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Unplanned

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"We can not have sex," Harry insists. Riddle raises his eyebrows, simultaneously so condescending and attractive that Harry isn't sure if he wants to punch him or snog him.

"Why not?" Riddle asks, and Harry gapes.

"You—You're—my best friend hates you for one, I disagree heavily with your elitism, I know you’ve been doing shit with Dark magic, you're an arrogant arse, we don't even like or tolerate each other, you're a Slytherin and I'm a Gryffindor and, and, and—" Harry trails off, his face heating up in indignation, but Riddle doesn't even look fazed, just tilts his head.

"And?" The arsehole prods as if none of those are good enough reason for him, and Harry snarls, rearing back.

"I don't do this kind of shit—I don't do one night stands!"

Riddle's lips curl up in an arrogant, smug smirk. "It would be good though."

Harry's jaw drops, utterly stunned at the audacity of the other boy. He stammers, nonsensical arguments tripping over in his mouth with how flustered he is and fuck, he hates him. Riddle leans away, his lean body a long, delicious line, his handsome face taunting Harry and—

"Fuck you," Harry hisses, and launches himself at Tom Riddle, Head Boy, Hermione Granger's arch-nemesis, anger thrumming in his veins. Riddle meets him halfway and Harry closes his eyes, ready to feel the sting of a spell or a punch and then—

Their lips mash against each other, their teeth clicking, and Harry hisses at the taste of blood in between them. Harry shoves Riddle up against the stone wall with a hard thud, and Riddle's hand makes it way up to Harry's mess of hair to pull and tilt his head just right until they're finally snogging properly, tongue and lips and teeth nipping at his bottom lip. Harry is barely aware that he's making the most awful, embarrassing sounds of pleasure against Riddle's mouth.

Surprisingly, Riddle seems to tolerate how Harry's pinning him against the wall, but just as Harry melts into his delicious kisses, Riddle is spinning them around. Harry's back hits the wall and he grunts, his legs spreading, and Riddle's thigh is suddenly right there, shoved up against his, and fuck Harry's hard, and so is Riddle.

He can feel the solid length of it up against his hip, and Harry's own is straining in his pants. Little gasps escape in between their lips. They've barely done anything but Harry hates how Riddle is right. It is good, it's better than anything Harry's ever felt before, so much better than the fumbling in the dark that Harry was used to.

Riddle ruts against him, pushing and pulling Harry by the waist to bring their bodies up against each other, each grind only serving to bring Harry closer and closer to the edge. Harry hates how good it feels, and he can only dream about what it'd feel like to have fewer layers in between them, or to actually be doing this in a bed, or—

Footsteps, just down the hall.

Harry shoves Riddle away from him with a gasp, touching his kiss-swollen mouth. His dick is throbbing in his pants, and for once Riddle doesn't look so put together as he stumbles away. His hair is mussed, his pupils blown wide, and… Harry's eyes trail downwards. Riddle is still very much hard.

Riddle smirks at him.

The footsteps pass and Harry relaxes, a long exhale of relief escaping him.

"No," Harry snaps as Riddle opens his mouth, no doubt about to say something infuriating. He glares at Riddle, jabbing a finger at his chest accusingly. "No! Never again, this was a mistake."

"You're the one who kissed me," Riddle smugly replies and Harry shakes his head furiously, already taking a few quick steps away to increase the distance in between them. He obviously can't be trusted to be less than 5 feet away from Riddle, his dick had a mind of its own!

"Shut up, Riddle, I swear! Leave me alone!" Harry throws back over his shoulder as he stalks away from Riddle and his dumb face.

"See you around, Potter," Riddle calls out and blows him a taunting kiss.

Harry's face burns. He tears his gaze away and walks faster. He is not running away.

 

*

 

“Where have you been?” Hermione hisses and Harry ducks his head, stabbing at his food viciously. He viciously smashes his mashed potatoes into an even more, mashed mess, and it’s only when Hermione yanks on his sleeve that he looks up, a scowl on his face.

“Where have you been?”

“Riddle,” Harry grunts. From across the hall, he catches Riddle’s eyes and he glares. Riddle, damn him, looks unfazed and only smirks. He gives a jaunty little wave and looks away.

“Riddle?” Hermione repeats, disgusted, and Harry winces. She looks betrayed, her eyes darting back and forth between him and the Head Boy, and Harry knows that she caught their little interaction.

“I just wanted to see what his problem was,” Harry tries to explain. He doesn’t really hate Riddle, honestly, Malfoy takes the top spot there, but Hermione hates him and so Harry feels a little obligated to at least dislike him.

But, it’s not Harry’s fault that Riddle is so handsome and charming—and Harry knows his charm is just a façade, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t susceptible to it and—

“Harry!” Hermione cries and Harry jolts. “How could you!”

And it’s then that Harry realizes that he’s been staring at Riddle again this whole time, utterly besotted like a right fool, and fuck, he’s drooling.

“I’m sorry!” Harry winces, looking away before he rubs hastily at his chin with the back of his hand.

In front of him, Ron snickers.

“Mate, look at it this way. Imagine if Hermione started making eyes at Malfoy?”

Harry must immediately make some sort of face because both Ron and Hermione look pleased, and Hermione has that expression she wears when she’s been proven right.

"I'm not going to throw myself at Riddle," Harry promises. Again, at least. He winces inwardly. Best not to mention it at all to either of them, really.

Hermione huffs and nods to herself, looking pleased.  She goes back to eating then and Harry chances a peek at the Slytherin table. Tom smirks back.

Hurriedly, Harry looks away.

 

*

 

“Potter.” Malfoy sneers as he holds out his hand. Harry scowls back at him, but takes it, aware that Madam Hooch is watching to make sure they show proper sportsmanship.

"Malfoy."

“Riddle says good luck,” Malfoy tells him as he pulls his hand away and Harry blinks.

“What?” He asks uncertainly, but Madam Hooch blows her whistle and the game is on. Harry kicks off the ground, a little later after the rest of his team. He feels vaguely off-centered.

Malfoy smirks at him and nods his head towards the Slytherin stands. There, Riddle is watching him. He’s surrounded by his cronies, most of them in their year, but Harry can spot a few Sixth and Fifth Years as well—all of them influential, rich, powerful or all three.

Riddle is much too far away, and Harry's eyesight too poor, but it is remarkably easy to conjure a vision of his smug smirk and teasing eyes.

His face burns and he should look away, he should. He's here to look for the Snitch, but Tom's just so handsome and—

Ginny shoves his side and Harry almost falls off his broom. He clamps his thighs tight against the wood and glares.

Ginny just gives him an annoyed look back. "Eye on the snitch, Potter. Stop gawking at Riddle."

"I'm not!" Harry squawks in denial, but Ginny is already speeding away to intercept the Quaffle. He wasn't, really! Just a bit. It didn't count. He scowls. It shouldn't count.

Just to prove his point, Harry gets the Snitch right under Malfoy's nose. He grins, smug as anything at the pointy prat as he holds up his prize. See? Harry was paying plenty of attention to the game, he wasn't distracted at all by stupid Riddle.

His gaze drifts towards the Slytherin stands without his permission, and his heart drops out of his chest when he sees Riddle, a twist to his lips, clapping slowly.

 

*

 

"Wonderful catch, Potter."

Harry chokes. He whirls around, his eyes wide at the sight of Riddle leaning against the wall, a glass of who knew what in his hands.

"You're drinking?" Harry dumbly asks the Head Boy, his eyes caught on the glass.

"No," Riddle sniffs. "Just water."

Harry can't help but snort in amusement at that. It's clearly not water, and Harry would bet his ass it was Firewhiskey. Riddle takes another sip then and smirks at him. Steam comes out as he exhales and Harry hides his smile at the confirmation. It wouldn't do to encourage him.

"Water, huh."

Riddle tilts his head in acknowledgment and then makes a show of looking around the Room of Requirement, his gaze peering over the crowd of people. "Your pets are missing."

"Calling them pets is a lot coming from you." Harry makes his own show of looking around, his eyes catching on Riddle's minions. There's a lot less of them, but that's probably because Slytherin lost.

Riddle's lips twitch.

"Have you thought about my proposition then?" He asks, and Harry feels his face heat. He looks away and rubs over his mouth with his free hand. He takes a long sip from his own glass without answering, his throat suddenly dry.

"…Just once?" He asks and winces to himself. Damn it. How weak. It's the drink, he tells himself. He's clearly drunk and not thinking straight, no matter that he only had one drink.

Riddle's smirk widens. He raises his glass towards Harry almost mockingly and shrugs. "If that's what you want."

Harry takes another gulp for Firewhiskey, the heat spreading all the way to the tips of his ears. The drink burns down his throat and Harry's eyes water as he struggles not to cough.

He peeks up over the rim of his glass and swallows.

"Fine," he says, clipped. "Just once."

"Just once," Riddle confirms as he steps in closer towards him, the heat and scent of him enough to make Harry dizzy. "Don't flatter yourself too much."

 

*

 

"Will you actually let me…" Harry trails off, his face heating up as he tentatively spreads his hands over the bare chest in front of him, and Riddle raises an eyebrow. Harry’s thighs bracket Riddle’s, the paleness of Riddle’s body stark against Harry’s.

"Top?" he asks dryly, and Harry nods. Riddle scoffs and grabs him by the thigh to flip them over, Harry on his back looking up at Riddle. Riddle slots himself in between Harry’s legs, his cock hard against Harry’s. "Of course not."

“So what, you want me to just lie here and take it?” Harry grumbles even as he spreads his legs, his throat tightening as Riddle grasps both their cocks in one hand.

“Oh yes,” Riddle says snidely as he rolls his hips, fucking into his fist, the length of him sliding against Harry’s and Harry groans, “such a hardship for you. Poor Harry Potter, has to take it up the ass. Lie back and think of England, won’t you?

Harry scowls and grabs Riddle by the arm to reel him in.

“You’re such an asshole,” he says bitingly against Riddle’s lips, his jaw, his neck, and Riddle only laughs.

 

*

 

"Oh," Harry groans, long and drawn out as Riddle pushes into him with a low grunt. He arches his back, breathless as Riddle fucks him open, the strain and stretch of it so odd, but so good.

Riddle curses and drops, pressing his chest into Harry's back, and an embarrassing whimper escapes Harry's mouth as that only forces Riddle deeper inside of him, the length of him making a home inside Harry. Riddle presses his teeth into Harry's shoulder, and just the threat of it is enough to make Harry squeeze around him, bearing down.

"Come on," Harry says, breathless. "Fuck me like you mean it."

Riddle snarls into his shoulder and pulls out, the drag of it in Harry's insides shocking him, and then he fucks back into Harry. A shocked moan punches out of him and Harry gasps, spreading his legs wider, pressing his chest into Riddle's sheets and tilting his hips back in the perfect angle. Riddle grips hard onto his hips, sure to leave bruises, and Harry scrambles for purchase against the bed as Riddle starts fucking him relentlessly.

Riddle bites down, his teeth latching onto his Harry's shoulder and Harry sobs at the feel of it, the intensity of getting fucked crossing pleasure and pain in his brain as he lies there and takes it.

Harry tries to lift himself up on his elbows, his breath lost at the overwhelming pleasure, but Riddle slams a hand down between his shoulder blades to press him back into the bed, a warning sound sending shockwaves down his spine. Harry keens, burying his face into Riddle's pillow, the scent of him filling Harry's nose as he gasps and moans.

Riddle laughs, the cruel bastard, and he grips Harry's hair hard with one fist, Harry's cheek pressed to the bed as Riddle continues to thrust into him, hard and fast, Harry's legs trembling under the onslaught of it.

Harry can't do anything but take it. Even as he hates how Riddle has reduced him to a pitiful moaning mess, it's just so bloody good that Harry can't bring himself to really, truly care.

 

*

 

Harry wakes to an arm slung across his waist, the heat of a body pressed up behind him, and an insistent hardness against his back. He stills, his mind racing through the events of last night.

Fuck. He slept with Riddle.

Slowly, Harry turns in Riddle's grip, hoping that he can slip out before the other boy woke, but his hopes are quickly dashed. Riddle's grip tightens around his waist and Harry freezes.

He turns his head and meets Riddle's eyes. They blink at each other.

"What time is it?" Harry finally asks after the prolonged silence. Tom's eyebrows furrow and he reaches over to his bedside table, hand grasping around before he finds his wand and casts a Tempus.

6:43

"We have some time before breakfast," Tom yawns and drops his wand back on the side. He glances sideways at Harry and smirks suggestively. If the Headmaster only knew what Head Boys did with their own room, maybe he wouldn't give them one. But then again, Harry considers, he wouldn't have been able to be fucked like last night if Riddle hadn't had his own room. Good on you then, Headmaster Dumbledore, for paving the way for Head Boys everywhere.

Harry gulps. "You said just once," he says weakly, but he knows it's far too late to hold any scruples about 'once', not when they had both gone at it far more than once last night. Riddle raises an eyebrow, so self-assured, and Harry scowls.

"I won't tell," Riddle teases, and Harry rolls his eyes. He pushes Riddle flat on his back, and Harry's eyebrows raise as Riddle goes easily, staring up at him with unbridled appreciation. He feels his face flush all the way down to his chest.

"This is the last time," Harry threatens as he straddles Riddle's lap. Their cocks brush against each other and Harry bites back a moan, even as pleasure fills him at the open enjoyment on Riddle's face.

"If you say so," Riddle says, and then he pulls Harry in by the back of his neck and fucks his tongue into Harry's mouth, his other hand grasping both their lengths in his one hand until Harry knows no more.

*

Harry's hopes of no one noticing the vanishes the moment Ginny sits next to him during breakfast.

She glances at him and then does a double-take, her eyes widening.

"Whoa," she says loudly, interrupting Harry's conversation with Ron. "Congrats, Harry."

"Wot?" Ron squints at her. Ginny gives a shit-eating grin, one oddly reminiscent of the twins, and Harry feels dread pool up in his stomach.

"Harry got laid!" Ginny loudly announces, just as one of those odd bouts of silence comes over the hall. Her voice echoes through the Great Hall, and as one, everyone's heads turn towards them. Harry feels his fact heat up to a lovely Gryffindor red.

"Oh, sorry," Ginny whispers, but the grin on her face is far from apologetic. Harry groans, burying his head in his hands. He studiously avoids even glancing at the Slytherin table.

"So?" Ron prods once the wave of general laughter and snickering and curious murmurs pass. "Whossit then?"

"Yes, Harry," Hermione says, narrowing her eyes. "Who's the lucky guy?"

"Why do you have to assume that it's a guy? I like girls plenty too!" Harry says defensively and Ginny snorts. She pats his hand conspiratorially.

"Harry, you're not sitting very comfortably, of course it's a guy."

"It's, ah, um," Harry frantically thinks of a name, the three of them staring at him with various degrees of suspicion. Harry lets out a low breath and stabs a potato with his fork. "It's none of your business!"

"Hey," Neville says in confusion, thankfully with his voice hushed. "Didn't I see you leave with Riddle last night?"

Deathly silence comes over their side of the table, and then Hermione just looks at him and Harry winces.

"Um, er. That is. Well."

"Harry James Potter," Hermione hisses, leaning over the table to point her fork at him. "You slept with Riddle? "

"Well," he says, grimacing. He considers lying, just for a second, but he knows that it's going to bite him in the ass when Hermione's already this worked up. "Um. Yes."

At Hermione's outraged look, Ginny's muffled laughter, and Ron's horrified stare, Harry quickly amends, "It's just the once, won't ever happen again, I promise, and I was drunk, really."

"Mate, how could you," Ron groans.

"I'm sorry!" Harry says, even if he's not really all that sorry because Merlin, Tom—Riddle, was probably the best shag he's ever had.

"Out of all people," Ron continues as he starts digging into his robes. "I really thought that your loyalty to Hermione would win out."

Ginny's laugh rings loud, no longer encumbered by her hands as she holds them out to her brother right in front of Harry. "Pay up."

Harry gapes as Ron slaps a Sickle into Ginny's open hands, a disgruntled look on his face.

“I bloody hope you two used protection,” Ron grumbles, but Harry ignores that. (Later, he’ll think back on this and realize he shouldn’t have.)

"You had a bet that I was going to shag Riddle?" He asks in disbelief, and Ron and Ginny both shrug. In front of him, Hermione shakes her head disapprovingly.

"Ron and I thought that you'd do Malfoy," Hermione mutters, and Harry immediately chokes. He wheezes, Ginny beside him doing the bare minimum of patting his back.

"Malfoy?" he says in disgust once he's over his coughing fit, "I hate that pointy git!"

"That's what I told them!" Ginny agrees. As Ron starts to argue with her, his attention gone on Harry, Harry feels himself relax. That's that, he thinks. Not so bad consequences for giving in to Riddle, and he got a terrific night out of it. Hermione wasn't that upset, just a little annoyed, but in time she'd get over it.

It all worked out in the end, Harry thinks and grins.

One month later, as he's staring in horror up at Madam Pomfrey, Harry will regret these very thoughts. He should have known that it was too good to be true.

Chapter Text

Harry’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day starts like this:

Harry sits down for breakfast and immediately retches at the pungent smell of garlic. His stomach has been off for a few days—a stomach flu, he had assured Ron and Hermione—and this is just the final straw.

He pushes off the table and runs, his head ducked down. He barely makes it to the nearest toilets before he’s on his knees and throwing up his dinner.

“Fuck,” Harry moans and presses his sweaty forehead into his hands. It’s never been this bad, it’s never gotten to the point that he’s thrown up before.

“Harry?” Someone calls out just as another wave of nausea hits him, and he’s vomiting again into the toilet bowl.

“You should really go to Madam Pomfrey,” Ron says beside him. Harry looks up, his face drawn in misery. Ron wrinkles his face in mild disgust and uncomfortably pats his shoulder. "You look horrible, honestly."

Thanks, Ron, but no thanks. Probably something I ate."

But of course, Harry's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day doesn't end there.

 

*

 

"You sure you're fine, mate?" Ron asks as the three of them make their way to Potions. Hermione sticks close to his other side, her eyebrows furrowed as she eyes him worriedly. Harry's known her for long enough to know that half her mind is on their conversation, and the other half is on something that she's considering.

"Yes, Ron," Harry says tightly. He feels better than he did this morning at least, and he had managed to stuff down some plain bread, so it would probably be fine.

Probably. Hopefully. Never let it be said that Harry can't be a positive person.

"Hey," Hermione interrupts, right before they enter the Potions classroom. Harry glances at her just as she taps his nose with the end of her wand. Harry wrinkles his face as his nose is tickled. He sneezes.

"You're welcome," is all Hermione says, and Ron and he share a fond look of confusion and exasperation.

They enter Slughorn's classroom and immediately, of course, Harry's eyes flick toward Riddle. Riddle, who is surrounded by his posy, all of them chatting quietly while Riddle silently watches them. A part of them, but still apart. Better.

Riddle's eyes meet his and he smiles, slow and sly, full of promise. Harry's mouth dries.

"Harry," Ron says, grabbing on to his elbow. Harry breaks the eye contact between him and Riddle and sits down beside Ron. To his surprise, Hermione doesn't even give him a disapproving glance at the messed up flirting he and Riddle do, that thoughtful look still on her face as she takes the other seat beside Ron.

The class starts, Slughorn instructing them on today's potion and his words are copied on the blackboard behind him with a floating piece of chalk.

It's only when Harry starts chopping up a blobberworm that he realizes what's different. He takes a good hard sniff and then stares down at his hands, momentarily confused at why he can’t smell a thing, especially when his nose has been seemingly on overdrive the past week or so.

Then it sinks in and he exhales, turning to shoot Hermione a grateful smile. She shakes her head at him, rolling her eyes. He really should have thought of that.

“Wouldn’t want you throwing up into your potion,” Hermione says and Ron snorts.

“Not like it’d make a difference at this rate,” Ron says, and they both look at their off-color potion. They grimace simultaneously.

“Er, it looks green to me,” Harry says. Well, it’s a little more of a blue, but it’s close enough for him. E’s get degrees and all, even if Hermione says they should do their Best to get an Outstanding.

The rest of the class passes somewhat uneventfully. Harry and Ron manage to salvage their potion into one Slughorn would accept, although one Snape would sneer at, and Harry is once again thankful that Snape is no longer teaching Potions.

They pack up once they're done. Ron and Harry each have their own vial full of the potion they've just made, and Ron is hastily shoving his potion kit and paper and a quill that Harry is pretty sure is his into his bag. Just as Harry walks up to Slughorn's table to drop off his vial, Riddle stands too from the other side of the room. Harry's steps stutter, his grip tightening on his vial, but he straightens his back and keeps walking.

They reach Slughorn's table more or less the same time and when Harry extends his hand to submit his vial, his fingers brush against Riddle's. Harry swallows, his eyes darting up to Riddle's, and Riddle side-eyes him, the corner of his lip twitching.

Harry turns, and it's just a moment, a second maybe, but Riddle's hand brushes against his ass, cupping it, and Harry squeaks.

He jumps and turns, his eyes narrowed, but Riddle's already walking away, expression placid and calm as if he hadn't just groped Harry in front of everyone.

"Let's go?" Ron asks once Harry's back to their table, bag slung over his shoulder, and Harry makes to join him but his eyes catch on Riddle, slowly and leisurely packing his things while he motions off his minions to go ahead.

"I really need to talk to you, Harry," Hermione says, pressing her hands together.

Harry hesitates. He glances over at Riddle again just as Riddle turns his head, and the eye contact is lightning, a sizzle down Harry's spine, and his dick twitches in his robes. The challenge in Riddle's eyes is clear.

"Ah, you guys can go ahead," Harry says, just a little too loud. He clears his throat and tries again, in a more normal tone, "I have to uh, talk to Professor Slughorn about something."

Hermione and Ron share an exasperated look, not even buying a lick of it, and Harry gives them a bright smile.

 

*

 

You'd think that Riddle shoving Harry into a dark abandoned alcove in the dungeons to fool around would be great, an improvement to a shitty start of Harry's day and honestly? Harry thought the same.

They've been doing this for weeks now. Harry's promise of 'just once' has dissolved into alcove/closet/classroom/bathroom quickies, interspersed with sneak-outs to Riddle's room under his Invisibility Cloak in the dead of night, and the whole time, Riddle still hasn't let him top.

It's not as if Harry's gagging for the chance to top, he enjoys bottoming, but it would be fair, wouldn't it? Unfortunately, Riddle is very much the farthest thing from a Hufflepuff and holds fairness to disappointingly low regard.

Still. It's good. Riddle is still, very much, good and the best shag Harry's ever had, so Harry has no qualms of getting down on his knees in the tiny alcove to push Riddle's robes out of the way and pull out his impressive cock.

Harry also usually has no qualms in trying to shove the whole damn thing down his throat, but it seems as if today is determined to be the worst day of his life. Riddle has just barely started to harshly fuck into Harry's mouth, his grip on the back of Harry's head firm and arousing enough by itself, when Hermione's scent blocking charm fades. The scent of the damp dungeon alcove along with the scent of the potion ingredients that had clung onto his hands and robes mix and Harry gags at Riddle's next thrust into his mouth.

And it's not the fun sort of gagging.

In a panic, Harry shoves Riddle off. Riddle grunts, his back hitting the stone, and Harry scrambles up to his feet and runs.

This time he, unfortunately, doesn't make it to the toilets before he's throwing up onto the dark dungeon stone, his hand grasping the walls for balance.

And since we've mentioned Harry's remarkable ability to be a positive person, Harry lets himself be positive and thankful that at least he hadn't thrown up on Riddle's dick, and that Riddle didn't have to see him like this.

Of course, that's exactly when Riddle turns the corner.

Harry throws up on his shoes because the universe clearly hates him.

 

*

 

"What's wrong with you?" Riddle demands and Harry scowls. He jogs after Riddle who's accompanying Harry to his next class, inwardly grumbling at Riddle's dumb long legs. He should also probably be concerned that Riddle knows his next class is Charms, that stalker.

Keyword: should.

Harry can't muster up even the slightest bit of concern, he's too busy being smug and flattered at the possibility of Riddle actually bothering to memorize his schedule. It makes up for Harry having to fucking power walk just so he can keep up with the other boy.

"Just a stomach bug," Harry says and Riddle frowns at him.

A group of Fourth Year Slytherins does a double take when they see Harry and Riddle walk past, and Harry feels his face heat. He surreptitiously takes a step away from Riddle, suddenly very aware of how close they're walking together, and how their hands brush against each other. Without pause, Riddle compensates for his sidestep, pressing up close to Harry's side again and Harry sighs.

He considers stepping away again and giving Riddle a warning glare, but Riddle did clean up Harry's vomit, Harry thinks.

They reach the Charms classroom and Riddle grabs his arm before Harry can reach out and open the door. Harry grunts as Riddle presses him up against the wall, his dark eyes intense. The threatening grip he has on the front of Harry's robes should not be as arousing as it is and Harry squirms, his cock reminded that it was left unsatisfied from what was supposed to be a mutually beneficial in-between-class quickie.

"Go to the Infirmary after Charms," Riddle orders and Harry automatically scowls up at him.

"Don't tell me what to do."

"You weren't complaining last time." Riddle raises a condescending eyebrow and closes the distance between them, his thigh pressing against Harry's aching dick, and Harry makes a tiny noise of what definitely isn't approval. Damn it.

"Stop, people will see," Harry grumbles and pushes him off, wiggling awkwardly as he tries to hide his erection. Riddle goes easily, his hands deft as he fixes his robes back into its perfect state, Head Boy badge gleaming as he sniffs in irritation at Harry.

"And fine, I'll go after Charms." Harry pauses with his hand on the doorknob and then glares as he belatedly adds, a little half-heartedly, "Now fuck off, Riddle."

Riddle only rolls his eyes. "Sure. See you tonight."

Harry definitely does not watch his ass as he goes.

 

*

 

"Harry, " Hermione says hesitantly at the end of Charms, Flitwick dismissing them with a jolly smile. "When did you and Riddle…"

Harry frowns. He squints at her suspiciously, wondering if she's going to scold him for his 'ill-thought dalliance with Riddle' once more. You'd think she'd give up after the tenth time. "Shag? Like two nights ago, why?"

"No!" Hermione squeaks, her face reddening. She covers her face and groans. "I mean, when was the first time?"

"Gryffindor-Slytherin match, like more than a month ago," Harry says carelessly. Hermione pales at that and she shares a panicked look with Ron.

"What?" Harry asks as neither of them says anything. They turn to him, expressions solemn and Harry straightens up. "What, why are you—"

"We're going to Madam Pomfrey, like right now," Ron tells him firmly. There's no room to argue in his tone, and Harry's a little scared to ask. Harry slowly nods.

 

*

 

Harry’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day culminates like this:

"What seems to be the problem, Mr. Potter?" Madame Pomfrey asks. She glances at Hermione and Ron, her eyebrows raised. "Is it necessary for the two of you to be here?"

"Yes," Hermione says firmly and Harry rolls his eyes.

"I've been nauseous recently, strong smells upset my stomach to the point I have to throw up. Probably can't even get past a Potions class without a scent-charm," Harry says, kicking his feet back and forth on the infirmary bed. He feels like a little child, especially with how Ron and Hermione are practically hovering over him.

"Have you been exposed to any potions, any—"

"He's sexually active," Hermione interrupts breathlessly and Harry chokes. Madam Pomfrey's eyebrows raise all the way up to her hairline.

"Hermione!" He hisses, glancing at Madam Pomfrey. "Why would you even—"

"Ah," Madam Pomfrey murmurs. She casts a spell at Harry's stomach that makes it glow green and Harry's mouth closes with a click. He blinks.

"Well, that's that," Madam Pomfrey says, the most curious expression on her face.

"Bloody hell," Ron moans and covers his face. Hermione stares at the green glow and sits down, her face pale.

"Well?" Harry says and smiles nervously. "What's it? Tumor? Magical parasite? Tapeworm?"

"Well, magical parasite is—"

"—Ron, this isn't the time—"

"You're pregnant, Mr. Potter."

Harry laughs. No one laughs with him.
Harry's laughter abruptly dies off and he stares at the three of them solemn and serious in front of him.

"Oh," he says dimly. "You're actually serious, aren't you?"


*

 

"Why did no one tell me wizards could get pregnant?" he asks, his eyes wide. He leans back on the wall and rubs his mouth, still in a state of shock over Madam Pomfrey's diagnosis. They’re in a semi-private alcove a little bit away from the infirmary, Hermione and Ron guiding a shell shocked Harry. All he could do was stare at her in disbelief as she outlined his options and recommended he come back for some prenatal potions and what not for his baby.

His baby, that was currently growing inside of him, because wizards could apparently do that. Who knew? Not Harry, that’s who!

Madame Pomfrey had then gone into what was probably a ten-minute rant on the dismal state of Hogwarts’ Sex Education, but Harry had honestly stopped paying attention once she started expounding on the magical pubic lice outbreak of 1987. Harry didn't even know there was a magical strain of pubic lice, but hey, guess you learned something new every day! That, of course, along with the bloody fact that wizards could get pregnant, but you can forgive Harry for focusing on Apparating, invisible lice.

"I told you to use protection!" Ron groans, running his hands through his hair. "I bloody well thought you already knew!"

"What are you guys doing?"

Harry, Ron, and Hermione jump in surprise. Ginny raises an eyebrow at them.

"I'm pregnant," Harry tells her, not really thinking, and instantly regrets it.

"You’re pregnant?" Ginny cries out, her voice loud and ringing through the hopefully empty hallway. She gapes at him.

"Shh!" Harry hisses. "Not so loud!"

Ginny gives him a frustrated look but at Harry's distraught look she backs off, literally rocking back into her heels to appraise him.

"Harry, you live with Sirius and Remus," Hermione says slowly, and Harry frowns.

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"Well, you'd think that you'd be more aware on wizarding gay sex and its consequences, but I guess not," Ginny snorts and Harry glares at her.

"Shut up, Ginny."

"Hey," Ron interjects. "Don't tell her to shut up."

"And besides!" Harry says defensively, "I was raised by Muggles. It's not exactly a common thing there, is it?"

"And so was Hermione, and she’s not the one having gay sex. Just admit you're dumb, Harry," Ginny says, uncaring. She’s always been cruel. "Was Riddle's dick worth it?"

"Shut up, Gin," Ron groans, and Harry gives him a scandalized look.

"You just told me not to—"

"Everyone!" Hermione cuts in, crossing her arms as she glowers at the three of them. "Yes, we can all agree that Harry is an idiot sometimes—"

"—I resent that—"

"But none of us are being helpful!" Hermione finishes heatedly. She turns to Harry with a serious look, and then says, "So. Are you keeping it?"

"What?" Harry hisses, hand coming up to protectively hold onto his still flat belly. "Of course I am, it’s mine!”

"Yeah, well, it's Riddle's too," Hermione mutters, and well. Point.

"At least you know your baby's going to be hot as fuck," Ginny says cheerfully. Harry can’t believe he used to date her.

"Ginny!" Ron says, betrayed. "Seriously! That's gross, shut the fuck up!"

“I’m serious!” Ginny says, grinning, and Harry abruptly pales.

“Oh no,” he mutters, and they turn to look at him in concern. He gives them a horrified look. “I have to tell Sirius and Remus. Sirius is going to kill Riddle.”

“Harry,” Hermione says, the tone of her voice the one she uses when Harry’s being stupid. “You also have to tell Riddle.”

“Oh no,” Harry groans, this time with more feeling. “I have to tell Riddle.”

Chapter Text

First impressions aren't actually worth shit. Yes, some turn out to be accurate and true as Harry gets to know certain people, but on the other hand, just as much first impressions that others have made on Harry have turned out to be useless.

It helps that the majority of Harry's first impressions for his peers were made when they were all 11. No one is the same as they were 6 years ago—except maybe Malfoy, who's just as much a prat as he was on the first day they met—and Harry includes himself in that.

Harry at 11 was… different in some ways, the same in others. Until now, a childish part of him is still awed by magic and all its applications, his entire being always lighting up just at the very sight of Hogwarts after a months-long Summer Break. More, when he used to live with Dursleys, but even the cottage he lives in with Sirius and Remus don't compare to the awe-inspiring sight that is Hogwarts.

(Maybe because it's a cottage , a dry voice in his head thinks derisively. It sounds remarkably a lot like Riddle, and so Harry tells it to shut up with glee.)

There are, however, some cases that magic wasn't a source of awe, but instead—

“Harry, it’s sex ! Of course you can get pregnant! Everyone knows that sex equals babies!”

“What,” Harry says defensively, “so if two girls have sex, they’ll get pregnant?”

“Yes!” Sirius replies heatedly as if it was obvious, when Harry has already proven that no, nothing was obvious to him.

“How is that even possible?” Harry cries out, his shoulders rising.

Magic !” Sirius roars, his hands sharp with emphasis, and Harry flinches, instinctively shrinking back. Sirius immediately looks stricken and apologetic, drawing his hands back in a non-threatening pose. He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes. When he speaks, it is with a forced calm. “Harry.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry says plaintively, staring at the floor.

“Hey, pup, come here,” Sirius murmurs. Harry looks up, and Sirius’ face is soft, his open arms welcoming. He shuffles towards his godfather awkwardly, and it is with hot embarrassment that he tucks himself into Sirius’ arms, his face buried in Sirius’ shoulders.

“This is a good thing,” Sirius says. Harry would feel much better if Sirius didn’t sound as if he was trying to convince himself. “Same-sex pregnancies are signs of powerful, compatible unions.”

A pause.

Sirius suddenly grabs Harry’s shoulders and pushes him away, his eyes dark and juuuuust a little crazy. “You have to introduce me to your boyfriend—“

“—he’s not my boyfriend—“

“—and Remus as well—"

"—Sirius, we're not—"

"—like right now.”

Sirius turns on his heel, his robes flying and Harry grabs him with a panicked “No!”

“…Why?”

“He doesn’t know,” Harry hisses. “I haven’t told him!”

Sirius' first impression on Harry was, simply put, bad.

Of course, it probably didn't help that Harry's first impression of Sirius was after a 12-year stint in Azkaban for his godfather, and worse still, while Harry was 13 and in the company of That Rat.  So, looking back, Harry can understand the crazy eyes and the unwashed hair and the smell and the rotting teeth and—

You get the picture.

While Harry's fear and the serial killer vibes he first got from Sirius Black are gone now, there are some things that stayed the same.

The crazy eyes, for one. And second, his scary intensity on something he had his mind on, very much like a dog with a bone. (Haha, Harry thinks, isn't he funny?)

So Harry knows that it's pretty much useless to try to stop Sirius from storming out of the Headmaster's Office, away at least from the judgemental eyes of the past Headmasters. That doesn't mean that he doesn't try.

"Sirius," Harry begs, "you really can't meet him, not now, please."

He holds on to his godfather's dumb fancy robes but Sirius is undeterred and only drags him along with him down the Headmaster's winding steps.

"I would kill him," Sirius announces, with a scary amount of seriousness—really, there's a reason why people so easily believed he killed twelve muggles—and Harry winces. "But the baby will need him around and—"

"Remus!" Harry calls out in relief at the sight of his other guardian. Surely Remus could stop Sirius. Then Harry sees who Remus is talking to and he freezes, his grip loosening from Sirius' robes.

"Snivellus," Sirius snarls, thankfully stopping dead in his tracks, momentarily distracted from his single-minded determination to confront whoever knocked Harry up. Then he turns to Remus and smiles sweetly. "My love."

"What are you doing here?" Harry says dumbly as he stares at his old professor.

Severus Snape scowls at them and it is instinctive for a matching scowl to rise from Harry. He thought he was rid of the man after Snape had quit the Potions position and decided to go on a Potions sabbatical, thankfully right in time for Harry to take Potions after his disappointing OWL results. So to see him now, talking to Remus, all it does is bring up bad feelings.

Snape's first impression on an 11-year-old Harry was one of an evil, greasy bat, and it was proven right with 5 years of mutual hatred for each other to back it up.

"I would rather not be here as well, Mr. Potter." Snape sneers. "But Madam Pomfrey has requested my assistance on a specialized batch of potions for the idiot that decided to get knocked up before they could even graduate."

"Hey," Harry says without thinking, insulted, but it is Sirius that ruins everything.

"Don't call my godson an idiot," Sirius growls.

There is a moment where all four of them just blink at each other, and then—

"Harry," Remus says, aghast. "You're pregnant?"

" Of course it's you," Snape says.

"Sirius," Harry moans and buries his face in his hands. "How could you?"

 

*

 

"I would have thought that with your guardians ," and wow, the distaste that Snape manages to put in that last word, Harry should really ask for tips, "you would have been more informed on the consequences of fooling around."

"Of course, everything's my fault, isn't it?" Sirius says spitefully, and Remus sighs. He places a steady hand on Sirius' shoulder, gentling him, and Sirius leans into it.

"Your insight is appreciated," Remus tells Snape in that way that means, no, I don't actually give a shit about what you think. But politer, of course.

Harry's first impression of Remus with his shabby clothes and his shabby trunk, was one of an unassuming, meek, and mild-mannered man. The scars on his face should have warned Harry, but it was only the night he met Sirius that Harry realized the inner strength of Remus.

He sees it now again with the warning look Remus sends Snape, and how easily he meets Snape's general toxicity.

After Snape does some weird diagnostic spells on him, much in the same vein as Madam Pomfrey's, he leaves with a dramatic whirl of his robes and a stiff promise to send along Harry's potions via owl or Madam Pomfrey, whatever was more convenient for him. Him, being Snape obviously, and not Harry.

Sirius glares at him as he leaves, and Harry thinks part of it is that Sirius can never quite get down that dramatic whirl and exit with his own robes, despite how much he's practiced.

"Now," Remus says, and smiles at him. "I didn't know you had a boyfriend?"

"I don't!" Harry says exasperatedly.

"Right," Sirius says, straightening up. The manic look in his eyes is back. "Aren't you going to introduce us to—"

"Sirius, if you even say the word boyfriend again—"

 

*

 

Later, when Remus and Harry have convinced Sirius to wait, the topic goes back to one Harry would have also liked to avoid. It's better than the alternative—Harry having to introduce a clueless Riddle to Sirius and Remus—so he forces himself to put up with it.

"Did we not teach you to have safe sex?" Sirius bemoans, and Harry winces.

"Sirius, the only time we talked about sex, you literally only said, ' Be careful, but have fun. Sex is fun, isn't it Remus? ' and ' I'm pretty sure you can figure it out ', and then you patted me on the head."

"But you did figure out the ins and outs, didn't you?" Sirius asks, wiggling his eyebrows and laying it thick on the innuendo. Harry groans, his face heating up in embarrassment. The Dursleys would have never talked to him like that. Then again, they'd probably be yelling at what a disgrace he was at this very moment, so Harry would happily take Sirius over them.

"Not well enough, apparently," Remus says mildly. "Didn't I at least teach you protection spells?"

Harry's eyebrows furrow and he frowns. "… Those were for sex?"

They blink at him. Then Sirius bursts into hysterical laughter and Remus drags a hand over his face.

"Harry," Remus says and gives him a pained smile. "What else would it be used for?"

"I don't know," Harry blusters in embarrassment, glaring at them. Sirius is still laughing. "Dark creatures? You were my Defense teacher!"

"Well," Sirius says meaningfully and leers at Remus. "They could be."

"Sirius!" Harry cries. "Shut up!"

 

*

 

"Oh," Luna says when she sees him at dinner. Harry had spent the rest of his lunch and the classes after with Remus and Sirius, thanks to Headmaster Dumbledore. Headmaster Dumbledore who, strangely enough, had seemed disproportionately disappointed upon hearing of Harry's pregnant state, and had a knowing twinkle in his eye when Sirius had mentioned the other father.

Harry... doesn't really want to know what was up with that.

