The school buzzed with whispers for the next few days. Somehow, though Amaya had told no one, everyone seemed to know that she was the one who found the girl. For the first time in her life, she was being noticed. Everyone wanted to ask her to recount the tale.
And she found that she hated it. She didn’t get a moment of peace for the next few days. The stories became wilder, some saying she had seen the killer in its act, and others saying that she had killed her girl herself.
What she found ironic was that the girl wasn’t even dead. Professor Dippet had made an announcement about it during dinner on the night of the incident. He said that the girl had been petrified, not killed, thankfully. Using the Mandrakes growing in the greenhouses, they could revive her. Eventually. Amaya didn’t really see how being turned to stone was a huge improvement over being dead, though. She wondered if the girl could still think while in a stone body.
That would be worse than death.
He didn’t mention Amaya’s name at all, but starting after the meal, students from all years and Houses started to come up to her and ask questions. She found herself recounting the tale what felt like hundreds of times, though she didn’t even see what was so exciting about it. She just happened to come across the girl. It could have been anyone.
Even Tom had come up to her, but only briefly. He asked her if the girl had anything with her, but by this point, Amaya had already answered the same question too many times, so she barely registered that it was Tom asking her. She answered him quickly, saying that she had a camera, before he left. She didn’t even care much, at that point. She wanted to get away from it.
Even when she had returned to her dormitory, the other girls in her year burst in, demanding to know what had happened. This in itself irked her beyond anything else. They never talked to her. Never. But now that she was suddenly the talk of the school, they had to come and interrogate her like everyone else. She fought to stay polite, answering all their questions with slightly clenched teeth. When they finally decided they had discovered every little detail, they left, giggling about Merlin knew what.
Amaya didn’t see anything funny about the whole situation. A girl had been petrified. Granted, it was a Hufflepuff third year, so she couldn’t have been particularly powerful, but that made the act even worse. What could anyone want with a little innocent girl? She couldn’t have done anything to provoke such a vengeful attack. What monster would be willing to kill harmless people?
And more importantly, who was it going to target next?
The face of the girl was still imprinted in her mind. The camera pressed against her face, her eyes open wide in shock. If she could make a sound, Amaya was sure she would have been screaming. There was another thing. What could petrify her so quickly that the girl wouldn’t even have time to scream?
The others, they didn’t understand. They hadn’t seen the girl lying on the ground, looking completely dead. They hadn’t seen the briefest flash of fear cross Professor Dumbledore’s eyes. They didn’t hear the wails of her sister.
Whoever, or whatever, had done this was powerful and dangerous. Amaya shivered under her blankets as she tried to forget about it. The Professors would deal with it. They’d probably find the student who had done it and have him or her expelled by morning.
There was nothing to worry about.
Tom was shocked to hear that his first victim had simply been turned to stone. He didn’t even know that was possible. A basilisk was supposed to kill as soon as you looked into its eyes. There was no escaping it, no getting away from it. Its venom was deadly too, of course. But it didn’t turn people to stone.
That wouldn’t do. That really wouldn’t do at all. He was the master of that basilisk, and he demanded answers.
Remembering what the basilisk had said earlier about being able to understand pictures but not words, Tom trained his mind on the basilisk, then pictured the girl’s face clearly in his mind, followed by a piece of rock. Hopefully the basilisk would understand what he was asking.
He had to wait only a second before he could hear the basilisk’s voice coming from the wall behind him. The corridor he was in was deserted, luckily, and anyone who came along would just hear a hissing noise, but he still found talking to the basilisk risky. He had to act normally. They’d be looking everywhere for a suspect.
“You ask about the girl,” said the basilisk. “She did not see me directly. She held a large device, with a thin sheet of glass blocking her from me. To kill, I must look into my victim’s eyes directly.”
Though he wondered what device the basilisk could possibly be talking about, Tom said nothing about it. He couldn’t believe that the girl had gotten lucky. Well, that wouldn’t happen again.
“Go,” he whispered, before turning and walking towards the common room. They were saying that Amaya Fitz had seen the girl’s body. He’d ask her. Besides, it was only natural to be curious. It would look more suspicious if he didn’t ask.
