June 6, 1947
We had flown for two days - Tom and I alternating between sleep and awake. Lack of proper sleep was a type of torture I had never endured until now. By the time we started to descend, the sun was barely peeking behind the mountains. I had let Hoot out of his cage to fly with us occasionally but now he was fast asleep in his cage. By our trajectory and judging by the landscape we had covered these past days, we were in southern Europe, near the Mediterranean Sea. From up in the clouds I could drink in the lush landscape. The sea was a breathtaking blue-green, nothing like England's water, and I could see the white foam crash up on the rocky, raggedy cliffs. Upon the plateau were fields of green, breaking apart the forest. The dark green forest covered the mountain range like a warm blanket. Farther south of the plateau was a small creek that snaked down towards the ocean. But I could not see the whole land as there was an ocean of morning fog covering much of the ground. As we flew closer, I could make out a cabin near the edge of one of the cliffs on an open flat land.
Finally, we touched solid ground. I fell into the dewy grass, thankful for a foundation that I could rest upon. If it had been my decision, I would have fall asleep right then and there. But it was not my decision.
"Welcome to your new home, Eva."
Even though I knew from the moment I saw the house that this was where we were going to stay, hearing the words come from his mouth made it suddenly unreal. "So we…we are going to be living together?" I said while I woke up the owl from his sleep. He fluttered his eyes yet did not seem pleased with the new area. I left the cage open; he would wake up when he wanted to.
He squinted as the sun rose above than the mountain tops and into his eyes. His mouth scowled, "Do you believe acting naive has a positive effect on me? It has rather the opposite. Of course we are going to be living together. Do me a kind favor of shutting your mouth when you have a stupid question. Otherwise our time here will be shorter than you desire."
The bite in his speech led me to believe he was as tired as I. My head hung low as I took his words to heart. I suppose I had better get used to his attitude if I was to make this place our home.
home. I had to let those words sink in. Tom Marvolo Riddle and I are sharing a home, with no one else to bother us. Five years ago, I would have given anything and everything I had to live with Tom. Now I can, and he doesn't have to hide his feelings and neither do I. Suddenly, I beamed with happiness upon the realization of our secluded situation.
He indicated that we should walk closer to the cabin, which was looking more and more like a shack. It was a typical square house with an A-frame red shingled roof. Plants had grown their way up the wood planked walls. I saw one window on the western side and only one front door. Parts of the walls and roof were falling apart, and mold was clinging to the edges of the roof. Cobwebs covered most every corner and crevice. As we made our way closer to the front door, I noticed a smaller cabin close to the woods on the western side ten yards away from the main house. To the south of it was what could only be the outhouse, roughly fifteen yards away from us. The roof of the closer shack was black and the walls were in much worse state than the large one, probably infested. It had no windows that I could see of, and only one door that was falling off its hinges.
"As you can see," Tom continued, "The place is in some need of fixing. We will be staying here for quite a while, so I will need you to make the best of what you have. I require you to make the homes in livable condition as well as make us self-sustaining."
I was rather overwhelmed. Had he thought I was a carpenter, maid, and farmer? I could make good potion and perform quite a number of spells, but what was in front of me seemed almost impossible. I wouldn't be surprised if he gave me a deadline by tonight.
Tom turned around and stared at me, his grey eyes meeting my blue ones. "If you can do it by tonight, that would be acceptable."
I absolutely could no contain my groan. I was exhausted and now I had to do magic I was unfamiliar with as well as possible manual labor?
He put his hand on my shoulder trying to appear supportive. "Eva, don't worry so much. You won't be doing everything alone. We are in this together." I could see it was a ploy for him to cheer me up. He probably assumed if I was a happy worker I would be a better worker. I was very happy, but happiness did not overcome my tiredness.
"Come on; let's see what we are working with." Tom opened the larger cabin door. A loud creak startled the mice and rats within and they came bustling out underneath us. I stifled a scream. Hoot, however, had woken up and grabbed his breakfast from among the running rodents. We walked in the dark cabin and my suspicions were confirmed. It was simply an empty house with four walls and a dirt floor – nothing more.