"Congratulations," she says dreamily, and Harry freezes, spoon halfway up to his mouth. He turns to Ginny and frowns.

"You told her?" he asks her, betrayed.

Ginny blinks. "No, of course not. I keep your secrets, you know that."

"You have some Flapping Flyies," Luna tells him seriously. Ginny smiles at her affectionately.

"Huh," Harry says out loud. "Interesting."

Ginny did indeed keep his secrets at least. The biggest secret that Ginny kept for him was during his Fourth Year when Harry had simultaneously wanted to be Cedric Diggory, and be with Cedric Diggory. It made his crush on Cho Chang very confusing until Harry figured things out. Namely, that bisexuality existed.

Of course, Ginny's secret-keeping skills were pretty much useless after Harry outed himself, but it's the thought that counts.

"Hey," Ron greets. Hermione and he drop on either side of Harry, caging him in, and Harry's shoulders hunch. He hasn't seen them since the Lunch they spent in the Infirmary. They had gone ahead to History of Magic, which honestly, Harry wouldn't have paid attention to either way, while Harry had gone to the Headmaster's Office to ask for permission to call Sirius.

"I'm proud of you," Hermione says solemnly. Harry's eyebrows raise, and she quickly amends, "for telling Sirius and Remus right away, instead of avoiding your problems. Not the whole, you know. Teenage pregnancy."

"Yeah. Snape was there though," Harry grumbles and takes a spoonful of soup.

"Snape?" Ron snorts. "He has a thing with Sirius and Remus now, is that it? Always knew there was some sexual tension there."

" No ," Harry says in disgust, wrinkling his nose. He gives Ron an annoyed look. "Madam Pomfrey informed him. Apparently, Slughorn isn't good enough for whatever specialized potions I need."

"Well, he is pretty busy," Hermione muses out loud, and Harry shrugs. She glances around them and with a quick flick of her wand, casts a Muffliato . "Now you just need to tell Riddle. It's very important for you to spend more time with him, I read that same-sex pregnancies are very magically dependent and—"

Harry grimaces. Yes. That.

Harry's first impression of Hermione was a bossy know-it-all, and while Harry has begun to think of her fondly as such, that doesn't change how sometimes, Hermione is a bossy know-it-all. Theirs, of course, and that makes all the difference.

"I'm seeing him tonight," Harry cuts off. Whether or not Harry is actually going to tell him tonight is another matter, but Hermione and Ron don't need to know that.

Hermione makes a face. "Usually," she starts, disgruntled. "I wouldn't want you to be spending any more time with Riddle, but this changes things."

"Don't worry," Ron comforts, patting his arm in an almost absent-minded gesture. "We're right here to support you."

"We have a meeting with the Prefects later," Hermione mutters, frowning. "I'm seeing Riddle before you."

"Don't even hint at it when you talk to him," Harry threatens half-heartedly. Hermione rolls her eyes.

"Please. Like I even want to talk to him."

One of the many reasons why Hermione hated Riddle was because of how often they clashed as Head Boy and Head Girl. True, it was only early December and they've only been Head Girl and Head Boy respectively for 3 months now, but a lot could happen in three months!

Or, Harry muses, maybe it was because even as Fifth Year prefects they had hated each other.

Or actually, it was probably because of the events in their Second Year.

Really, Harry wasn't sure. Hermione had plenty of reasons to detest Riddle, but most of it was really just the elitism and the way Riddle outperformed her in half the classes they took together. (The other half, of course, Hermione beat Riddle in.) Harry suspects, but would never say out loud, that Hermione actually cares more about the academic competition than the whole, 'I'm a halfblood, so I'm better than you ' crap that Riddle sometimes pulled.

Unfortunately, despite everything Riddle's done and said, Harry could never muster up enough hatred in him aside from the obligated dislike.

And Harry could place the blame on that squarely at the feet of his first impression of Riddle.

 

*

 

"Is this taken?" Harry asks, and smiles at the slight, skinny boy sitting alone. A First Year, just like him and Ron.

"No," the boy answers, voice soft. His eyes are wary, suspicious, and Harry stills at the obvious sizing up he does towards Harry. A part of Harry recognizes that look, he's seen it often enough in himself. And that cautious optimism in it, it hits a little too close to home.

"Oh good," Ron says happily, pushing his way past Harry to sit in front of the quiet boy. "I'm Ron Weasley, this is Harry Potter, and you are?"

The boy blinks at him, and then with a stilted tone, and a calculating, tiny smile, he says, "Tom Riddle."

"You a Muggleborn then?" Ron asks carelessly and Tom Riddle's smile falls and his eyes narrow.

"I guess."

"Come on then, Harry, sit down," Ron calls, motioning Harry in where he's stuck at the doorway. He's already moved on from the topic, even if it seems as if Tom hasn't.

Harry hesitates, wondering if he should sit beside Ron or the new boy. Tom's eyes flick towards him, his gaze weirdly intent, and Harry inwardly squirms, suddenly conscious of Dudley's hand me downs. But Tom doesn't look at it with judgement, only understanding that can come from someone with the same background.

He decides to sit beside Tom. He gives Tom a bright, shy smile, and he's pleased when Tom gives him the smallest of smiles back.

There is a tentative friendship that forms between the three, and later, the four of them when Hermione joins them. Harry instantly connects with Tom in a weird sort of way, as if a piece of him can't help but recognize Tom as kin.

In the future, Hermione and Ron will hate being reminded of their first meeting in the train, of the almost-friendship they could have had, but Harry will never forget the look of hope on Riddle's face when they had first talked and that smile.

But well, that was before Riddle was sorted into Slytherin and turned into the cold arse Hermione knew and hated now, the epitome of a slimy Slytherin that Ron hated. That was before Second Year when Riddle discovered he wasn't a Muggleborn after all in the most dramatic of fashions that anyone could, and then promptly turned into a smug elitist prick, completely cutting off any remnants of friendship the four of them could have ever shared.

It's a little odd now to think about where Harry and Tom have ended up.

 

*

 

Harry lets himself inside Riddle's bedroom after dinner, and then just throws himself onto the bed, face first. Pretty soon, he thinks morosely as he buries his head in Riddle's pillows, he won't be able to do much with a belly.

Harry sighs. His next inhale brings the scent of Riddle into his nose, and it is only conditioning that makes Harry's dick perk up. He groans, and he just barely resists the urge to start rubbing himself on Riddle's sheets to soothe the ache until Riddle comes back from his meeting.

He could jack off in Riddle's bed, it wouldn't be the first time, but Harry shakes his head at himself. No. He has to talk to Riddle first.

How does one even announce that he's pregnant? What would Harry even say?

'I'm pregnant,' he thinks, but his throat goes dry at the thought of saying it out loud to Riddle. How would Riddle even react? Did he know? Did Riddle know that wizards could sometimes get pregnant?

Riddle was raised by Muggles too, just like Harry. But then again the Malfoys had taken guardianship of him, the same time Sirius took Harry in, and Harry bets that the Malfoys did a much better job in Riddle's sex education than Sirius ever could with him.

He tries to imagine Lucius Malfoy saying ' sex is fun, isn't it Narcissa?' and just the thought of it makes Harry snort. No, Lucius Malfoy probably hired a tutor to teach Malfoy junior and Riddle.

Harry tries to rehearse and practice the upcoming conversation in his mind, but tiredness pulls at his eyes. He's had an eventful day, and he hasn't been sleeping much because of the nausea, and…

...Harry...

...Harry yawns and his eyes slip closed.

 

Chapter Text

Heat and warmth surround him, pleasure sinking deep into his bones. Harry moans mindlessly and tries to thrust up into it, but a weight across his hips restrains him. Harry whimpers, his eyes fluttering open slowly.

His dick pops out of Riddle's mouth as Riddle smirks at him.

"You're awake," he says. Harry makes a confused sound, unsure whether or not he's dreaming. He reaches out to run his hand through Riddle's perfect hair, but at Riddle's warning glare he drops his hand back to his side, clenching the sheets instead. He's gratified when Riddle sucks the head of his cock back into his mouth as a reward.

Harry's head drops back, a low moan escaping him as he stares up at the ceiling.

"I have to tell you something," Harry breathes, but his mind is sticky slow. Riddle's tongue laves at the vein underneath, his throat tightening, and Harry arches, gasping slightly. He never understood people's obsession with thinking that giving blowjobs was an inherently submissive act. Even with Harry's dick in his mouth—arguably because Harry's most vulnerable part is in his mouth, near his very dangerous teeth—Riddle still dominates Harry. A part of Harry is still very, very afraid that Riddle will someday bite down just to punish him.

"Can't it wait?" Riddle asks, and Harry looks back down. He swallows. The sight of Riddle between his thighs, his lips glistening, spit-slick and just a little bit red, is distracting, inspiring, proof of the divine. A little too much purple prose there, but Harry's just woken up so you can forgive him.

"Yeah," Harry says, and Riddle pulls off to smirk. He pushes Harry's thighs up, his fingers teasing, and takes Harry back into his mouth the same time he pushes a slick finger up into Harry's ass. Harry groans and enthusiastically spread his legs. "Yeah, it can wait."

 

*

 

"What took you so long?" Harry mutters, his legs spread, Riddle in between them. Riddle sits back on his legs and grabs Harry's hips, roughly pulling him towards him.

"Had another meeting," Riddle says, half-distracted as he eases himself inside. Harry groans, tilting his hips, his toes curling as Riddle slowly works his cock in, his shallow thrusts not nearly close enough after the amount of teasing Riddle had done while sucking him off. His dick is hard and aching, desperate for release.

"Come on," Harry demands. "Harder."

Riddle obliges, leaning in and pushing Harry's knees up, the angle deeper now, better. Harry's breath catches at the stretch of his thighs, of the pleasurable burn as Riddle fucks him open harder, faster, just the way Harry likes it.

"With your minions?" Harry says through his gasps, little sounds of pleasure punched out of him. Riddle looks up through his sweaty bangs, his forehead pinched.

"Knights," he corrects, voice rough. Harry grins.

"Tell me about your evil meeting," he teases, and Riddle glares down at him. Harry isn't surprised when Riddle forces Harry's knees up to his chest, his ankles slung over Riddle's shoulders. Riddle's pace turns punishing, the head of his cock hitting Harry's prostate, unforgiving, and Harry cries out at the shock of it.

"Fuck!" he curses, and Riddle hisses in laughter.

 

*

 

Once, this would be the point in the night wherein Harry makes his excuses. He would slink out of Riddle's room under his Invisibility cloak, sneak back into Gryffindor Tower, then hurry beneath his covers and hope no one noticed he was ever gone.

It only took three nights across two weeks before Harry gave up. Riddle's bed was more comfortable than his anyway, Harry told himself. And even if Riddle was kind of a dick, his actual dick more than made up for it in the morning.

So it's odd for Harry to find himself hesitating now, wondering what he should do when the routine’s already been established.

"What were you going to tell me?" Riddle asks while Harry is debating if he should dress first and then tell Riddle, or… actually yeah, he should probably dress first.

Riddle had finished inside Harry, and Harry thinks with dry amusement that if he wasn't knocked up before, he sure as hell would be now. He should also probably get rid of that. It was a different kind of embarrassing to go through the walk of shame while the evidence of Harry's wrongdoing trickled down his thigh.

"Um," Harry says. He turns his head, and he can't help but trail his eyes down Riddle's body, displayed as it is, all long lean lines. He looks like a painting come to life, so unfairly attractive even with his soft cock and lack of any real muscle. Harry wants to punch him.

Next time, he tells himself.

"I'm pregnant," Harry should say. It would be the right thing to do. But, instead—

"I want to suck you off," he says. His face heats. He hates himself a little.

Riddle's eyebrows shoot up to his hairline and he glances down his body. Harry follows his gaze to Riddle's cock, barely even half-hard after earlier.

"Go ahead," Riddle says in amusement. "I'm not opposed to seeing you try ."

And if that isn't a challenge, Harry isn't a Gryffindor.

 

*

 

There is, of course, a vast difference between Riddle sucking him off, and Harry doing the same to Riddle.

For one, Riddle is a certified control freak. Harry isn't allowed to touch his hair or his face, or any part of Riddle when his dick is in his mouth. The pace, the depth, all of it is dependent on what Riddle chooses to give him.

But when it's the other way around…

Riddle threads his fingers through the back of Harry's hair, a low groan escaping him as he thrusts into Harry's mouth. His dick quickly rose to the occasion under Harry's mouth, and Harry can't help but be proud.

Harry chokes, the length and the thickness of it still so overwhelming as it taps the back of his throat, Riddle rough and uncaring of Harry's comfort. The scent of Riddle's arousal fills his nose, the lack of air making him dizzy. But it's the pleased sort of dizzy and Harry rejoices in it, groaning, his mouth full.

"This is the best use for your mouth," Riddle taunts, and Harry glares up at him. It's probably not very intimidating, but Harry is obligated to try. He relaxes his throat and takes Riddle in deeper.

Riddle's surprised groan of pleasure is enough for Harry to feel smug.

 

*

 

"What did Madam Pomfrey say?" Riddle asks, after. He sounds bored. Harry squirms and wonders if this is the proper time to tell him. He's delayed long enough.

"It's nothing to worry about," Harry says decisively, even as he berates himself for being a coward. Just tell him , he urges himself, but the cold look on Riddle's face is enough to make him hesitate. It's just resting bitch face, he thinks firmly. Probably.

"Hm," Riddle says noncommittally. Harry shifts, uncomfortable, and looks up at his ceiling. He almost jumps when Riddle turns on his side and reaches out. His fingers splay out over Harry's abdomen.

Harry freezes. Blood drains from his face and he holds his breath.

“You’ve gained a little weight,” Riddle says idly, dragging his hand across Harry’s stomach, and Harry laughs. Loudly. Too loudly. Riddle frowns at him, his eyes narrowing, and Harry’s laughter fades into nervous, hysterical giggles.

“Ah yes, that,” Harry says, voice high. He grabs Riddle's wrist, stopping it midway from its path back down to his stomach. Just in case Riddle's developed the magical ability of baby sensing. Harry beams even as his eyebrow twitches. “New diet?”

"Is that why you've been throwing up?" Riddle says sweetly, the exact same voice he uses on teachers and impressionable First-Years. Harry shuts down the nervous laughter and keeps his face straight, eyes earnest and bright.

"Yes," he says seriously. "It's upset my stomach."

Riddle's lips thin. He somehow maneuvers their hands so that it's him who's holding onto Harry's wrist and not the other way around, and then he leans in close to invade Harry's personal space. Harry shrinks back into Riddle's ridiculous soft pillows and gulps.

"I heard that Professor Snape was here a few hours ago, drawn away from his sabbatical," Riddle says, tone deceptively casual. He raises an eyebrow, smile mild, his grip tightening on Harry's wrist. "You wouldn’t happen to know about that, would you?"

"No," Harry vehemently denies, shaking his head. "You know I hate that slimy git."

Riddle's eyes gleam and his smile turns vicious. "Really? Odd then that apparently, you and your guardians were with him earlier."

"They're having a three-way," Harry quickly says, straight out of his ass, and immediately winces right after. Fuck . Why would he say that? Damn it, Ron. "I mean—no they're not, they're—"

Riddle growls, and that's Harry's only warning before Riddle is straddling him, his body heavy over Harry's. Harry squeaks, lashing out, but Riddle easily catches his hands and pins them over Harry's head.

"Don't lie," he demands harshly. "I don't abide liars, and you're particularly bad at it."

"I'm not lying!" Harry lies. Riddle's features morph, and Harry flinches, struggling again away from Riddle's grip. It's useless. Riddle holds firm, leaning in, his expression hard, cutting, and cold as ice.

Then something clears in those eyes, and Riddle straightens up, his nostrils flaring. Harry's stomach drops.

"You're pregnant!" Riddle accuses, his voice dark and low, and Harry's eyes bulge. His escape attempts abruptly stop. He stares in shock.

"So you do know wizards can get pregnant!" he says hysterically. "I fucking knew it!"

"Yes," Riddle says. His face scrunches and he frowns down at Harry. "Didn't you?"

Harry gapes. "What?" he says, annoyed, and just a little bit angry. "Why didn't you say ?"

"Why would I?" Riddle's voice is cutting. "I would have thought, that with your—"

"—if you're going to bring up Sirius and Remus, I swear, I'm going to punch you," Harry threatens.

Riddle shuts up, his mouth clicking closed. He gives Harry a look.

"Oh Merlin, you were, weren't you?" Harry groans. "This is the fourth time now someone's brought up my godfathers’ sex life and frankly, I'm tired of it."

"You were far from a blushing virgin the first time," Riddle says, tone dry. "You'd think that by now, you'd know what happens if you have unprotected sex. Really, is that baby even mine?"

"You cunt! " Harry growls in outrage. He uses all of his strength to flip the two of them over, pleased at Riddle's grunt. He digs in his knee in Riddle's stomach and scowls down at the other boy. "You're the only one I've slept with this past month!"

"Really?" Riddle asks, pleased. " Good ."

"And for the record," Harry says heatedly, ignoring him, "I never said I was pregnant!'

"Well?" Riddle prods harshly, sitting up. Harry falls back into his lap and Riddle narrows his eyes. "Are you, then?

"I—" Harry stalls, his voice catching in his throat. "I…"

His face heats with frustration and embarrassment, anger bubbling inside of him, and Harry can't help but lash out and shove himself off of Riddle. He throws himself off the bed, scrambling away despite Riddle's efforts to grab onto him.

"You're an arse," Harry says bluntly. He glares at Riddle. "And I'm leaving."

Harry bends over to pick up his discarded clothes, scattered around on the floor near the bed. Damn it, he can't even tell which is his and which is Riddle's, and Harry's in too much of a hurry to care.

"Potter." Riddle's voice is hard. Harry almost stops at the weight of it, his shoulders rising. He has to physically force himself to keep going, to just grab the first robes he can and make a run for it while he has the chance. Uncaring, Harry throws on the robes he finds and stumbles, barefoot, to Riddle's door.

"Potter!" Riddle curses. "Stop!"

Harry grabs the door handle and yanks it open just as Riddle launches himself out of the bed to tackle him. Harry screeches as the force of it knocks him over, the two of them falling out into the hallway with a hard thud.

"Riddle!" he yells, his arms groping for purchase against the floor as he tries to wiggle out from underneath the other boy. Riddle is still naked , and if anyone were to walk past the Head Boy's room, they would clearly see him. Hell, if Hermione opened her door, she'd be able to see him!

" Petrificus Totalus ."

"Riddle!" Harry tries to shout once more, but this time nothing comes out, his whole body is petrified and unable to move. He widens his eyes at Riddle, trying to convey the depth of his hatred, but Riddle is unmoved. He only frowns down at Harry as if he is an annoying little bug, and inwardly, Harry seethes. He's still so hot, and Harry hates him.

Daintily, as if he isn't naked, Riddle stands up and brushes off imaginary dust. He smiles at Harry, and then with a wave of—is that Harry's wand?—Harry feels himself get dragged back into Riddle's room.

The pleasant smile on Riddle's face suddenly looks a lot more menacing.

Mournfully, Harry watches as the door clicks shut behind them, and with another wave of what is definitely Harry's wand, it locks.

"Good," Riddle declares. "Now we can have a proper conversation."

 

*

 

Riddle’s eyes flick up and down his body, and Harry squirms. It’s as if Harry is the one who’s nude when he’s at least got robes on. Riddle, of course, is sitting down in his chair, fully naked. His back is straight, his posture as confident as ever, with his ankle resting on his knee. He still has Harry’s wand.

“Now,” Riddle says briskly. “Be honest, Harry, or I’ll have to punish you.”

The arousal that fills him makes Harry’s face burn in shame. He shifts, trying to hide the interested swell of his cock. Riddle smirks and he knows he fails.

“Are you pregnant?”

Harry looks away. “How are you going to punish me?” he stalls, and Riddle rolls his eyes.

“I haven’t decided.” He adjusts his posture, leaning in, and smiles. “I lied, by the way, you haven’t gained weight.”

Harry scowls. “Thanks, I guess.” That was a lot coming from someone who, quote-unquote, doesn’t abide liars .

Harry eyes him suspiciously. Riddle waits, patient, and Harry suspects it’s because Harry’s lack of any real denial is telling enough. Riddle knows , and he just wants Harry to confirm it, had in fact goaded Harry based on his suspicions.

Harry takes in a deep breath, gathering all his Gryffindor courage. It takes almost all of it, just for two measly words.

"I am."

"Alright," Riddle says calmly. Too calm considering what this means for them, two 17-year-old's who haven't graduated or even taken their N.E.W.Ts. He leans back in his chair, a thoughtful expression on his face. Harry watches him, nervous and wary.

"Well, there's only one thing to do."

Harry flinches at that and tenses, fully expecting Riddle to demand he gives up the baby or get rid of it. Anything that would preserve Riddle's ambition to be the prattiest Minister of Magic ever, but—

"We'll have to get married."

Chapter Text

"Married," Harry repeats blandly. Riddle's face doesn't change. He only nods, and Harry gapes at him. "Are you mad? You want to get married?"

"Yes," Riddle says. It's answer enough for both of Harry's questions, really.

"As in, you and me?"

"Who else?" Riddle says, cutting, and Harry makes a face.

"I don't know, maybe someone I actually like?"

Riddle raises an eyebrow, and then deliberately looks at his messy bed, the evidence of just how much exactly Harry likes him, and then back at Harry. Harry's face heats up.

"That doesn't count," he insists, and Riddle closes his eyes, takes a long breath, and looks up at the ceiling.

"You're pregnant," he states, matter of fact, and Harry scowls. Yes, he knows, thank you very much. "I'm the father. I’m willing to take responsibility. It makes sense.”

“Out of all people to have a shotgun wedding, I wouldn’t have pegged you as one of them,” Harry says skeptically. He had imagined Riddle to have an extravagant, pureblood wedding. If, you know, he imagined Riddle getting married. Which he didn’t. "Doesn't this mess with your plans?"

"Plans?" Riddle's eyes narrow.

"You know," Harry says, waving his hand. "To be Minister, or whatever it is you want."

"Ah," Riddle replies, eyes flashing. He relaxes. He sounds amused. "Those plans, yes. Don't worry, I'm getting exactly what I want. Better a shotgun wedding than a bastard child in politics, don't you agree?”

Harry’s eyebrows raise. “So, this theoretical wedding…?”

“Should be before you show,” Riddle says and Harry immediately shudders in mild disgust. Oh, Merlin. He was going to have a baby inside him, his belly was going to grow. Yuck.

“When then?” He says, shaking his head and trying to put the image of himself pregnant out of his mind.

"This Yule," Riddle says promptly and Harry blanches.

"That's like two weeks from now!" he argues, but Riddle only raises his eyebrows.

"And?"

Harry's mouth snaps closed. He scowls, and then it morphs to a thoughtful frown.

“Ostara?”

Riddle’s eyes light up in amusement and he leans in, smirking. “Fertility and rebirth?” He teases. “Are you trying to say you want more children with me?”

“No!” Harry yells. He crosses his arms and glares and Riddle only laughs mockingly. He leans in, still obviously amused, possibly even more so at Harry's distress.

“Ostara is too late,” he says. “You’ll be fat by then.”

“Wow,” Harry says, deadpan. “You arse.”

Riddle smirks. Harry hates him.

"New Year," he barters. "After your birthday."

"Too close to my birthday," Riddle argues and Harry immediately rolls his eyes. Of course. Yule was fine, but Riddle's birthday wasn't. Riddle sniffs and leans away, crossing his leg over his knee and reminding Harry that Riddle was still very much naked. "Imbolc would be better, a dual celebration of the year's new life with the one inside you. However, it's in February during the school year, and I intend to invite prominent people. The Malfoys would have nothing less."

"Ah, yes,” Harry says sarcastically. “Because it’s their wedding, not ours.” He grimaces. He never thought he’d say something like that to Riddle.

"Isn't it?” Riddle asks, tone deceptively innocent. “I'm their ward, as you are the ward of the Black family. A big ceremony is necessary."

"Who said anything about a big ceremony?” Harry is horrified. “I thought this was going to be a simple wedding! Close friends, family, that's it. Max 50 guests."

"Of course not. What's the point of a ceremony at all then? 300."

"300? " Harry asks in disbelief. He doesn't think he even personally knows 300 people. "No. 100."

"250."

"200, and this New Year."

"Alright," Riddle immediately agrees and Harry blinks. He narrows his eyes but Riddle only smiles at him, charming and sweet. Harry has the strangest suspicion that Riddle has gotten exactly what he wanted.

“We’ll get married this New Year then.”

"Wait," Harry says, dumbly. "Wait, Riddle! I never even agreed to get married!"

"Didn't you?"

"No!"

 

*

 

The next morning isn't that out of place from their usual, in the end, despite the new direction their lives have taken. Harry wakes up to Riddle's side cold, Riddle instead sitting at his desk and writing.

"Tom?" Harry calls out, voice rough with sleep, and Riddle looks up at him. "What's that?" he asks.

"Nothing." Riddle's voice is curt, as he abruptly closes whatever he's writing in. Harry gets a glimpse of a black leather-bound journal before Tom tucks it back into the drawer of his desk and stands up.

"It's almost breakfast. Leave," he orders. Harry groans and rolls his eyes, pressing his face back into Riddle's pillows.

"Five more minutes," he mutters. A stinging spell to his arse sends him over the side of the bed and he yelps. Riddle raises an eyebrow, impatient and uncaring. Harry scowls at him.

"I'll meet you at that alcove in the Second Floor later tonight," Riddle says. "I have an engagement ring for you."

Riddle doesn't need to specify which alcove. Harry's face is already a little red at the memory of the heated hand-jobs they exchanged there a few weeks ago.

"What? You want me to just meet you for the ring and then go back to Gryffindor Tower?" Harry asks, a little annoyed as he stands up and grabs his discarded clothes. He pulls on his trousers, slips on his shirt, and shoves his feet back into his shoes. On the other side of the room, Riddle is doing the same, albeit without anything underneath his robes, and said robes are in a much better state than Harry's. He suspects Riddle has them charmed, honestly.

"Yes, I'm busy tonight," Riddle says flatly and Harry looks up at that, hands pausing mid-knot on his tie. His eyes narrow. Another evil meeting then. He debates trying to sneak into Riddle's Super Secret Slytherin Sessions, but the memory of the last time he tried during their Sixth Year is enough for him to decide not to. Ron still has a scar from that incident.

Harry shivers and ignores Riddle's curious look.

"Why can't you just give it to me now?" He asks, a little petulantly. He picks up his robes and throws it on, ignoring the wrinkles. Riddle frowns.

"Because," he says, impatient. "It's not ready." He shoos Harry off dismissively and Harry scowls at him.

"Alright," he says, turning. "See you, then."

"Wait," Riddle says, and Harry stops. Riddle strides towards him, wand in hand. Harry flinches when he flicks it, and almost chokes when his tie tightens, fixing itself from its half-hearted knot. His robes straighten out as well, the creases disappearing from them until they're matching Riddle's in its perfection.

"Thanks, I guess," Harry mutters reluctantly. "Bye."

Without thinking, he leans in, tilting his head up, and Riddle easily closes the distance, their lips meeting in a quick, chaste kiss. Harry pulls away, grabbing his bag and slinging it over his shoulder, hurrying out of Riddle's room.

Now, he realizes, he has to think of how to explain to Hermione and Ron why he's now engaged to Tom fucking Riddle. It shouldn’t—

He abruptly stops, just before he's about to turn the corner. He covers his face and groans as horrified realization hits him like a Bludger.

Fuck. He just kissed Riddle goodbye.

He shakes his head furiously and continues walking. They’re getting far too domestic.

 

*

 

Harry has never learned to lie. The Dursleys never believed him, so why bother? He's just not good at lying. His other instincts are fine, sure. A snitch? He'd catch it. A spell? He'd duck. Lying on the spot? ‘Roonil Wazlib is my nickname, sir.’

You think he'd learn by now, but being bad at it has never stopped Harry from trying. What Harry did learn though was how to deliver the truth in the most scathing, sarcastic way possible.

Sometimes, it worked.

"Harry," Fred says, breathing deeply, leaning against Harry's bedroom doorway. He's covered in colored paint that's suspiciously steaming. "Have you seen Sirius? We've been looking for him for an hour now."

"Oh, yes I haven't left the room in hours, but he's here," Harry says sarcastically as he motions towards his otherwise empty room. Fred—or George?—makes a face.

"Haha, very funny. Thanks."

"It's worth a try," Harry says mildly, but Fred is already rushing away to check another room in the void that is Grimmauld Place. They're playing some odd variation on Hide and Seek, half playing, half-intent on making a mess out of Grimmauld Place before they move out to their newly entitled Marauder's Cottage. Sirius is intent on proving that the Marauders—aka, him and Remus—could still come out victorious despite their, quote-unquote, old age. Harry is excluded only because he'll be the judge later.

It's only a few seconds after George(?) has left that the closet door creaks open.

"Thanks, pup," Sirius grins at him, covered in the same semi-steaming paint. He darts out the door with a victorious yell. It quickly morphs into an injured howl amid the pew-pew-pew of what sounds suspiciously a lot like Muggle paintball guns. Harry grins to himself.

But most times, it doesn’t really quite work out. Especially when he tries it on Hermione.

"Did you tell Riddle? How did it go?"

"Oh, it went perfectly fine!" Harry drawls. "In fact, he asked me to marry him!"

They stare at him in blatant shock, Ron's fork halfway up to his mouth. The piece of chicken he had speared on it drops into his chalice of pumpkin juice, and that breaks the stunned silence.

"What?” Hermione asks in horrified disbelief. “And you said yes?”

Harry grimaces. “Well. No.”

At Hermione’s raised eyebrows, he amends, smiling sheepishly,  “But I didn’t say no, either.”

"Harry," Hermione says, in that tone of voice that Harry knows precedes a scolding, "you can't just marry the guy who's knocked you up. Two wrongs don't make a right."

"I mean," Ron says, making a face as he picks up his pumpkin juice soggy piece of chicken. He pops it into his mouth and both Hermione and Harry shudder. Harry tries not to retch and focuses intently on his bland bowl of oatmeal, all that he can stomach now with his sensitive nose. "It's a reasonable thing for Riddle to do. I can see his point, from a purely pureblood perspective."

"He doesn't want a bastard child," Harry says bluntly. All three of them share a look.

"You don't like each other. He's evil," Hermione states, just as blunt. "What makes you think that getting married would be a good idea?"

"Well," Harry hesitates. "He's not that bad."

Hermione groans out loud, burying her face in her hands.

"I don't know why I'm even bothering to pretend," she mutters, almost to herself. Her voice goes back to normal speaking level as she says, "Harry, I know you're really into him, but that's not a good enough basis to get married."

"I'm not into him!" Harry squawks, and Hermione and Ron both give him the same, deadpan stare. "I'm into his dick," Harry insists, "and that is all."

"Mate," Ron says, "I barely see you at night in the dorms."

"That's because you're always at Hermione's when I’m there," Harry says reasonably. "We can work out a schedule to spend time together."

"Tonight?"

"Tonight," Harry agrees.

"Brill," Ron says. They grin and share a high five.

"Anyway," Hermione says, sighing. She shakes her head in fond exasperation. "You know what? Your denial is a whole different topic—"

"—I'm not in denial—"

"So let's get back on track." Hermione nods to herself. Ron hums thoughtfully and then leans in.

"All the inheritance questions would be easier if Harry and Riddle are legally married. The baby would have a much easier time," Ron says reasonably, always thinking ten steps ahead of them. "Plus, isn't it a good thing that Riddle is taking responsibility for the baby?"

Hermione rolls her eyes at that, and Harry winces as the two of them start to bicker then about the pros and cons of Riddle and Harry getting married. Harry lets them, only interjecting every now and then with his own thoughts.

Inwardly, he decides that what they have to say don't really matter. He's already decided.

 

*

 

The thing with classes 6th-year onwards is that with less students per class due to the OWL results, they share an awful lot of classes with the Slytherins. The Hermione and Riddle rivalry had been fine to deal with when it was just Potions and Defense that they shared, mainly because Harry still had them beat over Defense. The other classes that the two of them shared—Arithmancy, Ancient Runes and now, Alchemy—Harry only had to hear about second-hand.

It’s much less fun to deal with when they’re sharing most of their classes with the Slytherins. The only reprieve Harry has from Riddle is Herbology and Charms, because Riddle had dropped Herbology early on, and Charms was big enough to necessitate two classes for NEWT-Level Students.

Everything else—Potions, Defense, and Transfiguration—is with Riddle.

And it just so happens that their first class for the day is Double Defense. They’re working on Duelling now, offensive and defensive spells both. Normally, Harry would be ecstatic to Duel. But now, he realizes, he has a baby to think of.

So when Professor Bloomberry calls for volunteers, for the first time in a long time, Harry hesitates. And people notice.

“Mr. Potter?” Professor Bloomberry calls, even if Harry keeps his hands at his sides.

He gives her a tight smile, and deflects, “I’m not feeling well today, Professor.”

“Oh, alright,” she says, sounding disappointed. Malfoy rolls his eyes, and makes a mocking gesture towards the other Slytherins with him. Harry glares. Malfoy only stops when Riddle deliberately steps on his foot and shoots him a warning look. Harry takes great joy in seeing Malfoy immediately fold underneath it, a smug smile on his own lips.

“I’ll go, Professor,” Riddle says, voice smooth. He smiles at her charmingly and Harry can practically see the hearts in her eyes as she turns towards him, immediately forgetting about Harry. Harry rolls his eyes and shares a look with Hermione. Or he would have if Hermione wasn’t currently glaring at Riddle.

“I’ll go as well,” she says, not taking her eyes off Riddle, and Harry sighs. Riddle glances at her, and for a moment, his charming mask cracks, his lip curling in disdain. Then he catches Harry’s eyes and his face morphs again back into placidness.

“How exciting!” Professor Bloomberry cheers, and whips out her wand to prepare the Duelling platform for the Head Boy and the Head Girl. Harry and Ron shift to the side.

“Bets?” Ron mutters to him, and Harry shakes his head.

“Not today,” he says. Riddle, he secretly thinks, always. Even on a bad day for the other boy. But then again, Hermione is particularly angry at Riddle today, what with news of Harry’s engagement, so who knows. Hermione isn’t particularly talented in the arts of Duelling, but she is creative, and she does have an impressive repertoire of spells. Riddle, on the other hand, is of course talented at everything he does, and exceedingly powerful. He’s also become increasingly merciless the past few times Harry has had the pleasure of seeing him Duel. Never against each other though, not anymore after the events of Fourth Year when their wands reacted so oddly against each other.

Harry’s right, in the end. Riddle wins solidly over Hermione, his deftness and his control with his wand and spells eventually proving triumphant. Harry can’t help but to watch him in admiration, his eyes caught on Riddle’s strong hands, his elegant wrists, the fierce look on his face. Hermione manages to gets a few good hits in though, her spells flying underneath with accuracy under Riddle’s powerful ones. Hermione still looks angry as she stomps off the platform, but Harry can tell that she’s worked off a lot of it in their Duel.

“You feel better now?” Ron asks out loud for the both of them and Hermione shrugs.

“I would have liked to punch his smug smile off his face, but it’s good enough.”

Riddle catches his eye again as he makes his way back to where the Slytherins are. His hair is still perfectly coiffed, his head held high, and his eyes dark with pleasure at his victory. The smug smirk he shoots at Harry is positively sinful and Harry can’t help but squirm underneath it, arousal blooming hot in his belly.

“Traitor,” Hermione mutters, a little bit more of that fond exasperation, and Harry looks away, his face hot as he lightly shoves her.

 

*

 

"Mate," Ron starts, hesitant. Harry looks up, and Ron gives him an awkward smile. "Are you sure about this? Getting married to Riddle?"

"No," Harry says honestly. He lies back down on his bed and tangles his fingers over his stomach. "But it seems like the right thing to do. He wants to be Minister, did you know?"

"Merlin," Ron snorts. "Just another thing for Hermione and him to fight over."

They simultaneously shudder. The two of them neck at neck in class is already terrifying enough to witness, what more the spot of Minister for Magic?

"Is that what he said?" Ron asks curiously. "He told you that?"

"Not in so many words," Harry admits. "He's very passionate about some things in politics though, so how else is he going to make things happen?"

They move on to other topics then, catching up idly. Neville joins them at some point, and it's easy enough to include him in the fold. It's nice. Harry hasn't had the chance to really talk to them in awhile. Seamus and Dean are off doing their own thing though, Seamus’ curtains around his bed suspiciously closed, but all three of them resolutely ignore it.

Eventually, Neville begs off an early night, claiming homework, leaving just Ron and Harry awake.

It's easy enough work then to pull out the Invisibility Cloak, promise Ron to be back before an hour, and make his way to the alcove Riddle mentioned.

By the time he arrives, Riddle’s already there, waiting. The moonlight plays off his bone structure beautifully, and Harry is reminded of just how handsome Riddle really is. He forcefully shakes it off. They’re not meeting up to fool around for once, he reminds himself. He's just here for one thing.

"So you just happened to have an engagement ring on hand?" Harry asks as he pulls off the cloak. Riddle doesn't even blink, doesn't show any lick of surprise at Harry appearing out of nowhere. Harry really needs to up his game.

"I recently acquired it this summer. I had…" Riddle trails off and then smiles enigmatically as he offers the ring on his palm, "other plans, but this is a much better use for it instead, I think."

"It's a little ugly."

Riddle's eyebrow twitches. He makes a move as if to draw back but his hand, but Harry stops him.

He takes the ring, smiling to himself in amusement at Riddle's mildly insulted expression. He doesn’t put it on yet though, curious about the little details. It's made out of gold, and yet the make of it is clumsy, showing its age. Harry wasn't lying when he said that it was sort of ugly. It just isn't the sleek, elegant sort of ring that Harry expected out of Riddle.

"Are these snakes?" Harry asks, turning the ring this way and that. He adjusts his glasses and peers at it closer. "It's a little pretentious, don't you think?"

Riddle raises an eyebrow. "It's a Slytherin heirloom, what did you expect?"

"More pretension?" Harry suggests and grins when Riddle pinches his nose, and exhales. He looks at the ring and holds it out to the light. The black stone glints and the way it shines draws attention to the carved symbol on top.  A triangle, and within it a circle, a line bisecting the two.

"Odd," he muses. "What's this symbol supposed to be?"

"The Peverell coat of arms, I believe," Riddle says, tilting his head. "I am descended from them as well."

"Interesting," Harry says. He has no idea who the Peverells are. He makes a move to slip on the ring but Riddle stops him with a soft cough. He looks up, eyebrows raised, and Riddle holds out his hand.

Harry holds out the ring back to him, slightly confused. His quiet question is answered when Riddle takes his hand instead, and then slowly, deliberately, puts the ring on Harry’s hand himself. Harry swallows, his face hot and throat tight. Riddle’s eyes are dark and intense as he stares down at Harry’s hand, the ring on Harry’s finger big and blatant. It shrinks to fit his finger perfectly.

Riddle doesn’t let go, even after the ring is settled on Harry’s finger, and Harry has to yank his hand away.

“Alright?” he asks, shifting side by side. He awkwardly scratches the side of his neck with his left hand, and the glint of something in Riddle’s eyes at the sight of the ring on his hand is unsettling enough to make Harry falter. He blinks at Riddle, and slowly brings his hand down. Almost warily, he says, "I'll go now, I guess."

"Alright," Riddle says, his eyes flitting back to Harry’s. His normally perfect smile is strained around the edges.

Normal couples would kiss goodbye now, or maybe offer to walk one back to their dormitory, but Harry isn't going to do a repeat of this morning, of that instinctual, easy kiss goodbye. They aren't exactly a normal couple anyway, even if they are engaged now.

