Harry sliced at the air with his wand, crying out with the force of the spell. The sparks cut a deep gash into the practice dummy in front of him, pushing it back several feet. Harry growled in frustration, sending another, more furious spell. It knocked back a couple more feet. He sent another, and another.
"Sectumsempra!" He hissed so vehemently that the dummy went flying into the wall with a deafening crack.
"Merlin, Potter, what's got your knickers in a twist?" Harry spun on the familiar voice and spat out an answer.
"Shut it, Malfoy!" Draco merely raised an eyebrow, his eyes moving from Harry's furious face, to the destroyed dummy against the wall. He would never admit it, but Harry scared him sometimes with the power of his spells. He imagined that was why the Dark Lord doted on him so much...well...and for other reasons he dared not breathe tell of.
"My, my. Let me guess, Bella can't keep her hands to herself, eh?" From the look on Harry's face, he knew he had hit the nail on the head. Harry had never directly told Draco anything of the sort, but it was obvious to anyone with half a brain cell that Harry was utterly stricken with the Dark Lord. Not in the same way all his followers were, but in a much more intense and quite frankly, disturbing way. Draco wasn't sure if the Dark Lord realized it or not, but it wouldn't surprise him if he did.
Anyone in the Manor could tell you about how Harry and the Dark Lord acted. Many called Harry his lap dog, but this would be untrue. The Dark Lord treated Harry as an equal, and frequently made exceptions for him. They had an almost intimate relationship that made Draco uncomfortable to witness. He could see that Harry wanted more, and guessed that The Dark Lord did as well. Whatever was keeping them back was unknown to him, but what he did know was that it drove Harry insane with jealousy and rage. Especially when Bellatrix hung all over The Dark Lord.
"I swear one day I'll grab her kinky hair and fucki-"
"Calm down, Potter. Would you want Daddy Dearest to see you throwing a tantrum?" Harry looked as if he were going to murder Draco. He hated it when Draco called The Dark Lord his father. He assumed because Harry wanted The Dark Lord in ways that were completely un-fatherly.
"Malfoy..." Draco held his hands up in mock surrender, turning on his heel to saunter out of the room. Harry watched him go, taking deep breaths before throwing a spell at the dummy.
"Repairo." He turned to leave, knowing he should be in the meeting he had stormed so unceremoniously out of. He knew Tom wouldn't be angry, but it would displease him. He stopped short, finding another figure in the room. He didn't know how he did that, sneaking up behind him without so much as a rustle of robes. He leaned calmly against the wall, his scarlet eyes fixed on Harry intently. Many feared those eyes, but Harry found himself trembling with pleasure as they roamed over him.
Tom took in Harry, his face flushed with anger and his entire body taut with tension. He wasn't sure if that was from his presence or from his rage. He could never tell with Harry. It seemed to Tom as if he were afraid of him, as he had right to be, but it also seemed he could never be close enough to Tom. Their relationship was a strange one, there was no doubt. They shared a deep connection, and Tom felt a compelling desire to own Harry, to claim him. In any other situation he would. However...
"Sorry I stormed out." Harry said, looking sincerely repentant. He liked that about Harry. He was sorry to displease him simply because it displeased him, and not because he was afraid Tom would crucio him.
"You shouldn't let a cur like Bellatrix spike your temper." Tom replied. Harry nodded.
"I know. But she acts as if she has the right to touch you, it's disgusting."
"And you do have the right to touch me?" Tom asked, cocking his head to the side slightly and looking over Harry's expression carefully. Harry had lived with Tom since he had been a baby, and yet he could always surprise him. Surprise showed on his face momentarily until he schooled it away carefully.
"Only if you desire me to, my Lord." He replied. Tom's lips quirked into a smirk, he raised a hand and beckoned Harry to him. Harry swallowed thickly. He should be used to this, but it always affected him just as badly every time. He stopped just in front of Tom. Thin fingers hooked under his chin and raised his face toward him. Emerald met scarlet eyes, and Harry tried not to get lost in them.
Tom ran a delicate finger down Harry's face, savoring how Harry's breathing quickened.
-I am Tom to you.- He whispered, not for the first time. Harry leaned into the touch, his hand circling Tom's bicep seemingly of it's own accord. His whole body ached to lean into Tom's, press against him and drink him in. It made his chest hurt with an emptiness, it made all of his blood rush downward.
Tom's mouth brushed against his ear, -And I desire you to touch me. You are the only one worthy of it.-Harry bit his lip to hold back a moan, his fingers tightening around Tom's arm. There was a whisper of a nip to his ear and the Tom was moving away, leaving Harry breathless and aching.
"We should return before my worthless bunch of Death Eaters kill each other." He said, his hand gripping Harry's face and running a thumb over the bitten lower lip. He took in it's redness and wanted for what seemed like the thousandth time to claim those lips. He controlled himself, though it seemed to get more difficult each time.
