Chapter image by littlemissy @ TDA
The sky was still streaked with pink and orange as Tom Marvolo Riddle made his way into the small train station. The train wasn’t due to leave for four hours still, but he wasn’t going to spend a minute more than he had to in his loathsome Muggle orphanage. Running his hand through his silky black hair, Tom loaded his tattered, second-hand trunk onto a trolley and maneuvered his way through the relatively empty station.
After spending a summer amongst whining, underfed children, Tom relished the utter silence of the station. He had been cramped in a small room he shared with nineteen other boys, all of them terrified of Tom. They were told he went to a “special school” and they had decided he was some kind of psychopath who went to an asylum. Together with the stories the children told of him when he was younger (most of them fake) he had been portrayed as an insane criminal. All he had to do was look at someone for them to cower in fear. At first, it had been entertaining, but he was sick of receiving terrified looks wherever he went.
Tom’s eyes darted around the station as he approached platforms nine and ten. With so few people, there was a greater chance of someone spotting him as he disappeared, slipping into the Wizard World for the first time in months. Tom felt strangely deprived of magic and he longed to use his wand of yew once more. Leaning casually against the barrier,
Tom fell through easily and found himself on a completely deserted platform. Even the scarlet train engine that was to take him to Hogwarts was not to be found. It didn’t matter to
Tom, however. He had plenty to do to pass the time.
From the top of his trunk, Tom extracted his school robes. A silver piece of metal fell from their folds and clattered onto the floor. Tom picked it up, a small smile playing at the corner of his lips. He had almost forgotten. He had been made a prefect this year. Tom changed into his robes; the sooner he could be rid of his filthy Muggle clothes, the better, and pinned his silver and green badge onto his robes, where it contrasted nicely with the black. He picked up a small mirror from his trunk and surveyed his appearance. Hair as black as a bat’s wing curling neatly over pale, almost white skin, dark, cold eyes and an altogether charming appearance when he smiled. Not that the smiles were ever real, but nobody had ever been able to see the contempt behind them.
Tom also took a small, black diary he had purchased recently in London and a quill and ink from his trunk. He had better plan for the diary, but for now it would serve a different, more mundane purpose. Neatly written and covering the first five pages was a compilation of everything he knew about the legend of the Chamber of Secrets. How a hidden chamber lay concealed in the depths of the school. How Slytherin had created it without the knowledge of the other three founders. And how he had hidden a monster inside, which only the heir of Slytherin would be able to control. How the monster would purge the school of all its Muggle-borns, would finally erase them from existence in Hogwarts’ esteemed halls.
Tom would never admit it, but he had begun to feel a stronger connection to Slytherin than just house loyalty. Aside from being a Parselmouth, a gift the great Salazar Slytherin himself had possessed, Tom harbored an almost obsessive need to discover all he could about Slytherin, and his own ancestry. And with Slytherin came the ever infamous Chamber of Secrets. This year, Tom was determined to find its entrance and release the monster within, whatever it may be. Tom was beginning to suspect it was a kind of snake; it would only be fitting.
As the hours passed, Tom plotted. He had been over his notes countless times, trying to find something he had missed, but he never came up with anything. But Tom was nothing if not persistent and he would continue to try. In just two or so hours, the scarlet steam engine had screeched to a stop at the platform. Tom barely batted an eyelid as it blew its whistle, but continued to pour over his notes, becoming increasingly more frustrated as he found nothing.
Amaya Fitz combed her long blonde hair in front of the large mirror in her bedroom.
Ninety-nine. One hundred.
She let the comb drop to the floor disdainfully, knowing a house-elf would be by to clean afterwards as her nimble fingers weaved her hair into a braid, pulling it away from her pale, heart-shaped face, her pale blue eyes complimented by the green tie she wore for her House at Hogwarts.
“Amaya, are you all packed?” A tall woman with graying hair stood in the doorway.
Amaya rolled her eyes, not turning around to face her mother. “Yes, I’m ready.”
“Did you pack your dress robes? I don’t want to have to send them later like I did last year.”
“I packed everything.”
“Are you sure? Maybe I’d better check.”
Amaya finally spun her chair around and glared at her mother. “Mother! I’m fifteen. I am perfectly capable of packing my own trunk!”
“I’m sure you are, dear, I’m sorry.” She swept forward and kissed
Amaya on the cheek, who turned her face away, but not quickly enough.
“It’s all right,” she muttered.
