's belly and situating his mouth near Tom's ear, Harry murmured, "I was going to touch and lick every part of your body until you knew I still found you attractive."
Despite how…tempting…that sounded (especially when Harry insisted on nibbling on his earlobe before retreating a measure, and it really had been a long time…), Tom remained steadfast to his resolve. He wasn't going to give Harry the satisfaction of believing he was right. This matter would be settled right here and right now.
"Harry, I don't think I'm fat," Tom asserted bluntly, face set in a mildly baleful manner. Harry had sat back on his heels by Tom's hip, and now cocked his head, eyebrow raised in skepticism.
"Hmmph, so you say. How do you explain the fact you've been avoiding me?"
"Easy enough: I am busy, that is all." With everything going on, he really hadn't felt much incentive to be naked in front of Harry, "for sex or otherwise," as Harry had said. Besides, sex lost its appeal when his brain could not come up with the schematics of how Harry was supposed to fit around his rounded belly. He told the younger wizard, "I am not some insecure, blubbering female."
Again, Harry snorted, obviously still unconvinced in the slightest. He crossed his arms over his chest in a condescending manner. "I've barely seen you these past few weeks. It's always this, or that keeping you—oh, its subtle, but I see what you're doing."
"You are being paranoid," Tom countered, lips curling downward in a displeased frown. "I have no reasons to avoid you on purpose, real or otherwise."
"Oh yeah? They when was the last time we had dinner together?"
"And you ate—what?—two bites before you shoved off, claiming you weren't hungry. But, you know what?" Harry narrowed his eyes and wagged his finger at Tom. "I saw you eating in the kitchen that night when I went looking for you."
Internally, Tom scoffed at his husband's paranoia. He remembered that one dinner Harry mentioned. He had actually been looking forward to spending time with his younger husband, but then he had taken stock of how closely Harry had been watching him, eyes trained on his every move. And it irritated him, gnawing on his nerves to the point he had lost all appetite. It was not the first time in these past few months such a little thing had set him off, but his temperament was like a boiling cauldron that he had no control over and there was no telling when its contents would spill over. He hated feeling like he wasn't in control of himself, so he'd learned to recognize the signs to know when to make an exit before his temper got the best of him.
So, to be fair, it was entirely Harry's fault Tom had cut dinner short, claiming nausea, and made a hasty retreat. After some alone time, Tom's appetite had returned with a vengeance as it was inclined to do these days at all hours of the day—and he had missed dinner after all—and so that's what drove him to the kitchens. It wasn't like he was hiding that he was eating or anything. On that note, how the hell had he missed Harry spying on him? He was never caught unawares.
The image of the crème brûlée made for two covered in more of that dreaded cherry syrup flashed briefly through Tom's mind. He had eaten the whole thing. Here Tom stopped reviewing the memory and his post-analysis, because the creeping notion that he, Lord Voldemort, would be so distracted by food was preposterous. He refused to let Harry get to him.
"You're upset when I don't eat, and now you're upset when I do?" gripped Tom deprecatingly, glaring at Harry's accusing finger. The younger man, realizing what he was doing, dropped his pointing hand somewhat sheepishly, but the stubborn set of his jaw did not change.
"You never take your outer robes off and usually your Glamour is up, even when we're alone—which we haven't been."
"It is late winter in Britain. And of course we've been alone." Tom lately had been disposed to hot and cold flashes in an alternating pattern and he had specifically charmed his robes to help ensure he was comfortable no matter which way the pendulum swung. As for the Glamour, maybe he liked being able to look down at his feet and actually see them…
"Yeah, when I'm sleeping," Harry drawled exasperatedly, responding to Tom's comment about them being alone. "Speaking of which, you've been going to bed after me and getting up before me…kind of like you're avoiding me by making sure I'm asleep."
"You're being ridiculous. I had work…" And that wasn't a lie. It was like he couldn't stop thinking about the Ministry; he was prone to considering everyone there as idiots, but it had been slowly becoming a whole new level of incompetence he was seeing. He would leave the Ministry unsatisfied with things and just have to continue the work at home. Nobody could do anything right, he felt the departments were in shambles with their disorganization and the staff was liable to break down into tears the moment he walked into the room—how the hell was he supposed to leave them be for the allotted month and a half leave Harry and the trice-damned Healer had convinced him to take once the baby was born? Not to mention the other matter….
