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Fanfic / If Them's the Rules

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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.



  • Abhorrent Admirer: Harry finds Arcturus abhorrent but unfortunately can't avoid him.
  • Adoptive Peer Parent: Tom is eight years old when the eighteen year old Harry adopts him.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ginny makes one to Harry in an attempt to sway him from timetraveling to save Tom Riddle.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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 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.
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  • 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.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: A kid dumps a bucket of ice water on Tom while they were doing laundry.
  • 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.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Arcturus and Grindelwald, though Arcturus is heavier on the sexual part of villainy, abusing prostitutes and having his conflict center around his unrequited obsession with Harry. Grindelwald is closer to a straight-up dark lord, only qualifying based on uncomfortable flirting with Harry.
  • 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.
  • Divorce Requires Death: Arcturus kills Melania through poison so he would be free to seduce Harry.
  • 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.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Harry.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 if Grindelward's side wins to make Harry his Sex Slave.
  • 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.
  • Insufferable Genius: Eileen Prince.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While not usually mean, Ginny has a point that sociopathy and psychopathy is something that can't be treated.
  • The Kindnapper: Harry kidnaps Tom from his Orphanage of 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.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Marchosias.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Harry passes himself as this to Tom.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Arcturus's lust for Harry throws him off the deep end.
  • 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 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: Harry don’t raise no dark lords.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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 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.
  • O.C. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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".
  • Villainous Crush: Arcturus Black 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.
  • 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.".
  • Your Favorite: Harry's homemade croissants.

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