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Pureblood Omega Etiquette

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It was a quiet day at the library.

Tom was reading a Charms book intended for fifth years though he was only on his third.

Being born a mudblood and being sorted into Slytherin was already troubling enough but his intelligence was always something the other purebloods begrudgingly respected him for. They left him alone out of frustration of his sheer brilliance which none of them could hope to beat, and a lot of them have tried.

Knowledge was the one thing Tom could cling to. No one could take it away from him.

Two seats away from him, a chair is carefully pulled out, quietly and gracefully. Tom kept his eyes on the book. It was about time the boy showed up. He always showed up exactly at four pm. Everyday.

From the corner of his eye, Tom saw the boy pull out his Potions textbook, a small frown marring his face, already in deep concentration. It was always like this. The boy always took out his Potions textbook even when they were still first years.

Tom knew who he was. Everybody knew who he was.

He was Harry Potter—heir to one of the purest bloods in history. The son of the famous alpha Head Auror James Potter and his doting omega wife, Lily Potter. His blood was at the level of the Malfoys, the Blacks, the Parkinsons, and Tom thought disgustingly even the Weasleys and the Longbottoms. The Potters were a picture perfect family, accomplished, smart, and traditionalists. Harry was as pure as they come, as pristine as they come.

Tom didn’t like sharing the library table with anyone, but Harry Potter had sat two chairs next to him in the middle of their first year, and Tom was ready to glare at him to scare him away, but the Potter heir had scrunched his face in concentration, already deep within his studying and writing his essay, and he was awfully quiet—that Tom let him. He only occasionally muttered when he was trying hard to memorize something. And Tom was usually too deep into his reading to even notice.

They never even talked before. They just sat there, content with their reading, and finishing up essays, not bothering to look at each other.

They were an unlikely sight—Harry being Gryffindor’s golden boy, and Tom being the outcast Slytherin that he was. But it was a rather comfortable silence. And Tom had gotten used to it.

It was no secret that Harry sucked at Potions, and Tom would know because Potter academically ranked second to him in their year. Potions was probably the only thing that held the raven haired boy back. Which explained why when the boy went to the library, it was always and only the Potions textbook that he ever took out.

Tom closed his Charms book, putting it in his book bag, reaching for an advanced Transfigurations textbook when he heard the Potter heir sigh loudly—it wasn’t exactly loud for Harry, because years of etiquette training in the Potter household would probably forbid him from being so loud—that instinct had Tom look at him.

Tom’s sudden movement made the Potter heir look up, their eyes meeting in surprise. Harry’s frown immediately disappeared from his face, a small smile forming at his lips. “Sorry,” he said apologetically, green eyes wide.

Tom nodded politely before opening his Transfigurations book.

“Sorry, hi,” Harry said again in that soft voice. Tom looked up before raising an eyebrow. The Potter heir blushed, muttering an apology again. “You’re Tom Riddle, right?”

“Yes,” Tom said slowly, wondering why the Potter heir suddenly decided to be chatty now of all days. They had been sitting in this exact same spot for three years now.

“You…” Potter was obviously embarrassed, a tint of red still on his cheeks. Yet eyes determined. “You always place first in the academic ranking. Can you… can you please help me figure out this Potions problem?”

Tom was about to say no but he must have looked so scary because Harry spoke again before he could say anything.

“I—nevermind, I—“ The Potter heir blushed harder. “I’m sorry I even asked, I—sorry.” The boy looked down, ears red from embarrassment. He frowned again, reading his Potions book, not making another sound.

Tom didn’t say anything and started reading his Transfigurations book.

It was three days later that Tom observed the Potter heir was stuck on one page. Three days, and he hasn’t flipped a page—it was probably the same page he had trouble with when he actually asked helped from Tom. And he was nervously gnawing at his lips in what Tom could only guess as anxiety, and if pureblood manners would allow it, he would also probably be biting at his nails. This must be something that bothered the Potter heir so much that it put a crack to his perfect pureblood heir facade.

“You have to crush it,” Tom said before he knew what he was doing.

Harry’s head shot up, looking at Tom, shocked. “C-crush it?”

Tom guessed it was too late to back out now. “You have to crush the shell, not slice it,” Tom clarified. Then he put his attention back to his books again.