"Did you notice how I kept going to bed earlier and earlier, to test my theory, and exactly half an hour after I had gone to bed you would come into the bedroom? Or that I then went to bed later and later, just to be sure, it was the same thing, only with more grumbling and bleary-eyeness."
…Damn, Harry noticed that?
"Yes, that's right!" Harry crowed when Tom didn't say anything right away, eyes gleaming. "And, you locked me out of the bathroom. You never lock me out of the bathroom."
"An accident, I assure you." Well, okay, so that may have been because the amount of awkward reaching and the inability for him to see his own feet and whatnot had him wanting to keep what little dignity he had to himself in that case. The getting up before Harry was part of this. But that wasn't because he considered himself obese, for Merlin's sake. He just knew Harry would offer to assist him, and that would just not do i.e: dignity. He was pregnant, not an invalid. But Harry would not relent to that explanation, much to Tom's chagrin (partially because it was his fault he didn't, as he so clearly demonstrated next).
"See, now I really know something is up because 'Tom Riddle does not do anything by accident'," Harry quoted, obviously mimicking his scowling husband. Harry couldn't help but giggle slightly at the look he was receiving.
"Come on, Tom, you can't tell me that you don't have something that's bothering you. Maybe my explanation was a little cliché, but it was the best thing that fit." Leaning in, he pressed a sweet peck to Tom's cheek and then pressed his forehead to his husband's temple. "Are you sure you're not just a little self-conscious? It really would be perfectly natural for you to be, what with all the changes you've gone through. Don't you know I'll love you and be attracted to you no matter what?"
Tom's countenance was surly even while he allowed his husband to rain affection on him with little butterfly kisses.
"Fine, do you want to see what I've been doing after you go to bed?" Grumbling, Tom kicked off the covers, irritably knocking floating candles to the ground in the process. Harry pursed his lips at the lack of appreciation for his work, but otherwise said nothing. He followed Tom across the room and out into the hallway. When Tom neither turned left or right but continued on straight, Harry raised an eyebrow in question but nevertheless crossed the corridor as well to the door on the other side. This, he knew, was the room slated to be the baby's nursery, but as far as he knew the House Elves had yet to set up the furniture they had bought a while back. Now that he thought about it, the room had somehow completely slipped his mind…Harry gave Tom a sideways glance in suspicion.
With a twist of the knob, Tom opened the door and Harry stepped in, suddenly eager. He was not disappointed.
"Tom...! You…you did this?"
"Yes," Tom grumbled, crossing his arms and standing against the wall with a scowl on his face. Harry walked into the center of the room, eyes wide. The walls were a soft, mint green, a new window had been cut into the far wall to let more light in and all the dark brown wooden furnishings were arranged around the room. The room appeared mostly complete, but there were a few odds and ends that hinted it wasn't quite finished, like the fact half the floor was covered in crème carpeting and the other half hardwood of three different finishes as if Tom couldn't decide which he liked. Completing his circuit of the room, Harry focused back on his husband.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
Tom hesitated, before saying in blunt honesty, "Because I hated all your ideas when we discussed it before." Harry's mouth fell open to say something before closing with an audible click. He reached around and scratched the back of his neck.
"Oh. Sorry, it's not like I've ever had to design a room before," he defended. "Is that the only reason?" he wondered un-adroitly.
"And it just all needs to be…perfect…" Tom trailed off, a distant look in his eyes as he frowned at the room around him. Harry looked around too before settling once more on his husband, at which point he narrowed his eyes and cocked his head to the side.
"Oh! I think I know what this is," he remarked. "Nesting!"
Tom's head whipped around to glare venomously at the younger wizard. "Like some animal? Preposterous. You're ideas just keep getting worse and worse."
"No, no," Harry orated, shaking his head and pretty much brushing off Tom's indignation with little difficulty. "I read about it, I swear! This is even mild compared to what I read some expecting mothers would do, including taking everything in her home apart to clean it and whatnot. This?" he said, spreading out his arms to indicate the room around him. "This is completely normal."
With a smile, Harry approached Tom and wrapped his arms around the stiffly-standing man. He placed his chin against the taller man's sternum so he could look up into his stern eyes, hands cupping the protruding belly between them.
"Fine, maybe you weren't concerned about how I thought of you. This is amazing, Tom, and if you want me out of the way while you finish it, that's alright." Harry's smile became a smirk. "Now, can we go back to bed? I think I have a few things I need to make up to you."