Merlin, they're engaged. They weren't even a couple before today, not even friends, and now they have to plan a whole damn wedding together.

"Bye," Harry says awkwardly. He bends down, and when his fingers brush his Invisibility Cloak, Harry thinks he can imagine his engagement ring tingling, warming a bit. He brushes it off.

"No kiss goodbye this time?" Riddle teases, recovering from his odd behavior, and fuck, Harry knew Riddle not bringing it up was too good to be true. His face bursts into flames, half from embarrassment, half from anger.

"Shut up!" He hisses. Riddle's laugh echoes behind him as Harry slings on his cloak, disappearing from view, and runs away.

When he gets back to his bed, the first thing Harry does is open the Marauder's Map. As expected, he can't find Riddle's name anywhere on the map. Or, Harry adds with a scowl, any of his minions' names as well.

"Mischief managed," Harry mutters. He shoves the Map back underneath his pillow and lies down. He stares up at the ceiling and frowns. They can't be meeting outside Hogwarts, Harry is at least slightly sure of that. Harry and Ron had considered the Shrieking Shack before, but they've been proven wrong. He sighs and throws his blanket over his head. He can always ask Riddle someday where they hold their secret meetings. Surely Riddle would feel obligated to tell his future husband.

He grimaces at the label. Future husband. Fiancé. Harry never thought he'd be engaged by 7th-Year, even if plenty of others in the Wizarding World were married by 18, 19.

His parents were married at 18, Harry remembers, and something in him is soothed by that similarity. Even until now, being compared to his parents was flattering.

He wonders what they'd have to say about Harry following in their footsteps, or about Harry getting knocked up at 17. What they'd say about Riddle.

Idly, he touches his new engagement ring and traces the carved symbol. As he starts to drift off, his eyes heavy, he rubs the stone once, twice…

And falls asleep.

Chapter Text

It's early the next day when Harry realizes he maybe hadn't thought things through.

"Harry…" Neville says, an odd expression on his face. Harry follows his gaze to the giant ring on his finger and freezes.

He had spent so long wondering how he was going to tell Hermione and Ron, he had completely forgotten to worry about how everyone else was going to react, and the fact that he couldn't actually hide it, not for long. His gaze darts to Ron for help but Ron only gives him an unapologetic shrug and makes his way to the showers. Harry shoots his back a look of betrayal and then turns to Neville.

"Look, I know you know about You Know Who," Harry says tersely, voice hushed as he tries not to let Seamus and Dean overhear. Realization immediately lights up in Neville's eyes.

"You're engaged?" he asks in disbelief and then looks at the ring again, a little skeptically. "It's pretty ugly for Riddle, innit?"

"That's what I said!" Harry immediately agrees, nodding furiously. "And, er, yeah. I guess you can say that."

"But why? " Neville asks in confusion. Harry grimaces.

"It's a long story," he stalls, shifting side to side. He glances at Seamus' bed just as the curtains part and both him and Dean crawl out, yawning. They amble out of the dorm together, probably in search of breakfast, and Harry leans in once they’re gone. "I'm not quite sure myself."

Neville looks lost, his mouth opening and closing soundlessly. Harry flushes at the weight of his stare. It isn't judgmental—it's Neville, of course it isn't. But, it is very very close.

"Please don't tell anyone?" Harry begs, and Neville gives him an uncertain look.

"I won't," Neville says. He stalls, biting nervously on his bottom lip, and Harry waits. Neville's next words come out rushed. "Everyone will notice though!"

"No," Harry says, touching his ring, and Neville looks at it deliberately.

"It's big," is all he says, and Harry winces.

"Not that big," he mutters. It is. It's big and gaudy, and Harry hates it a little, and Neville is right. Everyone's going to notice it once they see him, and Harry's only saving grace is that it's a Saturday and there are no classes. He could probably avoid seeing people, or even leaving Gryffindor Tower, but that will only hold until classes start again on Monday.

"And you hate him!" Neville adds, raising his voice a bit, and Harry immediately shushes him even if the two of them are alone.

"I dislike him, I don't hate him," he corrects, whispering, and Neville gives him a look.

" Hermione hates him," he says kindly, and, well. That is true. Harry sighs.

Hermione and Ron already know, and Neville as well now.

The least Harry could do is explain it to his close friends… and bollocks , he was going to have another conversation with Sirius and Remus, so soon after the last embarrassing one. Harry groans to himself. He should have waited instead of telling them so soon.

*

"I thought you didn't like him," Ginny says. She holds Harry's hand in hers and eyes the ring speculatively, turning his hand this way and that to fully take it in. She had taken the news of his engagement fairly well. She was struck mute for only a solid minute. Her disbelieving screech after recovering almost broke the Muffliato Harry cast, and even now, other Gryffindors are still side-eyeing them where they're seated near the fireplace.

"Ugly ring, but fancy shit though!" Ginny adds, nodding approvingly.

"I know!" Harry says. He's glad everyone agrees. "And I don't like him," Harry continues, insistent. Ginny raises an eyebrow at him and says nothing.

"I don't," Harry repeats with a moan, pulling his hand back from Ginny's grip and covering his face. Why does everyone keep insisting he likes Riddle? "He's an arrogant arse and an elitist prick. But he's also the father of my child." He figures the more he says it, the more he'll get used to it and the more it'll sink in that he's pregnant with Riddle's baby. So far, it hasn't quite worked.

"Are you thinking of having more kids with him?" Ginny asks him abruptly and Harry blanches.

"No thanks," he immediately says, shuddering. But then he thinks about it, back to Riddle's comment yesterday when Harry had suggested Ostara.

"Fertility and rebirth? Are you trying to say you want more children with me, Potter?”

Harry had quickly said no, even then, but...

Does Riddle want more kids? It would, theoretically, be nice for their baby to have siblings, but—

"You're getting ahead of yourself," he says out loud, and Ginny makes a face, rolling her eyes. He was talking to himself, but Merlin, Ginny needs to hear it too.

"Better decide now, or you're going to end up with 7 children," she sing-songs, and Harry snorts before they share a laugh. Harry relaxes into the sofa. It's not as if any of the Weasley brood are accidents. Or so he thinks, at least. Except maybe Bill. Molly and Arthur had only kept going because they wanted a girl.

"Oh, Merlin forbid I have a Ginny Weasley," he teases and she immediately punches his arm, her bright smile not even fading.

"Hey!" Harry says in protest, clutching his arm. He collapses on the sofa and makes an exaggerated wounded noise. "You're not s'posed to hit pregnant people!"

"You're right," Ginny says. Her smile turns sly as she lifts her legs and drops them on Harry’s lap. "Maybe I'll just have to hit Riddle instead."

"I recommend you don't ," Harry says. He pauses. "Avoid his face if you do though."

"Why? Because you like it so much?"

"It's the only tolerable part of him," he confides seriously. "And also—I don't want him to murder you."

“Oh please,” Ginny snorts. She looks down at her feet in his lap and gives him a meaningful look. “After last year, I’m sure he already has plenty of reasons to murder me. I’ll meet him in the Courtyard with a Bat-Bogey Hex if he even bloody tries.”

*

"Er," Harry says. He stops, backtracks out the door, and looks up to make sure he's in the right dorm. 7, it says, for 7th-Year Gryffindors. As he thought it would be. He goes back inside and frowns.

"Where's my bed?"

"See, we were just wondering the exact same thing," Ron muses out loud, his arms crossed, and a confused frown on his face. "It disappeared while you were gone."

The rest of the boys are gathered by his side, all of them staring at the conspicuously empty space where Harry's bed used to be. Harry had literally only just left to chat with Ginny and inform her about his engagement, it must have been half an hour at most. He had been planning to spend the rest of the day in bed, avoiding everyone.

"Well, it's not as if Harry sleeps in it," Dean says, and Harry rolls his eyes so hard they almost fall out of his head.

He looks deliberately at Seamus' bed, and says, deadpan, "You wouldn't have a bed either if that was the case."

"I sleep in my bed!" Dean says, insulted. Everyone just looks at him, including Seamus, and Dean's insulted expression quickly falls off. He shrugs then, nonchalant, as he gives up the farce. "Yeah, no, you're right. I don't."

"Harry!" Hermione's voice rings out into their dorm. Harry glances towards the door. It's not a hard decision for him to leave and make his way towards her. If anyone would have answers, it'd be Hermione. She’s probably the only one who's read Hogwarts a History multiple times, and Harry is sure that no one else other than her is crazy enough to have color-coded, annotated notes on said book.

"I've been asked to inform you that you're living with Riddle now," Hermione says, clearly uncomfortable and more than a little bothered. Harry gapes at her. "Your things are in Riddle's room, Harry."

"Living with Riddle?" He repeats in disbelief, and then back at the dorms a little helplessly. "I don't remember agreeing to that. Why—who—what?"

"Dumbledore suggested it."

"Dumbledore…?"  He sounds like a broken record, maybe, but Harry is honestly at a loss.

"It's the protocol for engaged couples, apparently," Hermione grumbles, and Harry blanches.

"How did he even know we're engaged?"

"You're engaged?"

Harry looks back and grimaces at the shocked looks on Dean and Seamus' faces, Ron and Neville wincing apologetically behind them. His four roommates had apparently decided to follow Harry to the door. Damn it. He thought he could put this off a little while longer.

"To who?" Seamus asks, his eyebrows scrunched.

"Riddle," Harry mutters, avoiding their eyes.

"Riddle!" Dean repeats, shocked. He pauses, and then he and Seamus share a look. "Well, if you're going to have to shack up with a Slytherin, he's probably the best choice."

"No!" Hermione immediately responds, groaning. "He's the worst choice!"

"He's hot, he's powerful and—Harry, he's practically perfect," Dean says seriously. Seamus gives him an odd look, and Dean immediately backtracks. "For you, I mean. I guess."

"If you like him so much, why don't you date him," Harry says, just a little snidely.

"A little too late there, you've beaten everyone to it."

*

After the disaster that is informing Dean and Seamus—and honestly, Harry didn’t plan to tell them so soon, and so straight up—Harry sneaks his way into the Headmaster's Office to talk to Headmaster Dumbledore.

He doesn't necessarily need to sneak there. It's the middle of the afternoon, but Harry still doesn't want to deal with the fallout of the Hogwarts population finding out Harry and Riddle are engaged. The fewer people that see him, the better. He had come very close to bringing along his Invisibility Cloak.

He spends an inordinate amount of time rattling off various sweets at the gargoyles, before all of them simultaneously give up and just let him in.

Harry grins at them in thanks.

"Headmaster!" Harry calls as he makes his way up the staircase. He opens the door at the top of it, and smiles at the sight of Dumbledore, sitting behind his desk with quill in hand.

Dumbledore smiles back at him. "Harry, my dear boy. I trust you've heard of your new sleeping arrangements?"

"Yes, sir," Harry says as he walks towards the table. "But I was wondering why I need to stay with Riddle. Why can't I just stay in the Gryffindor dorms, even if we're engaged?"

"Well," Dumbledore starts, putting his quill down. "The baby would do better if you were to spend more time with him. It will thrive with both your magic and his."

"Oh," Harry says. He vaguely remembers Hermione mentioning that, but not really. He should probably listen to her more. He's thought that a hundred times, but he really should start for real. He absentmindedly reaches out to fiddle with one of the many knickknacks Dumbledore keeps on his desk.

"Harry," Dumbledore says, voice strange, expression blank. Harry blinks at him and looks up. Dumbledore's gaze is caught on his engagement ring. Dumbledore forces a smile, but it's odd. Strained. "Is that your engagement ring?"

"Yes?" Harry says, bringing his hand back to touch it self-consciously. "I know it's a little ugly, but Riddle says it's an heirloom of his family."

"Can I see it perhaps?" Dumbledore asks and Harry frowns. "The carving looks familiar."

"Err. Sure, sir," he says, and holds out his hand. Dumbledore leans in, the twinkle in his gaze absent. He doesn't reach out to touch Harry's hand, but the weight of his gaze is heavy.

"Do you recognize the symbol?" Dumbledore asks, and Harry shrugs, pulling his hand away. Dumbledore watches his hand go before he looks back up and smiles again at Harry.

"Riddle said it was the symbol of the Peverells, and that he's descended from them."

"And so are you," Dumbledore says, and Harry's lips part in surprise. It drives in how little Harry knows of his own family history. "How very curious that things have turned out the way they have."

Dumbledore pauses thoughtfully and then touches his beard. "Harry, I must ask. Do you still have your father's cloak?"

"Yes, of course," Harry says, thrown off by the sudden change in topic. "Ever since you gave it back, I've taken care of it."

Sirius had been particularly bitter about it for a while when he had found out that Dumbledore had somehow taken possession of the Potter's Invisibility Cloak for a good 11 years. How convenient, he had said, that he borrows it right before James and Lily were targeted by Grindelwald, just when they could have used it. It was pure luck that Harry survived that night, Sirius had always said.

Until now, despite everything, Sirius still had something against Dumbledore. Harry understood, in a way, even if he couldn't help but still view Dumbledore in a good light. Sirius had been left in Azkaban after having been mistaken as a Grindelwald supporter.

"But, anyway," Harry says, shaking his head. "I can still stay in Gryffindor Tower if I wanted, right? I don't have to stay at Riddle's?"

Dumbledore blinks and then smiles. The twinkle in his eyes is back.

"Of course. Is it alright if I ask you to keep an eye on your fiancé?"

"…How so, sir?"

"I'm concerned about some of his… extra-curricular activities. But I trust you to guide him." It's as vague as it always is with Dumbledore, and Harry can't help but frown slightly. He has a few suspicions on what extracurricular activities Dumbledore is referring to, and he wonders why Dumbledore doesn't step in himself.

Then again, Riddle's too charming and outwardly clean to get caught.

"Sure," Harry says, uncertain. "Thank you, sir. I'll go now." He gives Dumbledore one last, hesitant smile before he walks off to the door.

"And Harry?" Dumbledore calls out. Harry stops, his hand on the doorknob, and turns to meet Dumbledore's twinkling gaze.

"Please tell Mr. Riddle to keep his nudity inside the bedroom. The paintings are very easily scandalized."

Harry feels his face burn and he slams the door on the way out. Dumbledore doesn't laugh, but he sure as hell might as well have.

*

"You know…" Harry muses, "I feel like I never really know what's going on with my life. I'm just very confused. You know how there are people who make things happen?"

"Uh-huh," Ron says unsurely, words slow, and Harry nods to himself. Ron and Hermione watch him curiously, the two of them on either side of him where he's splayed out on Hermione's bed, loose-limbed and lazy. It's like both of them are his psychiatrists. Or the Wizarding equivalent of them, anyway. Harry is going to take advantage of it before they kick him out and he has to knock on Riddle's door, just a hallway across.

"That's Riddle," he says decisively. "But for me? It's like things happen to me. I get a godfather and a new house, great! I let Riddle shag me, I get pregnant, and now what? I'm engaged and I apparently can't sleep in Gryffindor anymore!"

Ron and Hermione exchange a look and Harry sighs morosely, ignoring them. "Half the time I feel like I'm just going along for the ride, and fate's just messing with me."

"Are you alright?" Hermione asks, tentative, and Harry sighs again.

"I suppose," he mutters. Alright, at its barest definition.

"You literally just agreed to marry him yesterday. I thought you were sure about it," Ron says.

"No, don't listen to Ron," Hermione quickly interrupts, shooting Ron a heated glare. She flashes Harry an encouraging, hopeful smile and touches his hand. "You're doing the right thing by thinking about it."

"No, I'm still going to marry him," Harry says dismissively, and Hermione's face immediately falls. Harry almost feels bad. But, well, he's already said yes. Riddle's already given him a ring. It would be pretty rude to just give it back.

His old list of reasons why he shouldn't sleep with Tom Riddle has plenty in common with Harry's new list of reasons why he shouldn't be marrying him. Namely, Riddle being an arse and the fact that Hermione deeply hates him. Plus the shit with the Dark Magic Harry was sure of but had no real proof. (Yet, he promises himself.)

He didn't really have the chance to think it over the other day, not when Riddle had so quickly controlled the conversation and brought it into wedding planning. But now, away from Riddle for a whole day, with everyone's reactions in mind, and with the engagement ring on his finger, there's nothing for Harry to do but think about it.

And yet, and yet! Harry's list of reasons didn't stop him from letting Riddle dick him down, and Harry doesn't think it'll stop him from pushing through with this engagement either. It's the right thing to do.

"You have to weigh your pros and cons," Hermione says tiredly. Harry's head lolls back against her pillow and he grins at her half-heartedly.

"Isn't that your job?" he asks, trying to tease, but at Hermione's expression, he knows he fails. Her raised eyebrow says it all.

"I've weighed them!" he says defensively. "And the pros outweigh the cons. I'm thinking about the baby."

"Think about your life !" Hermione cries, standing up from her bed and throwing out her hands. She's vibrating with tension, her expression utterly miserable as she paces the length of her room. She whirls around to face Harry, hair flying. "What about your dreams? Your goals in life? Do you really want to be tied down to Riddle forever?"

"I hate to say it, but she's right," Ron says, and Harry blinks at her in surprise. "What happened to your dreams of maybe playing professional Quidditch? Or the two of us as Auror partners?"

"Guys," Harry says. He stares at them warily. "I already told you I wanted to keep the baby. It's not like it's going to permanently stop me from becoming an Auror, or from playing Quidditch, I don't even know yet what I really want. It'll just… delay it a bit, I suppose."

"Oh, Harry," Hermione sighs. She pulls at her curly hair and deflates as she sits down back on her bed beside him. "You're right, I'm sorry. You've already decided, and I do respect your decisions. It just… It doesn't seem right that Riddle just immediately asked you to marry him. He's so smug about it."

"He's smug about everything," Harry rebuts, and Hermione's face scrunches. She knows he's right.

"Maybe he knocked you up in purpose," Ron snorts, and Harry rolls his eyes. He abruptly sits up, bouncing a bit on the bed, and a mischievous grin curls up on his lips as he eyes Ron conspiratorially.

" Maybe he's secretly been in love with me since First Year."

Ron and Harry share a look, and then they burst into laughter. At Harry's other side, Hermione just stares, looking so fucking done.

"Yeah, no," Harry says, shaking his head as he wipes a tear from his eye. He chuckles. "That would be dumb."

Chapter Text

"Potter," Riddle greets, opening the door before Harry can even knock. He sounds irritated, and Harry's hackles immediately rise in response.

"Yeah, I don't want to live with you either," he says snidely, and Riddle's lip curls. They stare at each other, both of them on either side of Riddle's door. Harry shifts impatiently and then finally just pushes past Riddle into his room.

Riddle sighs.

"We do have to live together someday—unless you want to be that married couple with separate bedrooms," Harry grumbles. He throws himself onto Riddle's bed and buries his face in the pillows, surreptitiously inhaling Riddle's scent.

"You could have come a little earlier," Riddle says tersely. "It's late. I was waiting for you."

"Or you can get rid of your knock first rule, since I already have your dumb password and I live here now," Harry replies, lifting his head from the pillow to glare at the other boy. "Are you giving me a curfew now? I was just down the hall at Hermione's."

"There already is a curfew." Riddle's tone is more curt than usual. He usually isn't this irritated with Harry, not so soon anyway. "You're the one who chooses to ignore it."

"What's your problem?" Harry bluntly asks and Riddle's eyes flash, his lips thinning. Danger, it warns, but Harry doesn't look away.

"I have things to do," Riddle finally says, stiff, "and it's very hard to do them when you're here."

Harry sits up then, pushing himself off Riddle's bed and swinging his feet down at the side. He gives Riddle a wary look.

"Dark Magic things," he accuses lowly, and Riddle's shoulders tense. He doesn't answer. He only strides forward, quick, long steps until he's right in front of Harry and Harry's dick immediately swells, legs spreading automatically for Riddle to stand in between. He looks up, eyes half-lidded, skin thrumming with arousal.

But Riddle doesn't shove him down on the bed, doesn't kiss him. He does nothing to initiate sex. He only stares down at Harry, his eyes calculating. Harry tenses, preparing for a fight, and he fingers the wand in his pocket.

And then Riddle abruptly relaxes. His shoulders loosen, that light in his eye fading as if it was never there. He leans in, putting their faces close together, and smirks.

"Nothing you can prove," he croons, tone playful. He winks.

Harry's face burns and he shoves Riddle away, burying himself under Riddle's covers. He ignores Riddle's laughter and rubs the heel of his hand on his aching dick.

"Are you going to fuck me or not?" Harry asks, muffled under Riddle's blanket, and from behind him, Riddle snorts in dismissal.

"No. Go have a wank. I need to study."

"For what?" Harry moans, and turns over in the bed, laying himself out, hoping to entice the other boy.

It doesn't work. Riddle only eyes him with amusement and mild interest before he turns away. "Arithmancy test on Monday. Granger needs to be knocked down a few pegs."

Harry rolls his eyes.

"Also," he says, uncaring as he watches Riddle sit in front of his desk where his books are already open and spread out. "Dumbledore said to stop scandalizing the paintings with your naked arse."

Riddle stops then and turns to him, expression suddenly venomous. His dark eyes are narrowed, his jaw clenched. Harry sighs at himself for his apparent misstep in speaking.

"He's been spying," Riddle hisses. "I knew that old coot was watching the hallway."

Harry shifts at that, slightly uncomfortable, and it only becomes worse when Riddle continues.

"Can't you see, Harry? He has eyes and ears everywhere. We have no real privacy here! He controls everything and—"

"I mean," Harry says, and almost quells at the heated look Riddle sends him for interrupting, but he soldiers on, "he is the Headmaster. He's just watching out for all of us."

"He doesn't care about any of us," Riddle says in clear disdain. "Our first three years in Hogwarts is clear enough on that."

"What do you mean?" Harry asks, and Riddle's lips thin.

"Don't play dumb," he says, cutting and cruel. "We're lucky that you had your godfather and that I had the Malfoys. He would have let us rot where we were if they hadn't come along."

Harry opens his mouth and then closes it, unable to find words to respond. Riddle looks smug at his speechlessness, and Harry can feel anger rise in him.

"He's busy," Harry snaps. "He has a lot of things on his plate, and he's not responsible for every student." His face and neck are hot with frustration. Dumbledore has been nothing but kind to him, and that was more than he could say about Riddle.

Oh no, Riddle was never cruel to him, but Riddle never hesitated in being an arse towards Hermione and Ron. Harry couldn't abide cruelty to his friends.

Riddle's nostrils flare. He looks like he's about to say something else, but at one last look at Harry's scowl, he stops.

"Go to sleep, Potter," is all he says, and Harry scoffs. He flops back onto the bed and brings the covers over the top of his head, his breathing harsh with how angry he is. His dumb dick is still fucking hard too.

He forgets, sometimes, just how much of a prick Riddle is. He's not surprised that his first night living with Riddle turned out like this.

He's still annoyed and frustrated, but eventually, the scratch of Riddle's quill and the flipping of the pages lull him to an uneasy, restless sleep.

 

*

 

Harry wakes up to the sight of Riddle's face, the other's boy's arm slung over his waist. He blinks. Riddle almost looks peaceful like this: the lines of his features soft, his mouth slack, his hair falling into his face instead of perfectly coiffed.

Aside from that first night they spent together, Harry hasn’t woken up to Riddle still in bed with him. He's always up early and working on something he never lets Harry see. He used to wonder how Riddle kept up his good grades while simultaneously running an underground Dark Arts club—or whatever it is he does—and he's realized by now it's because Riddle is a monster that barely sleeps.

It's a Sunday though, and maybe that’s explanation enough for why Riddle is sleeping in today. Nothing for the both of them other than a lazy day, followed by a frantic night for Harry as he tries to catch up on his homework. Riddle probably has his done already, the nerd.

Harry tries to extricate himself from under Riddle's arm without alerting the sleeping boy, but the moment he shifts, Riddle's eyes open. They stare at each other, Harry in a somewhat awkward position, half-in and half-out.

"Er," he says. "I'm going to take a bath."

Riddle's eyes close and he makes a noise of acknowledgment before he turns away, bringing his arm with him. Harry looks at his back for a moment before he gets off the bed.

Riddle's bathroom is unfairly nice. Not as amazing as the Prefects' Bathroom, but it’s private. And, Harry realizes, his now too. He can take as long a bath as he wants without anyone knocking on the door telling him to get out. He grins.

Eagerly, he pulls on the taps for the bath and then strips, dropping his pajamas on the floor. He sits on the edge and waits, his feet swinging at the edge. He watches as the water slowly fills up, and his mind wanders into the conversation he had with Hermione and Ron last night.

It isn't right that Riddle so easily suggested marriage. He didn't imagine Riddle to be the type to so easily tie himself down to someone, especially Harry with how troubled their relationship was. He could have someone else, anyone else if he wanted. So why?

The bathroom door opens and Harry looks up, awkwardly frozen, wondering if he should make a move to cover himself. Riddle only glances at him for the barest second though before he looks away and eyes himself in the mirror above the sink. He leans in, fixing his hair.

"Riddle…?" Harry starts uncertainly. Riddle glances at him, his eyebrows raised, and Harry licks his lips.

"Why are you…Why did you suggest marrying me right out?" he asks, and Riddle's expression goes blank. He's silent, and Harry shifts, awkward, wondering if he should have maybe postponed the conversation until he was wearing clothes. Is it his fault they keep having important conversations while nude?

"Are you having second thoughts?" Riddle asks, smoothly side-stepping the question, and Harry frowns at him.

"More than second thoughts, sure."

Riddle looks away, his gaze going back to the mirror. There's something dark in his expression when he looks at his reflection, and Harry directs his attention back into the flowing water and the steadily filling tub.

"My parents were married when they had me," Riddle says, voice low. He doesn't look at Harry. "But my Muggle father abandoned us before I was even born. My mother died soon after giving birth, and I was left in the orphanage."

Harry's lips part and he stares.

"Oh," he says, unsure how to react. Out of everything Riddle could have said, the last thing Harry expected to hear was honesty and vulnerability. What does he even say to that? He can't imagine Riddle sharing this to his Slytherin minions.

Riddle finally looks at him then, eyes shadowed, expression tight. He doesn't need to say anything more.

Harry looks at him uncertainly and then back down to the very big tub. Big enough for two.

"Would you like to join me?" he finds himself asking and immediately he feels his face turn hot. Riddle's eyebrows raise, but Harry doesn't take back the offer, swinging his legs over the tub and then sinking in. The warm water rises around him up to his shoulders, and Harry's eyes close for a moment in sheer bliss.

He opens his eyes and then meets Riddle's gaze again, a wordless challenge. Riddle takes it.

Harry doesn't look away this time when Riddle strips, his clothes joining Harry's on the floor.

"I'm still upset with you for last night," Harry tells him seriously, and Riddle only rolls his eyes before he pins him to the edge of the tub and then swallows down his cock.

 

*

 

"What's it like to live with Riddle?" Ron asks and Harry pauses mid-drink. He brings the chalice down and hums.

"Well," he says thoughtfully. He thinks back on their shared bath and the blowjob Riddle had given him, followed by Riddle bending him over the sink, and the resulting shower they had to take after that where they couldn't keep their hands off each other long enough to actually shower. "It's only lunch, and I've already had three orgasms."

"Wow," Ron says, deadpan, lip twitching. "I really wanted to know that, thanks."

"You're welcome!" Harry says cheerfully.

"So that's why you weren't at breakfast," Ron adds, musing, and Harry nods enthusiastically. He's in a great mood today courtesy of the mentioned three orgasms, and there's nothing that can ruin his good vibes.

"Living with Riddle isn't so bad if it's going to be like this," he says cheekily, and he automatically ducks just in time to avoid a swat to the head from Hermione.

"That is not sustainable," she scolds, frowning at him. "Sex all day, every day is impossible."

Harry and Ron share a look, and then simultaneously they say, "No, it isn't."

"I'm sorry about your sex life, mate," Harry says seriously towards Ron, and the two of them duck again when Hermione tries to hit both of them this time, scowling now and red-faced.

"And Harry, really!" she says. "I thought we agreed that you should be a little warier of Riddle. He always has ulterior motives, and I'm sure that—"

"Drop it, Hermione," Harry cuts her off curtly. Hermione closes her mouth and then stares at him in shock, Ron mirroring her expression. Harry feels his throat tighten, and he swallows, looking away. The thought of Riddle's dark eyes earlier sends a pang in his chest. "I really think his marriage offer is genuine. Let it go."

"What did he tell you?" Hermione demands and Harry immediately shakes his head.

"That's not for me to tell," he says, and Hermione frowns. She leans away, probably still full of doubts and Harry smiles at her.

"Don't worry," he says. "It'll be fine."

 

*

 

"Are we going to shag?" Harry asks later that night. It sounds daunting.

"You've came like four times today," Riddle says, covering his face with his arm. It's not an answer, but it also is. Apparently, four times in one day is already their limit. Shameful, really.

"Weak," Harry declares out loud, and Riddle groans before he turns his back on Harry.

"Shut up," he mutters. "Let me sleep."

Harry lies in Riddle's bed and looks up at the ceiling, thoughts too restless to sleep. It takes mere moments for Riddle to fall asleep next to him, but Harry is left feeling awkward. A little uncomfortable with just lying together when he's very much awake, sober, and not on the verge of passing out from sex.

Harry would never, ever admit it to Hermione and Ron, or anyone really, but there have been plenty of mornings the past few weeks where he's woken up entangled with Riddle. Cuddling, he'd call it, if he didn't think Riddle would hex him for even daring.

Neither of them has said anything about it. It's not like Harry falls asleep buried in Riddle's arms. It just…happens. At some point in the night, their bodies somehow gravitate from their sides of the bed to the middle, to each other.

Now, Harry is wondering if it would be weird if he just scoots back a bit to press himself up against Riddle. He closes his eyes, and keeps his breathing even, a steady in and out. He resists.

Sleep comes difficult that night. It seems as if it takes ages before slowly, finally, he drifts off.

 

*

 

"You're right," Harry says glumly the next day. "It isn't sustainable."

Hermione only says I told you so thrice. It's a record.

 

*

 

"Don't wait up for me tonight," Riddle says, and Harry looks up just in time to see him slip off his robes, revealing the bare skin underneath. Harry's mouth dries, his eyes flitting over the jut of collarbones, to Riddle's chest, to the fine trail of hair down Riddle's stomach.

Riddle stops talking, and Harry looks up, realizing that he's been unabashedly admiring Riddle's body. They meet eyes, and Riddle smirks, slow and pleased. Harry's face heats. Riddle looks thoughtful for a moment, before he drops his robes down on the floor, and then stalks towards Harry, his movements predatory.

Riddle stops in front of Harry then where he's seated on the bed, and the heat in his gaze is familiar, the blossoming burn in Harry's stomach an automatic response to it. The other boy is half-nude, and Harry can't help but reach out and touch, smoothing his hands over Riddle's bare sides. Riddle's hands reach up then to cup Harry's jaw, tilting his face up, and his thumbs smooth over Harry's cheekbones, oddly gentle. Harry's eyes close.

Riddle leans down to press his lips against Harry's, and it's easy for Harry to kiss him back, their mouths hot and wet against each other. Riddle licks into his mouth, turning the kiss filthy, and Harry moans helplessly into it, his dick painfully hard. He goes when Riddle pushes him down until he's lying down on his back, Riddle on top of him, their legs half off the bed. He makes a soft noise of pleasure when Riddle's mouth moves down from his lips to his jaw, his neck, sucking a bruise there high enough that Harry knows he can't hide it, not like the ones Riddle used to leave under his clothes.

They had rules on that, long ago. No marks where anyone could see.

That doesn't matter now. Soon, everyone will know they're engaged. They've been hiding it well the past two days, namely because Riddle had caved into putting a glamour over Harry's hand before they ventured out for class, but Harry knows it won't last. People will eventually find out. There's already whispers about him not sleeping in the Gryffindor dorm anymore. Harry's really just hoping to hold out until after the break for the holidays. Just a few more days left.

"What's happening tonight?" Harry manages to ask, a little breathless as he tilts his head to the side, his eyes slipping closed. "Secret meeting with your minions?"

Riddle scoffs and nips at Harry's neck in reproach. Harry only moans, squirming underneath him. He rubs himself against Riddle's thigh, his nails scratching against Riddle's back. Riddle presses his weight down, pinning him, rutting against him in slow, rolling thrusts. It's lazy almost, different from the frantic fuck and grind they had been working with for a month.

Harry supposes that there's no need to rush anymore, not when they live together.

"Technically, yes," Riddle says, a soft note of amusement in his voice. "We're having supper with Slughorn tonight."

"Slug Club?" Harry asks, confused. He hasn't heard of a Slug Club party happening. "How late will that end?"

Riddle draws back, motioning, and Harry scoots further up the bed. They kiss again, Riddle's teeth nipping, his tongue tracing Harry's teeth, and Harry groans into his mouth, biting back and giving as good as he got. His legs fall open and Riddle takes his place in between them.

"Not really Slug Club. You'd know, if you bothered to go to the dinners," Riddle replies as he pulls away, already working on divesting Harry's clothes. Harry helps him along, chest and face warm with arousal. Skin presses against heated skin and Riddle smirks at him.

"They're boring," Harry says and laughs at the disgruntled look on Riddle's face.

"This one is just Slytherin exclusive, anyway."

"Do Slytherin exclusive suppers always end so late?" he asks, voice going hoarse as Riddle starts to stroke his cock. He groans in pleasure, covering his face, and Riddle immediately reaches up to pull his arm away, eyes dark and intense on Harry's flushed features.

"No," Riddle says idly as he stops, spitting in his palm, before grasping both their cocks in one hand. "I just have a few questions in mind for Professor Slughorn after supper."

 

*

 

Harry abruptly wakes later that night to Riddle pushing him flat on his back.

"Tom?" he grunts, confused, squinting in the darkness. Harry had passed out after earlier, and he had figured Riddle would just slip back into bed after his dinner without bothering to wake Harry up.

Riddle says nothing, his hands rough as he pulls Harry's trousers down and pushes Harry's legs up, slotting himself in between. He only does the bare minimum, unbuttoning his own trousers and pulling out his cock.

"What the fuck, what's wrong?" Harry slurs, voice thick with sleep.

"Nothing," Riddle says, and he's laughing, gleeful. So pleased with himself. "Everything's great, love."

"Your…Your supper with Slughorn?" Harry murmurs, tilting his head back, groaning when Riddle's mouth latches onto his throat, biting, bruising. Rougher than he's ever been before. The lone mark from earlier is nothing compared to this. Harry knows his neck will be a mess come morning, but he's too sleepy to really care.

"Perfect," Riddle whispers, and even through the haze of sleep, Harry can feel him smile against his neck. Riddle prods at his hole, still slightly sore and open from earlier before he had left for dinner, and Harry makes a soft, pained noise.

He feels like he should ask some more questions, but then Riddle pushes inside him. All Harry can do is weakly grasp Riddle's arms and hold on. Harry's helpless but to take him, wincing slightly at the stretch, his eyes squeezing shut in pained pleasure. Riddle leans in and presses their foreheads together, panting slightly. He presses his mouth against Harry's slack one, heated kisses quickly pushing Harry from half-asleep to awake. Harry moans into his mouth and spreads his legs farther.

Riddle laughs again, low and ecstatic, and tightens his grip on Harry's hip. He smooths his hand over Harry's still-flat stomach, lingering, possessive, and smiles, his teeth flashing in the darkness.

"Everything's perfect," he says.

Chapter Text

He wakes up and immediately whimpers as his body protests, his back and arse sore and angry.

"You're a prick," he groans, throwing off the blanket to glare at Riddle, who as usual is already awake and sitting at his desk. "You were so bloody rough with me last night, and I was sleeping!"

"Take your potions," is all Riddle says in response. Harry reaches over to the bedside table, flinching at the twinge of pain, and slips on his glasses. When he turns back to look at Riddle, he's smiling, still obviously in a good mood, and Harry frowns at him. Gingerly, he inches off the bed, wincing all the while. Riddle watches him in obvious amusement.

He limps towards the desk, hissing softly to himself at the sparks of pain jolting up his spine. There are two potions. One is a familiar, basic pain reliever, and for a moment Harry is touched that Riddle actually bothered—that is, before he remembers that it's Riddle's fault he's in this state.

The other flask is wholly unfamiliar. He frowns.

Catching where Harry's gaze is directed, Riddle speaks up. "From Severus," he says simply before he turns to his desk, and Harry's frown deepens.

Harry squints, reaching up to rub his eye and the gunk in it. "Didn't know you were on a first name basis."

He reaches out and takes it, his toes curling as it travels down to his stomach. It takes mere seconds for it to work, and Harry experimentally shifts on his feet, feeling out the state of his lower back and arse. They don't scream at him this time, so Harry nods in approval.

"I'm surprised he bothered to Owl it directly to me," Harry grumbles as he takes the other option. He wrinkles his nose as he swirls the potion around in its flask, grimacing at the consistency and color. "I thought he was going to be a prick as usual and send it to Madam Pomfrey so I'd have to pick it up myself."

"He sent it to me," Riddle says casually, not looking up from the letter he's writing. There's a black journal at his side, and Harry can see now the TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE embossed on the front. He wonders what Riddle writes in it, and wonders if he can get away with reading it. "I figured it would be more convenient."

"Oh," Harry replies dumbly. "How did you know I had potions?"

Riddle looks up and raises an eyebrow. "I asked him. He likes me, you know."

"Ugh," Harry grumbles, crossing his arms. "Guess he knows that you're the one who knocked me up."

"He was particularly disappointed in me," Riddle says solemnly and Harry scowls. He looks back at the potion, already dreading how it will taste if it looks like that. He mans up, though, and pinches his nose before he downs it in one go.

There's no particular flavor, but the consistency is enough to make him gag. Harry sets the flask down, wheezing silently, and gets a glimpse of the letter Riddle is in the middle of composing, and the ingredients list in the middle. Lavender, Flobberworm mucus, val—

Riddle shifts the paper aside, covering it with his arm just as Harry coughs, choking a bit. He rubs at his chest as the disgusting potion settles, blinking back the reflexive tears.

"Honestly," Harry says once he's fully recovered from the ordeal of drinking that down. "I'm just glad that Snape wasn't our teacher after Fifth Year. My OWLs weren't high enough for his class and he wouldn't have let me in."

"I know," Riddle says, amused.

"I don't know what I would have done. I really wanted to be an Auror at that time," Harry muses out loud.

"I know," Riddle repeats, tilting his head.

Harry frowns thoughtfully, thinking back to the relief he had felt when Snape hadn't shown up in Sixth-Year during the Welcoming Feast, replaced instead by Professor Slughorn. He purses his lips. "Hey, actually…from what I remember, it was the Malfoys who offered him that paid 2-year sabbatical."

"They did," Riddle confirms. "How convenient for you, isn't it?"

"Yeah," he agrees, nodding. "Lucky as usual. Merlin was really looking out for me."

Riddle ducks his head at that. His lip quirks. "Someone definitely is."

*

"Bloody hell," Ron abruptly says during Herbology. Harry is squatting and in the middle of transferring some very difficult, angry plants into their hibernation pots for the upcoming Winter Break.

"Harry," Hermione says, scandalized. "Your neck!"

Harry slaps a hand over the side of his neck and looks up, eyes wide. Ron reaches over and pulls his Gryffindor scarf all the way to the side, exposing the messy blotch of purple that’s almost completely covering the whole right side.

"I know," Harry hisses. He rubs it, his face hot. It aches a bit, a heady reminder of Riddle's mouth. "He was intense last night."

Hermione cringes at the mention of his sex life and Harry gives her an apologetic grimace.

"I knew there was something off about Riddle," Ron says loudly. "Why didn't you tell us he was a vampire?"

"He's not!" Harry gapes at him. He pauses and frowns. "I think, at least. He is too handsome to be real though. And that does explain why I almost never see him asleep."

