Title: Never Be More My Son
Characters: Harry, Voldemort
Word Count: 1300
Summary: Harry's father teaches him how to become a proper wizard.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling; various publishers, including, but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books; and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Written for omniocular's September Challenge, the Harry Potter AU Extravaganza. Response to Prompt Four: "Voldemort kidnaps young Harry instead of trying to kill him. James and Lily live. I'd like to see the humanization of Voldemort via raising Harry but not unabashed fluff." Originally posted under the sub-pseudonym of oolsock.
Harry was excited. His father had promised him that they wouldn't have to move house ever again, and, the following day, they were going to Apparate to their new home. The ten-year-old had spent most of the morning practicing his shrinking spells as a surprise for his father; he wanted to show the wizard that he was old enough to be a help, rather than just a little boy who needed to be protected all the time.
Then Aunt Bellatrix wouldn't have to be here so much, Harry thought, shrinking his trunks again.
Harry wasn't particularly fond of his aunt; her eyes had a mean glow to them that he just couldn't like. They didn't gleam, as did his father's, in that reassuring, reddish way.
When he managed shrinking all six of his trunks at once, however, Harry forgot about his aunt and laughed in delight.
"Father's sure to be proud of me, now!"
"That was well done," his father replied, appearing in the room. "I am proud of you."
"I didn't know you were watching, sir! So you saw? You saw what I did?"
"You know I'm always watching you," his father replied, holding out a hand.
Harry slid his small warm hand into his father's large cool one and was happy to feel the squeeze of his father's fingers around his own. "Proper wizards" didn't hug, his father had taught him that, but squeezing was okay. It was better, in fact. It was how grown wizards showed respect for one another.
And I don't even have a wand, yet! "It was going to be a surprise, Father, but I'm glad you know."
His father smiled. "I have a surprise for you, my son," he said, releasing his hold on Harry. "Follow me."
"Do you remember how disappointed you were when you found out you wouldn't be going to school with Draco?"
Harry frowned slightly, but quickly altered his expression before he looked up at his father and nodded.
"You know how much I hated to deny you, but there are people who would do you harm."
"The Potters," Harry replied. I hate them! They're why we always have to move hou—"
"'The Potters', what?" his father asked, in a patient tone.
"Oh!" Harry exclaimed, realizing his mistake. "The Potters, sir," he replied dutifully.
"Yes, the Potters. Their repeated attempts on your life have troubled me greatly, Harry, and—"
"I'm sorry, sir."
His father stopped walking and turned to Harry, disapproval twisting his face. "What have I told you about interrupting me?"
"I'm not to do it, sir. I'm sorry."
His father smiled. "You're a good boy, if a little careless of your feelings. Remember, Harry: control is everything. It is a weak wizard who cannot restrain himself, and I am not raising you to be weak."
"No, sir—I mean, yes, sir. I don't want to be weak. I'll do better. I promise."
"Good. That is all I ask. Now then, I was about to tell you that I've decided to take a certain step in the direction of eradicating the threat the Potters pose to you," his father continued, leading Harry into his study.
Harry's eyes widened as he crossed the threshold of the room. He was rarely permitted to enter his father's study, and it was a fascinating place. He tried not to glance at the potions phials and odd devices placed about the room, however, because he knew his father disliked it when he did not pay attention.
"Sir, does that mean, does that mean you're going to kill them?"
His father's eyes gleamed brightly, as if with amusement, as he asked, "Would that disturb you?"
"Well," Harry said, taking the time to think about his words before he offered them, "only because you always say that there aren't enough of us, of our kind—wizards—I mean. It's not Mr. Potter's fault that a half-blood en— en—"
"Yes, sir. That. It isn't his fault, is it? And isn't she making him do all the bad stuff, sir?"
"Tell me about the nature of good and evil, son," his father directed, sitting down behind his desk and gesturing for Harry to sit in the chair before it.
Harry did so, replying, "'There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it'."
"Excellent. Now then, who is the stronger part of the couple that is James and Lily Potter, do you think?"
"Sir, I think, I guess Lily is."
"Because she makes James do the bad stuff, sir."
"And what do you know about Lily Potter?"
"She's got mud in her veins," Harry spat, feeling a bit sick about it. "Sir."
"Exactly. Now, answer me this: if a pureblood wizard allows himself to be enthralled by a mudblood, is he, then, truly a wizard at all?"
Is that a trick question? I should know this! Of course he's still a wizard, but— "I know! He's not worthy, sir, he's not worthy of being called a wizard!"
His father clapped his hands together and smiled; taken together, his gestures made the wizard appear as pleased as Harry had ever seen him.
"I'm proud of you, Harry. You display a talent for clear thinking that eludes many adults."
Harry grinned. "Thank you, sir! So, are you going to kill them?" he asked, bouncing a bit in his chair.
"Restrain yourself," his father directed.
Harry obeyed him at once, but he could tell that his father didn't mind his excitement. He said he was proud of me again—twice in one day!
"It makes you happy when I approve of you."
Harry nodded and was saying, "Yes, sir," before his father had the opportunity to remind him that all responses by children to adults should be verbal ones. Already messed up in that way once today, he thought, suddenly realizing that his father hadn't corrected him for merely nodding earlier. I wonder if that means Father thinks I'm an adult now, as well.
"You're not yet a man, but you'll soon be one. I believe it's time that you learned more about your power and the responsible wielding of it."
Harry didn't know what that meant, and he didn't bother trying to lie about it. "Thank you, sir, but I don't understand what you mean."
"What I mean is that a proper wizard vanquishes his own enemies. I believe you're old enough to learn how to defend yourself, how to destroy those who would do you harm."
The rush of love Harry felt for his father in that moment almost made him laugh, but he held it back. "Father, you, you really mean it?"
"I do, son. You're ready to learn my favorite curse."
"I'm the 'certain step' you were talking about, aren't I?" Harry asked, barely concealing his pride at having worked that out.
His father laughed. "I forgive your lack of control, Harry. It is understandable on this day."
"Thank you, sir," Harry replied, fighting not to grin or to ask the question that had suddenly occurred to him.
"Ask me what you will."
I wish I knew how Father always knows what I'm thinking. It's his best trick ever! "Well, sir, what day is this, exactly?"
"Why, Harry, this is the day that you've learned the exact moment at which you will become a proper wizard."
"Oh! Oh, yes. Thank you, sir."
"And when will you become a proper wizard, young man?"
Harry sat up as straight as he could and composed his features, any doubts about killing a wizard as weak as James Potter dispersing in the face of his father's obvious and welcome approval. "I'll become a proper wizard when I kill the Potters, sir."
"On that day, you will never be more my son."