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Fanfic: If Thems The Rules
If Them's the Rules is an in-progress Harry Potter fanfic written by MayMarlow.

The fic opens with Ginny confronting Harry on his plan to travel back in time to somehow save Tom Riddle. Ginny calls Harry's plan naive and idealistic while Harry retorts she has never been abused or orphaned and if Voldemort never came to be, things wouldn't have turned out so bad. She tries to convince Harry to take her with him, but Harry refuses and has Ron and Hermione get the rest of his supplies.

Harry timetravels to the year 1935 and after setting up his funds and home, sets out to find Tom Riddle


  • Absurdly Youthful Father: Tom is eight years old when the eighteen year old Harry adopts him.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Harry finds Arcturus abhorrent but unfortunately can't avoid him
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ginny makes one to Harry in an attempt to sway him from timetraveling to save Tom Riddle.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Sure, Melania is a bigoted harpy and wanted Harry dead for tempting her closeted husband but she didn't deserve to be poisoned by him
  • Anger Born of Worry: Harry didn't speak to Tom for a week after Tom nearly hurt himself by attempting wandless casting when he was too young to have a wand. He explains to Tom that he used so much magic that he could have crippled his magic.
  • Arranged Marriage: Marchosias Malfoy attempts to arrange a marriage between Harry and his sickly sister Madeleine in order to form an alliance and protect them both.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Arcturus and Melania
  • Babies Ever After: Hermione is pregnant in the opening.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Because Harry was nice to Tom (and is the first person to ever show him kindness), Harry becomes Tom's Morality Chain and Tom tries to reign in his sociopathic tendencies for Harry's sake. Tom's loyalty to Harry almost gets him put in Hufflepuff.
  • The Bet: Marchosias and Harry bet that if Harry doesn't screw up on his missions, Marchosias has to spend a day without magic in the muggle world. If Harry does screw up, Harry has to learn how Pureblood society works.
  • Better as Friends: Madeleine and Harry.
  • Big Bad: Gellert Grindelwald
  • Big Damn Heroes: Harry rescues Tom twice: when he stops a couple of boys from smothering Tom to death and when he rescues him from the attic, taking him from the orphanage for good
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Blacks
  • Birthday Episode: Tom's birthday is when Harry gets the invitation to Melania Black's funeral and her letter and Harry teaches him a cleaning charm.
  • Bishōnen: Arcturus and Marchosias
  • Bullying a Dragon: One of kids in the orphanage rubs into Tom's face that he was adopted and that Tom would never find a family despite him know Tom's reputation
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Grindelwald threatens to kill Harry for the Elder Wand and he stabs him. Afterward, Harry heals himself and gets himself a blueberry pie at the bakery.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Because Harry raised him, Tom Riddle never meets Dumbledore and sees no point in impressing anyone
  • Call Forward: Grindelwald thinks Albus Dumbledore as a his greatest obstacle towards conquest and Harry is just a nuisance.
    • Tom thinks the greeter for the first years should be someone taller for people to spot
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: Tom catches one after another kid dumps a bucket of ice-water on him in the middle of winter.
  • Celibate Hero: Harry denies Ginny's Anguished Declaration of Love because he sees himself incapable of romantic love.
  • Children Raise You: Harry finds this whole parenting deal to be more challenging than he expected.
  • The Chosen One: to his annoyance Harry discovers he is still the Master of Death.
  • Closet Key: Harry is unfortunately one to Arcturus.
  • Comforting The Widower: Arcturus was hoping to invoke this with Harry after Melania's funeral to see if he would respond to his affections or pass it off as grief. Harry puts a stop to it with the comis piacularis vow.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: A kid dumps a bucket of ice water on Tom while they were doing laundry
  • Cool Loser: Discussed and deconstructed by Ginny, that the Golden Trio were popular throughout their Hogwarts career but they never let anyone else join their group.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Tom and Arcturus are very possessive of Harry. When Harry and Marchosias ended up having lunch together after Harry became a Witness, Arcturus wanted to murder Marchosias.
  • Cure Your Gays: Arcturus and Melania used potions to "cure" his inclinations.
