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Carrying on

Chapter Text

 

Harry froze as he took in what Tom was telling him. There was  a small little voice in his head that was telling him to beware, that diaries aren’t supposed to talk back even in the Wizarding world, just like hearing voices isn’t supposed to happen.

 

But even that voice was quiet now.

 

Because the last time the chamber was opened was in 1942. And Dippet and Dumbledore still sent Tom back to his orphanage.

 

They sent him back. Back into the world that was under siege during a bloody war . A war that was creating more and more orphans every day, more mouths jostling for food, it would have been easy for Tom to be lost in that crowd.

 

Christ, the Blitz was still happening! Bombs were being dropped all over Britain. Oh the history books had said that it didn’t truly affect the morale of people but that wasn’t quite the same as morale of children was it ? An orphan at that.

 

Harry knew that if he wasn't the Boy-Who-Lived, he would very probably be dead before ever reaching Hogwarts. He hadn’t forgotten what it was like to be invisible. He hadn’t forgotten what it was like when people’s eyes took in the over large clothes and their eyes slid right off him, as if he wasn’t even worthy of that. He wouldn’t have made it to the age of twelve really, not if Ron and his brothers hadn’t rescued him.

 

And still Dumbledore wouldn’t let him stay in Hogwarts in the summer. Harry hadn’t let it go but he could understand that no one could make special allowances for one student. Especially since he knew that while he had it bad at Dursleys there were a lot more who had it worse. Vernon didn’t really dare lay a  hand on him, thought that the ‘freakishness’ might be catching. So he could understand why they wouldn’t let him stay at Hogwarts even though he didn’t like it.

 

But in the bloody second world war, they still wouldn’t let the children stay back? They couldn’t make allowances to save their own students?

 

How many of the muggleborns never returned? How many died out there?

 

Was one of them Tom?

 

The words swam on the page as Harry got dizzy at the thought of it. Was this diary all that remained of Tom in the whole wide world? Had he survived?

 


 

Half of Tom Marvolo Riddle’s soul waited for the boy to write something. In the memory world he lived in, Tom paced the floor of the Great Hall. It was a particularly lovely halloween dinner in his third year that he relived every day in this mindscape, the first time he had sat on the Slytherin table and not felt like a complete outsider. He had had ‘friends’ then but they hadn’t quite warmed up to him until then. Until they’d observed Sabbath with him that very evening. He had felt a spirit try to communicate with him. It had felt like warmth, the kind of which he hadn’t ever known. And he had understood then that it wasn’t his blood they hated but the witch-burning muggle mindset he and his kind brought into the Wizarding world.

 

But it was just a memory.

 

He wrenched his gaze to the other version of his diary, the open book where words should have appeared as Harry Potter wrote to him. But nothing.

 

He sighed and his eyes turned instead to the younger version of him sitting at the Slytherin table. So naive. Not that Dumbledore would ever believe that he had been so.

 

Suddenly the floor shook. Harry Potter must be about to write, he realised and then frowned.

 

When that wretched chit wrote to him it felt different, the mindscapes felt light and soft almost dizzying. Probably because of all of her soft feelings for her precious friend Tom and the boy she adored and couldn’t stop talking about, Tom thought sneeringly.

 

He had been glad for the brief reprieve from her thoughts. Even if it was the bane of his life-- well, his future self’s life--that was writing to him. When Harry had written to him Tom had felt his caution, felt his desperation to find the Chamber. Ginevra had been writing him for months but he hadn’t gained much strength through her. If anything he spent more of himself in possessing her than he got back from the girl. She was weak and her magic felt wrong. Like eating toffee when you wanted bangers and mash.

 

Harry Potter though, his magic felt right. It felt solid, substantial. This was a magic that could sustain Tom and his soul. What he had to use months to siphon off from the girl he got from Harry in a matter of an hour. It made Tom question his belief, was he wrong to put so much importance on the power of the number seven? A seventh child of a seventh child and yet the magic was so weak.