“We’re leaving in an hour.”
“Still that much time?”
“Yes. You’re ready unusually early today.”
Amaya shrugged. “I think I woke up earlier today.”
“You look very pretty today, darling.”
Amaya rolled her eyes, letting out a small groan in the hopes her mother would soon leave. Luckily, she took the hint and started out of the room.
“Okay, okay, I’m going,” She bustled out of the room and out of sight.
Amaya sighed, hiding her face from the mirror. I still have an hour. Plenty of time to go over my plans once more.
Amaya stretched out onto her bed, the silk of her duvet soft under her back. This year, she had only one goal. She was going to seduce the ever elusive Tom Riddle. So popular, even amongst the staff and non-Slytherins. So friendly, easy-going. But somehow, so distant, so secretive. He never fell for a girl, had never even kissed a girl, but Amaya was determined to change that. She had already earned a spot in Tom’s closest circle of friends, if you could call it that. It was more like a group of elite followers, fated to act as faithful inferiors by Tom’s side. Amaya had a plan worked out, and she was determined to succeed. By the end of the year, Tom would have a lover.
Amaya’s mind began to wander. From Tom’s face, to the silhouette of the castle, to the Slytherin common room. Amaya had dated before, and there were plenty of boys who would go out with her if she wanted, but last year, she had begun to think of Tom in a different way. Plenty of girls followed him, giggling and flirting, but he ignored them.
Amaya knew that getting Tom to love her wasn’t going to be easy. She had to get him to notice her, for a start. She had to spend time alone with him. And then she had to get over the hurdle of her family.
Tom was a half-blood, but Amaya didn’t care about blood status. As long as you were a wizard, who cares how you got there.
Her family was a different story. They thought only those with “pure blood” were good enough to be wizards. They had always expected her to marry one from a pure-blood family, though Amaya thought the lot of those boys were snobby and dim. It hadn’t always been that way. At one time, she had agreed with their ideals. Not anymore, though. Now, she was disgusted by them. She kept her thoughts hidden from her family, knowing it would only lead to trouble if she voiced her opinion, but she was determined to make them accept Tom. It wasn’t his fault his mum decided to marry a Muggle.
As her thoughts drifted, Amaya’s eyelids drooped farther and farther until they closed completely and she fell into slumber. A memory replayed through her mind as a dream.
Her legs felt like ice as she walked into the cavern of the Great Hall. The older students were all looking at her, right at her, even though she was surrounded by first years. It took her a while to realize it was her nerves, and that they were simply looking at their group as a whole.
A wizard with the long red hair led them to a hat sitting upon a rickety wooden stool. Amaya wondered why such a tattered looking hat would be sitting there. Then it opened its mouth and burst into song, telling the students of the four houses of Hogwarts. Amaya knew about those, of course. It was the cause for her nerves. Her family would accept nothing but Slytherin, and Amaya knew her views were drastically different from those of her parents. If she was anything other than a Slytherin, there would be nothing but trouble, but if she was in Slytherin, she would have to pretend to share her parents’ opinions for another seven years, and god only knew what they would make her do. Amaya herself wasn’t sure which option would be better, but she hated trouble of all sorts.
She looked at the students around her, most of them at least as clammy and nervous as she was, but one boy stood out in particular. He was looking haughty, not gazing about the hall in wonderment or staring at the hat with apprehension, but looking straight ahead with a confident expression. Three boys already flanked his sides, and she heard him whisper Slytherin to the other two. Suddenly, Slytherin didn’t seem like such a bad choice for a house. But Amaya thought of all the pure-blood mania she would have to endure and she was once again stuck, far from a decision of any kind.
The hat stopped singing, leading to bout of applause from the students. Amaya brought her hands together instinctively, her mind still focused on what was to come. She distinctly heard the red-haired wizard call a name from a long list, and she realized they simply had to try the hat on. Amaya still wasn’t exactly sure whether or not she wanted to be in Slytherin. Another student went up, then two, then three, and then it was her turn.
Amaya’s entire body trembled as she placed the hat on her head. To her surprise, it began whispering to her in her head.
“Ah, yes, a Fitz. Coming from a long line of Slytherins. But what’s this? Do I detect some courage? Do I detect dissent in her family’s way of life? I even detect some intelligence. This is a hard choice, a very hard choice indeed.”
“Please, don’t make me go into Slytherin.”
“Is that what you really want?”
Amaya pictured her family’s disappointed faces. “N-no.”
