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After The War

Chapter Text

Part I

Seperation

 

 

Before, 1944

 

They had served in the same division. At first, they hadn´t really liked each other. Too loud, too rowdy and plebeian - too prissy, too charming, and fake.

But crawling together through mud and dirt, waiting patiently in cold ice-rain for a fiend’s bullet to hit their flesh and possibly ending their life, eating the same bland soup that never stilled all their hunger but kept up the illusion of a warm filling meal, and wrapping oozing flesh wounds with rudimentary bandages made of ripped linen shirts amd sweat, helped them to form a strange sense of camaraderie.

Part I

Seperation

 

 

Before, 1944

 

They had served in the same division. At first, they hadn´t really liked each other. Too loud, too rowdy and plebeian - too prissy, too charming, and fake.

But crawling together through mud and dirt, waiting patiently in cold ice-rain for a fiend’s bullet to hit their flesh and possibly ending their life, eating the same bland soup that never stilled all their hunger but kept up the illusion of a warm filling meal, and wrapping oozing flesh wounds with rudimentary bandages made of ripped linen shirts amd sweat, helped them to form a strange sense of camaraderie. War was gruesome and didn´t know no mercy or pity. War was a beast that didn´t discriminate between friend or foe. War was a greedy gorge that gluttonously gobbled down life upon life, that caught the poor man with it´s long destructive fangs and left only destruction in it´s wake.

They had lied together in the funk hole, waiting for the hail of bullets to pass, their uniform soaked through to their bones and another comrade slowly dying in agony as he bled out while the bullets around him hit sometimes the dirt other times a breathing target. In the pocket over his heart a bloody embroidery from his fiancé waiting patiently for her lovers return - he had not made it fast enough to the hole. His cries and groans of pain mixed with the voices of hundreds other and the sound of guns getting fired.

Harrison James Potter, had been 21 years old. Tanned from the many hours spent outdoors marching, but his face haggard with harsh dusty lines and a deep-set mouth and strong shoulders curved inwards under an unseen burden, that made him appear ten years older than he actually was. His previous adventurous green eyes had lost their blinding sparkle and now only looked blankly at his other comrade, that had become his rival, his friend, his closest confidante.

Tom Marvolo Riddle, had been only 25 years old, but he had known what his betimes friend, betimes rival was about to do, and he was also acutely aware that every attempt to save their comrade was futile, the bleeding soldier was as good as dead, on his tongue laid heavy charon´s golden coin.  

His arm throbbed hot and angry, but with a strengh he didn´t know he still possed and the force of his tired body, he grabbed the other man roughly to stop him from leaving the safety of the shallow funk hole.

“Don´t”, his voice was hoarse, not at all his usual pleasant and smooth baritone, dust and dirt drying his mouth and he desperately wished for a cool sip water, but they had to be sparingly with their supplies.

“We need to help him, Riddle”, the other man´s voice quivered but stayed determined as he tried to escape Tom´s hold, but Tom wouldn´t budge.

“He is as good as dead! If you go out there now, you will only join him. It´s a forlorn hope you fool!”

Harrison met the gaze of these calculating grey eyes, he could see these haunted shadows lurking behind opaque thoughts and all he saw was his own reflection. Still Harrison knew, Tom would continue to live on just fine without remorse if they let just another one of their comrades die.

But Harrison could not, not this time, not ever again. He just couldn´t stand the thought of another life lost in this senseless war. If another one had to die, this time it would be him. Then he would have at least saved one worthy person, instead of just murdering for a cause he didn´t believe in anymore.

Each night he dreaded to close his eyes as he knew the nightmares would wait for him, forcing to endure to simply stand by and watch as his friends died over and over again, each time a more gruesome death than the last. Sometimes he too would be torn in thousands of pieces by a bomb and rain down as deep red bloody drops onto the precious green meadow, a perverse imitation of the live creating precious liquid. Or he wuld slowly be cut open with a knife, one rip after the other broken open until his rib cage laid bare and raw in the open, cracked like a ripe walnut, so the world could see his dark shriveled inner.

But the worst dreams were when he had to relive his parent’s death. Years later he could still hear his mother’s fearful scream - fearful for his life, not for herself-, devastated as his father was shot in the chest and in the head in his brave attempt to protect them. Now as an adult, he knew that he could be glad that their death had been fast and mostly painless, at least that was what the officials had told him after they found him crying in his child bed.

Little Harrison had been given into the care of his aunt and uncle. The tragic slaughter of the Potter family had made it even onto the third page in the newspapers, a dreadful tasteless article with a cursive caption and entirely too many fantasized facts, still the robbers had never been caught. Maybe that’s why he had developed such a strong sense and understanding of righteousness.

“I don´t care, Riddle. This war is fucking hell, I could already be dead and I wouldn´t fucking notice. I AM already as good as dead. I will leave no man out there alone. No man fucking deserves this. Absolutely no one. And if I fucking die I will even thank the fucking shooter in my last breath.”  Long fingers bore into his skin, so hard they would leave marks if there was any free spot left to bruise. For a second Harrison wondered if he should feel any pain, but even though the other´s nails dug trough the firm fabric of his uniform, he felt nothing but pure undeluted agony cursing through his mind and poisening his every thought.

When Harrison had met Riddle for the first time, he had been impressed and even a bit intimidated by the posh appearance of the other man that always appeared so put together and elegant, and now after one year together on the field, he still found the ability to slightly marvel at the man in front of him.

War had taken its toll on everyone, even on the one and only, mighty Tom Riddle. In the last months his high cheekbones had become more prominent, bordering on unhealthy and deep dark circled framed the other´s eyes in his sickly pale face - sirens and insomnia and malnurishment effectively succeeding in chasing any restdul sleep away.

They were both coated heavy in ash and mud and blood and sweat and minor to major wounds. But nothing worth mentioning, when some others had lost their appendages to explosions.

“I am so done with everything, Tom. I can´t do this anymore. Fuck the fascists, fuck the soviets and fuck this war.”

His eyes were wide and desperate, red veins busted because of dryness and the adrenalin cursing through his body for a few months now without any pause and because of the impressive impact of the bombs exploding.

“Pull yourself together Harrison. You are doing this for your country, for your friends, for the future of thousands of unborn children and for all the innocent people alive. If you leave your post now you will jeopardize our whole division and you will be responsible for every other death following, for every life lost that could have been saved!” Liar, screamed Toms mind, but he would do everything to stop Harrison from leaving this godforsaken hole and his godforsaken post.

Harry´s face was contorted in desperation and he was caught back and forth to help his comrade. Just this morning they had sat together and shared some stale bread and good booze and played cards. He had planned to marry after the war was won, nothing big just the family and a few friends, his woman was already pregnant. He hoped it would be twins, a lovely girl and a kind boy, because growing up as an only child would be boring as hell and he didn´t want his woman to have to go through the difficulties of pregnancy twice.

Harry closed his eyes in hope to block out the man´s pained sobs and pleads for mercy. Harry prayed, if god existed, that he would listen now and that he was on their side.

“Stay put, this is an official order Harrison.”

