A/N: Hello, people!
I don't own Harry Potter.
I have no beta.
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I ONLY DID THIS CHAPTER BECAUSE MY MOM ASKED SPECIFICALLY
FOR IT AND IT'S A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR HER.
Harry rushed into the drawing room, wondering just what had Delphini crying when he was certain that he and Kreacher had baby-proofed the entire house. His answer came in the form of a man, maybe a few inches over six feet, with dark, wavy hair and light blue eyes.
Voldemort had somehow gotten back inside Grimmauld Place. He'd been locked out though. Both Harry and Kreacher had added extra protections to the property in order to prevent him from coming in again. He shouldn't have been able to get in! How did he get in?
Harry's arms snapped out, summoning Delphy from across the room. Though the man had claimed that he wanted to get to know his daughter, Harry wasn't taking any chances when said child wasn't too pleased with the man's sudden appearance. She was actually crying and that wasn't exactly a good thing based on his experience with her.
Voldemort's eyes narrowed at the action.
"What do you expect?!" Harry demanded, deciding to treat him like the dunce he was acting like. "She doesn't know who you are! The last time she saw you you probably looked like a snake/human hybrid thing! Why would she want to be around a stranger who just randomly appeared in her home without permission? You obviously didn't knock on the door!"
The man blinked, as if the thought hadn't come to mind before. "You might be right," he conceded with a nod.
No shite, Harry almost said aloud. He refrained simply because Delphy, while preferring not to speak on the regular, was still smart. What if she started repeating the words in Parseltongue? And then she'd be saying it whenever she didn't get what she wanted and he wasn't sure he could maintain a punishment when she was so adorable. Besides, children swearing was kind of funny and Harry was weak to cuteness.
Delphy's tiny hand clutched Harry's shirt collar. Her silver hair was mussed and she was using it as a curtain, so she could peek at the man who was her father, without him being able to see her doing it. She looked inquisitive, and unhappy. Not a good combination in Harry's goddaughter, and it would be rectified soon, he was certain.
Delphy didn't like not having answers, and she was one of those people who would annoy you until she got her answers.
One day, she'd gotten into one of those 'why?' moods, where every answer he gave got 'why' as a response. Harry hated it when she got into those moods and she looked ready to start another line of questioning. All because Voldemort had to barge in where he wasn't invited. That seemed to be a personal trend of his if Harry remembered their shared past correctly.
The Dark Lord huffed then, drawing their attention back to him. §Then what am I to do? I refuse to be like my… father. I will be a part in her life one way or another, Harry.§
Voldemort was already different from Tom Sr. mainly because he had been aware of what he was doing when he helped create his child, whereas the other Tom was basically in a drug-induced mindset, and was forced to create the child he ended up abandoning. Voldemort was also different because he wanted his child and had actually set up measures for her safety should he actually die somehow. And while Harry did not favour the man, he had to give credit where it was due. He had chosen the best possible person to raise his daughter, so that she would be happy and healthy, and that at least gave him some points.
Even at the peak of his insanity, the man managed something so meaningful. It went to show that perhaps he could comprehend caring and love, and that perhaps Dumbledore had been wrong. Which wouldn't shock him seeing as the man had done many wrong things in his life and he wasn't perfect by any means. Harry was no longer blinded by hero worship, he could think for himself, and boy did he have thoughts!
Voldemort was far different from his parents, which was a good thing. A rapist and a coward weren't glowing examples and yet Voldemort managed to end up like neither. It was by the grace of whoever created them, that Voldemort hadn't sunk that low.
Delphy's head tilted in interest when Voldemort spoke in Parseltongue. §Who you?§ the child asked, head fully turned to look at the man, no longer terrified of him now that she saw him as competition. Her red eyes narrowed and her little hands clutched even tighter to Harry's shirt. §My Harry no like you. He like me.§
Voldemort smirked, whereas Harry glowered. "You better not say anything ridiculous to her. I won't have any negative things in her life, if I can help it. The Daily Prophet is bad enough as it is and blast it all, I don't need you to add to my stress more than you already have."
Voldemort's amusement bled away instantly. "What about the Daily Prophet?" he inquired, voice sounding dangerous.
