Harry and Emma checked in at the hotel under Harry and Emma Potter. That evening, they dressed up to go to the casino as they needed to appear to be on vacation. Once they arrived at the casino, they noticed the Malfoys, Lucius and Draco to be specific, at the poker table. Harry stuck with blackjack as it was a less complicated game.
A few rounds into the game, Harry was surprised by who he saw at the entrance to the casino floor: Tom. And he appeared to be alone. Harry mentioned his observation to Emma because it seemed strange to him. Why would Tom be in France right now? Did he also suspect that Draco had stolen the locket?
Tom went to the baccarat table and stayed there the entire time Harry and Emma gambled together, which was past when the Malfoys did. Emma eventually went to go spy on the Malfoys once they left the casino. She was due to come back later. Meanwhile, Harry went over to the bar as he'd been instructed by Emma that he should avoid gambling away money on his own.
After Emma left, Tom came over to where Harry sat at the bar and took a seat next to him. "Fancy seeing you here, Harry," Tom noted with a curious tone.
"You too," Harry replied.
"I heard that a Mr. and Mrs. Potter were staying here. Most curious. I was under the impression you were single."
"I am. Or at least not really married."
"Hmm... And that woman who was with you... I've seen her before."
"Is that so?"
"She was with you at the auction."
"What of it?"
"Just seems strange. Does she know about what you got up to that night with Ginevra and I?"
"Does it matter?"
"I mean, she is Mrs. Potter."
"As I said, not really. And why are you here?"
"I'd imagine for the same reason you are."
"And what's that?"
"To get the locket from the Malfoys."
"Is that what you think I'm here for, Tom?"
"Of course it's why you're here, Harry. I just don't quite understand why you brought that woman along with you."
"I can travel with whoever I want."
"Indeed. I think you should be careful about who you trust, however. Not everyone is as straightforward as myself."
"Really? So are you truly in love with Ginny?"
"No, but I never claimed otherwise. I do thoroughly enjoy her company and the benefits that come with it. She's fully aware."
"So it'll be a loveless marriage? But why?"
"Our parents. They want us to settle down or else we won't get our inheritances, and we figured that our best bet is to marry each other. We do have a lot of fun together and have a lot in common."
"That's still sad that you have to marry someone you don't love."
"Yes, well, there's nothing to be done about it. And it is fortunate for me that you didn't stay with her, that for whatever reason you haven't been able to commit to her. It's obvious to me that you two still have feelings for each other."
Harry frowned. He hadn't thought his interest in Ginny was that obvious. "Okay. I understand now why Ginny's sought me out recently, but what about you? To appease her?"
"Partly. I'm also greedy, and you've caught my interest independently as well."
"You should feel flattered. It's rare for anyone to catch my interest. Other than Ginevra and yourself, only one other has caught my attention similarly before."
"You don't know her," Tom answered. There was a finality to his tone that surprised Harry, so he didn't push.
The two men sat at the bar, drinking in silence for a while before Tom asked if Harry would like to come up to his suite. Harry declined. He was on a mission after all. Nonetheless, Tom informed Harry where he was staying in case he changed his mind, and then he left.
Emma found Harry at the bar sometime later.
"I found out why Tom's here. It's because of the locket," Harry told her.
"He must really love Ginny if he's going this far to get her the locket," Emma mused.
"Actually, he told me they're not marrying out of love but because of money."
"Hmm... That is strange then. Perhaps he just wants the locket for himself. I wonder why he'd go through all this trouble. Perhaps you should talk to him some more to find out his intentions and what he knows."
"Are you sure about that? He did invite me to spend time with him, but I'd thought I shouldn't."
"I think you should," Emma insisted.
"Alright then. I will. What are you going to do?"
"Well, I bugged the Malfoys' rooms when they went out to dinner and then confirmed they retired for the night. So now I think I'll head to bed myself."
"Shouldn't I too?"
"You need to sober up first in order to get proper sleep. In the meantime, your mission is to find out what you can from Tom."
Harry went to Tom's suite shortly after. He hesitated before knocking. He hadn't spent any time alone with Tom in private before. Whenever he'd spent time with him, Ginny had been there. It felt like he was doing something he shouldn't be.
