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Chapter 1: Condemned
Author's Notes: I miss writing about Tom and Danielle, ergo, this was created. All dialogue you will recognize from chapter twenty-nine of Riddles in the Dark.
"Are you truly capable of affection, Tom, as you do not deny that you are? Do you… do you love me?"
She asks this of me as if its answer is a simple one for me to give. She expects me to divulge at once a single word that will confirm or obliterate what she hopes for the answer to be. Yet it is not simple, the affection that I feel for Danielle Parmellie, nor is her affection for me—though she does not realize this, for she has openly confessed her heart to me before.
I can feel her anguish as she departs; the thoughts in her mind are as clear to me as they have always been. Yet that which she feels perplexes me and causes me to wonder as I have never been forced to wonder before.
In the beginning, when she was merely a quiet girl who dropped her books before me, she was but something that I knew I must obtain. The decision to associate myself with her was one which I made instantaneously, though it was in no way rash. I had glanced upon her before in classes where Slytherins and Ravenclaws were taught as one, had remarked to myself upon the extent of her apparent intellect. The day in which we truly met, I searched her mind, and when a brief expanse of time had passed, I was able to mark her as different.
Human minds are predictable and in no way complex. At Hogwarts, I have rarely utilized my skills as a Legilimens for this reason alone. Yet Danielle's thoughts intrigued me, however simple or complex they were, and they continue to intrigue me even now. I still find myself drawn to her, yet I, who know a great many things, cannot be certain of whether or not this is the love she asks of me.
I am aware in full of the fact that I can lie to her. Or rather, that this is a mere possibility, as well as one that I cannot consider. In the past I have made farcical statements to anyone whom I choose, nigh everyone whom I encounter. When I admit that I cannot lie to her, it is not a choice which my conscience makes, for I do not have one—a choice or a conscience. Not in regards to this matter. And so her question torments me.
Never before today have I considered myself capable of love. Love has never been necessary in my conquests, and even when I had yet to realize that these conquests could form, I did not make affection a practice. I cannot feel it in a familial sense for my mother, and I often deny that I have ever had a father, for however short a time it was. I feel no love, for I am responsible for the deaths of them both; they were too weak to resist me, just as were Danielle's. I killed them to bring their daughter closer to me, for we are now both orphans with no one but each other.
At times, I wonder if I regret this, for by securing her to me, I have created my only weakness. I care for her like I have cared for no one, and I have softened myself. It was never my intent to allow her to comprehend me as even I cannot. Yet I have failed because I, just like my mother before me, have been weakened by someone other than myself. My plan, greater than many others I have made, is slowly crumbling.
In the beginning, she was to be an asset; her intellect was a weapon I believed I could utilize on any occasion I desired, and her naïveté I thought I could manipulate as I pleased. She was alone, for as much as I knew, and had no experience with the genre of relationship I was prepared to share with her. My mistake was in failing to realize that I had never entered such a relationship myself. Now, I find myself inescapably caught inside of it, and it infuriates me that I do not know if I would like to become free.
I began to consider my feelings for her when she befriended the useless half-giant, Hagrid. She sought in him a friendship that I could never offer to her. I am her alleged lover, her life, but he and I share the role of confidante. Danielle was free to discuss with him topics that she might choose not to raise with me. And I found myself jealous of this, even more so when I realized that he had fallen in love with her. When the Mudblood died and I placed the blame upon Hagrid, I believed that our lives would be rid of the bumbling fool. Yet I erred in my judgment, for through my jealousy, I could not see Dumbledore's attachment to the boy. And thus Hagrid still remains, his affection for Danielle growing so that even I may not attempt to stop it yet.
Perhaps this is the answer to her question. Perhaps this is how love feels, for how am I to know if it is not? This thought amuses me, instead of disturbing me as it should. I have fallen prey to a woman's touch, something that has led to many downfalls in history. Will this girl, this woman who will soon be my wife… Will she become my downfall as well?
Even if I do feel this way, I know that I will leave her. The question is only of when, and when, I believe, is not now. Not yet. I am terrified to find myself so deeply immersed, but, as damnable as it may presently seem, I know that I will leave her to protect her from myself. I possess neither heart nor conscience, yet this is what I will do, in the end of all things between us.
When I have her answer within me, I approach her and grasp her hand, so soft and fragile inside of mine. I can crush it, yet I protect it as though it is glass. I take her away to the graveyard in which both my mother and father are buried. I found my mother for Danielle's sake and brought her to rest once more in the place which the accursed woman undeniably always longed to be.
I introduce to them Danielle, and she touches my mother's grave. Yet I am seized by an emotion I cannot describe when she reaches for my father. He is not fit to be near her—she who is my queen.
"Do not," I say, and she stops.
"Why did you bring me here, Tom?" she asks, and I move closer to her, so subtly as if I do not wish her to notice.
"I have an answer for your question," I reply, and what is left of my heart staggers within my chest as she looks up. Then, I condemn myself to an eternity of guilt, which I will suffer long after my heart is truly gone. With these words, I bind myself to her forever, for to her I do not lie.
"I love you."