Three Lonely Souls

Chapter 4

When Harry woke he felt refreshed. He stretched, opening his eyes, and-

Where am I? Harry wondered. The last thing he remembered was confessing to everything in front of his Potions class, fainting, and he can barely remember Snape reaching out to him before it all went black...

He got off the bed gingerly only to realize he didn’t need to. He felt better than he had in months! Years! He knew Snape had a part with it, wincing at the aftertaste of different potions. He twisted around to look at his back, before he gave a frustrated grunt and went off in search of a bathroom for a mirror. In the room he was currently in, there were three doors. Just as he was about to twist the door knob open to the first one, a voice called out, “You don’t want to do that!” He turned around, startled, his hand drawing back like it had been burned. He was confused to see no one there. “Who said that?” he asked warily, wishing he had his wand with him. He felt unprotected, exposed.

“Calm, boy, up here.”

Harry looked up at the mantle on the fireplace, where a huge portrait was occupying the space. The man in it looked annoyed, muttering under his breath in parseltongue. “You speak parseltongue? Can you tell me where I am?” Harry asked him, surprised. The man was drawn out of his muttering, blinking in surprise. “A speaker? I see why Tom keeps you around, now.”

Tom? Harry thought. He briefly remembered the events that happened in his second year, with Tom Riddle. He glared at the portrait. “Who is Tom?” The man looked at him intrigued. “You don’t know?” Harry rolled his eyes. “Haven’t you heard? I’m Harry Potter, the one that’s never told anything,” he said sullenly. The portrait chuckled and switched to English. “Fear not, I’ll tell you anything you’d like to know.” Harry raised an eyebrow. “Anything?” The man nodded. “Anything for a speaker.” Harry sighed in relief.

“Good. Where can I find a bathroom?”

The portrait looked baffled at his choice of question before chuckling again and pointing to the door closest to the huge black bed in the center of the room. Harry headed straight for it, closing the door behind him. The bathroom was huge, with a huge bath, possibly bigger than the prefects, a toilet, and a large mirror on one side of the wall. Perfect, he thought. He walked slowly to the mirror, until he was nervously standing in front of it. He took off the nightshirt he was dressed in, briefly wondering who’s it was, and gasped as he looked in the mirror.

Everything was gone.

Every scar, every carving, every little bruise, gone. Like magic, he thought ironically. Harry smiled so wide his face hurt, rushing out of the bathroom. Who could he possibly thank for this? Who was responsible for it? Who healed him?

He looked up at the portrait.

“Who is Tom?”

The portrait smirked, leaving Harry with a sinking feeling.

“Tom Marvolo Riddle is Lord Voldemort.”

~ooOOOoo~

Voldemort was exhausted. He would never admit it to anyone, but worrying over Harry’s health had him this way. Hell, he didn’t even know when Potter became Harry. Maybe it was after he had reabsorbed his horcruxes. And that had been the most exhausting part. Soon after the Triwizard Tournament, after being resurrected, after finding out he didn’t have a nose, his head had cleared a bit and he had realized what he had done. None of the things that he had been doing for the past decade or so were any of his original goals, twisted by the insanity of splitting his soul.

He had immediately set out to fix things, recruiting people the proper way, telling them his real goals, and getting rid of the crazy ones. That meant getting rid of Bellatrix, which he was happy to do, as she creeped him out now that they didn’t have similar insane thoughts. He had kept the other Lestranges, seeing as they swore to his original goal again. The Malfoys had never strayed, despite the danger that it could bring from disobeying him, and Tom honored Lucius for it. Severus, as well, for playing the risky spy when in reality Tom shouldn’t have worried that much over what the Light were doing.

He couldn’t believe he had gone after a baby because a bloody prophecy! He was even more upset when he found out that the prophecy was told by a drunkard.

He sat at his old throne, deep in thought when Nagini slithered up to him.

“Master,” she greeted.

Tom sighed. “I am not your master, Nagini. It is wrong to imprison you so. I only hope to be your friend.” Her tongue flickered out, only tasting the truth. She decided to be blunt. “You are a fool, Tom. Attacking a hatchling!? One of yours, no less,” she chastised. Tom sat up. “Mine?” he asks.

“He smells like you,” she says simply. He stared at her dumbfounded. “What do you mean, he smells like me? He’s not... my son, you mean? I’m much too old for that.” She gave a hiss. “No, he’s not. He smells... of me, in a way. But like a potential mate.” Tom rolled his eyes. “You’re not setting me up with Harry. He’s been through too much,” he says with a bit of sadness. “But...” he drawls, “it looks like I have another horcrux.”

Saying it out loud made it feel a lot more real. A human horcrux.

He was done with that though, wasn’t he?

He sighed. He may be done with that life but he damn well wasn’t going to kill Harry to try and get past his demons.

He already owed that boy so much. He would do anything to protect him.

“Tom? I just want to let you know that I’m happy you’re back.” Tom gave a barely there smile, but an honest one. “Me too.”

Suddenly he felt shock flow through an open connection in his mind, and on instinct, he got up from his throne and rushed to Harry’s room.

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