Tom tightened the grip on his Tommy gun, for not one second his gaze left Harrisons green eyes, he could see the conflict in the others eyes./p>

“Please Tom. If it would be you, I wouldn´t hesitate for a second to safe you. Cover my back.” Harry slowly stood from his crouched position and peered over the rim of their hole, his own Tommy gun loaded and ready, his finger toying with the trigger, his strayed nerves frozen in cocentration.

“I am sorry Harrison, but I can´t let you do that.”

In a quick motion too fast to follow, Tom hit Harrys wounded side with the handle of his gun, his free hand clamping down on Harrisons mouth to silent the pained moan as the other bend forward, his body curling into a fetal position to prevent any further damage. Only a second later Toms gun was raised, he aimed, he shot and the bullet hit its target with dangerous accuracy. The whimpers fell silent.

“No!”  Harry shouted in horror and threw himself at Tom.

“Stop it, he was already dead”, furious Tom spun around and grabbed Harry at his neck, his figgers digging in Harrisons throat and cutting of his air supply. Tom squeezed painfully and the other man´s body formed a rigid line when Tom leaned down to press his forehead gently against the others.

“With your reckless behavior you sentence everyone around you to their death. Get yourself together right now or get the fuck out of here.”

 A small trail of blood colored the corner of Harrisons mouth red, his eyes looked only broken and helpless now.

“If we survive this night Potter, leave. You have no buiness here anymore, you are not fit for service. I don´t want to see you ever again. Do you hear me! Awnser me soldier!”

Spit mixed with sweat and anger and grief hit Harrisons cheeks, not to distinguish from the salty tears that showed Tom just how broken the other man was. As much as it pained Tom, he feared he just had destroyed his friends mind for good. Harry bit on his trembling bottom lips to stop the desperate scream from coming out, he felt the chapped skin crack anew like an overripe apple, only that instead of the refreshing sweet juice, iron coated his tongue.

He could see that the other man was dead serious. Toms glared at him from in anger slanted eyes, fined lines around his thin pressed mouth and his eyebrows dangerously drawn together. But Harry was a volcano about to burst.

Hatred and fear and disgust with the fascists - who had started this gruesome war,

with himself - who had killed too many to count,

with Tom - who had killed even more and not only foes-,

angry with a cruel god – he had long since stopped believing-,

and with the whole world, started to take over.

He couldn´t let himself get swept up in his emotions, not in this situation, but it was so hard to contain them when he hadn´t felt something in so long. He saw it in the way Tom carefully eyed him, he was a bottle with the bottom cracked and now he was slowly but surely leaking until nothing was left.

“You are despicable and heartless. I hope we will never meet again. And don´t you dare to die now, I don´t want my corpse to get thrown into the same pit as yours. I wouldn´t be able to bear the shame even in death.”

This was the last time they talked to each other. In this same night, England accomplished a pivotal success against Nazi Germany. Both survived this battle even though an explosion caused a huge metal shard to bore into Harrys right shoulder, slicing veins and bones and muscles alike, which qualified him invalid for any further military service as from this moment on, he suffered severe limitation in his arm mobility. Because of this limiting injury and the poor mental shape he was found in, he was excused for the time being from his conscription until he regained health and would be able to return to the front.

He never did, the war ended alredy one and a half years later. Nazi Germany was defeated by the Allied. War criminals got public convicted and everyone was busy to rebuilt what had been destroyed or tear down what hasn´t already been utterly destroyed. Live went on for the some. For the most it didn´t. Harry decided to turn his passion from beforethe war into an opportunity to earn money and to process his traumatic experiences. For him WWii became a second 0 BC, when he told stories or recounted memories he always seperated them into before and after the war. And while he may have fixed the cracks in his outer container, his inner was still half empty. He was like a shattered pottery fixed in the old Kintsugi style, but instead of gold it was bone parching shame and dark ugly guilt that kept him together.

So, he wrote and wrote, he wrote like a mad man on his old typewriter, the click click clicking sound loud in the silence as he pushed down the keys that offered him so eager comfort. And when he brought his first draft to a publishing firm nobody cared, after all they all had lived through the war and now it was over, nobody wanted to read something about the life of a mere soldier. Love, Money, Celebrations! were the things people wanted to read. Not death of the body, death of the mind and even more death. Where was the novelty, where was the suspense? Dying had become plain and common, the publisher said and put his half emptied coffee mug on Harry´s manuscript.

But Harry had survived and he lived and he wrote and wrote some more and slowly he his mind healed. His mind maybe wasn´t fully intact anymore but it was sharpened by war and truth. He wrote and wrote and he brought his second draft to another publishing firm but who wanted to read about politics and social grievances, after all they all experienced this in their everyday life. New romantic literature swept over from America. Fashion and Rock´n Roll followed on it´s heels.

And Harry wrote and wrote, his sentences became shorter and even though the money he had put aside decreased, his tongue amalgamated.  Eventually he was forced to take a job at a small newspaper company, but he never stopped writing about what was dear and important to him.

He wrote about loss and war, about friendship and the love a family he never was fortune enough to experience. About the brave soldiers who had fought for their country but now were only treated as numbers on a paper, were administrated and looked down on by the society because they didn´t fit into this new polished picture of the perfect state. They were the reminder of a darker, uglier part of history, they had experienced and done too many indescribable things and now they were left alone to deal with them.

Harry still woke up with nightmares, he was lucky enough to have a decent room in a not too shabby housing complex in London to call home and to always have some edible food in the fridge.. He didn´t have to freeze in the chilling London winter night and his clothes were clean, without any huge holes. But a part of him still felt empty and hollow, the part he had lost during the war and was not able to replace with earthy goods or even his lost faith in religion. No matter how much he wrote, he couldn’t fill this part that hovered inside of him like a black hole, he could only prevent the darkness and ugliness in him from spreading and conterminating any more.

They had lied together in the funk hole, waiting for the hail of bullets to pass, their uniform soaked through to their bones and another comrade slowly dying in agony as he bled out while the bullets around him hit sometimes the dirt other times a breathing target. In the pocket over his heart a bloody embroidery from his fiancé waiting patiently for her lovers return - he had not made it fast enough to the hole. His cries and groans of pain mixed with the voices of hundreds other and the sound of guns getting fired.

Harrison James Potter, had been 21 years old. Tanned from the many hours spent outdoors marching, but his face haggard with harsh dusty lines and a deep-set mouth and strong shoulders curved inwards under an unseen burden, that made him appear ten years older than he actually was. His previous adventurous green eyes had lost their blinding sparkle and now only looked blankly at his other comrade, that had become his rival, his friend, his closest confidante.

Tom Marvolo Riddle, had been only 25 years old, but he had known what his betimes friend, betimes rival was about to do, and he was also acutely aware that every attempt to save their comrade was futile, the bleeding soldier was as good as dead, on his tongue laid flat and heavy charon´s golden coin.  

His arm throbbed hot and angry, but with a strengh he didn´t know he still possed and the force of his tired body, he grabbed the other man roughly to stop him from leaving the safety of the shallow funk hole.

“Don´t”, his voice was hoarse, not at all his usual pleasant and smooth baritone, dust and dirt drying his mouth and he desperately wished for a cool sip water, but they had to be sparingly with their supplies.