“B-but—“ the Potter heir said shyly. “The b-book—“

“Is shit.” Tom finished. The Potter heir gasped at his casual swearing, not used to hearing crude words. “Look, you don’t have to believe me, but you can believe my perfect Potions record.”

The Gryffindor swallowed. “Th-thanks,” he said, unable to look Tom in the eye, cheeks pink.

Tom nodded and went back to reading.

The Potter heir didn’t say anything afterwards.

Until the next day.

“Tom!” Tom turned and it was too late when he registered that Harry was so close to his face. “Thank you!” he said excitedly. “I got a perfect score!” He looked so sincerely grateful and stupidly happy that Tom didn’t know what to say. He’d seen that look on Potter’s face before, that look of unguarded happiness he only showed to his bestfriend, the Weasley redhead.

Nobody had ever talked to Tom that way before. All his Slytherin classmates had favoured ignoring him rather than bullying him when they found out how smart he was.

So he didn’t say anything, only nodded his head in acknowledgement and wordlessly started to read again.

And only when Harry stood up to leave, an hour later like he usually did, did Tom notice that the Gryffindor sat just a seat away from him instead of the usual two.

This continued on until their fourth year. Harry still diligently studied his Potions and Tom read his advanced books. Harry didn’t ask for help again but still sat one chair away from Tom. Harry had started smiling shyly at Tom whenever he arrived, and Tom, quite annoyed but still polite enough, also nodded in reply. When Harry left he would say goodbye softly, the word enunciated perfectly, reminding Tom that Harry was raised in a different world in spite of his friendly nature.

Tom reread the sentence again. It didn’t make any sense. Why would the tea leaves say that? Divination was a joke. Everyone knew it. But it was either this or Muggle Studies and Tom always wanted a challenge. He would breeze through the latter’s course, and Tom always prided himself in being knowledgeable about all things.

“That’s a misprint,” Harry said quietly. Tom looked at him. Harry spoke again in the same soft voice. “It’s supposed to be the crystal ball, not the tea leaves.”

That made sense. Only crystal balls would be able to show that information. Tea leaves would only hint at the future but—“Are you sure it’s not the stars?” Tom asked curiously.

Harry’s eyes widened in surprise. “Yes,” he said. “I’m sure.” Then after debating about it for second, he spoke again. “I took up Divination last semester. If you’re not sure, you can be sure of my perfect Divination grade.”

Tom’s eyes widened. The boy threw Tom’s exact words back at him from last year.

There was something lightly playful shining in the Potter heir’s eyes, and Tom didn’t exactly laugh, so he offered him a small smirk. That seemed to be the right thing to do because Harry smiled widely and blushed.

“You have a really nice voice,” he said shyly. “You should talk more.”

Tom didn’t talk again.

But Harry seemed determined to make him. Their exchange yesterday seemed to make the Gryffndor think they were friends now. His usual smiling greeting turned into question greetings like How are you, Tom? or Snape’s such a difficult teacher, isn’t he? But you wouldn’t know, you’re his favorite.

And Tom didn’t know why he would always reply albeit in short phrases but he always did. And the way the Potter heir looked so stupidly happy every time he did should really annoy Tom but it didn’t. There was something so genuine about the Gryffindor that even Tom found it hard to be cruel to him.

Soon enough the greetings became short exchanges and the short exchanges became actual conversations. Tom didn’t mind because they were mostly academic. Harry surprisingly knew a lot and they debated concepts and ideas most of the time.

Without meaning to, Tom began to look forward to afternoons at the library with the Gryffindor golden child. Once the Potter heir started talking, it was impossible not to listen and to drop a few comments here in there. His mind was breathtaking, and Tom never had the opportunity to converse with someone as intellectual as him.

Tom didn’t even notice when Harry started sitting directly next to him with no chairs separating them. Sometimes, when they were both deep into reading, their arms brushed on the table. And when Harry had to say goodbye, he would place his small hand on Tom’s arm gently, saying he had to go in that delicate voice of his.

They talked and they studied, their grades improved, and Harry’s Potions became better.

This went on until the end of their fifth year.

