OMG! I can't believe I did it! I have a chapter done before the end of the year! Go Me! I hope everyone is staying safe during this pandemic. I've been busy with work since I was deemed essential for my office. Thankfully, I am the only one going in and have minimal contact with others. On the upside, I've had some time in between projects to write (shh don't tell my boss!) and I finally came out with this chapter. I know you've been looking forward to it and I did my very best to make it good. So go on and read it! Enjoy!
Meant To Be
Days passed and there was no reply from Harry and Tom knew he had truly fucked things up this time. This wasn't any normal argument with each other, he had hurt him deeply and Tom hated himself for it. Which was a first, he never cared if he hurt someone or not, emotionally or physically, but as always it was different with Harry. Tom missed him and Wynter. And true to his word, he had closed up Haven Hall and settled into Riddle Manor to be closer to them.
A fact that did not escape his follower's notice; they were all on their very best behavior, especially since it seemed like their Lord was in a very bad mood. It only seemed to get worse as the days passed but no one dared to question him…except one.
"What?" Tom snapped as there was a knock on his door.
It opened and Fenrir poked his head in, "Whoa, boss man. Just checking in to let you know that the wolves to the east have come over to our side."
"Fine," Tom just said shortly and resumed the tapping of his fingers on his desk as he stared at the wall in thought.
"No," Tom said, then "Yes."
"Lover's quarrel?" At the look on Tom's face, Fenrir closed the door behind him and stepped up to the desk. "Wow, got it in one. What did you do?"
"Who said it was me?" Tom snapped again.
"Well, you're not mad…more, uh, upset…at yourself. Plus, you've been in a mood and have been taking it out on everyone else. Avery, Rowle, Zander…"
"You've made your point," Tom said with a sigh and dissolved his disguise as it wasn't needed with Fenrir.
"So…" When Tom still didn't say anything and continued to stare at the wall, he backed away, "You don't have to tell me, but if you want to…" he trailed off.
Tom said nothing for a moment then, "Harry told me he loved me," he revealed quietly.
Fenrir's mouth dropped open in surprise and he fell into the chair in from of the desk, "Shit. Really?"
Tom nodded, "Yes."
"What did you say?"
"I…didn't. I just- He surprised me and I didn't- I left."
Fenrir winced, "That was a dick move, boss man."
"I know," Tom said leaning back in his chair and running his hand down his face. "I know, and now Harry's moved out and is not talking to me."
Fenrir grimaced and shrugged a shoulder. "Well, can't say I blame him. It was probably hard for him to tell you and you do that…"
"You don't have to rub it in."
"Sorry." Fenrir was silent for a moment, "Was that what he was hiding from you?"
"Yes," Tom answered, "I had enough of him holding it back and made him tell me. But of all the things..."
"Yeah…I'll bet it was a shock. Probably to him too considering your past."
"That's the point, I am the very last person to be on the receiving end of his…affections."
"And yet he does. So what are you going to do?"
"I have no idea," Tom said pinching the bridge of his nose as he felt a headache coming on.
"Well…you wouldn't be this upset if you didn't care."
"Of course I care. I just don't know…"
"If you feel the same?" Fenrir finished. "There's nothing wrong with loving someone, even bad guys like us."
Tom shot him a suspicious look, "You sound as if you speak from experience."
"Maybe," the werewolf said with a sly smile.
Tom hummed, intrigued, but didn't push. Yet he didn't have to as Fenrir supplied the answer.
"My woman is something else, I tell you. She knows what I want without me asking, but is a force to be reckoned with."
"I've never heard you speak about her before."
"Well, it's not something I like to flaunt around with these people. And we're…I don't know…"
Tom nodded in understanding. "What's her name?"
"Talia. She's been my mate for over 5 years now."
"5?" Tom asked in surprise.
"Yeah. It was…unexpected but, she caught my attention and bit back and didn't cower in fear like everyone else. I knew right away she was special. I had to have her, but I had to work for it."
"I don't see you working for anything."
"True. And I wasn't going to, it was beneath me, an Alpha, to work just to fuck her. But I couldn't get her out of my head, especially not with her flaunting her ass around the camp. Before I knew it I was wooing her and it became more than wanting to fuck her, I wanted her to be mine."
"And you did," Tom finished.
"Yes, I did. My Talia keeps me in line when I get too uh…aggressive with the pack. She takes care of them when I am gone too. I know I can count on her."
"Yeah," Fenrir said scratching his chin sheepishly, "It was weird at first. I didn't use to trust anyone but myself to get things done. But Talia…she stepped up in a big way when we mated. It was surprising. But now I am glad she's there and I don't have to worry. She may be small, but she's fierce."