“We need to help him, Riddle”, the other man´s voice quivered but stayed determined as he tried to escape Tom´s hold, but Tom wouldn´t budge.

“He is as good as dead! If you go out there now, you will only join him. It´s a forlorn hope you fool!”

Harrison met the gaze of these calculating grey eyes, he could see these haunted shadows lurking behind opaque thoughts and all he saw was his own reflection. Still Harrison knew, Tom would continue to live on just fine without remorse if they let just another one of their comrades die.

But Harrison could not, not this time, not ever again. He just couldn´t stand the thought of another life lost in this senseless war. If another one had to die, this time it would be him. Then he would have at least saved one worthy person, instead of just murdering for a cause he didn´t believe in anymore.

Each night he dreaded to close his eyes as he knew the nightmares would wait for him, forcing to endure to simply stand by and watch as his friends died over and over again, each time a more gruesome death than the last. Sometimes he too would be torn in thousands of pieces by a bomb and rain down as deep red bloody drops onto the precious green meadow, a perverse imitation of the live creating precious liquid. Or he wuld slowly be cut open with a knife, one rip after the other broken open until his rib cage laid bare and raw in the open, cracked like a ripe walnut, so the world could see his dark shriveled inner.

But the worst dreams were when he had to relive his parent’s death. Years later he could still hear his mother’s fearful scream - fearful for his life, not for herself-, devastated as his father was shot in the chest and in the head in his brave attempt to protect them. Now as an adult, he knew that he could be glad that their death had been fast and mostly painless, at least that was what the officials had told him after they found him crying in his child bed.

Little Harrison had been given into the care of his aunt and uncle. The tragic slaughter of the Potter family had made it even onto the third page in the newspapers, a dreadful tasteless article with a cursive caption and entirely too many fantasized facts, still the robbers had never been caught. Maybe that’s why he had developed such a strong sense and understanding of righteousness.

“I don´t care, Riddle. This war is fucking hell, I could already be dead and I wouldn´t fucking notice. I AM already as good as dead. I will leave no man out there alone. No man fucking deserves this. Absolutely no one. And if I fucking die I will even thank the fucking shooter in my last breath.”  Long fingers bore into his skin, so hard they would leave marks if there was any free spot left to bruise. For a second Harrison wondered if he should feel any pain, but even though the other´s nails dug trough the firm fabric of his uniform, he felt nothing but pure undeluted agony cursing through his mind and poisening his every thought.

When Harrison had met Riddle for the first time, he had been impressed and even a bit intimidated by the posh appearance of the other man that always appeared so put together and elegant, and now after one year together on the field, he still found the ability to slightly marvel at the man in front of him.

War had taken its toll on everyone, even on the one and only, mighty Tom Riddle. In the last months his high cheekbones had become more prominent, bordering on unhealthy and deep dark circled framed the other´s eyes in his sickly pale face - sirens and insomnia and malnurishment effectively succeeding in chasing any restdul sleep away.

They were both coated heavy in ash and mud and blood and sweat and minor to major wounds. But nothing worth mentioning, when some others had lost their appendages to explosions.

“I am so done with everything, Tom. I can´t do this anymore. Fuck the fascists, fuck the soviets and fuck this war.”

His eyes were wide and desperate, red veins busted because of dryness and the adrenalin cursing through his body for a few months now without any pause and because of the impressive impact of the bombs exploding.

“Pull yourself together Harrison. You are doing this for your country, for your friends, for the future of thousands of unborn children and for all the innocent people alive. If you leave your post now you will jeopardize our whole division and you will be responsible for every other death following, for every life lost that could have been saved!” Liar, screamed Toms mind, but he would do everything to stop Harrison from leaving this godforsaken hole and his godforsaken post.

Harry´s face was contorted in desperation and he was caught back and forth to help his comrade. Just this morning they had sat together and shared some stale bread and good booze and played cards. He had planned to marry after the war was won, nothing big just the family and a few friends, his woman was already pregnant. He hoped it would be twins, a lovely girl and a kind boy, because growing up as an only child would be boring as hell and he didn´t want his woman to have to go through the difficulties of pregnancy twice.

Harry closed his eyes in hope to block out the man´s pained sobs and pleads for mercy. Harry prayed, if god existed, that he would listen now and that he was on their side.

“Stay put, this is an official order Harrison.”

Tom tightened the grip on his Tommy gun, for not one second his gaze left Harrisons green eyes, he could see the conflict in the others eyes./p>

“Please Tom. If it would be you, I wouldn´t hesitate for a second to safe you. Cover my back.” Harry slowly stood from his crouched position and peered over the rim of their hole, his own Tommy gun loaded and ready, his finger toying with the trigger, his strayed nerves frozen in cocentration.

“I am sorry Harrison, but I can´t let you do that.”

In a quick motion too fast to follow, Tom hit Harrys wounded side with the handle of his gun, his free hand clamping down on Harrisons mouth to silent the pained moan as the other bend forward, his body curling into a fetal position to prevent any further damage. Only a second later Toms gun was raised, he aimed, he shot and the bullet hit its target with dangerous accuracy. The whimpers fell silent.

“No!”  Harry shouted in horror and threw himself at Tom.

“Stop it, he was already dead”, furious Tom spun around and grabbed Harry at his neck, his figgers digging in Harrisons throat and cutting of his air supply. Tom squeezed painfully and the other man´s body formed a rigid line when Tom leaned down to press his forehead gently against the others.

“With your reckless behavior you sentence everyone around you to their death. Get yourself together right now or get the fuck out of here.”

 A small trail of blood colored the corner of Harrisons mouth red, his eyes looked only broken and helpless now.

“If we survive this night Potter, leave. You have no buiness here anymore, you are not fit for service. I don´t want to see you ever again. Do you hear me! Awnser me soldier!”

Spit mixed with sweat and anger and grief hit Harrisons cheeks, not to distinguish from the salty tears that showed Tom just how broken the other man was. As much as it pained Tom, he feared he just had destroyed his friends mind for good. Harry bit on his trembling bottom lips to stop the desperate scream from coming out, he felt the chapped skin crack anew like an overripe apple, only that instead of the refreshing sweet juice, iron coated his tongue.

He could see that the other man was dead serious. Toms glared at him from in anger slanted eyes, fined lines around his thin pressed mouth and his eyebrows dangerously drawn together. But Harry was a volcano about to burst.

Hatred and fear and disgust with the fascists - who had started this gruesome war,

with himself - who had killed too many to count,

with Tom - who had killed even more and not only foes-,

angry with a cruel god – he had long since stopped believing-,

and with the whole world, started to take over.

He couldn´t let himself get swept up in his emotions, not in this situation, but it was so hard to contain them when he hadn´t felt something in so long. He saw it in the way Tom carefully eyed him, he was a bottle with the bottom cracked and now he was slowly but surely leaking until nothing was left.

“You are despicable and heartless. I hope we will never meet again. And don´t you dare to die now, I don´t want my corpse to get thrown into the same pit as yours. I wouldn´t be able to bear the shame even in death.”