"They found out about her a few weeks ago," Harry admitted, patted the little girl's nest of hair soothingly. More for his sake than her own though since he felt like he needed some form of comfort in order to keep himself level-headed for this discussion. "They have been trying to find me, and have been hounding all the blonde Hogwarts students I attended school with, trying to find out who the other parent of 'my child' is."
Voldemort stared for a moment, before he looked away. His blue eyes darkened quickly, and Harry could feel a chill run down his spine as his magic snapped outward. The man was angry. Very angry if his magic was anything to judge by.
"I can handle them." the man promised, mouth firmly set in a line. There was an air of finality surrounding his form.
The look the man sent him made him feel stupid. But how could it be stupid when Voldemort literally killed people and didn't even think twice about it? It wasn't Harry's fault that he built a bad reputation for himself. That was all Voldy's own doing. Harry was just judging based on what he'd personally witnessed.
"Honestly, Harry, there are more ways to hurt someone that just killing them. I know I wasn't too sane the last time we met on the battlefield, but surely you must know how intelligent I am? And that I am capable of magical feats most can only dream of?"
"So says the man who willingly split his own soul when he was only sixteen, and didn't seem to realise that he wasn't healthy anymore," retorted Harry with a sneer of disapproval.
Voldemort's response stopped before it could even come. The man blinked once again, and nodded. "You are right. It was indeed foolish of me to assume the only way I had found was actually the best method available. However, everyone makes mistakes and I was losing my ability of comprehension."
"And when you do the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome every time, that is insanity. And unfortunately, those decisions of yours seemed to take everything away from you. Your sanity, your intelligence, and even your magic," Harry said with a huff.
"So how can I truly be certain that you haven't gone 'round the twist right now? How do I know that your soul isn't irreparably frayed, whether you've somehow managed to put it back together or not? There is literally no proof for me that you are one hundred percent back to normal and therefore safe to be around. And as I'm Delphy's guardian thanks to you, I have control over whether she gets to meet people or not."
Voldemort ended up sitting on the sofa nearest him. He fixed Harry with am expectant look, and the teen grumbled, but sat down opposite him. His arms caged Delphini in protectively. Just because he didn't seem dangerous now, didn't mean that Voldemort wasn't a danger to anyone. The man was a Slytherin to the core and if he was like the Diary had been, then of course the good looks would hide the threat the real him posed.
"So how can you possibly cause the Daily Prophet any trouble if you aren't going to kill them, mister I-Think-Death-Is-The-Worst-Thing-In-The-World-So-I'm-Going-To-Run-From-It? You have no standing, or money, or followers, and I'm pretty sure not even a place to live. You are nothing right now."
Voldemort smirked at him. "That was too many hyphens even for me, Harry," the older wizard chastised, though there was an upward tilt to his lips. His perfectly sculpted lips.
"Being a Dark Lord with never-ending charisma has it's perks, Harry," Voldemort purred. "Such loyal followers willing to leave me everything they have should they die whilst in my service. So many estates currently under my control. So much influence I have without anyone even knowing it. And such capability to ruin a little, no-name business like the Daily Prophet if I truly felt so moved to. Believe me, I am wanting for nothing."
The man's fingers linked together under his chin, his elbows balanced on his knees. "Leave it to me. They'll never breathe a word of you again, unless you wish for it."
Harry wasn't so sure if Voldemort could be trusted, but the man did look sincere. And maybe a little angry, though Harry couldn't understand why. Though maybe it had to do with the fact that Delphini was also being written about. Yeah, that had to be it. Nothing else made sense.
"Now introduce me to our daughter."
The bloody hell?
Voldemort smirked to himself, thoroughly enjoying how his plans were coming along.
Harry Potter had proven himself to be the perfect person to protect Delphini, because the young man had taken the child in and had done his duty. He cared for her, made sure she saw the outside world on a regular basis, introduced her to her only remaining Black relatives, and taught her slowly but surely how to be a proper Slytherin, even if he didn't realise it.
The little girl was just as he remembered, and had a piercing gaze whenever she decided to give someone her attention. She did not seem to know him though, but seeing as he'd last seen her while he was inhuman in appearance, he could not blame her.
She was equally protective of Harry Potter, and called him 'her Harry'. Her possessiveness came directly from Voldemort of course, and he strangely found it adorable in a sense. Because she had eyed him like he was the enemy, but not in a dangerous way. More in the, he's-mine-and-you-can't-touch-him kind of way. Delphini went so far as to taunt him with the fact that Harry liked her more.
