This is a gift for Dorea in the tomarrymort discord server. Follow me on tumblr at miistical
The tapping of his pen was driving Tom insane. It was perfectly in time with the analogue clock Professor Umbridge kept right next to her desk. If the nausea-inducing pink kitten theme wasn't enough to give Tom a migraine, it would surely be that there was something blatantly missing right next to him and he didn't know where it had gone.
Sucking on his teeth, Tom threw a shrewd glance to an empty chair. Where a black haired menace usually sat was devoid of the sass Tom had come to rely on when in Umbridge's direct line of sight. Intro to Business was already the most dreadful class on campus, but listening to Harry hiss insults under his breath like a particularly insulted snake had always been a highlight of Tom's day. Now, without that buffer, Tom was seriously considering, at the very minimum, attempted murder.
Eyes narrowed, Tom tapped his pen even faster. He couldn't quite tell if it was curbing his rising frustration or if it just egged him on. Fortunately, before Tom could fully commit to killing who was objectively the worst teacher at Hogwarts, the clock's hands ticked pass 11:30.
Though it had only been an hour, Tom had never been so grateful to stretch his legs. He was the first to stand up, throwing his pen on the desk.
Umbridge cut herself off, though Tom had no idea what she had been saying. "Mister Riddle," she said, her voice causing the hairs of Tom's nape to stand up, "class isn't over yet."
Tom refrained from snorting. "I do believe class ends at 11:30, Professor. Surely you would hate to keep us from our other academic duties."
"Oh no, of course not," Umbridge simpered. She gave a tight lipped smile. "Have a nice weekend, children. Don't forget your homework!"
Bag hanging from one shoulder, laptop tucked in the crook of his arm, Tom was the first out the door. Normally he wouldn't be so crass - he did have a reputation to uphold, after all - but no one could blame him from wanting to escape Umbridge's clutches by any means. As he strode out of the building, Tom kept an eye out for a familiar mess of black hair. He only had five minutes to make it to his next class, but Tom knew he could spare the few extra seconds it took to scan the area.
However, there was no sign of Harry Potter anywhere on campus.
Tom huffed, beyond just irritated. He both hated that Harry wasn't there to lift his mood and that he apparently needed Harry there for him to be in a good mood at all. He narrowed his eyes, his obvious displeasure enough to keep people out of his way. Watching people trip over themselves just to not run into him nearly had Tom smirking, but he managed to smooth his face back into a neutral smile by the time he reached his next class.
Advanced Calculus truly had its benefits. Tom had claimed the best seat the first day, there were never any group projects, Professor Flitwick was actually as competent as his degrees made him out to be, and one Hermione Granger sat to his direct right.
On any normal day, Tom would have classified Granger as an easy detraction. Her hand was constantly raised, the questions she posed sometimes so elementary that Tom found himself staring at her in near disbelief, and she had never learned how to keep her mouth shut. But that day was no normal day, not without Harry, and Miss Hermione Granger was in the very nice position of being Harry's best friend.
If there would be one person in Hogwarts who would know Harry's current location, it would be her.
Tom's eyes followed Granger as she made her way inside the class. When she sat down, Tom gave her a pleasant smile, not bothering to hide his amusement when she narrowed her eyes back. Tom was well aware that Granger saw him as a sort of rival, as if Tom wasn't easily the smartest in their year, so it gave him great pleasure to throw her off without saying a single word.
Throughout the class, Tom made sure to keep a steady, if one sided, friendly atmosphere. It gave him the double benefit of improving Flitwick's already good opinion of him, as well as annoy Granger something fierce.
Her bushy hair was enough to block the board, but even her curls couldn't hide the way she ground her teeth. By the time the hour and a half was over, Granger was nearly visibly bristling. As Tom made to slip from his desk, Granger appeared in front of him. If he hadn't known any better, he would have believed she had teleported.
"What are you playing at, Riddle?" Granger hissed. Tom watched her hair rise, as if it could feel its mistress' anger. Tom wouldn't have been surprised if it did. "Well?"
Tom straightened. "I'm not quite sure what you mean, Granger. Is it illegal to be polite?"
She scoffed, her knuckles going white around the four books she always carried with her. "As if you cared what was and was not legal. You're up to something, I know it."