"I guess that explains why you are so…laid back now," Tom speculated, "Compared to before."
"Yeah. Big change, but I wouldn't change it. But we were talking about you and Harry."
Tom grimaced and felt his headache come back. "I feel like it's just…a lost cause."
"You're going to give up?" Fenrir asked in surprise.
"No…I don't know. Everything with Harry is complicated."
"I think any relationship is complicated. And yes, yours is even more so, but that doesn't mean you should just let it go. It could be something really good for you."
"I doubt I deserve it," Tom muttered.
"Probably not, but Harry's giving you a chance. Shouldn't you at least try?" Fenrir asked, but Tom remained silent.
"In my opinion…I think you love him too. Don't!" he said holding his hands up in a placating gesture as Tom opened his mouth to retort, "Hex me. It's just what I think. As you said, it's affecting you more than you thought, and you're not happy with Harry gone. If it's not completely that, you at least feel something. It's better than nothing."
"But, how do I know?" Tom asked frustrated.
"It's more of a feeling." At Tom's look, he added, "It's hard to explain. With Talia…I feel at peace with her, complete and she makes me feel like I am not the monster I know I am. I can relax around her and it-" Fenrir paused as he tried to find the words. "It feels warm, here," he said placing a hand over his heart, "whenever we are together. When I see her smile, when she laughs, when she orders some of the pack around, when I fuck her…" Fenrir grinned wolfishly as he stared off into space thinking about it.
"Fenrir…" Tom called and he snapped out of it.
"Sorry. I don't know if I am helping any, but that's what it feels like with Talia. Does it seem similar with Harry?"
"I don't know…maybe. I just don't understand it."
"That's the thing. You can't. It's just something that is…"
"That doesn't help at all," Tom said and lapsed into silence again.
Fenrir watched his friend (?) and felt kind of sorry for the man. He had never been in love before nor had someone love him to this extent. For someone who dealt with facts and data, the whole concept so baseless and broad it was a wonder he was struggling with the idea.
"How about this. Let's just put out the facts," Fenrir said sitting forward and gesturing with his hands. "Harry loves you. You feel…something toward him. Right?" At Tom's nod, he continued "It's as simple as that. You both feel something for each other and that's a start. I think you should tell him that. Even if you are not quite ready or don't know what exactly it is, it's something. You should just…be honest."
Tom sat back and thought about it and realized Fenrir was right. He kept trying to factualize what he felt, tried to understand it, make sense of it, and didn't allow himself to just…feel it. Mostly because it was new and it scared him. Yet he shouldn't be, he should just try to embrace it, only then would Harry come back to him. Hopefully.
Fenrir left Tom to his musings having done his part. After an hour of deep thinking, Tom pulled a piece of parchment toward him to write a very important letter.
It had been more than a week since the incident and Harry was not faring well. He was still broken-hearted and prone to crying any time he thought about it, but Wynter was also becoming a problem. Normally well behaved and quiet, she now threw a tantrum at least twice a day, screaming and yelling and crying. It took everything he had to get her to stop. She clearly wanted to go home and wanted her Daddy. While she loved visiting her godparents, she was used to only staying for a few hours, not days. Ron and Hermione couldn't distract her either and he was constantly apologizing to them for the noise she was making – not that they blamed him in any way. All she knew was that something had changed and they were not home, her Daddy wasn't there and something was wrong with her Mama. It wasn't something she was used to feeling and she lashed out.
Currently, Wynter was sitting on the bed in the spare room, red-faced and screaming her head off. Thank god for the silencing charms he had placed around the room so Ron and Hermione could sleep in peace.
"Please, Wynter! Stop crying," Harry said on the brink of tears himself. "I know you want to go home, but we can't."
"O OM!" Wynter screeched. "O OM!"
"O OM! 'ANT DADEE!"
"I know you want Daddy-"
"DADEE! DADEE! DADEE!" Wynter screeched.
Harry suddenly couldn't take it anymore and burst into tears and threw himself on the bed beside her and cried.
Abruptly, Wynter stopped crying and crawled up to him and patted him on the head to see if he was okay. "Mama?"
Harry struggled to regain control of himself and looked up at Wynter's concerned face.
"Oke?" she asked.
"No sweetheart. Mama is not okay…Mama's sad."
"Yes. Daddy hurt Mama…so now Mama is really sad," Harry tried to explain.
"Dadee, urt?" Wynter asked confused.