 

The ground was still shaking and Tom looked at the pages in front of him to see a dark blot forming, as if Harry was pressing his quill hard into the parchment. The quivering of his world too seemed to echo the young boy’s anger and Tom wondered what had him so riled up.

 

“They made you go back.”

 

Why would the thought of Tom being back in the orphanage cause him to be so angry though?

 

“Back into a war zone.”

 

Odd, that. The war was long past after all, why was he so affected by this?

 

“Are you alright?” Tom wrote back, surprised at himself. Was this concern he was showing? Tom didn’t know he could do that for someone who wasn’t himself. “I am sorry if it sounds callous but why does this matter so much to you?”

 

It hadn’t mattered to Headmaster Dippet. It certainly didn’t matter to Dumbledore. Slughorn had cared just enough to remind him that more than one of his friends would like to have his company over the summer.

 

The answer came in hesitant but certain words, words that surprised Tom.

 

“Where I live, I have a false reputation of being a troublemaker. But when I had bruises from my cousin, they still asked if I was alright. They couldn’t always do anything about it, it was always more my cousin than my uncle and boys will be boys.

 

But they asked. I didn’t have to beg.”

 

Well, well. It seemed the boy who vanquished him, the Wizarding world’s saviour, lived a life that wasn't too different from his own. This had Dumbledore’s fingerprints all over it. Tom shouldn’t have been surprised really. He’d watched Dumbledore play his games with other students too. Manipulate them, pit them against one another to gauge something. Worthiness, perhaps?

 

He was an academic, Dumbledore. Probably wanted to see if he could raise a champion of the Light in the very same circumstances that had given birth to him, the champion of the Dark. It seemed very much like a thing he would do.

 

And Tom could use this. He wouldn't even have to try too hard, or at all. No lies, nothing like that. The simple truth and he’d be able to steal Dumbledore’s precious saviour from right under his nose.

 

But it would require Tom showing some vulnerability, some humanity. His pride would be dented by the pity that his tale would no doubt earn him. Was it worth the risk then? Was it worth everything he had done so far?

 

“Dumbledore never liked me. I was born and raised in an orphanage and there were many children there. Children as you probably know, can be very cruel especially when they have little to lose and my magic would lash out if they tried to harm me. I was naive back then, when Dumbledore came to tell me about Hogwarts and magic, I foolishly told him everything. I will admit, I wasn’t kind and he took it badly. His disapproval followed me through school. Since he had the ear of Headmaster Dippet it often affected the way the Headmaster saw me as well. I cannot say how different things might have been if Dumbledore might have given me the chance. It might have been better, or it might have perhaps been worse.”

 

The tremors under his feet had grown loud. He could feel Harry’s magic stronger now and it was intoxicating. Now more than ever Tom wished he might be real, wished he was corporeal enough to touch his wand, feel the magic coursing through it.

 

He wanted so badly to be real...

 


 

Harry’s hand was shaking. His whole body was really, because  he was angry!

 

What Tom said about him and Dumbledore, it was just so familiar.

 

Harry remembered being driven out of the library when all he wanted to do was read, just because the librarian was in Aunt Petunia’s gardening club and didn’t want hooligans in her library. He remembered Pier Polkiss’ mum sniffing and saying she would hand over the little money he would make for mowing her lawn to Dudley because who knew what the wretched boy Petunia was complaining about would do with it.

 

“It’s not fair.”

 

“Life rarely is, we both know that.”

 

“Did you live?”

 

“To see the end of the war you mean? I did, but Harry, that might not be so good a thing. The muggle wars may have been over but do you think I survived the Wizarding one that came after?”

 

“Voldemort’s war, you mean,” Was it odd that it didn’t mean too much to Harry? Somehow Voldemort’s war didn’t seem real to him. His parents were dead by his hand, yes, but that it was a war hadn’t quite sunk in yet.