"You like to think you know a lot of things, Granger," Tom said mildly. He stepped around her with ease. He continued out the door, the girl following at his heels just as he expected she would.
Finally out of the class, Tom spun back around. He leaned forward, hands behind his back, and said, "However, surprisingly enough, you're right."
Granger's mouth closed with a click and Tom reveled in her utterly baffled look. Sadly, she quickly gathered her wits enough to splutter, "I beg your pardon?!"
"You're pardoned," Tom replied smoothly. He watched with glee as she puffed up even more, looking quite like her mangy cat. However, all good things had to come to their end.
Tom sighed and leaned back out of her personal space. He dropped his bland smile and narrowed his eyes. Granger stopped her huffing as soon as Tom stopped his banter. Suddenly, instead of two intellectual rivals, there were two clinical minds, sharp and ready for anything. Tom could wind a river around anyone, confuse them and leave them disorientated, but Granger had the unique ability to halt anyone in their tracks—she didn't just play his game, she could stop it.
So Tom didn't play at all. He opened his mouth. "Where's Harry?"
Whatever Granger had been expecting, it certainly hadn't been that. She blinked and looked at him, as if she had just realized she stepped in something truly God awful. It was a look Tom usually got from her whenever he brought up Harry. He saw it often.
Granger frowned. "What do you mean where?"
"I mean, where is he? He was not in class today, nor have I seen him around campus."
"Riddle, why on Earth would I ever tell you where Harry was? If anything, I'm certain he's glad to not have you hovering about him." Granger looked spectacularly uncaring; Tom was reluctantly impressed.
However, now was not the time for Tom to have any positive feelings attached to the one person standing between him and Harry.
Tom leaned back into her space, boring down upon her like a great beast. "You will tell me where he is because, should you choose not to, I will continually bother both you and your hand-me-down boyfriend until I find out. And if it is not me personally, you must be fully aware that there are countless other people who would be willing to do so in my place."
Granger stared at him. Suddenly, she moved, backing up a foot. Her eyes were wide—not in fear (no, never in fear), but in pity. It seemed to hurt her to feel it at all, but it was still there.
Hermione Granger, know-it-all and general nuisance, pitied Tom Riddle. He wasn't sure if he was to be disturbed or angry.
She sighed before Tom could get a feel as to which emotion he welcomed more. "God, you're so incredibly hopeless. Before I say anything, I would like to clearly state that I don't understand what Harry sees in you at all."
This time, it was Tom who was thrown. "Pardon me?"
Granger smirked, a little thing tucked into the corner of her mouth. "You're pardoned."
His mouth flattened into a thin line. "Granger," his voice was a warning. Flippantly, Granger waved her hand as if batting the threat away like it was nothing more than a persistent fly.
"Oh please, Riddle, threaten me on a day where you don't need information from me, will you?" Granger raise an eyebrow, as if daring Tom to tell her otherwise. Wisely, Tom kept his mouth shut. "Harry's sick."
Out of everything she could have said, Tom was not expecting that. Granger must have seen the surprise on his face because she immediately sighed. She readjusted her hold on her books as she shrugged. "He was fine a few days ago - it seemed to just hit him out of nowhere. Ron and I had been taking care of him, but we have classes to attend."
"So you just left him?!" he nearly snarled.
Granger glared at him. "Yes, Riddle, we left because we have important things to do and Harry's a bloody adult. He's not a child we need to watch every hour of the day! Somehow, I find myself blaming you for his illness. Funny, that."
Tom bared his teeth at her before spinning on his heel and storming off. The woman watched him go, body tense and mouth drawn into a deep frown. She shuffled all her books to one arm and slipped her phone out of her pocket. She had to warn Harry about the incoming company. It was the very least she could do after willingly setting Tom Riddle upon him.
While she quickly set off a message before returning to the rest of her classes, Tom nearly ran to the Gryffindor dormitories. Normally, people of the other fraternities were barred from entering the other three, but nearly everyone on Hogwarts' campus knew exactly who Tom Riddle was. If they weren't slightly fearful, they were admiring, and Tom gladly used that to his advantage.
The red building had his lip curling in distaste, but he forced himself to go through the doors. One of the prefects who manned the welcome station called out, but she easily let him go the moment he turned to her. There was a smattering of Gryffindors lounging in different corners of the main room, but none got up from their places.
