Written for HP Shortfics, with a prompt of "Harry and Autumn Leaves."
Once Upon a Time
After two years of futile attempts to discover where Voldemort had hidden the last three Horcruxes, the answer was finally found in a transfigured pensieve in a bottom drawer in a ramshackle hut in an Albanian forest.
Harry sat alone on the dirt floor and sifted through the first three memories: The sword, the cup, and Nagini. Just as he and the headmaster had discussed at the end of Harry's Sixth Year.
The three memories of the hidden Horcruxes were not the only memories in this pensieve.
One more remained.
The boy was six, maybe seven years old. Black tousled hair, gleaming excited eyes, roses in his pale cheeks. - it was clear that this late autumn journey to the small park by the cliffs was not something the boy had ever experienced before.
A small group of children sat in a circle nearby, singing "Michael Row the Boat Ashore," but the boy showed no interest in the children's singing or their company. All his attention was on the pile of leaves he had just spent the past fifty minutes gathering together.
The boy walked thirty feet away, then turned and ran back as fast as he could, jumping into the pile of leaves at the last minute, his arms spread wide, laughing happily.
Harry pulled himself out of the memory and spat.
How dare Riddle ever have been human.