 

They had a World War II veteran come speak to them at school though. They wore poppies affixed to their clothes in November. They learnt about Nuclear weapons and their creation, they learnt about the bigotry that formed its foundation.

 

The only thing Harry knew about the war in which his parents had died was that they had been killed protecting him and somehow it had survived. He didn’t even know what they fought for, what Voldemort fought for.

 

He may have survived it, may have been the one to end it but it wasn't real to him….

 

“I hope you lived.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“What happened with the war later?” The words bloomed in that beautiful handwriting that reminded Harry of what had once been shown on the telly about medieval times and monks. They disappeared just as soon, clearly waiting for him to answer and answer he did.

 

“You don’t know?”

 

“I only remember up until my seventeenth birthday. Everything else I found out from the people who write to me but wizards don’t know much about muggle wars.”

 

“England won if that’s any consolation. Or, well, the Allies won.”

 

“And Grindelwald?”

 

“I don’t know who that...wait, Dumbledore’s chocolate frog card says he defeated him.”

 

But surely, if Tom knew that Voldemort rose to power, then he would know that Grindelwald was defeated? Harry didn't know much about the wars in the Wizarding world, but he knew that two Dark Lords in such close quarters is one ego too many.

 

It was the first inkling Harry had that Tom while a victim of circumstance, while an orphan that Harry knew had suffered, was no innocent.

 

And it was also the moment when he realised he actually liked Tom. This one, the one who wasn’t just that poster kid, not just the pretty wonder boy who’d been given a special award. He liked the Tom who was lying to him to get some information, somehow he seemed more human that way.

 

And that was when the first thread of panic set in.

 

Because Tom seemed so very human.

 

But a bit too human for a diary .

 


 

“What do you know about Voldemort?” Tom asked at long last, after days of pandering to the boy’s queries. He was still reeling from the thought that Harry Potter, the bane of his life, hoped he had lived. The words had Tom flushed with emotions he hadn’t felt in years but the curiosity had won out.

 

Surely Harry wasn’t truly this naive and nice? Tom didn’t know everything about Harry’s life before Hogwarts but he knew it wasn’t the kind of thing one survived by being nice. So how was it then that the boy was still kind? What lies had he been told to make him Light?

 

“Nothing much. For someone I’d been consistently in contact with the last year, nothing at all.” A touch of wry amusement accompanied the words, the emotion dredging the memory world Tom lived in. It felt like that one time Tom had smoked the cannabis Lestrange had brought with him but sharper.

 

And once the feeling passed, Tom fixated on that bit of knowledge.

 

“You met him all through the past year?”

 

“He rode in on the back of our DADA professor’s head. Literally.”

 

Harry explained shortly how Quirrel, an apparent follower of his, had been possessed by Voldemort. And then he talked of the philosopher’s stone and the attempts his elder soul shard had made to get it. And how he had been defeated by three first years.

 

How low had he fallen? How was it even possible for him to be so powerless, so moronic as to be bested by three children with a year’s worth of education? It couldn’t have been the horc—

 

No, no, it mustn't have been what he was thinking. Whatever magic had saved the boy must have done this to him. Lucky then, that he had failsafes like the diary in place, failsafes that hadn’t been touched by the magic that had caused an Avada to falter.

 

“Whatever he was he was a liar through and through.”

 

And Tom, who had been intrigued by the boy but not particularly impressed utilised every bit of Occlumency he knew to calm himself.

 

“A liar, was he?” He managed to write and hoped the boy wouldn’t see the rage in the way his hand pressed the ‘quill’.

 

“Absolutely.”

 


 

Harry wasn’t an idiot. It had taken him longer than he wanted to admit but the diary’s interest in Voldemort hadn’t gone unnoticed. Days of casual conversations with Voldemort's name peppered through, the number of times Tom had mentioned Dark magic in a way that would have seemed subtle if it weren’t for all the tea parties that Petunia had held that Harry had been witness to, the ways she had ferreted out secrets to turn into gossip later had given Harry some appreciation for subtlety and Tom lacked it but didn’t realise that.