"He is particularly pale. He has that vampire vibe going for him," Ron muses.

"Harry," Hermione says, pulling out her wand. Harry winces, and under her scolding look, tilts his head to the side to grant her access. A simple Episkey rushes over his skin and once it's done, Harry puts his scarf back in place. Hermione nods approvingly. "Much better."

"Anyway," Ron says, clapping Harry on the shoulder before he can go back to the now docile plant. "Back to the vampire Riddle theory."

*

"Why have people been asking me if I'm a vampire?" Riddle asks the moment Harry steps into his—their room. Harry freezes.

"Uh," he says, inwardly cursing Ron and his loud mouth, and the Hufflepuff gossips that had probably overheard them in the Greenhouse earlier. "Maybe because you could totally pass as one."

Riddle looks exasperated, a twist to his lips showing his displeasure. "The curses of vampirism outweigh its benefits."

"Benefits?" Harry asks, unspooling his scarf from his neck. He frowns at Riddle suspiciously, wary as the other boy walks towards him. "You sound as if you actually considered it."

"Immortality, of course," Riddle says promptly. "And—"

He cuts himself off, his eyes dropping down to Harry's neck.

"You healed it," he says. His eyes narrow, his lips thinning.

Harry reaches up to the touch the still somewhat tender skin and shrugs. "Yeah, Hermione saw it. She was scandalized."

"Hm," Riddle says. He eyes Harry's neck again and Harry squirms, wondering if Riddle is, in fact, a vampire, and he had missed it all this time. Then Riddle's gaze moves away and Harry relaxes.

"Anyway," he says bravely, stepping away in case Riddle's planning to drink his blood. Riddle watches him. Harry doesn't know if it's his own vampire-centric thoughts, or if Riddle really is just looking at him like that—particularly predatory. His face heats. "If you're going to fuck me like last night, at least do me the courtesy of stretching me out a bit more."

"I'll think about it," Riddle replies, completely unapologetic.

"No, you won't," Harry scoffs and rolls his eyes. Riddle smirks at him, and Harry hesitates, just for a second, before he steps back towards Riddle.

He pushes him down on the bed and climbs into lap, pleased at speed at which Riddle responds, cock already hard underneath Harry.

The vampire theory is disproved when minutes later, Riddle sucks the giant bruise back into life.

*

Hermione doesn't bother healing his new set of hickeys when she sees him during dinner. She only rolls her eyes and Harry grins at her sheepishly before he adjusts his scarf back up to cover them properly. Luckily, the cold weather is enough reason to keep it on.

"Did you notice Slughorn and Riddle earlier?" Hermione asks. Harry blinks.

"What about them?" He asks and Hermione frowns.

"Normally, he's all over Riddle—how talented, how smart, all that stuff. But today he seemed…" she trails off, pursing her lips. "I don't know. Scared? Wary?"

"Isn't that a good thing?" Ron asks, popping a piece of fruit into his mouth. "You can finally reclaim your title as Ultimate Teacher's Pet."

"Excuse you," Hermione says heatedly as she turns to him. "What do you mean reclaim? I've never lost it!"

Harry and Ron laugh at that, and Hermione smiles.

"Anyway," Harry says. "You're spending the break with the Weasleys?"

"Oh yes!" Hermione replies, her smile widening. She and Ron share a sappy look and Harry grins, taking a sip from his cup to hide it. "And my parents will be there for the big lunch! Are you, Sirius, and Remus going to the Weasley lunch as well?"

"Probably," Harry says, shrugging. "Depends how Sirius and Molly are feeling towards each other."

"Leaning towards friendly, I'd say," Ron says. Harry is inclined to agree with him, but Molly always has something to say about Sirius' parenting skills, or lack thereof. Though, they're definitely getting along better now compared to Harry's fifth year.

"Can you imagine if you brought your future husband to the Weasley lunch?" Ron continues, snorting slightly. Harry's face must do something because Hermione takes one look at him and groans.

*

"So," Harry says, once Riddle finishes up with whatever he's doing and is settling into their bed. Harry shifts carefully and turns towards him. He hesitates, just for a moment, before he pushes through. "Where are you spending the break?"

Riddle turns his head and blinks at him.

"With the Malfoys, of course," he says, and right. Harry should have expected that. He watches, his gut churning, as Riddle turns off the light, leaving them both bathed in darkness. That could be all, he thinks. The conversation is over. But something compels him to continue.

"How's Yule with them?" he asks into the darkness.

"It's fine. Very formal, as you'd expect from a family like theirs, but Draco does get a ton of gifts. You know how they love him," Riddle says diplomatically. Harry rolls his eyes, smirking a bit at the avoidance of what they both knew. The Malfoys spoiled Malfoy junior. It’s honestly a blessing that Malfoy hasn’t been so confrontational with him recently.  "They follow the Old Ways as well, so the night of Yule itself is eventful at least."

Harry tries to imagine Yule with the Malfoys and shudders. It would probably be like the Dursleys, minus the pagan part. At least Harry has the fun Yule memories with Sirius and Remus now to make up for it.

"Like the Dursleys?" Riddle prods, and Harry realizes he had said that out loud. He flushes and turns to lay on his back. He looks up at the ceiling, studiously avoiding Riddle's gaze even if it's dark and the chances of actually catching his eye are small.

"Yeah, my relatives. The Muggles I used to live with," Harry says awkwardly. "Before Sirius took me in."

"I know that," Riddle says in exasperation. "I meant, what about it?"

"I don't know," Harry stalls, uncomfortable. He licks his lips and runs a hand through his messy hair. He sighs. "Dudley, my cousin...he'd get like, a lot of gifts. One time he got 50, I think."

"And you?" Riddle asks. Harry doesn't reply for a long time, just staring up into the darkness. There's a vibe in between them, different from the heated ones. It's intimate.

"I'd be lucky to get one," he finally says. That was, objectively, already one of the worst things he could share with Riddle, but Harry's mouth keeps going without input from his brain. "They hated me. I was a burden on them and they made sure I knew it."

He winces to himself and rubs at his mouth, turning his back on Riddle in embarrassment. Why would he even tell him that? He's barely talked about it with Hermione and Ron, not even with Sirius and Remus. Out of all people to talk about his feelings on the Dursleys, Riddle would have been one of the last on the list.

"I grew up in an orphanage," Riddle says. He pauses, and Harry curiously waits. He knew that, actually, from their brief somewhat-friendship in First Year. Most everyone had forgotten that simple fact about Riddle, especially after the Malfoys took him in. "My first Yule gift was when I was 11."

Harry freezes.

"Really?" he asks, voice small. Riddle doesn't say anything for the longest time, and Harry thinks that maybe Riddle is done with talking and sharing. This isn't their status quo. They don't talk about their feelings with each other.

"A Chocolate Frog," Riddle confirms, and he sounds amused. It takes a moment for it to sink in, and when it does, Harry immediately whirls around to face him. The bed bounces with his movement and Harry props himself up with his elbow, his eyes wide.

"The one I gave you?" he asks in disbelief, and Riddle turns his head to raise an eyebrow at him.

"I suppose. Was that you?" Riddle asks, just the hint of a smile that Harry can see through the darkness. Harry gapes.

"Oh," he says. He flushes. "You're welcome, I guess."

"Hm," Riddle answers. He very deliberately doesn't say thank you and Harry rolls his eyes. He lays back down, and he can't control the small smile playing on his lips, surprised and just a little pleased at Riddle's revelation.

The two of them are both silent now. The only sounds in the room are their soft breathing and the rush of wind from outside keeping the room cool.

Harry closes his eyes. He's starting to drift off to sleep now. It's easier compared to the other nights. Oddly comfortable instead of tense and anxious.

And then—

"Potter," Riddle says from beside him, voice odd. Harry slowly opens his eyes, fighting himself back awake. He turns his head to face him, eyes half-lidded. He had thought their conversation was over, but he supposes there's a strange intimacy to lying in bed together, clothed, with no plans to have sex. The room is lit with only the barest hints of moonlight, their features mostly shadowed by the darkness that remained. It lent itself to strange bouts of honesty, and it seemed tonight was a night for it.

"Have you ever…thought about getting back at them?" Riddle asks slowly, clearly picking his words.  Harry focus sharpens at that, pushing him even more awake, and he turns fully on his side to face the other boy. Hesitation on Tom Riddle is one of the rarest sights of all, and whatever it is he has to say must be interesting.

"Sometimes I think about going back to Privet Drive and charming their roof neon pink," Harry volunteers, smiling sheepishly. He yawns. There's judgmental silence, and Harry almost laughs. He can imagine Riddle rolling his eyes, even if he can't really see it. Harry sighs, a little wistful. "They'd hate it. Everyone would judge them and they wouldn't be able to hide it."

Like they did with him, Harry doesn't say.

"No, I meant—" Riddle cuts himself off, his lips thinning. Harry waits for him, vaguely uncomfortable at the intense tone in Riddle's voice, the anger and hatred Harry can feel.

"They hurt you," Riddle finally says, frustrated, as he leans in. The light hits his face then, and Harry catches Riddle's eyebrows drawn together, his jaw tight as he stares deep into Harry's eyes. "Don't you want them to hurt?"

Harry's mouth opens, and he closes it with a click. He doesn't trust himself to speak, to not bring out his deepest, darkest desires. Not now, not with the strange mood in between them. He had never wanted the Dursleys to…to get seriously hurt. He just sometimes wanted them to feel like he did. But even then, his childish desires had mostly revolved on an imaginary family that loved him, rather than what he'd do in revenge. And he had that now, with Sirius and Remus. Harry didn’t spend time dwelling on revenge plans.

"Don’t you want them to just…" Riddle says instead, and he doesn't continue.

"Die?" he asks, half-joking, but at Riddle's lack of response Harry's eyebrows shoot up all the way to his hairline.

"No!" he immediately denies, shocked. He gapes at Riddle. "I'm not going to kill them, even if they're the worst kind of people."

"What if they were to die from some…unrelated incident?" Riddle suggests. "An accident. Nothing you did."

"Are you offering?" Harry snorts, and Riddle only gives him a placid smile in response. Harry's lips pull into a disapproving frown and he has to restrain himself from punching the other boy.

"No," he says heatedly. He feels like he’s scolding a child. "Whatever you're thinking, no. I don't want anything to do with them, I don't want them to—to get seriously hurt and die. Don't be dumb."

"Really?" Riddle asks, a tease in his tone as he smirks, the hint of teeth flashing in the darkness. "Are you sure? One-time offer."

"Ugh, shut up," Harry groans, and turns his back on Riddle. "Don't joke about things like that. Someday someone's going to think you're serious."

Riddle doesn't answer. A few seconds pass, and then Riddle drops his arm around Harry's waist, pulling him in closer. Harry resists the urge to squirm, his shoulders tightening at the out-of-place affection. They've never done this while awake.

But…it's so easy for him to just relax into it, especially after the conversation they  shared, the truths they had admitted. Harry doesn't think anyone else knows what he knows about Riddle now. The bit about his father from days before. Riddle's first Yule gift from Harry himself. His qualms about Riddle are so easily muted in the face of it, especially when Riddle strokes the skin of his hip, a comforting pass up and down. Harry's eyes start to close.

"This is cuddling," he points out, half-murmuring.

"Quiet," Riddle orders, and Harry's lips quirk up in a tired smile. He yawns and shifts until his back is pressed to Riddle's front, solid and warm behind him.

"What about you?" he asks drowsily. Talking about the Dursleys had reminded him about Riddle telling him about his deadbeat dad. "What would you do with your father?"

Riddle's hand pauses on his hip. "Nothing I haven't already done," he says calmly. Harry hums.

His last thought before he fully drifts off is that Riddle isn't so bad, after all.

*

Dear Padfoot and Moony,

I know it's a little late to ask and that you're already picking me up at the Station in two days… but can I bring over someone to spend Yule break with us? You did say you wanted to meet him.

Love,

Harry

P.S. Sirius, please don't embarrass me.

Chapter Text

"Riddle, please," Harry begs. He presses his hands together and pouts. Riddle only takes one look at him before his eyebrow twitches and he looks away.

"No," he says clearly.

"Please ," Harry groans. He wouldn't have even bothered asking Riddle, but he completely forgot about it. Hermione and Ron are already long gone so Harry can’t ask them. "You know I'm no good at that spell. They're almost here."

"That's not my problem."

"Riddle!" Harry is desperate now, his eyes darting around King's Cross and the crowds of people, hyper-aware of each and every one of them. Any one of them can be Sirius and Remus. "What do you want in exchange? I'll do it."

Riddle looks at him again, a glint of interest in his eye, and Harry feels his determination renew.

"Blowjob?" Harry bargains, but Riddle's lips only purse, clearly not interested enough. Near them, a woman gives him a scandalized look and steers her child away. Harry's face burns but he keeps his eyes on Riddle, leaning in. "Just tell me what you want."

"Sex," Riddle says clearly. "When I want. You can't say no."

Harry makes a face. "I never say no to you, when have I—" He pauses and his face morphs into a scowl.

"You just want to fuck me while I'm sleeping again!" he accuses lowly and Riddle shrugs, unperturbed.

"Maybe I do. Maybe I don't."

"One-time free pass," Harry offers. Riddle hums thoughtfully before he nods.

"Deal," he says and holds out his hand. Harry takes it and they shake. Harry doesn't waste time pulling his scarf down and exposing the mess of bruises on his neck, newly refreshed. They really shouldn't have had that quickie on the train, but in Harry's excuse, it was a really long ride.

Riddle pulls out his wand and quickly casts an Episkey before he slips it back into his sleeve. Harry sighs in relief and rocks back, adjusting his scarf once more. He had no idea that Riddle had such an apparent fetish with his neck, but it's been troublesome recently.

Then—

"Harry!"

Harry turns and he grins at the sight of Remus and Sirius. He's relaxed now that the giant hickey on his neck is gone. This day is already going to be hard enough without it. He waves and beside him, Riddle shifts, his arm brushing against Harry's. Harry realizes just how close the two of them are standing.

Sirius does a visible double take when he sees Riddle, his smile morphing into a confused frown. Beside him, Remus' eyebrows shoot up before he reins his expression in, a polite smile appearing on his lips.

"Ah, Mr. Riddle," he says. "I wouldn't have expected you."

"Sir," Riddle greets amiably. "It's good to see you."

Harry shifts, and then coughs, just a little awkward. "Yes, er, you already know Remus of course, but this is Sirius, my godfather."

Riddle nods in Sirius' direction but Sirius does nothing in response, only tilts his head at Riddle, eyes assessing. Like a dog with a bone. Harry frowns at him.

"Sirius, this is—"

"The brat that tried to kill me!" Sirius interrupts triumphantly, snapping his fingers. He grins viciously and leans in close towards Riddle. "I knew your face was familiar. My, you've grown, haven't you?"

"Uh," Harry says. He turns to look helplessly at Riddle, utterly confused. Riddle's expression is strangely blank save for his now twitching eyebrow, and Harry's mouth open and closes soundlessly until he manages to say, "What?"

"Back in your third year," Sirius tells him, still grinning, but way too wide to be normal. Harry gapes. "Almost got sliced in half by a particularly creative spell." He squints at Riddle and tilts his head.

"That's a very Dark spell, actually. I'm curious as to where you learned it."

Riddle's smile is thin. "I was under the assumption you were a murderous serial killer," he says, voice terse as he smoothly side-steps the question.

Sirius is unperturbed. He smirks and leans away, hand on his hip. "What was it you said to me that night? Don't touch Ha—"

"Anyway," Riddle briskly cuts off, holding out his hand, jaw tight. He almost looks embarrassed. "It's very nice to meet you under better circumstances, Mr. Black."

Sirius barks out a loud peal of laughter and shakes his hand, his grin somehow widening even more to spread across his face. Riddle visibly winces at Sirius' tight grip. "Ah yes, you knocking up my godson. Better circumstances indeed."

Remus politely clears his throat and Harry gives him a thankful look. Riddle takes his hand back and rubs it.  Then—

"So, this is your boyfriend, Harry?" Remus asks and Harry freezes.

“No,” Riddle says calmly and Harry turns to look at him, expression frantic, furiously shaking his head. Riddle ignores him. “Fiancé actually.”

Harry groans and covers his face, unable to look at the twin slack-jawed expressions on his guardians' faces. Fuck. He had completely forgotten to tell them. He really, truly, honestly planned to, but with his move into Riddle's room, it had completely slipped his mind.

"Harry?" Remus asks, his voice strangled.

"Did you not tell them?" Riddle turns to him, eyebrows drawn together, and Harry gives him a strained, sheepish smile.

"No, no he didn't," Sirius says, and Harry winces at his volume. He is suddenly very, very aware of how they're still in the middle of King's Cross. There are people looking at them. They're starting to make a scene and Harry hates it.

"Actually," Riddle says, glancing at him and then the crowd. "We should postpone this conversation."

"Yes," Harry immediately agrees, nodding furiously. "Let's go home, please."

*

"So," Sirius says once they're at home and seated around their dining table. He leans back in his chair and eyes both of them. "You're going to get married."

“Surprise?” Harry says. He holds out his left hand and wiggles his fingers before he belatedly realizes they never removed the glamour. His face flushes. He quickly removes the glamour, revealing his engagement ring in all its gaudy glory and then shows them his hand again.

"Well that's an ug—OUCH, Remus!"

Remus smiles at them both pleasantly, ignoring Sirius as he winces and reaches down to rub his foot.

“Well, I can see why that would be a reasonable step,” Remus says while Sirius grumbles incomprehensibly. “When’s the wedding then?”

Harry cringes.

“January first," Riddle says calmly. Harry is honestly surprised that he's taking this whole meeting-the-parents thing so well. Harry is more freaked out than him.

“Oh, that’s not so bad,” Remus says, relaxing. “A year is a pretty long time to be engaged though.”

“Er,” Harry says awkwardly. He laughs, rubbing his wrists before he turns to look at Riddle for help. Riddle’s lips purse in exasperation and he turns towards Harry’s guardians.

“No, the New Year as in two weeks from now," he says.

“Two weeks from now?” Sirius repeats loudly, leaning in, his hands flat on the table. He looks at Riddle in disbelief before he turns to Harry as if to make sure he's hearing correctly. Harry sheepishly nods. Sirius shakes his head at that and frowns. “That’s way too soon, pup.”

He turns towards Remus and they share a wordless look that somehow communicates a million things before they both turn back towards Harry.

“You’re going to give me grey hairs, Harry,” Sirius solemnly swears. “Remus is supposed to be the silver fox in this relationship." He pauses, and then leers. "Or, well, silver wolf.”

He holds out a hand for a high-five and Remus taps it, expression unchanging.

"We can't wait too long," Harry explains. He rubs the back of his neck before he continues, voice hushed. "Or I'll be showing ."

"Right. Makes sense." Remus sighs and runs a hand down his face. "Well, I guess we have to plan for a wedding. A wedding two weeks from now."

"Oh, don't worry," Riddle says. He flashes a charming smile at them. "I have that covered."

*

"I feel like I should be telling them to stay in separate rooms," Sirius mutters to Remus, still audible from where Harry is slowly backing out the dining room. They've pretty much finished discussing all that needs to be discussed and Harry is aching to just lie down on his bed.

He doesn’t care enough about wedding planning to be bothered—even if it’s his own wedding. He was honestly just as surprised as his guardians to find out how much of the details Riddle has taken care of behind his back. All in the week they've been engaged. Meanwhile, Harry has been busy trying not to think about it.

Remus raises his eyebrows expectantly at Sirius and Sirius blinks. He turns to face Harry and Harry pauses, already halfway out the door.

“You are staying in separate rooms,” he calls out sternly and Harry makes a face.

“What’s he going to do? Put another baby into me?” He tosses back. He pauses, considering. “Actually, you know what? Don’t answer that—I don’t want to know.”

He turns on his heel to follow after Riddle and then freezes. He backtracks and then pokes his head back into the dining room, smiling sheepishly.

"Is it possible?"

Sirius covers his face and hides a smile. "No, Harry, it isn't possible."

"Oh, okay, that's—that's good. Great," Harry says, inching out of the door once more. He glances at Riddle, waiting for him down the hallway, and flushes.

"Already a little too late for that, don't you think?" Riddle asks him once Harry's caught up, his voice dry. Harry rolls his eyes and elbows him, pushing him aside so Harry can walk in front and lead the way to his room.

"Where would he have even stayed?" he hears Remus ask Sirius in exasperation. "We only have two rooms in this cottage."

“Well we can stay with Harry, and Riddle can have our room,” Sirius says reasonably and Harry blanches.

“No!” he yells, a hallway away, the two of them already in front of his room. Riddle coughs.

“I would like my own room though,” he says. “I’d appreciate the privacy.”

Harry huffs. “Too bad,” he says snidely. He gives Riddle an annoyed look and then opens his door. It swings open with a bang, revealing Harry's room in all its mess. “Guess we have to keep sharing.”

Riddle steps into his room, eyes roaming. Harry resists the urge to squirm. It's not like there's anything he's embarrassed by, but it's just very odd to have Riddle in his bedroom. Ron and Hermione have only been here a few times, and even then Harry had found it a little weird.

Before the cottage, Harry never really brought friends over to his house, much less his room. He wouldn't even really consider the bedroom at the Dursley's his, really. First, it was a cupboard, and then it was Dudley's second bedroom, so.

"It's very you," Riddle says, and Harry's jaw tightens.

"What does that mean?" he asks, just a little defensive, but Riddle only shrugs. He looks at the Quidditch posters on Harry's wall, the Gryffindor red of Harry's bedsheets, and the mess of his table, books and papers strewn about on top of it. Maybe he should have cleaned up before going back to Hogwarts.

"Nothing. It's what I imagined it to be."

"Oh?" Harry asks. He can't help but ask, just a little sarcastically, "Did you imagine it often?"

"Every night," Riddle says flatly, his eyebrows raised. Harry rolls his eyes and plops down onto his bed, right in front of his mirrored cabinet. He unties his shoes. Riddle slips his off and then climbs up behind him.

“You know, in certain cultures, they discourage sleeping in front of a mirror,” Riddle says, tone conversational as he kneels behind Harry. Harry looks up, kicking his shoes off. Their eyes meet in the mirror. “They say your reflection will suck out your soul.”

Harry blinks. He looks up and meets Riddle’s actual gaze, his eyebrows furrowed. “You’re very creepy sometimes,” he says. Some people would call his tone fond. Harry would absolutely ignore them.

Riddle smirks down at him, his gaze turning hot and heavy. Harry swallows at the obvious lust, his dick twitching in interest. Riddle deliberately looks up at the mirror and then raises an eyebrow.

“No,” Harry hisses, quickly catching on. “We’re not having sex. Not in front of the mirror. Sirius and Remus are literally on the other side of the wall.”

“Silencing charms,” Riddle says promptly and Harry hesitates. Riddle immediately takes advantage, leaning down to press a kiss to Harry’s neck.

"Vampire," Harry accuses, and Riddle rolls his eyes, his teeth flashing as he nips at Harry's jugular. Harry squeaks, pushing him away, but Riddle only laughs, low and dark. "Stop, what's the point of healing it if you're just going to give me another giant hickey?"

"Then don't heal it," Riddle mutters into his neck, his hands sneaking up Harry's shirt. Harry makes a soft sound and ducks his head, unable to look at their reflections without his face flaming up.

"Is this you redeeming your free pass?" he asks, voice catching as Riddle's thumb skids over his nipple. He looks at their reflection, his face turning embarrassingly hot at the lewd sight. Riddle raises an elegant eyebrow.

"Why? Are you going to say no?"

"Well," Harry stalls. He licks his lips. Riddle's pulls up Harry's shirt and Harry lets him, throwing it to the side. "I'm not saying yes."

"Tell me when you say no then," Riddle says, and Harry can't help but laugh.

*

"So, Harry," Remus says casually the next morning while he's cooking eggs. Sirius is still in bed, and probably will be until much later. It's always been Harry and Remus in the morning. Breakfast is their bonding time on the days Harry is home and Remus isn't recovering from a full moon.

"Hm?" Harry asks, head resting on his propped up arm. He yawns, face scrunching up, and blinks furiously.

"Remember when we talked about you not knowing protection spells?"

Harry's face turns hot and he sits up straighter, his hand dropping to the table. "Uh. Yes. Remus—"

"Do you also not know silencing charms?"

Harry chokes, his eyes wide as he meets Remus' amused expression. He drops his head on the table and groans, long and drawn out.  Fuck. They completely forgot. He looks up to peek at Remus, grimacing, and Remus laughs at him light-heartedly. Harry covers his face again, his gut churning in mortification.

Merlin. The sounds he had made last night. He doesn't think he can look either of them in the eye again. Ever.

"I'm sorry," Harry moans. He rubs his face and then peeks through his fingers, hesitating. "But… Remus?"

"Yes?" Remus asks, raising the pan and transferring the eggs to a plate. He waves his wand and it floats over in front of Harry, gently settling down in front of him. It joins the rest of the food Remus had made and Harry's stomach rumbles pleasantly. He enjoys the food at Hogwarts, but there's just something about a home-cooked meal.

Harry licks his lips. "What do you think of him? Of Riddle."

Remus hums thoughtfully and sits down in front of Harry. They reach for the food at the same time, Harry taking a hefty serving of the eggs and avoiding the greasy, retch-inducing bacon. Harry shifts, restless in his seat as he waits for Remus' response.

"I like him," Remus finally says. "He was a good student. And I think he cares for you."

Harry makes a face and gives him an odd look. Remus catches it and laughs softly.

"Trust me," he says. Harry shrugs, turning to his food and popping a forkful of scrambled eggs. He chews and waits until he can swallow before he looks up.

"So you like him," he says, and Remus easily nods.

"Yes, he's very charming."

"He's a Slytherin," Harry says, slightly disgruntled. Remus raises an eyebrow at him and reaches out to take a sip of orange juice.

"Well," he says, shrugging. "No one's perfect."

"Hermione hates him," Harry adds. "And remember how he almost killed Sirius? I'm sure he has plenty more Dark Magic in him."

"Harry, you're the one having sex with him," Remus says calmly, and Harry almost chokes again.

"Remus!" he says, face hot and Remus laughs. Really! Everyone thinks he's so nice compared to Sirius, but they're wrong. Harry has his proof right here.

There's a soft clearing of the throat and the two of them look up. Riddle is standing at the doorway, already changed out of his sleeping clothes. His hair is slightly wet, curling a bit at the ends. Harry looks away, his heart rate picking up, and he stabs a piece of egg with way too much vigor. People really shouldn't be allowed to be half that cute if they were an evil prick.

"Good morning," Remus greets, smiling at Riddle. "Please join us."

"Thank you," Riddle says, voice stiff and polite. Harry rolls his eyes. He forgets sometimes how uptight Riddle can be around other people. Riddle sits beside him, the scent of his shampoo strong and familiar. Riddle's foot teases against his bare one and the tips of Harry's ears turn red. He kicks back and Riddle grunts.

"Sirius will be up soon," Remus tells them, glancing at the doorway and then at the clock.

"Really?" Harry asks, surprised. It's far too early. The earliest that Sirius is up on a regular day is 9, and even that's pushing it.

"Yes." Remus nods. "We're planning to go to Diagon Alley today, do some last minute gifts shopping. Would the two of you like to join us?"

Harry and Riddle glance at each other and Riddle shrugs before he turns back to his food. Harry's never noticed before how well-mannered Riddle is, even while eating. All straight-backed and proper. And then there Harry is, talking with his mouth full, elbows on the table. He isn't as bad as Ron, but still.

"That would be nice, actually," Harry says. He already did most of his shopping during the Hogsmeade weekend, but he's not sure he can trust his purchases. He had been feeling sick that day, although he hadn't known then that it was morning sickness. It's odd to think about how it's only been two weeks since that weekend. So much has changed for him.

And besides, Harry thinks. He glances at Riddle surreptitiously. Maybe he missed out on a gift.

Chapter Text


"If I were to buy Molly something for her nerves, do you think she'd kick me out of the Burrow tomorrow?" Sirius muses out loud. Ah, yes. Something for her nerves. What a lovely way to refer to weed and its friends.

Harry snorts, and he and Sirius share an amused, conspiratorial look, snickering to themselves as Remus sighs. Beside Harry, Riddle tilts his head and watches the three of them in silent curiosity.

"After you helped fund the twins and their joke shop? You know she's looking for any excuse to kick you out again," Remus says. He leans in and fixes Sirius' scarf, pitching his voice low enough that Harry almost doesn't hear it. "Just spike her tea."

Sirius barks in laughter, his body bowing with the force of his joy, and Remus smiles.

"Ah, Moony, I love you," Sirius says fondly, reeling Remus in by his collar. They share a kiss, and Harry rolls his eyes.

"Let's go then," Remus says. He glances at Harry and Riddle. "You boys okay to Apparate? I don't trust Harry to Floo."

"That was one time," Harry complains. At Sirius and Remus' shared, deliberate look, he huffs and relents, "Okay fine, it was twice, but you can't blame me."

"We're good to Apparate," Riddle says, and Remus nods.

"Let's go." He opens the door, and the four of them leave the warmth and safety of their little cottage, out into the cold of the winter day.

Remus and Sirius leave first with a loud crack disturbing the peace.

Riddle holds out his arm, and Harry hesitates only for a second before he takes it, surprised that the other boy would even offer to Side-Along Harry. He only has a second to prepare himself before Riddle Apparates and that familiar sensation of being squeezed through a tube hits him.

Harry, as usual, stumbles as they land in Diagon Alley. It's only his grip on Riddle's arm that keeps him upright. Riddle looks composed as usual, not even a little bothered by the Apparation, and Harry flushes at the amused, condescending look Riddle sends him. What a dick, honestly.

Harry takes his hand back, glowering just a bit, but Riddle's amused smirk only widens.

"We'll meet at lunchtime," Remus tells them, glancing at his watch. Beside him, Sirius fidgets impatiently, rocking back and forth. "Is that enough time for the two of you?"
Harry and Riddle glance at each other, and Harry shrugs. That's four hours, plenty of enough time. "Yeah, sounds good," Harry says.

"Behave, boys," Sirius says cheerfully as he links his arm around Remus' waist, already dragging him off. "Don't do something I'd do!"

Remus waves at them, a small grimace on his scarred face, all fond exasperation.

"Does he mean something he wouldn't"

"No, no he doesn't."

*

Harry drags Riddle along with him to Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, just because he promised the twins he'd visit once he could. Riddle goes, sighing silently, but his bored look immediately fades once they actually enter.

His face goes slack, interest lighting up his expression, and Harry grins smugly. Honestly, Riddle does need some more fun in his life.

Riddle wanders away, his eyes drawn to the Weasley's Defense Line, and Harry lets him. Harry makes his way past the crowds of children, teens, harried parents, and the aisles and stands of products, all the way to the front.

"Well! If it isn't Harry Potter." Fred smiles widely at the sight of him. He turns to the side and yells, "George! Look who's here!"

There's a muffled reply from inside the stockroom, and Harry grins. He leans across the counter and he and Fred share a brief, friendly hug before Fred pulls back to start bouncing excitedly.

"Are Padfoot and Moony with you? We have something new we think they'd like." He looks around him, peeking under the counter and moving things around, presumably looking for the said new experiment.

"Nah." Harry laughs, rocking back on his heels. "They'll probably drop by once they finish with their Christmas shopping though."

"Oh? You're alone then?" Fred leans in to wiggle his eyebrows.

"Er, no," Harry replies awkwardly. "I"

"He's with me."

Fred's mouth falls open in surprise. Harry looks behind him, his back straightening as Riddle steps up close to him. Amused, Harry notes that he has a few Weasley products in his shopping basket. It's an odd collection with Peruvian Instant Darkness, a Jinx Off Kit, and there's even a Skiving Snackbox mixed in along with the newer prank products.

"Why, why, Mr. Prefect buying our products," George says, pushing the stockroom door open. He has a box in his arms, suspicious squeaks coming from it. "Remember when he"

"confiscated our very first Extendable Ears? Why yes I do, George!"

"He's Head Boy now, actually," Harry feels compelled to share, and George snorts in amusement. He drops the box down, and Harry chances a peek. All he sees is little balls, shaking and squirming, occasionally squeaking when they hit each other.

Riddle shrugs, unabashed. "I need to know how your things work. I am the one who has to deal with them when students use it."

"Sure," Harry says, not believing it for a bit. That glint of interest in Riddle's eyes earlier said much more.

"What are you doing with Riddle, Harry?" Fred asks, and Harry feels his face heat.

"He's uh, staying with us for Winter Break," he says awkwardly, rubbing at his neck.

Fred's and George's eyebrows fly up, matching expressions of shock, before they turn towards each other. They share a silent conversation before they turn back to face both Harry and Riddle.

"Is he"

"going tomorrow?"

Harry's mouth opens at that, and he turns towards Riddle, unsure. Riddle looks conflicted, his nose wrinkled. He doesn't look as if he particularly wants to.

"I'll get back to you," Harry says, facing the twins again. Riddle relaxes. Fred and George don't prod, although Harry can tell they're aching to, and they move onto safer, more familiar topics as they check out Riddle's purchases.

*

"Anywhere in specific you want to visit?" Harry asks as they leave Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. He still has to buy Riddle a gift, but Harry's waiting until something catches his eye. Nothing has yet, but he's holding out hope. For now, he supposes they can stroll around Diagon Alley a bit. They have plenty of time.

Harry looks around him, relaxed. Diagon Alley is covered in a fine layer of white, the snow somehow making everything more magical, a true winter wonderland. Even after seven years, Harry still feels awed at the open displays of magic, at being surrounded by people like him. He smiles brightly as they pass by two children, both bundled up in thick coats, laughing and playing with a mini-Snitch.

He looks up and catches Riddle just looking at him, and he blinks, his wide smile fading.

"What?" He asks self-consciously, running a hand through his hair. He touches his cheeks and grimaces. "Is there something on my face?"

The scrutiny abruptly fades. Riddle makes a soft sound and looks away, back into the expanse of Diagon Alley.

"No," Riddle says simply. He shakes his head and then grabs Harry's arm, pulling him to the side, down to where Harry knows the more upscale stores are. "We do need to go to Twilfitt and Tatting's."

"What's wrong with Madam Malkin's?" Harry asks, letting Riddle pull him along. He stumbles a bit on the snow, pressing into Riddle's side, and the other boy sighs as he steadies Harry. "And what do you mean we? I have enough robes."

"For our wedding," Riddle says bluntly, "and for the Malfoy's Yule Ball. It's two days from now. I want nothing but the best for our robes and Madam Malkin's won't do."

"Oh wow, I'm invited?" Harry scoffs. Riddle rolls his eyes, and Harry elbows him before he shoves his mitten-clad hands into the pockets of his coat. "I don't remember agreeing to go."

"Of course you're invited, you're my fiancé." Riddle's tone is calm and even. He says it so easily, and here, Harry doesn't think he'll ever get used to it. His face heats up even despite the cold, and he's sure that under his hat, the tips of his ears are turning red.

"I don't particularly want to go," he grumbles, kicking at the snow underfoot. Riddle says nothing, only continues to lead him to where Twilfitt and Tatting's is. He still hasn't let go of Harry's arm, his hand warm even through the layers of clothing they're both wearing.

Harry doesn't mention it. It's nice, that's all.

*

But, of course, they bump into the Malfoys right outside Twilfitt and Tatting's, just as the father and son duo is exiting from it.

"Tom," Lucius Malfoy greets, voice calm.

Riddle tilts his head, the bare minimum to show respect to his guardian. "Sir," he says. His hand moves from Harry's arm to the small of his back, and Harry's eyes dart from him to the Malfoys. He doesn't know if it's just him, but it's so awkward. Harry squirms.

Draco sneers, his nose upturned, and Harry scowls back, leaning back into Riddle's hand. Riddle's body is angled towards him, his chin proudly raised and his eyes dark.

Lucius' eyes slide towards him, and Harry tenses. 

"Mr. Potter," he says, cold as ice. "The boy who couldn't keep his legs closed."

Harry's jaw drops. He stares at Malfoy in disbelief, utterly stunned, hot shame filling him. For once, he has no words, no snarky comeback in response. Draco snickers.

Beside him, Riddle is stiff, his hand tightening on Harry's back. "Yes," Riddle replies for him, tone cutting. "The boy I'm going to marry, if you've forgotten."

"Of course," Lucius says, clearly unimpressed, his eyebrow quirking as his attention leaves Harry. He turns back to Riddle, expression placid. "Will the two of you be attending the Ball?"

Harry opens his mouth to say fuck no, but Riddle's hand at the back of his coat tightens, and Harry's mouth clicks shut. His fists clench at his side, his jaw tightening painfully.

"Yes, sir," Riddle calmly replies. Lucius nods.

They bid farewell and Harry watches them leave, his eyes narrowed. When Riddle touches his arm, he realizes he's trembling. He yanks his arm away and stalks into Twilfitt and Tatting's, avoiding Riddle's eyes.

Riddle follows him silently and then abruptly, he drags him into a fitting room, past the curtain separating it from view. Harry grunts, flailing slightly, his hand slapping on the mirror with a loud thwack as Riddle pushes him against it. Their bodies are flush against each other, Harry's thick coat suddenly too warm.

He looks down, his teeth gritted.

"I don't want to go to the dumb Ball," he mutters into the space between them.

Riddle hesitates, his eyes dark. He licks his thin lips, and Harry's eyes dart down towards them. They're red from the cold. Would it be weird if…

"I'll go to your lunch tomorrow," Riddle bargains, his voice low, and Harry's eyes shoot up to meet his. Riddle looks sincere, albeit reluctant. Harry blinks at him in surprise, his mouth falling slack. He had considered asking ever since Ron had mentioned it a few days back, but he didn't think that Riddle would actually want to go.

He tries to imagine Riddle among a sea of redheads, maybe in a custom Weasley sweater, and he feels his face twitch into a smile at the very thought of it. Ridiculous, he thinks.

"But you have to go to the Malfoy's Yule Ball," Riddle says, pulling away. Harry deflates, leaning against the mirror. He weighs it to himself silently. The image of Riddle surrounded by the Weasleys is stark and wins out in the end.

Harry lets out a rough breath of air and runs a hand through his messy hair.

"Fine," he says. His lip quirks, his tone edging into playful. "Playing nice with our respective in-law's?"

Riddle lets out an exasperated huff, but he doesn't disagree. He makes a move to pull Harry back out of the fitting room, but Harry stops him. Riddle turns, eyebrows furrowed, and Harry quickly pulls him down to steal a kiss from those red lips, firm and deep. They're just as cold as Harry had imagined.

He pulls away and without looking back, leaves Riddle in the fitting room. It takes only a second for Riddle to follow, but Harry grins as Riddle smirks at him, heated and sinful.

The lady at the counter raises an eyebrow at them. Riddle is unperturbed, only shoots her a charming smile as he begins to speak with her. Honestly, Harry can't be bothered to do anything but smile as well, sheepish but only the slightest bit embarrassed at what she's probably assuming they did in the fitting room.

A portly elderly man exits from a side room, dressed in thick winter robes that are expensive-looking and sleek. The golden buckle keeping it closed gleams at Harry, ostentatious in its brightness. He raises an eyebrow at them, and Harry wrinkles his nose in response. It sinks in that all the robes in this shop will probably be the same, and dread rises in his stomach.

"Mr. Tatting, it's the Malfoy ward," the lady says, tone polite but bored.

"Ah, yes!" Tatting says eagerly. His doubtful expression upon first seeing them disappears, a glint of greed in his eyes. "Four sets of dress robes, yes? The finest we have?"

Harry winces, but beside him, Riddle nods.

"Of course, of course!" Tatting laughs, loud and from his belly. "Follow me."

He brings them into a private room, different from the fitting room Riddle had pushed him in earlier. Harry looks around, taking note of the three-paneled mirror near the center of the front.