At the last day, Harry came to the library looking uncharacteristically worried, chewing on his bottom lip, pureblood manners once again forgotten in the face of nervousness. Then he looked at Tom, green eyes so wide that Tom thought the Gryffindor might cry.

“Harry?” Tom asked softly. There was only one thing that made Harry so anxious. “Is it Potions?”

Harry shook his head, eyes still wide, but there was determination in his voice when he spoke. “You will still meet me here next year, won’t you?”

Tom didn’t know why Harry looked so distressed. Of course he was going to be here. Where else would he be? The Slytherin common room?

Then he realized.

The sixth year was when everyone started presenting. And he looked at Harry, who was quite small for his age, and knew instantly why he was worried.

“It will be fine,” Tom said. It wasn’t like Tom belonged to any prestigious family nor did he have any magical parents. He was a mudblood. It would be fine because he wasn’t going to present. He would be a beta. And as long as he was, then there really was nothing to be worried about. “I’m going to be here.”

But the Potter heir still looked worried. “Promise me, Tom,” he said, eyes pleading. “No matter what happens. Next year. The same spot, the same hour.”

How could Tom say no to that face?

“I promise,” he whispered.

It was a rare case for someone who didn’t come from a pureblood family or from at least one magical parent to present as something other than a beta. It was rare, but that didn’t mean it didn’t happen.

Which was why, Tom was not surprised to see unconstrained disdain in his fellow Slytherin’s eyes, when they found out he presented as an alpha. Mudbloods weren’t supposed to present as anything, period.

 The low growls they released when he walked in the common room irritated him, his alpha senses recognizing threat the moment it was directed at him. He growled at them, dark blue eyes darkening in threat, and he saw the Greengrass heir back down a bit. This seemed to surprise the lot of them, and Tom took the time to go to his dorm unbothered.

He had not seen Harry yet.

He was not sure if Harry really did present as an omega. But they had to know. They both had to know this afternoon. At the library. At four o’clock.

But Tom did not have to wait that long to find out.

It was during breakfast at the dining hall that Tom saw Harry again. And instantly, Tom knew that Harry’s worries had come true.

Harry changed.

Presenting as an omega seemed to have exaggerated the Potter heir's best qualities. His movements were now more polished and more graceful. Even the way his hand moved was delicate, elegant. His neck extended in a way that was purely aristocratic and his smile was still shy, but Tom knew, by the way his Slytherin classmates—and all of Hogwarts—were staring, that it did its job to attract.

It also wasn’t hard to miss the two chaperones that now accompanied him while the omega ate.

Being an omega was hard, and usually, chaperones were mostly just friends. But Harry was not ordinary omega. He was a Potter heir, he was a Potter omega, he was prized. The chaperones were obviously servants by the way they were dressed.

And it surprised Tom because Harry had always been just… Harry. Harry who had trouble with Potions, Harry who was brilliant, and Harry who was apologetic and always blushing. Now he was Harry Potter, the omega heir. And Tom was once again reminded of how different their worlds were.

He didn’t show up at the library that day because he knew Harry wasn’t going to. What was the use to pretend they could still be the same when everything was obviously so different?

And they could never talk alone now. Although Tom knew he could control himself around Harry, society would deem it absolutely inappropriate for them to talk without the presence of another.

He started studying at the Slytherin common room where no alphas surprisingly bothered him. They left him alone like they usually did in their younger years. And though the noise of people chattering was quite distracting, a simple spell fixed it right away.

It was like all those afternoons at the library never even happened.

But they did.

And Tom was rudely reminded of the fact when Valentine’s day came over. A string of alphas had given Harry chocolates and flowers and gifts, all of them looked expensive. It was easy to see where these gifts came from. Alphas from pureblood families and even a few distinct non-pureblood ones have shown their intentions to court the omega. Harry had blushed prettily, like he always did when showered with attention, eyes lowering in embarrassment, but thanking the alphas all the same in what Tom could only imagine as that soft, perfectly pronounced thank yous of his.

Something primal escaped Tom’s throat before he could control it. How dare they? How dare they make Harry uncomfortable? He was obviously trying hard not to fidget with the attent—

“Riddle,” came Lucius’ deep voice.