 

And still, Harry continued to write in it. Somehow writing in the diary felt like being who he used to be before. It reminded him that before Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, the brave Gryffindor had become his life, he used to be Harry of the cupboard under the stairs, Number 4, Privet drive Surrey; the freak, the boy who made strange things happen, the one who managed to outrun and outsmart Dudley and his gang.  

 

He didn’t like the world in which that Harry lived, all alone and always fighting but he liked the Harry he had been. But that Harry didn’t fit into Gryffindor quite right, wasn’t brave and reckless enough, that Harry wouldn’t have insisted on trying to save the Philosopher’s stone from an unseen threat, it wasn’t his job. So he had buried that Harry deep underneath Harry Potter: Gryffindor, only to come out occasionally, and now that Tom was giving him the chance to be that boy again and he was going to take it.

 

So when Tom pushed, when he played his hand so obviously, Harry pushed right back.

 

“He was a liar, but honestly he was so mad I don’t know if he even noticed it.”

 

Harry was almost sure Tom could feel what he was feeling when he wrote, so he tried his best to control himself.

 

“Why do you think that?”

 

Tom was absolutely furious but trying to hide it. Harry could tell by the careful slow, way the letters appeared. Whenever Tom was angry it took a fair bit of effort for him to write in his usual beautiful calligraphy-like handwriting, made even more obvious the way the dot over the ‘i’ was pressed in hard, the one place he thought it would go unnoticed.

 

And not for the first time Harry wondered just what relation Tom had to Voldemort.

 

“He said once that there is no good or evil, only power and those too weak to seek it.”

 

“Where is the lie in that?”

 

“The lie is in the fact that someone who talks of power would start a war on the basis of blood . The fastest to learn any spell in our entire class is a muggleborn. The second is one whose grandmother is a muggleborn and the third is a halfblood whose mother is a muggle. The last person to learn a spell? Pureblood. The second last, pureblood, the third last, again, pureblood.” Hermione, Su Li and Anthony Goldstein learnt spells the fastest and Neville, Crabbe and Goyle took the last places in their batch. “Like he said, there is only power and those too weak to seek it and Voldemort must be weak indeed because power is certainly not what he’s seeking.”

 

Harry waited with bated breath to see how Tom would react. Oh he’d be angry no doubt. But would he show it? Or would pretend that he was fine?

 

Or maybe he’d show what kind of hidden powers this diary had. Maybe it could compel people, there were certainly many times when Harry found himself writing in it without even thinking about it. Perhaps something else then, would it show him another memory? What would Tom do, Harry wondered.

 

But even he hadn’t expected a ghostly apparition of Tom to emerge from the diary, dense in a way the ghost weren’t,  and then loom over Harry’s head with a dangerous glint in his eyes.

 

“Hello Harry, I’ve been waiting a long while to be strong enough for this.”

 

 

Chapter Text

 

He had played a dangerous game with an unknown factor. He should have expected it to go to shit, most things in his life did.

 

But seeing Tom emerge from the diary still surprised Harry. He wasn’t scared, it was actually more exciting, certainly more exciting than it should have been. A teenager had just emerged from a magical diary, Harry should really be a bit more cautious about it all. But he wasn’t, he was piqued and eager not scared.

 

But also worried.

 

It was Tom, there was no doubt about that but he wasn’t quite real, not exactly. The Tom in the diary, in the memory he had seen, was a tall boy with this presence . His grey eyes weren’t just grey, they looked alive, they looked angry, even though he hid it from Dippet well enough. His hair curled just so and set perfectly in place like those actors in the World War II movies. And his tie, bright green and silver, Slytherin to the very core. He had a colour to his face, a sense of life.

 

This version of Tom was very different, a mere shadow.

 

It wasn’t just his wan face, or the hair that seemed disheveled, or how faded the green in his tie seemed. He was still very much alive but….