"I'll go first," Riddle says, already pulling off his coat. "The ones for the Ball first, if you will."

Harry sits down on the chair to the side. He watches as Riddle strips, absolutely unashamed of his own body. He tilts his head and adjusts the neck of his sweater, eyes roaming appreciatively over the broad length of Riddle's bare shoulders, his tapered waist, his slim arms.

His eyes flick up to Riddle's neck, his defined jaw, all the way up to Riddle's dark, amused eyes.

Harry looks away, face hot, and Riddle laughs. Harry very deliberately doesn't watch as Tatting fits Riddle's dark green dress robes, making adjustments with the flick of his wand. Riddle is patient through it, silent as it tightens and loosens in certain places around him.

When they're done, Riddle removes the robes, revealing his bare body once more. Tatting moves on to their wedding robes.

Harry peeks at them, and he feels himself relax. It's not bad actually. Eye-catching yet elegant, not off-putting or gaudy in the least. Maybe it's because Riddle is the one wearing it, but either way, it's perfect on him. It's a deep red, not quite Gryffindor-ish, more the color of wine. It sets off Riddle's pale skin and dark hair, a classic painting come to life.

Riddle glances at him through his reflection, and Harry is made aware that he's once again, gawking at Riddle like a fool. He flushes but doesn't look away. Riddle smirks at him, his eyes half-lidded.

Then it's Harry turn.

Riddle, unlike Harry, doesn't bother looking away as Harry strips. He sits down on the very same chair Harry had sat in, his chin propped up on his hand, dark eyes intense. Harry's whole body is hot, Riddle's gaze on him like a physical touch along the curve of his back, the muscles of his thighs. He finds it hard to look at him, shifting uncomfortably as his dick threatens to rise in interest.

Tatting drapes the dress robes for the Malfoy's Ball over him, and Harry blinks at the dark green.

"Are we matching?" he asks, picking at it. It's the exact same color as the one Riddle was fitting earlier. He just barely avoids getting stabbed by a feisty pin, and Tatting tuts at him disapprovingly.

"Of course," Riddle says. "Why wouldn't we be?"

Harry looks up at that and his eyes meet Riddle's through the mirror. He frowns. Huh. Well, he isn't wrong. Why shouldn't they be?

Tatting finishes fitting the robes, and Harry has to resist from sighing in obvious relief. It isn't normally a color he'd wear, but at least the cut and style of it are much simpler than Riddle's. It looks…

"Not bad," Riddle says, and Harry feels a smile tug up his lips.

They move on to Harry's wedding robes, and it's the same dark red of Riddle's, a matching pair once more. Much like the first set, they're not as fancy as Riddle's, although they're just as elegant, the beginnings of simple golden detailing on the edges. All of Harry's worries about it fade. He really isn't for anything fancy even if people tell him he can pull it off. He much prefers something simple and understated.

Tatting finishes with his fitting, and Harry quickly bundles back up in his sweater and trousers, wrapping his winter coat and scarf around him. He can't deal with Riddle's eyes on him any longer, not if he can't do anything about it yet.

Tatting and Riddle talk to the side as he dresses, Tattling promising that the robes for the Ball will be delivered by tomorrow evening, and that the final details for the wedding robes will be done in a week.

"We've had it prepared for weeks now, I'm very excited with how it's going," Tatting shares to Riddle, his eyes gleaming as he looks in the bag Riddle hands him. Harry peeks and finds it full with a frighteningly large amount of Galleons.

"Weeks?" he asks, wrinkling his nose as he steps up to join them. He glances at Riddle whose expression is strangely blank and intent on Tatting. "We only got engaged last week."

"Ah," Tatting says. He laughs nervously and glances quickly at Riddle before looking back at Harry, smile fixed on his face. "Last week, I mean. Time flies, as you know!"

"Guess it does," Harry muses out loud.

*

"Thank you," Harry says abruptly once they're outside, and Riddle glances at him. Harry exhales, his breath steaming into a cloud in front of him. He looks down and pushes the snow around with his foot. "For dealing with all the wedding details, I mean. I do like the robes you picked out."

He looks up and meets Riddle's eyes, a little flustered. "I didn't appreciate it enough yesterday when you, Sirius, and Remus were talking about it."

Riddle tilts his head, assessing. Then he smiles, just the smallest quirk of his lip.

"It's no problem," he says. "Narcissa enjoys planning events. Lucius too, even if he doesn't seem like it."

"They don't even like me," Harry grumbles, reaching up to cover his face with his scarf. The hot humiliation from their earlier brush with the Malfoys is still burning in his chest, making him uncomfortably aware that yes, he is 17, pregnant, and in his 7th year of Hogwarts. It is shameful.

"They don't hate you. They wanted to arrange my marriage to someone else, but you're from a respectable enough family to make up for it," Riddle says calmly. "It's more of you being pregnant that they don't like."

Harry scowls, narrowing his eyes at Riddle. "That's your fault too," he says. "I shouldn't be the one to have all the blame."

Riddle shrugs, unapologetic.

"These things happen."

Chapter Text

Beside him, Harry abruptly stops mid-step, his gaze caught on something far away.

"Hey…" he slowly says, looking up to meet Tom's eyes before his own skitter away, bashful almost. It's irritatingly endearing. "Is it okay if we, er, split up for a bit?"

No, Tom thinks.

"Why?" he says instead, delighted when Harry's cheeks turn red. He can't resist the urge to tease. "Are you buying something naughty?"

"No!" Harry squawks, his head snapping up to glare at him in embarrassed frustration, all intoxicating fire. Tom smirks back, and Harry's lips twist as he shoves him away. He drops his gaze to his feet and shoves his hands into his pockets, muttering, "I was going to get you a gift, you prick."

Tom's face blanks and his traitorous heart skips a beat. Years ago, he would have seethed in anger at this very weakness, but by now, he's learned to accept it. He's had to. Seven years has done nothing to dull the knife-edge of his feelings for Harry Potter, and Tom doubts that even seven more years will.

"How cute," he finally says, and Harry huffs.

"Don't sound so smug about it."

Tom's lip quirks. "I do need to run some errands," he muses out loud. He could bring Harry with him to Borgin and Burkes, but there are things he has to do that he doesn’t want to explain to the other boy. Not yet, at least.

"Okay, good," Harry sighs. He pauses, and then hesitantly offers, "We can meet in an hour? I won't take long. We can have ice cream after."

"That's fine," Tom says, and Harry smiles in relief. He makes a move to leave, but Tom grabs onto his arm, exactly as Harry did just an hour ago, and reels him back, tilting his head down to steal a kiss goodbye.

"See you." Tom’s smirk only widens when Harry blinks up at him, wide-eyed and flustered.

"See you," Harry mutters, hiding his flushed face in his scarf. He flees, and Tom watches him go. He doesn't look away. When Harry glances back towards him, he sees the surprised stumble Harry makes at getting caught, and Tom lets out a low, amused breath.

It's only once Harry's disappeared back into the main street of Diagon Alley that Tom turns and walks away.

*

"Eight hundred Galleons," he repeats, voice flat.

Caractacus Burke nods, smug and slimy as he pulls the box back and away from Tom. Tom's gaze follows it. "It's genuine, kid. Has his mark. A few simple spells were enough to confirm it. This is Slytherin's locket, no lie."

Tom's lips twist into a scowl, his fingers twitching toward his wand. It was his , by name and by blood. His eyes narrow into slits, assessing and wondering if he could get away with just killing the insipid man.

Burke must misread his seething silence because he leans in and conspiratorially shares, "We acquired it in curious circumstances. It was brought in by a young witch just before Christmas, oh, many years ago now."

"Really," Tom says, his eyes dropping to the locket between them.

Burke nods. "She said she needed the gold badly, well, that much was obvious. Covered in rags and pretty far along...going to have a baby, see."

Tom did see. He did know.

"She said the locket had been Slytherin’s," Burke says. "Well, we hear that sort of story all the time, ' Oh, this was Merlin’s, this was his favorite teapot,' but this time it was the truth. It's near priceless."

"Priceless?" Tom repeats tightly. "Apparently not."

"Of course," Burke laughs, an oily despicable laugh that makes a vein throb at Tom's forehead. He might just kill him anyway. "Eight hundred Galleons, as I said. That's already a bargain, and I won't go lower, not even for you."

Tom grits his teeth, his nostrils flaring.

"I'm descended from Slytherin himself," Tom snaps, and Burke shrugs.

"Can't prove that, but I can prove that this is Slytherin's locket. Sorry, kid."

Kid. He's 17! Tom releases a low, frustrated breath, and closes his eyes. When he opens them again, he just barely resists the urge to hiss.

"Charge it to the Malfoys." It's a small, petty pleasure, but he'll take it.

Burke's smile is slick. "Thank you for your patronage."

*

Tom is still seething when he finally arrives at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, but something in him calms at the sight of Harry. The other boy is sitting down inside, already spooning ice cream into his mouth, a white paper bag sitting beside him. Fortescue's isn't as full as usual, but only because reasonable people know better than to have ice cream in the middle of the winter season.

Harry, of course, is not one of those reasonable people.

Harry smiles when he sees him through the window, but only for a second before he tamps it down to a casual nod.

Tom goes inside and the ring of the bell above the door announces his entrance. Fortescue smiles at him, and Tom tilts his head politely before he slips into the booth across from Harry.

"Aren't we having lunch with Sirius and Remus? You're going to ruin your appetite," Tom says.

"It's ice cream," Harry says as if that explains everything. Tom rolls his eyes but nods anyway as if it does. Harry pushes the bowl to the middle of the table and motions to an unused spoon. It's ridiculous to be eating ice cream in this weather, Tom thinks. He grabs the spoon anyway.

"Oh!" Harry straightens up. He leans in, and in the manner of an old biddy sharing gossip, he says, "Guess who I bumped into earlier?"

Tom eyes him. He opens his mouth, but Harry barrels through, impatient.

"Myrtle Warren!" he says, and then gives Tom an expectant look.

Tom pauses, his spoon clinking on the edge of the glass bowl. "And?" He says calmly, even as he goes still and wary at her name.

"I honestly thought she dropped out or something," Harry shares carelessly, waving his spoon. Bits of chocolate ice cream drop onto the table, and Harry grimaces, bringing the spoon back into the bowl with a loud clang. "She seemed really freaked out when she saw me, and I realized I never see her around anymore."

After Tom had threatened her? Of course not.

"She's still in Hogwarts. She's a Ravenclaw and three years below us, you have no reason to see her."

Harry snorts. "She used to peek in the Quidditch locker rooms, did you know? I think she caught me starkers once."

Tom's eyebrow twitches.

"I've heard." His voice is miraculously even despite the deathly tight grip he has on his spoon. "She had pictures as well." Had, being the keyword. They’re Tom's now, obviously.

Harry winces. "Bollocks," he says. “I heard, but I didn’t want to believe it.”

"Don't worry." Tom smirks. "You do have particularly nice ones."

"Shut it," Harry says, his face turning red. He ducks his head, but Tom sees his embarrassed scowl half-hidden in his scarf. Then abruptly, Harry straightens up, his eyes widening as he says, "Oh!"

Harry reaches into the white paper bag and rummages through it. "Before it melts…" He pulls out a familiar purple and gold box and then presents it to Tom along with a disarming, playful grin.

Tom's lips part, his face going slack as he stares down at the chocolate frog. Once more, his traitorous heart skips a beat.

At his silence, Harry falters, pulling it back, but Tom's hand darts out and grabs his wrist. He takes the chocolate frog and clutches it close to his chest, just barely mustering up a smooth smile.

"Thank you," he says, and Harry gives a short laugh. He rubs the back of his neck, his ears pink, and shrugs. He seems embarrassed.

"I do have another gift for you, obviously. After we eat maybe, but I thought it would be–I don't know. I thought you'd find it funny, maybe, I guess." Harry lets out a huff of air as he peeks at Tom through his eyelashes. Tom lets himself smile, his eyes half-lidded, and Harry relaxes as he smiles back.

It thoroughly unnerves him how even now, Tom still feels like that little child who had looked at Harry Potter and thought: I want him.

Except now, Tom thinks smugly, he actually has him.

*

First Year

"Hey."

Tom looks up, and he blinks as Harry sits down next to him on the stone stairs, a shy smile on his lips.

"Hey," he says. Harry is alone for once, no Ron and Hermione tagging along behind him, and something in Tom sparks in glee at that.

"You didn't go home for Winter Break?" Harry asks conversationally, stretching out his legs.

"No," Tom says, and he's surprised by the viciousness in his own words. He adopts a blank expression, unsure what face and tone to make. He's still learning to play at doubt, guilt, all those little feelings that everyone else wears freely.

"Me too," Harry says, even if it's obvious. That's why the two of them are here, after all, rather than at home with their families. Harry looks down, his worn sneakers skidding against the stone. "You know, this is probably the best Christmas I've ever had."

Tom looks at him. "The Slytherins prefer to call it Yule," he says, rather than saying yes, me too.

Harry huffs and rolls his eyes. "You're the only Slytherin whose opinion I care for, thanks."

"Then call it Yule."

Harry shoves him, and Tom's lip quirks.

"Did you get anything from your relatives?" Tom asks. He's thinking about Draco, who had bragged about the gifts he was getting this Yule, holding it over the poor Muggleborn orphan who obviously had nothing. Someday, Tom promises himself, he’s going to make Draco quell at a very look. He’s going to prove himself superior.

"Oh, yeah," Harry snorts. He digs into his loose trousers, a few sizes too big for him and held up by a worn belt. He pulls out a fifty pence coin and flashes it and a wry smile at Tom. "They were particularly generous this year."

Then Harry pauses, straightening up, his eyes widening.

"Did you—" he hesitates and then leans in close. "Did you get anything for Chr—Yule?"

"No," Tom says honestly, and he blinks as Harry's mouth falls open, his eyes darting back and forth over Tom's features.

"Wait," he says urgently, leaning away. He sticks his hands in his pockets again, a little more frantic, and he makes a triumphant sound as he pulls out a box. A chocolate frog. He presents it to Tom, smile wide and sheepish. "It's a little melted, but here."

"I don't have anything for you," he says. Tom knows how this works. He knows you don't get anything for nothing.

Harry immediately shakes his head and pats his arm. "It's fine! I don't mind, really. I want you to be happy." Harry's expression is utterly sincere, completely free from any ulterior motives, and Tom's gaze drops down to the chocolate frog, his lips parted.

Inside his chest, his heart throbs, and something in him panics at the new emotion. He swallows, his jaw tight, and takes it.

Harry's smile widens into a grin. He tilts his head, and Tom suddenly realizes how bright his green eyes are. How shiny and clear. He's reminded of his box of won treasures back in the orphanage, in the cabinet that Dumbledore had set on fire.

He wants to add Harry to his collection. He wants to keep him. Tom's fingers twitch, and he curls them tight around the box.

"Thank you," he says, mind racing. "I won't forget this."

*

"So where are we going?" Tom asks, and Harry shushes him, taking him by the arm. They're in the North Side, a little bit off the main Diagon Alley street.

"I was going to pick it out myself, but I figure since you can actually—" Harry abruptly cuts himself off, glancing up at him, and Tom raises his eyebrows.

"Actually what?" he prods, and Harry grimaces, stalling.

Just as Tom's reaches the end of his patience, which is admittedly a little longer when it comes to Harry, Harry abruptly stops. Harry looks at the storefront in front of them and then back up at him, a tentative smile on his lips.

Magical Menagerie. Tom's eyes flit over to the display at the storefront promising of all kinds of animals, from cats to snails, ravens to Fire Crabs. Everything you could ever want.

"Since you can actually talk to them," Harry continues triumphantly. "You should pick one yourself."

"A snake," Tom states, and Harry enthusiastically nods. Tom has no need for a familiar. It's just another weakness, something others can use against him. Harry is already enough of a blind spot, and Tom can't afford another, not with the baby on the way as well.

But it's a gift. A gift from Harry. And, he belatedly thinks, it could be useful.

He lets Harry drag him in.

*

Second Year

"Serpensortia!"

A black snake shoots out of Draco's wand, landing heavily onto the floor between him and Harry. Harry stares at the snake aghast, his eyes wide. Behind him, Lockhart is obviously useless, his wand held unused at his side.

It raises itself, ready to strike, and Tom speaks without thinking. "Ssstop."

The snake stops, and then swivels around to face him, its tongue darting out. "A Ssspeaker," it replies.

"Yesss," Tom says. "Leave him alone."

He glances up, and Harry smiles at him in relief. Then the deathly hush of the room sinks in, and Tom realizes everyone is staring, wide-eyed in shock.

Tom doesn’t understand why, but he understands something is different, just from the way the Half-Bloods, the Purebloods, even some of his teachers look at him.

The Slytherins say nothing, but Tom can feel their speculative gazes as they go back to the dorms. It’s only when they’re alone that Draco turns to him, interest clear in his eyes.

"You're a Parselmouth," he says slowly. Tom stares at him blankly, unsure of what he means but unwilling to admit it. At Tom's silence, Draco continues, just a little snide, "You can talk to snakes."

"I can, yes," he replies. His fingers itch with the urge to educate himself. He doesn't want to come off ignorant, and he needs every advantage that knowledge can get him. Ignorance is weakness in Slytherin, and Tom needs to prove himself.

"I think my father would be interested in meeting you," Draco says, straightening up, and Tom frowns at him. Draco eyes him thoughtfully as he continues, "You can't possibly be a Mudblood, Riddle."

Something in him sparks at that, a heated fervor at the idea and confirmation that he's better than everyone else in the orphanage. Proof that he is superior. It must be his father, he thinks. His mother was weak and died in childbirth, after all.

"My family can help you," Draco offers. He's completely different from the sneering boy of yesterday. He's no longer looking down at Tom as if he has dung under his nose. There's something in his silvery eyes, the beginnings of respect, and Tom revels in it.

"Introduce me," he says.

 

 

 

"Tom!"

Tom looks up, and he almost reels back at the righteous anger blowing off Harry. There's a blazing fire in his green eyes, and his face is twisted as he stalks towards Tom.

"I heard what you called Hermione," Harry says, voice low. He deflates, anger bleeding out of him until he simply looks upset. "You called her a Mudblood! Tom, you're Muggleborn too!"

"No, I'm not," Tom hisses. He doesn't know what his legacy is, the secrets in his blood, but he does know that just being a Parselmouth is enough to shift the power in Slytherin. It's only been a day, but everything is different.

They don't look at him with disdain anymore, now that they have confirmation he isn't just a mere Mudblood, that he's a descendant of Slytherin in some way or another. Power is so close that Tom can taste it.

"I'm better," he announces smugly, and Harry rocks back on his heels, his expression stricken.

"How can you say that?" Harry demands heatedly. "Hermione's one of the best students in the year, blood has nothing to do with it!"

"I'm the best student in the year," Tom corrects tightly, glaring. Why doesn't Harry understand? What did it matter to him, when he's known he was a Half-Blood all this time? Surely Harry can see that he himself is far superior to Granger. "Blood speaks for itself, Harry."

"My mom was Muggleborn!" Harry's voice is raised now, and Tom stares at him. He won't apologize. He won't.

"You're really just another snake," Harry spits, and Tom's lips twist into a scowl. If anyone else spoke to him this way, he would end them. And that's the problem, isn't it? He lets Harry get away with far too much.

No matter what Tom does, Tom can’t stop thinking about him. His every waking moment, his dreams, they all revolve around the other boy. Harry Potter makes him feel things, the variety and the depth of them new, his self-control completely and utterly shot to pieces.

He hates it.

It irritates him. Frustrates him. But most of all…

It makes him weak.

Tom has no want or need for weakness, and so he says, "Go back to your Mudblood then." His tone is acid, and he knows it's enough to completely cut off any friendship between them.

Harry looks at him, his expression twisted in betrayal, and leaves. He doesn't look back.

Tom watches him go. If his chest hurts, that's no one's business but his own.

*

"I bought books," Sirius sings. He passes a paper bag over to Harry, and Tom glances inside it. Harry pulls out a book and snorts.

"What to Expect When You're Expecting," he reads out loud, his voice dry. He raises his head and raises an eyebrow. Tom's fingers twitch.

"Are you actually going to read it?" He smirks, and Harry shoots him an annoyed look.

"I read!" he protests, but at Tom's raised eyebrow he deflates. "But probably not," he mutters. He lightly taps Tom on the arm with the book, and Tom takes it, slipping it back into the bag.

He needs to read those before Harry does. He's very aware that any one of them could possibly expose him and ruin all his plans. The magical theory on same-sex pregnancies is admittedly new, most of the books on it just vaguely implying what’s needed, but still. It’s far too soon for Harry to find out what Tom's done.

"Merlin's balls, is that a snake?" Sirius abruptly asks, and both Harry and Tom look up. He's staring at Tom's neck where Nagini is coiled, his face pale. Harry smiles sheepishly, glancing towards him.

"Yeah, it's Riddle's gift for Yule. Don't worry about it."

"Right," Sirius says slowly. "I forgot for a moment you were a Slytherin, but I suppose that's on me."

"Sirius." Remus' voice is mild, and Sirius immediately holds out his hands in surrender..

"Nothing wrong with Slytherins. I guess." Still, Sirius eyes him with something close to distrust, and all Tom can do is meet his gaze with his own, even and calm.

Later, when they're back in the cottage, Sirius stops him before he can follow Harry back into his room.

Sirius crosses his arms, expression flat. He's larger than Tom, rougher. There's something dangerous and manic in his eyes, and Tom knows he's right to be wary of him. He laughs and jokes as if he's nothing but a childish prankster, but like recognizes like, and the darkness in Tom sees a kin in Sirius.

"Most Gryffindors have something against Dark Magic," Sirius starts, and Tom's lips twist. If he had known back in Third Year that Sirius was innocent, he would have held back. There's nothing for him to do now, not even an Obliviate can save things this time.

"I suppose," he says, and Sirius makes a soft, dismissive sound.

"Harry's most likely one of them. He's a good kid," he says, and there's pride in it. He obviously loves Harry, and Harry loves him back. It's the only reason Tom's hand is stalled now.

Sirius tilts his head, eyes assessing, something dark in them that makes Tom shift where he stands. Something passes in Sirius' gaze then, a decision made, and Tom straightens.

"You know about Pettigrew," Sirius says lowly, and Tom nods. Sirius looks away then, his expression far away. The darkness is more evident now in the twist of his lip, a snarl almost, and the tightness of his jaw. "He's still out there. Remus and I have been trying to track the rat down, but it's been difficult."

Tom knows enough about the mess with Grindelwald and Pettigrew's betrayal of the Potters. The talk in Slytherin was enough. But until now, no one knows the exact reason as to why Grindelwald targeted the Potters. If anyone knows, it would be Pettigrew.

"I'm not going to ask you where and how you learned that curse you used on me," Sirius announces. His lips thin, and he leans in, eyes boring intensely into Tom's. "But if you ever see Pettigrew… I'm telling you now, I'm going to look the other way if you happen to throw that same curse at him."

"If I curse him?" Tom asks, voice cool. "When."

Sirius' solemn expression cracks, and he grins, wide and pleased. He claps Tom hard on the shoulder, and Tom stumbles from the force of it, barely catching himself. He rubs his shoulder, grimacing.

"You know what?" Sirius laughs. "You’re not bad, kid. I approve of you."

*

"What did you and Sirius talk about?" Harry asks.

"Nothing," Tom answers, shrugging. He eyes Harry where he's sitting down on his bed, lazily flipping through one of the books Sirius gave him. Tom suspects that he's just glancing over the pictures.

His eyes slide to his trunk where his specially ordered potion sits. He had asked Severus to make sure it was safe for Harry. He hadn't had a set time to use it when he had ordered it, just the vague idea that he'd need it if he wanted to keep up with his less savory extracurriculars, especially with Harry and he sharing rooms. And now, with Yule upon them and the Winter Solstice hanging over his head…

"Would you like a nightcap?" he asks, and Harry looks up from his book.

"Sure," he says. He pauses, and hopefully adds, "Hot chocolate?"

"Alright," Tom replies.

"With marshmallows," Harry adds, and Tom rolls his eyes. He glances at his trunk again, and then back at Harry.

"Are you not going to shower?" he asks. "The Magical Menagerie has a way of sticking."

Harry's nose wrinkles. "You're right, I'll go take a shower."

Tom watches him leave. Once the door clicks shut behind Harry, Tom quickly moves.

By the time Harry returns, Tom has a mug of hot chocolate, fresh from the cupboard and steaming. Marshmallows sit on top, fluffy and white, and Harry grins when he sees it.

He sits down on the bed and sips at it contentedly. Tom simply watches him and waits.

He nods appropriately as Harry chatters at him, repeating a few things he's read from the book, but then eventually, Harry's speech starts to slow.

"I feel…" Harry trails off, his eyelids fluttering closed. He yawns and covers his mouth, his eyes squeezing shut. He blinks furiously, openly struggling to stay awake.

"Tom," Harry murmurs, voice soft. He yawns again and rubs at his face. "I feel…I feel so sleepy."

"You've had a long day," Tom calmly replies. "Of course you're tired."

"Mhmm," Harry hums in answer, his words coming out slurred. "You're right…always right." His eyelids drop, his breathing evening out, until slowly…slowly…

Harry's head nods off the side, sleep claiming him.

Tom smiles.

Harry doesn't notice how often he resorts to Tom instead of Riddle when he's on the verge of sleep, or just woken up, and Tom's not planning to tell him.

Tom takes a few moments just to watch him, appreciative as always of the way sleep softens Harry's features. He's always been attractive to Tom, but like this, he's especially tempting.

Tom reaches out to pinch Harry's cheek, checking, and he's gratified when Harry doesn't react. He smiles. He brushes Harry's hair back over his head in a gentle motion and then leans in to press a kiss on Harry's slack lips.

"Goodnight, Harry," he murmurs. He pulls away and watches as Harry curls up with a pillow, softly snuffling before he falls into a deeper sleep. He looks so vulnerable like this.

Tom believes in no god but himself, but if they existed…Harry would be their masterpiece.

Tom touches the gentle curve of Harry's cheek with the back of his knuckles, his eyes raking greedily over Harry's features. He had let Harry go once, back when he hadn't known better. He isn't going to make the same mistake again.

This time, Tom has done everything possible to keep him.

He reluctantly looks away. It wouldn't do to indulge, not when he has plenty to do tonight. Some other time, he promises himself. He busies himself then with cleaning up the evidence, banishing the tainted hot chocolate that he had given Harry and replacing it with a fresh batch. He doubts that Harry will check, but it's better to be prepared.

He fixes his clothes and makes sure he's presentable before he turns to leave. His eyes catch on Harry's trunk. It had been difficult the past week to plan around Harry and make sure his Knights were still receiving proper training and interaction at the same time. It's only fair for him to take something of Harry's in return. He goes to Harry's trunk then and opens it, finding Harry's Invisibility Cloak easily enough. He takes it.

"Master?"

Tom glances at Nagini, her tiny body rising up from her heated rock. He still doesn't know what to think of her, but she might prove herself to be useful. He's reserving judgement.

"Watch him," he orders curtly, and Nagini's head lazily bobs before she drops back, coiling over herself.

Tom gives one last look at Harry, alone and small in his large bed, before he slings the cloak over his form and leaves the room.

The Winter Solstice is tomorrow. Tom needs to make the final preparations for his first Horcrux.

Chapter Text

"Please play nice later," Harry says.

Riddle huffs. "When am I not nice?" He asks, completely serious, and Harry only gives him a flat, incredulous stare.

"You're always mean to me," he says bluntly, and yes, he’s aware that he sounds awfully childish right now.

Riddle turns to face him, his look matching Harry's, just as incredulous and disbelieving. "I'm always nice to you," he says and Harry gapes.

"That's—That’s debatable."

"No. No, it isn't."

Harry opens his mouth to argue, but Riddle raises an eyebrow and Harry closes his mouth. He scowls.

"Just—look, Sirius and Molly already don't get along," he says, "and I don't want to deal with you and Hermione having a pissing match on top of that."

"If Granger learns to shut up, so will I," Riddle says drily. He tilts his head, so blindingly, annoyingly attractive even if he looks stiff in his button-down, entirely inappropriate for a Weasley lunch. Harry himself is just in one of the sweaters that Molly had given him, comfortable and warm.

"See?" Harry complains, verging on a whine. "Mean." Then carelessly, he says, "You're even more of a prick today than usual. Did you not sleep well?"

Riddle looks taken aback at that and he blinks, his lips pursed. "Did you not sleep well?" he throws the question back, and Harry makes a face, his nose scrunching.

"slept well," he says. Better than usual, even.

He doesn’t think that he even dreamed.

*

"—and remember, no pranks or Molly will ban us from the house again."

"Well, that's no fun."

"No obvious pranks," Remus relents. At Sirius mischievous smirk and waggling eyebrows, he amends once more, "None that can't be blamed on the twins."

"You're both horrible," Harry says, but he's smiling, wide and bright.

"Oh, no," Remus says mildly. "I'm the responsible one, didn't you hear?"

Sirius snickers, and the way he looks at Remus, Harry has to look away. He looks enamoured, insanely happy, and Harry can't help but wonder what people see when they look at him and Riddle.

"What time will this end?" Riddle asks him, fidgeting. It's so distinctly unlike him that Harry frowns. There's something off about Riddle today in general. He wasn't exaggerating earlier when he had said that Riddle was being even more of a prick than usual, and it’s barely been an hour since they’ve both woken up.

"It's just a late lunch and then we're exchanging gifts. It might end around 5? 6? I don't know." Harry keeps to himself that it might end earlier if Sirius and Molly get into another verbal—or physical, Harry wouldn't be surprised—match. The memory of the Weasley lunch two years ago is still strong.

"Hm," is all Riddle says in response, and Harry squints at him.

"Why? Do you have something else to do?" he asks, hesitant. "You don't have to go if you don't want to."

"No, it's fine. Six is fine," Riddle says. He raises an eyebrow. "Are you trying to get out of the Ball tomorrow?"

"No," Harry lies, and Riddle eyes him.

"Good," he finally says. "I wasn't going to let you."

"Wow."

"You boys ready to go?"

"Yeah," Harry says, turning away from Riddle. "Let's go."

*

"Well, well, look what the cat—"

"—or should we say dog—"

"—and wolf dragged in?"

The twins grin at them from inside the Burrow and Sirius barks out a laugh. It takes only seconds before Sirius and the twins are off to a corner, already planning something devious. Harry isn’t sure if he wants to know.

Before they go though, Fred—or is it George?—looks at him and then Riddle before shooting Harry a suggestive look and wiggling his eyebrows.

Harry blushes and refuses to acknowledge him.

"I'll go talk to Arthur," Remus tells them. He leaves them with a casual nod, Harry and Riddle alone in the doorway.

"I think you know everyone here," Harry muses out loud. He would have said something about introducing Tom to the others, but the older Weasley children were off somewhere and not here. Bill in France with Fleur and Charlie in Romania, as usual. Riddle obviously already knew Percy, Ron and the others.

"Harry!"

Harry turns and smiles as Hermione makes her way to him. There's a stain on the bottom of her shirt, her brow just a little sweaty and her bushy hair tied, threatening to explode. She wraps him up in a hug, and strangely enough, she smells a lot like chicken. She pulls away, studiously avoiding even looking at Riddle, and Harry inwardly sighs.

"Molly's been asking us to help out in the kitchen, and you know how she is," Hermione tells him, her voice hushed and pleading, and Harry laughs.

"Are you asking for my help?"

"Yes, please."

Harry turns to Riddle with an apologetic grimace on his face, but it falters when he sees Riddle striding towards Percy. Percy looks enthused to see him, his new fiancé at his side, and they shake hands. Guess Harry didn't need to worry about him.

Nevertheless, he waits till Riddle glances at him before he motions towards the kitchen, wincing a bit. Riddle nods and turns away.

Hermione sniffs and Harry frowns at her. "He said he'd be nice if you were," he says, grumbling almost as they walk together.

That wasn't Riddle's exact words, but it's close enough.

Hermione doesn't get a chance to reply, but her scoff is enough really. The moment Harry enters the kitchen, he's swarmed and buried underneath enthusiastic kisses and hugs from Molly, Ginny too, with Ron giving him a jovial slap on the back in greeting.

"How lovely to see you, dear," Molly greets, all warmth, and Harry smiles. She motions him over to the chopping board and then twirls away to scold Ginny for slicing the chunks of meat too thinly.

Ginny rolls her eyes over her shoulder and Harry hides his grin. Molly loves him too much to ever berate him for something like poor cutting.

He settles at the counter and begins to chop, shoulders loose, the repetitive motions soothing.

Ron, of course, isn't helping. He's a little bit spoiled that way, and Harry and Hermione share grieving looks of camaraderie when Ron leans over their shoulders to pick at the bits of food before popping them in his mouth.

"Honestly, Ronald," Hermione finally snaps after the fourth time, slapping his hand with a spoon. "Get out if you're not helping."

Harry laughs. He watches the two of them start to bicker, and he leans against the counter, relaxed and smiling easily. And then—

"What are you doing here?"

Harry looks up just in time to catch the narrow-eyed look Riddle directs towards Ginny before it disappears into a genial, overly polite smile that he directs to everyone in the kitchen.

"Oh," Molly says in surprise. Harry watches as she perks up, clearly considering him, and Harry wonders if he should have mentioned to her that he had invited someone over. He probably should have. That would have been the polite thing to do.

"This is, uh, Tom," Harry hurriedly introduces, pushing himself off the counter and leaving the knife on top. He stands beside Riddle, shoving his hands into his trousers and feeling just a little bit awkward. He smiles brightly.

Beside him, Riddle drops a hand on the back of his neck and Harry looks up. Riddle bends down and then kisses him as if they’ve done it a million times before—and they have, but  never in front of others—and it's just instinct that makes Harry's eyes close, leaning into the kiss.

A cough interrupts them, and Harry jumps. He jumps away, his face red, and he determinedly avoids Riddle's smug look and Ginny's amused expression.

"Oh," Molly repeats, and her smile is easier now, her gaze flitting back and forth between him and Riddle. Harry flushes, wondering if he should correct whatever she's thinking and knowing it would be better if he didn't.

"I wanted to see you if you needed help," Riddle offers politely, and Molly's smile widens.

"Yes, yes of course," she says and nudges Ginny away. Riddle confidently strides towards the carrots that Harry had been cutting, taking the knife Harry had left there, and Harry curiously watches him.

But of course, Riddle was perfect at everything. Harry's eyebrows raise at the deft and easy cuts. His movements are natural and practiced, and Harry figures part of it is seven years of cutting potions ingredients, the other half just because Riddle can’t be anything but good at what he did.

"So Tom, tell me more about you and Harry," Molly prods curiously.

Well, Harry thinks to himself, we had lots of sex and he knocked me up. What more was there to say?

Riddle looks up from the carrots. "I've always been in love with Harry," he tells her seriously.

Harry chokes. On the other side of the kitchen, Hermione visibly gags before she shoots Riddle a disgusted, outraged look , what the fuck clear on her features. She rolls her eyes. Beside her, Ron's eyebrows are almost to his hairline. Ginny coughs.

"But it took awhile before Harry returned my affections," Riddle continues, sighing forlornly, verging a little into dramatic, and Harry stomps on his foot. Riddle doesn't even flinch, only smiles charmingly up at Molly, flipping his knife in one hand.

He reaches out with his free hand to pat the top of Harry's and Harry tries to yank it away, but Riddle holds firm, his grip vice tight and smile fixed on his face.

"Oh, Harry," Molly says, shaking her head. She sounds taken already with Riddle, tsking loudly, and Harry resists the urge to scowl.

"That is not—"

"Don't be embarrassed," Riddle interrupts. "It's fine, my heart's recovered."

'Prick,' Harry mouths at him once Molly's turned away, her attention back to the boiling pot.

Riddle smirks. Harry wants to kiss it off his dumb face.

He scowls and looks away.

*

"We have more than an hour before the roast is done," Ginny says, interrupting the casual conversation between Percy and Riddle about the Ministry or something, Harry doesn't know. She wiggles her eyebrows at him significantly and Harry and Ron simultaneously straighten up, grinning.

Beside him, Riddle stiffens.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Ginny says, and Harry vehemently nods, glancing over to meet Ron’s excited look.

"Quidditch," all three of them passionately say, already standing. Hermione sighs.

"I'll get Fred and George and Sirius." Ginny grins, reaching up to tie her hair back. "Meet you outside!" She twirls and hurries out.

Harry makes to leave as well, but he's stopped by a hand around his wrist, Riddle standing up from where he had been sitting.

"Quidditch." It's all Riddle says, but his tone speaks volumes.

"What?" Harry asks, annoyed.

"Harry." Hermione's lips are pursed, her arms crossed across her chest. She says nothing more, only glances significantly down at his lower area and Harry's gut drops.

"I don't think you should be playing Quidditch right now," Riddle calmly continues and Harry turns to gape at him. Riddle stubbornly stares back. "It's not exactly the safest sport."

"Yes!" Hermione vehemently agrees, and then she falters, making a face. Riddle has the same expression, and Harry can't help but snort. For once, they're actually agreeing.

Hermione quickly shakes off her disgruntlement and then turns back to face Harry. "Just stay off the broom for a few months, please. That isn't too much to ask."

Harry’s lips twist and he crosses his arms. "Look, I read on Quidditch Weekly that most Healers recommend Quidditch players to stop playing Quidditch after their first semester, so—"

"I don't think that applies to people like you who jump off a broom just to catch a snitch!"

"That was one time!"

"IT WAS TWICE!" 

Harry reels back in shock, his eyes wide.

"And," Hermione adds heatedly in the space of Harry's taken aback silence, "may I remind you, you've fallen off your broom how many times now?"

"Yeah, well, you do that when Dementors try to suck out your soul," Harry snaps back, recovering. "I'm sorry, what was I supposed to do? Bring myself back to life?"

"Maybe," Hermione says, voice hard, "not get on a broom in the first place?"

"It's Quidditch!" Harry and Ron simultaneously say. They share a look full of camaraderie with each other and Hermione groans.

"Boys," she says, disgruntled.

"Please," Riddle says, his voice dry, "don't lump me in with them."

"Sorry," Percy interrupts, voice high, and Harry winces, turning to face him and Audrey. He had completely forgotten they were there. Percy looks confused, expression turning stricken.

"Are you pregnant?"

"Uh," Harry says, shrinking back. Bollocks.

And then the sound of plates crashing makes him jump and he whirls around, almost falling if it weren't for Riddle quickly steadying him.

"Harry, " Molly says. The broken plates are at her feet, and her expression is slack as she stares at him. "You're  pregnant?"

Harry flinches, already waiting for her to scold him or scold Sirius, and then—

"That's wonderful!" she gushes, already closing the distance between them to pull him into a warm hug and Harry melts in relief.

"How far along are you? And—" she raises her voice, loud and deliberate, "why did no one tell me? What are you going to do?"

Harry's flustered, practically sinking to the floor if it weren't for Molly's grip around him, and it takes him awhile to respond. "Just a little over a month along," he manages to say. He glances at Riddle, who's blinking placidly at him and Molly. "We're, uh, actually engaged. We're getting married in two weeks."

Molly abruptly lets him go, her expression unreadable, and Harry winces.

"You're invited?" he weakly adds.

*

"Ugh, I can't believe you can't play Quidditch," Ginny grumbles and Harry vehemently nods in agreement.

He's still annoyed, but he understands. His baby is barely even the size of a rice grain, but Harry wants nothing to happen to them.

Still! His last year of Quidditch! He was Captain! 

He hadn’t been able to convince either Tom or Hermione though, the two of them actually working together for once. Maybe it’s better they didn’t. The world wouldn’t survive both of them on one side.

