Voldemort look at him directly and although his eyes were blank and unreadable, Harry could somehow feel his deep, inner turmoil.
"I cannot order you to do the same," he said dully.
"Order me to do what?" Harry asked, growing cautious.
"To find yourself a pureblood mate and have a child with her. But you should do it. After all the things you've been through, you deserve to be happy."
Harry slowly let go of his hand.
"And what makes you think that this is what I dream about?" he whispered hoarsely.
"Having a family? I'm sure you do. Haven't you always wanted to live a normal life?"
A heavy silence fell between them, but Harry refused to leave it that way.
"Yeah, I did want that but that was before I was able to accept that I am different; before I could see that normality and happiness don't necessarily go hand in hand."
Voldemort said nothing and Harry knew that he didn't convince him by far.
"Fine, pureblood mate you say," he muttered and sighed. "I wonder - would you find a half-blood acceptable as well?"
The corners of Voldemort's thin lips dropped dramatically and he turned away from Harry so he couldn't see into his face.
"Do you have someone specific on your mind?"
"Yeah," Harry nodded, trying not to sound too cheerful.
"Is she at least talented and clever?" the Dark Lord asked coldly, still facing away.
"Very much," Harry nodded.
"And … do you like her?"
"More than I can say," Harry nodded again, watching the older man's spine curve as if he just placed a heavy burden on his back. When the wizard didn't ask further questions, Harry took it as a sign that he could continue. He knew what was going through Voldemort's head even without the ability to read his thoughts this time.
"Honestly," Harry said, unable to hide his grin anymore, "my dreamt-of mate has everything I ever wanted to have in my partner. The only problem is that we cannot have kids since he is not … a woman."
"He is not…," Voldemort hissed acidly before he visibly froze. "A woman?" he finished, turning his head to contemplate Harry in a blank amazement.
"That's right. A-also, I'm not sure if my dreamt-of mate wants to be with me, because he never really told me," Harry hurled out quickly, cursing himself for sounding so insecure. "And I'm rather of tired of guessing…"
The Dark Lord opened his mouth and then closed it, being at loss of words for once.
"Potter…," he finally whispered. "Do I understand it correctly that you just refused a chance to leave me without any punishment?"
"Yes I did and I swear I'll do it whenever you dare to suggest such nonsense again."
"Moreover," Voldemort continued, ignoring Harry's words, "you fear that I don't want to be with you?-!"
"Of course I do! You are the one telling me to go my merry way with someone else," Harry snapped and crossed his arms over his chest. "What am I supposed to think?"
"You are a fool, Harry," Tom hissed softly, deeply appeased, his eyes shining in happiness like two crimson gems, but Harry barely noticed that in his righteous anger.
"Oh, really?" he snorted. "I am not the one lying to myself; I am not the one denying my feelings! But, on the second thought, maybe I am a bit foolish because I love you while you're afraid…"