Tom gritted his teeth and tried to tune out the meaningless conversation swamping him from all sides. He was done. He was frustrated, tired, and he needed to start carrying out his plan, but he was instead swarmed with a gaggle of students. He didn’t even know what would come next. They’d be begging to kiss his arse literally instead of doing it in the metaphorical sense. But power came with a price, and he would not be one of those too weak to seek it.
Still, it had only become worse over the years.
He had become a favorite of the staff within his first month at Hogwarts. His willingness to learn and his natural charm, coupled with his skill had enabled him to rise to the top of his class. He was so friendly, always offering to help another student or clean up after a class. It still surprised him that no one saw through it. Why would he, a wizard prodigy, ever bother with the less talented? In a world like this, they’d only drag him down.
The students had taken longer to warm to him. They resented him for being in Slytherin when he wasn’t a pureblood. At first, they called him out as a Muggle born. He now knew he was a Half-Blood, of course, but he chose not to emphasize that. He wasn’t proud of having a Muggle for a father. On top of that, he had to share his filthy, common place name. But the Slytherins knew he wasn’t the usual mold of a Slytherin, so they became icy towards him. Eventually, once they had seen the extent of his skill and learned of his magical parent, they had begun to warm to him. The girls seemed to be attracted to his looks and his ease, while the boys were attracted to his easy power. He had enjoyed the attention, after never getting any in the orphanage. No positive attention, in any case. But he soon found himself a group of admirers.
Over the course of a few months, they had become fiercely loyal to him. But he used them, put up with them, only for the power they gave him. They were nothing more than tools, weapons, to use at his disposal. He kept them close.
It had been nice at first. They would have done anything for him, but they respected his privacy and his space. As time passed, he got no such luxuries, unfortunately enough. He was constantly surrounded. He put up with them for the benefits alone.
But it was hard when they were so bloody annoying. He stood up finally, unable to take the constant chatter anymore. The group around him fell silent.
“Just one second. I have to return something to Slughorn.” He left before they could ask any more questions, touching the vial of potion in the pocket of his robes. His looked straight ahead, avoiding the gaze of anyone else in the room. Stepping through the wall and into the hallway of the dungeons, Tom took a deep breath, glad to let his guard down. Now he just had to find a first year.
Amaya watched Tom from a distance, as usual. Always from a distance. Never closer. She sighed, gazing at the soft grey of his eyes. They weren’t bright and alive as they usually were, for some reason. Instead they were dull, reserved, exhausted. Her eyebrows wrinkled, creasing her forehead. Something wasn’t right. Tom never looked exhausted.
But the people around him didn’t notice. Just kept on with their petty affections.
Amaya’s heart began to flutter. Now was her chance. Now she could finally show him that she wasn’t like the others. That she really cared about him as a person.
She laid down her quill, hands shaking slightly as a thousand fantasies played through her head. She would walk up to him and ask him what was wrong. If he was tired. If she could do anything for him. And then he’d smile his adorable smile and thank her for noticing. And then maybe he’d ask her to go for a walk around the grounds, just to clear his head, and of course, she would say yes. And everything would spiral from there.
A slow grin spreading across her face, Amaya tried to hold in her excitement as she stood up, just as Tom did. She took a step forward, but Tom was already moving across the room. For a brief moment, her eyes lit up as she saw him coming towards her, but then he walked right past her without so much as a glance in her direction.
She slumped back into her seat, sighing and putting her face in her hands. There went that plan. Now she had no hope of convincing him.
Nothing ever went right when it came to Tom. She glanced behind her, hoping to see that Tom was still in the room, but he was gone. A piece of blank parchment and a quill caught her attention, and slowly, an idea began to form.
If she could never find him alone, she would have to talk to him in other ways. He couldn’t ignore more concrete forms of communication, like a letter. She grinned, wondering why she had never thought of it before. She could quite easily slip him a letter, and he would have to pay attention to it.