At once, I envisioned where a kitchen should go: directly to the left of the door along the wall with the window. The living place should be on right and a table should be in the middle of the room. I couldn't figure out where the stove should go. It needed to be near the kitchen to cook but also close to the living place for heat. The beds also needed to be close to the stove so we wouldn't get cold at night. I guess it would have to go in the middle of the room and the table would be to the left of the door. Maybe we could fashion a window into the wall so there would be somewhere pleasant to look at while we ate? I walked towards all four corners of the house, estimating in my head what I could do. I convinced myself there was room for a bathroom in the west back corner behind the kitchen if we put up some walls.
"Your ideas sound well suited. Let's get to work."
I turned around to Tom. "Really? I'm not sure where to start or even what to do?"
Tom put his hand to his face and mused as he surveyed the tiny home. "We should do foundational work first. I'll fell some trees and create the bathroom walls. Why don't you see if you can put a few more windows in?" I nodded and grinned at him because he was really being sincere about us becoming partners. My heart was filled with love for him, and I happily went to work on the windows.
Sometime later when the sun was at its highest in the sky our shack had promisingly turned into a rather cozy home. I had made a couple of bug-away potions and charmed the walls to make a space for two windows on the east wall. Tom had indeed manipulated a couple forest trees into planks to create our sectioned bathroom. He was also able to create outgoing "pipes" that lead to the ocean. As for incoming water, we would have to charm our transfigured buckets to bring back fresh water from the creek I had seen earlier.
I transfigured two dead branches into brooms and had them on the task of sweeping the cobwebs away and making floors clean. A few of my handkerchiefs I had brought were turned into sturdy cloths, and I sent them to scrub every wall, nook, and cranny clean. It took a while for the spells to work exactly (occasionally the cloths were scrubbing the grass outside), but in the end everything was clean.
After Tom had built the bathroom, he had left to work on the smaller shack. He claimed that it would be his "personal study." He didn't ask for my help and, since I was already overwhelmed with this house, I didn't give it. But by noon my exhaustion had dissipated and I wanted to find some way to get the house furnished. And find some food since our rations had run out last night.
I walked into the bright sunlight with the sea breeze ruffling through my knee length dress. It was a wonderful country, wherever it was Tom had taken me. I took a deep breath of the salty air and closed my eyes.
"Enjoying yourself?" Tom called from the small cabin. I opened my eyes in a flash and turned to see him leaning against the wall twirling his wand in his hand. He gave a half smile and came closer to me.
"I've done all you asked my lord. Yet I'm terribly hungry. Should we go find some food?"
He stopped walking and looked up to the sky in thought. "I believe there was a village a few miles down the mountainside. We should find some food to steal for the time being. As well the house needs some furniture…and beds-"
"And a stove I'm afraid. Perhaps a sink? And a tub?" I was getting carried away.
Tom frowned at me for interrupting him. "Yes," he said coldly, "You can bring those items back if you want. As I was saying, the village should have everything we need on a short term, but it would be best for you to establish ourselves here. I don't want any contact with Muggles for any reason. I regret having to go into the village but we are desperate."
"On that note," I added, "Where exactly are we?"
"We," he said, spreading out his hands to convey the land to me, "are in Albania. Far away enough to be unwatched by the Ministry, but close enough to continue my dealings. I've made sure that no one can track us here, Muggle or wizard. I hope that you are unbothered by our location."
Albania. I had heard of it, but never imagined it to be this beautiful. From what I remembered, it was somewhere near Greece, across from Italy. However, this Albania was not beautiful just because of its landscape, but because Tom and I were here, alone. "No, it's wonderful."
We walked for an hour until finally we saw rooftops. Hiding in the forest, Tom and I agreed that we should go for the pink hued house on the farthest edge of the village. It was a very small town. Most of all the houses were of the same built: two stories with a white wash walls and red roofs. The pink house though was more of a farm house with chicken coops in the back and it looked promising for finding food.
We watched the house for about ten minutes to see if there was any sign of life. He heard a few voices upstairs but we didn't see anyone. Tom decided that he would go inside to find right items to transfigure for our stove, sink, and tub while I was going to steal some food and furniture. We would be shrinking what we found and putting it into the bags we brought.