Tom's stoic imitation finally broke as he raised one eyebrow in interest. "Oh? And how do you intend to do that?"
"Well, to be honest," Harry said, grinning, "my plans for tonight haven't changed much." Brazenly, he waggled his eyebrows up at Tom, beaming wider than ever.
With a self-sacrificing sigh which was less genuine and more to hide the fact Tom also wanted to grin at Harry's antics, Tom allowed himself to be led from the slowly-emerging nursery to their shared room across the hall.
Safe in his office at the Ministry, Tom allowed himself the heavy sigh as he collapsed into his well-padded chair, hands reaching around to rub at his lower back, which had been aching fiercely ever since yesterday. He might look like his usual fit self with the Glamour, but hiding behind that magic was the house he was carting around underneath his robes. His back seized with pain again, and he groaned minutely as he dug his fingers into the sore spot.
A knock at his door prompted him to compose himself, straightening up in his seat and clasping his hands to place them on the desk before him.
One of the Ministry lackeys cracked the door open and stuck his head through, blinking nervously.
"Sir? We're almost ready to start."
Waving the man away, Tom once again shed his poised image to slump against the back of his chair. Today was the anniversary of his reformation of Wizarding Britain, and every year his Ministry holds an event to commemorate the day. Tom would be required to make what he is confident is a thrilling, uplifting speech to a sizable proportion of the community's witches and wizards, and later tonight attend a ball held for the prominent members of society.
As if his swollen ankles would allow him to dance.
With another opulent sigh, Tom rose once more and left his office, doing his best to not appear to waddle as he made his way through the corridors—there were many people loitering about today, after all, and he wished to avoid all those awkward questions from arising. Thankfully, nobody paid him much attention save for a quick nod of acknowledgement, too busy they were with preparations for the events to come.
A few moments later, Tom was situated in a room near the Atrium, where the commemoration would take place. Inside, a few head security members were finalizing the plans and points of interest, and other heads of staff were loitering around and waiting for the "big event" to start. Harry, having seen his husband arrive, made his way over from the corner he was occupying to greet him.
"Hey Tom." Leaning up on his tiptoes, Harry bestowed to Tom's cheek a quick kiss, the most public affection allowed by his husband in a place like the Ministry. They still got somewhat fearful and baffled glances whenever Harry performed the gesture, many having trouble comprehending it, what with the Dark Lord image Tom had at one point and the role of Harry Potter, boy Savior.
Before Harry pulled away completely, he whispered discretely in Tom's ear, "How do you feel?"
Inwardly, Tom catalogued his aches and pains and all-around and unwelcomed jittery surliness he felt today, but kept his face passive as he did so. "Fine," he clipped, perhaps a little more tellingly than he would have wished, and caused Harry to scrutinize him with narrowed eyes. Tom's annoyance with, well, everything, manifested itself as a physical twinge of discomfort in his abdomen.
"Are you sure you want to do this? I know the security detail is on full alert, but I can't help but worry, what with the recent insurrections and all. You know this is a perfect opportunity for them to gather together and make a statement."
Tom huffed, though covertly. "You worry too much. We talked about it; yes, this is the perfect time for them, but it is also the perfect time for us to capture these insurgents. Besides, it would do more harm than good if I didn't show myself…they would think me cowardly. I am not afraid of them."
"I am," Harry admitted lowly so only the two of them could hear. His eyes bore deep into Tom's giving away his concern. "I just don't want anything to happen to you or—"
Tom interrupted Harry by clearing his throat, eyes staring over the top of the younger wizard's messy dark hair at the others in the room who might overhear them. Realizing his mistake, Harry sighed and reached out for one of Tom's hands, squeezing tightly to convey his feelings. Looking back down to his husband's face, Tom nodded minutely in understanding. Moment of silent communication over, Harry let go of Tom's hand but didn't move away, preferring to stay as close as possible.
With a flick of his wrist, Tom's wand fell into his awaiting palm, and he brought the magical yew stick up and cast a quick Tempus, noting that it was time to begin. As he signaled with a nod to one of the coordinators, everyone's attention was suddenly on him as they shifted into a down-to-business mode.
"Let's get this over with," Harry muttered by his side, nervously tugging at his formal robes, perhaps with the intention of straightening them but only accomplishing to skew them to one side. Snorting, Tom reached over and fixed it—wouldn't want to be seen with a sloppy-looking husband. Eyes shining with appreciation and sheepishness, Harry gave a watery grin up at Tom. Tom wanted to roll his eyes, but easily refrained. Really, even after all this time, the boy was still gregariously nervous before public events.