This was the last time they talked to each other. In this same night, England accomplished a pivotal success against Nazi Germany. Both survived this battle even though an explosion caused a huge metal shard to bore into Harrys right shoulder, slicing veins and bones and muscles alike, which qualified him invalid for any further military service as from this moment on, he suffered severe limitation in his arm mobility. Because of this limiting injury and the poor mental shape he was found in, he was excused for the time being from his conscription until he regained health and would be able to return to the front.

He never did, the war ended alredy one and a half years later. Nazi Germany was defeated by the Allied. War criminals got public convicted and everyone was busy to rebuilt what had been destroyed or tear down what hasn´t already been utterly destroyed. Live went on for the some. For the most it didn´t. Harry decided to turn his passion from beforethe war into an opportunity to earn money and to process his traumatic experiences. For him WWii became a second 0 BC, when he told stories or recounted memories he always seperated them into before and after the war. And while he may have fixed the cracks in his outer container, his inner was still half empty. He was like a shattered pottery fixed in the old Kintsugi style, but instead of gold it was bone parching shame and dark ugly guilt that kept him together.

So, he wrote and wrote, he wrote like a mad man on his old typewriter, the click click clicking sound loud in the silence as he pushed down the keys that offered him so eager comfort. And when he brought his first draft to a publishing firm nobody cared, after all they all had lived through the war and now it was over, nobody wanted to read something about the life of a mere soldier. Love, Money, Celebrations! were the things people wanted to read. Not death of the body, death of the mind and even more death. Where was the novelty, where was the suspense? Dying had become plain and common, the publisher said and put his half emptied coffee mug on Harry´s manuscript.

But Harry had survived and he lived and he wrote and wrote some more and slowly he his mind healed. His mind maybe wasn´t fully intact anymore but it was sharpened by war and truth. He wrote and wrote and he brought his second draft to another publishing firm but who wanted to read about politics and social grievances, after all they all experienced this in their everyday life. New romantic literature swept over from America. Fashion and Rock´n Roll followed on it´s heels.

And Harry wrote and wrote, his sentences became shorter and even though the money he had put aside decreased, his tongue amalgamated.  Eventually he was forced to take a job at a small newspaper company, but he never stopped writing about what was dear and important to him.

He wrote about loss and war, about friendship and the love a family he never was fortune enough to experience. About the brave soldiers who had fought for their country but now were only treated as numbers on a paper, were administrated and looked down on by the society because they didn´t fit into this new polished picture of the perfect state. They were the reminder of a darker, uglier part of history, they had experienced and done too many indescribable things and now they were left alone to deal with them.

Harry still woke up with nightmares, he was lucky enough to have a decent room in a not too shabby housing complex in London to call home and to always have some edible food in the fridge.. He didn´t have to freeze in the chilling London winter night and his clothes were clean, without any huge holes. But a part of him still felt empty and hollow, the part he had lost during the war and was not able to replace with earthy goods or even his lost faith in religion. No matter how much he wrote, he couldn’t fill this part that hovered inside of him like a black hole, he could only prevent the darkness and ugliness in him from spreading and contaminating any more.

One day Harry read on the newspaper that a Tom Marvolo Riddle was to get honored for some special merit, he made it on the front page, but the fires ate the sentences before Harry could decipher anything, so Harry settled for warming his hands on the sparse flames.

Apparently his old friend had survived the war, he was glad even though he wasn´t sure what to make of Tom Riddle. 

He massaged his neck to ease the tension, the cold had seeped under his whoolen sweater into his bones and his shoulder ached from staying in the same position for too long.

He looked down at the thin papers in his hands, ink tainting his finger tips.

 

3rd script, page 319, draft

Fin.

 

 

 

Present day

June 25th, 1948

 

 

Harry was too late once again, nothing special. If one looked up the verb late in a dictionary and searched for synonyms they would find his name spelled bolded and in captive letters. He himself like to call it fashionable late, gentleman in the old stories never bothered to be on time. The only difference between himself and those heroes was the absence of coins in his pocket or on his band account. Only squares and chinless wonder were on time. And Harry was neither.

Well, his date - who was impatiently waiting for him - might begged to differ.

Slightly out of breath Harry pushed open the wooden door, not so subtly hidden under the blinking neon sign of a Jazz club and as soon as his foot touched the foyer the warm sound of trumpets playing up and down in a boisterous race with the piano, surrounded him. 

He took a deep breath just as the stale swell of smoke and sweat hit him square, itching his throat and irritating his eyes.

Damn it, Harry coughed to chase off the scratch. He adjusted his round glasses, an inheritance as well as the bad eye sight and the untamable wavy hair, from his father.

He moved further into the room until he reached the bar, greeting a few familiar faces -other regulars-  on the way.

“The usual?”

“Please.” 

He smiled at the man behind the bar. Ronald nodded and didn´t even had to strech to fetch him a Whisky from the upper shelve behind him, his lanky frame being a good 6 foot 2. From what he had gathered his family owned the club and he was one of a total of seven children, and even though Ronald denied it and proudly stated they were through and through Britons, Harry was convinced their ancestors had been Irish.

Ronald slipped the glass with the clear golden liquid, happily sloshing and leaving a wet trail, over the bar towards him.

“Thanks mate.”

Harry took a sip and savored the slight burn that followed, the alcohol easing the tension in his shoulders and warming his stomach. His foot bobbed to the rhythm of the music, his attention directed forward to the small stage where a small band danced and played.

Twelfth Street Rag by Pee Wee Hunt.

One of his favorite.

“No problem, everything for my little sis´s beau.”

Harry grimaced, he and Ginny had only been on a few dates so far. He liked her, he realy did. She was gorgeous with an on-point humor that could cut a grown man´s throat and most importantly, she didn´t press him for something more than he was ready for. But he had been friends with her before they had even decided to upgrade their relationship into something more and it made him incredible uncomfortable to be called her beau.

“You are lucky she is still changing, or you would have missed her performance.”

Ronald turned to give another costumer at the end of the bar his ale, but Harry was tempted to let one of his ridiculous red braces snap. From America, much fashion, very good looking, Ronald had boasted at the first chance he got.

Instead he opened the first three buttons of his dress shirt and rolled up his sleeved to soften his look, he liked to look put-together but with a touch of casual air, nothing too stiff or formal.

Black dress shoes, dark grey pressed dress pants and sometimes when he felt particular good that day, even adding a matching vest. Otherwise some simple black braces and a Vecona cap. Today he felt good, he was on a date after all and the woman in question deserved only the best.

He fished his pen and some blank papers from his worn leather bag.

The song ended on a low noe and another red head stepped onto the stage, conducting all the attention in the room. Today she wore a tight long red dress and a matching bright red lipstick. Her hair wasarranged in soft waves over her left shoulder, black gloves covered her arms to her elbows and her delicate fingers cradled the microphone like she was about to dance with a long lost lover.

Ginerva kept her eyes closed, the lids heavyly framed with coal, as she sang the first notes. Her voice steady and longing, her body moving in mellow waves, perfectly portaying an unfulfilled yearning for something more.