All the hustle and bustle over Molly, Percy and his fiancé Audrey finding out is over at least. Molly had gone to tell Arthur, and Harry is already dreading the jokes when Fred and George eventually find out. He's giving it a few more minutes.

Molly had blessed him with a long conversation, complete with an offer to help out anytime Harry needed, and the shameless admittance that Bill too had been an accident, but a happy accident, dear. 

“Get me some water,” Riddle abruptly says—orders, really.

Harry scowls, turning away from Ginny. "Really?" he asks, annoyed. "What am I? Your maid?"

Riddle's lips thin. Then, deliberately and almost mockingly, he says, "Please. Get me water."

"Fine," Harry grumbles. He gets up and goes. He definitely doesn't stomp his feet.

When he comes back after what must be only a few minutes at the most, there's a noticeably chilly atmosphere between Riddle and Ginny and Harry pauses.

They're staring at each other, Riddle's face curiously blank, but there's an unblinking quality to his eyes that makes Harry worried. He looks like he's ready to curse Ginny, and Ginny—Ginny looks amused, her eyebrows raised, a condescending smile on her lips.

"Here," he says warily, handing Riddle his glass of water. Riddle takes it and then promptly puts it down on the side table, not even looking at it. Harry gapes.

Riddle abruptly stands and reaches out to grab Harry's wrist, pulling him close.

"Come with me," he says. He doesn't give Harry any time to argue, already pulling him away, and Harry grimaces as he shoots Ginny an apologetic look. She looks unfazed and actually has the daring to stick her tongue at him, but Riddle yanks on his arm again and Harry's attention is forced back on him as he stumbles.

"Where are we going?" he asks, and Riddle's lips purse, irritation clear in the tick of his eyebrow.

"Upstairs." Riddle practically drags him up the flight, grip tight on his wrist, and Harry struggles to keep up with him.

"Riddle," he groans in complaint, "slow down, will you?"

They make it up and then Riddle freezes. Harry has a second to wonder why before Riddle is pulling out his wand and then unlocking Ginny's room  and pushing him in.

Harry curses, struggling to pull his arm back, but Riddle's already closing the door and pushing him against it.

"Have you been in here before?" Riddle demands at the same time he's sticking his fingers up Harry's sweater.

Harry yelps and squirms away, reaching up to yank Riddle’s hand down. "No," he hisses back, flustered. He and Ginny hadn't been together long enough for him to be invited to her room, and besides, that was awkward and weird with all the Weasleys in the house. "Hey! What are you doing?"

"What does it look like?" Riddle asks, annoyed, his hands dropping down and already unbuttoning Harry's trousers.

"Oh—fuck, are you serious?" Harry asks, reaching down to intercept and stop Riddle from further undressing him. "This is Ginny's room!"

"I know,” Riddle casually replies. “You gave me a free pass, remember?”

"I thought you wanted to fuck me while I was sleeping!" Harry blurts out, immediately going red.

"Your fault for being wrong." Riddle quickly takes advantage of Harry's stunned state, unzipping and then reaching in to cup Harry's hardening cock.

Harry squeaks, his face red, and Riddle smirks, leaning in to press his mouth against Harry's neck, teeth scraping along his jaw. Harry already knows he's going to leave a giant bruise. Riddle's fetishes are so bloody predictable.

"You're horrible," Harry breathes, trying not to moan as Riddle bites and sucks, his tongue laving over a single spot. Harry hesitates, just for a moment, before his arousal wins over his common sense like it always does. He spreads his legs wider and lets Riddle pull out his cock, reaching out to quickly undo Riddle's trousers and do the same.

Riddle doesn't waste a second. He presses up close, so warm against Harry. The winter air had been chill, but it's warm in Ginny's room and the two of them are already sweating, everything sticky and hot, and Harry doesn't know whether to groan in relief or complaint when Riddle pulls his mouth away from Harry's neck.

He spits in his hand and then reaches down, taking both their lengths to stroke, hard and rough.

They both groan, and Harry's breath catches in his throat when Riddle wraps an arm around his waist, pulling him in closer until their hips are pressed flush together. Riddle latches his mouth back against Harry's jaw, his teeth sharp, and Harry hisses, reaching up to hold on to Riddle's arm.

He groans at a twist of Riddle's hand and thrusts into his grip, their cocks sliding against each other in Riddle's spit-slick hand.

"I swear, if you leave a hickey, I'll hex you," he threatens half-heartedly.

Riddle drops his head down to Harry's covered shoulder and then bites down, his teeth stinging even through two layers of fabric.

"Hey!" Harry cries, pushing him away, but he's laughing and Riddle is chuckling, yanking him in to kiss him. Their mouths slide against each other, hot and wet, and Harry groans as Riddle's tongue fucks into his mouth.

Riddle pulls away and Harry chases after his lips, feeling bereft, but his heart seizes when Riddle starts to drag him to Ginny's bed .

"Oh no," he says, but he doesn't protest when Riddle pushes him down until Harry's flat on his back, his legs dangling over the side. He climbs over Harry, his eyes dark and intense.

"Were you jealous?" Harry blurts out without thinking, his eyes wide, and Riddle's head flies up.

"Don't be stupid," he snaps. Before Harry can say anything more, Riddle yanks his trousers down the rest of the way, and they both curse, all awkward limbs in the small bed as they struggle to take off Harry's trousers, and then belatedly, his shoes.

He's bare-arsed on his ex-girlfriend's bed, and Harry's face and chest are hot, embarrassed but still desperately aroused. Riddle rucks his sweater up, exposing Harry's stomach, his chest, and Harry groans at his touch.

"I don't want to—" he starts to say, and Riddle immediately makes an agreeing sound, stroking his cock in one hand, up Harry's thigh with the other.

"Yes," he says as he's pulling Harry's legs up, pressing his knees closed and down to Harry's chest. "Just like this."

"Fuck," Harry breathes, and his head falls back into Ginny's pillow. He can smell her shampoo, sweet and floral, and Harry has the oddest out-of-body sensation as he remembers all the times they've made out, just as Riddle slides his dick in between Harry's thighs. "Fuck."

Riddle groans, pressing in closer, his arm wrapped around Harry's knees keeping them up.

"Press your legs tighter," he says, and Harry squeezes his thighs together. Riddle fucks into the space between, and the pass of his cock over Harry's own is somehow electrifying even if the touch is barely anything. It's worth it for Riddle's face all alone, the pleasure that hisses through his teeth, and Harry frantically yanks him down to kiss him.

They rut and grind against each other, and Harry's chest is damp with sweat that Riddle pulls away to lick up.

"I can't believe you," Harry grunts, winding his fingers through Riddle's coiffed hair and messing it up. Riddle already looks irritated. Harry pants and then teases, "What did I say? You're so mean to me."

"I'm giving you an orgasm!" Riddle argues and pushes his point by reaching down to take Harry's cock, trapped in between their bellies, and giving it a firm stroke. "How is that mean?"

"Oh, just shut up," Harry snarks, and yanks him in to kiss him.

*

"Really?" Ginny says when they come back down, her face blotchy red. She crosses her arms and glares at them both. "Really?!"

Chapter Text

"Not everything's about Quidditch." It's just a little snide, but he doesn't care. There's no use being charming with Ginny Weasley.  She's already borne witness to the height of Tom's obsession—their mutual obsession—with Harry Potter. "I would have thought that you'd care more about Harry's wellbeing."

"Maybe," Ginny says, her voice hard as she leans in, "if you hadn't knocked him up, we wouldn't be having this conversation."

"Things happen," Tom replies blandly, voice even, smile placid. Nothing to give him away. She had no proof anyway. Accusing him would do nothing.

"We both know you make things happen." There's an edge of bitterness in her tone, and Tom stiffens, already knowing what she's going to say next. His hand drifts to his side, where his wand is tucked and—

"You've been obsessed with him since your Second Year," Ginny accuses. "Don't think I've forgotten how you used me—"

"I'd shut up now if I were you."

And Ginny shuts up. She pretends she's so brave, but she still quells at his tone, and Tom smirks in satisfaction.

They stare at each other. Tom wonders if it's too late to Obliviate her. He could do it now if he had to. If only he had known the spell in his Second Year, he wouldn't have this loose end. It had already proved itself to be exceedingly useful.

He should. The only thing keeping her mouth shut right now is the mutual embarrassment on both their ends. Understandably, she doesn't want Harry to know the things Tom had her do five years ago.

Really. It was just a little breaking and entering into the dorms, a little petty theft and stalking. Nothing that bad. But he can understand. He doesn't want the hit to his reputation or to Harry's regard either.

"You can't threaten me," Ginny says, raising her chin.

"No one would ever find your body," Tom replies, his voice low.

Ginny Weasley doesn't even look fazed. Instead, the hard expression on her face lifts, and a strange little smile curls up on her lips. She tilts her head to the side.

"But Harry would be devastated," she says, and her tone is mocking, enough for Tom's eyebrow to twitch.

"I don't care," he says flatly.

"Don't you?" Ginny innocently asks, and Tom's jaw tightens, his teeth grinding.

His expression goes carefully blank when he sees Harry reenter the room, a glass of water in hand, but the amused expression on Ginny's face hasn't faded. Her eyebrows are raised, a condescending smile on her lips, and Tom would kill her if—

"Here," Harry says, wariness clear in his tone. He hands Tom the glass of water, and Tom doesn't even bother looking at it, just places it on the table beside him.

Tom stands, silently seething. His magic is tightly leashed under his skin, burning cold, and it's only Harry's presence that stops his hand. He needs to…

He doesn't think, too irritated, just grabs Harry's wrist and pulls him close until Harry is warm against his side. It soothes the hissing snake in his belly, even if only a bit.

"Come with me," he says. He doesn't give Harry time to argue.

When Harry looks back over his shoulder to shoot Ginny an apologetic look, he yanks Harry's arm, just the tiniest bit petulant. He doesn't want him to even look at her. He wants Harry's attention all to himself.

*

After, just before lunch officially starts, Harry mutters to him that at least Mr. Weasley said nothing about the pregnancy, although it looked like he very much wanted to. Mr. Weasley congratulates them on their engagement, either way, and Tom shoots him a charming smile in thanks.

The Grangers are less subtle, both prodding a little rudely as they wonder in wide-eyed awe how same-sex pregnancy is possible in the Wizarding World. Tom knows now, at least, where Hermione gets it from.

"If there's a will, there's a way," Sirius cheerfully tells them.

Harry looks morose, mortified as the adults continue to talk about him as if he isn't there, and he sticks close to Tom's side. His arms are crossed, almost hiding behind Tom's taller form. There's a bruise on the side of his neck that Harry keeps touching, his cheeks red. The glamour on his ring is gone again, no longer needed, and something in Tom's chest hums in visceral satisfaction at the sight of both. Harry's annoyed side-eye towards him does nothing to get rid of it.

Ginny is still glaring daggers at them, but all that serves to do is drive Harry closer towards him. A common enemy, at least for the day, and Tom smirks at her smugly above Harry's head.

The Weasley twins are unabashed. They find it hilarious.

"I never would have thought," Fred says, holding his hand up to his mouth, eyes wide in an exaggerated gasp. "Mr. Uptight Prefect Head Boy Slytherin's Heir—"

"—just get on with it—"

"—with our Harry?" Fred continues, ignoring Ron's side comment.

"I wasn't surprised," Ginny declares boldly, and Tom narrows his eyes. "Ron and I bet on it. I won."

"Yeah, 'Mione and I didn't see it coming," Ron grumbles, pushing his peas away in his plate. "And we thought we knew Harry."

Ginny meets his gaze across the table. She doesn't say it, but Tom knows what she's thinking anyway. Ron may know Harry, but Ginny had known about Tom.

"I guess it's too late to announce our new line of Weasley products," George sighs dramatically. Fred coughs to hide his snicker—not well, Tom thinks—and Sirius snorts from where he's seated.

"Do I want to know?" Harry grumbles, and Fred and George laugh, both of them nodding. They share a shit-eating grin before they turn back to Harry.

"We've partnered with Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans—"

"—for Every Flavoured Condoms!"

"Boys!" Molly snaps. "Not appropriate table conversation!"

Despite himself, Tom's lip twitches in restrained amusement.

Sirius Black doesn't bother holding back as he barks in laughter, and Molly's glare is heated enough that Tom is surprised Sirius doesn't burst into flames. Sirius quickly rearranges his face into a severe expression that looks remarkably similar to Narcissa's serious face. Remus's eyes close as he exhales in fond exasperation, and beside him, Harry delicately coughs.

Molly's lips purse and with a hard motion, she gives another—a third, if Tom's been counting correctly—serving on top of Harry's plate. You're eating for two now, love, she had said, and with a pointed aside, do your guardians not feed you?

Harry shoots her a smile that's simultaneously thankful yet pained. Tom isn't sympathetic. Harry does need to eat more.

"So, boys," Molly says sweetly, abruptly bringing the conversation back as she turns to smile at him and Harry. "Have you two decided whose last name you're planning to take?"

"Of course." Tom straightens up. Harry gives him an odd look, and Tom ignores him, flashing a smile down the table. "Potter."

Harry chokes.

"That's wonderful," Molly coos, and Tom reaches over to pat Harry's back as he continues to cough, Tom’s practiced smile fixed on his face.

"Where are you planning to live?" Percy asks curiously. He and Aubrey share a look, and Percy confides, "Aubrey and I have been looking for flats closer to the city, but so far no luck."

Tom and Harry turn to each other and blink. Tom is annoyed he hadn't planned for it.

"Er," Harry stalls, and at his clueless smile, Molly hums.

"What about Godric's Hollow, dear? Where your parents used to live?"

Abruptly, the room quiets.

It takes only a second for Tom to realize why. The conversation between the twins, Sirius and Remus has stopped, and there's a look on Sirius's face. The severe expression he had worn earlier is back, but there's a hardness to it, a tightness to his jaw and his shoulders, and Tom's fingers twitch on his utensils. It's real this time, he knows.

Harry makes a small noise, his eyes darting back and forth between Molly and Sirius. Tom's noticed how sensitive he is to conflict. He looks stricken, and even Remus shifts in his seat.

"There's barely anything left of the Potter Cottage," Sirius bites out, his voice low. "Grindelwald—It hasn't been—" he cuts himself off, his lips thinning. He exhales noisily. "The boys should live somewhere else."

"It's a lovely location," Molly argues, tone reasonable. Tom wonders if she's deliberately ignoring the tense atmosphere, on the basis of it being Sirius alone. "I'm sure it won't take long to fix up."

"No one touches the Cottage," Sirius snaps, baring his teeth. He makes a move to stand, but Remus immediately touches his arm and Sirius falters. He looks surprised at himself, and even Molly's eyes are wide. They stare at each other.

At the other end of the table, the Weasley twins grimace. Ron and Hermione share a wide-eyed look, and everyone else politely averts their gaze. Harry looks awkwardly down at his full plate and squirms. Tom moves his leg, pressing their thighs together, and Harry looks up in surprise. He shoots Tom a quick, half-hearted smile.

"Of course," Molly finally says. She sounds apologetic. Sirius looks away and stiffly nods.

The conversation is muted after that, and Sirius is visibly affected. He doesn't joke around with the twins anymore, moody, and the darkness that Tom had caught a glimpse of before hovers over his shoulders. Harry's gaze keeps darting back to his godfather, distracted even as Tom and his friends try to pull him into a conversation.

Tom isn't surprised that the moment everyone is done eating, Harry is immediately shooting off to his godfather's side.

He watches them curiously, unblinking as Harry tugs on Sirius's sleeve and tentatively smiles up at him. The hard expression on Sirius's face softens just a bit, and at his side, Remus takes his hand.

An unconventional family, he thinks. But a family nonetheless.

*

This is what Tom gets for Yule:

 

  1. A trial set of Every Flavoured Condoms from the twins, who snicker and laugh at his expression, even as Molly shakes her head and scolds them for bringing it up, again.

 

"A little too late, don't you think?" Harry dryly asks, to their roaring laughter.

Sirius, somewhat recovered from his bout of moodiness, cracks a grin and says, "Well, if you don't want it—"

Remus thankfully cuts him off with a deliberate cough.

 

  1. A verbal promise for a Weasley sweater of his own, to be owled in a few days, dear, really Harry, you should have let me know last week.

 

The matching looks on both Ginny's and Hermione's faces are a gift enough, truly.

And finally, even as Sirius loudly proclaims that Harry is a gift enough—Tom is inclined to agree—

 

  1. A book, marked with the crest of his ancestors, because Harry mentioned you had some actual Slytherin blood in you.

 

It's just barely legal, so close to Dark magic that Tom is surprised he'd even dare, but the others don't appear to recognize it. Sirius gives him an open invitation as well to the Black Library in Grimmauld Place, but 'you have to deal with dear Bella if you really want to.' Tom refrains from mentioning that he and Bellatrix are already well acquainted and that Tom had already been to the Black Library under her invitation.

In return, Tom gives them all carefully chosen gifts. He even gives Harry's friends and Ginny something, despite his own misgivings. He's smugly pleased with Hermione's reluctant acceptance of her gift, especially as she tries and fails to hide how her eyes visibly gleam in intellectual greed at the thick tome. Ginny doesn't even open hers, deliberately leaving it wrapped still at her side.

Ron, on the other hand, doesn't bother to hide his reaction. He loudly and enthusiastically thanks him for the signed Cannon merch, even as Hermione rolls her eyes. Tom had procured it through Malfoy connections at a mild cost—Draco's annoyance and loud judgement.

At his side, Harry gapes.

He shoves Tom's shoulder after, a scowl on his lips. "When did you have time to buy them gifts?" Harry hisses, and Tom gives him a thin smile.

"The day after you invited me to spend the break with you," he says. Harry opens and closes his mouth soundlessly before his shoulders drop.

"And…" Harry hesitates, unsure. "My…gift?"

"Of course I have one for you," Tom replies, and he can't control the damning fondness in his tone. He wonders if Harry even notices. "I'm working on it still."

His Slytherin locket is waiting back in Harry's room. All he needs is to finish the ritual tonight and make it a Horcrux. His Horcrux, he thinks in satisfaction. A part of him, his very soul, in Harry's literal care. It's only fitting, and it's the greatest gift he can think of.

Harry, after all, only deserves the best.

*

"Did you mean it?"

Tom looks up. Harry had changed out of his old sweater into the new one Molly had given him just a few minutes ago. It looks just as good on him, a deep red that brings out his skin.

Harry nudges him to move, and Tom does, just enough so that Harry has to sit pressed close to him on the sofa. Their sides touch. Harry doesn't look bothered, even actually leans in towards him, and Tom preens.

"Mean what?" he asks.

Harry huffs. He stretches out his legs, idly knocking his shoes together.

A few feet away from them, the others are chatting. The tense atmosphere from lunch is mostly gone, the Yule cheer back in the air after the exchanging of gifts.

"What you said during lunch," Harry clarifies, and Tom thinks back. He had said a lot of things during lunch. Harry looks up at him and then purses his lips. "You said you wanted to—to take my last name."

"Oh," Tom says, surprised. "Of course. I'd want nothing else."

Harry's nose scrunches skeptically, and Tom stalls, before he sighs and expounds, "I told you. I've met the Riddles. I want nothing to do with them."

"Huh," Harry says. He looks away, and then out loud, he muses, "Tom Marvolo Potter."

An odd expression crosses his face and he coughs, looking away.

"I was considering other names," Tom feels compelled to share, and Harry raises his eyebrows.

"Gaunt," he continues. Unacceptable, he knows now. Their reputation was shot to pieces, too closely associated with Pureblood fanaticism and…inbreeding. The very thought of it makes his lip curl in disdain.

"Gaunt?" Harry asks, blinking, and Tom sighs.

"My mother's family," he says. He doesn't explain further. He doesn't particularly want to.

"Slytherin?" Harry tries to suggest, and Tom's lips thin. He could. He had considered it. The power inherent in the name itself was almost unmatched, but he supposed it didn't matter anymore. Not with their marriage in two weeks.

"Would be weird anyway," Harry continues in his silence. "I wouldn't want to call you Gaunt—or Slytherin."

"Would you call me Potter then? Once we're married?"

Harry falters, and he blinks at Tom, his eyes wide. "That's weirder," he says bluntly.

Tom wets his lips. He looks away. Then carefully, his tone even, he says, "Just call me Tom."

"Oh," Harry says. And then again, "Oh."

Tom watches from the side of his eye as Harry reaches up to rub the side of his neck, pulling his bottom lip into his mouth.

"Yeah," Harry finally says, voice soft. "Okay. That—that makes sense. Yeah, I should." He glances up at Tom through his eyelashes, unbearably attractive.

Harry clears his throat. "Tom," he says, and Tom can't help but smile. Harry flushes. "You should call me Harry, then."

Tom says nothing about how he already has been.

They watch as Molly and Arthur start dancing to the Weird Sisters' latest Yule single, both of them smiling brightly, laughing in each other's arms even as Molly is red in happy embarrassment. Tom sees Harry's eyes drift to where his godfather and Remus are in the corner of the living room, their heads bowed together, intimate even in the crowded room. And again, as his eyes flit towards Percy and Aubrey, the two of them animatedly chatting.

He stares at them, the oddest expression on his face that Tom can't discern. Emotions, even his, are already so hard for him. He wants to know Harry as intimately as he can, every single bit of how he ticks.

"I know we're only getting married for the baby," Harry abruptly says, and Tom's lips momentarily thin in irritation. That had been his plan, but for Harry to just lay it out like that… Harry turns to him and Tom quickly wipes his expression.

In contrast, Harry's face is flushed, his whole face open for anyone to read and his embarrassment and shyness plain. "But I want something like that for us too," he mutters, just barely audible, but the way he looks at Molly and Arthur, Sirius and Remus, and Percy and Aubrey make it clear what he's talking about.

He meets Tom's gaze for only a second before he looks away, his shoulders hunched. "I want a family. As happy as it can be. An actual home."

Tom swallows. He hates this, he hates being vulnerable and weak, but it's the quickest way to endear Harry to him, make him trust Tom. It had worked before. The benefits outweigh the cost.

And so, against every instinct, he says, "I want that too." His jaw still tightens at the admission, waiting for judgement that doesn't come.

But Harry doesn't use it against him. Of course he doesn't. Harry only looks up at him, his brilliant green eyes wide, and he smiles. Tentative, but oh so sweet that Tom's teeth hurt as he grits them.

"Yeah?" Harry asks, and Tom just nods, unwilling to speak another word. Harry's shoulders relax at his admission, and his smile is easier now, softer. Tom…Tom wants. There's no other word for the ache in his chest, nothing to describe how he feels.

"A home…" he trails off. He glances at Harry. "Where are we going to live?"

Harry laughs at that before he grimaces. He glances at Sirius, far away from the both of them, and then pitches his voice low, just loud enough for Tom to hear.

"Godric's Hollow would be nice." His hushed admission has a tinge of longing on it, and his lips pull downwards into a frown that Tom wants to wipe off, with his mouth preferably. "I don't know. I guess. I've never seen it though."

"Never?" Tom asks in surprise, and Harry nods.

"It's a touchy topic if you hadn't realized," he mutters, grimacing. "Sirius doesn't…" he bites off his next words and then shakes his head. "Never even saw my parents' graves."

"Really?"

The judgement in his tone must come across because Harry's head shoots up, his lips parted.

"I don't—I don't blame Sirius," Harry quickly says, and his smile is forced. "The last time he was there, he saw my parents' dead bodies, after all." He huffs and looks away once more. "Just would be nice to see it, I guess. Where they died. Where they were buried."

Oddly morbid, for you , Tom thinks but doesn't say.

"Have you never considered going by yourself?" he finds himself asking, and Harry's lips purse.

"I don't want to go alone," he mutters, his voice low and soft and vulnerable. The two of them are silent, and Harry sighs as he brings his knees up to his chest. He rests his cheek on them, head turned towards Tom, and he smiles, his eyes half-lidded. He looks tired.

Tom doesn't understand how or why Harry's pain hits him so hard, the ache so deeply physical even if it isn't his. He should just cut Harry out of his life so he doesn't have to deal with these irritating, useless feelings.

He wants to. He doesn't want to.

He wants Harry, above all.

"Anyway," Harry says, forced cheer in his voice. "I think Sirius wants to go soon. He had something planned with the twins, but I think he's still in a somewhat bad mood so we won't stay any longer."

Tom's eyes flick towards the grandfather clock. It's not even five yet, although it’s already dark outside, the sun long set. The moon will be at its highest at nine, and that’s when Tom needs to start the Horcrux ritual.

He hesitates. All the materials are already prepared. The location and the circle are set up.

He has plenty of time.

"Do you want to go now? Tonight?"

Harry blinks at him. He raises his head from his knees, his legs dropping, and he shifts towards Tom. They're both turned toward each other now, and Tom wonders what they look like, both of them sitting close and curved inwards in a private bubble of their own making.

"Where?" Harry asks, and Tom sighs impatiently. He resists rolling his eyes.

"Godric's Hollow," he says, and Harry's mouth falls open.

"Really? You would? With me?" He leans in close, reaching out to steady himself on Tom's thigh, his hand warm. Tom nods.

Harry's face blooms into a brilliant smile, his features bright, and his laugh is disbelieving and breathless. He pulls Tom in for an ecstatic, excited kiss, and Tom can feel it, can taste his smile against his lips.

Tom's heart stutters in his chest, an unpleasant ache. He wants to rip out his damned heart.

He knows by now he can't.

Chapter Text

They follow Sirius and Remus back home to the Marauders’ Cottage, and it's a little bit past five by the time they arrive. They don't waste any time, quickly escaping to Harry’s room to drop off their things.

Tom stops by Nagini's rock to chat with her, unintelligible low hisses coming out of his mouth. Harry glances just in time to see him stroke his knuckle down her back before he pulls away.

"Let's go," Harry says, impatient. He feels electric, like a live nerve exposed, his heart pounding in his chest. He makes a break for the door, but a sound from Tom stops him. Tom catches his arm and reels him back.

"It's going to be cold," Tom mutters, and Harry flushes as Tom hands him his thick coat and helps him into it. He fidgets as Tom pulls out a scarf and wraps it around Harry's neck. It's not his scarf, Harry immediately recognizes, and when he ducks his head and inhales, he can smell Tom.

Tom looks satisfied, and he pulls on the end of the scarf with a smug little smirk. Harry wants to scowl at him, but he's somehow grown to find Tom’s stupid smirk endearing and he can't help but smile.

Harry waits as Tom puts on his own coat, a scarf, and a pair of fine, leather gloves. He shifts restlessly in place.

"Now let's go," Tom says, and Harry exhales in relief. "Your gloves are in your pocket."

As they leave Harry's room, Harry reaches in his coat pocket to pull out his pair of fingerless gloves, quickly slipping them on, the cloth stretchy enough that there’s space for his ring. He sticks his hands back into his pockets, wiggling his fingers as he fidgets with his wand.

"Where are you two going?"

Harry freezes, looking up. He feels like he just got caught doing something naughty, and guilt worms its way into his chest at Sirius's tired, albeit open expression. Tom presses in close behind him, warm and tall, his hand on Harry's waist over his winter coat.

"We're going on a date," Tom says calmly, and Harry ducks his head and nods at his feet. His ears are burning. He can't even be embarrassed by Tom's bold claim, because the alternative is Sirius knowing they're going to Godric's Hollow. He wonders worriedly if Sirius can read the truth clear on his face.

Tom squeezes his hip and Harry rocks back into his chest, not even breathing.

"Have fun," is all Sirius says, and Harry almost collapses in relief. He looks up just as Sirius gives them an amused smile and turns away. Harry winces, and he debates telling Tom never mind, let's just stay here instead.

But the lure of his parents' graves, the house he had lived in for a measly year… It's too great, and Harry can't resist.

He has a home here now, with Sirius and Remus. Maybe even a home with Tom in the future, as ridiculous an idea it first seemed. But Godric's Hollow is where he would have grown up. Where he would have spent every school holiday, would have actually been excited to come back to instead of dreading the summers.

"Come on," Tom says, breaking Harry out of his reverie. He lets Tom tug him out, Tom's hand warm on his elbow. He gives Sirius's back one last, regretful look before he steels himself and follows Tom out.

"Ready?"

Harry nods wordlessly. He doesn't trust himself to speak.

They Apparate together.

Harry closes his eyes against the rush of the Side-Along. This time, thankfully, he doesn't stumble when they land. Tom's hand is still on his arm, keeping him steady.

He opens his eyes, and his breath catches in his throat. It's snowing, little bits of white falling from the dark blue sky, a brushwork of stars across it. The narrow lane they're standing on is surrounded by cottages on either side and a row of streetlights that stand tall.

Beside him, Tom is silent.

Harry swallows. He turns to look up at Tom then, and Tom is bathed underneath the golden glow of the streetlights, his expression clear and curious as he takes in the same things that Harry is. Tom tilts his head and looks ahead.

Harry follows his gaze where a short way ahead of them, a cluster of lights surround the center of the village.

Harry takes in a deep breath and then lets it go. It fogs in front of him. He moves onwards, and Tom follows beside him, a solid presence that Harry can't help but look towards. Their shoes crunch against the fine layer of snow, leaving an imprint, and Harry's gaze drops to the two pairs of shoes, side by side.

"Do you actually know where to go?"

Harry lifts his head. "An address," he says uncertainly. "I've seen it before, but not the actual house. I don't know where it'd be."

Tom exhales, and Harry is surprised at the lack of any further comment, exasperated or otherwise. They've passed by a few more cottages, and any one of them could have been the Potter Cottage, but Harry knows they aren't. Sirius had said before that barely anything was left of it.

Before Harry can apologize, the little lane they had been walking on curves to the left, and Harry sees the heart of the village. A small square, strung all around with colored lights, and in the center of which is a war memorial. It's surrounded by several shops, a post office, a pub, and a little church that Harry catches Tom staring at.

"There's a graveyard behind the church," Tom says. He says nothing more, only slides his gaze back to Harry, and Harry feels his gut clench. His parents will be there. For so long, a part of him had wanted nothing more than to see his parents' graves, but now, so close to it, he wonders if he truly wants to.

Tom takes his hand, and Harry exhales. They continue onward. They pass by the war memorial, an obelisk covered in names, and neither of them stops to give it a second look.

(They don't stop and stare as the obelisk changes into a statue of Lily, James, and baby Harry, because in this world, it doesn't.)

Tom pushes open the kissing gate to the entrance of the graveyard, and the two of them slip through. The snow is deeper here, and as they move towards the tombstones, they leave deep trenches behind them. Harry doesn't know when they've stopped holding hands, and he wonders if it'd be weird to ask for Tom's hand back.

It isn't so dark yet that Harry can’t see, and so, silently, the two of them wade deeper into the graveyard. Names on tombstones occasionally jump out at Harry, but he finds no need to point any out. He already knows that Godric's Hollow is a half-magical dwelling place, and it comes as no surprise that some last names are familiar.

One, though, happens to catch Tom's eye.

Tom nudges his side and Harry follows his gaze. He stoops down to read the words KENDRA DUMBLEDORE, and then a little below it, AND HER DAUGHTER ARIANA.

"Think they're related to Dumbledore?" Harry asks, and Tom shrugs in answer.

"I don't know," he says. The yet is unspoken, but Harry hears it anyway. Tom will know by the end of the week; Harry is sure of it.

Harry turns away. He's interested, but Dumbledore is alive for questions, and the excited trepidation of seeing his parents' graves overwhelms his curiosity. They start looking again.

Another gravestone catches Harry's eye this time, and he stops. It isn't the Potter he’s looking for though, and so he makes to continue onward until Tom catches his arm.

"Isn't that…" he points, and Harry makes a small sound of recognition. It's the same symbol on his ring—on Tom's ring, really. That triangular mark, with the circle and the line in the middle. Tom pulls his wand out to shine a light, but the stone is so old that the name is barely legible. It doesn't need to be.

"Peverell," Harry says, and Tom looks up.

"One of my ancestors," Tom says, a familiar glint in his eye. Harry almost rolls his eyes. Merlin, he had almost forgotten about Tom's weird lineage boner.

"Or one of mine," Harry says. He turns away. "I'm going to keep looking."

"One of yours?" Tom asks as he stands up. He catches up to Harry, and Harry nods, distracted and jittery. Every time his gaze reaches a new headstone, he feels his stomach lurch with a mix of apprehension and anticipation.

"Professor Dumbledore said that the Potters are descended from the Peverells," Harry half-heartedly explains. He doesn't really feel like speaking. It's so much darker where they are now, so much quieter, and it's getting to him in a way he can't explain.

"You never told me," Tom says, and he sounds annoyed.

"Slipped my mind," Harry admits honestly. "Not everything's about you."

Tom makes an insulted sound, and Harry cracks a tremulous smile.

Tom strays away from him, and Harry's gut twists. He doesn't want to admit it, but Tom's presence at his side gives him comfort, something firm and stable that Harry needs right now. He looks away. He busies himself with reading graves, recognizing Wizarding family names, and then—

"Harry." Tom's voice is clear, a few yards away. His tone is just as even as usual, but Harry instinctively knows that he's found it. He makes his way towards Tom, barely able to breathe. His chest feels heavy, and he's sick with half-formed grief he's never felt before.

The headstone is only two rows behind the Dumbledores’, and Harry wonders how they had missed it in the beginning. It's made of white marble, and it seems to shine even in the darkness, enough so that it's easy to read. Harry doesn't even need to come any closer to be able to read it.

He stares at it, and the grief, the fearful anticipation that had followed him crash down. He takes it in with a heavy heart, as though this isn't just the first time he'll see it, but also the last. He exhales, harsh and rough.

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death," Harry reads aloud, slow and careful. His shoulders slump and he touches his ring, rubbing over the stone. "What does that even mean?" he mutters.

"It's fitting," Tom says beside him, and his voice is strange. There's an odd quality to it, a heated fervor that's out of place. Harry turns to him and falters, momentarily distracted from his overwhelming heartache.

Tom meets his gaze, his own heavy, meaningful somehow. Harry swallows, suddenly unsure.

Tom gives him a self-satisfied smile and reaches out to take Harry's hand in his. "That's what I want for us," he says, low and intimate, and Harry shivers. Tom squeezes Harry’s hand. “To defeat death.”

"I'm…I'm not sure I understand," Harry says uncertainly. Something niggles in the back of his mind, but try as he may, Harry can't quite get it.

"It's fine," Tom murmurs sweetly. "You will."

*

When they exit the graveyard, Harry still feels dazed, off-balance. As if his world's been tilted off its axis. There are people passing through the square, snatches of conversation that Harry doesn't care for, even Muggle Christmas music across the street. They had barely registered in Harry's consciousness even when they had first arrived, and so he's surprised when Tom takes his hand, taking the lead, and purposefully strides towards one of the villagers.

"Tom," Harry hisses, but Tom ignores him.

"Excuse me," Tom calls out, and the lady looks up. Tom squeezes Harry's hand. "I was wondering if you knew where…" He looks at Harry expectantly, and Harry straightens up, quickly rattling off the address he had seen in Sirius’s saved letters. Tom and the lady both politely ignore how Harry's voice cracks.

Harry tries to listen to the lady's directions, but he's restless, shifting in place. When Tom says his thanks, he's abruptly brought back to the moment, Tom's hand in his grounding.

"It's the other way," Tom tells him, and Harry silently nods. Tom lets go of his hand, and they walk. The street they go into is darker, and when Harry looks ahead, he can see the point where the cottages end and where the open country begins once more.

And at the very end of the row of cottages, a dark mass.

Harry moves towards it, his heart pounding, and Tom silently follows.

"Tom…" he says, and Tom touches the small of his back as they stop in front of the cottage.

Sirius was right. There's barely anything left of it.

He can't do anything but stare at the rubble of the house he used to live in, his chest tight. Most of the house is gone, simply destroyed, darkened marks of spellfire racing up what remains of the inner walls. It's a wreck. It’s unsalvageable, and Harry can barely tell that it used to be two-stories, or that it even used to be a cottage like the ones it's flanked by.

"How did you survive this?" Tom's voice is hushed, and there's a strange look on his face as he takes in the mess of Harry's family home.

"Because I wasn't here," Harry says. His own voice sounds far away as if he's underwater. He takes a step towards the rubble and reaches out to touch the rusted, snowy gate. He swallows, and then slowly, pushes it open. He glances back at Tom. "I was with Sirius."

"And they still thought he was a Grindelwald follower?" Tom sounds disbelieving.

"I know," Harry grumbles. "And it doesn't help that…" he trails off and stares at the path leading up to what remained of the front. He steels himself and starts onwards.

"That?" Tom matches him step by step.

"That Peter's still out there. Sirius and Remus still haven't moved on, and they don't say it, but I know they're worried about me, and I don't understand why. He has no reason to come for me."

Tom stops him, his touch gentle. "Sirius mentioned this to me yesterday," he says.

"Oh."

"And I promise you," Tom's tone is heavy again, "no harm will ever come to you."

Harry blinks up at him, his lips parting. He doesn’t know what to do with a promise like that, and he can feel his cheeks go warm, his heartbeat loud.

“That’s a loaded promise,” he says lightly. A nervous laugh escapes him and he turns away, unable to bear the eye contact. With all the Gryffindor courage he has in him, he continues onwards.

He doesn’t bother with the door—the walls are barely there as it is—and he only has to take a step over the rubble before he’s inside Potter Cottage.

He can see everything. He doesn’t know much of what had happened, but the haunted look in Sirius’s eyes is almost enough.

James and Lily had fought to their death, side by side, and the evidence is everywhere. From the curse marks on the floors and the blown-out walls, to the half-transfigured furniture that lays broken.

They say his mother had died first. And then Grindelwald had tortured James Potter. How long, no one quite knew, but he had been looking for something that Harry’s father did not or could not give him. Sirius was the one who found his body.

A sad story, but ultimately just one of many from the war. Lily and James Potter are just another pair of casualties.

The inside is covered by a layer of snow, hiding whatever could have possibly survived Grindelwald’s attack. But Harry doesn’t need to see it.

All he needs to do is close his eyes and just imagine. How his mother would have welcomed him home. How his father would have taught him to fly. How Sirius and Remus would have been there too, but just as his godfathers, the uncles he would have seen every now and then, but still very much loved. How Tom and Harry would still be here tonight, but for a much different reason.

He opens his eyes and sees nothing but how the life he could have lived was taken from him.

Harry turns to Tom, his chest aching, his throat tight, and—Harry's breath stutters as their eyes lock, Tom's dark and intense. The depth of them is unfathomable.

Harry feels raw, cracked open inside and vulnerable, and he doesn’t think before he reaches out to hold on to the front of Tom’s coat.

They've kissed hundreds, millions of times. More now than ever. They've never been shy about it.

But Harry…Harry wants to kiss him. He has never wanted to kiss anyone else with this same intensity before, this desperate need to connect, and feel, and touch.

“I...” he says, voice quiet and rough as he leans in. He looks up to meet Tom's eyes, and his heart is painfully full with an emotion he can’t, doesn’t want to put a name to. “I...”

“It's okay,” Tom says, his voice just as hushed, and it's enough to make the swelling urge in Harry rise up, a dam overflowing. Harry is dizzy, helpless to it and...

Harry tilts his head up. Tom meets him halfway.

Their lips press against each other, gentle and sweet, just a simple touch. It’s simple. Chaste. And yet it’s enough to make Harry’s face feel hot, for the butterflies in his stomach to threaten to fly out. His heart is pounding, a solid thump thump thump against his chest, loud enough that Harry is sure Tom can hear it, and Harry almost chokes as tears start to well up in his eyes.

Tom reaches up to cup his cheek, his other hand on Harry's hip, and his touch is so tender, so out of character and so at odds to what Harry's known from him that he almost draws away. He doesn't. He tilts his head to the side and holds onto Tom's shoulder even tighter, his nails digging into Tom's coat. Tom wraps an arm around his back and pulls him close until their bodies are flush against each other, the two of them clutching, clinging. Harry sighs against his mouth.