After they were announced, Tom, Harry and a few other well-known heads were paraded across the stage that had been set up for the occasion in front of the newly redesigned fountain, which in one section depicted two wands engaged in a wizards duel, complete with water spurting from the tips to imitate the casting of spells ("Tom, couldn't that be misconstrued as two cocks shooting off…?" "Shut up, Harry.").
As Tom stepped up to make his opening speech, his stomach tightened again in a mild cramp. Tom's brow twitched in annoyance—what was this, nerves? Dark Lords do not get nervous when making a speech. Pushing the discomfort aside, Tom stepped up to the podium, casting a Sonorous charm upon himself, and soon enough all that remained was the back ache he'd been dealing with.
He was five minutes in, when they struck.
"Tom, get down!"
Harry's outburst was unneeded, as Tom had had his eye on the suspicious parties the past minute, having noticed their intent with an uncanny sort of sixth sense (perhaps built up over years of paranoia and mistrust of others). They had been prepared for this, anyway. Wands should have been checked at the door, but if someone was determined and creative enough, a hidden wand was not so impossible to get past security. When the first spell came at his side, Tom was ready and easily blocked it.
Looking around for the supposedly competent security team and Aurors, only to find that many of the men he had thought were standing at attention were actually petrified, perhaps ever since people began filing into the massive Atrium. Likely, there were two or three people working on the inside with this one. Tom wasn't disillusioned; his Ministry Personnel were all screened under a very complicated interview process, but there were such things as talented liars or even Polyjuice Potion. However the insurrects got in, they would have to be dealt with as quickly as possible and with little collateral damage. Already panic was setting in among the crowd, as people began to clump in their haste to escape from danger and the noise level was quickly rising.
As Tom processed the scene before him, he was momentarily distracted by another, slightly sharper pain within his lower belly, and with a flash of insight, Tom sucked in his breath in a harsh measure of shock.
No! No no no, this cannot be happening now!
Labor! He was bloody going into labor while his Ministry was under attack by idiots who could not cope with the changes he had wrought. The Healer said he might have to give birth early, what with his body not really being designed to expand for a child, but damn if the baby had somehow inherited his other father's sense of timing and luck.
With a start, Tom discovered that in those few seconds he'd been under the influence of the shock in realizing the pain he felt was a contraction, the invading wizards had surrounded the podium and were making some sort of threat or other to the amassed people. In that moment, a sudden surge of pure adrenaline and ire flooded Tom's very ornery and pregnant body, and before the ten or twelve threatening wizards could react, he had them all in full-body binds and hanging from the ceiling by their feet. Just as he turned to take care of the traitorous higher-up who had been pretentiously sitting on the same stage as he and was now trying to surreptitiously sneak away, the Boy Wonder named Harry Potter had taken the unusual route of conjuring a rather large vase over the man's head, knocking the idiot out when Harry allowed it into freefall.
"See?" Harry commented, standing next to the man like a hunter over his kill. "I am useful."
Tom easily resisted the urge to snort and turned to the awestruck Aurors who were just now making their way to the stage, each of them having their eyes trained on the wriggling captives above their heads. So much for all their plans…Tom really did have to do everything around here, didn't he?
"Take care of them," Tom commanded, turning to stride towards his grinning and proud husband to latch onto his arm and pull him towards the exit. Murmurs followed in the wake of their exit as the crowd caught up to the events and were now trying to make sense of it all and their leaders suddenly taking leave.
"Hey, wait…Tom! Don't you think we need to stick around?" Harry asked in a hissed whisper as he tripped after the older wizard, swiveling his head to look back over his shoulder at the chaos they were leaving behind.
"No," Tom insisted. "We need to leave. We have another business to take care of."
"I'm in labor."
Harry stopped dead in his tracks, causing Tom to lose hold of his arm. Grunting in irritation, Tom also stopped and crossed his arms, waiting for it. It didn't take long.
"WHAT?! Oh God, oh Merlin, now? We need to get out of here! Are you in pain? Can you walk?"
At this point, Harry was all over Tom, gripping his shoulder with one hand as if to help hold him up and holding his wand aloft in the other, though what he planned to do with the object Tom was not so sure. As it were, Tom forcibly removed Harry's hand from his person and backed up a step, holding the younger's shoulders to prevent him from closing the distance between them once again.