Tom whipped his head and almost bared his teeth when he realized that some of the omegas in the Slytherin table were shaking, and even the alphas were avoiding his eyes. Even Lucius had difficulty maintaining eye contact but spoke on regardless.

“You are scaring the omegas,” he said seriously, back straight like the Malfoy heir that he was.

Tom calmed down. He had never lost his cool before. He was usually so controlled.

He stood up abruptly from his chair and made his way to his dorm, totally unaware of the eyes that followed him all the way from the Gryffindor table. 

Harry?” Tom immediately took a step back. Of all the things he was expecting to see on his patrol as a prefect tonight, this was the last thing on his mind. Harry was in his sleeping robes. In silk. In red. And Tom could make out things that he supposedly shouldn’t. “Where are your chaperones?”

The omega had the gall to look embarrassed. “I… they’re asleep, I was hungry.” He said sheepishly.  

Without another word, Tom turned to leave. Tom sniffed the air. He didn’t smell anything. Harry’s scent blocking potion was still working. If he left now, then he could still control himself, because what that red silk did to him—

“Tom?” Harry said softly. Against his better judgement, Tom stopped and looked at the omega. Harry’s eyes were wide and there was a soft honest smile on his face. “It–It’s fine if it’s with you.”

His eyes widened and his voice was cold even to his own ears. “That’s not for you to decide.”

Because it wasn’t. Society dictated that an omega and an alpha should never be alone. And it wasn’t strict in any sense of the word but it was strict with Harry because he was a pureblood omega. His parents provided him official chaperones for Merlin’s sake.

Tom smelled it first before he saw it. The potion was already losing its effect. Harry was distressed and scared. Because of him. He didn’t like it, and he didn’t like the way the omega’s eyes started to glisten. Instinct had him close to Harry in seconds, ready to shield and protect, but he stopped himself. The only thing Harry needed protection against... was Tom.

Harry was trembling, but it was not his place to comfort the omega. He had to go. He had to go before he was did something he was going to regret.

“You promised,” Harry’s trembling voice stopped him in his tracks. “You promised, Tom.”

Tom turned around, looking at the omega as harshly as he could. “Don’t be an idiot.”

“At least I’m not a coward,” Harry said, his green eyes bright and accusing.

There was silence. 

And Tom should not really be alone with Harry. If anyone saw them—

“I still go there,” Harry whispered. “Everyday.”

“And what do you hope to accomplish with that, Harry?” Tom snarled. “We both know that I—that we—Nothing is going to happen.”

Harry’s eyes were still wide looking at him in that way omegas were prone to do, trusting, submissive and everything the alpha in Tom wanted. “You… you just have to say it, Tom,” he said quietly. “You know I’ll… I’ll do it. Just say the words.”

Tom couldn’t believe it. Here they were, alone, and Harry was pleading. For what? Why was fate so cruel?

No,” Tom said, voice bitter. “You can’t say things like that as if it was that easy.”

Harry didn’t talk for a while. His eyes lowered, and Tom thought that was the end of it.

“It can be easy, Tom,” Harry said, eyes still looking at the floor, cheeks blushing. Tom stared at him wondering what he was talking about. Then Harry slowly tilted his head sideways, not daring to look at Tom, and instantly Tom understood what Harry was asking of him.

“You idiot,” he snarled. “Do you even know—your parents—you idiot. Enough of this.”

“Tom, please,” Harry pleaded. “This is my only chance, our only chance.” The omega’s voice broke and it was more than Tom could take. “I can’t, if it’s not with you... I don’t think I can bear it.”

And Tom knew. Tom knew what Harry was saying. Half of the alphas who courted Harry wasn’t even half of Tom. That’s what made him angry. They weren’t even half of Harry. They were alphas by blood, not by who they were. They were simpletons, all of them. And no one of them deserved Harry. No one deserved to be so intimate with Harry that they could affect his mind.

His mind. The mind that Tom… Tom spent months figuring out, studying. Harry’s brilliant mind.

If his breathtaking mind was subjected to another alpha… Tom almost growled.

And Tom also knew what Harry was risking. Harry was risking everything. He was risking his inheritance, his prestige, the family he loved, his way of living, Harry was risking everything. Just by talking to Tom. And now he was offering… he was offering himself.