“Then make up your mind, Fitz. I haven’t got all day.”
“J-just put me in Slytherin.”
The hat sighed. “And I thought you may have been a Gryffindor. Goes to show that family habits really don’t change. Alright then, SLYTHERIN!”
And Amaya had smiled in spite of the shame she felt broiling in her heart.
“Amaya, wake up!”
Amaya’s eyes fluttered open. “Did I f-fall asleep?”
“Yes! We have to go!”
“S-sorry.” She rubbed her eyes, suddenly disoriented by her nap. She sat up, shaking her head to clear it of the dream and followed her mother out of the room.
Tom Riddle, here I come.
The first family slipped through the barrier and onto platform Nine and Three Quarters. Tom hastily stood from his spot on a bench and shoved the diary into his pocket. Soon, his classmates would be almost jumping on top of him, determined to out-do each other with tales of malice and mischief from the holidays. Tom put up with it, knowing these people would be useful someday, but it really was annoying. Couldn’t they see that he simply didn’t care what they had done. He stretched his cramped limbs and started watching the barrier intently, more and more students filing onto the platform. Soon, the air was filled with excited squeals and hugs and friends greeted each other once more. Tom hated the pure happiness that filled the air, but even he could not stop himself from anticipating the return to Hogwarts. It was the only place that had ever been home to him.
“Tom!” Tom turned to face a burly boy walking towards him.
“Orion Black, how are you?” Tom kept his face purposefully neutral, knowing it was prudent to have sympathies with the Black family.
“You won’t believe what I did this summer!”
Tom refrained from rolling his eyes. He effectively tuned out from Orion’s story, almost hoping another student would come and lay his own story on top. At least there was some comedic effect in that.
As the students continued to make their way onto the now crowded platform, and Tom listened to the wildest stories yet, he didn’t notice a slim blonde girl standing slightly behind his gaggle of admirers. He didn’t see her laugh out loud at the stories. He didn’t see her make her way around their circle until she laid a cool hand on his shoulder.
“Oh, Tom, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you!” Amaya said nervously. She played with the end of her braid, a nervous habit she had always hated.
Tom smoothed his tie. “That’s alright, Amaya, I wasn’t really paying attention.” Tom barely recognized the girl. She was a quiet Slytherin who never really participated in their conversations. Tom was glad for his excellent memory, as he needed to keep a good image with all the Slytherins.
Amaya tried to stop the blush from creeping onto her cheeks at the sound of his voice. It had deepened over the summer. “No, it was me. I just wanted to say hello.”
“Hello then.” Tom stopped himself from adding a sarcastic tone to his voice. Here came the idiotic story.
“Did you have a good summer?”
Tom was utterly taken aback. No one had ever cared to ask about him before. Not that his summer was ever any good, but still. “I was at the damn orphanage. My summers are never good.”
Amaya smiled sympathetically. “You should come and stay with my family next time. Parties, freedom, magic.”
“You use magic?” Tom perked up slightly. He had longed to use magic over the summer, but he had already received two minor warnings and didn’t want to push his luck.
“In the house. My parents don’t really care.”
“You’re pure-blood, right?” Tom felt slightly excited, but he tried to quash it. As much as he hated the orphanage, it wouldn’t be good to get too close to anyone.
“Yes.” Amaya blushed, wondering if Tom was just as prejudiced as the rest of the pure-bloods. But no, he couldn’t be, he was half-blood. The scary part was that she didn’t know if he was prejudiced. It struck her then how little she really did know about him.
Well there was no going back now. Tom would have to play it well, but there was no way he was going to stay anywhere but Hogwarts. “I might accept that offer.” After this, he tuned out, done with the little conversation.
Amaya smiled. “That would be really nice.” She sensed that the conversation was over and she sighed, squeezing her way in between the Lestranges and trying to focus on the conversation, but her mind was fixed on Tom’s words.
He talked to me! He talked to me! Relax. You’re not going to get anywhere if you scream at his every word, even if he did agree to stay with you over the summer. Well, he said might, but that has a damn good chance of meaning a yes. Of course, with Tom, nothing’s ever guaranteed to be what it seems, but it’s a thread to hold on to. It’s going to work, it has to work.
Tom’s ears suddenly perked up at a three spoken words three feet from him.
“What was that?” he asked Cygnus Black. “What did you just say about the Chamber of Secrets?”
