Harry clenched his hand into a fist and ignored the pain sparking through him, his hand feeling scraped raw and the neves ripped open. But he wouldn't show any pain to the beady eyes watching him, watching for his pain. He wouldn't give her that satisfaction. So he clenched his hand tighter and wrote another line.
I Must Not Tell Lies
Umbridge made an amused noise as his breathing got a little heavier as the pain got even worse, this was the fourth night that he had had to do this and the already wounded flesh carved deeper and deeper with every night.
What was worse was knowing that he was not going to get help. McGonagall had sent him away essential telling him to suck up whatever was going on and to maybe stop riling Umbridge enough to get detentions with her before he could even tell her what was going on.
Dumbledore was avoiding him for reasons he had no clue about, but apparently he did not care that Harry might actually need to talk to him or more importantly might actually need his help, and he was continuing to ignore Harry whenever he tried to speak to him.
Hagrid had his own problems, especially with the discovery of his half brother, and he had made it clear to Harry that he was sorry but he was busy.
Hermione and Ron were helping him but they had also told him that he needed to suck it up especially if he kept antagonising Umbridge and got the detentions. But they hadn't seen Cedric die, they had been there and watched the life leave his eyes, they hadn't had to watch Voldemort return in front of his eyes, they hadn't been forced to listen to him while tied to the gravestone of Thomas Riddle. They hadn't had to duel him, they hadn't been tortured by him. They had not been the ones to barely make it back to Hogwarts, holding onto the dead body of Cedric Diggory so that he wouldn't disappear the way Frank had in Harry's vision.
They hadn't been called a liar, they hadn't been told that Cedric's murder was a terrible accident. Cedric deserved more than that! What Harry had been through deserved more than that!
But no one seemed to care about that. No one seemed bothered to think about what he had been through. And he could not even tell anyone about the other thing that he was mourning, he could not tell them about the hurt and loss he was feeling, how stupid and used he was feeling. He could not tell them about the person that had been so important to him for nearly three years, the person that he had been falling in love with, the person that he had been betrayed by.
And he had no one to blame but himself for being so stupid and gullible, for being so desperate for affection and attention that he had not asked more questions, for being so easily manipulated.
He couldn't tell anyone that it felt like he was walking around with a constant wound in his chest.
"Alright, that is it for tonight," Umbridge snapped and Harry looked at the clock wide eyed as he realised that the rest of the hour had flown by while he was lost in his thoughts of T...him. At least his other pain had covered this pain. "I will see you tomorrow night Potter, don't be late," Umbridge giggled as he walked out.
He hurried to his dorm, walking right passed Hermione and Ron ignoring them in the same way he ignored the uncomfortable hot feeling of his blood where it had soaked into the thigh of his trousers as he had been writing his lines.
He lay in bed that night, listening to the pointedly loud sounds of Ron walking around the Dorm room, refusing to open his curtains around his beds and speak. He stared at the words carved into his hand, still bleeding sluggishly. He wanted so badly to speak to him, he wanted so badly to see him, to tell him what was happening and take the comfort that the other offered him, the understanding that he had always given.
Clenching his eyes tightly he ignored the hot tears sliding down his temples in the same way he ignored the throbbing in his hand, and the aching in his heart, the way he had been ignoring the aching in his heart for months now.
It didn't matter how much he wished for the safety and comfort of those soft words whispered to him. It had all been a lie and he had to move on and learn, he had to pretend that it hadn't happened.
As he slept restlessly that night the black book in his trunk hummed with power, the drops of blood that had escaped his hand and fallen onto the leather binding when he had reached into his trunk for his pyjamas flashed and sank into the book. And then the book hummed with anger and even more power, the power that was being gathered close, being summoned around itself with absolute intent.
Harry was struggling to keep in his sounds of pain this time, his hand was too open and too sore for him to carry on doing this, and he was fairly sure that he was suffering from mild blood loss, definitely likely considering the pool of blood seeping into his trousers where his hand was resting on it.
It felt like rubbing salt and lemon into his wound and then rubbing it in with sandpaper every time that he wrote out another line. Umbridge was practically humming with smugness behind her desk, her eyes not leaving him as she watched him. She clearly knew how close she was to breaking him.
And wasn't that the story of his life, everyone wanted to break him, everyone wanted to watch him bow and bend into what they wanted him to be. He was fed up of it, he was fed up of people hurting him, he was fed up of people trying to break him so that they could use him. He was fed up with hurting and aching and being in pain.
