The Boy Who Lived woke early the next morning. The sun was just becoming visible over the tops of the trees in the distance. It had taken him a long time to fall asleep the night before as his mind raced with excitement over the next day's events. Voldemort had promised to spend time with him and teach him new spells… Harry was ecstatic.
Not knowing what time they would start, and really being much too anxious to go back to sleep, Harry got out of bed and called for Tibby to request breakfast. He ate and took a quick shower, pulling on a set of clean robes when he was finished.
When he exited the bathroom he wasn't sure what to do with himself, so he settled with practicing the few new spells he had managed to teach himself over the past few weeks. It was about a half an hour later that the door opened.
"I expected to have to drag you from the bed."
"I was too-" Harry paused, not wanting to show exactly how excited he was for the lessons. "Uh, no I wasn't that tired…"
Voldemort looked knowingly at the boy who had been quite distracting as he tossed and turned last night in his attempt to fall asleep. He knew the boy was excited.
"So are we starting now?"
"Yes, but we must discuss something first regarding your wand."
Harry glanced down at the thin wood in his hand. "What about it?"
"I removed the restrictions from it last night as you slept, it will no longer inhibit you from casting spells against my followers." Harry's eyes lit up. "That does not mean that you may do as you wish, nor does it mean you may leave this room without my consent. I will still accompany you any time you are outside of my quarters, do you understand?"
"I know you remember the incident with the Death Eaters in the library, you must understand the importance of not pushing your luck with them, even if you are able to defend yourself. They have skills far beyond your three years of magic."
"I understand. Why did you change your mind?"
"I do not want you outside of this room on a regular basis unarmed. I would never put it past you to do something stupid." Voldemort said as the seriousness left his voice slightly.
"I'm not stupid."
"You most definitely are not stupid, but you are a Gryffindor." Voldemort sneered at the word. "Now grab your wand and follow me."
"Of course, you can't expect us to practice in this small room. Now come."
Harry tried desperately to keep the smile from his face but was horribly unsuccessful. He followed the Dark Lord out the door and into the corridor.
Barely a moment had passed before Harry interrupted the silence. "So where are we going?"
"It's a room where the Death Eaters practice dueling."
"Ohh… Are they here a lot? The Death Eaters?"
"Some of them, yes. A select few have families and live outside of the grounds, but most are on their own. Some chose to reside here, particularly the ones trying to earn favor with me."
"Oh. So what are you going to teach me?"
"You'll see in time."
"Can't you just tell me now?"
Harry rolled his eyes as they traveled down a flight of ornate steps and along another stone corridor.
"So what are we-" Harry's voice cut off when he saw the people ahead. Two wizards dressed in black were making their way toward Harry and Voldemort. Harry noticed their hesitation as they spotted him, he too faltering in his steps, ready to turn around and sprint back to the safety of his quiet room. A firm hand took him by the shoulder and pulled him along. As they passed the Death Eaters the two men bowed low and Harry could hear a few "My Lord"s murmured in their direction. One of the men's eyes traveled upward, gaining a quick glance at The Boy Who Lived as they passed. Harry looked to Voldemort who gave no indication he had even seen the men.
They walked around a corner Voldemort broke the silence, "They have been ordered not to harm you."
"Yes. They know you are here and know the consequences should they lay a finger on you."
Harry shivered at the threat lying behind 'consequences', but chose to not think too deeply into it. "I still don't trust them…"
"Well that's probably wise. They aren't the brightest at times… but as long as you're with me you will not be harmed."
"What if something happens and I'm not with you though? Like you said, I don't know enough magic to really defend myself from them." He admitted unhappily, it was true though.
It was quite a few steps before Harry realized Voldemort had stopped walking. He turned around and looked at the tall pale man. Voldemort pointed down to the area directly in front of him, signaling Harry to come over. Fearing he was in trouble, Harry took his time.
"Would you hurry up?"
"I'm sorry… what did I do?"
"You didn't do anything."
He stopped in front of Voldemort with his face turned down.
"Harry, you are not in trouble. Just listen to me," Voldemort placed his hand on the boy's shoulder, "You are safe here."
He waited a moment but only received silence.
"They wouldn't dare try anything if there was a chance I was to know about it. They're… confused, right now I'll admit. The Boy Who Lived has been their target for quite a few years, they certainly don't understand why you are here being protected. But what they do understand is this- they will suffer greatly should they so much as look at you the wrong way."
