47 Days to Change (a translation)
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Harry Potter/Tom Riddle, Harry Potter/Voldemort
Harry Potter and Tom Riddle are enemies, born adversaries, prophesied leaders of opposite factions.
2001 to 1932, forty-seven days to change the fate of the Dark Lord.
This is a 'Harry travels back in time to raise Tom' story. An unfortunate tale of one man's failed attempt to mold young Tom into a decent, law-abiding citizen. Instead, as Fate will have it, young Tom grows up to become the same twisted psychopath, who is hell-bent on winning the love of his adoptive father. Harry's consent be damned.
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NOTE: This is a translation of a Chinese HP Fanfiction by 墨玉绿
BETA: the great and wonderful Paperthins.
parseltongue December 1932
Everything was a blur. Tom's vision focused on Billy's yapping mouth in front of him. The boy was complaining loudly, or perhaps crying, but Tom couldn't hear what was being said. All he could focus on was Billy's eyes, staring at him in malicious triumph. By Tom's side, the rabbit laid, bleeding, on his bed, its injured legs stretched pathetically— dust, fur, and flesh clinging onto exposed bone, sickening and raw— a bloody mess. The stench of blood drew out the little snake. She poked her head from under Tom's sleeves, but retracted quickly after seeing that they had company.
The young child wasn't afraid of blood. In fact, he had an almost unhealthy fascination with the dark liquid. He liked its red colour, thick and dark and despairing; he liked how it dried quickly after spilling and how it felt sticky on his fingertips. He had studied blood before, so he noticed how a rabbit's blood wasn't as thick as human's. It wasn't as red; it wasn't as radiant, like burning flames that dazzle the eyes.
He definitely wasn't afraid of blood, but when those emerald eyes turned towards him —wide with shock and distrust— his own blood turned into ice!
But Tom did nothing wrong.
He did nothing, except standing there beside the bleeding rabbit. Suddenly, Billy had screamed and cried his lungs out, rushing forward like a mad man, hitting Tom with angry fists. In the end, the older boy had a valuable three years of life experience over Tom, so he knew when to act quickly. His cruelty and tricks were finally winning out.
Everything had proceeded according to Billy's plans.
Harry arrived just in time to witness the bloody aftermath — the injured rabbit, the broken furniture, the scattered toys and... Tom standing in the middle of it all.
Billy was delighted to see the man's pupils constrict in shock. The boy couldn't have known this, but his plans accidently hit right on target. In Harry's mind, the bloody mess conjured up memories of the battle field, the deaths, the war, and stirred up his hatred and fear of Voldemort.
It was almost too good.
Even Tom responded as Billy had planned! The boy only stood besides the rabbit, frozen into place, his jaw muscles taunt, his eyes expressionless, with no pleas of innocence whatsoever. Perhaps the shock had overtaken his brain or perhaps his pride wouldn't let him explain. However, Tom's eyes was still pissing Billy off; those same, superior, piercing eyes, looking past him as if he was unworthy of any attention.
The little boy stood still, black eyes focused on Harry's approaching steps, young face stubborn and sombre, just like the boy in the pensieve.
"Tom... I don't want to give up on you, so don't force me—"
Harry met Tom's cold stares. He closed his eyes, pained as he shakily uttered the threat. He picked up the rabbit and the stench of blood filled his nostrils. The man's quiet words landed like a hammer on Tom's ears, deliberately striking the most vulnerable parts of him, again and again, until his legs shook under the pressure.
Harry carried the rabbit out of the room quickly. He didn't look back.
Billy and Tom were left alone in the room, with only silence.
Tom squeezed his numb fingers. Only when Harry went out of his sight completely, did he remember to breathe. The air rushed painfully into his lungs, and it hurt so much. However, Tom paid no attention to the throbbing pain. Right now, all he could focus on was the terrible, burning anger that all but consumed him.