There was a hum surrounding him, everything seemed far away and there was a haze that was surrounding his vision, but he kept going, he kept writing, he would not give in! He would not let her win, he was so fed up of it all, he was done with it all. He wouldn't allow someone else to win!
He was barely aware of the door to the office opening through his haze, and the conversation that happened, only distantly taking it in.
"Who do you think you are just walking in here? Are you a student? I have not seen you before," Umbridge sounded furious and Harry thought that she stood.
"I used to be," The drawl sounded familiar.
"Used to be, you look young, who are you? What are you doing step away from him!" Umbridge shrieked, but then a hand was on Harry's taking the quill from him. Confused he looked up and met familiar blue eyes, his own squinting in confusion at the fact that he was here. "I said step away from him!"
"Quiet!" The word was hissed and an elegant pale hand waved out without even looking, and there was a soft whooshing sound and a thud.
"Tom?" Harry frowned confusedly.
"Let me see Harry," Tom said with barely held in anger. He didn't wait before reaching over the desk and taking Harry's arm, lifting it so that he could see Harry's hand.
"How are you here?" Harry frowned deeper, his brain coming more and more online again.
"I ripped myself free of the diary, I felt your pain, and you dropped blood on it last night. I was able to use it to see what was going on with you, and why you stopped writing to me," Tom answered absently as he took Harry's hand in his and then hissed angrily when he saw the damage there.
"You ripped yourself free?" Harry blinked at him. "What?"
"I knew something was wrong, we are bound together because of the diary, I could feel your pain, I could feel that there was something wrong. When I sensed your blood and realised you were being hurt...and how badly…"
"But...why didn't you pull free before?" Harry asked confused as Tom rested his hand over Harry's, warmth spilling from Tom's palm into his own, leaching the pain and heat from his open hand. When he lifted his hand away from Harry's, the younger realised that he had healed him, the wound was still there but it was looking 80% better.
"I didn't have the power to do it," Tom shrugged, absently waving his hand twice in the direction of Umbridge who was trying to get to her feet and draw her wand. Harry watched detached as she opened her mouth and started screaming, clearly in pain, but the silencing charm over her stole the sound from her throat.
"How did you get the power to do it?" Harry gulped looking up at Tom as he drew Harry to his feet and around the table, his heart thundering in his chest, feeling dizzy again but this time from the mixture of fear and happiness at seeing Tom standing in front of him, of being able to feel him touching him.
"I absorbed my other self, all versions of me, to get enough power to break free. I was part of his soul, I decided that it would be a good idea to split my soul into seven parts to make sure that I could not be killed, the me in the diary was a part of that soul, though I only remembered what happened up until that point in my life. It is how I survived what happened between us that night when you were a baby,"
"And you just...absorbed the other parts of your...soul?" Harry frowned.
"Yes, it was the only way to break out, to have enough power to break out, the only other was would have been to absorb your life energy, and I realised long ago that that was unacceptable. So I used what power I had left to summon the rest of my soul to myself. I did not realise, I am sorry, part of my soul was in you, it transferred the night that my older self tried to kill you," Tom reached up and touched Harry's scar. The weird feeling that had gone through him suddenly made sense.
"You didn't absorb my life energy because the soul piece was in me?" Harry asked.
"No Harry," Tom sighed. He drew him a little closer, Harry going not willingly but because his head was spinning so much he couldn't resist either and just went with the urging, his feet moving automatically. "Because I would not hurt you, because I could not hurt you,"
"But, you hurt yourself doing that, right? Or destroyed parts of yourself?" Harry asked. Those blue eyes were nothing like the mad red ones that had stared at him that night in the graveyard, and yet they were the same ones.
"I did not hurt myself so to speak, the me that I was in the diary, the me I am up until the age of 18 is unharmed. Yes, I technically destroyed the me that was existing now, but he was mad and a disgrace, and he hurt you!" Tom growled.
"You hurt me too, you lied to me!" Harry hissed trying to draw his hand back, but Tom held on tightly. His hand like a hot brand around Harry's wrist.
"Let me explain Harry, please. After everything that we have been through, can I have five minutes to explain to you? Please?" Tom requested seriously.
Harry bit his lip. Looking at the hand holding tightly onto him, looking at the blood staining his own hand and Tom's from where he had been carving words into his own flesh. He looked at Umbridge who was writhing around on the floor in silent agony, because she had hurt Harry.