"But what if something like the library happens again?!"
Voldemort's eyes narrowed, "I thought you learned that lesson?"
"Oh, uh, I did I did. I was just saying…"
"As I said, this is why I removed the restrictions on your wand. Just in case. Now come, think on it no longer."
Voldemort turned and made his way once again down the corridor, leaving Harry to jog and catch up.
They finally reached a set of ornate doors which opened as they neared to reveal a large empty room. Harry took a few steps in before stopping, looking around.
"This is it?"
"Were you expecting something more?"
"Uh… yeah actually. There's nothing in here."
"You have to conjure what you need, Harry." Voldemort said as if it were extremely obvious.
The Dark Lord stood in the center of the room and looked to Harry, "So, first things first." Before Harry had time to even register the words there was a white spell rocketing towards him. The air rushed out of his lungs as it hit him directly in the chest, sending him flying backwards and onto the floor with a hard thump. He opened his eyes and stared at the high ceiling for a moment before he even remembered where he was.
"What. The. Bloody. Hell. Was. THAT FOR?!" he yelled as he slowly sat up, rubbing his head where it had hit the floor.
"That is what will happen any time you do not listen to me or do as I say. Understood?"
"YOU CANNOT DO-" Harry instantly closed his mouth as Voldemort raised his wand. "OKAY OKAY! I get it… bloody hell."
He stood shakily to his feet and looked grumpily at the smirking man.
"Ok then. Now that is settled." With a wave of the bone wand a row of human-shaped targets appeared in the distance, "Show me all the offensive spells you know, then defensive. Go."
"All of them?!"
"Are you going to question me every time I tell you to do something?"
With his head still smarting, Harry turned towards the targets and fired off every spell he knew that could be used in a battle situation, and soon realized it wasn't many… at all. This was going to be quite a long day. He lowered his wand when he finished.
"Oh sweet Salazar…" Voldemort said under his breath. "I see Hogwarts still insists on teaching its students useless spells that wouldn't harm a flobberworm. Alright, stand over there."
Hours passed and Harry was on the floor more than he was standing. If he wasn't trying to crawl away from unknown spells then he was being thrown across the room for 'not listening'. There were many arguments between the two men, Voldemort always seeming to win by casting either a stinging hex or silencing charm over Harry. It seemed to Harry that Voldemort knew hundreds of spells, the man hardly repeating an incantation all day. He would have been amazed had he not been the moving target of said spells. They dueled long after the sun had set, only stopping for a short while to eat lunch before picking back up where they left off. By the end of the day Harry wondered if this was the dumbest request he had ever uttered.
"Alright, I think that's enough for today."
Harry weakly opened his eyes and was once again staring towards the ceiling. He lay there unmoving for a few moments before Voldemort came into view.
"Did you hear me?"
"I… I can't move."
"Don't be dramatic." Harry was surprised when he saw a white hand extended towards him.
"No. Don't touch me… hurts."
"Don't tell me one day of practice has put you out of commission?"
Harry shot an evil look towards the man before slowly closing his eyes. "Leave me here."
"I'm not leaving you here to sleep on the ground."
Voldemort chuckled and levitated the small body into the air before placing his own arms under Harry.
"Oh shush, it's not that bad."
"Mmph…" Harry mumbled as he turned his face into Voldemort's chest. He didn't even have enough energy to care that the man was carrying him through the manor, quite possibly past Death Eaters.
They made their way in silence for a few minutes before Harry mumbled, "I think you broke me."
For once, Voldemort genuinely laughed but chose not to answer. When they walked through the door to their chambers Voldemort gently placed the boy on his own two feet, only to have Harry immediately stagger forward and flop face first into the bed.
The man smirked and followed after, first taking Harry's right foot in his hand and slipping the black boot off before doing the same with his other foot. When he was finished he looked back at Harry's face, the boy's mouth was hanging open. Did he really fall asleep that quickly?
Harry jumped when he felt a hand smooth down his back. "Harry, I need you to move up the bed, then you can go to sleep." The boy pulled himself up and flopped down once more, head crashing into the pillows. Voldemort chuckled and spelled a blanket to gently lie on top of his horcrux.