Harry woke between emerald sheets once more. But for a moment, he was certain he had the most fantastical dream. He thought he dreamt of rituals, of runes on the floor and red hair rising from blood. He thought he dreamt of candles with flames that stretched toward the sky and snakes that became men. He thought he dreamt of familiar yet foreign faces, once again taking breath and lives that had been returned by the person who once stole them. He thought he dreamt of pythons and dual scars. He thought he dreamt that he belonged to someone because he had never once belonged to himself. He thought he dreamt of belonged to someone who he had always belonged to, though unknowingly.
But when he woke, he knew it wasn't a dream. None of it had been a dream.
The mark now on his arm, the python that weaved around dual scars, was very real. It was dark, even against his skin, standing out just enough that it would be nearly impossible to hide. Especially when the snake began to move, weaving between the scars. The snake had crimson eyes, much like the eyes of the one person who Harry was certain he never wanted to see again. Those crimson eyes looked up at him, watching him, before the snake twisted again, wrapping around his wrist like a bracelet. There is stayed, head resting on its tail, as though it were a pillow.
He stayed staring at his wrist for a long moment, long after the snake stopped moving because it was easier than confronting everything that damned snake meant. It was easier than confronting the fact that his parents were alive once again, but they didn't belong to themselves. That Harry had unknowingly bound them to the very person they had fought against, the person who killed them. The person who tried to kill Harry. It was easier than facing the very man who had taken so much from him, more than he had ever given. It was easier than realizing that everything he was now belonged to Voldemort.
The man who was now truly a man once again.
Harry's wrist dropped onto the emerald sheets and for the first time, he realized he was dressed once again.
He hadn't had time the night before to fully experience the embarrassment of having greeted his parents for the first time completely naked and engaged in a not so innocent act with their murderer.
How could he face his parents again? How could he ever look them in the eye, knowing now what he had done?
He didn't know at the time, when everything began, just how far it would go. All he wanted was his parents. People who would love him, who wouldn't treat him like garbage. Who wouldn't lock him away in a cupboard like a piece of old furniture, never seen or heard. He wanted someone who wouldn't hurt him for their own amusement, who didn't see him as a freak. He wanted someone who would see him as Harry. Just Harry. Not the Chosen One, not a weapon, not the freak who was better left alone because all he was, was a reminder of just how abnormal the world could be. He wanted to be loved. Not hated or feared or revered. Not to be hidden or to be looked at with disgust. Love. That was it. That was all he had ever wanted.
He couldn't force himself out of the bed. Instead, he fell to one side and did the one thing he could never allow himself to do when he was younger, locked away in the darkness.
Harry didn't realize he had cried himself to sleep once more. He had been so drained from the ritual, that for the next two days, he barely left the bed.
He would wake to find meals next to him, warm and ready to be eaten. He would fall back asleep not long after having finished them and wake only to use the restroom. Then hours later he would wake once more and there would be another meal waiting for him. For two days, that same pattern went on.
By the third day, he could stay awake for a few minutes longer. Long enough to grow bored with staying between the same emerald sheets and seeing the same four walls every day. And then he would fall asleep once more.
A week went by, and then two.
By the third week, he could finally stand for longer than a few minutes. He moved to the window, watching the outside world move around him, changing where he was stagnant. Stuck in the same loop over and over of sleep where dreams tormented him and the waking world which he never really felt apart of anymore. He was stuck, in an endless loop. And the more he repeated it, the less he felt. It was as though all the color was being drained from the world, from everything. He didn't see another face besides his own in reflection. He didn't see anything outside of the room. But even the emerald seemed to fade over time, becoming dull and grey and lifeless. Just like him.
Who was Harry Potter anymore?
He wasn't the Chosen One. He wasn't a savior. He had helped the very man who had doomed them all. He was, unknowingly, the last line of defense against Voldemort who was likely now stronger than ever.
What was he when he had given everything over to the one person who he shouldn't have?
Who was the Chosen One, when he had given his enemy the very key to his rise?
When Harry woke this time, he felt a hand carding through his hair.
His head was resting on someone's lap and above him, there was soft humming. The hand that was card through his hair, pulled apart knots that hadn't been touched in weeks. There was another hand resting on his shoulder, squeezing lightly before releasing as though whoever was above him was reassuring him. The humming continued and the tension on his scalp slowly began to release. The hand that was on his shoulder moved downward, rubbing over his arm and then returning to his shoulder again, squeezing lightly, and then repeating. After a moment, the hand moved and another knot came apart in his hair.
The humming that had stopped when the other focused on that particular knot resumed and the hand began rubbing down his back.
The tightness and pain that was in his chest for weeks now released. The strange nothingness was slowly vanishing and in its wake, he began to feel again.