The child thought he was there to take Harry away. It wasn't far from his plan, but the details were a little different. Voldemort would be taking the both of them, not just Harry.
Still, it was… pleasant in a sense, to catch up with the happenings. While Potter finally allowed him to touch his own child, who had finally calmed down, he'd spoken quietly about what had happened since Voldemort's demise. Delphini was playing with his hand, which was much larger than her own and Harry's, and she seemed fascinated. So much so that she shoved him thumb in her mouth and proceeded to chew on it. As best as a child with three teeth could chew that is.
"They wanted to burn your body but I demanded a proper burial," the young man stated when they got into a discussion about what happened at Hogwarts after his died. "A coffin, six feet under, just like any other person, to prove that you were still just a man in the end and not some unreachable being."
Voldemort's nose wrinkled a bit. "Where was I buried." Internally he was begging that it wasn't in Little Hangleton. It wasn't home and he didn't consider it his place of origin either. He hated the Riddles and Gaunts equally. He wanted nothing to do with them if he could help it.
Harry bit his lip, and if it was any other time, Voldemort might have thought it to be attractive. Instead, it was practically screaming of guilt and the teen's magic was saturated in embarrassment and maybe a tinge of amusement. "Just get it off your chest before you expire from the effort to hold it in," the Dark Lord murmured with a roll of the eyes.
"We had you buried in the main courtyard, right under the cobblestone pathway that was dug up and then repositioned. There's no headstone either."
There was a moment of silence, before Voldemort stated simply, "So they're walking all over me."
"Basically. Poetic justice. I'd say."
On one end he was annoyed, but on the other it was such a snarky way to get back at him that he was almost proud of it. Because Voldemort would have probably done something similar in order to embarrass an enemy, even after their death. It was simply how his mind operated, and this was amusing and offensive all at once.
And rightly deserved, so he couldn't whinge. Voldemort had caused mayhem all over Magical Britain and had done some things he was not proud of thanks to the insanity. The children having their revenge wasn't unexpected.
"You are a Slytherin beneath all that foolhardy bravery, aren't you, Harry?" he asked, a bit more charmed than he previously was. The whole way he'd gone about it was impressive. Rendering the Dark Lord to the status of a mere man in over his head, and allowing the Hogwarts students to comprehend that. Smart.
The boy scoffed. "I was supposed to be in Slytherin to begin with. Bad experiences with people sorted there, such as you and Draco, plus being easily malleable and manipulated into thinking Slytherins are all horrible people, saw me begging to be placed elsewhere. Though it really shouldn't surprise anyone. I broke so many rules on a constant basis and not even Dumbledore knew about everything I got up to. And successfully getting away with law or rule breaking without repercussion, is definitely a Slytherin trait."
True. Severus had often bemoaned the fact that Harry didn't observe the rules in any capacity. Getting away with whatever wrongdoing, or even convincing people that your actions are the right thing, was a Slytherin skill that would be very much appreciated in the House of Serpents. It was a shame that they'd managed to lose him to the lions.
"Does anyone know that you are a snake in lion's clothing?"
The boy shrugged. "I think I told Dumbledore, I don't really recall. Haven't told anyone else lest I once again be re-imagined as an up-and-coming Dark Lord myself."
Voldemort shifted Delphini to his other leg. The child huffed, obviously disliking the change in position, and turned back to glare at him as fiercely as she could. It simply amused him. She held neither his nor Bellatrix's ferocity so she merely looked... cute.
The mention of Dumbledore and what people would do should Harry reveal his dark secrets, brought Voldemort back to the situation on the media. "I will begin my takeover of the Prophet soon, worry not. No one in Magical Britain will ever print something horrible about you ever again." Unless they wish to suffer by my hand, remained unsaid but should have been easily understood between them if Harry knew him as well as he thought he did.
"But why would you care what they say about me? We aren't friends. We might not be enemies at present, but we aren't best mates or anything special."
Oh, if only Harry knew what Voldemort had in store for him. The boy wouldn't know what to do with himself, so Voldemort would have to do it for him. "As the father of my child, I should think it would give me enough of a reason for me to protect you as well as Delphini."
The Gryffindor's sputtering was adorable, if Dark Lords could get away with using such a word.
A/N: Another is done!
Part of the 2017 Christmas Bundle.
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See ya! :D
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