Tom could see a few try, indignation on their faces, but their friends had leaped to keep them down. He bypassed them all, marching toward the stairs. Tom was intimately familiar with the route after months of being Harry's partner in class.
Feet eating up the space to Harry's door, it only took Tom a few seconds before he was knocking at the wood insistently. From inside, Tom could hear a groan. Filled with enough energy to send his patience fleeing, Tom rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. With as much control as he possessed, Tom tried not to fidget as he heard Harry get closer.
As soon as he could clearly hear the muttered profanity in that familiar voice, Tom could feel all the tension he had slowly ease out of him. And when Harry opened the door, bright green eyes squinting up behind those ridiculously hideous glasses, Tom fully relaxed for the first time in days.
With gentleness Tom showed no one else, he pushed Harry away from the door. Harry blinked, mind not at all where it should be, as Tom slid into his dorm.
"Tom?" Harry's voice was rough, but he didn't sound shocked to see him. "What are you doing here?"
"It should be obvious enough as to why I'm here." Tom slipped his shoes off and hung his bag on the hook Harry's hoodies usually ended up at. He turned to Harry's startled stare.
"I beg your pardon?" Harry asked, flummoxed by Tom's sudden appearance. He had known Tom was coming, but he hadn't expected him so soon.
"Feel free to beg, but maybe another time," Tom said smoothly. Harry's yelp of indignation was like music to his ears. As Harry tried to reorient himself, Tom gave him a once over.
Harry was hunched over, a blanket wrapped around him. The red fabric hid everything but the tips of his fingers and his head; his hair was somehow even messier than usual. Yet, even as Harry fully looked like he was one foot in the grave, his eyes were clear enough to project just how utterly idiotic he thought Tom was being.
Tom cocked an eyebrow. "We both know you are fully incapable of taking care of yourself. How Granger thought leaving you alone was a good idea, I will never understand."
Harry just snorted. He grumbled something too low for Tom to hear, but he could guess that it wasn't anything flattering. Tom nearly smiled at the snark, inordinately pleased to hear the evidence that Harry, though sick, was just fine.
He watched as Harry shuffled over to the couch, not even bothering to sit down like a normal person. Tom smothered a snicker when Harry just let gravity take over, practically falling onto the couch with pure gracelessness. Tom shook his head and turned on his heel toward the kitchen, hoping that Harry would have at least something of nutritional value left in his pantry.
Shockingly enough, Tom was welcomed to the sight of a stockpile of different canned soups and vegetables. He nodded and took a regular chicken soup from the stack before moving to the stove. Before he could do much else, he heard Harry let out another groan.
Caught between humor and exasperation, Tom walked back over to the couch. He crossed his arms as the Harry burrito glared up at him.
"Harry, you need to go to bed," Tom said. He sighed as Harry just snuggled even deeper into his blanket. "You can't just stay out here."
"Watch me," Harry muttered back.
Tom stepped forward. "Don't think I won't rip that off of you, Harry."
"Go fuck yourself, Tom." Though Tom was sure it was suppose to be scathing, Harry's voice just wasn't strong enough to carry his point across. Harry clearly knew it too as he grimaced and then flopped over on his side.
"Oh good God." Tom gently rubbed his temples, sure that he would have a headache by the end of this. Strangely enough, he didn't quite mind the prospect as much as he should. Tom gazed at Harry. "Why do I put up with this?"
"A great question! Go away and figure it out and leave me to my agony." Harry's voice was muffled. His entire face was smooshed against the cushion, not at all concerned regarding the state of his glasses.
Tom huffed, eyes narrowed and hands squarely on his hips. He smoothly stepped around and over the tail end of the blanket, stopping right at Harry's head. He crouched down, perfectly balanced on the balls of his feet, and reached out to pull the fabric away. However, before Tom could curl his hand around the edges, he stopped.
Harry hadn't been strictly joking when he had said agony. His shoulders were hunched up to his ears, his face both too pale and too red, his bright green eyes now dull and hazy. As Tom watched, Harry blinked slowly, as if all the energy he had gained had been used up all on Tom.
It was a strange thing, Tom thought, to physically feel his heart drop.