"Five minutes," Harry allowed. As Tom waved his hand at the door to lock it, and waved his hand at Umbridge to change the curse on her, Harry ignored the traitorous part of him that was whispering in his mind he hoped Tom gave him a good reason to allow the trust that had not really fully died in him to break free again, that he would give him a reason to trust him.
He didn't want Tom to stop touching him.
The elder led them to the seats in front of the fire, sneering and waving his hand to change them into a simple black sofa instead of the lured pink armchairs that they had been. Sitting and looking at Tom, part of Harry couldn't believe that he was really here, in the real world, that he was able to feel his touch and speak to him.
Even if what was said was something that he might not want to hear.
"Promise to hear me out to the end, what I tell you at the start is going to make you angry and upset you, but I will not lie to you, so I need to tell you the worst, but my motives at the start did not last for long," Tom requested.
Harry closed his eyes, that sick feeling returning in his stomach that he had been feeling since he had seen the name Tom Riddle of the tombstone and Voldemort had revealed the truth about his family to him, had told him that he had been born Tom Marvolo Riddle and then done that fancy wand trick to rearrange the letters to show how he had renamed himself with an anagram of his birth name.
When Harry had realised who his Tom was. "Ok, tell me," He needed to know, either way, he needed to know.
"My original plan was to absorb your life energy to free myself from the diary, all I needed to do was to keep you talking to me to absorb your energy," Tom paused when Harry jerked in his grip, anger and betrayal washing clearly over his face making him tighten his hand around Harry's wrist, but as he had promised Harry waited. "But then I got to know you, and I didn't want to do that anymore. I always planned to get free of the diary, I hoped that once you were old and strong enough you would want to assist me to pull free of the diary, and I was willing to wait, the time spent with you, building a relationship with you, with you trusting me, and being able to help you, that was enough. When you stopped writing I panicked,"
"I couldn't speak to you," Harry glanced down.
"You felt betrayed, I understand, finding out that way...it was the worst possible way. I was scared of how you would react, I was scared about losing you when you found out who I would become. That man, the man that killed your parents, the man that hurt you, he isn't me,"
"But he was you?" Harry asked rubbing his head, this was so confusing.
"Yes, he was. But I can never become exactly who was, because my life is going to be different. And I hope that I will have you by my side, have your...have your love to change who I become from that...monster," Tom grimaced.
"You don't agree with what he did?" Harry asked.
"He had a snake face Harry! A snake face! And that wasn't an accident!" Tom said with mild horror. Harry snorted in laughter before he could stop himself.
"So, he is gone?" Harry asked in disbelief.
"Yes, he was destroyed when I made him part of me again, I squashed him and the other parts of the soul who have lived longer out of their existence to make them a part of myself again, and then used their power to drag myself out that diary,"
"For me?" Harry said doubtfully.
"She was hurting you," Tom growled throwing his hand at Umbridge and changed the curse again.
"But…" Harry looked down at their hands his mind spinning. "Could you have used my life energy to break free?"
"Years ago, at any moment," Tom nodded.
"But you didn't," Harry stated meeting blue eyes.
"Your life is not a tool or negotiable for me. I am not the monster that he was, but I am clearly not angelic at all either," Tom motioned to where Umbridge was writhing in agony on the floor. "But I care for you Harry, and I will never hurt you or harm you, I will never use you,"
"What are you planning now?" Harry asked slowly.
"I am going to leave here and claim one of the manors that he left behind, and start building a power base. I don't know how I am going to do it, but I do believe that changes are needed in the Wizarding World, children need to be protected, and there need to be better plans in place for the integration of muggleborn and muggle raised children into the wizarding world,"
"Right," Harry nodded. That actually sounded pretty smart and needed, he remembered how lost he had been coming into this world, how stupid he had felt next to Ron. But the other part of him realised that Tom was leaving and…
"Come with me?" Tom asked.
"What?" Harry blinked looking at him.
"I want you to come with me. I'm leaving, come with me? I can get a private tutor to help you finish your schooling, but...Harry, I love you, I want you to come with me, I don't want to be parted from you, the last few months have been hell, and knowing that you have been so hurt during that time because of my lying and because of what SHE has done to you, I don't want to leave you to be hurt again, or to be used against me. I want you to come with me, be my consort, be with me, please Harry," Tom cupped his cheek and stared intently as he shook Harry's world up completely.