Except, where he was feeling nothing before, now it was too much.
The tears started again, and he couldn't stop them. The hand that was carding through his hair wrapped under him and pulled him closer. The other wrapped around his waist and he was pulled against the chest of the other person. Harry clung to their arm, his body shaking. The other person was murmuring in his ear, telling him it would be ok and that he could let it all out. He was safe. He was loved. That it was ok to not be strong all the time and that he didn't have to be strong now.
He wasn't alone.
He cried and his body shook. He cried until all the energy he had was poured into tears that fell from his face onto the lap of the person below him. He cried until every tear he felt he could ever shed had fallen from his eyes and away from him. He cried until all the sadness within him felt like it was pulled from him. Until his anger and the life he had lived was drained from him. He cried for the friend he had lost. For the boy he never was. For the life he never had and the person he never could have become. He was bound to a monster, body and soul, and he could do nothing about it. He cried for the person Tom Riddle could have been. He cried for the life his parents could have been. He cried for the happiness so many people could have had and the despair they felt. Because he felt it too.
"I have you, Harry." The other person said. "And I've always been with you." A hand carded through his hair. "Let it out. And I will still be here."
After a while, his shaking stopped and the humming began again. The two of them were rocking back and forth slowly, Harry clinging to the arm of the person he had yet to see. But he had a feeling he knew who it was. He knew whose face he would see when he turned his head.
"It's going to be ok, Harry."
He shook his head. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
"No," The other person began to shift. "Do not be sorry." Harry was suddenly being pulled upward and he found himself looking into the face of his mother, Lily Potter.
He felt like he would start crying once more, especially when he caught a glimpse of the Dark Mark standing out against the pale skin of her forearm.
"Harry," His mother said softly. "It's ok." Her eyes searched his. "The last time I saw you, you were still in a crib." She wiped a stray tear that had fallen on his cheek. "I told you to be strong."
"The last I remember is hearing you scream."
"Oh, Harry." She pulled him closer, tucking him under her chin. "I am so sorry. I wish the world wasn't on your shoulders. I wish I hadn't left you alone."
"I'm so sorry." He said again. "You and Dad-" He cut himself off as another sob threatened to rock through his body. "I just wanted you back."
"I know," She sighed, running her thumb over his chin. "I would too."
"You're not mad?" He asked quietly.
"A little disoriented though." Another voice said as the door shut. Harry didn't even hear it open but the next thing he knew, he felt the bed dip somewhere behind him.
He pulled himself away slightly, looking over his shoulder to see a person who could have easily been his own reflection, except with hazel eyes and surprisingly tamer hair.
Neither of them was much older than Harry. Only by a few years. They could have easily have been his older siblings with the lack of real age difference between them. He had known they were young when they had him and young still when they died. But he didn't realize just how young. They looked like they were fresh out of Hogwarts, maybe a couple of years removed. His father shifted onto his side, lounging in a way Harry had never seen a parent do. He reminded Harry strangely of a teenager, and honestly he probably still was a little.
James and Lily Potter were only 21 when they died, six years older than Harry was now. They were raising a child, a one-year-old, in the middle of a war which they had joined right out of Hogwarts when things went awry. James and Sirius had been aurors. But unlike Sirius, James never had the chance to see the world without a war. Everything had ended the night they had died. Neither James nor Lily had a chance to just be as adults. Not without Hogwarts or a war looming over them.
"So why don't you catch us up?"
Harry told them everything. It was like once he started, he couldn't stop. For the second time in a few months, he told his entire life story. He told them about the Dursleys. He told them about Hogwarts and his friends. He told them about his first year, about Quirrell and Voldemort's first offer. He told them about his second year and the diary and basilisk. He told them about his third year and Remus and Sirius. He told them about the TriWizard Tournament, and Voldemort's rise once more. He told them about Umbridge. He told them about his trial. He told them about the Quidditch World Cup. He told them he was a seeker. He told them about the Dementors and the scream he heard every time he encountered them. He told them about Tom Riddle and the dreams that lead him, and them, to this point. He told them about being a horcrux, Voldemort's horcrux. He told them everything and by the time he was done, he was met with horrified stares.
"All of that," James whispered. "You're only 15 and you've had to deal with all of that." He stood from the bed. "Why weren't you given to Sirius? He was your godfather for a reason."
"Everyone thought he killed Pettigrew." Harry shifted uncomfortably. "No one knew he was alive until my third year. He was Ron's rat."
"Pettigrew." James practically snarled. "We should never have trusted him."
"We thought he was our friend, James," Lily said sadly, petting a hand over Harry's knee.
"Little rat." James huffed. "Should have known. It's his animagus."
After a moment, James turned back toward them, James's eyes focusing on Harry intently.