As he walked, he realized that he’d have to find a cover story sometime. Eventually, someone would start putting pieces together and he’d be at the center. He could cover his trail well, but not perfectly. There would come a time, though hopefully it would be after he had purged the school of all Mudbloods, where he’d no longer be able to use the basilisk. He would have to find a student to push the blame onto when that time came.
Still, though, he thought, he had managed an attack. He had begun Salazar Slytherin’s work. And petrification was very nearly as bad as dying completely. For a first attack, it had gone surprisingly well. It was time this school was stirred up a bit. They needed to feel fear. He could do that. By the end of the year, the school would be clean and those left inside would have no reason to feel fear.
Salazar Slytherin had been a genius. Tom was glad that he was carrying out his last wishes. His thoughts carried him through the wall and into the Slytherin common room. A small crowd gathered in the corner, and he walked over to it, certain it was where Amaya was.
Once he got close enough to see her, he was surprised to see that she was completely disgruntled. Her hair was messy and it was easy to see that she was very annoyed. Well, she could hold herself together for another minute. She was obviously eager to talk to him. Here was her chance.
“Hey, Amaya,” Tom began, waiting for her to turn towards him, “the girl, did she have anything with her?”
“Yeah, she did. She was holding a camera,” she said quickly before turning around and addressing someone else.
“Thanks,” he muttered, though he doubted she had heard him. He turned to go to his dormitory. A camera, surprisingly, made perfect sense. She must have seen the basilisk through the lens. Well, out of the entire student population of the school, there couldn’t have been more than five kids with a camera. That would be easy to avoid.
“Are you going somewhere, Tom?” someone asked him from behind.
Without bothering to turn around, Tom answered, “Yeah, I’m tired. It’s been a weird day.”
“Definitely,” the same voice agreed. “Well, good night, mate.”
A week passed with no further incidents, and the school began to forget about it. No suspects had been found, and many students started to think it was just a freak accident. A potion gone wrong, or an out of control spell. Since there would be no lasting damage to the girl, she was soon forgotten amongst most of the students. The laughter returned to the halls, bringing with it warmth, even as winter descended.
For Amaya, though the images of the girl hadn’t been wiped from her memory, she too began to pass it off. She stuck with her resolution that there was absolutely nothing to worry about. This was only enhanced when the dates for the first Hogsmeade visit were posted, set for the weekend before Halloween. Excitement filled the air as it always did for the first visit of the year, with the new third years checking to make sure they had their permission forms and the seventh years claiming they were too old to go, but making plans anyway. Amaya was excited for an entirely different reason, however.
The visit was on her birthday.
Amaya had never done much for her birthday. It was a tradition for her parents to give her a piece of jewelry each year, so a small parcel always arrived for her in the mail. Anabel had forgotten her birthday three out of the four years they had been at Hogwarts, and Amaya suspected that Anabel would simply offer to buy her something on Hogsmeade today if she forgot again. She honestly didn’t think anyone else even knew when her birthday was.
After her previous taste of fame, Amaya decided she was glad that no one knew her birthday. It would be so much easier that way. Anabel and her would have a lovely time in Hogsmeade, and that would be it. Maybe they could buy a small cake somewhere and share it. She never felt any different on her birthday, so she didn’t see the point of having an extravagant celebration. For the longest time, she had considered her birthday as just a step closer to marriage. She didn’t see what was so special about being sixteen. How was that any better than fifteen?
Still, Hogsmeade in itself was always fun. So she found herself taking her warmer clothes from the bottom of her trunk and taking several galleons from her stash like everyone else
The day of the visit dawned, and the students agreed that they couldn’t have asked for anything better. The air was crisp and cool, but the sun shone brightly above. They ran about in small groups, scarfing down breakfast. The girls with dates spent extra time doing their hair and giggling. Everyone was the happiest they had been in ages.
All except a small dark haired boy sitting in the common room and staring at the fire.
“Aren’t you coming, Tom?” asked Orion Black.
“No, not today. I have a lot of work to catch up on,” Tom answered with a smile.