Tom took a deep breath and slowly let it out. He moved his hand from the blanket up to Harry's forehead. He gently pressed the back of his hand against Harry's skin, hissing slightly at the obvious fever. Tom knew he ran cooler than Harry on a normal day, but the heat he felt now was far too hot for his liking.
Mouth set in a thin, white line, Tom rocked back on his heels, prepared to stand back up. As he began to pull away, Harry's hand shot out as fast as he could go. Tom watched as his fingers weakly curled around Tom's wrist, Harry tugging Tom's hand in place over his cheek.
Harry gazed at Tom quietly, almost daring him to move away. His eyes were just barely focusing, rimmed in red, and just so sad. It seemed like he was expecting Tom to move away, to leave him to suffer silently in his too empty dorm room.
As if Tom would ever be kept from his side.
Tom cupped his palm around Harry's cheek, his thumb swiping across his cheekbone. He let it sweep in gentle, continuous motions, watching as Harry's eyes fluttered shut, face losing part of its tension.
Harry sighed and murmured, "Thanks for coming, Tom. It means a lot."
Throat suspiciously dry, Tom cleared his throat before murmuring back, "Anytime, Harry."
Again, Tom moved to stand, but Harry's small tug stopped him. Awkwardly hunched over both Harry and the couch, Tom leaned back in. Harry looked up at him, neck craned back to look him in the eyes. "D'you really mean that, Tom?"
"Mean what, Harry?" He didn't dare move.
"Anytime. Do you mean that?"
It took no thought to answer. "Of course, Harry. I'll always be here. Always."
Harry finally relaxed, body going limp against the back of the couch. Tom waited a second before finally pulling away. Harry whined in the back of his throat, unconsciously searching for Tom's cooler body, but he didn't have to wait long. Tom's hands slipped around Harry's waist, hauling him up as gently as he could. Harry blinked rapidly, as if trying to figure out how he ended up leaning against one of the arms instead face down in a cushion.
Tom walked back into the kitchen as Harry woke himself back up. A head of messy hair swiveled in his direction, though Tom had a good feeling that Harry wasn't really seeing anything - he was instead following the sounds Tom was making.
The older man took no time in finally making the soup he had picked out earlier. He didn't do much than just heat it up on the tiny stove, busily moving on to get a glass of water and some medicine.
When Tom reappeared in Harry's line of sight, his arms were laden with everything a sick person could ask for. He set each item down on the worn coffee table, keeping the medicine in one hand. With the other, Tom pulled the table closer to the couch, making sure it was at least within arms length.
Tom sat next to Harry, their thighs pressed together. He reached out and dragged his hand through Harry's hair, somehow making it stick up even more. Harry's eyes closed as Tom ran his nails across Harry's scalp, opening them when Tom paused his ministrations.
He squinted at Tom, glasses slightly skewed, and asked, "Tom, what're you doing?"
"Considering you obviously can't take care of yourself to any degree of efficiency, it's up to me to get you back to full health." Though Tom meant what he said, it wasn't said unkindly. Rather than just state it as a fact, Tom had said it as if it were just a rather bland explanation—as if he were instead describing a math problem Harry had trouble with.
That didn't mean Harry wasn't going to tease him, of course. "You know," he said slowly, a smile curling the edges of his mouth, "you sound just like Malfoy like that."
Harry had to bite his lip when Tom leveled an offended glower at him. He scoffed, "I most certainly do not sound like Lucius, thank you very much."
"Oh no, of course not." Harry's tone was mild, but he couldn't hide the sparkle steadily growing in his eyes. "After all, I meant Draco."
Tom's glower instantly turned into a grimace. Harry chuckled, his laughter a little raspy. Tom flicked Harry's nose.
"Hey!" Harry tried for hurt, but his smile wouldn't allow it.
"It's what you deserve. Comparing me to Lucius is bad enough, but Draco is even worse; at least Lucius had a spine at one point."
The two Malfoy's were useful when Tom wanted something done silently and with enough money to bribe the Pope if necessary, but any other social interaction with them was just far too much.
"Not my fault all your minions are losers," Harry muttered.
Tom clicked his tongue. "Behave or no soup for you."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Fine."
"That's fine, sir."
Tom saw the moment Harry found an opening and sighed. "No need to call me 'sir', Tom."