"I want you to know that I'm not mad. I'm not even disappointed. If I had gone through everything you did by the time I was your age, I probably would have done far worse." His eyes grew wistful for a second before he refocused again. "You aren't a bad person for wanting your parents." He threw his arms up. "Sometimes we put our trust in the wrong people. I can't fault you for that." He gestured to himself.
"Has-" Harry's voice failed the moment he tried to speak, but he forced himself to talk anyway. "Has he hurt you? Made you do anything?"
He didn't need to clarify who he meant by he.
James glared at the door for a second. "He mostly ignores us."
"He hasn't made you do-" Harry cut himself off.
"Any death eating?" James asked looking at his forearm for a moment before dropping it. "No."
"He comes in here sometimes," Lily said quietly. "We could never come in when he did."
Harry couldn't remember seeing Voldemort at any point since Halloween. If the man was there, he never woke Harry when he was there. Never did anything that would have woken him.
"He looks different," James said, staring at the door again. Harry opened his mouth to ask but James seemed to know what he was thinking. "Oh yes. I saw him that night. Looked him right in those crimson eyes." James shook his head. "He called me brave."
"I also called you a boy."
Harry nearly jumped out of his skin.
Standing by the door in a pair of dark pants and a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up was Voldemort and he looked exactly as he had when Harry last saw him. He had wavy, chestnut hair; high cheekbones, healthy yet pale skin, sunken cheeks, and crimson eyes. His skin didn't look like the snake's skin it once had, but instead like regular human flesh. He was leaning against the door, his hands in his pockets and crimson eyes focused only on Harry.
James and Lily both moved closer to him, as though they were ready to shield his body with their own, but Voldemort didn't seem like he could be bothered with either of them. Instead, he watched Harry, crimson eyes roaming over his body before a flash of disapproval crossed his face.
"You're awake." He said. Harry swallowed thickly. "Good. Eat."
Food appeared next to him in the same place it had for weeks now, steaming but smelling delicious.
"Eat slowly." Harry felt the question come to mind when Voldemort continued. "Unless you want to vomit it up. By all means, be stupid. Though we both know you're not."
It was then that Harry remembered one of the many stories Voldemort had told him. One about a young Tom Riddle, hiding underground while bombs rained down from above. One of the young boy who was already largely ignored, hiding in the corner of a shelter while the echoes of explosions rocked the walls. One of the boy who had so little to eat, just like everyone around him, that when he could finally eat again, he had vomited from eating too much too quickly.
Harry was reminded again, just as he was by the man in front of him, how incredibly human Voldemort really was.
"Get out," James seethed from next to him, having crawled onto the bed to physically shield Harry and his mother from the man at the door.
Voldemort's lips twitched. "I'm not here for him." Finally, those crimson eyes looked away from him and Harry felt as though some kind of spell were broken. He could breathe again. He could think again. "I'm here for you." Voldemort continued, looking at James.
"No," Harry immediately protested. "No. You have what you wanted. What more do you need?"
"Need?" Voldemort asked, his voice sounding surprisingly like velvet to Harry's ears. "It's not what I need that's the question here. But there is still a war to be fought. Even with the Chosen One no longer in it." Voldemort focused on James once more. "I'm going to even the playing field."
Harry opened his mouth to protest again, but James let out a cry at his side. The other grasped his forearm, right above the Dark Mark. After a moment, the pain on his face let up and he shook his head.
"Fine," He grunted, clearly seething with anger. Slowly, he moved off the bed, glaring at Voldemort on the other side of the room. He turned, offering a small but pained smile to Harry and Lily. "I'll be right back."
Lily held Harry back while James walked from the room, followed closely by Voldemort who let the door shut behind him with a soft click.
He turned to his mother, feeling his eyes widen with panic. "What-"
But he had only barely managed to force the word out before the world blackened around the edges and he fell backward onto the bed.
This felt like a dream. But Harry hadn't truly dreamt in weeks. Not since he woke up the day after the ritual. He was certain it wasn't his eyes he was looking through as he saw the outside for the first time in what felt like forever. He could feel the breeze of fall air across his skin, rushing through the strands of his hair. He could smell the distinct smell of cold that rushed up his nostrils like it did when he played Quidditch in the fall and winter. His clothes shifted in the breeze before they stopped. Next to him, he heard someone shudder from the cold.
He turned, seeing James next to him. Unlike before, where James was taller than him, he was shorter now though only by a little. James's arms wrapped around himself in the cool air as he glared somewhere ahead of him, refusing to look at him.
"Where are we going?" He demanded.
"That Order of yours," His voice said, though it wasn't his. It was Voldemort's. "They will have grouped somewhere. A headquarters."
"Well you picked the wrong person," James huffed. "I don't know where it is. And even if I did, it's not like I would tell you."