 

So tired.

 

There was a hunger in his eyes, that reminded Harry of the days when he’d had little more than a burnt piece of toast and a little square of dried hardened cheese in a week and seen his reflection in the dishes he’d been cleaning after Dudley and Vernon had eaten two chooks that Harry’d roasted himself.

 

“Tom!” He exclaimed and Tom flinched as if as surprised as Harry was. The apparition, ghost, shade, whatever it was, lifted a hand to his eyes before flicking it out and across from him, the quill Harry was writing with rose into the air before falling quickly, the pale hand that had beckoned it up turning transparent, flickering as if between reality and unreality.

 

Tom laughed.

 

And even as Harry watched it happen he was struck by an odd thought that this was a rare sight, one to be held on to, cherished.

 


 

Almost human .

 

That was how Tom felt and the relief accompanying it was strange. Had he not, after all, made sure to make himself more than that, more than human, infallible?

 

Immortal.

 

And here he was, siphoning off magic, soul from a child to feel alive.

 

A tiny little voice in his head, one that he had ignored all his life piped up, saying maybe now you can accept that you were wrong, and as always Tom ignored it. But it was loud now, louder than it had ever been.

 

And maybe, just maybe, Tom was... wrong .

 

“I was wondering what you’d end up doing.” Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived while Voldemort died, smirked. And Tom realised he’d been set up to put his cards on the table.

 

He’d been set up. By a twelve year old…

 

But even as Tom was surprised, he wondered why he was so surprised. After all, hadn’t Tom been splitting his soul into horcruxes when he was seventeen? Hadn’t he been manipulating Slughorn when he was eleven? Hadn’t he managed to lie and beguiling Purebloods to follow a half blood like him into war?

 

Why was he so surprised that a twelve year old had manipulated him?

 

But then he saw the way Harry’s eyes were drinking the sight of him in, the way his wand was tucked into his sleeve, only just poking out of it, the tip held carefully but casually between his fingertips and knew.

 

He was surprised by the kinship he felt for the boy. So alike in so many ways. Once upon a time he might have been able to twist Harry around, tell him lies and turn him against what he believed in. He could have gotten him to write out his soul into the diary.

 

But not any more.

 

This wasn’t the Boy-Who-Lived he was looking at. It was just Harry.

 

And Just Harry was a lot more dangerous than the-Boy-Who-Lived.

Chapter Text

 

There’s more than just a little bit of admiration in Tom for Harry. Harry Potter, Saviour of the Wizarding world, defeater of the Dark Lord Voldemort and Dumbledore’s little protegee, manipulating Tom of all people. Tom who grew up playing these games on others, who should have seen this coming a long way away.

 

“You surprise me.” Tom couldn’t help but say but Harry’s smirk changed, a furrow growing in his brow.

 

“You did too. Well,” He said, leaning back against the chair to look up at Tom. “you used to, but now you worry me.”

 

He was saying something more, but Tom couldn’t pay attention. He was lost to the sensation of being human again. The last bit of magic he did had tired him out but he didn’t require magic to touch, to feel. He reached out to the quill he had levitated only seconds before, angry at himself in the quiet of his mind for the trembling, shaking fingers. His magic had felt like warmth coursing through him but it was that soft feel of the downy softness of the feather that had him nearly reeling.

 

He had forgotten what it felt like, touch. Had the world changed so much in the last few decades that feathers had gotten softer or was it simply that he had forgotten? It didn’t feel like this when he re-lived his memories.

 

Slowly, gently, he rolled the quill between his fingers, bouncing it from one knuckle to the next and then back again. Tom lost track of how long he did this, everything melting down to that one point of contact, where the feather touched his hand.

 

“Here.” Harry says pulling him out of the trance state he had slipped into and Tom looks with bleary feeling eyes at the chocolate frog he was holding out to him. It jumped a little, not enough to have to catch it but even that small movement startled Tom. He put the quill down and picked it up in his hands, amazed as it melted a bit where his fingers touched him. He was warm.

