Chapter 1 : Merope
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A/N: This story follows the relationship of Merope Gaunt and Tom Marvolo Riddle, including her use of a love spell on him. It's all in canon but it's an obscure pairing so I didn't think it would hurt to put it in context for you before you read :)
I would tell the world that I did it because I love you, loved you. Was it so very wrong a thing to do? Perhaps. But you gave me breath when I had none, and that was all the reason I needed.
I am surrounded, breathing in dust where there should be air. But I do not mind the discomfort, for my body craves something far more tangible in this moment. I peek an eye through the small clear space in a plain of grimy glass, to gaze upon you.
And I do not care that I am hidden behind the aged and unclean curtains; I pretend that I am the girl who is with you as you gaze up at this house. Her laugh is tinkling, and yours is deep. And I think how soft and warm a sound it is, the texture of it rubs against me and I want to close my eyes and revel in its beauty.
But the moment is broken as they call my name. Again. Again. Again.
The locket is heavy against my throat; its weight presses deeper into me and settles in my heart, broken and feeble as it is. For it is my burden, a reminder of all the differences between us. All the reasons this is wrong.
It is not a thought that worries you, for you do not know who I am, though I have only ever been yours. Yet it is the one the plagues me most, in the day when they are gone and the house is quiet, in the night when I am alone, when I fall prey to coveted untruths.
I picture you, perfect as you are, whispering in my ear soft words, husky words. Broken words that tell me that you need me. Words that make me cry.
But as each day slips to night, I think how much I want it to be real.
And I think, perhaps it will be. Somehow.
The sun beats hot and strong upon you, and I know that this is my moment. I do not want to lie to you but I think it only right. We need just this one chance, and then you will realise what it is you want. And I know that must be me.
I sense your discomfort, as we walk through the shadow of leaf and tree that leads to the old house. You have never been this way and I know you find it eerie. But it is curiosity that leads you down this path; it is curiosity that leads you to me.
I watch with greedy eyes as you sip, and flush to feel your gaze upon me. Your tongue catches the last drop that pools in the centre of your lip, and though you do not know what it is you do to me, very soon you will.
I watch as your lips part on a ragged breath, and your eyes darken to night.
And I know the time is now.
The wind gushes through our hair, whipping it in a frenzied dance around our faces. And all we do is laugh. We are above the world for all our happiness as we take flight from the dark truth of our old lives.
Your hand holds mine, tender and warm, and I hear you laugh again. Only this time it is for me, and I own it with all my soul.
We run for hours and know that we are free. And when we stop to settle we do not care about the cold, dank earth on which we lie, for we have each other. And I know it is enough. It is everything.
I used to think you beautiful, and you were. But not as you are now. Now you are luminous, and I feel as though I am lovely just for being near you. The weight of your body holding mine reminds me that you are real.
You're real and you're here and you're mine.
The streets beyond this tiny room are dark and uninviting, and we close the curtains on their ghostly shadows. Instead we focus on each other; it is all that we can do. For this yearning is not just from me, it comes from you as well.
You tell me that I'm beautiful, and run your fingers through my hair. You steal my breath with your kisses, but it is yours to take. Your fingers bite into my arms, urgent and demanding, and I crumble as dust to your touch.
It is not as I imagined; it is so much more. You mark me with your mouth, and I feel your breath against my skin. It raises the downy hair that shivers in the wake of what we do here. Muscle contracts beneath skin that is damp and I thrill to feel it moving over me. And when you pause to remove the fabric from around me, I feel my heart contract and stop, for fear that what you see you will not like.
But you kiss my fears away. You kiss my tears away.
And when you finally take me, the pain is strange and wonderful. And though I feel I burn beneath your touch, the feeling is exquisite.
Your fingers dance like little feet across my now stretched skin; they beat a rhythm that speaks of warmth and welcome. And though there is no movement in response, you know that there soon will be.
The sheets are rumpled beneath us, and there are marks upon the walls. I wonder at times if you notice or if you care, because you are so fine a man. You appear at odds with this small place. But you never seem to care, and so I try not to either.
I tell myself it shows that you are happy here, and I can see it in your face. You are not bitter like they were. You are not unhappy with our lot. And I think I know what that must mean. I take comfort in the thought.
You turn your cheek against my skin and raise your eyes to me. Deep and dark and earnest. They pin me to my place.
But when I comb my fingers through your hair, they close and the shadow of your lashes fans across your skin as you press firm lips to my midriff. It is a reverent caress, one that warms the heart of me.
And you whisper soft words between your kisses. I love you. I love you. I love you.
And I know it must be true.
As I stir the liquid, I watch its murky depths. I wonder if this is right, or whether it is wrong. It swishes in the cup, as dark and deep as ever, and I think I understand what it does to you.
What it will always do. For though I know your love for me, you scare me with its strength. Your eyes are ever dark and disturbed, they glaze with a violence, with a need that I know and understand. Though I have only ever known the softness of your touch.
Something eats a way at you, and I break each time I watch. You call my name again, again, in ragged urgent tones. And I kiss your brow and hold you tight to me, and promise I am here. I promise I won't leave.
But as I watch the liquid brew, I know that I must stop. I know that I must heal you.
And though there is a part of me that wonders what you'll do, I know that you must stay with me.
Because you are mine and I am yours. Your Merope.
The air is dull and thick, and it is as sand and dust in my throat. I do not want to swallow it, though I know I must. I huddle in my corner, shielded from the light, and wait. I wait for you and no one else; I know you will return.
You must return.
And while I wait, I rub cold fingers across my swollen stomach and feel the warmth of life beneath my hands. I whisper to our little one, to tell him of his future, of his father, of this world. I tell him all our stories and sing him broken songs.
And still I wait. And still you have not come.
I walk through wind and biting cold. Windows are shuttered, and doors are closed. And I walk on.
With heavy footsteps, with heavy heart, I climb up stone cold stairs. A wooden door, a knock, and there are voices. They talk to me and tell me things I do not understand. I only think that it is warm here, it is safe here.
The pain comes sharp and fast, a wound to my core. The tears that stream across my cheeks are silent calls for you, though you are not here. I think despite it all you must be missing me, you must be missing us.
You are lost, wherever you are. And I will find you soon.
The voices whirl around me, at times focused and others not. I fear I am not strong like you, I am not master to this pain. Small black tendrils curl in my vision, calling me to slumber. And I want so much to succumb.
And I do.
And when I open eyes to see where I have come, I see only him. And he is perfect.
I find I cannot reach my arms to touch him, though he is beautiful to watch. They bring his face up to my own, and I know that this is love. I feel as though I have you back again.
I want to lie and watch his fingers curl in his sleep, the way I once watched you. But I cannot, for something dark and inviting calls to me now, it promises to ease the pain, to let me close my eyes and preserve this quiet moment.
I know that I will, and I know my love is safe.
Because I know that he is special, as his father was.