Voldemort chuckled. "Oh, I know where it is. It's at the home of your dear friend, Sirius Black."
James froze. "He went back there?"
"Oh, yes. His mother has been dead for some time. Unpleasant woman. It was left abandoned until after Harry set your friend free. That is where the Order is now."
"I still don't know why you need me. It's going to be under a-"
"Fidelius Charm?" Voldemort supplied. "Yes, I know. And you are not a secret keeper. Or even a secondary keeper."
"Then my presence is useless. And you're not getting in."
Voldemort hummed. "Not quite." He turned to look at James. "You haven't figured it out yet?" Harry could feel Voldemort's amusement as he looked over James, waiting for the other man to figure out what he meant. "Very well then. I will tell you, it's quite simple actually." Voldemort began walking forward and rather reluctantly, James walked with him. "I am already a secondary keeper." Voldemort rolled his shoulders. "What a pesky things souls are."
He didn't give James a chance to comprehend, though, as he grasped the younger man's shoulder and suddenly the two were being compressed and sent through a tube. Harry's stomach churned and he was certain he would throw up. But eventually, it stopped and the compression on Harry's head released, just in time to see the doorstep of Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Voldemort waved a hand and the door flew inward, crashing down the hall before lodging in a doorway. A scream echoed around the house. The portrait of Walburga Black yelled from within the depths of the house, screaming about half-bloods and Mudbloods. Voldemort swept inward, pushing past James who was still frozen on the front step.
Kreacher appeared first, rushing toward the stairs to comfort the portrait of his mistress when he spotted Voldemort. He froze in place as anger tore through Voldemort's brain, vanishing as quickly as it came.
"Interesting," He murmured, looking down at the trembling house-elf. "Where is it?"
Harry didn't know what Voldemort was talking about, as it seemed to be the one thing the man was hiding from him. Harry could feel or see most when it came to Voldemort, including his thoughts. But this one thought, whatever it was, was shielded from Harry's mind.
"Give it to me." He said calmly, though Harry could tell he was nowhere near as calm as he sounded.
"N-no." Kreacher protested. "I only obey my masters."
"Yes," Voldemort agreed, amusement now evident at the forefront of his mind. "So look again."
Whatever Voldemort was referring to seemed to dawn on Kreacher's face as he reluctantly began moving through the house, eventually disappearing with a soft pop. He reappeared seconds later with a locket in hand. The same locket Harry had seen near the end of the summer when they were de-doxyfying the house. Voldemort didn't bother thanking Kreacher as his long fingers wrapped around the locket.
Harry's scar burned for a moment, and he was certain he cried out, before he was distracted by the other person who came into Voldemort's view.
Sirius's eyes were wild, just like his dark hair, as he appeared in the doorway, his wand raised. Amusement once again flashed through Voldemort's mind as he withdrew his own bone-white wand.
Harry wanted to cry out, to tell Sirius to run. But Sirius's appearance seemed to snap James out of his stupor as he was suddenly rushing through the house, past Voldemort and directly between him and Sirius.
"Don't." He held up his hands placatingly, keeping himself between the two of them. Sirius's jaw dropped behind him, his eyes blinking repeatedly as he looked at the man between him and Voldemort. "Please. Don't hurt him."
Harry could tell that Voldemort was amused by James's plea while behind him Sirius whispered an almost inaudible "James?"
"Please," James said again. "Harry will never forgive you if you kill his godfather."
The statement seemed to be enough, for some reason, for Voldemort to lower his wand. His gaze flicked past James and toward the man behind him.
"Very well." His wrist twitched and Sirius went flying forward, his body colliding with James's. "It's not him we're here for anyway."
Suddenly, James and Sirius went flying out the space where the front door once occupied, falling onto the street. Voldemort strode through the hall behind them, raising his wand to let out a trail of fire behind him. Harry could feel the flames at his back as Voldemort walked calmly from the house. Behind him, the flames began consuming everything. Things crashed behind him, flames roared, and somewhere within the burning embers, Walburga Black's portrait screamed.
Harry's vision came back to him as quickly as it vanished. His mother hovered above him as he gasped for breath, still feeling the sting of smoke in his lungs. He gasped, sitting upward only barely dodging knocking his head with his mother's. He was gasping, his heart racing in his chest.
"He-" He tried, his throat feeling so dry he could barely talk. "He burned Grimmauld Place." Harry couldn't help but think of what would happen when those flames consumed all of Number 12. There were still homes on either side, homes that wouldn't be protected from the flames once they consumed the former Black residence. Innocent people were at risk, and he knew Voldemort didn't care.
"Did he kill Sirius?" Lily asked behind him, her hand petting down his back to try to calm him.
Harry shook his head. "He took him though."