Slowly we crouched towards the door so if anyone was casually looking out the window, we would be unseen. Neither of us said a word to one another. Tom went in first and found his way up the stairs quietly. I went into the kitchen and found a huge bowl of potatoes and onions. I shrunk and stored about half of what was there. I stole other spices, oil, and flour from within their cabinets. There were a few chairs and a table behind me. I wanted to take it all but I didn't have the heart to leave the poor villagers without anything. I just took two chairs instead. Luckily I found a couple of wooden boxes that I figured I could transfigure into table. The next room was a bedroom, but I had no choice but to take the whole bed and a dresser. This house was turning up bare for transfiguration materials. I told myself I would try to bring something back in exchange for stealing their furniture in the coming months.
Suddenly, I heard a loud commotion from upstairs. There was a shout, a crash of glass breaking, and thumping on the ceiling. I ran into the kitchen and pulled open a drawer closest to me. I tossed the silverware and utensils into my bag haphazardly without having time to shrink them. Then I threw open the cabinet doors and pulled out as many bowls and plates as I could manage. A hand-made white tablecloth was folded on in the back left. I grabbed it too, knowing I definitely couldn't sew. The banging continued upstairs and I circled around in the kitchen, trying to see if there was anything else I could take in the coming moments.
The room was barren of items for my immediate need so I rushed to the door. At the same moment Tom ran down the stairs so fast it seemed like he made it to the first floor with three long jumps. I had the door open by the time he grabbed my arm. We hurdled into the backyard, towards the woods. Before we were in the forest, Tom pulled out his wand at a chicken innocently pecking at the ground. "Stupify!
" he yelled. The chicken never knew what had happened.
I grabbed it by its feet as we ran, happy to know that we would be having fresh meat for lunch and dinner. As I was getting the chicken, I looked back to the house. A large, bearded Muggle had run down the stairs and was coming out the door. The middle aged man had a furious look upon his face and a long gun in his hands. There was a dark stain on his shirt on his left arm and blood rushing down his hands. The gun had been smeared with red. He shouted angrily in Albanian and fired a shot towards us. By then we had made it to the forest and the bullet imbedded itself in a tree on our right. Tom simply laughed as we continued to run up the mountainside.
When we finally stopped to catch our breath, I noticed there was blood coming down Tom's temples. "You've-you've been hurt!" I exclaimed through labored breath.
Tom was breathing rather heavily too and touched felt his head where the warm blood was dripping down. His hands were also cut and bleeding. He was surprised but simply muttered, "Bloody barbaric Muggles. The old man surprised me – he must have heard us come in. He hid behind me while I investigated the upstairs. Then I stunned the wife and the child when I entered their bedroom. It probably left him in shock why he didn't attack me instantly. I had already gotten a few items by the time he threw some vase or pot at me. Bastard knocked the wand out of my hand so we had a tussle. I was able to stab him with one of the shards. That gave me time to get my wand." He paused and looked up into the sky which was blocked by multitudes of green leaves. "I should have just killed everyone."
I didn't know what to say at first. Then I slowly came closer to him and sighed, "Thank Merlin you are alright. Let's get back soon so we can eat and I can clean you up." I hesitantly grabbed his arm to show my concern. It was likely that he would pull away from my touch, but to my surprise he allowed it. I looked him in the eye and saw his brows furrowed slightly.
"You are genuinely worried about me aren't you?" Tom questioned, honestly puzzled.
I gently grabbed his injured hand into mine. My chest was heavy with emotion. Of course I was worried. I didn't want Tom to be hurt, maimed, broken, dead – none of it. Seeing this look in his face made me so terribly upset for him. It was as if no one had ever truly cared before whether he was whole or not. Growing up, I had my mother to love me and care for me; Tom didn't have anyone. This must be why he doesn't understand how I can follow him to the ends of the earth. It is because I love him.
I placed another hand softly on top of his and paused not knowing how to explain my emotions. "Tom, of course-"
He pulled back his hand and snarled. "Don't
call me Tom." And he marched away, up the mountain towards our home.
We were starving by the time we arrived. As we marched through the woods, on several occasions I heard both of our stomach angrily growl for food. Still, before anything was to be made we had to transfigure our stove.
It took Tom and I almost half an hour more to turn the clock he had stolen into a workable stove. It was not typical looking stove. The clock had been made out of lacquered wood, so of course we had to cover it with a fireproof charm of multiple layers. The door was the face of the old clock and the grills inside where the former hands. The chimney took some work. It was made from the levers and wheels and other metals from inside the clock, so it took on a brassy metallic color. However we could not stop it from reverberating at the top of each hour. But who else had a built in timer in their stove?
