Chapter image by tr
ésor @ TDA
When the train finally rolled to a stop, the sound of rain hitting the pavement was evident. Students wrapped their cloaks tightly around themselves and hurried into the dry carriages waiting to take them to the school while the first years looked on jealously.
Amaya had never paid attention to the sorting hat’s song. It was always almost the same, simply comparing the houses and listing the traits of each. She almost wished it would do something really different for a change. She clapped listlessly with the others of her house as the first years each tried on the hat, not really paying
attention to the new students.
Anabel nudged her in the side. “Oi, Amaya, food’s here.”
Amaya jumped. “What? Oh, right.” She ran her hands through her hair and picked up her fork, dropping it promptly. It landed with a sharp thunk!
Anabel smirked. “Thinking about a certain someone?”
“Be quiet, he’s right here!”
“So it was him then.”
“Will you be quiet!”
“I really can’t wait for tonight now…”
“Well can you please hold it in for another hour?”
The two sat in silence for a few minutes, eating listlessly. The entire hall sounded like a buzz, punctuated every now and then by a high pitched shriek or the sound of metal hitting metal as utensils were frequently dropped onto the polished plates.
After Amaya had nearly finished eating all of her potatoes, Anabel spoke again.
“So who’s the other Slytherin prefect?”
“Well, Tom, of course.” There had been no doubt in any of the minds of the Slytherins that Tom would become a prefect. There was scarcely a person in the school who didn’t like him.
“I know that! It’s why I said other!” As for the female prefect, all the fifth year girls were vying to get the spot. It would mean many evenings patrolling the corridors alone with Tom. Amaya had been disappointed when her Hogwarts letter had arrived without a badge signaling she had been made prefect, and she had been only slightly mollified to hear that Anabel hadn’t received the honor either.
“Oh, er, I have no clue.” Amaya looked at the girls sitting around her. “Ella McLiddel, maybe?”
“Nah, she’s had too many detentions.” Anabel waved the suggestion away. Ella was famous for talking back to teachers. She was just as intelligent as Tom in many ways, but she didn’t have his quiet charm and instead spoke out much too often in class. She frequently spent her Friday night in detention.
“But she’s top of the class.” When Anabel still didn’t look impressed, Amaya continued. “Who do you think it is, then?
“Er, it’s more likely to be Justine Roberts.”
“Her? She’s an idiot! Too thick to tell a troll from a banshee!” Justine was just about the opposite of Ella. Though she had never once been in detention, teachers were frequently telling her to try harder in class. The students, on the other hand, knew that she tried hard enough, but she simply wasn’t good at doing spells.
“But she’s a little goody-two-shoes,” Anabel said after a moment’s consideration. “Dippet likes that.”
“So? Who knows how she passed her exams! Dippet would never pick her!”
Anabel bowed her head slightly in agreement. “Well it definitely won’t be Lidya Scamander. All the teachers hate her.”
Anabel nodded. Lidya had never been one of the contenders. She had neither Ella’s intelligence nor Justine’s ability to stay out of trouble. “I still think it’s Ella.”
“Let’s just ask her then!”
Amaya sighed. “Fine, you ask.”
Anabel flipped her hair. “Fine. Oi, Ella!”
Ella turned her head impatiently. “What?”
“You the other Slytherin prefect?”
Ella blushed. “Yeah, it’s me.” She leaned across the table and dropped her voice to a whisper. “Only reason I didn’t ask Dippet to let me resign is I get to patrol with Tom twice a week!” She squealed excitedly.
Amaya flushed, suddenly hating Ella with every pore of her being. It was no secret that she liked Tom, of course. Who didn’t? But something about the way she had said the last sentence made Amaya want to hex her. She took a deep breath, forcing herself to cool down. She couldn’t afford to be rude to the one person who would be close to Tom. Better to become friends with her, and get to know Tom through her.
So instead, Amaya smiled sweetly. “That’s great. Hey, would you mind giving us the password?”
Ella returned her smile. “Sure. It’s Rat’s Tail. Are you leaving already?”
Amaya gave Anabel a meaningful look before answering. “Yes, I’m getting tired. And Dippet’s speeches are never worth listening to.”
Ella chuckled, turning back to her other friends. Glad to be rid of her, the flush finally subsiding in her cheeks, Amaya pulled Anabel up from the table and out of the Great Hall.
As soon as they were out of sight, Anabel stopped.
“What, do you really hate her or something?” she asked quietly.
Amaya looked surprised. “Who? Ella? Why do you say that?”
“Because you were bright red the entire time you were talking to her and your fist was clenched under the table,” she said simply.
Amaya sighed. “Was it really that obvious?”
“I don’t know, something about the way she was talking about Tom just got to me.”
At this, Anabel laughed. “Wow, you really fell for this guy. Come on, hurry back to the dorms and tell me everything.”
Amaya grinned, turning to follow her friend.