Just as he finished speaking, the front door somewhere else in the manor flew open and two thuds followed. Harry and Lily moved off the bed at the same time. He moved slower than his mother who was a few steps ahead of him as they moved through the manor until they were in the vast entryway. Harry had only ever seen bits and pieces of the manor but mostly he saw his room. He had never seen the entryway. Never seen the one door that could lead to the outside. But the door closed quickly as Voldemort swept into the house, stepping around the bodies of James and Sirius who were disentangling themselves on the floor. Lily, moving faster than him, ran out of the hall they had come from, leaving Harry standing in the shadows as he rested against the wall. What little energy he had was fading slowly.
"James?" Sirius asked as he pulled himself away from Harry's father, finally able to look at his once dead best friend. Sirius's hands came to either side of James's face, looking him over and obviously surprised to feel that the person in front of him was corporeal. His head turned just barely as Lily, or more likely her bright red hair appeared in the corner of his vision. "Lily?"
Harry was barely conscious as he leaned against the wall, watching the three embrace in front of him.
But before he could see much more, his vision was clouded by Voldemort who was directly in front of him. He couldn't see the man's face, but he could see as the shape of Voldemort moved closer. Before he knew it, he was being wrapped in strong arms and carried back through the manor his head resting limply on Voldemort's shoulder.
Voldemort returned him to the room he had been occupying him, lying him down with surprising gentleness on the bed once more.
The man pulled the emerald covers upward, pulling them over Harry's body where he lay, unless in the bed once more. Harry watched him, his vision darkening again but this time from exhaustion.
Voldemort looked over the bed, seeming to be satisfied with Harry's rather comfortable state, and began moving toward the door once again.
"Wait," Harry managed, softly. Voldemort froze and then turned slowly back toward him. The other man watched him for a moment, a look strangely similar to fondness in his crimson eyes before he moved back toward the side of the bed. "Why?" Harry's voice was barely above a whisper.
Voldemort leaned forward, his hand brushing over Harry's wild hair before they were incredibly close once again. He could feel the heat of Voldemort's breath against his cheek, but even more than that, the heat of his body. Voldemort had never been warm before. He was now.
The other's lips pressed softly against his, a chaste kiss that was nothing like the kisses that had shared Halloween night. Voldemort pulled away after a moment.
"Sleep, Harry." He said softly.
Two days later, when Harry had managed to recover some of his strength, he decided to explore the manor. He finally managed to keep some food down, enough that he could stay awake for more than two or three hours at a time, and eventually, he managed to pull himself from the room he was in. He had seen Sirius once and both James and Lily came went freely from his room, checking on him. But he knew the only way he could continue to gain strength was by pushing himself to move.
He managed to make it to a library, which was somehow not far from his room. He knew what was deeper within the manor, the ritual room, but he didn't even know what was within the few doors surrounding his. He found out that his parents' room was across the hall, the only other bedroom in the wing. Voldemort's was supposedly across the manor. Sirius had been placed in the room next to Harry's and the first night he was in the manor, Harry heard things shattering in his room. But down the hall, the three doors there were unknown.
The first proved to be another bedroom, unused. The second was a rather large bathroom with a tub the size of the room. But the third was a library.
The corridor that led into this particular wing of the house led into the rest of it. He didn't remember the twists and turns that lead to the front door, but from what he could gather, they were relatively isolated from the rest of the manor. This was seemingly a good thing as the day after Sirius's arrival, several Death Eaters had come and gone from the house, among them Severus Snape. Neither Harry nor his parents and godfather had seen Severus though, as none of them were allowed out of the wing when the Death Eaters roamed the halls.
The library, as it turned out, spanned several levels with a staircase that led straight down into the darkest parts of the manor. He was certain if he followed it, he would find the ritual room once again. But that was one room he would avoid again at all costs.
For the next few days, he forced himself to make his way back to the library, and eventually, he pulled a book off one of the shelves and began reading. He would stay there until he inevitably fell asleep and then he would wake in his bed once more.
By the time two weeks passed, Harry could make his way down the stairs.
It was on the floor below him that he ran into Voldemort for the first time.
"Hello, Harry." Voldemort greeted, not turning around to look at him. "I see you've been exploring."
"I want to know something," Harry demanded, summoning boldness he didn't actually have.
"Yes, I thought you might." Voldemort still didn't look at him.
"That ritual, you lied to me," Harry said.
"No," Voldemort corrected quickly. "I didn't lie."
"You didn't tell me the truth," Harry stated adamantly. "That's the same as lying. You didn't tell me what else you had planned."
"I told you what you wanted to hear. And was I wrong? Your parents are alive and well and with you once again."