He had two clear divided choices now he could go with Tom, the man that he was sure he was in love with, be at his side for whatever it was that he was planning on doing, and trust that he would not become the man that haunted Harry's dreams at night, trust that he would love and care for Harry. Take a risk on the life that they could build together.
Or he could stay here and see what people planned for him, what Dumbledore would do with the boy who lived now that there was no Voldemort to defeat, no war that was happening. He could see where his friendship with Hermione and Ron would go, he could go back to the Dursleys for the next few summers until he was an adult.
"Harry this isn't a choice where if you stay we will never see each other again, if you choose not to come I will court you till you fall in love with me," Tom's blue eyes crinkled in that smile that had been so rare when they had first started talking but over the time had become more and more common.
"I think I am already in love with you though," Harry admitted softly staring into the face of the man that meant so much to him.
"So come with me," Tom gently cupped Harry's injured hand. Bringing it to rest against his chest. "Come with me,"
"Tom…" Harry glanced to where Umbridge was writhing around in a puddle of liquid now.
"I won't apologise, I won't stand for people hurting you, never. Whether you come to me or not, I will always protect you," Tom said coldly, and when Harry turned he realised Tom thought that Harry was upset with what he had done to her.
He looked at his still throbbing hand and then up at Tom, the only person that had ever done anything to protect him with the only reason being protecting Harry.
"I…" Harry licked his lips and looked back up to Tom's face who suddenly looked hopeful.
"Yes, Harry?" Tom leant closer.
"I love you," He whispered, humiliated to feel tears welling in his eyes, but everything had been so much over the last year, and he had felt so lonely and empty without Tom in his life, he had felt so broken without this man with him, and when he finally gets him back into his life he made everything better in a blink, he got rid of Voldemort, he destroyed that part of himself to give him the power to break free of the diary so that he could protect Harry. He had tortured and punished the woman who had been hurting him when everyone else had turned a blind eye because it didn't fit into their plans for Harry to stop her.
Everyone wanted him broken. Except Tom.
The older teen brought Harry to his feet and drew him into the safety of his arms and body, surrounding him and holding him close, comforting him and making him feel safe for the first time in...he had no clue how long.
"I can't believe I can finally hold you and touch you," Tom breathed in awe running his fingers through Harry's hair. He buried his nose into the dark hair and just breathed in the scent of Harry, finally being able to have him close after so so long.
He held Harry close as the younger shivered slightly, overwhelmed finally from everything that had been happening to him, and he felt furious that he had had to go through it alone, he felt furious that his other self had put Harry through this, that he had put Harry through this.
"I will never, ever lie to you or betray you again, I swear on my magic Harry," Tom whispered into his ear, knowing he was pleading his case but he needed this amazing wizard in his life, he needed him more than anything else, more than power, more than magic, more than money and fame, more than his own life, he needed this man. This beautiful young man in his arms was the reason that he knew he would not become the mutated freak that he had become, he would not become that...thing, because he had had Harry in his life.
He knew what acceptance and friendship was, he knew what love was where he had never felt that before, he knew what it was to care for another human being more than himself.
"Let's go," Harry whispered into his chest, lifting his head so Tom could see those beautiful green eyes, glittering with tears but shining with the inner power that he possessed.
"What?" Tom asked unable to believe what he was hearing.
"I want to go with you," Harry said firmly.
Tom stared for a second before he laughed happily and pressed his lips gently to Harry's, cupping that beautiful face in his and finally tasting Harry, finally getting to feel those lips against his. Harry made a delicious noise in the back of his throat, a mixture of surprise and delight before he pressed up onto his toes and pressed closer into the kiss.
When he wrapped his arms around Tom's neck and closer to Tom's body, Tom wound his strong arms around Harry's waist and held him carefully against his chest. Tapping into the magic of Slytherin within the castle Tom closed his eyes and Apparated them out, stealing Harry away to where he could keep him safe and happy.
The precious person in his arms would not be hurt or used again, Tom was going to make sure that he became one of the most important people in their world, at his side and as his partner, his consort, his love.
Deep within the Department of Mysteries, a member of the Order of the Phoenix gasped when they turned a corner and found the orb of a prophecy, THE prophecy lying shattered on the floor. Turning they raced to get to Dumbledore to tell him what had happened. Something had changed the prophecy, something had changed it enough that it would no longer take place.