  • Dead Man Writing: Melania writes a letter to Harry, warning him of Arcturus's obsession and intentions toward him and tells him of the comis piacularis vow to keep Arcturus from enacting on his desires
  • Cutesy Name Town: Eden Valley
  • Depraved Homosexual: Arcturus
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Arcturus is referred as "light on his feet" and it's treated as extremely scandalous and shameful for his family
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: When Harry tells Ginny that only his friends had the right to stop him. Ginny points out that he doesn't think of her as a friend.
  • Disappointed In You: Harry was very disappointed in Tom after the Wandless Incident because Tom didn't understand why he's angry or understand how much he could have hurt himself. Tom is surprised that he cares that Harry stopped talking to him after the incident
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The nameless prostitute from the brothel who Arcturus strangles in a possessive rage over Harry. Prostitutes in magical brothels don't tend to live long due to extensive potion consumption.
  • Divorce Requires Death: Arcturus kills Melania through poison so he would be free to seduce Harry.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Tom hates vanilla
  • Don't Tell Mama: Tom does everything to make sure Harry stays in the dark about the worse aspects about himself and his fasination over dark magic.
  • Doting Parent: Harry for Tom, to the extreme—his entire purpose for being here is to give Tom a stable and happy childhood.
  • Drama Queen: Tom is one to Harry's amusement
  • Empathic Weapon: despite coming from an alternate timeline the Elder Wand recognizes Harry as the Master of Death and its true owner and has started resisting Grindelwald ever since Harry arrived into this time and stopped working completely after they meet in person for the first time. Grindelwald has marked Harry for death for this .
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Marchosias maybe a racist pureblood, but he does love his sister, Madeleine enough to back off his matchmaking attempt with her and Harry when Harry asks what would Madeleine think of it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Melania Black may be a bigoted harpy but she does not condone her husband raping innocent wizards.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Harry
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Harry's hair grew long enough to straighten his messy hair by the end of Tom's first year
  • Famous Ancestor: Sybill Trelawney's grandmother, Cassandra Trelawney
  • Fantastic Racism: Mudblood is practically Harry's and Tom's nickname
  • For Want of a Nail: As a result of a better upbringing, Tom doesn't seeks anyone's approval nor does he try to integrate himself with the purebloods. Doesn't stop him from becoming the most popular kid in Slytherin.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Harry notes in dialogue, that Tom has his hair very gelled and neat like Draco Malfoy
  • Good Parents: Harry
  • Got Volunteered: Harry was press-ganged into become a Seer's Witness by Cassandra Trelawney.
  • Happily Adopted: Tom Riddle is certainly happier as Harry's ward.
  • Hates Being Touched: Tom hates his classmates for this reason and doesn't allow Harry to show him physical affection when they're around. Harry is the only exception to this rule.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Tom, Harry lampshades how he is the exception
  • Hates Small Talk: Again, Harry is the only exception.
  • Heir Club for Men: Arcturus figures it would be ok to kill Marchosias since he already has a heir.
    • That was the only reason Arcturus and Melania only had sex twice in their marriage. The first child was a girl.
  • Hope Is Scary: Tom didn't want to believe Harry genuinely wanted him
  • House Husband: Harry mostly devoted Tom's pre-Hogwarts years to raising Tom.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Arcturus plans if Grindelward's side wins to make Harry his Sex Slave.
  • I Thought Everyone Could Do That: Tom thought the ability to sense magical residue was normal since Harry could also sense it. He was pleasantly surprised that it was a rare ability.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: The orphanage caretakers discuss Tom's punishment for knocking the kid who tried to smother him unconscious. Tom notes they are completely apathetic to him.
    • On a lighter note, when Madeleine convinces Tom the benefits of having Harry go out and for both of them to attend a birthday ball.
    Madeleine: Think of it this way. Heís going to meet people either way. At least this way, youíll be there toó
    Tom: Make sure he doesnít meet the wrong people
    Tom: Harry, if you want to accept her invitation, itís fine with me.
  • Idle Rich: Harry is so rich that he was able to devote all his time to raising Tom and only started job-seeking when Tom left for Hogwarts.
  • Ill Girl: Madeleine Malfoy
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Melania starts coughing up blood when she is dying of poison.
  • In Universe Nickname: The Golden Trio, also the Unapproachables.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Tom still plans to kill his biological father when he gets the chance. He just wants to make sure Harry doesn't find out.