When he knocked, it was brief and not too hard, but Tom heard it anyway, answering the door with a pleased expression. "Harry, I'm so glad you changed your mind. Please, come in."
Harry entered and took a seat on the sofa in the common area of the suite.
Tom offered tea, and Harry accepted a cup.
"What changed your mind?" Tom asked.
"Can't say," Harry answered evasively.
"I take it that that woman told you to find out why I was here."
"Her name's Emma."
"Is it?" Tom sounded doubtful.
"Why are you here? If you were in love with Ginny and were determined for the locket to be an engagement gift, I'd understand, but I don't understand what you want if that's not it."
"I want the locket for myself, really. It's a lost family heirloom."
"You're descended from Salazar Slytherin?"
"And you don't believe that Draco doesn't have the locket?"
"Correct. I know him quite well. The fact that he didn't outbid me when he clearly wanted to win it made me suspicious."
"What does Ginny think you're up to right now?"
"Business trip on behalf of my father. He breeds horses and is highly sought after. The Abraxans in particular have quite the demand right now."
"What is your actual name? I realize I only know your first name."
"Tom Marvolo Riddle though I go by Tom Riddle Jr. as my father is named Tom Riddle. My middle name is a bit unusual and not looked at positively by more conservative types, which my father's clients tend to be. I only have it because of my mother."
"What do you think the Malfoys are doing with the locket?"
"I'm aware of the Malfoys' murky background and suspicious ties. I know they're connected to Grindelwald."
"Why Grindelwald specifically?"
At Tom's blank look, Harry added, "It's just that Grindelwald is foreign, and it's believed that Voldemort, despite his French name, is British."
Tom smiled knowingly. "Because it's Voldemort who wants the locket. Grindelwald doesn't care about it except in terms of what it may get him, which is a potential alliance with Voldemort."
"And why does Voldemort want the locket?"
"Because he thinks magic is real and that it'll make him immortal. He believes the legends and myths involved with all sorts of artifacts. He'll likely seek out the other items from the Hogwarts collection in time. And that's another reason why I suspect the Malfoys are taking the locket to Grindelwald. If they were taking it straight to Voldemort, not only would they have remained in Britain, but they would've found a way to get all the items in the Hogwarts collection in one fell swoop."
"You seem to know a lot," Harry noted.
"I have my sources," Tom answered mysteriously.
At Harry's doubtful expression, Tom elaborated. "I have an interest in international and national affairs, and both Voldemort and Grindelwald are intriguing figures. How about you?"
"Oh, I know a bit about them, but it's not the sort of in-depth knowledge you seem to have." Harry was being perfectly honest about this. Tom seemed to know more than him, and yet he was the secret agent working on a case connected to the subjects in question. Harry felt he must be missing something obvious, but he couldn't identify what.
"So, Harry, enough of this talk about the locket. Let us discuss more interesting matters."
"How about each other? We haven't had time to be alone like this before. After all, Ginevra is quite single-minded when we're all together since she already knows both of us, but you and I don't really know each other ourselves."
"Okay. What do you want to know?"
"I already told you about my father's business, and I can say that my mother died shortly after giving birth to me. What do your parents do?"
Harry frowned. "They're dead. They died when I was a baby."
"Car crash. Killed by a drunk driver."
"How tragic. Did you grow up in an orphanage, or did relatives take you in?"
"My aunt and uncle."
"What do they do?"
"At this time I have no idea. The moment I became an adult I left and never looked back."
"I take it they are quite unpleasant then?"
"Yes. And I don't really want to talk about them anymore."
"Fair enough. Do you have any siblings?"
"No. I'm an only child. You?"
"Why are you so interested in me anyway? I'm nothing special, and it isn't like Ginny expects you to seek me out as you have."
"As I told you before, you've caught my interest, which is a rare occurrence. It is just that simple."
"I don't understand."
"Of course not. It is not something you would understand. I think a more interesting question is why you've yet to outright reject me. It's apparent you feel conflicted about me."
"You? Why would I reject you?"
"Why do you hesitate with me then?"
