Being reborn as an infant was a very strange experience. Those months spent inside his mother’s womb were claustrophobic and even till now he still feels uncomfortable whenever in small spaces. Sometimes he would hear the muffled sound of his mother’s voice, most of the time soothing. Other times, he could hear his mother’s crying and it grated his nerves and made him kick out of frustration.
He had thought he was in hell and the voice he heard, that familiar voice, was just another form of torture reserved for him. Whatever other reason could there be for the voice of his nemesis to talk to him softly, to hum lullabies and to cry his name, his muggle name, out in pain and lost than to torture him for all eternity?
When he was born in this world, it had been… disturbing, to say the very least. He was just minding his own business, trying to sleep while listening to the Boy-Who-Lived’s humming of a muggle Christmas song when he felt the liquid around him start to disappear. The rest of the event was a blur and he honestly doesn’t want to remember. He rarely remembered those months. The first real memory he had was the feeling of security and relaxation he had in his mother’s arms as his mother whispered a strange lullaby he has never heard before. The fact that the voice sounded so similar to Harry Potter didn’t even register to him.
The first time he finally saw his mother though…
He almost had a heart attack.
He could only stare dumbly as Harry Potter, the bane of his existence, smiled and kissed him softly, whispering such sentimental nonsense that he feared he would actually throw up.
He had gotten used to the idea of being reborn as an infant. He was already making plans on continuing his goals.
He had even gotten used to the fact that his name was ‘Thomas’. It was only a minor consolation that his mother never called him ‘Tom’ since he loathed his muggle name. It was either ‘Thomas’, ‘my dear Thomas’ or ‘my darling’ and he found out he was okay with that.
But being slapped by the fact that his ‘mother’, the one who gave birth to him, was Harry Potter pretty much screwed all of his plans.
He had planned on making his mother’s life miserable back then.
But having to spend his infant days in Harry Potter’s arms, being coddled and taken care of… was pleasing…
The idea that one person’s entire life revolved around his wishes and desires stroke the lonely child he had so painfully hidden for so long. Harry Potter never raised his hand or his voice, no matter how hard he made the young man’s life miserable as much as his infant body could. He would always smile at him, kiss his forehead and simply ask him not to do it again, as if Harry knew his quiet son could understand him.
In just a few months, he realized that no matter how much of a thorn in his side Harry Potter had been, he made up for it by just being… his mother… his doting, loving mother who let him play with snakes and never pressured him to walk, talk or even crawl.
He did find it strange that the great Harry Potter had become a recluse. He didn’t even look that old. He actually looked younger than the last time he met the boy when he was still the Dark Lord. Now, he looked younger but more mature, quieter, and more of a hermit than he remembered. There were no annoying red heads or know-it-all mudbloods around him. These past eight years, he never even saw one single guest. His only companions were his mother and a house-elf named Minky.
They were in some remote unplottable cottage near a beach. He realized they were in a foreign country when he and Harry had dinner in a muggle restaurant one night for a change of pace, as his mother had said. The locals’ dialect wasn’t that well known to him but the locals could understand and speak in English well enough. There were a lot of tourists in the muggle restaurant and on the surrounding beach. He would later find out they were in a province well known for its surfing. Since they rarely left the security of their cottage, the locals who noticed them only knew them as the quiet polite father and son who would sometimes vacation here.
It took a while to get used to his new home. There were only two seasons: sunny and rainy. When it was summer, it was so hot he and his mother would refuse to leave their cottage and the entire place would be surrounded by a cooling charm for 24 hours every day. Tropical thunder storms were a norm and it was normal to see some kind of flimsy roof that he would later learn as galvanized iron sheet smack their home once or twice. The only magical shopping alley was at the capital of this island which was a six hour bus ride. They didn’t even have any kind of magical transportation like the Knight Bus back in Britain.
His mother had refused to apparate him and they didn’t have a floo network. They were pretty much isolated from the rest of the world in a third world country with a magical community more backwatered than the stagnant Britain. The only consolation he had was that his mother let him use Minky to buy whatever he desired whenever the elf would travel to the magical shopping alley to sell the potions his mother made. Apparently, their only source of income was his mother’s potions which he found a bit ironic considering how much his mother didn’t enjoy potion making in the first place. Minky would always leave at the crack of dawn and would return by nightfall, her little hands filled with bags of potion ingredients and his requests, mostly books to pass the time.
He had been surprised when his mother did not try to stop him from purchasing books about the Dark Arts. Apparently, there were many unsanctioned stalls in the shopping alley with dubious goods, most of them were American or Chinese.