Earlier this morning, while Tom had used his spells to have the trees split into planks for our bathroom walls, he had also charmed a few more trees to make firewood. I used one block of wood and some pinecones as tender to start the fire. A few other cuts of wood I turned into a counter space for the kitchen. I transfigured a spare bowl into a sink and one of my dresses into a curtain to cover the space under the kitchen counter. Two chairs were on the eastern part of the room next to the window and I was able to create a table out of the spare boxes I had stolen. The farmer's markings which were on the original box were now ingrained on the table top.
While the chicken was baking, I arranged the bed into the back corner. It was a tight squeeze with the new bathroom walls. I wasn't sure of our sleeping arrangements yet, but I felt a little giddy thinking that we might be sharing a bed. I enlarged the nightstand so it was a formal dresser. I decided to place Hoot's cage on top of the dresser until I decided on a better place. He was still missing, but probably enjoying the forest's darkness.I unpacked my things into it until I heard the stove buzz indicating it had been an hour since I put the chicken in. I put my dress over my hands to shield them as I pulled the golden chicken out of the stove. The potatoes and onions had cooked quite nicely and I was pleased. I hadn't cooked in a while so I was preparing for a far worse dinner. However we were both so hungry we could have eating the firewood.
As I made my way outside to the other cabin, where Tom was working (he had already set up our bathroom with a fine tub) I jumped to hear a huge crash from the roof. I ran outside to see if something had fallen on the roof but there was nothing. I went on to find Tom to tell him about luncheon and the sound from inside the house. As I met him, I saw Hoot soaring in the sky. He must have warmed up to the new location. Tom regarded me as hearing things but right before we stepped over the threshold we heard a scream from above.
Immediately Tom fetched his Aeroglider 2 and flew up to attic. He waved his wand and a plank of wood flew off the front of the house. He crawled in and suddenly yelled out a spell I never heard before. Half a minute later he emerged, dusty from head to foot with hair disheveled but holding an ogre-like creature upside-down by the ankle.
"No wonder this shack was abandoned. It seemed a ghoul had taken up residence."
The ghoul was grey and very terrible looking. Tom held it out as far away as possible since it was trying to claw at him with his free hands. It made awful moaning and hissing sounds. My heart held pity for the disgusting thing.
"I want peace and quiet while I'm here, so I'm going to have to get rid of you," Tom told the ghoul.
He then sat on his broom and flew near the side of the cliff. I watched as he simply flung it off into the abyss.
I didn't expect him kill him so coldly, but I tried not to show my surprise. Well, it was just
a ghoul. I should get so worked up about such things. But I couldn't shake the thought that it was also a living thing.
I tried to let the whole thing dissolve in my mind, which it did a few moments later when I heard my stomach cry out for food. We went back into the house in silence and sat down to eat. Tom had cleaned his head wound but I noticed that his hands were still scratched. Though the chicken looked delicious, I had forgotten to clean it out so much of its organs had been cooked as well. It was also very dry. But despite it, we ate everything on our plates. When we had finished, I could see realization dawning over Tom that I was not up to his expectations when it came to cooking. He kept his thoughts silent.
Now that my stomach was full, I was hit with a wall of exhaustion. Without a word to Tom, I unconsciously walked over the bed and fell upon it. Within moments I had passed out.
When I opened my eyes, I was met with a still darkness. There was no light coming from the windows but I could hear birds chirping in the trees far away. I sat up and a blanket dropped off of me onto the floor. I folded it and laid it upon the bed, not remembering falling asleep with it. My eyes adjusted to the dark and I noticed Tom was not here. I put my coat on, stuffing my wand in a bag I slung on my shoulder, and went out to look for Tom. The grass was wet with dew and I could see that the sky was beginning to brighten in preparation for the coming day. The ocean waves crashing behind me and the breeze in my hair made me so peaceful. I couldn't remember being this happy in quite some time.