  • In the Blood: Arcturus isn't alone in disturbing behavior—apparently it's called the "Black Family Madness" because the entire family tends to get unhealthy, destructive obsessions to the point of insanity. Arcturus's grandfather abducted and raped the women he wanted to marry and his aunt fervently worshiped a made-up deity.
  • In with the In Crowd: Inverted and Played With as it turns out Harry, Ron and Hermione were the in crowd despite their perception that they were cool losers. All the school wanted to join their group and be their friend but they didn't let anyone in.
  • Insufferable Genius: Eileen Prince
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Subverted to Tom's ire, his intelligence makes him the most popular and sought out student in Slytherin.
  • It's Always Spring: Eden Valley, justified because its magically induced
  • Ironic Echo Cut
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While not usually mean, Ginny has a point that sociopathy and psychopathy is something that can't be treated.
    • Tom doesn't want Harry anywhere near that creep Black.
  • Just in Time
  • The Kindnapper: Harry kidnaps Tom from his Orphanageof Fear after Tom was punished for defending himself and Tom cried for his help. Harry was planning to do this anyway because he's too young and too suspicious to be adopting a child.
  • Last Name Basis: Everyone in Slytherin House refer each other by their family names.
  • Limited Social Circle: Lampshaded by Harry when he explains to Tom why he hangs out with Madeleine, Arcturus and Marchosias despite them being shady or racist.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Marchosias
  • Long-Lost Relative: Harry passes himself as this to Tom.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Marchosias is a male variant, he still thinks Harry is too low-born to be his friend and only befriended him to piss off Arcturus. He warmed up to Harry and tries to set a marriage between him and Madeleine to protect Harry from Arcturus.
  • Love Redeems: Played With while Tom is less awful than he was canonically, he still has the sociopathic and murderous tendencies of the original Tom Riddle.
  • Lust Makes You Evil: Arcturus's lust for Harry throws him off the deep end.
  • Lust Object: Harry is one to Arcturus to his misfortune.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Tom Riddle of course, but not just him. Another kid tries to smother Tom to death when he was too ill to defend himself.
  • Killed Off for Real: Melania is poisoned by Arcturus
  • Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal
  • Man Behind the Man: Grindelwald is one for Adolf Hitler
  • The Matchmaker: Marchosias to Madeleine and Harry
  • Morality Chain: Harry is this for Tom.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Melania demanded that Arcturus kill Harry for arousing his desires and Arcturus seemingly agrees with her... then he murder her for getting in the way of him and Harry.
  • My Caretaker is Off Limits: Tom forbids Harry from ever getting married.
  • Nephewism: Invoked as Harry takes Tom's last name to pose as a distant cousin or uncle.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Cassandra Trelawney
  • Not Blood Related: Harry admits to Tom himself that while they are both of the Slytherin line, the relation is extremely distant and they are really blood related.
  • Not So Different: The reason why Harry gives Tom Riddle a second chance
  • Not So Harmless Punishment: The Attic Punishment at Wool's Orphanage. Tom noted how it would break the toughest kids into crying and simply thought they were weak. He discovers the wonders of total darkness and isolation.
  • OC Stand In: Melania, Arcturus and Lucretia Black. Eileen Prince
  • Overprotective Dad: Inverted as Tom serves as an overprotective son to Harry as he doesn't like the idea of Harry getting in trouble or marrying.
  • Original Character: Marchosias and Madeleine Malfoy, several of Tom's classmates.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Wool's Orphanage but unlike canon it was already awful Tom is just a symptom of a bigger problem.
  • Parental Obliviousness/Selective Obliviousness: Harry seems to think that Tom is simply an eccentric, brilliant introverted boy.
  • Parental Substitute: Harry to Tom. They are both surprised over how much they care for each other.
  • Peggy Sue: Harry comes back through an unspecified ritual
  • Penny Among Diamonds: Invoked by Dorian LeStrange who tries to treat Tom as this as a pretext to bully him. It doesn't catch on because Tom is the smartest and most popular kid in Slytherin and is wealthy due to Harry.