 

You sigh, a song begins
You speak and I hear violins

It's magic

 

Harry let the waves of the storm she created consume him and his eyes closed. Old painful memories emerged and Harry was helpless against them. He was an experienced sailor, thrown of his boat and into the deep raging ocean, desperately trying to hold onto a plank.

 

The stars desert the skies
And rush to nestle in your eyes

It's magic

Ginny´s singing was drowned out by another voice, this one deeper and more forceful, more male and stronger and shouting aggressively orders.

“Water, he needs water. Someone get me the goddamn water, immidiantly!”

“You need to drink Harrison, come on. Just a sip.”

Stars, the stars were beautiful tonight- blinding even. It has been a long lond time since he had seen such a clear cloudless sky - no shadow, no bird, no plane that dared to disturb the dark blue surface. It was a sky like before the war. Like when his parents were still alive. He missed them so much. He wanted to bathe in the beautiful blue of his childhoods firnament.

 Then suddely, everything was dark again.

His mouth was forced open, a painful strech in his jaw and Harrison wanted to resist but was simply too exhausted, and something cold was poured inside. He coughed, the liquid spilled out over his cracked lips. Rose coloured water dripped from his chin and onto his bare chest. Why was his chest bare? maybe one needed to be naked to enter heaven.

“He has lost too much blood. Goddamn it.” Then pain, excruciating white hot pain, his whole body was on fire. He screamed, at least he tried but no sound left his aching throat. He tried to get away, but strong hands pushed him down again. His back arched up, his body wouldn´t comply with the hand´s command. His mind flattered, flickering like an broken lightbulb on and off, unable to comprehent the agony ravaging his inner.

“Hush, you won´t die from a bit pain. Pain means you are alive. Numbness means you are dying.”  

His head was turned to the side and instantly he began to dry heave, sick from the pain. He was in so much pain, his whole right side burned. He was burned alive.

Something pressed against his shoulder and tears rolled uncontrolled over his cheeks. What was happening? White noise nearly drowned out the words softly uttered to him.

“Shhh, you will be home soon.” Hands combed soothingly through his hair and he stilled. He couldn´t feel his right arm anymore. He tried to say something, but onyl a pathetic whimper left his mouth, His eyelids felt like a lead weight, pulling him under once again. Blissfull, mind numbing darkness.

“Sleep.”

The next time he opened his eyes, he found out he had been hit by a flying metal sharp. Harrison and two others had been lucky survive, the rest of his group instantly died as they had stepped on a hidden landmine. It had been his fault, he had suggested to take the shortcut even though it was the more dangerous route.

It had been a unanimous decision. He should have died.

 

His shoulder ached in phantom pain and a hiss left his clenched teeth. Survivor guilt, he had read all about it when he had finally arrived home. But what these so-called therapists failed to mention was, that there was a huge difference between understanding you had no fault on a rational level and on a subconscious, complete emotional level.

“Harrison? You alright?”

Ronald had paused in his motion, one hand holding a half-dried glass and in the other a damp cloth, to look at him, his brow furrowed in concern.

“Yes, sure. Could you give me a fag, please.”

Harry drowned the rest of his whisky in one go. Ronald scrunched his nose but passed Harry the pack, who quickly took one of the skillful hand-rolled cigs.

“You know Ginny hates the smell of smoke, ´stays in the clothes´ she says.”

“It´s not like this whole club is full of stale smoke.” Harry put the stick between his lips, he needed the relief the familiar motion brought him.

“It´s the concept I guess”, the redhead shrugged and Harry bent forward to catch the offered flame. The lighter vanished back into Ronald’s pocket.

 He took a satisfying drag and looked back at the stage only to find Ginny´s steady gaze on him. He smiled crookedly and lifted his empty glass in acknowledgement. Or apology?

Her song ended and she gracefully accepted the applause before she bowed out.

 

She would meet up with him in a few seconds.  With his left hand, he put the pen and the papers back into his bag. He didn´t feel like writing anymore rather an all too familiar and feared weariness over took him.

“Harry”, Ginny greeted him with a chaste kiss on the cheek under her brother’s sceptical watch.

“Ginny, you look stunning”, he kissed her hand and stood up to follow her into a more private, more secluded room, after he put out the cig. The Weasley’s lived in the same building as their club was, the private quarters were on the upper floor, but instead Ginny lead him to small but cozy breakroom for the staff.

 

Ginny took the green, sickly looking sofa and Harry settled into an wine red armchair besides her.

“I am sorry, I should have brought you flowers. But I might have been a bit late and i might have nearly missed my train, not to mention my empty hand. I got caught up in writing.” He smiled mischievously and tiny dimples appeared.

Ginny loved this carefree boyish smile on Harry, it made him seem more like his actual age.

“Nonsense”, she swatted his apology away,” how are you? You had a flashback just right now, didn´t you?”

He never had told her about his nightmares and flashbacks, he wouldn’t want to burden another person with what he had been through but she had brothers who had been to war. Two of them were still stationed in Germany. Bill and Charlie.

“You now I am managing, as always.” He carefully grabbed her hands, he always treated her like she was a rose made off glass, like he feared he would hurt her. As if he was capable, he was probably one of the most gentle and pacifistic people she knew.

“Enough about me, how have you been Ginny? How is college treating you? Have I told you how proud I am that you got accepted?” 

When she laughed, her whole face lightened up. Harry adored her freckles, when he had been a little kid he had painted his face with his mother’s cosmetics so he too could have freckles. Once he had even spread a handful of mud over his face in an attempt to mimic his mother´s freckles. Natures laughter, his father had teased her and kissed her cheeks, only to try counting each of them.

 

“Yes, probably about a hundred times now, but please continue. Do you want a drink?”

 

“Only water please. Tell me everything!”

 

They talked and laughed until it became an indecent time to be alone with a decent lady and Harry had to run to catch the last public train.

Harry had spent the whole evening in the company of a lovely young woman he greatly respected and really liked and even calles his friend, so why did he still felt so hollow and empty inside?

He had repeatly told himself to wait a few years, it was normal to feel different and a bit out of place after a war but shouldn´t he get better someday? Shouldn´t the weariness subsides and shouldn´t the world stop looking so bland? Now it only ringed as an empty phrase in the back of his head.

Resigned he poured some water into the metallic kettle and waited patiently until he heard the whistle that signaled the water was boiling and ready. He filled his cup and decided on some rooibos tea with a splash of milk, before he nestled down into his favorite armchair the typewriter in range.

He still had some article about just another trivial thing to finish, tomorrow was his supposed deadline.

Write Potter, write like your life depends on it, a small voice whispered in his mind. And maybe it really did.

 

 

3rd script, page 102, draft

Poems of the lost

 

My heart feel like it´s about to tear,

I wanted to have it all,

I selfishly claimed the world,

Cause I thought I was the sun.

Now I neither have nothing left, I was just the moon shining under your light.

You were my sun.

 

 

June 29th, 1948

 

“Good work, Potter. I´ve got another article for you. I need someone to cover this story, who works fast and efficient, gonna be a last minute deal. This is supposed to be tomorrows headline. Miss Cho, who was originally assigned to conduct the interview suddenly got sick or pregnant, i don´t know. These days suddenly everyone gets pregnant when they feel like it, as if there weren´t more important things to do. Well, good for you Potter! This can be an important chance to push your career. If you do well, there might be a reward in it for you.”