As I opened the door silently of Tom's study (he had fixed it yesterday) I found him fallen asleep in his chair with his head on the desk. He was in a peaceful sleep – his body slowly rising and falling to his breath. I treasured the moment since I had never seen him sleep before. One arm was propping his head while the other had fallen. I noticed his wand on the ground from where he must have dropped. I slowly went in to pick it up. The room was still dirty and quite dark. I noticed candles on the table. They had been burning for a while with a pool of wax around their bases. Quills and parchment was blown through the room like a hurricane. As I was placing his wand on the table, I saw his face twitch. I froze, afraid that he would misunderstand what I was doing. However, he just turned his head to the other side and mumbled something in his sleep. I wish I could have known what he said, but it was unintelligible.
Once I left, everything was different shades of blue and the sky was lightening. I decided to take this time to explore around more and gather enough water for the day. As I wandered around the forest I was pleasantly surprised to find a well not too far off. It would be much faster to charm the buckets to bring water from this well than from the creek half a mile away. I cast a spell for the bucket to bring water to the house so I could use it to wash myself later.
Continuing on, I wandered northeast towards to the trail we had made yesterday that led to the village. Fear never entered my mind here like it would have in the Forbidden Forest back at Hogwarts. The scariest thing in this forest would most likely be bowtruckles. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we needed a few more supplies and a lot more food from the village. Unfortunately I would have to go back to the same one, but I have enough good sense to choose a different house. As I walked along the craggy mountain, the trees became more spaced with a small meadow. The sun finally rose but it hadn't emerged over the mountain range. I was so focused on Tom yesterday that I didn't even admire the views. The sunlight had filled the valley with beautiful morning hues. I could see the red roofs of the village from here, and beyond I saw fields of gold and green. By the time I made it to the base of the mountain and the village was close, the sun was fully visible. I had found a good amount of edible mushrooms while I had walked and saved them in my bag.
Once the village, and the pink house, was in sight, I headed northwest to the other side of town. Again, the sleepy village was quiet. After walking behind rows and rows of houses, I finally came upon a decent sized garden. They had cucumbers, eggplants, and heads of lettuce. I took just enough to get by for the next week. On top of it, I decided to pull a whole onion and tomato plant up to grow back at the cabin. As I walked back home, I noticed a few orange and lemon trees, which I plucked plenty fruit from.
Before I disappeared into the woods, I noticed a chicken and a rooster had escaped from their coop and were nibbling on insects from the ground. If I took them, I could have eggs and maybe make more chickens to eat. After a moment's consideration, I was convinced and stunned them both. As I was gathering their feet together in my hands I checked the area for onlookers.
A young girl, in her early teens, had spotted me.
She dropped her dirty laundry and simply stared at me. I smiled quickly, grabbed the chickens, and ran off. As I ran, I realized I should have erased her memory. That, however, was always a very hard spell for me to do. It was not because I couldn't do it, but I believed that losing your memory was worse than death. It took away the only things that make you…you
I felt giddy as I ran through the forest and up the mountain, carrying my chickens. I laughed, imagining seeing myself. I felt like a mad woman. Once I reached the place where the forest spread out, I searched for the trail Tom and I had made yesterday. Catching my breath, I noticed to the far west that there were some walnut trees. I picked off handfuls of nuts and held them in my skirt along with the chickens. I wandered past the mushrooms I had seen earlier and filled up my skirt with handfuls more of them. We needed as much food as possible. I blindly continued to follow the path until I had to stop dead with confusion.
I was back at the clearing. I frowned and thought I was going mad. I didn't remember turning around, but maybe I did when I collected the walnuts. I turned around and went down the trail again, shaking my head.
Ten minutes later I was back at the road. I was going in circles. Then I realized.
Yesterday, Tom must have put up a blockade spell around the shack which deterred Muggles and wizards alike. I sighed and cursed him in my mind. Did he not realize that I needed to get in and out as well?
I called out, "Lord.. Lord Voldemort?" but no one answered. I wouldn't risk using "Tom" since that seemed to be a sore point at the moment.
I groaned and sat down with my bag, chickens, mushrooms, and walnuts in an unhappy mood. I had no idea how long I would be here. Tom would eventually go looking for me, but the key word was eventually
. Tom thought about himself most, if not all the time, so I wouldn't be surprised if I was here till the next day. I looked up at the trees and started to watch the clouds slowly drift by. My stomach rumbled and I began cracking open walnuts and eating them.