"Do get ahold of yourself," Tom grouched in a near sigh. Harry looked up at him in pure bafflement.
"How can you be so calm?"
This is not calm; this is the look of resignation.
Tom did not answer this way; he merely snagged Harry's wrist once again and proceeded to drag him towards his office and his private Floo connection just as another twinge of pain assaulted his midsection, and could only feel thankful that he wouldn't be expected to push the infant out thanks to a convenient cesarean spell. The sooner this indignity was over, the better.
~~Three Years Later~~
Tom Marvolo Riddle, leader of the British community of witches and wizards, sat behind his desk, quill in hand and eyes intent on the parchment he was scratching at. The fire crackled warmly in the hearth and Nagini—no longer a Horcrux and more like an unusual house pet—was settled contentedly on the rug in front of it, the flames reflecting off her sleek scales.
The peace was disturbed by the slightest of thumping noises coming from the partially ajar doorway. Tom paused with the tip of his quill against his page, but otherwise did not react. After a moment of non-action, he carefully resumed his writing, making as much noise as possible when dipping his quill in the ink well and shifting in his chair. His face was turned down, so no one could see the minor upturning of his lips as a series of more soft thumps and tiny trying-to-be-suppressed giggles got closer and closer to where he sat. There was moment of silence, and then…
A small body launched itself at the most feared and respected man in Britain, knocking into him enough to force the breath from his body in a short puff of air. With skilled movements stemming only from lots of practice, Tom flipped the wriggling creature attached to his side into his lap and proceeded to dig his fingertips up and down a short torso, sending the little monster into a fit of screeching giggles.
"P-papa! Papa, s-s-stop!" The peals of laughter continued for a few more seconds before Tom righted his child, looking down upon the flushed face dominated by huge, greenish eyes glittering with unshed tears of mirth.
"I do believe you should be in bed right now."
Immediately, a pout formed upon the small bow-shaped lips, head tilting so the child had to moodily look up at his father from under his dark, ragged fringe. Thin arms wrapped tightly around a stuffed green dragon that had seen better days though looked clean enough.
"M'not sleepy," the small boy insisted, feet kicking back and forth and lightly battering Tom's calf. Chuckling slightly, Tom scooped up his son and stood from his chair in one swift motion, ignoring the wriggling protests from the boy clad in pajamas of his favorite color: purple.
"Papa! Daddy saided since I'm your spawn you'da lemme stay up if I bovered you!"
"Oh, did he, now?" Tom murmured as he carried his young son through the manor halls, barely even cringing at his child's despicable grammar and already planning revenge on his husband for manipulating their child and dumping him on him.
A moment later, still completely ignoring Eloi's continuing protests, Tom maneuvered the two of them into the boy's toy-strewn and colorful nursery. Since Eloi was already in his pajamas, Tom assumed Harry had at least managed to bathe the child, so Tom walked over to the small though high class toddler's cot and—gently—dumped his burden onto the cushioned mattress. After enough bouncing recoil to pull a short giggle from his lips, Eloi managed to school his tiny features into a—okay, okay—a cute pout.
"Oh, my son," Tom interrupted with a small chuckle, "your dear daddy pulled one over on you."
Eloi's brows pulled together in a confused frown. "Pulled what?"
Tom snorted in good humor, and walked over to the well-stocked bookshelf along the opposite wall. Scanning the titles, he found one that satisfied him and pulled the slim volume off the shelf. Turning back around the face Eloi, he found the boy still had a very familiar, stubborn expression that he inherited from the other side of the gene pool, though his eyes conveyed his interest in his father's actions. His legs dangled over the side of his cot, and his feet kicked back and forth as they were liable to do when they didn't touch the ground.
"Alright, snakeling, under the covers."
No doubt recognizing the command in his father's voice, Eloi sighed and did as he was told, lifting up the bed sheets and slipping underneath them, moodily dropping his head down onto his pillow. Tom, ignoring the pout on his son's face, stooped down to sit near the headboard of Eloi's bed, bodily dragging the small boy closer so he was tucked against his side. Eloi's eyes were still narrowed in poor humor, but they blinked interestedly over at the book his father held in his hands.
Smiling minutely, Tom said, "I will read to you until you fall asleep."
Eloi perked up at that statement. "What if I don't fall asleep?"
"Then I will keep reading," Tom told him.