Tom walked away.

He hated himself that moment. Hated his parents for being muggles. Hated Harry for being a pureblood. Hated the way society works. Hated the way society viewed alphas and omegas. Hated that he couldn’t do anything about it.

It was the first time Tom had felt utterly powerless. Because Tom knew if he agreed, Harry with that same wide trusting eyes, would let him do it almost too eagerly. He would let Tom do anything he wanted.

He hated the feeling. He hated feeling powerless. He hated being an alpha and feeling powerless to protect.

The air was stale. And he could smell Harry’s desperation in the air… Tom continued walking, ignoring Harry’s pleas.

And as he settled in his bed that night, Tom swore he would never feel this way again.

An omega in distress, a pleading omega and yet, Tom had turned away from him as if he was nothing.

It was joke. He felt like a failure. Maybe he wasn’t a real omega, certainly not desirable enough to be with an alpha like Tom.

Harry knew Tom was going to present as an alpha. No one could be that tall and have such a presence to just be a beta. Harry felt in his gut.

And Harry knew by the way he didn’t grow an inch taller when they turned fifteen that he was going to be an omega.

The moment Harry looked for Tom in the great hall when they came back to Hogwarts, his omega instinct had flared. And if it weren’t for the scent blocking potions, Harry knew every alpha could smell how much Tom’s presence affected him.

The blatant authority that dripped from the man’s sitting form was too much. And he was only eating breakfast. Breakfast.

Harry almost purred at the idea that his Tom had presented as an alpha. Until he realized what Tom being an alpha meant.

In another world, in another time, it would have been perfect. Alphas and omegas were the perfect pairing, ensuring healthy offspring and maximum compatibility. This probably explained why Harry and Tom got along so well. At least, that’s what Harry liked to believe.

But this was not another world and another time. This was Britain and this was now. This was reality. And Harry knew his parents would never approve.

He was a Potter. He was a pureblood. His father and mother, though not necessarily elitists, were traditionalists at heart. He was their sweet omega child and they would want him paired off to a healthy pureblood alpha with the family roots to prove it.

Harry let the tears fall when it became clear Tom was not coming back.

It was not a quiet day at the Potter manor.

The bells of the drawing room rang and Harry buried his face further into the pillow. It was probably Rabastan again, who came to their house everyday to show his serious intentions. It was annoying. And even Harry’s father who was so eager at a pureblood alpha showing such enthusiasm towards his son has also started to feel… irritated.

Harry had been stalling for two years.

Lily had been adamant at him to choose an alpha since he graduated from Hogwarts. Omegas must marry and bond as soon as possible, she said. It was the proper thing to do. Harry had tried his best to use all the charms available to him to convince his parents that he was too young to be saddled with someone so early. They wouldn’t understand because they were childhood sweethearts. And they were both purebloods. And their parents were only a little too enthusiastic about their romance. 

They wouldn’t understand Harry. They wouldn’t understand… they wouldn’t understand, period. 

Harry has tried to forget. He still burned with the pain of humiliation whenever he remembered how he’d… how he’d offered himself up so defenselessly and desperately. It was embarrassing but he would do it all over again If he had the chance. 

Tom was the only one who understood him—the way Tom’s thoughts could keep up with him, the way he would only have to say text from a book he’d read and Tom would immediately know what he was talking about, and the way Tom would look at him. As if he was just Harry and his Potter name was nothing, and he knew that Tom didn’t even think about him presenting as an omega. He was just Harry. 

Harry didn’t want anyone else.

Tom was the only one he wanted—alpha or not. How many heats he’d gone through thinking about Tom’s scent and his hands and his impossibly handsome face. How Tom would feel on top of him, inside him, moving, and pumping him to his satisfaction… claiming him, knotting him.

Harry felt slick between his thighs just thinking about it.

“Your presence is required at the drawing room, sir,” one of his chaperones said.

Harry groaned. “Do I have to? It’s all going to be the same thing again, anyway."

The chaperone frowned. “Sir, it is your duty.”

Harry sighed. The thing about having a mother like Lily Evans Potter was all their servants were well-trained at would not tolerate any lapse, even from Harry. “I know, I know. I’m going,” he said.

The maids helped him up, dressing him in red silk.