Harry nodded, taking Tom's hand in his and pulling it from his face gently. His hand lingered on Tom's for a moment, before he reluctantly stepped back and let go. He was thankful he was wearing robes right then, and did his best to ignore the effects of Tom on his body.
When Tom and Harry returned to the meeting room, they were thankful to find all of the Death Eaters alive. It wasn't so rare for them to kill each other. Harry wondered why Tom kept them around, really. They were so stupid. Tom had explained they were numbers, and they were willing to die. Still, Harry could barely stand the idiocy sometimes. They had even gone to school, and Harry, who had been taught everything he knew by Severus, Lucius and Tom, excelled above them.
"Is ickle Potter done throwing his fit?" Bellatrix crooned, pouting her lips out at him. Harry drew his wand so fast it was a blur, pressing the tip against the woman's cheek.
"I would not test my temper right now, Bella." He hissed. The mocking smile slid off her face and she narrowed her eyes, jerking away from him.
"You need to control your pet better, My Lord." She sneered.
"Enough." Tom demanded, turning his gaze to Bellatrix.
"I have warned you enough. Do not insult your superiors." Bellatrix gasped, looking scandalized.
"Surely you don't mean that brat, he's-"
"Far better a wizard than you shall ever be." Tom snapped.
"Now, sit down, before I punish you for your insolence." Bellatrix sat, sneering at Harry as he took his seat to the right of Tom.
"As I was saying earlier, I fear Albus Dumbledore has become aware of Harry's presence here. Severus?" The man leaned forward.
"Yes, My Lord. I have heard bits of conversation regarding Harry. The headmaster has not confided in me, but I am certain I can manage to get him to talk. He trusts me. How would you like me to proceed?"
"Give him no indication that you have seen or know of Harry being here. However, do not give the impression that it is impossible." Severus nodded, sitting back in his chair. Tom turned his gaze to the rest of the people sitting at the table, his red eyes almost lazy, though retaining the feeling that they were piercing you. Harry saw some of them shift under his gaze. He almost sneered at their weakness. Surely Tom affected him more, and he had the willpower to at least meet his gaze and hold his ground.
"However I wonder how Dumbledore was made even suspicious of Harry being here." His voice was soft, but several people shivered at the sound of it. His eyes locked on Bellatrix, sulking like a child in her chair.
"It is unfortunate isn't it? Perhaps they will get their hands on him, My Lord. What will you do then? When the light has their precious savior back?" She asked, her voice savoring the words. She liked the idea, she smiled in mock sympathy, twirling her finger in her black curly hair.
Tom's teeth gritted, his face tightening and his eyes flashing. His wand whipped out in a second, and then Bellatrix was tumbling from her chair onto the floor. She thrashed, screaming shrilly for a few seconds before Tom released the curse. All eyes were on her, a mixture of pity, disgust and amusement. She panted against the floor, pushing herself up weakly onto her knees. She looked up at The Dark Lord and Harry waited for the familiar pleading and whining. But this time she said something else.
"He'll never love you like I do, My Lord. I can see the way he looks at you, the way he keens for your touch. He dares to love you like an equal when you should be worshipped!" The entire room was silent, the air thick in the wake of what everyone knew but would never dare say. That Harry Potter was in love with The Dark Lord.
Harry stared at her, his fingers gripping the arms of his chair until his knuckles went white. His eyes flew to Tom. The Dark Lord looked surprised. His scarlet eyes moved to Harry's. They shared a look, one so riddled with emotion that it left Harry breathless. They moved back to Bellatrix then, the surprise gone and replaced with a deep anger that made Bellatrix shrink back in fear.
"You dare speak of him like that in my presence?" He started, standing from his chair and taking a step toward her. He kneeled, looking dangerously calm as he gripped her hair and yanked viciously on it. He leaned in close and whispered. Harry was the only one close enough to hear what was said and it nearly sent a flush over his cheeks.
"He is the only one worthy enough to love me. You are simply a servant, dear Bella. Do not delude yourself with notions that you come anywhere close to Harry Potter. He is far above worship. You would do well to remember it." He let her hair go with a jerk, as if she disgusted him. She fell forward, her body wracking with what sounded like a sob. Tom stood and slammed his hand down on the table.
"Would anyone else like to insult me?" He hissed. No one said a word.
"Out. Out of my sight, all of you." The Death Eaters cleared the room, none of them stopping to help Bellatrix to her feet. She was the last to leave, sending Harry a look of pure hatred as she limped from the room.
The door clicked shut, and then Harry and Tom were alone. Harry had not moved since Bellatrix had started talking. He watched Tom as he slowly started to relax, the anger fading from white-hot to a simmering glow. His hand joined his other one on the table and he leaned against it for a long moment.