Tom lounged back in his chair, listening to the conversation, but not really hearing a word that was said. He couldn’t help but smile at this old castle. From the twinkling lights from the candles above to the long wooden tables set with silver plates heaping with the finest food prepared by the house-elves, this felt like home to him. It was so close to being perfect, and he intended to take the final step to accomplish what Salazar Slytherin had started.
Feeling full for the first time in ages, Tom sipped pumpkin juice from a silver goblet as his classmates discussed the most superficial of things. They quite honestly bored him to tears most of the time. He glanced at the High Table, wondering if Dippet would make a speech this year. He yearned to get away from the hall and get back to his dorm where he would be able to do some planning in quiet.
Being back here is the only slight happiness in my life right now. I need to find the Chamber. Once the mudbloods die, this school will be clean and I will have fulfilled Salazar Slytherin’s purpose. And this is only the start. But one step at a time. I mustn’t get ahead of myself. Think about right now, Tom. What am I supposed to be doing right now? I’m a prefect. I have to take the first years to the common room.
Once it was clear that Dippet was not going to make a speech, and the first few students had left the hall, Tom stood up and clapped his hands.
“First years! Over here, please. First years, gather around me!”
There was the sound of scraping of benches as the first years stood from their seats and approached Tom timidly. He smiled at them. Ella, too, stood and joined him at the front of the line.
“Right then, if you’ll all follow me, the common room is right this way.”
Tom led the way out of the Great Hall and down the flight of stairs that would take them to the dungeons. He turned along a narrow corridor and stopped at an empty stretch of wall.
“Now then, the password is rat’s tail. You’ll all have to remember it.”
At the sound of the password, the stones in the wall split, revealing a narrow archway and the first years flooded into the common room, looking about their surroundings with awe. Tom nearly gave them a real smile, thinking about when he first stepped into the room.
Tom thought that no other common room could hope to be as nice as the Slytherin one. As they were under the lake, the stone walls were tinged with an eerie green light and shadows danced along the walls. Even though they were in the dungeons, the room was always the warmest part of the castle. Several black leather couches and armchairs were scattered artistically around the room, and deep mahogany tables sat by them for the students to do homework. The plush rugs lining the floor completed the effect.
Taking one look at the crowded common room, Tom realized this was his last chance to be alone in his dorm for the night. He took the stairs two at a time, through open his dormitory door, and breathed a sigh of relief when he was it was empty. He cast a look about the room, glancing at his trunk at the foot of his bed. Then he stepped into the center of the room and closed his eyes, envisioning a snake.
“Hiss-ah-shah…” A terrible, strangled, hissing noise erupted from Tom’s throat. Only he would be able to understand what it meant: open.
Nothing happened. Tom wasn’t really expecting anything to come out of it, but he thought he might as well try. Nevertheless, he would continue to search until his pleas were answered.
Tom flopped onto his bed, thinking he might as well have an early night so he could get an early start in the morning and have some time before classes started. He drew the green hangings around his bed closed and closed his eyes, falling into an easy slumber after his previous early morning.
Tom strode onto the Hogwarts Express. Already, students had formed groups to sit with. Finally, he was receiving the chance to use his power, his gift. He would finally be able to interact with people like him. He would never feel strange, or out of place again.
Tom walked into a compartment filled with quiet first years.
“Excuse me, is it alright if I sit here?”
“Sure thing,” said a burly boy in the back corner. Tom eased himself onto the only remaining seat.
“You already changed?” asked a girl with dark hair and freckles.
Tom glanced at his black school robes. “Yes. I wasn’t sure when we had to be in uniform.”
“Muggle-born?” the girl asked.
“What’s a Muggle?” Tom asked sharply.
“Non-magic folk. And if you don’t know what a Muggle is, you definitely have them as parents.” She turned up her nose slightly at the last bit, and Tom suddenly felt a bit panicked.
“I-I don’t know what I am. I’m an orphan. But I think my dad was a wizard. My mum couldn’t have been; she died while giving birth to me. A witch would have been able to save herself, right?”
“Yes, probably. You might be able to find a record of your father at Hogwarts. Do you know anything about him?”
“His name. We share the same name.”
“And that would be?”
“Tom. Last name, Riddle.”
“Nice to meet you, Tom Riddle. I’m Justine Roberts.”
Tom found the students to be perfectly amiable on the train ride. It was much longer than he expected it to be, and it was dark when the train finally rolled to a stop. He made to grab his trunk, but Justine stopped him.
“The house-elves will bring it in. Don’t worry about it.”
“What’s a house-elf?”
“They’re like the servants of the wizard world.”
Tom nodded. He stepped onto the platform outside and gazed at his surroundings. He seemed to be on the outskirts of a village. Tom wondered how they could exist so closely to a school of magic. Or maybe the school was father away, and they were simply changing trains or something of that sort.