Of fucking course, Harry had agreed, even if he had just sold his soul to the devil.

He had to cover the promotion of Thomas Marvolo fucking Riddle, who was becoming one of the youngest fucking Generals in Britain’s history.

If we survive this night Potter, leave.

Harry could pull his hair out in frustration. They had not parted on speaking terms. The last time they had spoken face to face to each other, they had been neck deep in this hell hole. It seems Tom - no, Thomas now – had made considerable career in the army. In times of war nothing flourished better.

The uniform and the life style suited him, the military still held much prestige in society and if there was something Thomas had always wanted, then it was power and prestige.

You are not fit for service. You´ve got no business here.

Harry pushed his glasses back up his nose and removed his cap to push his hands through his dark curls before he put it back on. He didn´t even have the luxury of procrastination, he had to deliver an article tomorrow and apparently, an interview had already been appointed.

 I don´t want to see you ever again.

How would Tom react to him? Did he even remember him or was Harry just one of many faces in the crowd? And why did this thought just irked him so goddamn much?

“Hey, get your head out of your ass old man!”

Startled Harry jumped a step back as a lad on his push bike missed him by a whisker, the newspaper in his basket jumped dangerously up and down.

“Get yourself some brakes, brat!” Harry called after him, not really annoyed but for the public appropriate part indignant. Still the suprise was enough to snap him out of his thoughts.

“It´s called fast life, old man.”

Harry chuckled, well better to get over with the interview rather sooner than later. He could always get an anxiety attack later in the safety and comfort of his home.

He took the lightrail to the address his boss had written down on a small piece of paper. It was only a ten minutes ride and most of the compartments were empty save for a few women with kids or some old men with walking sticks.

Harry used the time to roll himself a faq. It helped him to calm his nerves somewhat down, even if his stomach still did somersaults. He lightened one only when he had left the train, so the smoke wouldn´t cling to his clothes and he wouldn´t bother the lass and lads. As he walked by, he caught his reflection in one of the floor to ceiling display windows. He wore his typical attire and the sun warmed ones face enough that no coat was needed.

His beige woolen sweater concealed the bandage underneath it. Last night the pain in his shoulder had awoken him unceremonial, his brow coated heavy in sweat and his cheeks wet with tears. The bandage was only there to stabilize and not to keep something from spilling out.

But even worse than the pain had been the memories.

 

“Home sweet home, Potter.”

The hand on his shoulder tightened in a sign of shared comfort, his friends face blurred in his memories. It could have been Connor or Samuel or Benedikt. Or Micheal or Dean or James. His father’s name had been James, what delightful coincidence.

He hummed in response since he didn´t feel like celebrating anymore, knowing who he had all left behind. On the otherhand, he felt strangely relieved. Over, it was finally over for him; He could still help his comrades from London.

“Cheer up buddy, you are still breathing and in a few days, you might even have a warm curvy body lying beside you and I don´t mean Sam. “

General good natured laughter.

“I just wish we wouldn´t have to walk back the whole way.”

Collective whining.

 

And this was the point when things became even more blurred. Sometimes, this was the moment when the mine exploded and sometimes they still joked around for a while, until he made the fateful suggestion to use another route. A shortcut, they once had taken when they had been on the way to join another division.

And if the nightmare was especially worse, his brain pictured exactly how his friends must have died. But then they didn´t stay dead, they came back to blame him, their whole body in shreds and their fingers pointing accusing.

Hastily Harry adverted his eyes as he noticed the sales woman looking curious at him, he had been staring into nothing for too long. 

 

She had watched the man simply standing in front of her store, without entering or leaving. At first, she had thought he was examining her commodity. She had freshly baked bread and buns and even some rare sweet pastries. But when he still hadn´t moved after a good five minutes, she had counted, she openly surveyed him.

He was handsome. Not in the normal rugged muscled sense, rather he was bordering on pretty with his deep green eyes that looked at her so sadly ad with so much pain. These eyes knew how to tell stories and the frames of his glasses functioned as the volume. She wondered what would happen if he took off the glasses. Would the stories just spill out, open for everyone to read?

He had to be around the same age her little girl was by now, in his mid-twenties probably. His curly dark brown hair had been pushed mindlessly under the cab.

His skin tone seemed to have a natural brown coloring, but he looked somehow pale at the same time. As he noticed her staring he quickly adverted his eyes, a faint blush creeping into his face. Was he shy? Or embarressed?

Having made up her mind she walked out of the store with a tiny gift in her hand.

“Here darling”, she gently took his hand and what had laied so protectively in her hand, into his, “don´t worry there will always be worse days and better days.” She patted his cheek motherly and walked back inside the store. Before the door closed behind her she heard his faint thank you. She smiled.

 

When Harry had reached the impressive building he was supposed to hold the interview in, he still hadn´t let go of the small gift the woman with the kind eyes had given him. He opened his fist and looked down at the round oatmeal cookie.

His parents had always made them for him on his birthday. He put the pastry with uttermost care into his bag.

Lovegood´s love goods was supposed to be the best bakery in whole London.

With new courage he stepped into the great hall, it was an old building owned by the military but used for more formal official purposes now.  

"Name?", the blond woman in front of him drawled and pobbed a gum. “Harrison James Potter, I am here for the interview with General Thomas Marvolo Riddle.”

He held up his badge marking him as a journalist.

“You can go in Mister Potter, he is already awaiting you.”

She gave him the directions and as he walked, Harry wondered if "you" meant him as in Harry or simply just a journalist. He wasn´t sure what he preferred, but the turmoil in his stomach called him a liar.

 

But as he held in front of the door with the badge Major Riddle his heart nearly dropped.

I hope we will never have to meet again. Don´t you dare to die now, I don´t want my corpse to get thrown into the same pit as yours.

Why did he suddenly feel like he was thrown into a pit full of cold dead bodies? Harry tightened the grip on his bag and before all his bravery left him, he raised a fist and knocked against the wooden door.

“Come in.”

Chapter Text

Part II

Reunion

 

Why did it suddenly feel like he was thrown into a pit? Harry tightened the grip on his bag and before this feeble bravery could leave him he raised his hand and knocked.

“Come in.”

 

 

A shudder went through him, bringing a naïve wave of hope with it as his body instantly recognized this smooth voice still sounding so much like his old friend. But the imposing man sitting relaxed behind this too clean, too huge mahogany desk, was a stranger.

War and time and circumstances had let him age faster and made everything about him harsher, sharper. Still, power suited him. Fine lines around his mouth and eyes, ornated his expressionless face.  His hair was still deep black with only a few silver streaks on his temples, he wore it neatly combed back in the latest fashion, but this one lock still defied orders and fell into his brow. 

He radiated charisma and self-confidence, one simply had to be in his proximity to feel the need to agree and do everything he asked you to. Harry would have trusted him with his life in an instant, a man who could create such an atmosphere by simply being sure would know the best.

