November 1, 1947
Yesterday was my nineteenth birthday. Tom even remembered, and I was happy that he had. My so-called present was letting me have the day off from searching the Albanian forest for the damned diadem like we had almost every day. Of course, I couldn't complain too much. I had begged Tom to have Sunday off after almost two months of living here. My plants were starting to die because I couldn't tend to them enough. The chickens too complained that they were not being fed enough. When I first discussed it, he thought I was being lazy.
"It's a simple task I ask of you Eva: look at a tree and find a diadem. Why would you need a break from that?"
"My lord!" I exclaimed from frustration. We had just finished dinner when I brought up the conversation. We were sitting across from one another at our small table. "When put that way, it does sound easy. But it's not one tree; it's thousands upon thousands! I leave at dawn and I come home at dusk. My plants and animals are being neglected. Please, just allow me one day off a week – a Sunday. That's a typical day of rest." He made a face on the word"rest". "But don't misunderstand my lord - I won't be resting. I would be taking care of the house, which currently I don't have time to clean properly, as you can see. And when I finally make the time, it's either before sunrise or after dinner when I'm so exhausted. I, because of utter tiredness, am searching fewer trees than I used to."
Tom must have found some truth in my last statement because after a long pause he agreed. Also, I knew that the untidiness of the house bothered him more than me. Ever since he slept in the main cabin with me he had been waking me up early to clean and make lunch.
Thankfully, he didn't wake me up on my birthday. I was able to sleep until my body was fully regenerated. It was lovely. I didn't celebrate too much beyond that since Tom still required me to do household chores. I cleaned the house, weeded the garden, fed the chickens, and checked on my new crop of wheat and barley I had decided to grow (with the help of a little quick-grow spell I had acquired). But I had a chance to explore the creek south of us, which I had desired to do since we arrived in June. Tom, who had spent most of the morning shaving off his almost full beard, had refused to come and hid himself away in his study. I had a pleasant and refreshing trip despite his absence.
Norma and Druella sent me owls, which was very touching. Tom did not enjoy the fact that owls were here, signaling to "others" that we inhabited this cliff-side cabin. I was simply happy to be still remembered by my friends. Druella had sent me one of her beautiful dresses – she apologized that it was last year's fashion but knew that I didn't much care for fashion anyways. She was right, but I was so happy to receive another dress since I was down to just two. Norma sent me a new hairbrush that was charmed to make your hair look longer and shinier.
Also for the first time in a long time, I had time to write in my album. I had written about how Tom brought us here to search for his diadem. I tried to describe the fond moments we had but they were unfortunately rare. I also included the meeting with Lord Tympanios of the vampires. I wrote down and talked about my determination to win over Tom, no matter how hard he tried to push me away. I wrote, "I will not
give up easily. I will
be strong." Just putting those words on paper had given me strength. Lastly, I discussed the meeting with the Dementors.
I felt strangely upset after we had left such a horrible place, and even more so since Tom had destroyed their offspring. Even though they were such horrible creatures who had given me the creeps, Tom had scared me more far beyond they ever did. I still couldn't understand how he can kill and destroy without any thought of remorse. I was with a man that scared the most terrifying creature on earth.
Tom, however, was very satisfied. He talked to me the whole entire trip back about our future plans. "Another trip back to Auschwitz will convince them to take me to the one in charge of all them – it's most likely staying at Azkaban since the Ministry would want to keep tabs on it." The vampires were trickier, being human once and having a choice in whom to side with. "Many of them," he explained, "were wizards before they were bitten and killed. The Muggle ones mostly kept to themselves and turned into true monsters."
Tom was also going to try to get the Goblin population to work with him, though that would be the most daunting task yet. Goblins and wizards have always fought, but Tom thought that the tension between the two may be put to his advantage. From there, he might even go and ask the werewolves for their compliance. Of course, that was only if things turned out the way he planned them so far. It seemed whatever plans Tom had for the future, his concentration was mostly on the present.
By dinnertime yesterday, I was surprised with a real gift from Tom. He cooked dinner for us. He hadn't done it since our first days in Albania. It was delicious mushroom soup. I decided to pretend that taking over dinner was a nice combination of both love and gratitude.