Minky even found a book about Parselmagic in one of them.
That was his life now, a peaceful life with a recluse yet loving mother and a quiet house-elf.
And it all came crashing down one day when someone knocked on the front door.
The sound was so foreign to his ears that it actually took him a second to realize that someone was knocking.
Even his mother, who had been dozing off while his son sat on his lap, reading a tome about native magic practiced mostly by women during the pre-colonial days of this country, seemed to be confused at the sound.
The two of them just stared at the door like it was some kind of strange muggle apparatus for a few minutes before Minky popped in front of them, stating meekly, “British wizards wishes to speak to Master.”
“Tell them to leave.” His mother had ordered and Harry took Thomas to his arms as he stood. Thomas was surprised when Harry seems to walk briskly away from the front door, his wand already on his right hand.
“Harry Potter! We need to talk to you!” Someone from the other side of the door shouted, banging the front door.
“Go away!” His mother shouted back, tightening his hold on his son. Thomas’ hands instinctively tightened around his mother, glaring at the door.
Harry was about to run towards the back door when a calm familiar voice called out, “Harry, please open the door.”
Thomas knew that voice.
But that wasn’t possible…
Thomas saw the pain and disbelief in his mother’s face and felt Harry tightened his grip around his little body. His mother’s lips trembled as he stared at the door yet did not say a word.
“Harry.” The voice called out once more, “Please. We just want to talk.”
Harry turned to stare at Thomas and all he could do was to stare at him and ask in his child voice, confusion and anger seeping through him as he saw the pain in Harry’s eyes, “Mum?”
Harry kissed his forehead before pressing their foreheads together. He closed his eyes as he whispered, “No matter what, I love you. Understand? Don’t you ever doubt that, okay?”
“I know.” He whispered, unable to stop the fear from gripping his heart as the confusion begins to spread throughout his entire body.
Harry walked back to small garden they would usually spend his free time in with his mother gardening and him sitting on his favourite chair and reading a tome. Harry placed him on the chair and kissed his forehead once more before walking back to the hallway. He stood a few feet away from the front door and whispered to Minky, “If I say the exact words ‘camomile and hibiscus blend’, you take Thomas to Lord Master with or without me, understand?”
“Yes, Master. Minky understands.” Minky nodded frantically. He could feel his blood grow cold at the seriousness in his mother’s expression.
“Open the door.” Harry ordered and their house-elf clicked her fingers together. The door’s lock clicked open and the house-elf popped right next to him, silently taking the hem of his robes, ready to pop out of their cottage at soon as his mother gave the sign.
The door creaked open and four figures entered their small cottage. He recognized the one leading as Kingsley, one of the old fool’s lackeys. The next person was Rufus Scrimgeour which surprised him.
But the one that almost made him question his sanity was when he realized that the third person to enter their small cottage was none other than Tom Marvolo Riddle.
Or, at least, someone who looked exactly the same as Tom Marvolo Riddle when he had been in his early twenties.
He didn’t even pay attention to the bumbling fourth person (a woman) to enter their home; his entire focus was at the appearance of his younger self.
“You’re a hard man to find, Mister Potter.” Scrimgeour commented before nodding politely as he added, “But it is a pleasure to see you well.”
“Spare me the small talks.” His mother hissed at Scrimgeour before turning his glare at the younger man next to him, “What do you want, Riddle?”
The amount of venom his mother had managed to wrap around that one word actually made him sit straighter. He had never heard such anger and pain in his mother’s voice before and it only made Thomas want to wring the neck of his double.
“Voldemort’s forces have grown bolder and more destructive.” Tom (because who else could he be?) calmly stated.
He almost choked on his own spit.
His mother shrugged as he replied, “So?”
“Magical Britain needs you, Mister Potter!” Scrimgeour pleaded, making his mother glare at him.
“Why would the great mighty Magical Britain need a hermit like me who never even finished his magical education because he was expelled?” His mother sneered, turning his glare towards Tom at that last word.
“The foolishness of Cornelius Fudge will be rectified-“
“After eight years?!” Harry cut off Scrimgeour, glaring at him as he hissed, “I’ve told you idiots that the big bad Dark Lord has been resurrected eight years ago and you branded me a lunatic! The minister expelled me because I tried to teach my fellow students spells the damn minister didn’t want to teach! And now that you’re on the brink of losing, you come running to me to clean your shit?”