Even more, she wouldn’t make a fool of herself in a letter. She could draft it out thirty times if she wanted. And she wouldn’t become red faced and sweaty and start stuttering.
But a letter was so boring. Would he think that she didn’t care enough to talk to him in person? A letter was impersonal, in a lot of ways. She had to find a way to make it different.
And then it hit her.
She would write to him anonymously, leaving little hints as to what her identity was. She would make him guess as to who she was. And eventually, when she was ready and when she was sure that he had a good idea as to who she was, she would tell him to meet her somewhere.
Amaya was certain that this plan would work.
Eleven crumpled sheets of parchment later, Amaya decided that her note would suffice.
I love the way your eyes gleam when you are happy. I love the way your hair lies perfectly flat on your head. I see you. But you do not see me.
She grinned, admiring her handiwork. He would never know it was her, and thus he would have no problem falling in love with this anonymous girl. What could possibly go wrong?
Feeling slightly queasy, Amaya stood up and headed for the stairs. She almost turned to the left before realizing she was going into the boy’s dormitory this time.
Not bothering to stop and think what people would assume if they saw her, Amaya started up the stairs for the boys’ dorms. She passed doors labeled first, second, third, and fourth years before coming to a large mahogany door labeled fifth years.
She pushed it open tentatively, not knowing what to expect when she looked inside.
The boys’ dorm actually looked more or less the same as her own. There were six beds instead of five lining the walls, but other than that, the structure of the dormitory was identical. The room was cluttered, but with different things.
In the girls’ dorm, makeup, shoes, and hair products littered the floor. Clothes, on the other hand, were always folded and stored neatly in trunks. Here, shirts and shorts were strewn across the floor, and half empty trunks lay beside the beds, in many cases, turned on their side. Amaya studied the room for a moment before realizing that all six areas looked more or less the same. She had no idea which bed was Tom’s.
Sighing once more, she walked over to the first bed on her left. A half written essay lay on the bedside table, but the handwriting was a scrawl instead of Tom’s neat script. She moved on, glancing for some form of identification and then moving to the next bed. Finally, on the fifth bed she checked, she found a completed essay with Tom Riddle written on the top.
Amaya grinned, glad to have found his things at last. She laid the roll of parchment on top of his essay,. But it wasn’t bold. No, she had to make sure that he saw it. Smiling, an idea sparking in her mind, Amaya took a ribbon from her own hair and tied it around the scroll. That should help it stand out.
Deciding it was all she could do and that she better leave before someone walked in, Amaya darted through the door and down the stairs. Tom still hadn’t returned. She slipped back into her seat from before, pulled out her Charms textbook, and began her essay, glancing towards the entrance to the common room every few minutes, her eyes seeking a dark haired, pale face.
Tom leaned against a wall in an upstairs corridor. It was empty at the time being, but he was confident that someone would walk past soon. It wasn’t the most visited of places, but it was important in different ways. From here, Tom could see the corridor that the girl’s bathroom was in. He would easily be able to hit someone with a trip jinx if he just took two steps forward.
The simplicity of his plan was almost beautiful. He didn’t need any complicated spells, nor did he risk much danger of being caught. There was very little that could go wrong.
Except, of course, if no one turned up.
Just as he thought it, he saw a small boy wearing a green tie and looking extremely nervous walking towards him. He seemed to be in a hurry, but he was a Slytherin, and therefore easy to exploit. Everyone in Slytherin knew that you never refused Tom Riddle.
Tom began walking towards the boy. When he was only a few feet away, he bent down as if he had dropped something. As he expected, the boy bumped right into him, scuttling backwards as quickly as he could.
Tom got to his feet and opened his mouth to speak, but the boy was already talking.
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Riddle,” he said nervously.
Tom smiled kindly. “That’s quite all right.”
The boy returned his smile tentatively.
“But you know, I was just looking for someone to do me a huge favor,” Tom continued. “Would you mind?”