“A bunch of family friends were trying to find out where it might be when they were drunk at one point during the summer. It was mostly a load of dragon dung, I think someone suggested the monster within would be a pixie, but they did come up with one point. They decided it would be located under the school. I mean Slytherin loved dungeons and such, so his Chamber would be even farther down.”
Tom felt a rush of disappointment. He had deduced that several years ago. He feigned a smile. “Oh, that’s…interesting.” A master of his emotions, even Tom could not mask his disappointment this time.
Cygnus looked a little disheartened, but he continued anyway. “Well they also figured the entrance to the chamber would be marked by a snake. You know, being Slytherin’s mark and everything. And it would have to be in a really common part of the castle. Everyone would think to look in hidden passageways and stuff, but no one would think to look, say in the Slytherin dormitories.”
“I’ve actually never thought of that.” Tom’s spirits brightened considerably. He had always known the entrance would be marked by a snake, but he had never thought to look in common places.
“Wait, why do you spend time thinking about the Chamber of Secrets?”
Tom realized his mistake too late. “Er, no, I don’t, not really. I just found the legend a few years ago and made a list of everything I could think of about it, but I never came up with that. It was just for fun when I did it though.”
Cygnus looked satisfied by the answer. “Would be interesting to find it though. They say only the heir of Slytherin can, but I bet I could.”
This was the signal for the other students to begin piping in, arguing why they’d be most likely to find the Chamber. Tom stepped back, considering this new piece of information. This year, he’d comb every floorboard to find the entrance. But for now, it was time to play the popular, charming Tom Riddle everyone adored.
He gestured to the others. “Let’s find a compartment, shall we?”
There was a rush to follow Tom as he walked onto the train. They all wanted to be in Tom’s compartment, and there just wasn’t enough room. Tom seemed oblivious to the minor fights behind him, and instead continued to duck into various compartments until he found an empty one.
He slid the door open, barely making it inside before a stampede of feet followed as everybody tried to earn a spot in Tom’s compartment. Amaya pushed past several giggling girls and managed to gain a spot on a bench just before the door closed. To her surprise and delight, she was directly next to Tom, their elbows almost touching in the cramped compartment. But he turned away from her and began to talk to Eustace Lestrange. Amaya knew she would be lucky to get a few words in to Tom. He was much too popular for his own good, and hers as well.
She looked at the inhabitants of the compartment. She recognized most of them by face, not name, until she spotted one familiar face in the opposite corner.
Standing, her spot filled almost immediately, Amaya walked over to a bright freckled face and squeezed herself in next to her.
“Amaya! I thought you had abandoned me!”
Amaya grinned. She was used to her overly dramatic friend. “Well it’s nice to see you too, Anabel.”
“I haven’t seen you all summer. I thought I was going to DIE of boredom.”
“What, you actually had time between flirting with every boy in London?” Anabel was also known for moving through boys faster than you could name them.
“I needed to talk to a girl. Like, you know, about chocolate. Boys don’t understand chocolate.”
“They don’t know what they’re missing out on,” Amaya replied with a grin.
“I’ve missed you so much!” Anabel embraced Amaya in a tight hug, which she returned gratefully.
“I really hate saying it, but I missed you too.”
“I have SO much to tell you.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not alone.”
Anabel rolled her eyes dramatically. “Fine, fine, I guess I’ll just have to wait for tonight. You can’t escape me that easily in the dorms.”
“Yes, fine, but let’s get there quickly. Before everyone else comes in.”
“It’s a plan,” Anabel said with a smirk. “I have quite a bit to tell you, too.”
“Talk quickly then. I refuse to say a word when the other girls are around.”
Anabel’s eyes sparkled. “This must be a pretty big secret, then.”
Amaya grinned. In spite of everything, she loved Anabel to death.
Amaya’s eyes flitted towards Tom, taking a second too long to gaze at his obsidian eyes. Anabel noticed her immediately.
“So Tom has a part in this, eh?”
Amaya blushed. “Maybe,” she sang.
"Do I get to know anything before tonight?”
“Not a word!”
Anabel sighed. “It was worth a try…”
But Amaya was no longer paying attention. Her eyes were fixed on Tom’s luminescent face. No matter what, she wanted him.
A/N: Hello, and thanks for checking out this story! It's my first novel, and I'm really excited about it. There's a lot coming...promise. I'd love to know what you think of it, so reviews would be amazing! Thank you again!
Edit March 2012; The first few chapters of this are now undergoing edits, so feedback would be especially great.