"I thought you might like a bit of relaxation for once. And you cherish your memories so much that I believed this would make you relive a few of the good ones," Tom had said to me as he poured the soup into my bowl.
I smiled lovingly at him, looking into his gray eyes. I was always surprised when he mentioned my love for memories. Sometimes I thought he never paid attention to me. "Thank you, my lord. No one has ever been this kind to me."
Tom turned back into the kitchen and said, "Remember Eva, no lies in this house."
He thought that I was complimenting him or trying to be polite. I wasn't. "No, lord, I'm not lying. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating
but I'm not lying."
Tom did not respond. He wiped his hands on a towel in the kitchen and walked back to the table. He sat down in front of me, placed his napkin in his lap, and grabbed his spoon. "No matter," he responded.
We sat there sipping our soup. Neither of us talked for a while. I was simply enjoying Tom's company like I always did; yet one question was nagging at me. "Where did you learn to cook?"
"I didn't really," Tom replied softly, without looking up.
"So," I mockingly asked, "you just thought you would throw in whatever and boil some water, and that's how you made it?"
He raised his eyes to glint at me. "I'm not stupid Eva." His eyes went back down to his soup and he continued. "I didn't learn to cook in the sense of someone taught me. I just used to observe the cooks at my old orphanage. This was my favorite dish. Luckily we were able to have all the ingredients for it."
We ended that night outside, staring at the stars. I had to grovel to make Tom stay outside with me. However, to my delight, he complied. I laid out one of my dress-turned-blankets for us to lie on. The fall weather was chilly, but with Tom lying next to me and pointing out the stars I was warm. I disliked astronomy, but I knew he dabbled in it. I recalled some of what he was saying from the Hogwarts astrology class, but I was mostly focused on how close his body was to mine.
Tom took a deep breath then turned toward me. He grabbed my right arm and looked at my Dark Mark. Lazily, he traced his fingers around it and told me, "I should put color on it tomorrow."
I couldn't stand his touch, it was too much. It was partly because the idea of him touching me made me feel ecstatic, but the other part was that he looked at me like I was nothing more than a servant
Although the day was filled with many pleasant memories, I was unhappy. As I lied in my bed I felt like crying. I didn't, but my mixed emotions were still there. They were probably due to the fact that Tom and I now slept in the same bed.
He moved in around the time the weather became cooler, maybe September - I wasn't sure. Although he could have created a warming spell in his study, I was pretty sure that it was the lack of comfortable sleeping space is what made him leave. What I was sure of was how upset I was when he did. At first, I was ecstatic to hear it. He announced it immediately after dinner, very plainly. There was an excitement bubbling in my chest when I first heard him. The feeling quickly turned to fiery anger when he explained that he would take the bed and I
would have the couch. If I had had my wand in my hand, I might have sent a curse flying his way. But as it happened I had no weapon, and I caved like usual.
Only after a week and a couple days did we both realize I could not sleep on the couch. Tom definitely noticed a change in my attitude due to make lack of comfortable sleep. I fought with him much more, and my food, to his great displeasure, began to turn inedible. I was always so sleepy that I would accidently add too much salt or cook the meat too long. After three dinners in a row were ruined he conceded.
He and I were next to the bed when he began his speech that third night. "Now listen carefully. If we are going to share this bed there will be rules to follow. Number one: I have the right side and you have the left side. You will never sleep or come to the right side. If you do, I'll send you back to the couch." I nodded trying hard to hide my eagerness. "Number two: never touch me. If you touch me, even accidently while you are sleeping, you will wake up on the couch. And number three: don't ever get it into your head that we are," he could barely say the next word, "…lovers just
because we share a bed. This is out of desperation and necessity. I can see your disgusting thoughts Eva!"
Once he had said the word "lovers" I couldn't help but imagine the idea that we were. I sniggered softly but not long enough for him to banish me to the couch.
However, last night I found out something about Tom that was strange. I just couldn't understand it. I only noticed because he decided to sleep at the same time as me, which was out of the ordinary.