Harry hesitated and sat up as he tried to think of a way to explain it to his l-year-old. "Daddy gave Mama an owie."
"Owie?" She asked and placed her hands on his chest to look.
"You can't see Mama's owie, it's inside."
"Yes, inside. It's why Mama cries. Because I have an owie."
"Oh," Wynter said her face concerned.
"That's why Mama can't see Daddy right now and why we can't go home. Do you understand?" Wynter nodded. "Good. Now Mama needs you to be a good girl, can you do that for Mama?"
"Ye," she agreed.
"You'll be a good girl?"
"Goo gowaw-o," Wynter repeated and hugged him.
"Thank you jelly bean," Harry said and held her close in relief.
After a while she fell asleep, tired from her all her yelling and Harry joined her.
"Hi," Hermione welcomed Harry when he came out of the room a few hours later. Wynter was still sleeping so he had a few moments to himself. "How'd you sleep?"
"Okay, I guess. Wynter kept screaming most of the night…How do you even explain to a child what is going on when I don't even know. She just doesn't understand."
"I know she doesn't, but she does understand that something changed and she doesn't like it."
"Yeah, I guess. I just feel bad."
"Hey!" Ron greeted as he came out of the bedroom dressed for the day. "You're awake."
"Yeah. I think I'm getting used to the time zone over here again."
"Whose owl is that?" Ron asked looking out the window. The new owl was black and grey, majestic looking with bright yellow eyes, and Harry immediately knew whose it was.
"I don't know," Hermione said and let in said bird where it flew in and landed before Harry. "It's from Marque isn't it?"
"Yeah," Harry said softly his heart constricting painfully. He had not read the last one that Hedwig had brought him, the wound still fresh. He hadn't had the heart to throw it away though.
"You should read it," Hermione said.
"I don't want to…" Harry said softly as he looked down at the envelope in his hands, his name written in Tom's fancy writing.
"I know, mate, but you should," Ron said and shrugged, "Just to see what he wants."
Harry sighed and stared at his name on the envelope before turning it over and breaking the seal.
I know you don't want to see me right now, and I can understand why. The way I reacted was inexcusable, but I am sorry. I don't use that word lightly either. I am completely and utterly sorry for my actions. I wish I could take it back, but I can't. No one has ever…told me that before, not the way you did…despite what you said, how you felt, I still should never have left like that and I regret it. I should have reacted differently. You just…surprised me. It's hard to explain which is why I want to talk to you. I don't want to leave things the way they are, not when we have made such progress between us. If you would rather not talk to me, I would at least like to see Wynter. I miss her. I miss both of you.
As I stated in my last letter, I am currently residing in my family home in England. I couldn't stay at home without both of you there. The house is very empty and I don't like it. Please let me know if we can meet.
Harry stared down at the words and felt his heart constrict painfully. He sat down at the table and wordlessly passed it to Hermione where she read it with Ron looking over her shoulder. (He knew that there was a spell on his name so it was safe for them to read it)
"What are you going to do?" Hermione asked reading through the letter.
"I don't know. I don't want to see him," Harry said putting his face in his hands. Tom said he was sorry, but was he really? There was no mention of how he felt in response to Harry's declaration…not that he needed one, it was obvious. Which was why he didn't want to see him.
"I know you don't want to, but you should. I mean, he's not running. He came back," Hermione said.
"Yeah," Ron agreed, "I'd be mad if he didn't contact you at all, but he's trying. And right away too. He knew he was wrong. I think the least you can do is just listen to him."
"Besides. I think it would be good for you to speak with Marque just to see where you are. If not for yourself, but for Wynter. She sees him as her father, and he probably feels the same way," Hermione added.
Harry sighed and looked down at the letter. It still hurt to think about that night, the night Tom had just walked out without saying anything, but Hermione was right, he had come back right away. But what that meant, he didn't know. Did he regret what he did, what Harry said? Or did he just want to see Wynter…He didn't know, he didn't want to hope nor did he want to hear Tom reject what he said. Yet he couldn't keep pushing it off. Harry knew he would have to talk to Tom eventually. He was Wynter's father, and he couldn't keep her from him.
Harry just sighed and went to go find some parchment.
Tom was diligently working on a report, trying to distract his mind when he heard tapping on the window. Looking up, he saw his owl sitting out on the ledge and his heart sank when he saw the letter in its beak. Harry had sent back his letter…he signed and tried to think of another way to get Harry to talk to him and waved his hand to let his owl in. The majestic owl swooped in and landed on his desk and deposited the letter in front of him. It was then that Tom noticed that it wasn't his writing on the front of the envelope, it was Harry's.