 

Tom hadn’t been warm for so long .

 

Before he could think it over, his hands were lifting the frog to his mouth, teeth biting almost viciously into the frog, decapitating it in one bite and as it melted into the heat of his mouth, sliding down his throat, Tom buckled. He thought he remembered taste but now he knows it was only the idea of taste that he remembered. Had forgotten the feel of sweet softness melting in his mouth, had forgotten that sensation when he swallowed and felt the warmth settle into his stomach. Now he remembered.

 

Now he craved .

 

Craved the feel of hot savoury soup, of cold sweet butterbeer, the burn of chillies, the nauseating taste of bitterness. He wanted to feel that scottish winter Hogwarts experienced that left his nose feeling numb, wanted to smell the smell of birdshit in the owlery.

 

He wanted to be human again.

 

Which was ridiculous. He’d spent his entire life running away from mortality, succeeded at it even and now he wanted to take it back? All because a child gave him a chocolate frog?

 

Tom looked at Harry Potter who just stood there, unfazed, unsurprised by Tom’s breakdown. As if he had expected it, perhaps even planned for it and he felt his anger rising.

 

Anger was good, anger made more sense than whatever cacophony of emotions he was experiencing.

 

“That was my fault.” The boy said ruefully, “Chocolate is too much.”

 

“Are you going to pretend you didn’t plan it?” Tom spat out, vicious but Harry just shrugged.

 

“I don’t do plans.” He said and Tom hated him a bit for it. “But you looked ill and I panicked and Mrs Weasley says chocolate makes things better”

 

“Is that what they give you to make you cling to them so desperately?”

 

“Why shouldn't I like them? They’re kind to me.” He said but something in his voice gave Tom pause. The cool, offhand way he said that didn’t mesh well with what Tom had heard before, both from him and from Ginevra.

 

“They’ll leave you eventually.”

 

“Probably.”

 

“And still you’d beg for scraps of their attention?”

 

“I’m not an idiot and I don’t need to beg. I’m the Boy-Who-Lived.”

 

The knowledge, the sheer self-assurance in that makes Tom think twice. His breakdown is put on the backburner in the face of this new puzzle to solve.

 

“You’re different now.” He said and Harry shrugged, an act that beginning to grate on Tom.

 

“Hearing what happened to you changed things. Made me think.”

 

“What happened to me?” Because not much had happened to Tom that he hadn’t done to himself.

 

“They sent you back .”

 

This again. Tom didn’t know why Harry was so obsessed with the fact that they sent him back. Tom himself didn’t even linger on that for long, moving onto bigger and better things.

 

“You keep saying that, they said they couldn’t make an exception for me-”

 

“Not just you ,” The boy sneered, “So many others. Grindelwald was terrorising muggles and wizards alike and Hitler dropped bombs on London. You weren’t the only one they sent back into that.”

 

They probably had but Tom had never really cared. He had never seen them as the same as him, not when they were so weak and powerless, shoved around in the hallways of Hogwarts before going home to be coddled by parents. The muggleborns in his time had always been so dull, never standing up for themselves only waiting for Dumbledore to scold the others.

 

“Why does that matter to you?” Tom sneered, “Because it was wrong ?”

 

And Harry, that young child who’d been alarming calm and cool and absurdly in control, snapped .

 

“Because they’re unprepared idiots! I love magic but the people in the wizarding world are just so stupid. They don’t think about consequences, they don’t learn from their mistakes. Everything, everything they do is all about the moment. They’ll remember their entire family tree but won’t remember the witch hunts, won’t remember the Dark Lords, won’t remember to be ready for it as they destroy everything. There will be nothing left of magic soon enough and we will only have ourselves to blame”

 

“What do you mean?” Tom bit out, hating that he had to ask that question. But he just didn’t know the answer.