Tom was not terribly tired, and sat up in bed reading one of his large Dark Arts books. I noticed him occasionally looking at me. I knew because I was feigning sleep since he rarely read in bed with me. Also because I wasn't able to sleep with the room being lit up. I worked up the timid courage to ask him, "Can we go to sleep and put out the candles?"
I frowned. "Then can you read in your study?"
He slammed the book shut and a small cloud of dust formed in the air. Then he lied down and turned away from me. But the candles were still lit. "Can you… can you put out the candles please?" I whispered, staring at him awkwardly since I wasn't sure if I should just do it myself.
He didn't answer for almost a minute, which was frustrating. Then as I was about to say something, he replied, "Just go to sleep Eva."
I wanted to complain that it was too bright, but it didn't seem like he was going to budge on this issue. However, I was not sure if I could sleep with all the candles. Usually, when I went to be first, he was in his study and our house was dark. Or, if he did happen to be in the main house, he would only keep the candles near the dining table lit because that was where he worked. But tonight, since he was reading in bed, Tom had the bedside candles lit, which were far too bright to sleep through.
I ventured a silly question to break the tense mood. "Are you afraid of the dark or something?"
"No," was his curt reply which held no indication that he wanted to play along with me.
I sighed exasperatedly. "Then why must they be lit?"
"Why must you talk?" he barked as he turned onto his side to face me. He paused. "It's your birthday, but that doesn't give you the power to control me. Far from it, Eva."
I instantly regretted my attitude towards him. "I'm sorry my lord. I just…"
He pushed himself up with his right elbow so that he would overshadow me as he lectured. "Will you get it through your head? I know you to be occasionally slow, but I know you're not entirely stupid. I will not
be your lover. Neither will you be mine, so stop
thinking that way. You drive me insane with that constant banter in your mind that you will convince me of love. There is no such thing as that. You better learn that now, or I will have to get rid of you. And that would be a loss."
I felt like I couldn't keep my tears in, but I instead turned my back and shut my eyes. Sleep was hard to get to, but it came eventually. And Tom never put out the candles.
But today was Sunday, which was great since it meant a two day break. This morning, I decided to make my spicy potato dish. We ate in silence until I informed him, "You know, you made me miss Druella's wedding."
"Did I?" he asked with no interest whatsoever.
"Yes," I replied curtly. "Yesterday I got an owl from Druella, saying that her sister, Carina, is getting married next year. I was really hoping that we could go."
"Why do you think we left England so abruptly?" Tom abruptly dropped his cutlery and glared at me. I didn't respond. "Because there are wizards there that want to destroy me. I need to stay hidden from them until I am ready to reveal the true Lord Voldemort to the world."
"I understand, my lord. But Carina isn't having her wedding in England. It's going to be in France."
Tom went back to eating, but he was still frowning. After a minute of silence and letting my idea sink into his head, he asked me, "Who is she marrying?"
"Why France?" he questioned. "None of them are French."
"No, I don't believe so. I'm not sure why they are getting married there. Perhaps they just liked the idea of getting married in the French countryside."
"Does that mean we can go?" I hoped.
"Oh Tom! Why not? What have you got against weddings? Anyways, you can see our old school mates. They were obsessed with you then, and I'd take a chance that they still are. You showed them that there was more to magic than what the taught in books. You were their leader; and now you can show them how great you really are."
He rubbed his chin considering the thought. "Many of our Slytherin classmates will be there."
"Oh yes, of course."
I could see he was thinking it over. I was wishing he would say yes. It would be wonderful to get out of here. Even though it's just been a few months, I miss the company of other people, normal people. A grin spread across his face. "Well, they always were good sheep."
"Sheep?" I repeated? "Yes… I suppose." They were definitely in awe of Tom but I always assumed Tom had seen them as friends. But even thinking the idea of Tom having friends was ridiculous.
"Please Eva. I could tell those Purebloods exactly what they wanted to hear and they would jump through hoops of fire over bottomless pits to help me."
I understood what he was saying, yet I knew he was implying something else. "What do you mean?"
"Eva, I pride myself in tracing my ancestry all the way back to the great Salazar Slytherin. It is something that I am very proud of. However, I cannot deny," he slammed his fist on the table, scaring me enough to drop my spoon into my dish, no matter how hard I try, that I am a half blood. And neither can you."
