This is a self-indulgent side project ;)

I'm hoping to keep it short and simple. Voldemort will be his badass self, but with an utterly out of character fondness for Harry for no other reason than I want to write it that way heehee. It will be LV/HP eventually.

There's an exception to every rule, there's always one that gets away, and to every sociopath there's always one to whom they grant mercy. There's no rhyme or reason for this. It could be because the victim cried, or smiled, or laughed or begged; it could be because they fought back, or because there was resignation in their eyes. For whatever reason, there is always one that gets a free pass. For Voldemort, who was never one to do things by halves, it was Harriet Potter.

Harry tried for what must have been the thousandth time to climb the plastic bars of her play pen, before promptly falling back on her arse. It was in that moment she first heard him:

"Utter insanity!" His voice was coarse, and distant, but it rang as clearly as the spring birds outside. Harry stood once more and moved around in a circle, trying to locate the man the voice belonged to. The room was just as before, door shut, curtains closed, bright wonderful looking toys that she wasn't to play with filling most of the floor, but she was still alone.

She caught sight of her five, two inch wide building blocks and was quickly distracted as she decided to make a tower to stand on. It did not work out well.

She stamped her feet in frustration as her lip quivered and eyes began to water.

Voldemort had had enough and quickly closed down the connection. He'd meant what he'd said; the child's actions were almost the very definition of insanity, but he had to wonder if it weren't he that was suffering from insanity. It was either that or the Fates did indeed have a twisted sense of humour. That he should have a direct link to his star-sworn enemy was absurd, but the insane thing was that he was trying to nurture it.

He'd discovered it only days after Halloween when an overwhelming sense of longing, sadness and vulnerability washed over him. Voldemort was nothing but a fiery vortex of rage at that point, so he knew right away that it wasn't his own emotions he was feeling. Besides, he'd destroyed any such weakness in himself long ago. Intrigued despite himself, he allowed the feelings into his mind in an attempt to trace their source: he supposed it was the scholarly thing to do, and it wasn't like he could do much else at this point.

He hadn't been at all surprised that it led him to a child; that kind of vulnerability was too pure to be anything else, but the identity of the child gave him pause to think. At first he'd laughed… a lot… perhaps maniacally so? He'd laughed at the absurdity; at his own stupidity; and at the fact the girl had been left with uncaring muggles.

That had been just over a year ago, and since then Voldemort had stopped laughing.

In the early days he used the connection recreationally, looking in on the child every so often like one might use a TV. He imagined the ways he could make use of the girl once she was old enough to serve him – perhaps she could help him return to power. He discovered he could access and trigger memories and thought it would be funny to give her nightmares of her mummy dying, but it wasn't at all amusing when you could feel the anguish and he only tried that once. He decided it was just because she was so young. He wasn't a total monster after all! But as time passed and it became clear that the muggles were never going to accept Harriet, his rage began to grow once more, only now it wasn't aimed at her, it was on behalf of her.

Magical life was a precious thing. He was willing to snuff out Harry Potter's life to protect his own, but those vile, disgusting muggles had no right to treat her like so much rubbish.

He spent most of the time concentrating on his own sorry situation, but at some point she'd scratched her way onto his priority list, and second from top at that. Their lives were dependent on each other and they had been tied together in a very literal spiritual sense, but more than that he wanted to help her, to protect her. And just this once, he indulged his feelings.