 

“I mean that the muggles outnumber us one thousand to one, at the very least .” Harry started to say something but stopped, hissing as he tried to subdue his anger and get some control over himself. And with each wave of anger, his magic leapt out pulsing through the room, feeding Tom’s thirst. It was giddying and almost enough to make him forget to listen to him. “I went through archived copies of the Daily Prophet, from the time of Grindelwald and during Voldemort’s active years. For muggle haters the kind of damage they did, it was nothing , just pocket change. The number of muggles killed during Voldemort’s time? They would fit into a single carriage in one train of the metro during rush hour. That was over a good decade and then some of him being the Dark Lord. But the ‘Light’ purebloods and the muggleborns, he killed? That destroyed one tenth of the entire magical population.”

 

“T-that can’t be right,” Could it? Tom knew about the air raids and the bombs and all, London was always crowded but it was because it was city, nothing more, right?

 

“It is. The muggle prime ministers didn’t do anything because they were more concerned with the economic issues than with the casualties from Voldemort’s war. People were more affected by the world cup matches against Germany than with a couple of accidental deaths. Because that is what they came off as, accidental deaths. The Statute of Secrecy meant no one was taking responsibility for all the happenings back then. The Wizarding world is what came off worse, not the muggle one.”

 

“They left a legacy-” Tom started only to be cut off by almost hysterical laughter.

 

Legacy ?! Of what, magical lineages dying out completely? Family magics and vaults being closed forever? Inbreeding to the point of death? Before Grindelwald, even during his reign really, there were ten major Black heirs, all of whom had the potential to be the next Black family Lord or Lady. Usually families get bigger exponentially, but here I am and I know not a single person from the Black family. This is the legacy that all the Dark Lords have left.” Harry spat out and Tom, unable to think anymore retreated to the safety of his diary.

 

What had he done?

 

Chapter Text

 

Harry goes to sleep stumbling with a blinding headache, and absently he worries about Tom. In that moment before he’d retreated into the diary he’d looked like he was going to cry and for all that Harry had been pushing Tom to see how the boy reacted, he hadn’t wanted nor expected that. 

 

It had been mean, what Harry had done but he’d spent so long turning the words over and over in his mind that they had refused to leave and in the end he’d just shouted them out, needing them out there in the world, rather than in there in his head.

 

His head throbbed again and Harry hissed. Dull pangs ran through it, before switching to a sharp aching pain. He downed the bit of chocolate that Tom had dropped and stuffed it into his mouth and dropped into his bed, hoping that some sleep would get rid of the pain.

 

Harry didn’t know how long he just laid there, his head hurting still. Eventually the exhaustion took over and he dropped into a restless sleep.

 

And as he slept, the other soul occupying his head took over.

 


 

The fragmented piece of soul that had split off from Voldemort all those years ago, to embed itself in Harry’s scar had begun to awaken some days ago. As Harry slept, Voldemort woke in bits. It took days for him to come fully to himself, spending far too much time in a daze, but as Harry’s interactions with the diary got deeper, he became more tangible, more resolute, more...human.

 

He woke and strolled through Harry’s unformed mindscape and with his every step it gained shape and form, changing in response to this new fully formed thing in their midst. The mists, interspersed with lights became the cobbled corridors of Hogwarts, the glowing lights of memories finding residence in suits of armour, flying off to hide inside rooms, staircases moving to keep Voldemort right where he was.

 

It was trying to keep the intruder trapped, but the shape it had taken was one that Voldemort adored and knew better than anything in the world and he traversed it with ease. He leapt over one moving staircases to land on the one below that he knew would deposit him in the Great Hall where he was sure to find the newest thoughts and memories, waiting to be Sorted and filed away into their respective ‘dormitories’. Voldemort was pleased with this development. All the manipulative and ‘dark’ memories were sure to be in the Slytherin dungeons, the valiant, idiotic and happy ones in Gryffindor tower, the achievements in Ravenclaw, the loyal friendly ones in Hufflepuff, with the rest hidden away in the library.