I vaguely connected the dots, but, at the same time, I just couldn't see what he was getting at.
"Those little Purebloods would do anything to keep their blood pure as possible. If I have to kill a few Muggles to have loyalty from such a group as them, I don't mind. Muggles are useless to me. Those Purebloods seem to hate them with a vengeance, while I have rather a great dislike. Disgusted though I am to have been raised by them and that my father is one, dead or alive, they don't matter to me. It seems though, the more I proclaim of Pureblood dominance the more wizards, the more powerful
wizards, I win over.
"That is the card that I play Eva. It is the same card you need to play along with me. You need to act as if the Pureblood way is the one and only way. I can't have you with me if you side with the Muggle lovers. Intermarriage is also not allowed. Whether wizards and witches intermarry makes no difference to me. Though I have to admit, without it you and I would not exist. But the Purebloods find it abhorrently distastefully, so we must keep up the charade."
I was shocked, yet at the same time it all made so much sense. Tom, somehow sensing my slow comprehension, made it simpler for me.
"We're going to the wedding, if that's what you're asking."
"Oh!" I grinned happily at him. "Fantastic! Thank you."
We then continued eating in silence.
After Tom finished, he got up and coughed slightly to get my attention. I looked up in response. "Even though it's Sunday, we didn't do anything yesterday and that is a long enough break. When you're done, we'll search the forest for the rest of the day till sundown."
I sighed internally and frowned at him. I couldn't argue, not with Lord Voldemort. "Yes, my lord," I said disappointedly.
After I had cleaned up in the kitchen, Tom had already left. I walked towards the forest and saw all the red rings Tom and I had put around the trees months ago. I Apparated to where I had last stopped and walked towards the nearest untouched tree. I absentmindedly looked through the unbranded trees to see if there were any holes or spots a crown or a diadem could be nestled into. After an hour of fruitless search, I suddenly snapped.
"Why am I doing this? This is so
ridiculous. A diadem…why on earth would he be looking for a diadem, and in Albania of all places! Stupid, bloodly stupid. I bet someone found it and ran off. What are you going to do then Tom? Hmm?" My mind was a rampart of anger and frustration. A servant: that's all I was and all I would ever be to him. Didn't he realize how much I loved him? I kept asking myself all of these stupid questions without any way towards an answer. Instead of blaming myself, I simply complained about him. It did make me feel better, letting off a little steam.
"And what do you need a crown for anyways? So that you can parade around, proclaiming how great
you are. I wish he would just –" I immediately stopped when I heard a smooth, bright voice interrupting me.
"Talking to yourself?"
I was more upset than embarrassed that I was caught. I huffed and turned around, expecting Tom since there was no one else in this forest. At the moment, I felt an urge to truly give him a piece of my mind. Yet it wasn't Tom that stood in front of me.
A creature with a lion's body and bat like wings stared at me, in the direction from where the voice came from. Its fur was red like blood. Its head was that of a man, older but strangely handsome. The creature had a menacing stare. It almost felt like it was assessing my body like a butcher would to flesh. It didn't calm my fears either when I saw it lick its lips.
I stood there with my mouth slightly open, my eyes as wide as they were in my third year after seeing the Hogwarts beast. Its scorpion tail slowly raised above its body and was aimed directly at me.
His voice sounded like trumpet as he spoke to me again. "Oh, don't be frightened. When I strike you, you'll be dead right away. Very painless."
He was going to kill me, I thought. I backed away as slowly as I could, very afraid. My voice became dry, and I couldn't scream. I eventually backed up into something. I turned quickly and saw I was cornered into a tree trunk. I whipped my head back towards the strange lion creature. He was coming closer, and as he lifted up a paw he showed his razor sharp claws, which looked to be dripping with some sort of liquid. I felt my way around the tree and rolled behind it just in time to miss the sharp claws of the beast.
I swallowed what saliva I could, and I screamed louder than I ever had before, "TOM!"
Right when I finished screaming, the beast was thrown to into a tree by a burst of wind. Luckily it was no ordinary burst of wind. Tom was suddenly to my right with his wand pointed towards the animal. He had an extremely calm expression for the situation, very opposite of my terrified one. In disdain he talked the creature. "Manticore, what are you doing here?"