  • Perfect Poison: Played realistically Arcturus poisons his wife over a period of months with a perfume starting at the beginning of the Hogwarts school year. Initially she thought she was ill. When she figured out that it was poison, it was too late and she accumulated too much poison in her body and she was dead by New Years. Arcturus didn't get contaminated by reminding her he is sensitive to smell.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Arcturus Black, who constantly refers to Harry to being of lesser status and Gellert Grindlewald, who doesn't even believe that muggles are human, both dream of a Pureblood-only society. On an academic level, Dorian LeStrange and Rosier.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Arcturus Black uses polyjuice on a prostitute to make him look like Harry. Prostitutes can make themselves look like anything their johns want, although this gives them a short shelf life.
  • Power Strain Blackout: Tom passes out after he tries to use wandless magic before he even had a wand.
  • Precocious Crush: Tom for Harry.
  • Psychotic Love Triangle: Arcturus/Harry/Tom
  • Raise Him Right This Time: Invoked by Harry.
  • Reality Ensues: Just because Harry is doing everything in his power to give Tom an ideal childhood, doesn't mean that Tom stops being a sociopath.
  • Reluctant Psycho: Tom is still a sociopath but he tries to stay out of trouble (or at least not get caught) for Harry's sake.
  • Rich Boredom: Madeleine is a very rich socialite but due to her illness she can't go out much. Harry gets a job as a Witness because he's bored.
  • Rules Lawyer: with help from Melania , Harry uses an obscure piece of pureblood law to ward off Arcturus's advances and keep him firmly in the Friend Zone for the mourning period of three years.
  • Samaritan Relationship Starter
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Cassandra Trelawney sees no point in manners
  • Secretly Wealthy: While it's not a secret to the audience, no one seems to realize that Harry is rich. It's even pointed out by Ron that Harry doesn't act or dress wealthy when those would be pretty important to blend in Wizarding society.
  • Settled for Gay: Melania knew that Arcturus was gay even before they were married. This ends particularly bad for her.
  • Sexless Marriage: Melania and Arcturus only slept together twice in their marriage and that was only because their first child was a girl.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: The prostitutes can make themselves into whatever the client wants
  • Shown Their Work
  • Sickbed Slaying: Another kid and his friends tries to smother Tom while he was ill
  • Sick Episode: The first chapter Tom gets sick.
  • Simple Yet Opulent: Harry and by extension Tom go for simple but well-made clothing as opposed to ornate clothing. Harry started dressing like that under Ron's advice to not violate Pureblood sensibilities.
  • The Snark Knight: Tom
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: It's the Great Depression, there's not enough resources.
  • The Sociopath: Tom is a problem child.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Tom is a bitter and cynical child, but a child nonetheless
  • Supreme Chef: Tom adores Harry's cooking and prefers it to the meals served at Hogwarts.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Arcturus Black
  • Tell Me About My Mother: Inverted and Gender-flipped
  • Through His Stomach
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Since the wizarding money has not changed, Harry simply takes all of his money out of Gringotts and takes it with him to the past. The already wealthy Harry is not astoundingly rich in the 1930s.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Tom Riddle's favorite food is Harry's homemade croissants.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Tom himself, but another one attempts to kill him.
  • True Companions: Deconstructed, Ginny tells Harry that because the Golden Trio were so close, they never let anyone else in.
  • Tsundere: Tom is a harsh type to Harry.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Discussed by Melania Black as she wished Arcturus was ugly so he would be easier for her to control him. Because he's beautiful he's under no obligation to please her
  • Underestimating Badassery: Grindelward thinks Harry is simply an annoyance while Arcturus underestimated Grindelward and pays for it.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Melania is this to Arcturus, so he gets rid of her.
  • Unusual Euphemism: being "light on their feet"
  • Villainous Crush: Arcturus Black for Harry. To a lesser degree Tom for Harry.
  • Vorpal Pillow: Subverted, as a group of kids had to gang up on Tom to hold him down, and it took a while for them to actually cut off his airways
  • We Didn't Start The FŁhrer: Grindelwald is manipulating Hitler to make taking Wizarding Europe easier and to wipe out the muggles.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Melania to Arcturus
  • With Friends Like These...: Tom hates all of his classmates
  • Yandere: Arcturus Black who is totally obsessed with Harry to the point that he regularly uses polyjuice on a prostitute to make him look like Harry and he murdered his own wife because she was "getting in the way." Also the young Tom Riddle is already quite overly-attached to Harry-he absolutely forbids Harry from getting married or spending any time with that creep Black.
  • Your Favorite: Harry's homemade croissants.
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