Tom grabbed the envelope and nearly tore it in his haste to pull out the letter. It was short and to the point. Harry had agreed to see him in two days at noon to see Wynter. It didn't say anything about seeing him, but he will take what he could get.
Now he just had to figure out what to say to get Harry to forgive him.
Tom appeared at the edge of the wards to the Weasley/Granger house at the appointed time and waited for Harry to come out. He felt the wards shift to let him in, a bad idea but they didn't know. So he took a deep breath and walked up the walkway toward the door that opened and Harry came out with Wynter.
The moment she saw him, she started crying and shrieking "Dadee, Dadee!" and reaching out to him.
Tom took her from Harry and held her close just as she wrapped her arms around his neck and burrowed into him, crying happy tears. He signed and closed his eyes as he held his daughter. He had almost forgotten how good it was to hold the small body against him, holding her close. It had been nearly two weeks since he had seen her and it felt like she had grown so much while they had been apart.
"Dadee," Wynter sniffled, pulling back to touch his face as if she couldn't believe it was actually him, and hugged him again, squeezing tight.
Tom chuckled and rubbed her back. Opening his eyes, he saw Harry going back inside. "Harry wait-" but the door closed firmly behind him. He had missed his chance to say anything, so, for now, he will focus on Wynter. He moved away from the door and into the yard where he transfigured a rock into a bench to sit on, far enough away so no one inside would hear him without his fake accent.
"I missed you," he whispered to her, rubbing her back.
"Dadee, iss," Wynter said hugging him tightly.
"You missed me?"
"Ye," she agreed. She pulled back to look at him again. "Dadee om?" she asked.
"No. Not yet princess," Tom said, running a finger down a soft cheek, wiping away tears. "Mama is still mad at Daddy."
"Yes. Mad. It may be a while before you can come home. But don't worry. Daddy will come to see you."
Wynter was silent as she held onto him. "Mama owie," she said.
"Mama has an owie?"
"Ye," Wynter agreed, "Mama c-y."
Tom felt his heart constrict. He didn't expect it to hurt as much as it did. "I know. It's Daddy's fault."
Tom chuckled softly and kissed her head, "No sweetheart. I don't think a kiss will make it better. Not this time."
"Have you been good for Mama?"
Wynter hung her head sadly, "No…"
"Sa," she said, burrowing her face into his neck. "O om."
"I know you want to go home. I want you to come home too, but it's going to take a while for Mama to forgive me…if he'll talk to me that is."
Tom continued to make small talk with her and played with her on the grass in front of the house. Eventually, an hour had passed and Harry came back outside, his expression guarded.
"Wynter, it's nap time."
"No, ap!" Wynter said cuddling close in Tom's arms, but she was rubbing her eyes, sleepy.
"I know," Harry said taking her from Tom, "but you need your rest."
"Noo," Wynter whined, and reached for her Daddy and started to cry.
"It's okay, princess. I'll be back to see you," Tom reassured her.
Harry just nodded, not looking at him and opened the door to go back inside.
"Harry wait…please, can we talk?"
Harry hesitated at the door with Wynter softly crying in his shirt, cranky with sleep and her Daddy leaving. Hermione appeared at the door.
"I'll take her," she said. She lowered her voice, "Talk to him." At Harry's wounded look she added, "It won't hurt to listen."
Harry closed his eyes briefly. He really didn't want to. It hurt to just see him, hear his voice, to be so close to him, to want him…but all he felt was a crushing ache in his chest, but she was right. So he nodded and Hermione took Wynter from him to put her down for her nap.
When the door closed, Tom erected up a silencing barrier and stepped forward, suddenly nervous. "Harry…" he started. "I'm sorry, I should never have left like that," he whispered watching Harry's guarded posture, arms wrapped tightly around himself and his face turned away. "Harry, will you look at me? Please?"
Harry stood there for a minute then turned toward him. Tears were clinging to his green eyes that were full of pain. Tom hated himself for putting it there. "I'm sorry," he said again. "I didn't mean to- to hurt you like that, you just…caught me off guard, I wasn't…" He reached for Harry's hand, but he turned away from him, so Tom just let his hand drop. "When you told me, my mind just…blanked. I-I couldn't think, I couldn't-" Tom sighed and ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. The words he wanted to say kept getting jumbled up and wouldn't come out right, what was wrong with him? He was never at a loss for words.
Harry could see that Tom was having a hard time and he was concerned, but he didn't do anything. It was nothing compared to what he was feeling.