He walked slowly to the drawing room, his chaperones behind him, taking great care to put a smile on his face as the door was opened.

“Ah, yes, yes,” James said happily. “The Ministry, you say.”

“Indeed, sir.”

 Harry whipped his head up in a manner that was not very omega-like. That voice. That silky, deep voice. It couldn’t be. He’d know that voice anywhere.

“Harry, you’re here,” James said cheerfully. “Come, greet our guest.”

Harry’s heart felt like it was coming out of his chest. He gathered his Gryffindor courage and lifted his eyes to where their guest was. And immediately regretted why he didn’t let the maids pinch his cheek and comb his hair 

There, lounging on the chair as if he owned the place, was Tom Riddle himself, looking at Harry with an arrogant smirk.

A blush crept on his cheek as he remembered the last time they saw each other was when he shamelessly offered to bond with the man.

“Go on, don’t be shy,” James said with a grin. “Mr. Riddle here says you’ve been friends in Hogwarts, you never told me you were friends with a pack leader, Harry,” He said with a suggestive glint in his eyes. Then he turned at Tom with a thoughtful look on his face. “You never did say why you only visited now, Mr. Riddle.”

Pack leader? That was impossible. Alpha pack leaders only descended from ancient families.

“I’ve been rather busy and focused at my work in the Ministry, sir,” he drawled. 

James nodded enthusiastically. Being Head Auror was exhausting work, and he didn’t exactly have time to know current events. Still, Harry knew his father should have heard of the name Tom Riddle sometime.

He was popular in the ministry, this Harry knew. Because everyone knew. No one could look that good, be that tall, be unapologetically brilliant, be an alpha—pack leader, apparently—and not be well-known.

“Harry,” Tom’s deep voice made him look up, and he looked down again out of pure embarrassment. “It’s good to see you.”

Were the carpets new? Harry, for all the time he spent in the drawing room entertaining suitors, did not know. They were the same shade of red that his family favored so much because they were all Gryffindors. The carpets were new. Yes. They were. There were shades of gold that were not there last week and—

“Harry,” came his father’s almost displeased voice. Manners. He was subtly reprimanding Harry for his lack of manners.

Gryffindor courage, Harry reminded himself. Where was his Gryffindor courage? Harry looked up slowly, raising his eyes to meet with Tom’s blue ones. How many times had he stared at those eyes, lost in conversation, debating about Nicholas Flamel’s resurrection stone… the complexities of making a Felix Felicis potion…

 “Tom,” he breathed, cheeks burning brighter than before. “Welcome back.” He didn’t know why he said that. Welcome back? Back? Back where? Tom had never set foot in their home before. But Tom’s eyes had softened at the edges, and Harry knew, Tom understood right away what he meant. Because Tom always knew what he was thinking, what he was saying, even without elaborating.

Tom looked at Harry for what felt like a full minute before he turned to Harry’s father with a charming smile and his heart stopped beating. He’d never seen Tom smile like that before. Tom had always been unreadable, and had always been so attractive that it was unfair, but his expressions were limited to smirks and nodding. And nodding wasn’t even an expression, was it? Nodding was a verb. And so was smirking. Harry graduated second in their batch academically and he was talking about verbs and—

“Lord James Potter,” Tom addressed. James nodded, seemingly too enthusiastic in Harry’s opinion, he’d never seen the man be so excited about something. “I would like to ask your permission to formally court your son.”

Harry felt the air leave his lungs.

The staggering confidence Tom carelessly threw around the room almost made him shiver. So this was what it felt like to be in the presence of a pack leader. Granted, Tom always carried a quiet confidence even when they were in Hogwarts but it was always contained. Now, however… it was no wonder why Tom easily climbed his way up the ministry. If this was how he he dealt with people there...

“And what have you to offer my son, Mr. Riddle?” The words left James' mouth easily, having said it a lot of times because of all of Harry’s suitors.

The egotistical glint that flashed in Tom’s eyes were all too familiar to Harry. That only happened when Tom was sure, when knew that what he will say next would absolutely destroy Harry’s carefully researched points in one of their debates.

“This,” he said, lifting a piece of jewelry for James to inspect. “Is what I offer Harry—an heirloom from my family, and a promise of my sincerity.”