"You're a little shit, I hope you know. It's no wonder Severus complains about you the most."
Harry rolled his eyes and scoffed, "Oh please, he's a shit TA. Ask anyone ever and they'll agree with me." He paused, then smirked. "And strangely enough, that's not the first time I've been called that. Fancy that."
Tom smirked back, secretly relieved to have Harry back to his regular self, no matter how pleasing Harry was when he reached out for him.
Silently, Tom held up the medicine bottle and watched as Harry's smirk dropped instantly. "Well," Harry said, eyeing the bottle as if it were about to bite him, "at least it's a pill and not liquid."
"I wouldn't wish liquid cold medicine on my worst enemy," Tom said solemnly.
"Oh yeah," Harry shot back, "just some maiming and murder."
Tom nodded firmly. "We all have our priorities."
Harry barked out a laugh, and then promptly choked on it. While Harry took a second to recover his breathing, Tom pulled out two tablets for him. When Harry looked back up, Tom held out the medicine along with the glass of water he had gotten earlier.
With a dramatic sigh, Harry took the pills and the water. Toasting Tom with the glass, Harry popped the pills in his mouth before downing them both. When Harry went to put the water back, Tom cleared his throat pointedly.
Under Tom's heavy stare, Harry rolled his eyes and drank the rest of the glass. Tom took the glass from his hand and swiftly switched it out for the soup bowl.
Spoon in hand, Tom held it out to Harry, meeting his glare head on.
Harry huffed, the force of his displeasure making his bangs fly up. He narrowed his eyes. "Tom," Harry said, tone on the line of warning and whining.
Tom just raised an eyebrow, mouth quirked to the side. His eyes asked, "Are you really going to try and fight me?"
For a split second, Harry looked like he was readying himself to physically fight Tom, but he eventually settled down. He grumbled, but opened his mouth, his already pink cheeks flushing a bit more as Tom silently fed him.
After a few spoonfuls, Harry had relaxed enough to mutter, "This is degrading."
Tom was quick to fire back, "You incapacitated because of a mere cold is degrading."
Harry pouted at that and fell silent yet again, letting Tom have his small victory. It didn't take long for Harry to finish the soup. Once he did, he just sat back as Tom stood and gathered the things he had brought to the couch. Harry could hear Tom rinse the dishes before leaving them in the sink; he couldn't tell what he had done with the pill bottle, but all Harry hoped for was that he wouldn't be seeing it anytime soon.
When Tom came back to Harry, he had to sigh, though there was a curl to his lips. Harry had gone back to burrowing his way into his blanket, his eyes closed as he sank into its fluffy depths.
Eyebrow raised, Tom walked forward until he was standing directly in front of Harry. He looked down, thoughts racing, before he found just the thing to do.
Harry took no notice of the sudden pressure around his shoulders and legs until he was in the air. He squeaked, arms shooting out of his blanket nest to curl around Tom's shoulders.
"What the fuck, Tom?!" Harry managed to get out before Tom began to move. Harry pressed his face into Tom's shoulder, too rattled to even smack Tom when he chuckled. He squeaked again when Tom stopped and lowered him onto his bed.
Before Harry could say anything else, Tom slid in behind him. He leaned back against the pillow and headboard, moving Harry until he fit comfortably between Tom's legs. Harry unconsciously moved himself to fit the lean lines of Tom's body, curling against his chest, his head in the crook of his neck.
He blinked at the new position, utterly gobsmacked. Tom shifted his shoulders and rested his hands around Harry's waist and curled over his thigh. Harry stared down at Tom's hand.
"Tom, what the bloody hell are you doing?"
"You need the sleep and I am tired. Besides, this is the best way for me to keep you from dying in your sleep."
Harry made a strangled noise, incapable of putting enough thought into making words. Tom simply ignored him and tightened his hold on Harry, pulling him even closer. Harry blushed and buried his face into the hollow of Tom's throat.
He muttered, "You better not bitch at me when you get sick."
"Go to sleep."
Harry smiled. "Yes, sir," he slurred, the warmth finally getting to him. He drifted off without another word.
Tom looked down at him. He sighed and pressed his lips to the crown of Harry's head. He leaned back, the weight of Harry on him comforting and warm, and began to sleep himself.