He was angry. So angry. Angry at Harry— who didn't believe in him, who didn't even wait before condemning him for the crime. Angry at those green eyes, which turned accusing against him, cruel like needles puncturing his heart. And he was angry at himself... for caring.
Don't be stupid, he thought. He doesn't like me! He never did!
Everything became clear at once: the man's stiffness when they first met, the man's avoiding eyes when they spoke. Everything confirmed what Tom already knew— that Harry Potter was a lie! The good memories of the past two weeks, the gift and the affections were only pretence, a cruel and fragile illusion put on to teach Tom a lesson. Fake! They were all faked.
Know this, Harry. You are not the one to give up on me. I am the one who willingly chooses to leave!
Tom's chest heaved painfully as he reached his decision. He exhaled; to his own surprise, a sob escaped from his lips.
"Good thing rabbits can't talk, eh?... Or this magic trick is going down fast," Billy said suddenly, breaking the silence with a smirk and a shrug. "So... lucky me, they can't!"
Tom stood still, refusing to acknowledge him.
Billy was disappointed by the child's lack of reaction. The whole scenario was more… boring than what he had hoped for. He left the room quickly.
In the messy bedroom, silence clung to the walls. Books and toys were scattered on the floor, which seemed very normal for a bedroom of two young boys, all normal save for a brilliant red stain covering one of the beds.
When it was safe, the little snake slithered out and climbed up Tom's arm.
"But, Tom... You didn't do it. Why didn't you explain?"
"Hmm... Explain what?" Tom stared at the bloodstain. Then he laughed, his laughter turning into soft hisses as he whispered to her, in a sweet tone which barely concealed the murderous rage beneath.
"Explaining won't make Harry believe me. Explaining won't make Billy hurt. Explaining won't turn back time... So why should I explain?"
Even to her reptilian ears, his childish laughter sounded mad and terrifying. She wrapped herself around his shoulder. "Harry is kind, if Tom would just explain to him—"
Tom's eyes narrowed. No trace of emotion was left in those black eyes, nothing but the cold emptiness, protected by a darkness that devoured all hope.
No more hope, he thought. No more disappointments.
Suddenly, a vicious smirk blossomed on his thin face. Since his childish hope had been dashed, there was no reason to stay here. Since there was nothing holding him back, then, as his parting gift, he shall give them a memory that would terrorize them forever!When Billy returned to the bedroom to taunt him, Tom unleashed his full wrath on the foolish boy. His familiar yet mysterious power flooded the room in full ravenous force. The caged beast was finally set free.
Would you be more upset to return to the orphanage before or after Christmas?
Even if Tom warned himself to not care, even if he knew the taunts were a part of Billy's plan, those words still ignited his rage like no other. He was the one who decides to leave! He made the decision, for himself, by himself, and yet... why did his heart hurt so much? It ached like all cells were dying from within. Tom bit his lips. Undoubtedly, no matter how much Tom wanted to deny it, Billy's words hurt him. The realization only fuelled his anger, further and further, until it burst forth like black flames of Hell.
"FREAK!" Billy screamed, a taunting smirk on his lips. "Tom, you've lost!"
The dark-haired boy laughed. He lost?Who cares about winning or losing! Cruelty and tricks were nothing in front of absolute power, real power, power that only he could possess. Power was the only tool to obtain victory in the real world, and it was the only tool Tom would need!
So what if Harry didn't like him? So what if he wasn't welcome here? Tom didn't need them. Any of them. All Tom need, right now, was revenge.
Suddenly, all the furniture in the bedroom began to levitate. Rapidly, they converged in the middle, smashing together until only a mess of sharp edges and broken glass remained. The swirling mess moved about like a swarm of murderous wasps, cutting and tearing at exposed skin. As the shadowy swarm circled him, Tom could feel his energy draining. He huffed with the effort.
However, any moment of weakness could be dangerous. A wooden frame flew at him; its jagged edges left a bloody gash on his face. The pain was sharp, but Tom ignored it. Instead, he gritted his teeth and focused on his seething anger.
