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Shadow of a Doubt by slytheringinny
Chapter 12 : Chapter XII - Lifeline
 
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Chapter XII - Lifeline

 

"Oh. . . OH! That doesn't feel right," Merope groaned under her own weight, struggling through the December cold, the frigid air and the tiny flakes of white snow that dropped from the sky. She clutched at her stomach, squeezing her eyes shut and stumbling through the dark, damp city streets. Snow piled up on the cracks in the cobblestone, making the ground wet and slipperly. Her health was in more danger than the baby's was. Hell, the little stupid thing wasn't supposed to come out yet! She didn't know when it was supposed to come out, but it definitely wasn't supposed to come out now! Her thoughts and her actions befuddled her own mind. She couldn’t think straight, she was angry. Angry beyond comprehension.

 

And above all, Merope Gaunt did not want this to happen to her.

 

She had struggled with the growing child in her womb since the minute the tiny little thing evolved into something demanding, health-draining, and all together powerful. It was kicking earlier than she ever thought it would be, and it was terrifyingly powerful when it did kick.

 

It.

 

Merope focused on the fact that this child, her child, was an it. It was nothing superior to her love that she had previously held for Tom, just a painful reminder of the events that had transpired. Her worn feet punched holes in the freezing, painful snow, so cold it almost seemed like a burn against her bare flesh. One hand pressed hard against her bulging stomach, in return, the ‘it’ retaliated by moving up against her spine. Merope cried out in pain. Never again, never before! Climbing, reaching, panting, Merope made her way up to the top of the large, ominous hill and fell to her knees, weak and struggling.

 

It.

 

It made her this way. And she never wanted to see it, or him again.  

 

This above all stuck in her head when a sharp pain pressed against her spine, suffocating her nerves and sending dark, giant clouds swirling over the reflective light of the snow.

 

The next thing the young, pitiful girl knew was being jostled along a hallway, barely feeling, sensing or perceiving anything around her. Her feet, bare and raw, were shuffling, her breathing labored, and oh god – her middle was tense, the bulge in her stomach …it… it wanted out. “Don’t worry, love. It’ll be over in no time and that baby o’ yours is gonna be mighty fine…”

 

Merope’s eyebrows furrowed furiously together. Baby. No, there was no baby inside of her. Just a monster. A repulsive creature that reminded her of her dirty deed and that handsome face that never loved her. A moan trembled through the hallway. It was her own moan, and upon reaching the refuge of a tiny pallet on the dirt floor in an unfinished room, the black clouds thickened.

 

Pain. So much pain! Surrounding her, engulfing her in the midst of giving a child their first breath of life. Merope felt suffocated, unable to move, to breathe, to feel! The black dots thickened at the corners of her eyesight. Where was she? Who was this woman at her feet looking up from the bulge that ravaged her spine and her bladder? Did this woman know what sort of situation they’d be getting into right now?

 

It. She wanted it gone!

 

“Just push, love…, Gertrude, darling – she’s far too small, definitely not far enough along to push on her own… She may not make it…”

 

The attendant, Merope labeled her in her head, was frowning towards another slight, healthier, pretty girl at the foot of her pallet. I might not survive? Why not?! It’s because of it, isn’t it? That damned child! Merope struggled and kicked her feet absently, with no intent and purpose. “Calm down, dear! You’ve got to push the baby out! It’s not a problem if you relax –“

 

“No,” She gasped, pulling in her struggled breath of stale, stable-like air.

 

The stocky woman paused and raised her kind brown eyes to Merope’s face, stunned. That’s the first time the young woman ever spoke, she thought, freezing with her arms at her side, dropping the wet cloth that had been brought up with the intention of wiping Merope’s dirty face clean. “What do you mean?”

 

“No.” She paused, rasping, the air that managed to find it’s way into her lungs hardly lasting for long. “I don’t want … it.”

 

“It’s your baby, dear! You’ve got to take it!”

 

Pain! Oh, Merlin, the pain! Crackling up and down her spine and into her head, the pressure exceeding her physical limits. The black dots were becoming blurry, smudging together. “No!” The squat woman, with tears in her eyes, protested profusely, but Merope would not budge. She didn’t want to see the little brat that had taken her will power, that had taken her life, and had risked her chance for love. She didn’t want it, nor did it want her.

 

It was a sacrifice she was willing to make, as the pain increased so that Merope was blind, and the only sounds she could hear were garbled cries of a newborn child, and the tears of the fat little woman with a kind aura and an innocent disposition. “…name it…boy?”

 

Merope’s brows furrowed, her breath barely audible and chest hardly able to heave.

 

“Tom… Marvolo… Riddle.”

 

“…his father…?” Merope’s head lolled to the side of her neck, twisting in sharp pangs.

 

“I hope he’s exactly like his father.”

 

A powerful, bigot of a man. Without a shadow of a doubt…

 







Author's Note: Oh, God. I feel absolutely HORRIBLE. I just finished this story, when it was started YEARS and YEARS ago. Thank heavens that I've gotten the muse after my first year of college and updated/finished it. If there are any of you that have actually followed it up until now, I praise you. ;D I'm pretty sure I lost some readers along the way for lack of updating. But here it is... the prologue, my view, on how Tom Marvolo Riddle's life began.

Nevertheless. I hope you all liked it.
<3 Ginni

 


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