 

Voldemort strode into the Great Hall, imagining a set of sparkly robes, disguising himself as Albus Dumbledore and sitting up on the throne like seat the headmaster sat upon and watched.

 

Memories of the day played themselves and as they came up to the sorting hat,  all of them sitting down at the Slytherin table, Voldemort grew intrigued.

 

He followed them to the dorm and began going through them one by one, now in the form of Severusso as to keep the Mindscape from suspecting him. But as he went through them one by one by one, they shook him to the core to see his younger self there. The control he held slipped slowly and he reverted to his usual form, unable to keep that tight control anymore. To be seen , even as only Tom Marvolo Riddle, the mudblood, to be pitied, to be worried over by this boy who was supposed to be his nemesis...It was galling and charming in equal measures.

 

But he was an intruder here and as snakes peeled themselves off the sconces, the walls, the painting, surrounding him, Voldemort raised his wand in preparation of a battle.

 

“You do not belong here.” They hissed at him and he snarled.

 

“I am the heir of Slytherin and you shall obey me.”

 

As one they cackled, and Voldemort’s caution and admiration grew in equal measures for this boy. Caution, because there was no snake that was ever to disobey him, that was decreed by his lineage and yet the slip of a boy seemed to have enough power to prove him wrong.

 

“You may be the heir but we serve our Lord.” They hissed.

 

For a  moment Voldemort was scared, and it was exhilarating . To feel something again, how lovely . But fear was always fleeting for Voldemort, he was far too capable a wizard. So he put his arm down and stopped thinking, letting his ‘body’ phase into aether like particles dissolving into a near nothingness, until the snakes simply hissed at air before returning to the walls and decorations from whence they had come. When the final one slept, Voldemort stepped forward, continuing his search through the memories. Finally, when he had exhausted all of them he left the dungeons, making his way to the doors instead. He took a thestral drawn carriage to the station and stepped onto an empty Hogwarts express.

 


 

In the diary, Tom hadn’t rested since the talk with Harry Potter. He wandered the memory Hogwarts instead and just watched things playing out, looping them to play again and again and again. A rumble shook Hogwarts and he looked up at the Greta Hall’s sky set ceiling, waiting for Harry’s words to play out instead. 

 

Strange though. He hadn’t thought that Harry would talk to him so soon. And his magic felt off too, not the usual mix of grey and light tempered in anger, instead it felt heavy and dark and with a bitterness to it that reminded him of his own. 

 

His name, his full name was written across the sky but in a font not like Harry’s at all. Even as a hint of panic rose in Tom at the thought that maybe someone else had the book, he thought it over and over, trying to guess just why that beautiful calligraphic font looked so familiar to him.

 

“Tom Marvolo Riddle” read the sky and then after a brief pause another set of words that had Tom reeling “I am Lord Voldemort”

 

The rumbling within the book got louder and louder, the ground began to shake and the castle began to come tumbling down all around Tom who do naught but stare at the words above his head, burning bright and red until even they faded and he was left in nothingness.

 


 

 

Dean raised his head off his pillow. Of all the Gryffindor boys, he was the only one who hated the curtains around their four poster beds and kept them open at all times. Dean always kicked around in his sleep until his feet hung off and having them tangled up in the curtains was a pain.

 

But unfortunately, it meant his sleep was much lighter than the others. So he woke when he felt light dance against his vision, so bright that when he finally opened his eyes he could barely see a thing until he blinked it away. 

 

There was a boy there, a much older one, standing at the feet of Harry’s bed. The moonlight hit his shoulder and even though Dean couldn’t see his face, he saw the reflection of a badge there.

 

‘A prefect checking in on us,’ He figured with a yawn, and turned away going back to sleep.

 

He never saw the figure open Harry’s bed curtains to write a note in the now ordinary diary next to the young boy’s pillow before leaping out the window and making his way to the gates of Hogwarts castle.