Slowly but surely, Tom directed his rage towards Billy, who was cowering in a corner. The objects began attacking the crying boy, a hungry swarm puncturing and scratching at him. Billy cried out in pain, as shards grinded against him, drawing blood from numerous tiny wounds on his body. Finally, the foolish boy had his wish— Tom had revealed his power to the world, so terrifyingly dangerous yet... so glorious.
A satisfied grin twisted Tom's lips. Compared to a quick cut to one's throat, he preferred the slower method... This was more sportive, satisfying, like a cat playing with its prey. He watched as desperation descended upon his enemy. The slow, numbing pain from thousands of tiny wounds tore apart the boy's nerves. He felt like ants was crawling inside of him, and it was slowly driving him towards the brink of madness.
"FREAK! FREAK!" Billy could only scream that one word, over and over again, so loud that he almost brought the roof down.
He was terrified! This wasn't a part of his plan! He never thought that a small child could have this kind of power, a power strong enough to kill him... Easily!
Through the sounds of shattering glass, they heard Harry's approaching footsteps. Next second, the door threw open—
A gush of wind scattered Tom's neatly parted hair. With clear dark eyes, cruel red smile, standing amongst the carnage, the child almost looked like the famed Devil of fairytales.
So now Harry knows it too — my true nature,Tom thought darkly.Time for everyone, Harry and me, to confront the truth.
"STOP! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"
Harry ducked on instinct as a piece of a lamp flew overhead. He surveyed the devastated room in shock.
Tom glared at him through tornado of floating objects, eyes searching the man's face. He already knew what he would find— the man's face full of fear and disgust, just like anyone else, as he pointing toward Tom accusingly, screaming 'FREAK'. Tom sneered. The action reopened the wound on his face, blood dripping down his neck, but Tom didn't care.
Pain only made his mind clear, calm.
He turned towards Billy, who shrunk further into the corner, arms and legs bleeding profusely. The sight of redness coating his enemy's skin made Tom smile. The boy twitched under Tom's cold appraisal. Desperately, he tried to flatten himself against the wall, shielding himself in vain.
"TOM!" Harry yelled again, his normally kind voice turned sharp.
Oh well, at least he didn't say 'Freak'— Tom's smile didn't waver as his muscles tensed. He channelled even more of his power toward the swirling objects. They moved frantically.
"Tom, stop! Calm your mind!"
To his surprise, the dark-haired young man didn't rush toward Billy. Instead, he approached Tom in slow, confident strides. For a moment, Tom panicked; he threw all the shreds toward Harry, sending them rapidly like bullets.
The thought of those green eyes panicked him. Tom's chest pounded painfully. He couldn't bear to look up and find rejection in those eyes, so he would not look— instead, he would use his power to tear them from their sockets.
Tom tried to breathe. The thoughts of those eyes were suffocating, crushing his chest with numbing fear. Tom's eyes turned dark and brutal as he accepted what was to come.
The young man continued towards him, every step firm and calm. Tom's heart raced faster and faster, as if those steps landed not on the ground, but on his heart. Oddly, none of the flying objects managed to hit Harry. They bounced off the young man, like he was protected by an invisible shield. Tom stared stupidly; somehow he detected an impossible power coming from Harry. The realization shook him to the core— No, it can't be—
Next second, something suppressed his power. All around them, the floating objects fell to the floor, clanking and crackling like hail.
"Don't be afraid, Tom," the man said softly. He gave Tom a weak smile, trying to comfort the stubborn little boy, even though Tom was the one person who had nothing to be afraid of.
Tom froze as Harry knelt beside him. His mind became completely entranced by those starling green eyes.
Tom saw many emotions swirling in those emerald orbs— surprise, understanding, concern and resignation; but strangely enough, the one thing he didn't see was... fear. Thanks for reviewing! *Hands out doughnuts and nutella*
from the beta: Hmm, who's going back to the Orphanage NOW?! Muahahaha
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