"You didn't tell me that you would brand them." He gestured to Voldemort even though the other man couldn't see him. "You didn't tell me you would use it to change how you looked. You didn't tell me about this." He raised his hand with the python on it. The snake blinked at him before shifting and moving up his arm. It would likely settle around his bicep, a place it seemed to enjoy resting.
"Would it have made a difference?" Voldemort's voice was impassive.
"I don't know!" Harry exclaimed. "Maybe?"
"I have not asked you or your parents to join the war. Your father accompanied me once and I brought back his friend. And your mother has only been asked to help with potions, a skill I am told she was excellent at once."
"And then what?" His arms dropped to his sides with dull slaps. "What about me? What about this? What even is this?" He gestured to his arm once again. The energy he had was fading once again but he forced himself to stay upright.
Eventually, Voldemort turned. His crimson eyes landed on Harry and once again, he felt as though he couldn't breathe. He couldn't describe the feeling he had in Voldemort's presence, the strange sense of calm combined with burning excitement every time those crimson eyes found his. What was it about Voldemort, specifically this Voldemort that had him feeling so different from the burning hatred he once had of this man?
Voldemort walked forward, catching Harry just as his swaying legs gave out on him.
"Easy little lion," Voldemort whispered. The other pulled him into his arms just as he had before and carried him through the manor once again.
Harry was once again tucked into the bed he had been occupying. He sighed, disappointed in himself for not being able to stand for more than a couple of hours. Voldemort's hand ran over his hair before he sat on the edge of the bed.
"The ritual drew on your magic. It will take some time for you to recover fully. But you will recover." Voldemort's hand petted over his hair once again before he pushed off the bed, making toward the door.
"Wait," Harry said. "Please tell me."
He wasn't certain if it was the please or maybe the soft, nearly broken way he said the words that made Voldemort stop and turn toward him with fondness once again in his eyes.
"Technically, we're married."
Harry avoided Voldemort for the next week, unable to fully grasp the concept of the two of them being-
He couldn't even think about it. Because that would mean that somehow, he had let his guard down so much that not only had he surrendered his body to his enemy, but he was bound to him in so many more ways than he had been initially. Harry carried his soul and his blood was Voldemort's blood. They were bound in so many ways already. But now they were bound in this way too. Bound by marriage.
But at night, it was much harder to avoid Voldemort.
He started dreaming again. He dreamt of the same room he had met Voldemort in originally, the same table and chairs. Voldemort stayed away from him, seemingly respecting Harry's unspoken request to stay separate. They never spoke, never did anything but waited inevitably for the dream to fade and the two of them to find their way into the waking world. Over and over for another month, they repeated the same pattern.
But Harry knew he couldn't hide forever.
Eventually, he left his room once again, finding his way to the library. And just like before, he found Voldemort there on the floor below his as though he were waiting for him. They began talking after the second day, Harry unable to stand the silence. They didn't talk about anything in particular as Harry knew better than to start asking about the war he was fighting and Voldemort was smart enough not to ask about his parents. But they found a way to talk that didn't breach the topics they didn't want to talk about.
They spent the next few days talking in the library about nothing special. But the more the days went on, the closer they moved toward each other. Their chairs came closer and closer together in the library until they were right next to each other. For everything that had happened, for how much he should hate this man, he found enjoyed spending time with Voldemort. The man was intelligent and cunning and strangely fascinating to listen to.
Harry found that he wanted to listen to him. He wanted to be closer to Voldemort, to hear him, to know him.
Voldemort hadn't kissed him again since that one day, didn't move any closer than Harry allowed him. He was careful with his boundaries, never straying beyond them. It was strange, compared to how he had violated Harry's space once before. But now he was careful as though something had changed. And maybe it had.
Voldemort only ever looked at Harry with fondness. He still had the same cold objectivity to most people, not fond or even appearing to care about them. But Voldemort had always treated Harry differently. Even in the graveyard when he had monologued to Harry, he seemed to have wanted to do it because Harry was, as he was told the prophecy would label him as, Voldemort's equal. And Voldemort treated him as such.
When the threat of his death wasn't hanging over his head, when the people he cared about were safe and for once in his life, he felt loved; he found he actually liked Voldemort.
And that was bound to make him stupid.
"Why do you treat me differently?" Harry asked, one day.
The two of them were practically shoulder to shoulder as they sat in the library. Harry had a book in one hand that he truly wasn't paying attention to. Voldemort had a stack of papers on his lap, a couple with the name Harry Potter scrawled on them. Harry had learned, through some coaxing, that the Order had never stopped looking for him. That Hogwarts had gone on lockdown after he vanished right out from under Dumbledore's nose. That all of Voldemort's horcruxes had been moved. That the locket Harry had seen him take from the Black house was actually one of them.