Thinking back to where I was only a few days ago, I never expected to be living with Tom like this. It was pleasant that we were on good terms; but knowing Tom like I do, I didn't expect us to stay that way. I only hoped our relationship could blossom into a loving one rather than a master and his servant. I cracked open another walnut and savored the ripeness in my mouth. Yet that was what I was here for. I agreed to come as his servant – not his lover. Maybe I could change that; he could get to know the real me and come to love me as I did him. I was lovable… wasn't I?
I remembered how he looked at me yesterday after our narrow escape. His eyes showed an emotion I rarely saw: confusion. He could never understand human relationships. It was as if he was in a foreign land unable to speak the language. Did he want me here with him to teach him? No, that wouldn't be like him. Yet my mind suddenly was brought back to my fifteenth birthday. I've analyzed that night over and over and I still can't come to a conclusion about his true feelings for me.
I sighed again and said to myself, "What do you want, Tom Riddle?"
I heard a crunch beyond me and looked upside-down to see where it came from. Though I was expecting a wild animal, I saw the handsome face of the man who I loved.
"So this is where you are?"
I grabbed my dress with my mushrooms, walnuts, and still unconscious chickens. Graciously, Tom helped me up. I bowed as much as I could with my hands full. "Thank you for finding me my lord."
He smirked but his eyes were still tired. I saw dried blood on his injured temple. I was sure that he didn't sleep as well as I did. He then turned around, indicating I should follow. Our feet crunched along the underbrush and dead leaves. Thinking back, I didn't mind calling him "my lord" as much as I thought. I'd much rather call him Tom if it was up to me. He, however, took great pleasure in being the master and having this title, even though it was all words. But his pleasure was mine. "I hadn't known you put up a blockade spell when I went out this morning. I couldn't get back. But I've only been waiting for a little while."
He kept walking and put a hand through his hair. "My mistake. Just follow me and I'll take you home."
When we arrived I laid the chickens on the grass gently. After creating a short term barrier spell around them, I headed inside to make lunch. However I was greeted by a pleasant smell. "Mm! What did you do while I was gone?" I asked as I placed my bag and the contents from my dress onto the table. Tom didn't reply and went over to the pot boiling upon the stove and stirred a wooden spoon. I walked over and saw a thick mushroom soup, almost ready to eat.
I smiled at Tom, who was next to me moving the pot off the stove. "I didn't know you could cook."
He turned around and said sarcastically, "I didn't know you couldn't."
I gave him a "touché" sort of look, but then apologized. "I'm sorry. I haven't made my own food in such a long time…" but I became distracted by the room. Giving it a proper look, I saw that it had transformed further. A couch sat between the dresser and the table, across from the kitchen. One of my newly created windows brought in light above it. The stove was a yard and half in front of it, making it perfect for warming up to. My eyes were intrigued by a beautifully woven rug in front of the couch. I looked back at Tom, and he pointed behind me to the table. I turned around and saw a chandelier above the table with fresh candles. My eyes swept across the room and I realized he had placed candles everywhere.
"Thank you my lord. This shack is finally looking like a home." He nodded, as if he wasn't listening to me.
While Tom spooned out his mushroom soup into bowls, I noticed books laying on the dresser. I didn't remember packing any books other than my photos album. I casually looked through the titles and saw they were from the same romanic series I used to read in the library with Tom. Did he bring these for me?
We sat at the table sitting across from one another. The sun was high above us by now and the house seemed darker without light shining through the open windows. I could hear the chickens clucking and roosting now that they were awake. At first we ate silently interrupted occasionally by the clinking of our spoons and the sounds of eating. I was rather hungry and the soup wasn't bad either. I looked back at Tom every other bite, but he stared at his meal. He looked to be eating simply to eat. He took no pleasure in it, like I did. He didn't even finish.
After we had both finished eating I asked him about the recent additions. He replied, "They were part of what I took yesterday, only better. But I brought the candles with me."
"And the books?" I flashed a grin at him but before he could speak I continued, "Thank you again my lord. You've been wonderful the whole time. I'm so very happy."
He studied me and my thoughts, wanting to know if I was genuine. He came to the conclusion that I was and answered, "Yes, well I doubt you will have time to read them all but I wanted to give you options.
"That was very kind of you, my lord." I ate a spoonful of the delicious soup. "And if you don't mind my asking, how long are we staying here?"