The boy glanced at his watch, and then back up at Tom. Tom could sense the internal battle in his mind. Refuse Tom but be on time for whatever he was doing? Or agree and be late? Which was more important?
“S-Sure,” the boy stuttered after a moment’s pause. He spoke again quickly, though, before Tom could get a word in. “As long as it won’t take too long. I have an appointment with…” he trailed off, blushing.
Tom inwardly smirked, but he said nothing about the boy’s blush out loud. Obviously, he had some sort of meeting with a girl. Why did people make themselves so easy to read? From his pocket, he took the vial of Sticking Solution and handed it to the boy.
“It won’t take very long at all. Would you give this back to Professor Slughorn for me? Tell him thank you and that it’s from Tom.”
“All right,” the boy said, glancing at Tom quickly before looking away. It was evident that he wanted to get on his way.
“Thank you.” Tom smiled again, turning away slightly so the boy knew he was free to go. He left quickly, though not as quickly as he had come. Tom watched him leave, taking a few steps so he would have a clear aim at the corridor. To his utter disgust, however, the boy did not turn into the corridor with the girl’s bathroom in it. Instead, he walked right past it.
After a second’s confusion, Tom realized that the boy was, in fact, putting his date before the potion. He obviously intended to return the potion after he met up with his little friend.
Thinking quickly, Tom cast a dillusionment charm on himself. He darted into the corridor with the girl’s bathroom. He knew he was almost out of time. In another thirty seconds, the boy would be out of earshot. And his new plan was even riskier. It could attract the attention of the entire school.
But he had no other choice.
Tom jabbed his wand sharply into the air, and it let off a high pitched wail that could easily be mistaken as a scream. He could only hope, now, that the boy would hear it and return.
To his utter relief, he heard the pounding of footsteps from around the corner, and the boy rushed to help whoever it was that had “screamed.”
Tom had no time to waste. “Trinius,” he muttered.
Instantly, the boy fell, as if he had tripped over an invisible foot. The potion vial fell from his hands and clattered onto the floor, shattering and spilling its contents. The boy was lucky. The potion shattered behind him, so he was able to get up and run away from it, never looking back.
“Confundo,” Tom said quickly. It was best to be sure the boy remembered nothing of this. Just in case.
Snickering, he waited a few moments, putting his wand back inside the pocket of his robes and watching the potion spread across the floor. It inched closer to him, covering the hallway until entering the girl’s bathroom would be impossible. Well, for anyone except him.
Eager to start the next part of his plan, Tom took another vial from his robes. He unstoppered it, wrinkling his nose at the putrid smell, and dabbed the potion onto the soles of his shoes before proceeding to walk gingerly towards the sticking solution. He touched one toe to it first, just testing to see that the counter worked, and his foot came free easily.
Tom opened the door to the bathroom, shutting it carefully behind him. An almost manic grin spread across his face. This was it. The moment he had been waiting for since first year, almost.
He strode confidently towards the sinks, inspecting each faucet for the sign of Salazar Slytherin. The tarnished silver bore no marks, however, until he reached the very last one. Immediately, he felt a strange tug, pulling him towards the faucet.
His fingers reached for the metal, stroking it, almost lovingly, until he came across a rough patch. His eyes locked on the perfect image of a basilisk. It was almost real looking in the dim light of the bathroom.
Tom closed his eyes, his grin becoming wider as he spoke the words, determined they would work this time.
A strangled, hissing noise erupted from his mouth, combing with a low, grinding noise as he finished. His eyelids fluttered open. There, directly in front of him was a narrow shoot, descending into the darkness.
Tom’s eyes flashed red, before cooling, and he laughed in triumph. He had done it. He had found the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.
A/N: Some action from Amaya. Thought it was about time. And my attempt at a cliff hanger. How did I do? The little box at the bottom of the page lets you tell me :) Even a one word review is great!
Edit June 2012; fixed it up a bit and added a new CI