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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.

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

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Tropes:

  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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 knowing 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.
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  • The Chosen One: To his annoyance, Harry discovers he is still the Master of Death.
  • 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.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Harry notes in dialogue, that Tom has his hair very gelled and neat like Draco Malfoy.
  • Good Parents: Harry is a loving parent to Tom Riddle.
  • 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.
  • Heir Club for Men: Arcturus figures it would be ok to kill Marchosias since he already has a heir.
  • Hidden Depths: Lampshaded.
    Tom couldn’t help but think that Harry’s personality didn’t reflect his room at all. ’I guess he, too, has hidden depths,’ Tom thought, rolling his eyes.
  • Hope Is Scary: Tom didn't want to believe Harry genuinely wanted him.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Arcturus plans to make Harry his Sex Slave if Grindelward's side wins.
  • Ill Girl: Madeleine Malfoy.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Melania starts coughing up blood when she is dying of poison.
  • 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 aunty worshipped a made-up deity.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Arcturus murders his wife for getting in the way of him and Harry.
  • Nephewism: Invoked as Harry takes Tom's last name to pose as a distant cousin or uncle.
  • 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 related only in name.
  • 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.
  • 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, were invented by the author. They weren't present in canon.
  • 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.
  • Penny Among Diamonds: Invoked by Dorian LeStrange who tries to treat Tom as this as a pretext to bully him.
  • 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, but 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.
  • 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. Also while Harry Potter is doing his best to change only what he can, his acts of kindness ends up drawing attention to him both good and bad regardless of his wishes.
  • 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.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Cassandra Trelawney sees no point in manners.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: The prostitutes can make themselves into whatever the client wants using Polyjuice.
  • Shown Their Work: A major appeal of the story, is how much work is shown in child/adult psychology, World War 2 history, and the natural progression in relationships.
  • Sickbed Slaying: Another kid and his friends try to smother Tom while he was ill.
  • Tell Me About My Mother: Harry tells Tom the truth about his biological mother, Merope Gaunt. He tries to pretty up the truth, but admits that Merope was a sad, pathetic woman that Harry only cares about due their (distant) relation.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Tom witnesses a couple of six years students torture a cat to death with dark magic.
  • Time Travel: Harry comes back through an unspecified ritual.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Since the wizarding money has not changed, Harry simply takes his money out of Gringotts and takes it with him to the past.
  • 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.
  • Tsundere: Tom is a harsh type to Harry.
  • 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" is used as a sexual euphemism.
  • Villainous Crush: Arcturus Black has a... thing 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 Führer: Grindelwald is manipulating Hitler to make taking Wizarding Europe easier and to wipe out the muggles.
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