Tom didn't touch his half-filled bowl. He began to play with his wand and looked at me in the face. "I'm not entirely sure. As long as it takes, I reason."
"As long as what takes?"
"You'll find out soon enough." His face was impossible to read and I couldn't figure out if he was hiding something or not. I supposed there was a greater mission out here in Albania rather than trying to have Tom fall in love with me. I looked at my empty bowl and frowned. I still wanted some more.
"Are-are you going to finish that?" I hesitantly asked as I pointed to his soup. Tom looked down on his bowl and slid it towards me. As I started to eat his, I thanked my father for his thinness because I'm not sure how I keep such a good figure with my huge appetite.
Tom laughed at me saying, "If you keep eating like that, I'm going to have to acquire a bigger bed."
I didn't expect him to say that so I snorted, almost choking on a mushroom. I calmed myself down enough to swallow and playfully demanded, "You take that back!"
He laughed at me more, but then said calmly, "Lord Voldemort takes nothing back."
My face scrunched up as I tried to think of a good reply, but nothing came up. All I could say was, "Oh, he doesn't, does he?"
"No." And Tom smiled, knowing he had won. I didn't want the talking to stop. I was facing the kitchen and could see the sun start to head over to the west. Suddenly I realized I would need to make some curtains. It seemed that my dress collection would become smaller and smaller as time went on.
"Do you remember that time when Professor Binns died?" I recalled, trying to change the subject. Tom nodded. "They said he just fell asleep in the faculty lounge and never woke up. I was scared stiff when he floated into the room."
He smirked a little, "I could imagine. That was probably the most interesting thing that ever happened in that class."
"You're right with that. I could barely stand history. Really, I couldn't stand any classes, especially after you left.
His smirk grew wider. "That's not what I heard. I was told you became top of your class, even offered to be Head Girl."
"Yes," I rolled my eyes thinking about it, "but I didn't want it. I would have been stuck with Augustus again. I didn't want to have anything to do with him. Professor Slughorn was very upset with me for a while because it would have been the first time in a couple hundred years that there was a Slytherin Head Boy and
"So he wasn't courting you at that time?"
Tom frowned and said, "Don't be stupid."
"Oh, Rookwood? No...I found him locking lips with Meredith Flint the first night of seventh year." I tried to look away, for fear of him. I felt like I had been disloyal to him. Then again, Tom had never courted me, so I don't know what I was on about.
"I know you slept with him."
?" I exclaimed, dropping my spoon in the empty bowl.
Tom didn't reply, but I could feel him in my mind. It was the first time I truly tried to block him, and he could tell. However, I was no match mentally against him. He had found the truth.
Tom blinked and licked his lips. "I bring it up because it seemed to have affected you. Like I said before we left, there are no secrets between us. I simply wanted you to know… that I know. And I couldn't care less what you do with your body."
I couldn't help but give him a dark look. For the first time in my life, I felt violated by Tom. Why does he care? If he knew, he could have just left it alone. I was seething, but I daren't look at him. I bit my lip fighting the urge to yell at him and throw the two empty soup bowls. If he hadn't abandoned me, I wouldn't have been with Augustus. I did what any normal person would do when someone shows love and affection for them.
I took a deep breath, while I recalled the one night with Rookwood. I didn't even think of Augustus while we were together. All my thoughts were still on Tom. Anger was washed away with sadness. I unclenched my fists and picked up the bowls to take to the sink.
Tom acted oblivious to my emotions. "I also heard that Cygnus Black was marrying Druella Rosier."
It was frustrating hearing Tom change the subject since he was the one that brought it up, but I could play along. "Yes, I was invited to their wedding. It's in a couple months." I let the bowls clatter into the sink while I walked to the door to fetch the bucket of well water.
As I reentered, he continued talking. "The Blacks are good Purebloods. It's too bad they have that habit of intermarrying with each other. They all have an impish temper because of that."
"It's simple," I answered back as casually as I could while scrubbing the dishes, "why they do that. Purebloods are running out of people to marry. You know we're all related to each other somehow."
?" Tom turned around in his chair and looked at me mildly amused. "In this house, there's no point lying to each other. You know as well as I do that we
aren't related to anyone." Then he stood up and stood next to me, leaning against the counter. Although I didn't look at him, I could feel his eyes watching me dry. We stayed silent.