Their mouths press and slide, languid and warm even as the snow continues to fall around them. Harry pulls away only when the need for air overwhelms his desperate need for Tom, but Tom only reels him back. Neither of them is willing to stop exchanging soft, deep kisses, one, two, three. Harry's head feels light, his glasses are fogged, and—and he can't stop smiling against Tom's mouth, helpless to do anything but.

He doesn't know how long they spend just kissing, but after seconds, minutes, hours, they pull away. All Harry can do is stare into Tom's eyes, panting. Their foreheads are pressed together as they quietly share breath, little puffs from the cold escaping in between them. Harry's smile wavers and he ducks his head, his hands clenching tight on Tom's coat.

“Thank you,” he says, voice thick with emotion. He furiously rubs his eyes and sniffs, embarrassed. He wants to look away, but he can't, he's caught. “Thank you. This is… This is the best gift I’ve ever gotten. It’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”

The expression on Tom's face is odd, his eyes darting back and forth over Harry's features as if he's looking for something. Harry doesn't know if he finds it, but Tom pulls Harry in close and presses his lips to the top of Harry's head. Harry buries his face into Tom's shoulder, a shudder running down his spine. It's so silly now to think of all the qualms he used to have about Tom.

Tom murmurs something into Harry's hair that Harry doesn't hear, and he cradles the back of Harry’s neck. His hands are impossibly soft on Harry, as if he’s something to be treasured. Something to be cherished and loved. Harry doesn't understand. It doesn't make sense. Was this how Tom had always touched him? Was this how Tom had always looked at him, and he just hadn’t noticed?

He pulls away, his mouth opening, but the question dies in his throat as Tom smiles at him. Not a smirk, not a smug, satisfied grin, but the smallest of smiles. Real. Exactly the same smile Tom gave him all those years ago when they had first met on the train.

Harry's breath catches in his throat. His heart skips a beat.

Oh.

"Let's go home," Tom says quietly. His lips are red, and Harry feels his own face go hot, abruptly flustered and giddy.

He wants to kiss him again. He does.

Tom pulls away and holds out his hand, and Harry takes it, interlocking their fingers.

He doesn't let go.

*

They fall into bed. There's something different in the air between them. Harry feels as if his very insides are bruised, Tom's touch the only thing that can soothe the bone-deep ache inside of him.

He had never thought that Tom was holding back all the times before, but there's something charged in the way Tom is touching him now, a bottomless, insatiable greed mixed with tender reverence. A single-minded focus on Harry, his attention unlike anything Harry's ever felt before.

Harry arches and shudders into his touch, breathless. He buries his face in Tom's shoulder and clings. Neither of them acknowledges the wetness Harry leaves in the juncture of Tom's neck or his swollen, red eyes.

And after, Harry doesn't let go. He doesn't pull away, doesn't roll to his side, only stays pressed up against Tom's body as if he'll die if they separate.

They talk like that, in low quiet tones. Nothing of importance, just silly little things that distract Harry. Neither of them can stop touching each other. It’s far from sexual, just the affectionate trailing of fingers against Harry’s back and gentle kisses from Harry on Tom's arm, his chest, that he doesn’t hold back.

But eventually, Tom makes a motion to pull away, and Harry's grip tightens around him.

"Stay," he asks. His throat bobs. He still feels raw. Vulnerable.

"I'll come back," Tom says, and something uncomfortable wrenches Harry's gut. He doesn't know if it's just instinct or something more, but that same niggle at the back of his mind from the graveyard returns.

He swallows. "Tom…" His name on Harry's lips sounds the same as a please , and Harry swallows down the rest of what he wants to say.

Tom stares at him. There's a thinness of his lips, a twist of his brow. Harry only stares back, unrelenting and bold and—

"Okay," Tom says.

Harry lets out a breath he didn't even know he was holding, and he smiles, tremulous and raw.

Tom lays back down beside him, but he doesn't look at Harry. His gaze is somewhere far off, somewhere dark, and there's a twist to his features that speaks of his irritation.

Harry feels as if it's simultaneously about him, and isn't. He wets his lips and reaches out to touch Tom's arm, tentative and wary. He doesn't know what to ask or what to say.

Tom gives him an unreadable look, and then slowly, he shakes his head. "It's nothing," he says gently. "I just had something to do."

“Was it important?” Harry asks, and Tom looks back at him.

“Yes,” he says. He stalls, just for a moment, before his gaze drops. He touches Harry’s hand, his own warm. “But it can wait.”

Harry turns his hand upwards, and their fingers interlace. Tom stares at their hands, his eyebrows furrowed, and Harry squeezes.

"Maybe I can go with you," Harry says. It’s the least he can do.

Tom's gaze flies up. There's no expression on his face, eerie and blank, but his eyes are dark and depthless. It takes a moment, but he smiles, slow and pleased.

"Maybe you can."

Chapter Text

They're snogging, both of them snickering and laughing as they roll around Harry's bed. Tom runs his teeth over the hickey from yesterday, and Harry scowls, pushing him to his back.

Harry splays himself on top of Tom, tangling their legs together. He laces his fingers on top of Tom's chest. Tom gazes down at him, smiling despite himself, his arms wrapped around Harry's waist. He should be angry that he wasn't able to make his Horcrux last night, but he finds that he isn't. There are more days, more opportunities. It's a mere delay.

"You know," Harry says playfully as he rests his head on his hands, grinning up at Tom. He eyes Tom's neck. "It's only fair if I give you one too."

"Lucius will be horrified," Tom says solemnly. He smirks. "Do it."

Harry giggle-snorts. Tom doesn't understand how he can find even that attractive, but so help him, he does. Harry ducks his head, crawls up Tom and does as promised.

It continues until breakfast. Harry is almost manically giddy, and it's as if he can't stop touching Tom. They stay pressed up close together, their feet entangled under the table. They don't do anything so disgusting as feed each other, but it's apparent that Harry is very, very close to just climbing onto Tom's lap, sod his breakfast.

Tom is very, very close to letting him.

"Boys," Sirius complains. "I'm trying to eat."

"We're not stopping you," Harry says innocently. Tom politely coughs. He pushes Harry's leg off from where it's trying to crawl up his, and Harry comically pouts. His eyes drop down to Harry's bottom lip before he tears it away.

"Where did you two go yesterday?" Remus asks, and Harry abruptly stops at that. His eyes flick to Sirius, practically reeking with guilt now, blatantly obvious about it.

He glances at Tom, and in a beat, Tom answers for them, a well-practiced lie that gives neither of them away.

Tom knows that Harry had been doing his best not to dwell or mope on Godric's Hollow, and it's easy, almost insanely so, to redirect all of Harry's attention and energy on Tom instead. Harry had been all too willing.

It's done, though.

Harry ducks his head, and morosely pushes at his food. He's frowning, his eyes downcast and shoulders hunched.

Tom knows his own temper is mercurial, but Harry takes moodiness to an almost frightening degree. He just—he has so many feelings. All the time. Tom can't even begin to understand or keep up with them. Guilt, shame—they're all so foreign to him, and Tom finds no need or place for them in his mind. Love, too, should have made that list, so annoyingly useless that it makes Tom angry if he thinks too long about it.

But, Tom thinks as he slides his gaze to Harry, he's made his peace with it. He knows a losing battle when he sees one. Slytherin House had taught him that well enough.

*

"We do actually have a standing invitation to the Malfoy Yule Ball," Sirius muses out loud. "'Cissa feels obligated to invite me."

"Oh?" Harry asks. "Why don't we go?"

They're already dressed in the robes Tom had ordered weeks ago. They had arrived last night via owl while they had been in Godric's Hollow, and they fit perfectly. The very sight of them together, a matching pair, is more satisfying than what Tom has words for. They look good together. It's a scene picked directly from his thoughts, the fruits of his labor just as ripe as he had imagined.

"I'd rather not see all those hoity-toity cunts, tha—"

"Sirius."

Harry snorts. As Remus and Sirius start to playfully bicker once more, Tom watches as Harry's expression turns troubled.

He pulls on an errant lock behind Harry's ear. His hair is getting long.

"Okay?" He asks, and Harry's eyes flick up to him.

"I'm fine."

"You're a horrid liar," Tom says. His fond tone is much too revealing.

Harry flushes. "I should just leave the lying to you then," he grumbles, and Tom huffs in silent laughter.

"You should." He leans in to press a quick kiss, and Harry smiles against his mouth. It tastes exactly how Tom imagines victory would.

*

The Malfoy ballroom is grand, and tonight, it's filled with elegant, clearly expensive decorations ranging from floating fairy lights to a moving ice sculpture of a peacock on the banquet table. Soft music from a quartet band plays, and Harry's only surprised it's just a quartet and not a full-blown orchestra. It borders the line of gaudy but doesn't quite cross it. He's really not sure how they pull it off.

Harry tilts his head upwards, gazing at the chandeliers that hang over the guests. He can't help but note with mild interest that the ceiling must be at least the height of a Quidditch goalpost.

Man. He wants to play Quidditch.

Harry tries very hard not to yawn, looking away. He's been so tired the past few weeks, but Madam Pomfrey had assured him that was normal. His body is adjusting and making room, especially more so because he’s male—and ugh, even now, the very thought still makes his skin crawl. He doesn't want to think about it too much.

The books mentioned it too. Fatigue, nausea, all those other symptoms. His nausea hasn't been that bad recently, the potions from Snape actually helping to quell the most of it, but it doesn't change how Harry is really very tired and would rather not be here.

He promised Tom though, and so Harry will bear through it.

With a grace he doesn't quite possess, he lets Tom lead him to the next person. A woman, her hair done up in elaborate rings, her robes flowing and an almost blinding white. Tom introduces him as his fiancé once more, and Harry realizes that he's actually gotten used to it. He doesn't wince or grimace anymore at the word, only gives his best polite smile. Tom's hand on his waist helps, surprisingly.

He nods appropriately when Tom introduces her as someone in the Department of something or other, Harry doesn't even know, and again, he has to resist the urge to yawn. He's just so bored . Tired, mostly, but bored too and it's barely been an hour. They still have a few more to go, and Harry doesn't even have the freedom to indulge a little in the free-flowing champagne. No, all he has is dumb sparkling water. He doesn't even like sparkling water.

Maybe he can convince Tom to let them leave early.

In all honesty, it isn’t bad as he had expected. Harry…Harry actually likes spending time with Tom now. The other boy’s sense of humor and side comments border on cruel, but his amusement is infectious.

"Give me a few minutes," Tom abruptly says after they're done talking, and Harry nods. He slouches next to a column, wishing that there are more people their age.

Or, he amends grumpily as he watches Tom talk to one of his minions—a pureblood Slytherin in the 5th year if Harry isn't mistaken—people their age who Harry's actually friends with.

None of the Slytherins that Tom's made him talk to were surprised at the engagement ring on Harry's finger. Apparently, Tom had seen fit to inform them all before the Winter Break had even started. It did somewhat explain why Malfoy had left him alone.

"Harry Potter?"

Harry looks up and blinks up at the man. He’s plain, fair skin, high eyebrows, and a bit of gray at the corner of his temples.  Altogether unassuming except for his American accent that sticks out like a sore thumb.

“Yes,” Harry says and politely smiles. He takes a sip of his stupid sparkling water to hide, feeling awkward.

The man gives him a thin smile back, his eyes dropping to Harry's hand where his giant, gaudy engagement ring is. He raises his eyebrows, high up to his forehead. He isn't the first, and Harry doesn't blame him. He kind of wishes he still had the glamour on. There's an awkward moment where neither of them says anything, and then finally, the man looks back up.

“I knew your father,” he says. “I remember, he had this—this Invisibility cloak, didn't he? Expensive things, Demiguises are in such high demand right now. You still have it?"

Harry nods silently and the man's smile widens. “Great Auror, he was. Must be in the blood,” he says. “Abraham’s legacy living on.”

Harry has no idea who Abraham is.

“Are you planning on becoming an Auror as well?”

“I, er, a bit.  I’m thinking of Quidditch too, maybe.”

“Quidditch!” The man laughs, and Harry feels his face go hot in indignation. He opens his mouth to respond, but—

"Yes, he's quite good at it."

Harry relaxes. Tom's voice is steady, polite, but there's an undercurrent of coldness there that Harry's only just recently noticed. Always charming, though, never anything but to strangers. His hand on Harry's shoulder is firm, and Harry shifts closer towards him.

"Ah," the man says, and his eyes flick up and down to assess Tom. His eyes slide to Harry, taking in their matching robes, and Harry feels his face go hot again for very different reasons. "You must be the Malfoy ward."

Not Riddle. Not Tom. The Malfoy ward.

"Yes," Tom says, and the coldness is suddenly icy, glacial. He doesn't ask for the man's name. "I apologize, but there's something that requires Harry's attention."

It's rude the way Tom pulls him away without anything more than a nod goodbye, his hand on Harry's shoulder moving down to Harry's, intertwining their fingers. Harry doesn’t mind.

"Who was that?" Harry asks.

"Abernathy," Tom replies, his tone dismissive. "He works in MACUSA." He turns to Harry, his eyebrows furrowed. "Do you really want to play Quidditch as a career? I thought you wanted to go into the Aurors."

"I don't know," Harry says honestly, shrugging. "I don't know what I'm doing after Hogwarts."

Tom looks flabbergasted. "You have no plan at all? We're graduating this year."

"I mean—I'm taking the NEWTs required to be an Auror, but—I don't know. There are so many things to do, I can't really decide." Harry knows, theoretically, that he should be more decisive about his future, but there's nothing that really calls to him. "I'm good at Quidditch. I'm good at Defense. That's about it."

"I considered teaching Defense," Tom says. "You should too."

"Really?" Harry snorts. "You? I thought you wanted to become Minister."

"Mhm," Tom replies. "Why? Is it so surprising to imagine me as a teacher?"

"You don't really have a lot of patience," Harry says dubiously. "I'm not sure I trust you around impressionable young minds." He flashes a grin up at Tom to take the bite off his words, and Tom huffs.

"Still. Consider it," is all he says, and Harry shrugs again. He's never thought of it. He's never had the opportunity to teach or tutor—that's Hermione's job.  He's never even considered the idea, but now that Tom's mentioned it… He can't deny the appeal.

*

Tom holds no sentimental attachment to his last name. The complete opposite, in fact.

While he would rather be known on his own merits, his own name, rather than the Malfoy ward or simply Harry Potter's husband, he remembers very clearly the last reaction to Lord Voldemort. He scowls.

Taking Harry's last name is an acceptable compromise for his goals.

For one, Potter holds as much weight as Malfoy here, with the added benefit of high regard from American wizards as well due to its history as part of the Original Twelve.

Despite being a ward of the Malfoys, Tom doesn't have the Malfoy name attached to his. It isn't enough, either way. Tom's influence over his year and below mean nothing to the older pureblood crowd that still cares about heritage and legacy and the name. He needs the Malfoys for now, but in a little bit, he won't need them at all.

At least, he thinks, he can be open with being descended from Slytherin.

Second, it has the dual role of further gaining Harry's sympathy and affections.

No one said Tom couldn't accomplish multiple things at once, after all.

“Oh, thank Merlin,” Harry says, his shoulders loosening. Tom follows his gaze to the group chatting by a table. The Parvati twins and—Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang.  “Normal people.”

“Excuse you,” Tom says mildly, but Harry grins at him, bright and unrepentant.

"Come on."

Tom lets himself be pulled, sighing silently, but something in him rears up to attention when the four look up, and Cedric grins, and Cho smiles, and—

Harry goes bright red.

He just barely hides his scowl by the time they're in front of the little group, and it doesn't help when Cedric reaches out to grasp Harry's arm in greeting, touching him. Tom narrows his eyes.

"You look great," Cedric says, and beside him, her arm wrapped around his, Cho enthusiastically nods.

"You do!" She agrees, smiling prettily, and Tom's bad mood deepens when Harry grins back, letting go of Tom's hand to rub at the back of his neck in a flustered, attractive motion.

"Thanks," Harry breathes out. "The both of you look great too." He's still holding on to Cedric's arm.

"It's great to see you as well, Tom," Cedric says, finally pulling his hand away. Harry looks disappointed. Tom's jaw tightens and he reaches out to wrap his arm around Harry's waist, fingers splaying out possessively, and the hissing Basilik in his chest is temporarily soothed. Both Cedric's and Cho's eyebrows rise.

"Diggory, Chang," is all he says.

"Hello, Tom," Padma says politely, and Tom tears his gaze away, adopting a blank, albeit polite smile.

"Padma," he greets. He likes her a lot more than her Gryffindor twin. She's much more reasonable, just barely worth his attention. Parvati, despite her skill in Divination, is little to no use to him. Still, when Parvati smiles at him, he makes himself smile back.

"We were just talking about Cho's research," Padma explains, nodding at Cho. "She's working with Healers in St. Mungo's."

"Living the life, honestly, such goals," Parvati gushes, giggling, and Cho smiles, tilting her head in acknowledgement. "Tell them the good news!"

Cho and Cedric share a sappy smile, their bodies curved together, and then they turn to face Harry and Tom. Simultaneously, they say, "We're getting married!"

"Oh!" Harry says, grinning wide. "Wow! That's great! Congrats!"

"How interesting," Tom can't resist from saying, practically drawling. He tightens his grip on Harry's waist and viciously smiles. "So are we."

"Really?" Cho's eyes drop down, and Tom smirks as he sees the ring register, her eyes widening. "Oh wow, what a ring."

"I know," Harry says gravely, and Tom rolls his eyes. Harry perks up, leaning into Tom. "Actually—You should go to our wedding!"

That is not what Tom was intending.

He scowls. He says nothing to discourage it though, only watches in annoyance as Harry, Cedric and Cho start to exchange wedding details. Cho and Cedric invite them to their wedding as well, a little later than theirs.

"I told you," Parvati tells Padma triumphantly, her arms crossed and her head held high. "I don't understand why you didn't believe me!"

"Your gossip is only right like half the time," Padma argues. "How did you expect me to believe that Tom Riddle and Harry Potter are engaged?"

"I don't believe it myself," Harry says conspiratorially, his attention drawn back to the Patils.

Tom sighs.

*

Now that Harry is actually, truly, and whole-heartedly paying attention to Tom Riddle, he notices a lot more things.

His attention has always been narrow, everything that he didn't truly care for not really registering to him. But Harry wants to know Tom now, that glimpse of something sweet had been enough to send his heart racing. He's aware of his new—or recently discovered, at least—feelings, and normally, he'd be flustered. But Tom and he have been—shagging? Seeing each other? For more than a month now, and sharing a bed as well.

It makes things different.

Still, he can't resist but tease.

"Jealous?" He says it lightly, but Tom's head whips towards him as if he's said something grievously insulting.

"That's the second time you've accused me," Tom snaps. Harry's grin widens. It’s not a no.

"Stop it," Tom says before Harry can open his mouth again, and Harry presses his lips together, valiantly trying to hold back laughter. Tom scowls at him, and Harry can't help it, he snickers and pulls Tom down in for a kiss.

Tom doesn't deepen the kiss, his hand on Harry's hip keeping him from Harry pressing their bodies together.

"It's improper," Tom murmurs, pulling away. He sneaks in another kiss though, and Harry grins against his mouth, sliding his hand up Tom's back.

"Who says?" He playfully asks, and—

“I do, actually.”

Tom stiffens. He quickly pulls away, and Harry turns, his eyes wide.

"I expected nothing less," Lucius Malfoy says, the expression of distaste on his face clear. The way he looks at Harry makes it clear that he's talking about him. He turns to Tom. "From you, though, I expected better."

"You should keep your expectations low," Harry snaps, unable to help himself. "He's the one who can't keep his dick in his pants."

Lucius's mouth falls open and he stares at Harry in outraged disbelief, practically bug-eyed. Beside Harry, Tom delicately coughs.

"He's right, I'm afraid," Tom solemnly says, and Harry grins.

Lucius closes his mouth, his lips thinning into a stern line. "Do control yourself," he says stiffly. He meets Tom's gaze, his eyes hard, but Tom looks unfazed. He only tilts his chin up and smiles, perfectly polite if it weren't for the matching coldness in his eyes.

"We're due for a chat, aren't we?"

"Not yet, I think," Tom answers.

If possible, Lucius looks even more furious. His eyes narrow.

"Don't test me," is all he says, before he turns, robes flying behind him, and leaves. Harry watches him go and whistles lowly.

"I thought no one could match Snape in dramatic exits." He turns to Tom, suddenly curious. "I thought you guys got along."

"We do," Tom says calmly. "It's just a minor disagreement. Don't worry about it."

Harry puts it out of his mind. Tom continues to bring him around to talk to people, and Harry wishes he was back with the Patils, Cedric and Cho. He's still tired, but at least the Ball is halfway done. The thought of his bed at home is the only thing keeping him going.

"I want another drink," Harry says, tugging on Tom's sleeve. " Not sparkling water, though."

"Stay here," Tom orders. He doesn't even bother to phrase it as a request and Harry huffs. He stays, anyway.

Of course, that's exactly when Draco Malfoy finds him.

"Are you here to be a wanker?" Harry instantly demands, and Malfoy scowls at him.

"Excuse you?" he says. "This is my house, Potter. You're the one unwanted here."

"I'm not in the mood right now," Harry replies, grumpy. He just dealt with Malfoy senior, he doesn't think he has it in him to deal with Malfoy junior as well. One is enough. Tom deserves an award, honestly.

"Why?" Draco asks, and his voice is loud, almost obscenely so in the Malfoy Ballroom. There's a natural dip of silence as the band switches songs, and then, his voice echoing—

"Is it because you're pregnant?"

Harry freezes.

He feels as if the floor had just opened up beneath him, panic instantly filling him, fight or flight demanding he fights something that isn’t even there. He looks around him, and he feels the blood rush out of his face as he sees. He sees the matching wide-eyed looks of the people around them, staring at him, the sound of scandal bringing out the high-society vultures more effectively than anything else.

Across Malfoy, Tom looks much the same.

It must sink in for Draco too, because the sneer of disdain drops off his face, quick as it had come, and he looks around him. He catches Tom's gaze, and Tom glares at him acidly, quietly seething. Draco pales.

Tom quickly closes the distance, his strides long and confident, and he settles beside Harry. He has Harry’s drink in hand, and Harry wishes he hadn’t asked for one.

He looks up at him, still wide-eyed and helpless, and Tom takes his hand.

"Fuck," Harry tells him succinctly, and Tom's jaw tightens.

Fuck, indeed.

*

"It's not that bad," Padma tells him, and Harry grimaces. Beside her, Parvati is quietly vibrating, and Harry just knows that before the night even ends, everyone in Hogwarts who isn't already here will know. He has nothing against Parvati, but no one can deny that she's the worst kind of gossip.

"I need to talk to Lucius," Tom mutters to him.

"So you are due for a talk, then," Harry weakly jokes, and Tom sighs.

"Necessary evil. He's furious." He squeezes Harry's hand and moves away, leaving Harry alone to the tender mercies of the Padma twins. Both of them are staring at him, and then Tom, and then back to him with unabashed interest.

"Same-sex pregnancies are incredibly rare," Padma tells him, lifting her eyebrows. "You need to be compatible and have a certain amount of power."

Harry flushes. He had been told that before, but hearing now that he and Tom were compatible made him feel just a little bit better, a little giddy too.

"Didn't even know it was possible," Harry says honestly. "Not like I planned to get knocked up."

"Oh, our mothers were the same," Parvati says dismissively, waving her hand. "They didn't agree beforehand who was going to carry, they both just wished for a child, and there you have it, twins."

"Your mothers," Harry repeats in surprise. He had no idea they had two mums.

"They both took that Fertility potion too," Padma says, sounding embarrassed. "Honestly, you think you'd notice if both of you were steaming at the ears. A little research would have done them good."

"But then you might not have me," Parvati teases, and Padma says nothing, only raises her eyebrows. Parvati huffs. "Oh, you're mean."

"Potter."

Harry looks up and instantly scowls. "What do you want, Malfoy? Don't you think you've done enough?"

The corner of Malfoy's jaw tightens and he glares down at Harry. "Tom told me to apologize," he says spitefully. He sounds as if Tom had asked him to strip and run around naked, or Merlin forbid, talk to a Muggle.

"Well," Harry demands. "Go ahead."

Malfoy's lips thin, looking eerily like his father. Harry honestly hesitates to call him one of Tom's minions, on the virtue that as the Malfoy ward, Tom is technically under Draco. They have a weird power play going on and recently, Tom's been winning it.

"Can't?" Harry can't help but mock at Malfoy's continued silence. "Tom's a much better person than you are."

Malfoy laughs. Harry scowls at him. Padma and Parvati are both silent, just watching the two of them, and Harry knows that this too will make its way around the rumor will. He finds that he doesn't particularly care.

"You really don't know," Malfoy says, a mix of surprised and amused disdain. Harry's hackles rise.

"Know what?" Harry demands, annoyed.

Malfoy shakes his head and scoffs. "Anything," he says. "Everything."

"I think I know more about Tom than you do." Even as Harry says it, something unsure starts to curl in his stomach. Does he, really?

"Tom," Malfoy repeats mockingly. He gives Harry a hard look, his lips thin. He's always had angular features, but now they're particularly sharp, his expression cutting. "A tip, to make up for my earlier blunder. This can be your apology since both you and Tom want one so bad."

He doesn't sound apologetic at all.

"I don't want a tip," Harry says, teeth bared, but Malfoy ignores him.

"My father and Tom are talking in the East Wing." He tilts his head, and Harry follows its direction to a door off the side of the ballroom. "Go listen to them."

"Why?" Harry asks stubbornly.

Malfoy smiles. It's not a nice smile. "I just think you'd find it interesting."

*

"You're getting to the end of my patience, Tom," Lucius says, voice cold. Anyone else might have quelled at it. Tom doesn't care a single bit.

"I've done nothing wrong," he says coolly, and Lucius gives him a disapproving frown. Tom lifts his chin, raising an eyebrow. "If you forgot, it was Draco who couldn't keep his mouth shut."

"Be quiet," Lucius snaps. "Narcissa asked me to let you be when you refused the engagement we found for you, and I have said nothing about your foolish dalliance with Harry Potter."

"I disagree—"

"Quiet, Tom—"

"—you've said plenty," Tom continues, raising his voice, his eyes narrowed. His fists tighten at his side, and he's vibrating with barely leashed, angry magic. He's put up with the snide comments by sheer necessity.

"Your behavior is shameful," Lucius snarls, striding closer towards him. He lifts his snake-headed cane up under Tom's chin, forcing it even higher. "We took you in, gave you everything, and this is how you repay us? By embarrassing us and the Malfoy name?"

"I—"

Lucius doesn't give him the chance to speak this time, speaking louder, more forcefully. "You're reckless, Tom. You don't think. This is why I had to clean up your mess last summer."

"I didn't need your help," Tom hisses. Ever since then, Lucius had been angry with him, their mutually beneficial arrangement turning sour. "I could have dealt with it myself!"

"Don't be stupid, boy." Lucius sneers. "You think the Ministry can't tell when the Killing Curse is used? You think they wouldn't have been suspicious?"

"They're Muggles!" Tom snaps back. "Who cares if I killed three stupid Muggles?"

"Tell me, what would you have done? Left your relatives' bodies there to be found by Muggle Aurors? Left proof?"

Tom opens his mouth to reply—because he did have plans in place then, Morfin would have been framed, Tom's guilt impossible to prove, and then—

A crash, right outside the door.

They both freeze.

Lucius's cane drops from where it was forcing Tom's head up, and Tom quickly turns, striding towards the door with long steps. He yanks the door open, sticks his head out, and his eyes meet green.

"Harry," he says, stunned.

Harry stares back at him, and the expression on his face wipes any doubt in Tom's mind that maybe he didn't overhear. There’s a broken vase beside him, its pieces laying broken by Harry's feet.

"Don't," Harry says. Tom doesn't understand the look on his face, the emotions too complex, and he's surprised when Harry turns his back and strides away.

*

"Harry," Tom snaps, quickly catching up to him and grabbing his arm. Harry yanks his arm away.

He turns to face Tom, and he doesn't understand the anger, the confusion, the shock, the hurt, the why—what—no mixing to form an unbearable mess in his chest.

"Who—?" he demands, and it's all he can get out, his throat tight around the words.

Tom's jaw clenches.

"You don't want to know," he says stiffly, and Harry furiously shakes his head, shoving him away. He can't think with Tom too near, his head and his chest hurting, bright and loud.

"Tell me."

Tom's silent, just for a moment, and Harry opens his mouth to once more demand, but Tom beats him to it.

"My father," he says, voice tight, and Harry's gut clenches, his heart sinking. He stares at Tom in disbelief. "My grandfather. My grandmother."

Harry… Harry doesn't even know what to say. His throat is painfully dry. He feels sick. He feels like he's about to throw up, and he can barely swallow the lump in his throat.

"Merlin, and I was just starting to think that I—" Harry abruptly cuts himself off, his lips thinning into a severe line. His chin trembles and he tightens his jaw against it.

"That you?" Tom prods, and Harry glares at him.

"That I might actually like you," Harry snaps, his face hot. Not love, not yet, but so fucking close that Harry's heart is so, so painful in his chest, frustrated tears threatening to fall. “I’m a bloody idiot.”

Tom stares at him, expression unexpectedly struck and hurt, and Harry falters. He almost regrets it. He wants to tear his gaze away but he can't, he can't look away from the look on Tom's face.

"Harry," Tom says and then stalls, his expression crumpling just for a brief, cold second before it quickly goes blank. Expressionless. He licks his lips, his eyes boring into Harry's. He opens his mouth, and Harry doesn’t know what he wants Tom to say, he just doesn't want… He wishes…

"I wish I didn't hear—that I didn't know what you did," Harry says, pained, his voice cracking.

Tom goes unnaturally still.

He looks at Harry, unblinking and with new eyes. Like a snake, Harry thinks hysterically.

"You don't have to know," he says, and he sounds deathly calm now. A clear pond, unbothered.

"…What?" Harry asks, uncertain.

"I didn't want to do this to you again," Tom says, and he…he does sound regretful, his expression pained, and Harry takes a step back, a cold chill dropping down his spine, but Tom follows him, closing the distance. Harry's back hits the wall.

"What? A-Again?" he stutters out. "Do what, Tom?"

Tom reaches up to gently cup his cheek, and Harry can't help but lean into it even as he shudders, his eyes falling at half-mast.

And then the tip of Tom's wand settles on Harry's jaw.

Harry freezes. They say nothing, only stare at each other, and Harry reflexively swallows. His heart pounds in his chest, rabbit quick, threatening to burst out.

He's so cold.

“I can’t lose you again."

"Tom," Harry croaks, raw, dragged up from the deepest parts of him. "Tom. Don't. Please."

"I'm sorry," Tom says, and it's the first time Harry has ever heard an apology from him. He didn't think Tom was even capable. He hesitates, and it's in that space that Harry's wand falls into his hand. "Obl—"

"No!"

A spell isn’t even needed, the burst of emotion from Harry’s chest enough to send a shockwave of magic. Tom flies back, his back hitting the wall, and his wand clatters to the side. Cracks appear on the wall, deep gouges that cut across the length.

They stare at each other, wide-eyed, and Harry is panting, breathless.

He turns on his heel and runs.

Chapter Text

Harry has only just Apparated back to the Marauders’ Cottage when he hears an echoing crack. He whirls around, his eyes wide, and holds out his wand.

Tom stares at him. He looks a mess, his robes disheveled and eyes manic and wild, but Harry imagines he doesn’t look any better.

“Don’t,” he says, his voice hoarse. “Stay away from me, Tom.”

“Let me explain.” Tom holds his hands out, deceptively nonthreatening, but Harry doesn’t bring his wand down. Too wary, too knowing.

“What’s there to explain?” Harry snaps back. There’s a nasty, oily feeling in his gut and in his chest, and the sight of Tom only makes it worse. “You hurt people! Tom—you killed people!”

“I would never hurt you!

That’s not good enough!” Harry cries. He closes his mouth and looks away, rubbing a furious hand over his face. He doesn’t even think to question the validity of Tom’s statement, the fevered intensity in Tom’s words reaching deep, striking and sharp.

"And you have," he says, his teeth gritted tight. "You—you Obliviating me hurts me."

And Tom looks genuinely surprised. His hands drop to his sides.

Harry laughs, harsh and grating. "How can I trust you?" Harry continues bitterly, and Tom's lips thin.

"I know you don't think I'm capable of feeling sorry," Tom says, and it's not an answer to his question, not even close. It just makes Harry even angrier.

"I don't," he agrees, not bothering to hide the spite in his tone. "You're still thinking of Obliviating me, aren't you? You want to try again?"

Tom's lips thin. He says nothing to deny it, and Harry sees his grip shifting on his wand at his side. He hadn't been holding it before. Harry feels his lips twist. He shakes his head, his expression pained, and to his frustration, he can feel angry tears well up in his eyes.

"Leave," he says, and he almost chokes on it.

He doesn’t give Tom the chance to say anything else. He slams the door closed behind him.

*

“Harry?" Sirius calls out from the dining room when Harry passes by him.

Harry doesn't answer, doesn't even look. He ducks his head and keeps walking past the open door to his room. He doesn't want—he can't talk to anyone

"Harry!"

He looks up, embarrassingly aware of how his eyes are rimmed red, and he sees the moment it registers to Remus. Remus falters and then frowns, reaching out, and Harry can do nothing but allow the embrace.

He buries his head in Remus' shoulder, his hands shaking at his sides. He doesn't cry, doesn't allow himself to, just holds on to the back of Remus' sweater like a lifeline.

"What's wrong? Where's Tom?"

Harry shakes his head and doesn't look up from the safe refuge of Remus' front.

Then another presence beside him, Sirius leaving the warmth of the dining room.

"What happened?"

In fits and starts, Harry tells them. There's a strange part of him that feels protective, even if a bigger part of him is furious. He tells them about Tom's father, about Tom growing up in an orphanage first, and then, hesitantly… He tells them about what Tom did.

He leaves out the attempted Obliviation, even if he's red and raw still from Tom's attempt. And—again, Tom had said. I didn't want to do this to you again. Harry was left with more questions than answers, and a part of him is deeply unsettled. Rattled. What else had Tom taken from him? How else had Tom messed with his mind?

He leaves it out only because he knows Sirius wouldn't hesitate to kill Tom.

"He killed his father," Sirius clarifies, and Harry nods.

There's a ball in his throat just at the memory of Tom's voice. So hard and cruel. Who cares if I killed three stupid Muggles? Harry's heart gives another painful ache. He never thought Tom was a particularly good person, but Harry had never considered that Tom would be capable of something so extreme. There's a difference between schoolyard cruelty and cold-blooded murder.

Sirius looks thoughtful. "And his grandparents, as well?"

Harry wets his lips. He clears his throat and ducks his head. "Yeah."

"I…understand why. I get it," Sirius says, and—

Harry has whiplash with how fast his head snaps up. He stares at Sirius in disbelief, and beside him, Remus' expression is the same.

"Sirius!"

It's a familiar word from Remus's mouth. Harry has heard it numerous times before, in plenty of different ways. From barely-hidden amusement amidst laughter, to a mild half-hearted chiding whenever Sirius said something that toed the line of improper.

But, Harry knows and hears that this time it's different. Remus looks furious, Sirius sharp on his tongue like broken glass, the rebuke in his tone harsh and hard. Sirius falters, his eyes wide, before they narrow.

"I'm not saying it's right," Sirius says defensively, voice low. "I'm just saying I wouldn't have minded having the chance—"

Remus furiously shakes his head. "You're not helping," he snaps. "For once in your life, can you—"

Harry stands, his throat sore, and flees to his room. He doesn't want to hear them argue. He's had enough of arguments for today.

Still, their voices are loud. They don't cast any Silencing spells, and before Harry gets the chance to cast his own, he catches enough.

Nagini is still there in his room, curled up on her rock, and Harry feeds her. She hisses at him, and though Harry can't understand, he gets that she might be wondering about her actual master.

"I hate him," Harry tells her, and she hisses back. Harry sighs.

He goes to bed, restless. It had been so awkward those first few days sleeping beside another body—sleeping beside Tom every night, but now…

Harry shakes it off. That been only a week ago. And they've only been sleeping together, in the literal and in the sexy way, for a month. He's lasted 17 damn years without Tom beside him in bed.

When Harry finally manages to fall asleep, his dreams are filled with the yellow flash of an Obliviate.

*

Breakfast is awkward.

Sirius is asleep—or at least he's pretending to be. He's in his dog form, curled up in a blanket on the couch, and Harry grimaces. He didn't think their fight would be that serious.

Remus is silent, but he graces Harry with a thin, distracted smile over breakfast, and gently prods him into taking his potions.

The silence is broken by an insistent tapping on his window.

Harry looks up.

It's Neville's owl. Harry frowns. He stands up and walks over to unlatch their window, trading the letter for a piece of bacon. While Neville and he are friends, they're not quite the sort to trade casual letters out of nowhere, and Neville already gave him his gift before they left Hogwarts.

He tears it open.

Harry,

I've heard about the good(?) news! My dad told me to congratulate you on your engagement, but I already knew about that bit. But I heard from Seamus who heard from Lavender that you and Riddle are expecting

Harry stops reading, his face going pale.

Fuck.

He completely forgot. He sits back down, the half-read letter clutched tightly in his hands. The parchment crinkles, almost tearing from his grip, and hastily, he sets it down and smooths it out.

Panic fills him. Who else knows? He's sure that Lavender had heard it from Parvati, and he's sure that since Lavender knows, all bets are off. He'll be more surprised to hear that someone doesn't know by now.

"Harry?"

Harry doesn't look up at Remus' gentle inquiry, only stares blankly at Neville's letter with a muted horror. "They know now," he whispers. He looks up to meet Remus' gaze, distressed and helpless and Remus frowns.

"Malfoy told everyone I'm pregnant," Harry says, disgusted. All that helpless feeling turns into anger; he doesn't know how else to deal with it.

"We'll deal with it together," Remus says gently, and Harry can’t do anything but nod. He doesn't trust himself to speak.

There's a bark, and Harry looks up just in time to see Sirius jump down the couch, shifting back into his human form.

"Someone's at the door," he announces. Only three or four seconds letter, their bell rings.

Harry's lips purse. There's only so few people it could be. He twists the letter in his hands, ripping it just a bit more. He doesn't get up, choosing instead to wait as Sirius strides towards their door in quick, bounding sandteps.

He doesn't hear anything for a good while,  curiosity is almost enough to make him stand and check for  himself. Distracted, he lays the letter beside his plate and goes back to eating his breakfast. He doesn't get much beyond pushing his eggs around.

"Who was it?" Remus asks as Sirius walks in. They don't quite meet each other's eyes, and Harry feels his shoulders draw up at the tension between them.

Sirius glances at him. "It's Tom, but I told him to leave."

Harry stiffens. He takes in a deep breath and then exhales, pushing away from the table.

"No, I'll go talk to him," he says brusquely.

When he yanks open the door, Tom is still there. He looks lost, almost, and when he looks up, Harry's eyes narrow. Tom looks like he hasn't slept.

"Harry," Tom starts and stops.

"I told you to leave," Harry snaps. He's angry, because it's easy to be angry, and if he isn't angry he'll just be hurt.

Tom wets his lips. "I did leave," he says slowly, "and now I’m back."

Harry stares at him. At the look of disbelief on his face, Tom sighs.

"We're getting married in a week."

"Nine days," Harry corrects, because he was thinking about it last night, and also because Tom deserves to be wrong.

Tom huffs and gives him an expressionless look, his eyes dark. Harry doesn't know what he's thinking.