His mother’s laughter was mirthless and full of repressed rage. He walked towards the two and sneered at Scrimgeour, “Clean up your own mess. You didn’t need me eight years ago. You sure as hell not going to have me now.”
Harry backed away and ordered, “Get out.”
“Dumbledore is dead.” Tom calmly stated, making Harry’s furious killing eyes turn to glare at him.
“Boo-hoo.” Harry retorted spitefully, “Dumbledore left me alone for eight years. He’s been dead for eight years to me already.”
“Dumbledore has been looking for eight years!” Kingsley defended, making Harry glare at him.
“And the great almighty invincible Albus-has-too-many-other-names-Dumbledore couldn’t find me?” Harry mocked, “He’s either stupider than we thought or he wasn’t trying hard enough considering the ministry found me. And we all know that for whatever flaw Dumbledore might have had, he was not stupid.”
“Mister Potter, you must unders-“ Tom placed his hand on Scrimgeour’s hand.
Scrimgeour looked at him and Tom asked, “Please let me talk to Harry in private.”
Scrimgeour opened his mouth to protest but stopped when he saw the solemn look in Tom’s face. Scrimgeour nodded and said, “We’ll wait outside.”
Scrimgeour and the woman (an Auror perhaps?) went outside. Kingsley stopped by the door and said, “Everyone is worried about you.”
Harry crossed his arms and sneered at him, “Don’t you mean worried for their own hides?”
Kingsley opened his mouth but Tom cut him off with a polite tone, “Please leave us to talk in private, Mister Kingsley.”
Kingsley’s lips curved into a small frown but he nodded, walking out of the cottage. He closed the door behind him, making Thomas stare at the two young men on the hallway. They seemed to be of similar age but his mother was the smaller of the two. Harry didn’t look at his direction and Tom has yet to notice him.
The first one to speak was Tom and he simply said, “You look well.”
“I could say the same to you.” There was a hint of mocking in Harry’s tone as he asked, “What are you now? Secretary of the Minister?”
“Undersecretary.” Tom corrected.
“Good for you.” Harry deadpanned.
A minute of awkward silence encompassed the entire cottage as the two stared at each other, Tom with his unreadable unblinking stare and Harry with his furious and pained stare.
“I… regret what I have done eight years ago.” Tom finally spoke, placing both his hands behind him.
“Which part?” Harry’s tone was filled with pain and anger as he asked bitterly, “The part where you pretended to love me? Or the part where you testified against me and got me expelled?”
“Both.” Tom replied immediately before his words faltered as he admitted, “I’ve… been looking for you.”
“Yeah, I heard.” Harry drawled.
“Even before the minister got involved.” Tom added, staring intently at Harry as he said, “I’ve been searching for you for eight years yet you eluded me for so long. It took the ministry a year to even find this place.”
Tom paused for a moment, staring at him, almost as if he was memorizing his face before he said, “Britain needs you.”
Tom’s voice grew softer as he admitted, “I need you.”
“Stop it, Tom.” Harry snapped coldly, “You don’t get to say shit like that. You don’t get to say lies again and expect me to believe them. I’m not the same stupid fifteen year old Gryffindor you seduced and threw away.”
“Throwing you away was the greatest regret I ever made.” Tom admitted, taking a step forward.
Harry immediately took a step back and retorted, “Thinking you actually loved me was the greatest regret I ever made.”
Thomas could not help but feel a pang of pain by that. It didn’t take a genius to know that Tom was his biological ‘father’. If he understood their conversation correctly, they went to Hogwarts at the same time and developed a relationship. His mother, the naïve stupid boy he was, thought that Tom had loved him and confided to him something that Tom used to get him expelled. That meant that he was, once again, a mistake.
He supposed it was only a consolation that Tom didn’t use a love potion. The pain and anger in his mother’s voice and eyes were clear indication that his feelings for Tom had been real. That made him want to wring the neck of his biological father.
“Get out.” Harry ordered, turning away from Tom.
“Harry…” Tom took a step forward.
“Get out!” Harry shouted, turning to face Tom once more, tears falling freely from his glistening eyes, “Keep your lies to yourself and get out! Stop pretending you-“
Harry’s words were cut off by Tom’s lips. Thomas could only stare in surprise as Tom gently kissed his mother, caressing his cheek.
“Expelliarmus!” Thomas finally shouted, pushing too much magic into the tip of the wand he had been hiding in his robes. The spell smacked Tom against the wall, making Harry gasp.