Harry´s heart fluttered, but every emotion was instantly crushed as he considered these blank grey eyes, watching him with the indifference of a stranger, Harry couldn´t even find a flicker of recognition.  

“Mister Potter, I was awaiting you. Please take a seat.”

 

Silently he complied, it was more an order then an offer. The chair made an uncomfortable sound as it scraped over the floor and Harry grimaced.

He loosely crossed his arms over his chest, otherwise he would constantly fidget with his fingers and not only would made this look him unprofessional, it would also do him no good to show how much he truly was affected by this situation.

To-Thomas watched him quietly, his own hands rested intertwined on the desk. Even though he was never as muscled as others, he always had his height which was even more pronounced through his athletic figure. The uniform flattered him, especially his broad shoulders.

 

He looked every aspect of a Major. Intimidation and always in control. Including the badges and medals on his chest.

Harry realized he stared and hastily opened his bag, he needed pen and paper for an interview.

He would start with the basic questions and see how the interview went.

He was about to begin when Major Riddle interrupted him.

“Isn´t it normal costum to greet each other first?”

 

Perplexed Harry looked up from his lap and calculation eyes caught his gaze.

“A good afternoon, Sir. I apologize, Sir.”

 

Harry´s eyes widened comically as he realized what he had just done. His mouth had acted on auto pilot.

A smug smirk played on Riddles lips.

“You seem to respond to orders much better now than back then.”

 

So, he did remember him! Harry bit his lips to stop the words from escaping, it would do him no good to get into an argument with the subject of his interview who also happened to be a Major.

He adverted his gaze back onto his empty paper and rolled the pen around a finger, he didn´t know how to react. Should he play ignorant or acknowledge their shared past?

Riddle hummed and, in a thoughtful motion, stroked with a finger along his prominent jawline.

“Not only much more obedient, but also a lot reserved.”

 

Harry cleared his throat, he wouldn´t let himself get tangled in Riddles web, whatever the other was playing at didn´t want to be a pawn in Riddles game. Even though Harry wasn´t sure what Riddle could gain from bringing up their past, Harry would not let himself get provoked.

“First, I guess, I should congratulate you, Mister Riddle. It´s not common to become a Major at such a young age, it is quite an accomplishment.”

Keep it professional, keep it impersonal.

“It is.”

 

Still as arrogant as ever, Harry thought, unable to suppress the sliver of fondness. 

“As the readers are quite informed about your career”- Major Riddle was quite often in the news, after all people loved to get updates about their favorite war hero, - “I think we can skip the whole history based questions and maybe concentrate more on your aspirations and goals, now that you are a Major, which can be quite considered as a position of power.”

 

Riddle cocked his head and crossed his legs.

“You are the journalist Mister Potter, I trust you”- a slight pause -”and your qualifications.”

“Good.”

 

Why did Harry constantly felt questioned in his competence? Why did he felt like he had no control over this conversation, like he had to gain Tom´s approval, like he had to impress him?

One could leave the military, but the military never left one.

Harry was by no means overly obedient, in no aspect of his life. He had his values and morals he followed, paired with a strong understanding of what was right and what was wrong.

But during his serving time, they all had absolved basic training that had integrated a strict hierarchy and the needed obedience to follow a higher ups orders without hesitation, as a few seconds could be crucial in a real battle. After all military discipline and effectiveness were built on obedience to orders.

And war had taught them the rest. 

“Mister Riddle, we hold this interview on the occasion of your new title.”

 

It felt wrong to call Riddle, Mister, everything in him called to him to address Tom with the proper code of a superior, but Harry was none of Tom´s little soldiers.  Nor anything else to him.

“How do you feel about your new position?”

 

If possible, Tom´s smirk widened and he lifted a dark eyebrow, mocking him as if to say ´do you really expect me to tell you the truth´.

“It´s a great honor to be able to serve our country and my men in this way, of course.”

“Of course. I am sure your men are on the top of your priorities.” – you power hungry bastard.

 

After all this time Harry still tasted the bitter bile that had filled his mouth, after he had failed to save him. At the beginning Harry, still had believed that Tom had tried to save him, as he had pressed him down on the wet, blood-soaked sand of the hole. But after years and years of thinking and feeling guilty, Harry had stumbled upon one important fact he had overlooked so far.

“We all serve the greater good. But Mister Potter I am sure you are not here to ask me questions the readers already know.”

 

Riddle looked at him as through he was disappointed, as though he had thought better of Harry. Harry felt his gut churn. He didn´t like this patronizing tone of Riddle at all, he was neither one of his soldiers – he reminded himself – nor was he some silly school kid that needed scolding and a good spanking.

“Don´t worry Mister Riddle, just trust my qualifications, that I know best.”

Harry threw Toms own words back at him.

Tom patiently smiled and help up his hands in a mock defense, others would probably have found this gesture charming, but Harry only felt ridiculed. He gripped the pen tighter, until the wood bit into his skin and his knuckles whitened.

 

“I meant no offense.”

He did.

“How about we act out a small scenario, I am sure the readers would just love to get to know the way you operate better.”

“Please go on.”

 

“Let´s say for example you and another soldier hide in a hole, to protect yourself from the enemy’s bullet shower.  But there is one comrade who didn´t made it and was badly wounded but this other soldier could have possibly saved him, he had a wife and children at home and even was supposed to get a promotion. But if he died, you instead would get his promotion. Would you save him or not?”

 

Riddle knew exactly what Harry was talking about, still nothing about his relaxed position changed but that he straightened out his spine, which made him seem more commanding. 

“If I decided that wounded comrade beyond saving, I would rather stop the other soldier from a suicide commando and put the wounded one out of his misery, as he made me promise. I would rather save one life, than lose both soldiers.”

 

He lied, he had to. Tom was not selfless, but of course he would never confess if he indeed did let their comrade die to get his promotion. Harrys ears whooshed and tiny dots danced in front of his eyes.

He blinked a few times, unaware of Tom´s penetrating gaze.

“Then it was only a coincidence that you got promoted a few weeks later.”

 

A deep sign.

 

“Harrison, it was war. I got a promotion, because there was a spot that needed to be filled and I was the best option.”

“You shouldn´t have stopped me, I know I could have saved him. I could see his eyes, he begged me to help him. He practically screamed at me to come and get him out of this eight circle of hell and I failed. Because of you and your greed.”

 

He had raised his voice, and at the end his whole body trembled with old pain and long suppressed anger.

“You are wrong. I did it to save your life, Harrison. No matter what your brain tells you, he was already as good as dead. Besides it was war, he was aware of the possibility that he would never walk home.”

 

How could Tom stay so calm, so rational. Why didn´t he care, why couldn´t he feel the same guilt as Harry?

“You shot him!” Harry shouted.

 

“I put him out of his misery. It was either both of you would have died or just him. I saved a life. Your life to be more specific, you should rather thank me than accuse me.”

“He had a fiancée, someone waiting at home!”

 

“So? Many good men died and left behind a heart broken widow who struggled to make ends meet behind, their babe still sucking on their breasts.”

“I didn´t!” Why wouldn´t Tom understand! He had been an orphan, no mother or father no lass at home waiting for him, nothing and nobody waiting for him to return.