"Are we still? Are you not calling it off?"

Harry's lips purse. He honestly hadn't even considered it, but now…

"Don't," Tom says. Harry can't quite tell if it's meant to come across as a demand, or a plea, something in the middle instead. Harry isn't even surprised.

"I'll think about it," he says. He feels only the barest satisfaction when he closes the door on Tom's face.

*

"Are you and Sirius still fighting?" Harry asks.

"We're not fighting," Remus automatically says.

Harry says nothing, only looks deliberately at the empty chair between the two of them. While Sirius almost always has a late breakfast, he never skips out on lunch with all three of them.

Remus sighs. "I'm just…upset." He chooses his words carefully. "Sirius has views on revenge and justice that I don't quite agree with."

"Yes, but, they didn't deserve to die."

"I agree with you," Remus says gently.

"No one deserves to die," Harry continues, and at that, Remus hesitates.

"It was different…during the war. I'm glad you grew up in peace, Harry, but there are mindsets that are hard to break." Remus looks tired. "And Sirius, I suppose, never really got to deal with his issues."

"Will you forgive him?" Harry asks, and there's a childish undertone to the way he says it, enough to make his cheeks heat. He didn’t mean for it to come out like that.

"Of course," Remus replies, surprised. He laughs ruefully. "It's not the worst he's done."

Silence comes over them then, and Harry looks away. He bites down on his bottom lip, wondering.

"How do you forgive someone…for doing…" he trails off, releasing a frustrated breath. He can't even say. There's so much that Tom had done.

"Sometimes the people we love do bad things," Remus says, and Harry feels his face flush.

"I don't love him," he grouches, and Remus releases an amused breath.

"Do you remember what I told you in your third year? The…incident. With Snape, and your father."

"Oh. Right."

Remus lifts his shoulders then in an easy shrug. "We almost stopped even being friends then. Sometimes, forgiveness is all you can do."

"But what if I don't want to?"

"Then you don't."

*

Their doorbell rings again a little after lunch, and still, Sirius is absent. Harry rubs his hands across his trousers and sighs before he stands up.

If it's Tom again, Harry doesn't even know what he's going to do.

He yanks the door open, ready to tell Tom to fuck off, but the words die in his throat at the sight of his friends.

"We heard what happened," Hermione says and gives him a tentative smile.

"What an arse," Ron agrees. "We're here to offer you support."

Harry blinks at them in surprise, wondering how they could have known about Tom, before he abruptly realizes that they're talking about Malfoy.

"Yeah," he sighs. He steps out of the way and lets them in. "I've gotten a few letters. Neville, Cedric, and Cho even, but I suppose that's because I saw them last night. Some people from Quidditch too."

"What did Tom do?" Ron carelessly asks, both him and Hermione in the midst of taking off their scarves and coats and boots. "Bet he wasn't happy."

At Harry's silence, Ron and Hermione both look at him.

"Where's Tom?" Hermione's tone is careful. She looks around. "He's…I thought he was staying here for the break."

"We had a falling out," Harry awkwardly replies. He shifts in place and crosses his arms across his chest before he sighs. "I'll tell you about it over tea?"

It's not any easier telling them about Tom and his father and grandparents, but it's even harder to tell them about Tom attempting to Obliviate him and the ‘again.’

"Oh, Harry," Hermione sighs when he finally gets it out. "See? I told you—"

Ron nudges her side and coughs. Hermione closes her mouth, but her expression is enough.

"I don't even know what he Obliviated," Harry complains. He tilts his head up to stare at the ceiling, lips twisted. There's a heavy feeling in his chest. Every time he thinks too deeply about it, he just feels violated all over again.

He lifts his head, queasy, and he's unsure if it's from the thought of what Tom could have taken from him or just plain morning sickness.

"Was there…Did you guys notice if I was off, at any point?" He asks, unsure, and Hermione and Ron share a look.

"Not recently, no," Hermione says. Her eyebrows are furrowed in worry, and Harry's sure that she's thinking back to their recent interactions. "Harry…I think you'll have to ask. He's the only one who'd know."

"I don't even want to talk to him." Harry rubs at his face. "I don't know what to do—with the wedding, and the baby . Didn’t you say I need to spend time with him?"

Hermione shifts uncomfortably, the look of concern on her face too much. Harry looks away.

Ron shrugs and pops a cookie into his mouth. "It's easier if you do, but you don't have to. I'd punch him for you, if you want."

Harry exhales and he weakly laughs. "I'll keep it in mind."

*

Harry doesn't think the next day will be any different, but when he walks into the kitchen, he stops and falters. Sirius and Remus are huddled close, and he can't see Remus' expression from where he is, but the dangerous expression on Sirius' face is already concerning enough.

They're both dressed up, neither of them in casual Muggle wear as they usually are. They look ready to go into battle.

"Is everything all right?" Harry asks, uncertain and wary.

Sirius and Remus break apart, but they don't draw far away from each other. They stay near, Remus' hand steady on Sirius' shoulder. Harry can't find it in himself to be grateful that they've made up after that stony day of silence, that things are finally right in the world, because both their expressions are deathly serious.

Harry watches as they share a long, wordless look.

"It's nothing to worry about," Sirius tries, but Harry's expression must twist into something because Sirius closes his mouth, looking alarmed.

"Please," Harry rasps. "Don't keep things from me. Don't lie to me." Not you too, he doesn't say.

Sirius stares at him, eyebrows furrowed in conflict. Harry begs, silently and with his eyes alone, and finally, Sirius' shoulders slump. He sighs.

"Something's happened," Sirius says.

*

This time, when Harry opens the door to find Tom waiting outside, he lets him in.

"Don't talk," he says when Tom opens his mouth. "I just—just shut up, okay."

He reels Tom in, closing the door behind him, before he pushes Tom against it. Tom stares at him silently, and it's a second, a minute, before Harry breaks. His shoulders slump, his head drops, and he closes the distance between them to just press his face into Tom's chest.

"Harry?" Tom asks, and Harry can feel his hand over Harry's head. Hesitant for once to actually touch Harry, when he's never been before.

Harry groans. "I said shut up." He reaches up to grasp onto Tom's sides, just holding on, and he harshly exhales. "Just hug me, will you?"

Tom's arms lift to wrap around him and Harry sighs. He hates it, but despite everything, Tom's scent and warmth are still—comfortable. Safe, even if it shouldn't be. Even if a part of him still feels sick and cold just at the very sight of him.

"I'm still mad at you," Harry feels compelled to say. "I'm fucking furious, in fact."

"I understand," Tom replies, and Harry scowls.

"No, I don't think you do." He abruptly pulls away, and Tom's arms fall back to his sides. There's no expression on his face, and Harry stares at him. He doesn't know what he's looking for. Regret? Remorse?

He doesn't find it.

Harry looks away and rubs a hand over his face, the stupid urge for comfort warring with the still present betrayal and anger. Damn it. He wonders if Tom even deserves to know.

"What's wrong?"

Harry turns to face him.

"Pettigrew was sighted."

Chapter Text

Tom thought he knew what desperate desire was when he laid his eyes on Harry Potter, but he hadn't, not truly, until Harry Potter had looked at him and told him, "Leave."

He feels himself shake, and he clenches his fist against the first rush of anger before he tamps it down into a cool rage.

A temporary setback, he tells himself. He can fix this.

 

*

 

"He won't hurt you," Tom swears solemnly, reaching out. Harry just barely stops himself from flinching when Tom holds onto his arm and grips him tight. "He won't even get to look at you. I won't allow anything to happen to you." 

He sounds like he means it. He sounds genuine, so sure of himself and the truth in his words that Harry doesn't hesitate in thinking him arrogant. Tom Riddle has always been smug and confident, but he's never sounded half as fervent or determined as he does now.

There's something dark in his gaze. It's the kind of dark that the Forbidden Forest gets at night, the kind of dark that hides dangers in its depths. Harry sees it a little better now with the knowledge of what Tom has done, of the lengths he's capable of going to. It's a light switched on, a reminder that Harry been rightfully wary of Tom's after-school Dark Arts dabbling, but had chosen to blind himself and not look any further.

And for what? Why? Because Tom had been nice to him? It's Harry's own fault.

Still. Harry doesn't know what else Tom is willing to do. What else he has already done. Is there anything worse than cold-blooded murder?

"I can't even look at you," he mutters, yanking his arm from Tom's grip. He tears his gaze away and scrubs his hand over his face. It doesn't help, only makes pinpricks of frustrated tears start to form. He shakes his head to nudge them away, irritated at himself.

"You already let me inside," Tom argues, stepping forward, and Harry looks up to glare.

"I can make you leave again," he snaps, and Tom visibly stops, his expression doing something strange. Harry feels bad for the vicious satisfaction that fills him. He feels bad until he remembers that Tom deserves it.

"I'm still mad at you," he repeats.

Tom's lips twist. "You said that already."

"It's true." He's being stubborn.

"What do you want from me?" Tom spreads his hands out, as if to show he's defenseless. It's a mockery; Harry can't trust anything about it. Tom's expression is openly intense, bared and raw, and it's the most emotion that Harry's ever seen from him.

"No more lies," Harry says quietly, his eyes searching Tom's face. He can't read Tom right now, can barely even breathe from the way Tom is looking at him. He looks like a man half-starved.

It scares him. It lights something up in him, something Harry doesn't want to examine. He's afraid that he'll find he likes it.

"Have you…Have you killed anybody else?" Harry holds his breath, afraid of the answer.

"No." There's no change in Tom's face.  His tone is even, soft, almost appeasing. Harry has no idea if he's lying, but his features are open still. "No one else." There's a yet there that Harry isn't sure if he's imagining.

Harry wants to forgive him, if only so they could go back to the ease and lightness of just a few days ago. He wants to forgive, but he doesn't know if he can.

"Why, Tom? I don't—I don't understand."

"Of course you don't understand," Tom says coolly. It's close enough to condescending that it makes Harry's hackles rise.

"What's there to understand?" he demands.

"I was angry. They deserved it." Tom says it so simply, as if there's no need for more explanation, and Harry knows he's never going to apologize for it, not even insincerely.

"No one deserves that."

"You're so naïve," Tom snaps. There's no trace of the appeasement from earlier; it's replaced completely by annoyance. "Would you say the same about Pettigrew?"

Harry had asked Sirius and Remus to let Peter go, once. Would he do the same again?

He looks away and doesn't answer. He doesn't know what would come out of his mouth.

Half-flustered, he changes the subject. "What else have you Obliviated?"

Tom hesitates.

"Tell me," Harry pleads, his voice rough. "I need to know, Tom. How many times? Don't fucking lie to me."

Tom exhales. "Twice," he says calmly, watchful, and Harry shudders.

He doesn't know how he feels, this half-formed feeling of disgust and anger and betrayal and hurt. All of that swirling inside him, and he's helpless to it. All he can do is focus on the anger and let it ground him. He doesn't know what he wants to do.

"Harry," Tom murmurs, and Harry furiously shakes his head.

"Don't," he snarls.

They stare at each other.

"Tell me about the first."

It takes a while, but Tom slowly nods.

"Sixth year," he says. "You saw something you weren't supposed to."

 

*

 

Tom strides up the staircase, hands in his pockets. He keeps a leisurely pace, not in any particular hurry. The meeting had technically been scheduled for 8, but while it's already 8:30, Tom isn't late. They can't start if he isn't there.

He makes his way down the seventh-floor corridor and stops at the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy. The door to their meeting room is already there, and Tom thinks nothing of slipping in.

There's a brief delay before the door closes and Tom frowns. He locks the door.

He sits down at the very end of the table, his gaze cool at his Knights. Small, still, but quality-wise, they're unmatched. A good mix, the majority of them pureblood Slytherins, but a few Ravenclaws too who see the truth.

They greet him respectfully and Tom tips his head.

Throughout the meeting, Tom's eyes keep straying to the door. There's nothing there, but Tom can't shake off the feeling that they're being watched. He's distracted, and he keeps the meeting brief and curt. He says nothing that he doesn't want to be overheard.

After, he dawdles. He waits until  all of his followers have left the Room, making sure to keep the gap of the door small. He waits until he's alone before he slips his wand out from his sleeve, grip firm.

The hair at the back of Tom's neck prickles and he whirls, raising his wand. There's nothing behind him. He scowls.

Tom looks around him, his wand still in hand. His heart beats steady in his chest. A sense of calm washes over him.

"Homenum revelio."

There's a curse at the same time Tom feels the presence a few feet away from him, and Tom snatches his hand out. He comes in contact with smooth, silky fabric, and he yanks.

The cloak comes off easily, revealing Harry Potter underneath. Before the other boy can do anything but raise his hands, Tom immediately pushes him up against the wall. Harry’s damned Invisibility Cloak falls to the floor.

"You've been stalking me," Tom hisses. Harry struggles but Tom quickly subdues him with a wand jammed at his throat, their bodies pressed together, and an arm flat across Harry's chest.

"I have not!" Harry snaps back. He wiggles helplessly, but Tom just pushes back harder, his eyes narrowing.

"How long have you been following me?" he demands, and Harry doesn't give him an answer, only meets his eyes and glares. His eyes are hard, a vibrant green, and Tom startles at the sight of them. He isn't prepared.

"Oh, you think so highly of yourself," Harry replies snidely, but nothing he says even registers.

They haven't been this close in a while. They've probably never been this close, and Tom finds himself stunned speechless. He swallows, his lips parting, and his gaze goes back and forth.

All the damned feelings that Tom had tried so hard to push down and ignore, to keep at a low, manageable simmer, somehow rise up to the surface. He can't push them back down anymore, and he finds himself helpless and angry.

Tom can't help but caress the curves and the angles of Harry’s face with his eyes. He wonders what it would be like to truly touch and taste.

He feels sick. He doesn’t know if it’s love, this all-consuming urge to possess, to own, but he’s sick with it, and there's no cure. If he has Harry Potter, will this greedy want in him actually be sated? If he gluts himself on Harry's lips, will his desperate need be satisfied?

Just one kiss, he tells himself. Just to sate his curiosity.

Harry stares at him warily, and Tom sees his eyes widen when Tom leans in, closing the distance, pressing their lips together in an open-mouthed kiss.

And for a moment, a single, glorious moment, Harry kisses back. It’s barely a second before Harry catches himself and tears his face away with an outraged noise, but it’s enough.

It’s enough for Tom to know with an aching, sudden clarity that it isn’t enough. That it never, ever will be. He’s enraged to find that the burning need inside him isn’t sated, not even one bit, only stoked even higher.

He wants to press his mouth again to Harry’s. He wants to leave bruises against Harry’s neck, leave a tangible mark that everyone will see. Property of Tom Riddle. His and his alone. He wants to bury himself inside of Harry until he’s made a home for himself, until no one else can ever have him.

And yet, he knows now it still wouldn’t be enough. He feels inordinately angry at himself. Tom isn't in the habit of denying himself pleasures. He had tried so hard to fight against it, the way Harry made him so damn weak that Tom wants—

He wants to own him in every single, possible way. A ring on Harry’s finger, Harry by his side. 

Tom is dazed at the very thought of it.

All this passes through his mind in the space between Harry’s disbelieving gape and his—

“What the fuck, Riddle?”

He can’t have that. He needs time to think, to plan. He has his goal in mind—Harry, bound to him by marriage—but how? 

How?

He rests his wand back on Harry’s jaw and smiles, wide and gleeful at the possibilities already running through his mind. He had lost Harry's friendship once in Second Year, but he promises himself… This time, he won't make the same mistake again. This time, he won't lose him.

But first—

Obliviate,” he says clearly. He doesn’t hesitate.

 

*

 

"So I walked into your meeting—"

"You spied. You eavesdropped."

"Semantics."

They glower at each other.

"See?" Tom asks calmly. "It was necessary. I was in the right."

"No," Harry says heatedly and with a good deal of disgust. "There's nothing that'll make it okay! How could you even think that?"

Tom's lips thin, and Harry can read him well enough to know by the furrow of his brows that he disagrees. Harry releases a low, frustrated exhale and steps away.

"Tell me about the second time." His tone is brusque. He crosses his arms and rocks away.

"You read my diary," Tom says stiffly.

Harry feels his face heat. Oh. That does sound like something he'd do.

*

 

The moment Tom steps into their now-shared room, he instantly knows something is wrong.

Harry is standing over his desk, his shoulders tense, and when he turns at Tom's entrance, he looks like he got caught with his hand down the cookie jar.

Tom's eyes drop to his desk, and he sees his journal, Harry's hand holding it open.

Rage comes first, because that's private, that's his, how dare Harry go through and touch his things? And then—something like fear, something close to it. What has Harry seen? There's so much he's written in his diary, all his plans, all the names he's listed. Their wedding notes, weeks old now and far too suspicious.

"Riddle…" Harry says in surprise. "I thought you were coming back later." Tom watches the way Harry's fingers flex and curl before he drags his eyes back up to meet Harry's gaze. He walks towards Harry.

Harry wets his lips and takes a step back. There's an embarrassed flush on his cheeks.

"Harry…" Tom murmurs, his voice even and calm, each step just bringing them closer together. Towards Harry's back is the wall, to his side the desk. Harry has nowhere to go. Tom gives nothing away as he reaches into his pocket, his wand warm against his palm.

"Lord Voldemort?" Harry blurts out, his eyes wide and eyebrows high. His lips twitch, and he snorts, just barely stifling his giggle. "What the bloody hell were you on?"

Tom stops. He blinks. "What?" He scowls. "What's wrong with it?"

"It's dumb!" Harry laughs. "It sounds dumb!"

"It's plenty respectable," Tom snaps. He reaches over Harry to grab his diary with his free hand and closes it, settling it to the side. He presses Harry up against his desk, their hips slotted together, and Harry grins up at him. "It means flight of death. It's an anagram."

"A dumb one."

"You—" he cuts himself off and glares. Harry snickers.

"You're a pretentious twat."

"Oh, shut up," Tom mutters. "You don't know anything." He tips his head down to nip at Harry's jaw, and Harry lets him, his hands coming up to rest just below Tom's chest. Harry makes a soft sound of pleasure and tilts his head to the side.

Tom's only just starting to relax, releasing his grip on his wand, when Harry straightens up and touches his waist.

"What's a Horcrux?"

Tom stills.

His heart seizes and thuds without warning, his pulse racing in anticipation. Fight or flight. He tightens his grip on his wand once more.

It's far too soon. Harry would not…could not possibly understand. Not now. Not yet. Tom had been planning to wait until Harry was more attached to him.

Would he understand? He pulls away from Harry but keeps their hips pressed together, their bodies still close.

"It is," he starts slowly, his eyes seeking Harry's for his reaction, for any hint of his thoughts, "a way to attain immortality. Protection from death."

Harry frowns. "But how?" He sounds innocently curious. Utterly guileless and without pretense.

Tom straightens, his eyes lighting up. He smiles.

"You store a piece of your soul in an object to keep it safe."

"Your soul? That sounds like soul magic," Harry says in disbelief. He gapes. "Riddle… That's dark stuff."

"It's immortality," Tom replies fervently, his eyes narrowing. His hand tightens on Harry's hip. It should explain everything. No one wants to die. Tom just has superior knowledge and the willingness to make sure he doesn't.

Harry's brows draw together. He seems to be examining Tom's face, looking for something.

"And you're making one. A Horcrux."

"Yes."

"How…? When?"

"Winter Solstice." Tom's eyes go half-lidded. He can practically taste it already; his blood thrums just at the very thought. "A simple ritual and I'm done." He neglects to mention the deaths needed for it, deaths already on his hands. He isn't an idiot. He knows already what Harry would think.

"That's ridiculous," Harry says bluntly. He shakes his head and makes to push Tom away, but Tom stays firm. His grip tightens.

"Which part?"

"You store a piece of your soul in an object." Harry eyes him. The judgment is clear, the disbelief and the mild horror is even more so. "You tear it off? You cut it or...?"

"Yes."

"That's stupid," Harry repeats heatedly. "I didn't think you had that in you."

Tom scowls.

He needs to stop overestimating Harry's ability to see reason. He should have known it was too soon. Harry's tolerance only increases the closer they get, and Tom should have taken better account of it.

He's too annoyed to feel guilty when he Obliviates Harry.

*

 

"Is that all?" Harry wishes that was it. He doesn't think he can handle another bomb being dropped on him. He doesn't know what he saw in Tom's diary, but he's desperately curious to know. It's probably that same desperate curiosity that got him in trouble in the first place.

Tom slowly nods.

Harry covers his face. He tugs on his hair and starts to pace, his shoulders tight. He's still angry. His hurt and his rage haven't simmered down any bit, even if he gets it. He understands why Tom did it, but he still hates it. That feeling of violation is still heavy in his gut, and he doesn't know if anything could soothe it. Maybe nothing ever would.

"The wedding," Tom says. That's all he gets out before he visibly hesitates. Even now, hesitation is still out of place on him and it makes Harry stare. It doesn't suit him. Tom's confidence is something he thought unchallenged, and it makes him feel strange whenever Tom actually acts like he's human.

Tom doesn't continue, only looks at him beseechingly and Harry swallows.

"I…I don't know," Harry murmurs, and Tom's expression twists.

“Harry…” Tom's jaw clenches, and he opens his mouth before he closes it. His hands clench at his sides, and there's a moment, a beat of silence where neither of them says nothing, before Tom finally opens his mouth again.

"I have feelings for you." It comes out strained. It sounds like it hurts for Tom to say.

Harry stares at him, stricken. Stunned. His shoulders drop from its tense hold and all he can do is gape. Tom steadily meets his gaze.

Of all things for Tom to say, that wasn't anything Harry could have ever predicted.

"What kind of feelings?” Harry prods, just to be a dick. Tom brings out the worst in him.

Tom just barely winces, expression torn, but Harry is feeling cruel and doesn’t back down, only raises his eyebrows. Expectant and patient.

“Inconvenient ones,” Tom finally grits out. He immediately grimaces.

Wow,” Harry says dryly, and his stomach flutters. “That makes me feel so much better.”

Fuck. It actually does. He's such a bloody idiot. Damn it.

Harry releases a harsh breath and leans away, his jaw tight. "Never again, okay?" Harry gives Tom a hard stare, because he's serious, he really is. "Obliviating me is… It's a dick thing to do. Promise me you won't do it again. No matter what I do.  Just bloody talk to me about it, you prick."

Tom's lips thin. He says nothing, but at a frustrated noise from Harry, he raises his hand.

"I promise," he says solemnly. "I won't do it again."

Harry glares at him, crossing his arms. "I swear, Tom. If you do it again…" I'll leave, he doesn't say. This is over.

Tom nods, silent, and makes an expression that passes a lot for remorse. Harry isn't quite sure if it's sincere, but he'll take it for now.

"Did you tell anyone?"

Harry's jaw tightens. About his murders? His Obliviations? Either way—

"No one that will get you arrested." It's a non-answer, and Tom's eyes narrow. Harry scoffs. "Pretty hard to be married to someone in Azkaban." Even harder still to raise a kid without them.

Tom's face scrunches before it smooths out and he smiles.

"So we're getting married still." He sounds pleased, and Harry scowls. Quick as it came, the smile wipes off Tom's face. Solemnly, he says, "You shouldn't have told anyone at all."

"What, so you can just Obliviate it from me?" Harry asks snidely. Tom's lips purse, but he doesn't rise to the bait and Harry is left unsatisfied.

It's so easy for Tom to say he shouldn't have told anyone, but Harry hadn't hesitated to tell Sirius and Remus he was pregnant. The thought hadn't even crossed his mind to hide it from Ron and Hermione, despite their disapproval. It's much the same now, for what Tom has done. Harry keeps his friends and family close to his heart.

Harry exhales, low and long. "Are you keeping anything else from me?" He can't help but ask, and Tom looks up. His eyes are dark.

"No," Tom says. "I'm not."

Chapter Text

Fuck.

Tom has feelings for him—inconvenient ones, he had said, but feelings nonetheless. Harry is sure that any kind of feeling that Tom hadn't accounted for is 'inconvenient', and that it doesn't actually say much. Tom could have been talking about murder-y feelings. Harry doesn't put it past him.

Still. It echoes through his brain, and the memory of it—"I have feelings for you"— is enough to make Harry flush with heat. He has to press his hand over his cheeks, his face, his neck. He squirms helplessly against his sheets. He feels giddy, and it feels entirely out of place—inappropriate—with what he knows now.

Stupid, he chides himself, Tom's an evil prick.

And then he lets himself think of it again. The clench of Tom's jaw, the pained tone he had taken. "I have feelings for you."

Harry rolls over to bury his face in his pillow and muffles his groan. He tries desperately to go to sleep.

 

*

 

"I'll deal with the Potter boy myself."

"No." Tom stands, eyes narrowing into slits. His wrist flicks, and his wand slides into his hand. Lucius doesn't look any bit perturbed when Tom grips it tight, the sneer on his lips telling of his opinion. Until now, Lucius doesn’t see him as a viable threat. "You don't touch him."

"You're not willing to do what needs to be done."

"I am doing what needs to be done!" Tom raises his voice, straightening up to his full height. Lucius talks to him as if he's still a little boy, a twelve-year-old who doesn't know better about the Wizarding World, and it grates on Tom's limited patience.

"Listen, boy," Lucius snaps.

Tom's jaw tightens. It’s a struggle not to snarl, but the blatant irritation on his face is already damning enough. 

Lucius narrows his eyes. He doesn't look down on Tom the way he used to before, purely because Tom is almost his height now, but the imperious twist of his features is still the same. Lucius tilts his head, quiet, and he looks thoughtful now. When he speaks, it's nothing that Tom expects to hear from him.

"It is even more imperative now that your marriage with Potter pushes through."

Tom's lips press together. He's confused, but he doesn't want to admit it. "You made it very clear you didn't approve."

"Circumstances have changed," Lucius replies, his voice cool. "Do you think you are the only one affected if he rats you out?"

"He won't," Tom says, confident and sure, and Lucius' lips curl.

"Such arrogance," he chides, and Tom lifts his shoulders, unapologetic. It's arrogance that's well earnt, in his opinion. It’s not arrogance if it’s true.

"It is convenient,” Lucius continues. “He won't be able to testify against you, and the shame of his pregnancy won't touch us."

"So this is what it takes for your blessing." Tom should have known. He lets out a breath that's almost a laugh and shakes his head. Self-preservation always wins out with the Malfoys. Spousal privilege to prevent Harry from testifying is a good enough reason for Tom to marry him, apparently.

"No need to pretend," Lucius sniffs. "We both know my blessing matters very little to you."

"I want no ill feelings between us," Tom replies smoothly. His smile is bland. "You are my Lord, after all, and I am but your sponsored."

For now, he doesn’t say.

*

 

Harry spends the day after he and Tom make up on his knees.

Oh, but not in a fun way.

Harry retches and heaves, sick and grossed out and getting even more sick because of how grossed out he was.

He drops his head and rests it on the toilet seat, dazed, and valiantly tries to pretend that he's not tearing up a bit from throwing up. He takes in a deep, steadying breath, readying himself to continue the day.

A hand on the back of his neck stops him.

Harry lets out a low, pathetic sound and turns his head to the side. His eyes are half-lidded, and he can't help but fully close them when the hand starts to card through his sweaty locks. Fingernails scratch at his scalp, tugging slightly at his hair, and he shivers. He looks up at Tom, his body curling into itself.

A wave of Tom’s wand and a murmured spell is all it takes before the product of his morning sickness is gone, the smell along with it. All the while, Tom's hand doesn't leave his hair.

Tom pulls him, and Harry switches from resting his head against the toilet to Tom's knees. Much warmer and more comfortable, but at least the toilet's never killed or obliviated anyone.

Or Harry thinks, at least.

He forgets himself though, for a moment, basking in Tom's uncomplicated affection and just letting himself be petted and touched. It's only for a moment. 

Then the weight of what Tom's done makes itself known in the heaviness of Harry's chest, the chill that still runs through him at the thought of Tom killing and of Tom obliviating him.

Harry abruptly sits up, and Tom's hand falls from his hair. Harry avoids his eyes.

"What do you want?" Harry asks sourly, rubbing his face, his mouth, his neck. He tries to seem as if he hasn't just been throwing up, but really, what’s the point? Tom saw it himself.

Harry hates how he still wants to kiss and touch, be kissed and be touched by Tom, and he's overcompensating for it now by being as surly as possible. That cold hurt is still there, but Harry can't control the swell of helpless feeling when Tom looks at him.

Tom doesn't look fazed by his harsh tone. He only straightens up, his eyes dark and intense the way they only are when he's looking at Harry. Harry's chest seizes, and he needs to take in a steadying breath.

"I want to take you somewhere," Tom says, very, very calm, possessed with a self-assuredness that makes Harry scowl. He says it as if he has no doubt Harry will agree when the last thing Harry wants right now is to be alone with Tom. Tom had promised not to do it again, but he still needs to re-earn Harry's trust.

Harry is already so dumb for letting Tom back into his house. Into his company.

But what can he do? He still wants this—for the baby, at least, even if he aches and burns with betrayal and righteous anger. It's tempered only by the slightest bit of shame—because even Harry can admit he was in the wrong in invading Tom's privacy. Stalking, going through Tom's private diary—both wrongs Harry holds up in his mind to compare with Tom's.

It's not as bad as what Tom's done, he tells himself. But it's still bad, another part of him fervently whispers before he pushes it away.

"Where?" Harry asks, instead of the million other things he wants to say.

Tom smiles. It isn't relief at what's practically agreement from Harry, no, Tom's too proud to feel relief. But it's something very close.

"I want to make things up to you."

Harry feels like he should be wary, but there's an earnestness to Tom's tone. Despite himself, his shoulders slump, and he looks up. His lips purse. Interest stirs inside him, even as Harry tries to quash it, because he hasn't the slightest idea what Tom has in mind to make up for—

Murder? Lying and keeping things from him? Obliviating him?

"You can try," Harry says dryly, but he takes Tom's hand and lets Tom pull him up. He should let go.

"Oh, I am," Tom says, just as dry, and Harry feels his face flush. Tom turns Harry's hand in his, clasping it. His hands are warm. He smiles at Harry then, and his smile, the way he touches Harry's hand, it's charming and almost gentle. And still, without change, it's casually possessive in the way Harry's found that he likes.

Harry shivers pleasantly.

I have feelings for you.

It's as if Tom's confession has opened something up. Along came this, a lack of restraint, almost, in the way Tom treats him. Harry doesn't know if it's a play for his forgiveness and affection, or if Tom has simply dropped the last of what was holding him back in expressing his… feelings for Harry. As if he's finally allowing himself to be sweet, instead of the glimpses Harry only saw before.

It could all just be a part of Tom's manipulative game.

But it's working.

Harry's dumb heart gives another dumb little flutter, and Harry looks away from Tom's dumb smile to yank his hand away and stuff it in his pocket. 

It hurt to look at Tom. 

It hurt to look away. 

"Let's go then," he mumbles. He chances a peek, and he doesn't miss the dark disappointment in Tom's eyes.

 

*

 

Harry has never been cruel. Not purposefully, at least, and not for long.

But the only word that Tom can use now to describe Harry is that. Cruel.

Harry doesn't let Tom touch him. He had, back in the bathroom, but after that… Every touch, every time Tom reached out, Harry would shy away, his lips twisting with discomfort.

The denial makes him fume, makes him ache. His fists clench at his sides, and his eyebrows draw together in irritation. His jaw hurts with how tight he's gritting his teeth.

It's easier to be angry rather than desperate. Still, Tom twitches with the urge to hold Harry's hand. His arm. The back of his neck to feel his pulse race, to see the way Harry's lovely green eyes dilate. He wants nothing more than to touch, to feel, just the press of a thigh against Harry's, or their shoulders nudged together.

But he isn't desperate.

And yet, as Tom holds out his arm for Harry to take so they can Side Along, he holds his breath. Waits, with his gaze intense on Harry.

"Should I be worried?" Harry asks as he narrows his eyes at Tom's arm. He shuffles his feet where he stands, pulling on his hastily draped-on coat. Tom resists the urge to help him straighten it out. He wouldn't normally, he would just go for it, but he's aware enough to know that Harry would deny him, and Tom would just be angry for it.

"I wouldn't be."

"That's not as reassuring as you think it is."

Tom's lips automatically thin, but he notices quickly that Harry's own are quirked, privately amused at his own joke. Tom relaxes.

"It's nothing you don't want to do," he assures. He isn't used to having to assure someone. Either they want to do it, or Tom forces them to. But Tom wants Harry willing, there with him every step of the way. It's only sweeter that way.

"If you say so," Harry sighs. With reluctance that's more show than anything,  he reaches out and takes Tom's arm. Tom savors it.

With a loud crack, they disappear.

 

*

 

Harry hasn't been here for more than four years now, but no amount of years will ever let him forget.

He freezes, blanching. He's sure that his face must do something by the way Tom grips him hard as if to steady him. Harry sways, taking a step back, but Tom holds him still.

"Tom…" Harry says uncertainly as he stares at 4 Privet Drive. He holds onto Tom. "What are we doing here?"

The Dursleys' house looks exactly as it always did, and yet the house is nothing like how Harry remembers it.

Harry swallows, his eyes darting around to take in Number Four in its entirety. The bland uniformity of it to the other houses, the cookie-cutter aspect in the Dursley's effort to be normal— it's all achingly familiar, branded in his memory like nothing else ever could.

If Harry looks down the street, he will see just another version of Number 4. A different flower bush in the front, maybe, or a different shade of paint over the roof, but that's as far as the residents of Privet Drive will dare.

He remembers what Number 4 looks like. Of course he does.

But in his dreams, Number 4 Privet Drive had always exuded an aura of wrongness. Something terrifying about it that pervaded the very air. Any dream that stars Number 4's white walls is almost always guaranteed to be a nightmare.

And yet, Harry feels almost nothing as he stands in front of Number Four now. Nothing even close to the frantic sense of dread that he would have anticipated and expected. At most, Harry feels a vague sort of wariness, of confusion, but none of what he feels quite measures up to the bone-deep level of fear in his dreams.

It's remarkable, Harry thinks, just how utterly unremarkable Number 4 is.

"Go ahead," Tom says, and Harry starts. He looks up at Tom, his eyes wide. He had forgotten that Tom was there, even with how tight Harry had been gripping his arm.

He uncurls his fingers from Tom's arm and shoves his hands into his pockets. He looks back at Number 4, blinking steadily.

"What do you expect me to do?" Harry says. The wariness that he should be feeling catches up him, shifts onto Tom. His frown deepens. "I'm not…I'm not doing whatever it is you want me to do."

Tom's eyebrows raise, ever cool and uncaring.

"Then I'll do it," he says. He raises his arm, wand in hand, and Harry yelps. He moves to push Tom's arm away, to stop whatever evil thing Tom is planning, but he's too late.

The spell shoots towards the Dursley's roof and Harry cringes, covering his eyes. He looks away in horror as he lets out a sound of dismay.

"Just look," Tom grumbles, squeezing his upper arm. Harry peeks from behind his hands and, and, and—

He gapes.

"Tom!" His voice comes out strangled, his eyes popping open in disbelief. "What—"

A chunk of Number Four Privet Drive's roof is bright, neon pink.

Harry bursts into startled, helpless laughter. He covers his mouth to hide his lips as they split into a wide grin, and he looks up at Tom, stifling his snort with his hand. 

Tom smirks down at him. He looks so smug and so self-satisfied with himself right now that normally, Harry would be annoyed. But Harry can't muster up the energy to truly care with how genuinely pleased he is.

The memory of a night lit only by moonlight comes back to Harry, set in the private sanctuary that was Tom's room back in Hogwarts.

"Have you ever…thought about getting back at them?"

"Sometimes I think about going back to Privet Drive and charming their roof neon pink," Harry volunteers, smiling sheepishly. He yawns. There's judgmental silence, and Harry almost laughs.

"Hurry," Tom says in the light of day as he holds Harry's hand, "before anyone sees us."

Harry lets out another bright laugh, and he's so taken, so drawn in, that it seems like the best idea ever. He never would have done this by himself, but with Tom behind him, he can't even think of any reason why he shouldn't. He raises his wand, Tom pressed up behind his back, and the spell comes like it’s the easiest thing in the world.

Another portion of the roof blooms neon pink and Harry laughs again, surprising himself with how loud it is. He does it again, and again, until the roof is more pink than not, and it's just—it's ridiculous, it's so out of place in Privet Drive, the Dursleys would hate it, they'd be furious and—Harry hasn't laughed this hard in so long.

He looks back up at Tom and beams, wide and unthinking. Tom blinks at him, and his face goes slack for a quick moment before he smiles back. Harry's cheeks heat and he looks away. 

"Harry," Tom says gently. He pauses, and he opens his mouth to say something but then—

"HEY!"

They both jump, hastily shoving their wands back into their sleeves, and Harry turns. His eyes go wide at the sight of old Mrs. Figg, one of her many cats cradled in her arms.

"Oh, Merlin," Harry curses. He hastily grabs Tom's hand and yanks. "Run!"

Tom stumbles but quickly rights himself with a grunt, hand still in Harry's. Harry pulls him along, still laughing, louder even as they race down Privet Drive. The cool winter air rushes past their heated faces, their legs pumping and arms swinging. Harry hears another "Harry!" from Mrs. Figg that he valiantly ignores, giggling outrageously as he clasps on tighter to Tom's hand.

"Harry!" Tom yanks him close as he yells into Harry's ear. "We're bloody wizards!"

"OH," Harry bursts into another round of laughter. "We are!"

Tom swears, low and crude, and it's surprising enough that Harry just laughs even harder. All he can do is laugh and laugh and laugh, even as Tom twists on his heel, and they Disapparate with a crack.

 

*

 

They stumble onto the doorstep of the cottage, and Harry's still laughing. There's  a hysterical edge to it and Tom grabs him, cups his face with one hand to stare into Harry's eyes.

"Shhh," he shushes Harry, patting him over. "You didn't get Splinched, did you?"

"No," Harry tells him, grinning. He tries to stifle his laughter and fails. "Why, did you?"

"Of course not."

"I can't believe you did that!" Harry laughs. He reaches up to hold onto Tom's hand, squeezing it affectionately. "I can't believe we did that."

Tom smiles. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah," Harry says breathily, calming down from the adrenaline rush of racing down the street. His body goes lax and loose in Tom's arms, and he stares up at Tom.

His lips part and Tom’s eyes drop down towards them. He swallows and looks back up just in time to meet Harry’s gaze, brilliantly green, dark and intense.

Tom doesn't know who moves first, but suddenly they're kissing, hot and heated. Harry presses him up against the door of the Cottage, his whole body flush against Tom's. Tom lets him, his hands going around Harry's waist to hoist him even closer.

They sigh into each other's mouths. Tom lets out a low, pleased sound, nipping and licking into Harry's mouth. He feels like he's on fire. He had been so starved the past few days, and now he's burning with how much he wants to taste and touch and feel.

Harry pushes away from him with a gasp. Tom tries to reel him back in but Harry's always been physically stronger. He keeps Tom away, eyes suspiciously bright.

"I'm still mad at you," Harry insists breathlessly. His pupils are blown wide, his lips parted, and Tom wants nothing more than to kiss him again and again, always, forever.

"I know."

"Merlin," Harry mutters, low and conflicted. He scrubs a hand over his face and buries his head into Tom's neck. His next words come out muffled. "You're the worst."

"I know," Tom repeats again, and Harry groans, his grip tightening on the front of Tom's shirt.

"How do you do this to me?" Harry sounds stunned, lost and confused. Tom could say the same about how Harry makes him feel. Harry pulls away and stares at him, brows furrowed.

"You're the only one…the only one who…" Harry starts, before he trails off, uncertain. He swallows and then shakes his head, his lips thin. He pushes up into another kiss, and Tom holds him close.

He doesn’t ever want to let go.