"I was confused," he paused, "Scared."
"You think I wasn't," Harry finally said, "I had fallen in love with my enemy, even though we haven't been enemies in months. I had no idea what to do, they were there and I couldn't ignore them, I couldn't make them go away…" Harry shook his head, "I should never have to-"
"No!" Tom suddenly cut in. He took a hold of Harry's shoulders, "Don't take it back." Harry gazed up at Tom in surprise at his emotional outburst. It wasn't like him at all to not be in control.
"W-Why not? You obviously don't feel the same. I knew you wouldn't, yet I…" Harry shook his head not wanting to relive the moment again. "I would have been fine if you had just acknowledged it and put me out of my misery."
"This was different," Tom said letting him go as Harry stepped away; his hands tingling where they had touched.
"How is it different? I'm sure you've been confessed to before."
"Because you meant it."
"Yes. I've had men and women tell me they love me before, but I've always been able to brush it off because it was simple infatuation, they were pulled in by my looks or my power. But with you...you meant it. I could see it in your eyes and now that I think back on it you've had the same look for weeks before you said anything. And I couldn't just brush it off like I used to...because this is different."
Harry said nothing because he didn't know what to say. Looking at Tom, he could tell that he barely holding himself together which was in of itself surprising because he was always put together. "T-That doesn't-"
"I know it doesn't excuse what I did and I'm sorry," Tom cut in. "But the thing is, whatever this is, I feel it. It scares me because I don't know what the hell I am feeling, but I'm here. I'm," Tom paused, trying to reign in his emotions, "I'm trying. For you."
Harry unfolded his arms and turned to Tom in surprise, "You. You feel something?"
"Yes," Tom said softly, letting his guard down fully. "I-I miss you. I miss when you greet me when I come home, I miss your cooking, curling up on the couch watching that god awful show you like." Here Harry smiled. "And I miss you sleeping next to me, when I go to sleep and when I wake up in the morning. You're not there. Our bed is quite lonely without you in it."
"Mine too," Harry said softly, looking down at his hands. He felt a warmth spreading through him. Tom, maybe? Loved him back. It wasn't certain, but it was something and Harry clung to the possibility of that maybe. For the first time in weeks, he felt hope.
"Do you forgive me?"
Harry hesitated. Did he? Tom had hurt him in the worse way possible, he had cried for days, couldn't sleep, and just felt all around miserable…but now with Tom's admission, he could sort of understand why he had left. It didn't make the hollow feeling in his chest go away, but he felt like maybe he could move past it, with time, especially if what Tom said was true.
"Yes and no," he responded after a minute. "You hurt me, Tom," Harry said looking up at him, "It's going to take some time for me to get past what you did. I can't just jump back into bed with you. Literally and Figuratively. I do understand why you did what you did, but it still doesn't make what you did go away."
"I see… Will you at least come home?" he asked hopefully.
Harry shook his head, "I can't."
"I just need some space to think and looking at you…still hurts," Harry said honestly. "We can't go back to the way things were, but we can try to move past it…it's just going to take time. I can't do that if I'm near you…if that makes sense."
Tom looked crushed, but he pulled himself together and nodded," I understand… you're going to stay here then?"
"For now, yes. I don't want to intrude on Ron and Hermione so I'll find somewhere until…" Harry trailed off.
"I understand," Tom said and was silent for a minute, thinking. "You might want to check any ancestral homes, they are technically yours."
"Oh," Harry said in surprise. "I didn't think about it. It would be easier than looking for a new place. I'll look into it."
"You should," Tom hesitated for a moment, then asked, "Can I come see you? And Wynter?"
"That's fine. I'm not trying to keep you from your daughter."
"Yes. Me too, but as I said, I need time." Tom nodded in understanding. "Okay, then. We can talk about it another time."
"Alright. I guess I will see you…"
"Yeah," Harry said backing away.
"Harry," Tom called, making him stop and turn around. "I really am sorry."
Harry stared down at the floor for a moment before glancing up at him, "I know." And he headed inside.
Tom stood there a moment longer watching where Harry had just been. It hadn't gone exactly like he wanted this meeting to go, but at least Harry was talking to him now. And it was a start.
Ahh! I can't believe it's out there now. I've had this scene planned for a long time. It was emotional and heartbreaking to write and I hope you felt that too. Tom and Harry are on their way to rebuild their relationship, but of course, it will take time and effort on both sides. As always, comments are always welcome and I do my best to answer each one. Please let me know what you think!
Stay safe, dear readers!