The dark-haired boy poked out his bottom lip in thought. "Even if I stay up the whoooole night?"
"I would not go back on my word."
The little Slytherin-in-training, quite endearingly smirked up at his father as he wiggled around, getting himself more comfortable.
"Good, 'cause m'not sleepy." Tucking his head down against his father's side, Eloi hugged his stuffed dragon tightly to his chest again as Tom opened up the book of Wizarding fairy tales he'd selected and began to read.
Twenty minutes later, Eloi was fast asleep, small snores falling from his partly open lips. Tom had to hand it to him, the boy put up a pretty good fight against the sandman, but eventually exhaustion won out. Placing the book on the bedside stand, Tom carefully shifted Eloi onto his pillow before making sure the duvet was pulled all the way up to his chin.
The job of tucking his child into bed completed, Tom lightly brushed Eloi's cheek with the back of his knuckles in a soft caress before standing up from the low cot. Picking the storybook up once again, he crossed the room to replace it upon its shelf and then walked to the doorway of the room. There he paused and turned around, waving his hand in the air to wandlessly douse the lights, taking one last glance at his sleeping son. This time his smile was quite obvious, fortified with genuine fondness and the strength of feeling. Backing out of the room, shutting the door as he went, Tom ensured the monitoring charms were active before glancing at the closed door on the opposite side the hall. After a moment of consideration, a smirk similar to the one on Eloi's face not too long ago now curled at Tom's lips, revealing just where the boy had inherited the expression from.
Decision made, Tom bypassed the master bedroom in favor of returning to his office. He didn't intend to stay there long—just enough to gather a particular item he'd recently acquired but had not the chance to use yet.
As he traversed the short distance through the halls, Tom contemplated life and how he had never expected to enjoy fatherhood this much. He had always considered himself incapable of love and of familial attachments, and so after he had fallen in love with Harry, he had fully expected it to be an odd type of fluke and that loving one person was all he would ever amount to. But when his son was born, after having carried him for nine months the emotions wrought from him had been so devastatingly powerful Tom had found himself unable to sleep in favor of staying up and just watching the tiny baby sleep. Tom's opinion of himself changed, and he thought that maybe he could give himself a little more credit in terms of what he was and wasn't capable of.
Eloi's first year was a step away from a disaster waiting to happen and the happiest year of Tom's life. He and Harry were thrown into a situation that required a steep learning curve in order to stay away from the sinking side of the phrase sink or swim. Eloi was a good baby, Tom had been told by the few people he allowed close to his family, which caused the averred ruler of Wizarding Britain to shudder and wonder just what it was like to have a bad baby, because raising his son through infanthood to toddlerhood had been no small feat. Now, with Eloi having turned three not too long ago, Tom felt relatively comfortable in his role as a parent.
Oh, he still panicked in that quiet, dignified way of his, make no mistake.
But in all honesty, it really wasn't too bad having a little brat running around the house, even with sticky fingers messing up every surface they could reach, unrestrained screeches and laughter echoing through the halls, toys scattered around every room. By far, it was surprisingly enjoyable.
Hence his need to make a stop at his office. There was something he required for tonight. See, he'd been doing a lot of thinking lately, and he'd come to a decision he'd never thought he'd settle on. But, a person can change, more than Tom ever dreamed they could.
It had been no more than half an hour since Eloi had rather rambunctiously invaded Tom's study, and Nagini was still dozing in front of the fire, the great snake not even twitching when her Master reentered the space. Not for the first time, Tom wondered if perhaps the venomous viper had gotten a little lackadaisical in the past few years. But, that was neither a matter for another day—Tom had other things on his mind.
Mainly, how to seduce his husband into impregnating him.
Yup, that's right: Tom Marvolo Riddle wanted another baby. Perhaps he and Harry would get their little Adelind after all, or maybe Eloi would gain a younger brother. The fertility potion that Tom pulled now from the normally locked drawer in his desk would ensure that whatever happened that one time they conceived Eloi would occur tonight. With only a heart's beat of hesitation, Tom unstoppered the vial and downed the faintly sweet concoction in one gulp. Grinning connivingly to himself, Tom spun on his heel and once again exited his study, mind already running through the plan of getting his twitchy and skittish husband to forget the outbursts, moodiness, and all those threats to his manhood and queen and country should he ever get pregnant again.
It might take a while, but Tom was determined. And he always got what he wanted.
And tonight he wished to molest his husband, Harry Potter.