Once I finished Tom walked past me towards the door and outside the pasture of green. He beckoned me over, and I grudgingly followed him. Tom strolled towards the forest and spread his arms out, "This is the reason we are here in Albania. I am looking for a diadem, a tiara of some sorts, and it's hidden in one of these trees. Whenever I am gone or if I have nothing planned for you, Eva, you will look through every hollow until you find it." He turned around to catch my eye.
"Don't look too forlorn. I'll help…every so often…like now."
I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. My hands stuck to my hips and my feet were glued to the grass. I looked at him incredulously. Trying to find a diadem in a forest like this? That would take months and months of searching.
Tom walked over to the nearest tree. He circled it then raised his wand. A red ribbon emerged from his wand and wrapped around the tree.
"This," he gestured towards the band, "Is what you make when there is nothing in the tree. When you find the diadem, come find me. "
I nodded slowly, still unable to accept that I would have to search every tree in this forest for a crown. "What's the incantation for the red mark?"
"It's a nonverbal spell, 'Rutilus Carmen
There was a pause. A gust of sea wind ran through my hair and down my dress making me shiver. We could both see the wind run through the long grass until it was far into the mountainside. To find this diadem was why he brought me, I realized disheartened. I wasn't going to be his housemaid and lover – I was going to be his field worker. None the less, I agreed to his conditions and I had nothing else going for me in life. Perhaps I could use the exercise, I thought dejectedly.
"Well," I said, "let's get started then."
We did get started but never finished. We looked until the sun was a distant memory over the horizon. We must have searched hundreds of trees. My legs were heavy from walking, and I could count on my body being sore tomorrow. It was pitch black by the time we made it back to our cabins. Both Tom and I had our wands lit to find the front door. I could hear the chickens clucking in anxiety, probably thinking we were wild predators. As Tom entered and began to light the candles, I went to reassure the chickens and set up a few more protective spells. I didn't know what else to do since I had never taken care of a chicken before.
After we ate a quick potato and eggplant sauté, I was ready for bed. As I emerged from the bathroom in my nightgown. Tom, sitting at the table with his head in a book, called me over. As I got closer, I saw that he was scribbling something on the parchment in front of him.
"You called, Lord Voldemort?"
Tom glanced up from his work, and then swiftly stood up. He smiled politely and handed me the parchment. "Look."
On it, there was a drawing of a skull with a demonic looking snake crawling out of it. It appeared sickeningly real. But I was pleasantly surprised by Tom's artistry. "What is it?"
"I call it the 'Dark Mark' and it will be known throughout the land." He grinned at me ominously. "And you, Eva Smith, will have the honor of being the first to wear it."
"Wear it?" I was slightly confused. I didn't want to seem foolish, but was I going to copy it onto my clothes or something else?
"Here, let me show you." He gently pulled my right arm out and rolled up my sleeve. He slowly twisted my wrist so that my pearly white underarm skin shone. I became slightly worried when he placed his wand on it. I wanted to pull my arm away, but I knew I had to trust Tom. Even before he spoke I could sense that the next spell would be painful. Anything from Tom was going to hurt; and I knew that I would have to numb myself it its pain eventually. "Morsmordre Corpus
," he hissed.
I watched breathless awe as an invisible pen scratched into my skin the same exact picture that was on the parchment. I bit my lip and tried to hold back tears. My knees bent a little, not expecting that much pain, but I tried my best not to move.
After it was done, we both appreciated it in silence. The mark was throbbing and blood was trickling down the cuts. Yet his handiwork was admirable. It was beautiful in its own disturbing way. "Does it do anything?" I asked as I moved my arm in the candlelight to see it from different angles.
"Yes, you'll be able to summon either myself or others who have it. So far, you are the first. Right now, it's just an outline, but I'm still working on it. But…" he paused to look at me and smiled half mad, "It looks fantastic."
Tom slid one finger over the fresh pattern on my arm smudging the blood onto the skin, and I secretly savored his touch. Then he grabbed me hard by the shoulders and fixed his eyes on me. Then he told me slowly and making sure I understood every word, "This isn't like those stupid meetings at Hogwarts. This is much more. You, Eva Smith, are the first real Death Eater."