"I just- You're Ginny's."
"Ah. Worried you may accidentally steal me away?" Tom smiled, amused.
"I don't think she'd approve. It's one thing when it's for her benefit. It's another when it's not."
"And how would us deepening our bond not be to her benefit? Because the intent is purely selfish? Why should she get to be selfish and not us?"
Harry frowned, unsure of how to respond.
"Trust me, Harry. Getting more acquainted with me will not cause Ginevra to boot you out of her life."
"I don't know..."
"No harm will come from you putting yourself first sometimes. Tell me: In the years since you and Ginevra broke up, when have you dated or been intimate with someone without her around? Hmm?"
"I... I haven't," Harry admitted, and he was surprised by the revelation.
"Don't you think it's time that changed? I want you, and you want me. It's quite simple, Harry."
Harry nodded and took a deep breath. "You're right. So what now?"
"Now? You're going to finish your tea, go back to your room, get a proper night's rest, and then think things over. I don't need a quick response but a decisive one."
"Wait. I thought you were trying to seduce me!"
"You are much too hesitant and conflicted at the moment. I can wait."
Harry finished his tea in silence and did just as Tom instructed. He slept on the couch in the suite he shared with Emma since he was certain Emma wouldn't want to share the bed with him.
The following morning Harry woke up to the sound of Emma exiting the bedroom and entering the common area of the suite where he was at.
"Good morning, Harry," Emma greeted. "Learn anything interesting about Tom last night?"
Harry swore he saw a smirk, but as soon as he thought it, it was gone. "Not particularly." He didn't feel like talking about Tom's strange approach to not getting him in bed.
"Did he say why he was interested in the locket?"
"Yeah, actually. Apparently it's a family heirloom."
"Interesting. And did he say why he suspects the Malfoys to have it? It's obvious he suspects them to have it."
"Because Draco didn't outbid him but clearly wanted it."
"What will we be doing today?" Harry asked.
"Following the Malfoys around and digging through their belongings."
"Together or separately?"
"Separately should be fine. I'll go through their belongings while you follow them around today. I can make sure everything is placed back in the appropriate spots when I finish."
"Sounds good, Emma."
The day passed by without fanfare. The Malfoys didn't act suspicious at all, and Harry found himself grow increasingly bored as the day went on. By the time they returned to the hotel, Harry was wishing that he'd gotten a more exciting assignment. As he walked down the hall, he heard a pair of voices around the corner: Emma and Tom's. He stayed hidden around the corner to eavesdrop.
"-not really part of the plan, is it?" Emma asked, obvious anger in her voice.
"Au contraire, it is," Tom answered.
"I think I've made that quite clear."
A phone beeped.
"Ah! It appears that Draco has learned of my presence. He's asked me to join him in the casino. I imagine Harry will be back soon. I'd advise you fix yourself up so he doesn't get the wrong impression." With that, Tom walked away, turning around the corner and passing by Harry. Tom put a finger against his mouth, indicating that Harry should keep quiet, before moving along.
When Harry turned the corner, he saw Emma, who looked far less put together than she had earlier. Her makeup was smeared and her hair was a mess. Harry wasn't sure what the two had been talking about nor why Emma looked as she did, but he felt something important had happened. He would have to bide his time to find out what.
"Hi, Emma. Did you have any luck?" Harry asked.
"With what?" Emma snapped.
"Finding the locket."
"It wasn't with their belongings."
Emma scoffed and stepped inside their suite. Harry followed after.
"Following them around today didn't give me any new information either," Harry said. "How long will it be before they head to Germany?"
"M sent over new intel. Grindelwald's coming to France."
"He'll be here tomorrow evening. Or at least that's when the Malfoys are expected to make contact."
"What are we going to do to actually get the locket before Grindelwald does?"
"Well, I'm going to see if seduction works on Draco, but if not, we'll just have to observe. The key is preventing Voldemort from getting it."
"Right. And what should I do?"
"Investigate the fuck out of Tom Riddle."
Harry's eyes widened at her language, but he didn't protest. Tom had been acting suspiciously.