Harry gasped. That was—that was—how did—

“Slytherin’s locket,” was James’ awed whisper.

It was only then that Harry realized, when he saw Tom’s hands holding the locket, that there were two rings in Tom’s hand. And they were placed where heir rings should be. Harry felt his head spin as he saw the insignias. Even from a distance, they were clear and unforgiving in their authority. The first ring carried the Slytherin insignia, and the other Harry could only recognize because he’s read so many books in his lifetime and that coat of arms hasn’t been seen in centuries but there was simply no doubt about it. On Tom’s heir finger, sat the Peverell family's insignia.

And Harry immediately understood the uncharacteristically warm welcome of James when the surname Riddle certainly did not ring any bells. Salazar Slytherin’s heir was in their drawing room, living and breathing and asking their son’s hand in courtship. And though he did not recognize the second ring, Harry knew his father knew it was still an heir ring. And that meant that Tom Riddle was a direct heir of two families.

“I grant you permission to court my so—“

“How?” Harry asked sharply. “How did this happen?” And why only now?

“Harry!” came James’ warning tone. Omegas do not sound accusing.

But Harry did not care. This was Tom. Tom wouldn’t care if he had pureblood manners.

“Why only now?” Harry said in spite. “Why not all those years ago when I—“

“I only found out recently,” Tom said smoothly, face unreadable.

“And if you did not find out?” Harry asked hoping his father and Tom did not hear the way his voice was shaking. “Would you still have come here?” Would you still have courted me?

Harry did not like this confidence that came from being an heir. This was not the Tom he knew. Tom was confident because he was Tom.

Harry had to know if this was his Tom.

Tom looked at him for a long time, eyes boring into his green ones, before he spoke again.

“As soon as my work in the ministry permitted me.”

Harry felt his heart stop again.

He knew, even without Tom explaining, what that meant. Tom was not saying as soon as he was not busy, he would have gone to Harry. No, Tom was saying that he would not have come until he reached the top—as soon as he became Minister of Magic, the only position high enough to at least be equal to a pureblood’s—only then would he have gone to Harry. As soon as my position in the ministry is acceptable enough to court you. That’s what Tom was saying to Harry.

And Harry knew that Tom had worked hard. He had worked hard by the way he easily became an undersecretary just two years after they graduated from Hogwarts. To be worthy of him, to be worthy enough for his family. 

His Tom had done all of that for him. For him. Just because he was born into a pureblood family.

He wasn’t going to cry.

Okay,” was all he could say. And James had never looked so scandalized in his life.

“What he means to say,” He looked at Harry sharply. “Is that he accepts,” he smiled at Tom. “We accept your courting offer and your courting gift.”

Harry bared his neck in an act that was almost reminiscent of when he offered himself to Tom and Tom’s gentle hands placed the necklace on him. And then he whispered, so softly, that Harry almost didn’t hear him. “Mine.”

And Harry looked up at him, eyes glazed, because finally, finally. “Yes,” he said, just as softly. “Mine,” he purred.

And he had never seen Tom’s eyes so dark before.

Lily would have been scandalized, Harry knew, if it weren’t for Tom’s pedigree. Highly improper, she would have said, insulted. But it was Tom. And his charming smile and deep voice had only made Lily Potter giggle.

Lily Potter. Champion of pureblood and omega etiquette. Giggling.

She would let Harry decide, she said. And Harry, preserving their omega manners for the both of them, said he will think about it, like a proper omega should say.

And his mother had giggled all throughout. His father had been no help either, nodding enthusiastically at Harry.

Tom had smirked at Harry from where he was kneeling on the floor. “Of course,” he said smoothly, an irritating smug look on his face that made Harry want to punch him in the face if he weren’t overwhelmed with the feeling. The feeling. The feeling of this. Whatever this was.

Tom stood up elegantly, closing the lid on the ring’s box.

Their courting was only going on for two weeks, and for Tom to propose at their fifteenth day was already scandalous enough. Imagine the gossip when someone—Harry looked at his parents pointedly—said he accepted Tom’s proposal right away.

Three days. Three days. That was the proper amount of time to think. Harry had to wait three days.

And finally, finally, they will be together.