“Tom!” Harry shouted but did not rush to him. Instead he ran towards Thomas and took the young child into his arms. Thomas continued to aim the wand at Tom who stared at them with wide surprised eyes. Harry seemed too surprised to question how Thomas even got a wand in the first place.
The beautiful thing about the magical community of this country?
The lack of people even trying to uphold the laws and regulations of their ministry…
Before Tom could say anything, Harry shouted at Minky, “Hibiscus and Camomile blend!”
Minky rushed to grab Harry’s sleeve and teleported them out of the cottage. The last thing Thomas heard was Tom’s shout, “Harry!”
Their house-elf popped them into a big chamber.
… currently filled with Death Eaters.
The Death Eaters all stared at Harry and Thomas in frozen surprised while Harry and Thomas stared back at them with the same surprised look on their faces. Thomas could see that most of them weren’t wearing their masks and among their ranks were Bellatrix, Lucius and Barty, all looking younger than he remembered.
It was one of the lower Death Eaters who raised their wands towards Harry with a shout of “Harry Potter!”
Almost everyone aimed their wands at Harry and Thomas afterwards and Harry turned away from them, covering Thomas with his body.
“STOP!” A familiar voice ordered before the first curse could be uttered. Thomas couldn’t see what was happening, pressed against his mother’s chest. He could hear the loud frantic beating of his heart and Thomas swore he was going to Crucio every single scoundrel who dared raised their wand.
He heard someone briskly walking towards their position, all the while ordering, “Lay down your wands! All of you!”
“Who are you to order us, Black!?” Someone else hissed and Thomas finally remembered why the voice was familiar.
It was the voice of that Black mutt of Dumbledore.
Someone grabbed Harry’s arm, forcing him to turn around and Black hissed, “You shouldn’t have come here.”
It seemed that today was just one surprise after another.
Thomas’ eyes widened as he saw Black and remembered that Dumbledore’s mutt also had the same voice as…
“I need to talk to Voldemort, Cousin Regulus.” Harry whispered, tightening his grip on Thomas.
Regulus Black (his Death Eater, the traitor) glanced at Thomas for a second before turning to face the rest of the Death Eaters. Thomas realized that during the commotion, Bellatrix and Barty had also approached them, standing on either side of Harry. Instead of aiming their wands at Harry, their wands were aimed at the rest of the Death Eaters.
“Lower your wands unless you want to risk the chance of hitting our Lord’s heir!” Regulus ordered, taking a step to the side so that everyone could see the boy Harry Potter was holding. Realizing that Regulus meant him, Thomas turned his upper body so that he could glare at everyone.
Most Death Eaters’ immediately lowered their wands and bowed. A few continued to aim their wands at Harry and Thomas saw Draco Malfoy as he sneered, “Why should our Lord care for Tom Riddle’s son?!”
“Even if he is in the ministry, Tom Riddle is still my son.” A cold familiar (how many familiar voices has he heard for one day?!) hissed in obvious displeasure, “Crucio.”
Draco fell on his knees and bit his lips to stop the scream that tried to escape. Everyone except Harry immediately went on their knees as they greeted in revere, “My Lord.”
Thomas could only stare, unable to stop his jaw from slacking, as Voldemort stepped into the room, followed closely by Lord Nott and Dolohov. Voldemort lowered his wand and Draco fell on the floor, grasping for air. Voldemort’s eyes were focused on Harry and Thomas as he elegantly walked towards them, a great contrast to his monster-like serpentine appearance, “Harry Potter… it has been eight years since I have last seen you.”
“The Ministry found me.” Harry informed him as he stared back.
“I know.” Voldemort stopped right in front the two. He lowered his eyes to stare at Thomas and Thomas glared at him, gripping his wand tightly. Voldemort placed his cold long hand on Thomas’ chin and forced the boy to raise his head as he commented, “He looks just like my son… and me, I suppose.”
“My eyes are prettier.” Thomas sneered, making almost all the Death Eaters flinch, fearing for their master’s anger.
Instead of rage, laughter erupted from Voldemort’s lips. He grabbed Harry’s chin with his other hand and forced the younger wizard to stare at him. Two pairs of identical Avada Kedavra eyes stared at Voldemort as he commented, “Yes, your mother’s eyes are definitely more precious.”
Voldemort continued to stare at the two of them as he ordered, “Leave us.”
“Yes, My Lord.” Everyone immediately began walking out of the room. Thomas noticed that Regulus stopped by the door, staring at Harry.
Voldemort didn’t bother to turn around as he warned, “The only reason I am not punishing you right now for disobeying my order is because you protected my precious. Do not push your luck, Regulus. Leave.”