Voldemort likely confided in him because Harry had no one else to tell. Who would he tell? Who was there outside this manor that he could talk to? It made him the perfect sounding board for the woes of the Dark Lord. Not that Voldemort seemed to have many woes. And not that much seemed to happen after the destruction of Number 12 Grimmauld Place. Voldemort seemed to insist on keeping the Death Eaters on wild goose chases that kept them away from him, and most of the magical community.
Harry had finally managed to convince Voldemort to let the Daily Prophet come to his manor. But it never had anything interesting to say. Sometimes, there was speculation about what happened to him, where "Potter the Plotter" vanished to. But mostly, it was the day to day drama that was never filled with exuberant amounts of death or appearances of long-dead Dark Lords. It was calm, strangely so.
Voldemort huffed after Harry asked the question that had been plaguing him and it seemed that like him, Voldemort had thought about the answer a lot.
"I have a theory," He said quietly. Harry waited patiently, knowing that his impatience was one of the things that would keep Voldemort from answering his questions. "I never felt things, before." He said quietly. "Oh, I had physical feelings. Pain." He flexed his hand, the one Harry knew was once broken by some of the older boys in the orphanage where he grew up. "But never that many emotions. Anger, hatred, interest." He dropped his hand onto his lap. "Never things like love or fondness or admiration." He was silent for a moment.
"That was until my rebirth. At first, I thought it was because I was corporeal again. You did quite a number on me, even at 11. I wasn't physical for years. I thought they would fade in time." He flexed his hand again. "But now I think it's quite possibly because of you."
"Me?" Harry asked.
"Your blood. I used it to circumvent the protection on you. But the thing that you said that I wouldn't understand, the power you held, was your mother's love. Love. Something I never had. And would never have had until you."
"You can feel because of me," Harry said slowly, setting aside his already ignored book.
"Yes," Voldemort answered. "And no." He let out a slow breath, setting aside the papers. "Your parents mean nothing to me. Your friends, family. But you-" He turned to look at Harry. "It seems the only person I can feel anything for is the one person I have marked as my equal."
Harry tried to process the information. Tried to figure out just what he could do with it. Given what Voldemort said, he knew that the man probably wouldn't feel remorse. Or guilt. Or any emotion that wasn't directed at Harry. But that also meant that Voldemort would probably never let him go. He had already thought as much before, given the fact that they were married and bound in every way. But maybe that meant that Harry could have something for himself. Maybe he could be himself still, in some way, and Voldemort wouldn't stop him. Maybe he could be just Harry without Voldemort trying to make him into something for himself.
He didn't know how this would work. Voldemort would never give up his quest for power, not even for Harry. And Harry wasn't going to change dramatically for Voldemort. Technically, they were enemies and fated for at least one of them to kill the other. Or maybe not.
He didn't even realize Voldemort had leaned in, and he didn't realize he had too. He had learned a long time ago that Voldemort was in his mind, that whatever their connection was meant that there were very few barriers left between them. And it was only confirmed by Voldemort's next words.
"For neither can live while the other survives." His breath ghosted over Harry's lips. "But I won't just live and you won't just survive."
Their lips met softly and Harry was surprised at just how gentle Voldemort could be with him. It was nothing like the harsh, consuming kisses of Halloween. This was softer, sweeter, gentler. Voldemort's hand moved into his wild hair, fingers tangling in the strands.
Maybe they could have this too. Maybe it didn't matter what side they were on. Enemies. Married.
Maybe all that mattered was what happened in the moment.
He didn't realize what was happening until he was suddenly pulled from his chair and into Voldemort's lap. Their kisses deepened as Harry suddenly found himself straddling the other. His book and Voldemort's papers were abandoned, fallen to the floor and ignored. Ignored in favor of this strange connection that still took Harry's breath away.
Harry settled onto the other, the two of them pressed together as Voldemort's arms wrapped around him, holding him in place but not too tightly. Harry knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that he could pull away at any time.
Their kisses deepened still and Harry felt the other begin to shift under him. He too was growing hard under the attention, the friction between them, as his body began to move of its own accord, grinding against the lap of the man under him. Voldemort didn't push, didn't move his hands any lower than Harry's lower back. He was letting him lead, letting him determine how and where this should go. How far they would.
They were already married and this had happened before, Harry reasoned to himself. It was ok to let go a little now.
Voldemort seemed to sense his train of thought as their lips met again, harsher this time. Their bodies ground together, the friction against Harry's groin almost too little. The other's hand began moving lower as he fingered at the edge of Harry's pants. He didn't need to verbalize his yes and Voldemort's hand slipped downward, past the hem. He moved his hand into that chestnut hair, feeling the strands slip through his fingers. It was just as soft as he thought. Voldemort's lips were softer too, and plumper compared to the last time they had been in a similar position.
