Chapter 1 : Don't Look Back
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Authors Note: This is my second attempt at fanfiction in a long time, my first if you count using canon characters, so comments and critique are much appreciated. Thank you for reading! :)
gorgeous image by somuch at tda.
It was 1944 and Germany was in chaos. Bombs were falling haphazardly on the towns, leaving pandemonium and disaster in their wake. Sirens roared overhead, drowning out the terrified screams of the frantic people on the ground. The air was thick with black smoke, choking the city inhabitants who bravely left their houses in an attempt to continue on with their normal lives. The German soldiers stalked the streets, terrorising the people, swastikas hanging on their military uniform. Many people escaped from the cities, searching for a quiet life in the countryside, where the war was less evident, the sirens almost inaudible.
Minerva had been foolish. She had escaped a blitzed Britain and found herself in an even worse Germany. She had left to get away from him. Anything was better than being on the same island, even if it meant witnessing a devastating war firsthand. She had her wand to protect her from the bombs and capturing, but nothing would protect or heal her broken heart. Not even magic would charm it back together, no matter how competent a witch she was. He had hurt her more than any Muggle contraption ever could; she had loved him and he had let her down.
Silent tears streamed down Minerva’s face as she stared through the window. Her eyes were unseeing; the beauty of the untarnished greenery invisible to her. Her mind was set on the past, remembering all the good times she’d had with him. He was perfect in every way: handsome, charming, intelligent and a great sorcerer. But he was different now. He had changed from the person she‘d fallen in love with all those years ago. The boy she had met her second year in Hogwarts was nothing like the man she was running from; it was as if he had been corrupted, as if he had been charmed.
Minerva remembered their first meeting as if it was yesterday.
She was in the library, alone, writing a Transfiguration essay. She hadn’t heard him approach, as engrossed in her work as she was. It had taken a haughty cough from him to grab her attention. Minerva recalled the heat she felt rise up her face when she glanced into his eyes. They had sparkled, she was certain of it and, from that glance, he had her full attention. He had only wanted information on where to find a textbook, but Minerva was enamoured. She didn’t even realise that he was wearing Slytherin robes; she was simply too distracted by his eyes, his mouth, the velvet-like tone of his voice, his confidence, his everything.
If only she had noticed the robe, it would’ve saved her a lot of heartache.
Minerva continued meeting him for several weeks after the library. They talked about all things; he seemed very interested in her magical parents and she was intrigued by his Muggle upbringing. She remembered him stating that he always knew that he was special, something more than his Muggle counterparts. She remembered her housemates whispering about her relationship with a Slytherin, but she had ignored it. She could be friends with who she desired. He was not evil, not then.
She shook her head at that memory; if only she had known how he would change, she would’ve listened. She was stubborn, not stupid. Minerva mopped the tears from her drenched face, trying to control her emotions. She was supposed to be strong, infallible, focusing on her future, not hoping for the past. It was useless, though, the memories kept streaming through her consciousness, grief and heartbreak a constant companion.
She remembered helping him research his ancestry during her fifth year. He was becoming distant, even then, but her support and help kept him tied to her. They were still friends then, though Minerva was infatuated with him. He was her addiction, her vice, but she had never asked if he felt the same way. She was content with just his friendship back then. She was content that he was leaving his cronies, his followers of sorts, for her, even if it was only because she helped him.
Minerva recalled all the information they had uncovered. It was such a shock to her to find out that he was actually from magical blood. Even though he had always denied it, claiming he was better than other Muggles, she thought that his parents were actually Muggles.
After that discovery, he isolated himself even more. He began leaving her out of his life, spending more time with the Slytherins she despised. She tried continually to get his attention, by owl, by notes, by blatantly waving in hallways, and even shouting after him on one occasion, but he had still ignored her. She didn’t understand at the time. She thought they were friends. Minerva thought he valued their friendship as much as she did.
