A/N: Started a new pet project. Gotta finish Black Coat, I know, but this will probably help me with the creative juices. :D And who knows? It might be enjoyable. Just bear with me for a while.
"Sir, there is a boy waiting outside who wants to see you."
Tom Riddle barely looked up from his paperwork. Interruptions, interruptions. He took them all in stride with a charming smile, every day, every week, and every year.
It was tedious but necessary. But it paid off.
The charismatic politicians were the favourite ones, especially the young ones who brought in refreshing new ideas. If there was anything Tom had, it was new ideas.
And in his line of work, a pretty face was a bonus.
Still … just because he had to be at his most courteous in front of the cameras did not mean he had the patience to deal with children who wanted his autograph.
His secretary was still standing there, waiting for his response.
Tom itched to seize his wand and curse him. It had been a long day, the damned paperwork was getting on his nerves, and he had no intention of dealing with overly enthusiastic fans. If his secretary couldn't even get rid of a child, Tom had no idea why the man even bothered to look for a job.
"Does he have an appointment?"
"Then I do not want to see him," Tom said shortly. "Tell him I'm busy."
"But Mister Riddle –"
"Shut the door on your way out."
"I'm not sure dismissing the boy would be a good idea –"
If he was the type to lose his composure, Tom would have slammed the useless man against the wall with a wand pressed at his throat.
None of his followers ever dared to contradict him.
"It's just that, sir, the boy claims to be related to you," his secretary explained hastily, seeming to catch onto his unravelling tolerance.
… That was a surprise.
It certainly didn't happen every day.
Doubtless, the boy was lying, but …
Tom's eyebrows went up. "Ah, a close relative then. And he has never introduced himself until now. How close, exactly?"
His secretary looked hesitant. "Er, he says he is your son."
At first, Tom thought he had misheard. He had no son. He'd never even had a long term girlfriend let alone a blasted child! There was no time for an emotion as pathetic as love when he had followers to lead and a world to take by storm.
This was ridiculous.
He laughed softly. "Tell him to pull a prank on someone else."
"Sir …" His secretary looked uncomfortable in his own skin. "Admittedly, he does look like you. I mean, you both have dark hair. I suppose it could be a coincidence, but if you stood side by side …"
Riddle suppressed a sigh.
"Let in him then."
The sooner he got this over and done with, the better. Perhaps a distraction would allow his mind to focus better.
Tom closed his eyes and rubbed at his temples. Living two lives meant all work and no sleep. Of course there had to be sacrifices, but sometimes, he entertained the thought of a long break. Unfortunately, rest was the one thing he could not afford.
It seemed to Harry as though hours had passed, even though he knew it had only been mere minutes, when the secretary stepped out of Voldemort's office. Tom Riddle's office.
His heart was thumping so wildly in his chest that he thought anyone within a two hundred metre radius would hear it.
He was about to walk, willingly no less, right into the lair of the Dark Lord, and declare himself as Riddle's non-existent son.
Talk about being suicidal. God, he would probably have a higher chance of survival if he signed his own death warrant.
For the first time in his life, Harry wondered if he should follow Dumbledore's instructions. This was either going to be the world's most genius plan, or it was going to be a failure from the start. He wanted to groan.
This was not how he wanted to die, in another time, pretending to be Voldemort's son while trying to carve out a different future so that a war and genocide never happened.
It was so damned complicated.He couldn't even get his own mind around it.
And somehow, according to Dumbledore, his first mission was to convince the world he was the spawn of the devil.
"Mister Riddle is ready for you," the secretary said, offering him a smile.
Harry barely managed to return it.
He straightened his shoulders and yanked up his Occlumency shields. They were fragile, nowhere as strong as Harry would have liked, and he was sure his mind would not be able to keep Riddle out if he tried to get in. Still, it was better than nothing.
He turned on his heels and marched into the room before he could change his mind.
Riddle was sitting behind a mahogany desk, hands folded, in pristine robes, looking just as handsome as his diary self if slightly older. He was nothing like Voldemort, as least in looks. Harry couldn't help but wonder how many Horcruxes he had, or if he hadn't even split his soul yet.
The eyes followed Harry as he approached, inspecting him. They were so blue. Huh. Not red yet.
Harry felt like he was going to be sick, and bile rose up his throat, but he choked out the word anyway, "Father."
That was the best he could do, and even that was too much. Saying 'dad' was impossible.
Riddle raised his eyebrows.
"I-I've been looking forward to seeing you."
The eyebrows rose higher.
Harry wasn't sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing. Probably the latter. He had the honour of convincing the man himself that he was his bastard son. How wonderful.