His body continued to grind against the other's, propelled by Voldemort's hand pressing against his tailbone, guiding his movements. After a moment, Voldemort's hand continued lower, cupping his ass.
He groaned slightly, remembering the last time and just how good things had felt. Voldemort's lips quirked upward in their kiss and after another kiss, Harry could see into his mind too. But the only thoughts that seemed to be running around it were all about Harry.
Voldemort's finger brushed over his rim, his hand still guiding Harry's movement before the other pushed into him. He vaguely remembered Voldemort readying him last time, making certain he wouldn't feel pain when he penetrated him. He wondered if the man had done something similar before. He couldn't help but feel somewhat surprised as Voldemort's finger began moving in and out of him, pushing further and further into him each time.
Harry found himself rocking back into the other's hand before moving forward again in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure on his and Voldemort's untouched cocks.
Soon, it felt like too much and not enough at the same time. Their kisses had grown hungrier, needier, and Voldemort had begun bucking his hips up to meet Harry's rocking.
He was about to verbalize that he needed more, that he wanted more, when Voldemort pulled away slightly. He took a breath and then, with a wave of his hand, both his and Harry's clothes vanished off their bodies and appeared on the chair next to them, folded.
Their lips were back on each other's again as the same wetness, whatever that had been, as before pushed into him. He could feel himself being stretch, and though it burned slightly, it wasn't exactly painful. Voldemort seemed determined to distract him, kissing him over and over with unrestrained hunger.
He didn't know how long they were there, rocking against each other, their cocks brushing with their movements before Voldemort finally seemed to deem him ready.
Just as the time before, it didn't hurt when Voldemort pushed into him, though he was certain that the other went deeper as Harry sunk down on his cock. Voldemort's hands were on his hips, guiding him downward until there was nothing more to go down on. Harry could swear he felt the other in his gut, as though Voldemort were buried so deeply within him.
The python on his arm seemed to be squirming, moving up and down the length of his arm, and for the first time, Harry noticed that a matching snake adorned one of Voldemort's arms. Like his, it seemed to prefer staying up on his bicep, which was why Harry had never seen it before. It was the same night black like the one on his arm, but its eyes were emerald instead of crimson. The same color as Harry's eyes.
Voldemort's hands squeezed his hips, dragging Harry's attention away from the snake on his arm.
The other began to guide his body, first upward and then back down again until Harry started to understand the rhythm for himself. Voldemort adjusted in the chair slightly and as Harry sank down once more, that same spot was grazed that he had felt the first time they'd had sex. He moaned, his eyes fluttered slightly.
He could feel the other's crimson eyes on his face, watching him intently as he moved. Eventually, he couldn't keep his own eyes open anymore.
Voldemort's hands moved upward, pressing against his back and pushing them together. The other began to thrust upward, meeting every one of Harry's movements.
Harry moaned, burying his face in Voldemort's shoulder.
The other began kissing along his shoulder, his neck, his cheek, wherever he could reach.
Their bodies were moving in tandem, pleasure rocking through them both. Harry could feel the pleasure in Voldemort's mind, just how much he was enjoying the experience, just as he knew Voldemort could feel his pleasure too. He wasn't even entirely certain that the pleasure he was experiencing was entirely his own but he didn't care. He didn't care about much right now.
They were rocking against each other, every thrust of Voldemort's met by Harry's hips moving down once again. That same spot within him, whatever it was that sent pleasure rocketing through his limbs, seemed to be the one spot the man was aiming for, as every thrust found it again and again.
After a particularly harsh thrust, Harry gasped and Voldemort's hand wrapped around his cock.
"I didn't let you come the first time," Voldemort's normally calm voice was shaky and Harry knew that was nothing compared to how high strung he truly was. He was a taut band of pleasure that was ready to burst at any moment. "I won't make that same mistake."
He barely turned, his lips colliding with Voldemort's, when the other's hand began to move, stroking in time with his thrusts. Harry was shaking and barely able to force his body to move anymore, bathing in wave after wave of pleasure. Every moan he offered was quickly swallowed by Voldemort who pressed kiss after needy kiss against his lips.
Harry was shaking apart under Voldemort's movements, and eventually, he couldn't even force himself to return the other's kisses. He was close, so close. And he knew Voldemort was too.
Maybe for others, it was hard to coordinate orgasms. But not for them. Not for two people who were so bound to one another that one's pleasure was the other's. Not when every movement drove them both toward the edge just for the effect it had on the other.
The moment he came, Voldemort did too, spilling inside him while he spilled over Voldemort's hand.
He collapsed against the other, having exerted more energy in the last hour than he had in several weeks. He didn't even realize that he had fallen asleep.
He only knew when he woke up, this time though, on crimson silk sheets.