“First years! First years over here please!” came a shout from Tom’s left. He followed the sound of the voice uncertainly, ending up beside a stout man and a lake full of boats. “Four to a boat, please! Come on, everybody in!”
Tom was shunted into a boat with the burly boy from the train, who his name he had learned was Eustace, and two girls he didn’t recognize. Tom looked around for a sail, or oars, but he found none. He realized the boat must move with magic. Just as he thought it, the boat lurched forward and started speeding into the darkness.
“Alright, you’ll be seeing Hogwarts here in a minute. Just around this bend.”
And then a brilliant silhouette of a castle appeared over the horizon. The windows were alive with bright, yellow light and it was clearly enormous. Tom oohed with the rest of the students as the boats pulled into a dock. They all clambered out and followed the man up a winding path to the castle where they were greeted by a man with long auburn hair and an even longer auburn beard.
“Welcome to Hogwarts,” he said. “In just a moment, you’ll be sorted into one of four houses. You will stay in this house for the seven years you are at Hogwarts. Good behavior will earn points for your house while misdemeanors will cause your house to loose points. I hope you will all be an asset to the house you are in. Now…follow me please.”
He led the way through a giant set of doors and into a colossal hall, lit with candles. The ceiling looked like the night sky outside, and four long tables were filled with students. The man brought a stool into the middle of the hall and laid a tattered, shabby hat on top. The students were confused until the hat began to sing.
The hat told of the four houses in Hogwarts: Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Gryffindor. After its song was over, the hall burst into applause and the students were called one by one to try on the hat.
By the time it was Tom’s turn, only four students remained unsorted.
Tom walked forward to the stool. He wasn’t exactly confident, but he wasn’t nervous either. He lifted the hat from its stool and brought it down upon his head, but right as it touched his hair, it screamed, “SLYTHERIN!” The table on the far left exploded into applause and Tom set the hat down, feeling rather cocky. The hat hadn’t been that quick with anyone else. And as he sat down, he knew he was going to make his house proud.
“Tell me everything.”
Anabel looked at Amaya eagerly, waiting for her to spill.
Amaya, however, looked away and sighed, biting her lip. “Well…” she began, “there’s not much to tell, to be honest. I mean, it’s Tom. Who doesn’t like Tom?”
Anabel looked slightly disappointed. “Yes, but you seem to be a bit more than just infatuated.”
Amaya looked away again, buying time for herself. To tell the truth, she didn’t really know when her feelings had gone from infatuation to something more. She didn’t even know what she felt for Tom.
“I suppose…I suppose I just want to prove that I can get him to like me. I want him to lo-like me as much as I like him.”
“Wait…so all you want to do is prove a point?” Anabel asked curiously.
“No!” Amaya said quickly, then paused. “Well, partly, I suppose. I want people to know that the famous Tom Riddle fell for me. But I like him, I really do. It’s not just that I want to prove a point. I really do want to, well, I want to have a future with him.”
Anabel sighed. “Do you really, Amaya? Think about that. Your parents are going to expect you to marry some rich pure blood for status and money. They’re not going to like the idea of you marrying a half blood with no status, no wealth, no nothing. You have a brilliant future, all planned out for you. A schoolgirl crush is fine, but a future with him. Think about that.”
Amaya’s mouth hung open slightly, not knowing how to respond. She knew that her parents wouldn’t really approve, but she had been determined to make them see sense. The way Anabel had said it though, like she was resigned to her fate, like she was happy with her fate. It didn’t make sense. But she wanted to have a future with Tom. She wanted to grow up and get married and have children.
She wondered, though, if that was even possible with Tom. He was so ambitious, yet he had never talked about the future. He had never said anything about what he wanted to be when he grew up. Amaya had always imagined he would be a top ranking Ministry official, or even the Minister of Magic, but now that she thought about it, Tom had never said that he would want to go into the Ministry. For all she knew, his life’s dream was to work in a shop in Diagon Alley.
The thought unsettled her.
Before she could say anything, Anabel spoke again.
“Anyways, there’s nothing that should stop you from pursuing your love now,” she said with a smile. “And enough about you, I have some news too!”
Amaya grinned, letting the previous thoughts leave her mind. “And…?”
“So you know Cygnus Black, right?”
“Well, we went to the Blacks’ house over the summer once for some business deal of Daddy’s, and I ended up talking to Cygnus a lot, and well, he’s actually really nice,” Anabel said, all in one breath.
“Does someone else have a little love interest?” Amaya asked with a smirk.
It was Anabel’s turn to blush. “He’s really handsome and strong and I really do like him. I can only hope that everything will work out, though. Couldn’t you see us together?”
Amaya smiled. “I could. I really could.”
Edit March 2012; This chapter's author's note was originally very short, so I just got rid of it :P Thank you for reading, however. Out of all the chapters, this has changed most from the original so I hope you enjoy!