Minerva had tried not to think about him after that, it was obvious that he didn’t want her, but it proved impossible, he kept slithering his way into her thoughts, as unwanted as he was. She couldn’t concentrate on her study when she was focusing on him, so she had decided to talk to him once more.
She recalled that confrontation vividly. It was her sixth year and Hogwarts was in chaos. The Chamber of Secrets had been opened, a Ravenclaw killed, a strange boy with a fascination for creatures expelled. Hogwarts was in threat of being shut down by the Ministry, which would’ve been a travesty to the magical world.
Minerva had watched him for weeks, trying to find the perfect moment to stop him. She needed to know, needed to confess her feelings in the hope that he would feel the same way. She had hoped that he was being tortured the way she was with their lack of communication. She had followed him everywhere. Minerva found his constant visits to the girls bathroom odd, but assumed he was simply meeting another girl there and that was why he no longer wanted to see her.
A sob broke through Minerva’s chest as she remembered thinking that was a possibility.
She had cornered him, finally, as he left the bathroom a week after the murder of the girl. She recalled the look on his face as he caught sight of her. He seemed terrified, anxious. Minerva had assumed he was terrified of the upcoming conversation, yearning to be more than friends. However, he had seemed petrified that he was caught coming out of the bathroom. She had found that strange but, to her, there were more important matters at hand: their relationship.
“What is your problem? What’s going on?” she had demanded. He had avoided her question at the time, but she recalled him trying to calm her, trying to move her away from the bathroom. She had obliged, wanting answers. Finally, when they were in a separate corridor, he had answered her questions. He tried to satisfy her, telling her that he wanted to still be friends, but had been wrapped up in other things; his prefect duties, his studies, his ‘friends’.
Minerva recalled the sheer joy that made her abandon all sense and reserve at the time. She practically jumped on him, touching his lips with hers. His body turned rigid; nervous, shocked. He had pushed her away. She had not understood why, she still didn’t understand why. He was changing, even then.
He didn’t want her, but she wanted him.
She recalled him leaving, turning his back on her. She continued to pursue him. She sent him letters, to which he finally replied. He’d sounded terse, but at least he had replied. Minerva continued sending him letters all through the summer holidays. She asked him, her friend, if she could visit him in London. He had said no, that he was busy. She wanted to know what was so important, but he then stopped replying.
The memories were becoming tough for Minerva to handle. They were creeping up on her, almost bringing her to the present. They were getting more painful as they progressed. Her heartbreak intensified. She felt like a failure. Lonely. She went to sit on a chair, her back to the window. If she was going to remember the toughest bit, she needed to be sitting. Being seated would hopefully help her resolve the situation, help her think.
It was the end of her Seventh Year and she decided to approach him once more. She had missed him immensely. Missed his charming smile, the intensity of his dark eyes, the velvet of his voice. When she looked at him though, Minerva no longer saw the boy she was besotted with. He was different then. His eyes had always been dark, but she remembered them being darker that time, more sinister.
A stabbing feeling ripped through Minerva’s body. This was the part she didn’t want to remember, the memory that had made her abandon her family, her home, her future. Inwardly taking a deep breath, she allowed her subconscious to take over; if she didn’t allow herself to remember, she would not be able to resolve her emotions. She needed to accept it and discover the meaning to be able to move on. She couldn’t halt her life because of love.
His eyes, cold and dark, had surveyed her with distaste. His lip had curled in contempt. She remembered cowering beneath his gaze, fear twisting her insides. She had to ask him, though. She had needed to know, once and for all, his feelings for her. Even though he had changed, Minerva believed that she could fixed him. Love would’ve helped him, helped them both. She remembered believing that they were two pieces of a jigsaw, meant to be together.
“Do you love me?” Minerva had asked him. It had been a question she had been pondering from the age of fourteen. She deserved to know.
“No,” he had replied, before turning on his heels. He had left her standing there on her own, unsure what to do. His betrayal was a curse, he had deceived her. She would never forgive him. She could never speak to him again. Minerva had decided to run and never look back.
She would not shed a single tear for him again. Tom Riddle was history.