When Emma went to the casino to grab Draco's interest, Harry broke into Tom's suite. He dug through the man's belongings, but he didn't find anything noteworthy. Tom was completely clean. At least it seemed that way.
Then Harry noticed Tom's laptop and thought to check it for clues. No password was on it, strangely enough. And what Harry saw on it shocked him - video footage of the Malfoys' suite and also of Harry and Emma's. Harry rewound the footage of his and Emma's suite to see if he could find out what had happened earlier in the day and didn't hear Tom enter the room.
"Hello, Harry. See anything interesting?" Tom asked.
Harry jumped and pushed the laptop away. "I can explain!"
"Go on then." Tom motioned with his hand.
"Um, well, you were acting really weird."
Tom raised an eyebrow. "And that justifies breaking into my room and going through my possessions? My, my, how untrusting."
Harry was red with embarrassment. He didn't know how to respond to that. However, something bothered him. "Why do you have cameras in my and Emma's suite?"
"Just keeping an eye on you two."
"And what were you and Emma talking about earlier today?"
"You. She's quite vexed by my interest in you. I suspect jealousy."
Harry scoffed. He didn't believe Tom but knew he wasn't going to get any other answer out of him. "Why are you keeping an eye on me?"
"I'll be blunt. I'm aware of your chosen profession, and I don't trust that woman in the slightest with your well-being."
Harry gulped, concerned at being found out, but he also felt flattered. "And the cameras in the Malfoys' suite?"
"I'm tracking them. I do want the locket after all."
"And how do you even have the tech for this?"
"Ginevra's brothers were most helpful." Tom smirked.
Harry closed his eyes and sighed. "Are you another agent?"
"Yes," Tom replied simply.
Harry looked at him in a new light. "Are you backup? What exactly is your intended role here? And are you actually with Ginny, or is your whole relationship just a cover?"
"Oh, the relationship is very much real although I may have fibbed about a few details. As for my intended role, that's classified. You'll have to speak to M if you want more information about that."
Harry nodded. The revelation didn't make him feel better. "Are you actually interested in me, like you'd claimed, or is it in connection to whatever you're here for?"
"I'm definitely interested in you, both professionally and unprofessionally." Tom grinned.
"Isn't that a conflict of interest?"
"I don't believe so, but I'm certain once everything is all over and I'm debriefed I can explain myself just fine."
Harry fidgeted. "How'd things go with Draco?"
"Quite well. I believe I'm closer to getting the locket."
"Are you sure he has it? Emma searched the Malfoys' suite already and couldn't find it."
Tom nodded. "I'm aware. At the rate things are going, however, it's only a matter of time at this point."
"Do you know where the locket is?"
Tom winked. "That's for me to know and you to find out. You'll know soon enough."
Harry frowned. "You're not really being helpful. What sort of backup are you?"
"I never said I was backup. Remember?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "Fine. But don't impede my and Emma's attempts to get the locket. It is our assignment after all."
Tom raised an eyebrow. "Is it? Hmm... I'll keep that in mind... Since you're here, I do have to ask whether you've made a decision regarding what we discussed last night. If you need more time, simply let me know."
Harry wasn't sure what he should say at first. On the one hand, he was very much interested in what Tom was offering, and the man had made some good points the previous night, but on the other hand, Tom had been acting suspiciously. Then again, it appeared Tom was another agent, which would explain most of his suspicious behavior. It was obvious that Tom knew both he and Emma were agents, despite whatever reasons Tom had for disliking Emma, but neither he nor Emma had known of Tom being an agent. Harry wasn't sure what to make of that, but he would definitely be asking M a few questions once this mission was over.
Ultimately, Harry decided he should accept Tom's offer. He'd already slept with the man before. The only difference now was that it'd be without Ginny's involvement. How different could it be?
Harry learned that evening that the experience was quite different without Ginny's involvement, but for the most part, he liked it just as much. He'd felt oddly vulnerable without Ginny's presence at first, but Tom managed to make him feel comfortable fairly quickly. Harry ended up staying the night with Tom, not wanting to deal with Emma and whatever mood she might be in. He'd find out how successful or unsuccessful Emma was in the morning.