The manticore got up off the forest floor, with menace in his eyes. He growled at Tom and said, "Looks like double the morsels."
Tom kept his cool and stared back at the creature with intimidating eyes. "You don't want to pick a fight with me. Answer me, what are you doing here in Albania of all places? You should
be in Indonesia."
Tom shot a yellow-colored spell at the creature which landed directly between his eyes. The manticore suddenly became frightened and paranoid. He began to circle around like he was trapped. The man's head let out a great lions growl and stared at Tom, afraid. "I am an outcast! I need food, or I will die. Please, spare me, and I will not harm you…or the girl."
Tom's free hand rubbed his whiskered chin in thought. "An outcast? Well, I have no need for you then."
And so he raised his wand and let out a flourish. A bright green light jetted out, and the manticore let out an awful yell before he was killed, preventing my ears from hearing the spell. Even so, I knew what Tom had said.
I was breathing hard and could feel my heart in my chest. I wanted to thank Tom for saving my life again, but the words just couldn't make it out as I saw the glassy terrified eyes of the dead creature.
Tom looked at me and but talked to himself. "Manticores are no good, really. They only attack humans if food is scarce. And just because they can speak doesn't make them intelligent. But who knows, I may try and communicate with them later on."
Then he focused his full attention on me. "You weren't scared were you?" Then he said a little sarcastically, "I thought you weren't afraid of death."
"No…no I'm not," I said softly. Then gaining strength, "It's just, if he were to scratch me or eat at me, it would hurt a lot. I don't like pain." I looked at him, and I knew my eyes were that of a scared, small child. He just laughed.
"Well, there are no more manticores; I took care of that. Continue looking for the diadem until dark. But, I suppose, if you're too shaken up…you can go home."
I let out a flustered scoff. "Oh, well. If that's the case–"
Before I could finish, he grabbed my arm, "It is. But if you can sneer then you aren't that shaken up. Just stop fighting with me and do as you're told."
Despite his words, I wanted to fight it. Lord Voldemort knew what I was thinking, and so he held onto me tighter. My chest began to fill with regret: regret for ever coming to this place and the regret of being afraid of Tom. My damned emotions wanted to make me cry and scream at the same time, but I held back. How could he be so mean, thoughtless, and uncaring? Why am I still with him? What does he want?
Tom reacted to what I was thinking and said, "I want
that diadem, that's what I want."
I replied to him in my thoughts, thinking "Is it? Is that all you want?
was his mental reply.
My eyes fill up, and I tried as hard as I could to stop the tears from flowing. I wouldn't let myself look weak in front of him. I couldn't understand why, at this time of all times, I suddenly started becoming defiant towards him. I just knew that Tom was driving me crazy to the point where I didn't even know what I was doing any more.
"You're lying! What is that stupid
crown going to do for you?
"With it, I'll live forever…to keep your promise.
I gasped quietly, in the way one does before they start to cry. I couldn't look at Tom any more. He loosened his grip, and I took the chance to pull away. I felt rage suddenly coursing through my body, making my nerves jitter and I jumped away and screamed at him, "Why can't you just admit it! Why, Tom, why
? Just say it out loud! Say you love me! Say you care for me! Say something!"
There was a light autumn breeze that brought a whirl of red and brown leaves around us. There was no noise other than the birds singing in the distance. The terror I expected came. Tom looked at me, enraged. His mouth tightened so much so that it looked as if he didn't have any lips. His hand made a shaky fist around his wand and his other followed. He frowned further at me, and I swore his eyes started to have glints of red in them. Half of me would have liked nothing better to do than push him off the edge and to have heard what he was holding back from me, but the other logical half of me said there will be dire consequences if I were to do so. Consequences in which, most likely, I would be hurt and lose Tom forever. So I stayed quiet.
A cold, threatening voice escaped Tom's lips. I wished never to hear that voice again after this day. "Go back to the house. I don't want to see you for the rest of the week. And if I do…" his head shook with fury thinking about it. At that moment, I picked up my dress and ran as home as fast as I could, without turning back once.