"You realise you look sixteen," Riddle said flatly.
He never realised how talented the young Dark Lord was at guessing ages. Full marks.
"I-I'm fourteen, actually."
That was a lie.
"Are you?" came the silken response. "You know what that insinuates, don't you? I am only thirty. How can it be that I have a fourteen year old son that I have never heard of before, let alone seen?"
Harry knew very well what it insinuated. The thought of a young, sixteen-year-old Dark Lord doing that was enough to make him gag.
"I was going to ask you that, Riddle," Harry said. He immediately realised his mistake.
"Riddle?" the devil in front of him inquired sweetly. "Not 'father' anymore?"
"Probably not appropriate to call you that until you claim me," Harry muttered, hoping to cover up his slipup. "I was hoping you would know who she is."
"My mother," Harry said. "The girl you don't even have the courtesy to remember."
There, hopefully that sounded like a boy who was bitter towards his father rather than the pure loathing he truly felt. He bit back a laugh at the revolted expression on Riddle's face.
"Pardon me?" Riddle looked like he had swallowed something nauseating. He took a sip of water from a glass.
"I know I'm a mistake," Harry said. "But I am your mistake."
After a moment of silence, Riddle seemed to regain his composure. "You are not my mistake," he said. "I do not make mistakes."
"So it wasn't after a night of partying in the Slytherin dorm?" Harry asked, pulling an innocent expression. "It wasn't when you were drunk on alcohol? You say I am not a mistake. Then why did you leave me?"
The young Dark Lord looked furious."You are not mine. And I do not party or get drunk."
"You are in denial."
Harry watched his eyes blaze. For the first time, Riddle looked at a loss for words. He opened his mouth several times, all the while glaring at Harry. His disgust was blatant.
"Tell me, is this a dare? Do you think it is funny to brag about this with your friends?" Riddle came across no less deadly than a viper prepared to strike. "If you continue to dally in my office, your parents will have a lawsuit on their hands."
Harry smirked. "You're going to sue yourself?"
"You have to take responsibility for your mistakes when you were sixteen and young and foolish. And drunk." Harry took a deep breath. He was sure he would pay for this later but everything depended on this. "I want to live with you."
"I want to live with you."
He almost winced. God, what was he saying? He didn't want to live with Tom Bloody Riddle! But he had to do this. Take one for the team. This was for the Greater Good.
"You are wasting my time," came the cold reply. "Can you imagine the speculation if a teenager suddenly moves in with me? They may think –"
"Think what? That I'm your fourteen-year-old son? They'd be right."
"You are not living with me."
"You are breaking my heart," Harry said bitingly.
"I have more important things to worry about."
"You are such a great father."
"I don't expect to win Father of the Year award and neither do I want to."
"Do you want to win the Youngest Politician to Get a Girl Pregnant award?"
Riddle's head snapped towards him so fast that Harry thought he would get whiplash. He swore the temperature in the room suddenly dropped by a few degrees.
"You have quite the quick tongue … but I am a busy man."
"Too busy for me?"
If looks could kill, Harry knew he would have been slaughtered right on the spot. He was doing this for Dumbledore, he told himself.
"Charles! Show him the way out."
The secretary came inside, flustered. He'd obviously heard everything. Before Charles could reach him, Harry strode forward, seized a paperweight from Riddle's desk, pitched his arm back and threw it as hard as he could at Riddle.
Riddle's eyes widened, and he only just deflected it.
The paperweight was sent skittering to the floor.
"I-I'm sorry, sir," Charles said. "Harry – it's Harry, right? – why don't you come with me?"
Harry went without giving Riddle a second glance.
He thought it went rather well considering everything.
Riddle might not accept him, but this wasn't the end of this.
If Riddle was a nicer person, or if he hadn't murdered his parents, Harry might have found a bit of sympathy for him for what was to come. But as if was, he felt amused in spite of everything. The press was going to have a field day with this.
As soon as the dratted teen left, Tom closed his eyes and inhaled. If he was a lesser man, he might have buried his head in his arms.
He was certain the boy wasn't his, but he could only imagine the mess if word got out. The paparazzi, the media, his political opposition … And his Death Eaters.
His followers were easy to control and they followed him because he was powerful. It would be inconvenient if they were to suddenly doubt his judgement and power. If they learned that their lord had a child at sixteen – regardless of whether it was true or not – the seed of doubt would be planted.
Tom picked up his quill again, ignoring the headache.
The boy was probably nothing.
He had work to do.
Dun dun dun :P The idea of Riddle having Harry at sixteen is what? Disturbing? Funny? Awkward? Tell me.