-There is no need to explain, Harry.- Tom hissed softly, slipping into Parseltongue. Harry opened his mouth to say something, but shut it as soon as Tom turned to him. He walked to him, his hand moving to run through his hair. Harry couldn't help but lean into the touch of his hand, his eyes closing. When he opened his eyes, Tom was looking at him differently. As if he were seeing Harry for the first time. Harry's lips parted softly, and Tom's eyes were drawn directly down to them. He swallowed thickly, leaning forward until their lips brushed together.
-I cannot. I'm sorry, I cannot.- He breathed, pulling away and leaving the room.
A ten year old Harry sat in the middle of a large library, it's dark green floors and walls making his large eyes seem luminous in the early evening light that poured in through the ceiling to floor windows along the wall in front of him. In his lap lay a large tome bound in dark leather. It's pages were marked with strange, swirling symbols, but he could read it as if it were English.
He read carefully, drinking in as much of it as he possibly could. He knew Tom would quiz him on everything he was supposed to learn today, which had been the first hundred pages of the book in his lap. He was currently on page 120, but he was so absorbed that he barely noticed that he was ahead of what he needed to read. His eyes moved across the page, his fingers playing with a locket at his throat that he had worn since he was old enough to be safe with something around his neck. It felt heavy and safe in his hand, it's familiar pulsing - like a heart beat - calming him as he took in the Dark magic from the book.
The book was written in Parseltongue, something Harry could read, speak, write, and understand ever since he could remember. Sometimes he could barely tell the difference between English and Parseltongue, but he was beginning to be able to distinguish them. Tom spoke to him almost always in Parseltongue.
"You are ahead, Harry." A soft voice said from behind him. A jolt of pure joy shot through Harry, but he tried not to show it. He turned, Tom was standing against a bookshelf, his smooth, youthful face beautiful in the light.
"I lost track of where I was." Harry replied. Tom smiled, walking toward him slowly. He kneeled beside Harry, looking over him to the book he was reading. His thin, delicate fingers trailed over the aged text. Harry watched them with fascination, and even at ten years old, he noticed how very beautiful Tom's hands were. Like the rest of him. Tom's red eyes slid from the page to Harry's face, and not for the first time, Harry felt as if he could sense exactly what he was thinking.
"You should not push yourself, dear Harry." Those fingers traced his jaw, down his neck. Harry nodded, trembling slightly from his touch. He had always reacted this way to Tom, and he knew he always would. As if Tom's touch reached down into his very soul, caressing his inner-most being. Lovingly and cruelly penetrating him until he was unsure whether he was still Harry, or if Tom was a part of him as much as any of his organs.
"Don't apologize for your own greatness, Harry. Now, why don't you tell me what you learned today."
Harry sat unmoving as Tom left him in the room. He had to remind himself to breathe. Tom's mouth had been so close, he had almost pressed his lips against his. The mere thought of kissing Tom left an ache in his entire being. He had apologized, Tom never did that, he had said he could not. Could not kiss him? Harry's head was a whirlwind of emotion and thoughts.
Just as he had been unable to move before, he was unable to sit still now. He got up from his chair and left, heading for the nearest exit. He burst from the Manor with a sharp intake of breath, taking in the chilly air with relief. He was in the garden now, blocked off from the rest of the land around them by large stone walls.
He could hear the faint trickling of the fountain and moved toward it, his footsteps loud in the silence of the garden. He sat on the edge of the fountain and dipped his hand into the water. Here in the garden he let his emotions run, let his mask fall.
What would Tom think of him after what Bellatrix had said? Would he believe her, and would he draw away from Harry if he knew the truth? That Harry really was in love with Tom. He sighed, in love was not even the beginnings of what Harry felt for Tom Riddle. He felt as if they were the same person. As if Tom was the very core of his being. Love was an insufficient word.
Could Tom even feel the same way about him? Harry closed his eyes, remembering every touch Tom had ever given him. Harry wanted to think he touched him like that because he cared for him. Because he felt the same heart-wrenching desire to be close to him. But he had no idea if that was true. Tom was all ice, and while Harry knew he showed him parts of himself he showed no one else, he still felt as if he barely knew him at all.
He wanted to know him. Wanted to understand every bit of his mind. But he never could. Tom touched him like a lover, yet never let him close enough to be a lover. Tom trusted Harry more than anyone he'd ever known. But it wasn't enough.
Tom gripped his hair and felt like screaming. What was Harry doing to him? How could that boy get under his skin like that. How could he make him want him so much? He had always been gentle with him, he treasured Harry Potter above all things. But he had never expected to...to...
No. He could not admit it, or it would become true. He could not love Harry Potter.