 “Well as I see, you decided to waste your life either way, maybe you are right and I should have chosen different.”

 

Ouch, that hurt. But he is right, a small voice whispered at the back of his mind. There was a difference between living and surviving and Harry was only surviving, even though tried so desperately to live.

“Yeah you should have.”

“What´s done is done.”  Riddle waved Harrys outburst in a nonchalant gesture away, he seemed relaxed but the twitch in his jaw gave him away.

 

Harry grit his teeth so hard, it hurt. He hadn´t meant to lose his temper or for the situation to escalate. But he drowned in this hurricane of conflicting emotions.

And underlying, always present this old anger, this cold feeling of desperation and betrayal.

This was wrong, it was all so wrong, this wasn´t how it was supposed to go. But Harry could feel his control slip, he had always feared the moment he would snap, but now that the first thread holding him together was cut, there was no stopping anymore.

The void in him grew.

“You are a bloody murderer, that is was you are!” 

 

“Enough”, this one word held all of Tom´s authority and it cut straight through Harry, even though he not once raised his voice.

“I will not be spoken to like this, soldier.”

 

Tom stood up and walked around the heavy mahogany desk. He stopped in front of Harry, his grey eyes pierced him like the cold metal of a blade.

Harry flinched, and looked down at the broken pen in his hand.

“You will treat me with the appropriate respect, soldier. I was lenient because of our shared history, but I am still a superior. On your knees.”

 

Harry refused to answer and looked stubbornly onto the splinters in his hand. Bastard.

“This wasn´t a question, soldier. It was an order.”

 

There was danger laced in this smooth voice. A promise of pain and retribution. A memory of pleasure and seduction.

 

“On your knees. Now.”

 

Harry dropped to his knees, his body was on autopilot. And he never hated himself more than in this moment.

The cold of the stone floor seeped through his dress pants, it was nothing against the artic chill in Tom´s voice.

“Do you care to repeat what you just accused me of, soldier?”

 

He spoke softly and bent slowly down to grab Harrys jaw and tilted his head up, like every bit the predator on the hunt he was, canny and quit, to not to chase off the prey.

Harry bared his teeth, the atmosphere between them almost animalistic and so unbelievable raw and Harry felt alive for the first time in ages. Adrenaline pumped through his veins, his blood spiked with the need to either fight or flight. And this excitement scared him to no end.

 

“You are a moral less bastard Riddle, this is abuse of power.”

“And still you are on your knees. Nothing is forcing you to stay there, but my word.”

 

He painfully pressed his thumb in Harry´s cheek, the nail leaving a mark. To Harrys humiliation Riddle was right, no physical restraints forced him let Riddle do this to him. But for it,  the mental chains he felt were even tighter.

 

“Thought so”, Riddle released his grip and took a step back.

“Fifty press-ups, soldier.”

 

Harry closed his eyes, his body and his mind were fighting each other for dominance. On a rational level this was insane, but on a deeper more integrated level shaped by war and blood and a strict hierarchy dominating every aspect of their being, it felt right.

“Twenty more for every time you disobey one of my orders.” 

When Harry opened his eyes, he found himself in the press up position, even though he was a writer, his body hadn´t lost any of the strength he had gained while in the army.

“Count out aloud.”

 

Riddle towered over him. Like a judge. Like a Major. Like a superior punishing an underling. His face blank and his arms crossed, the khaki material of the uniform stretched tight over his tense biceps.

“Three. Four. Five”

The motion was as familiar as holding a pen. As familiar as arguing with Riddle. As familiar as pulling the trigger.

“Louder.”

“Six. Seven. Eight.”

His right shoulder throbbed. Harry ignored it.

“I don´t have the luxury of moral conflicts if I want to keep my country save, soldier. Understood?”

“Yes, sir. “

 

Sweat gathered on his temples and his dark locks fell into his face and into his eyes. Harry blinked.

“I said count out aloud. Ten more press-ups.”

“Yes, sir. Seventeen. Eighteen. Nineteen.” 

 

His shoulder burned, and if he didn´t know better he would have thought the bullet was still lodged tightly into flesh and his stitches were ripped wide open, so everyone could see him bleeding for his country.

Fifty more, he wouldn´t make it. But he needed to, it was all so messed up. Black spots danced in front of his eyes, blurring his sight. Not that he saw much more than the marble floor and Riddles ridiculous shoes, polished to perfection.

He was about to push himself up, as suddenly an agonizing sharp pain shot through his shoulder. His arm gave in and he fell hard to the floor, his head hitting the stone with a disgusting whack.

He bit his lip in a silent cry of pain, until the salty taste of blood filled his mouth.  Black overpowered his vision and he pinched his eyes together.

 

Pain means you are alive. Numbness means you are dying.

 

Hands cradled his face, cool and soothing, strong and gentle, hands so similar to the night he survived the mine explosion.His head was pulled into a lap. He let himself fall, the hands would carry his weight.

Shhh, you were never fit for the military, Harrison. You always expected everyone to live up to your too high moral standards. It would have got you killed.”

A calloused thumb traced soft circles over his cheek.  

“Did you mean what you said to me?”

He whispered, surprisingly Harry didn´t feel the ever-present anger anymore, even the hollowness seemed less palpable.

“I told you what you needed to hear to leave. You were too moral upstanding, you would never have left a friend alone in this hellhole. Besides I meant every word I said, you were a danger for your comrades with your rash actions and your refusal to follow orders. I did what I had to do to protect those under my care.”

His tone softened until they felt less like a whip. Long fingers pushed through his locks and Harry didn´t dare to open his eyes in fear to burst the bubble. Contentment wrapped around him like a cottony blanket in a cool winter night and Harry felt warm.  He hadn´t felt warm in a long time.

“You were not fit for war, it would have destroyed you even more than it already has. My life is in the military, I had already planned everything out, so when I meant I never wanted to see you again I meant it. I never wanted to see you in the army again.”

“But you would never leave.” Harry voiced out the what he had read between the lines.

 

“No.”  The word so softly spoken.

 

“I wouldn´t have cared –“

“I know, but when in war, dying is as normal as breathing and how would you feel to sit at home with the knowledge that someone dear to you can find death every second and you can nothing do to help. I would have never done that to you.”

Harry grabbed the hand caressing his cheek. He intertwined their fingers and simply held it and Tom let him.

And Harry knew, for once he wanted to be selfish and he wouldn´t let that contentment go.

 

 

Epilogue

 

 “Let´s finish the interview.”  

He pulled a new pen from his bag - he had a whole collection of those -, and wrote a few notes down.

“You are right handed.”  Tom looked at him, questions swirling in his eyes.

“Not anymore.”Harry shrugged.

“The bullet fucked with my shoulder, but apparently it also hit some nerve. It´s hard for me to grab and hold small things as my hand won´t wholly close.”

He opened and closed his fist a few times, there was always a slight gab between his fingers and the heel of his thumb.

“I see.”

 

“Let´s begin. Good evening, Captain Riddle, and thank you for having me today.

My first question is, would you like to go out on a date with me, Major Thomas Marvolo Riddle?”

 

 

Fin.