“Tom Riddle will be informed of this.” Regulus pressed on, staring at where Draco had been lying just a few moments ago as he said that line. Regulus turned his head to stare at Voldemort’s back as he asked, “How should we proceed, My Lord?”
“Let him know.” Voldemort nonchalantly said, making Harry freeze. A cruel smirk played his lips as he mused, “Simply because he knows does not mean he will be able to do anything.”
Regulus bowed as he said, “As My Lord commands.”
Regulus turned around and walked out of the room, closing the doors behind him. Once they were alone, Voldemort finally let go of both their chins. Voldemort caressed Harry’s cheek as he whispered, “So you have come to me once more. Am I to mend your broken heart again, my darling?”
“I don’t want to be dragged into your war.” Harry cradled Thomas close as he whispered, “I don’t want Thomas to be dragged into your war.”
“Thomas?” Voldemort turned to stare at the glaring boy in Harry’s arms, “Not Tom?”
“His name is Thomas Mathias Riddle.” Harry introduced him.
“Yes, my grandson.” Voldemort commented before turning to smirk at Harry as he asked, “Or is he my son?”
Thomas’ jaw slacked once more as he saw Voldemort lean forward, capturing Harry’s lips into a passionate heated kiss. Instead of magic, Thomas smacked Voldemort on the cheek as he ordered, “Get away from my mother!”
Voldemort stepped to the side, more surprised than hurt, and sneered at Thomas. Thomas sneered back and Harry backed away from Voldemort, cheeks flaming from embarrassment. Voldemort’s lips curved into a smirk as he commented, “Possessive just like Tom… and me.”
“You know where your room is, my luv.” Voldemort cut Harry off, “Stay there while I find you a new haven.”
Harry stared at Voldemort for a moment before whispering, “Thank you.”
Voldemort smirked as he suggested, “I prefer you warming my bed tonight as a sign of gratitude than your words.”
“Get out!” Thomas ordered, making Voldemort laugh. Voldemort walked out of the room, opening the door and smirking at Thomas.
“Do control your temper, my dear Mathias.” Voldemort’s tone was too playful and smug for Thomas, “I am either your grandfather or your father.”
Thomas hissed angrily at him, making Voldemort laugh once more as he left, closing the door behind him.
Once they were alone, Harry sighed tiredly and sat on the floor, making Thomas sit on his lap. Harry pressed his face on his son’s soft dark brown locks. Thomas glared at the throne in front of them. They stayed there in complete silence for a couple of minutes before Thomas finally gave up and asked, “Mother, which one of them is my father?”
The silence from his mother did not sound like a good thing.
He thought about how both Voldemort and Tom acted around his mother. They both desired him and they both acted as if they were close, which meant that Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, most probably had a relationship with both the Dark Lord and Tom Riddle.
Thomas felt like he was going to have a migraine.
Taking in consideration Voldemort’s words, the most logical conclusion would be that Harry Potter also had sex with both of them. It was obvious that Harry Potter was the one ‘receiving’ and, if Voldemort’s words of a broken heart was any indication, his relationship with Voldemort started immediately (give or take a few days or weeks) after Tom Riddle’s.
“You don’t know which of them is my father, do you?” Thomas asked.
“No.” Harry’s muffled reply only made Thomas’ lips form a humourless close smile.
“So, either my father is the man who betrayed you and the Dark Lord is my grandfather or my father is the Dark Lord and the man who betrayed you is my half-brother.” Thomas summarized his suddenly complicated life.
And both of them obviously want his mother back…
Harry was quiet for a very long while before replying in a weak embarrassed voice, “Pretty much...”
Thomas sighed in resignation as he mumbled, “What a dysfunctional family we have…”
The soft chuckle and gentle embrace his mother gave him were all he needed to know that even if he was once more a Riddle and he was once more part of a dysfunctional family, he wouldn’t exchange it for anything else.
His mother was all that mattered.
That was why…
“This is what we're going to do, mother.” His voice was clear and commanding, “We keep out of the war. If the Dark Lord wins, you marry the Dark Lord. If the Ministry wins, you marry Tom Riddle.”
Harry was silent for a moment before he asked, “You're not going to ask me who I love or who I want to be with?”
Thomas finally turned around and glared at his mother as he hissed, “You love me. You're going to be with me. The Dark Lord and Tom Riddle are just to ensure our safety before I get enough power to protect both of us.”
Harry actually stunned at that.
What did he expect?
He was, after all, another Riddle who wanted Harry Potter.