“That’s what Sunday’s for.”
“I’d much rather get most of it done today. I may catch up with you all later.” When Orion didn’t move, Tom continued. “It’s O.W.L. year, you know. Have to make sure I do well. Go on. I’ll come later. Promise.”
“All right then…” Orion said, leaving slowly. He turned back once to see Tom rummaging in his bag for something. Relaxing slightly, he bolted out of the common room and caught up with the rest of his friends.
Only a few first and second years remained in the common room now, but his dormitory would be empty. Tom took the stairs two at a time, already trying to connect with the basilisk in his mind. He pictured a small boy this time, a fourth year Gryffindor by the name of Douglas Smith. He was to be the next victim. He was going to leave them a message this time, telling them the dangers they faced. And he had already decided that this was to be the last attack for at least a month. Let them be lulled into a false sense of security before he truly began weeding out the Mudbloods.
As he thought, a vivid image of Douglas Smith, followed by an image of the basilisk crossed his mind, and he took it to mean the basilisk had gotten his message. He grinned slightly, then pulled out a piece of parchment to begin drafting a message to give to the school.
Hogsmeade could wait. He had more important things to do. He knew he couldn’t back out on everything like this. It would look suspicious. He wasn’t stupid by any accounts. But he didn’t have to do everything, either. It was common for fifth years to stay back at the end of the year, so he was just getting a head start.
“Happy birthday, Amaya!” Anabel yelled at breakfast that morning, causing Amaya and several others to glare at her.
“You don’t need to announce it to the world,” Amaya hissed, buttering herself some toast.
“Why not? It’s your birthday.”
“Yes, but it’s not like anyone else cares.”
“Cheer up! This is supposed to be a happy day. Oh, look, the post is here!”
Amaya glanced up to see a tawny owl circling above her, and finally landing on her shoulder. It stuck out its leg, waiting for her to untie a small parcel. She did so quickly, then put one hand on the owl.
“Wait one moment,” she said quickly, pulling out a piece of parchment and a quill and writing a quick thank you letter to her parents. She gave it to the owl to hold in its beak, then gave it a small push. It flew away, hooting softly.
Amaya pulled the paper off her present, finding a dainty silver bracelet and a letter inside.
She stuffed both things into her bag and motioned to Anabel.
“What? Are you not going to read that?” she asked.
“Nah, I’ll read it later. C’mon, it’s a beautiful day! Let’s get going.”
“Fine with me.”
They left the hall along with the other groups of students, laughing on their way outside. The crisp autumn hair chilled both girls at first, but as they walked, they warmed, and soon pulled off their hats and scarves. They passed an old shack that no one really paid attention to before arriving on the main street. Students crowded around the Three Broomsticks, pushing past each other to get inside, while others visited the Owlery and sweet shop. There wasn’t much else on the main street. Several students complained that there was no joke shop in Hogsmeade, but they were satisfied apart from that. Up ahead, there were a couple dodgy pubs and a teashop infamous for holding only snogging couples.
“Let’s go to Honeydukes,” Anabel said cheerily, tugging Amaya along, “so you can pick out a birthday present.”
The shop was crowded, but not as crowded as it could be. There was room enough to walk, at least, which was rare for the store. Amaya and Anabel had a great time looking at the sugar quills and inspecting the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. Off in the corner, there were small chocolate frogs under a huge “NEW” sign. Apparently, they had collector cards inside. The ever popular Fizzing Whizbees were nearly sold out in their section. After debating about several flavors of chocolate, Anabel finally bought a huge slab of dark chocolate mixed with orange for the two girls to share.
They walked around for a bit before deciding to buy butterbeers at the Three Broomsticks. As they walked to the counter, Amaya spotted Tom paying for his own drink.
He laughed at something they couldn’t hear, taking his butterbeer and walking off without a glance at neither Amaya nor Anabel. They looked at each other, then giggled, walking to the counter to get their own drinks.
Tom had spent about half the day in his dormitory before he decided on the perfect message. He then decided to walk to Hogsmeade, just to keep his promise to Orion. He couldn’t help but smile as he walked, proud of what he had accomplished. Once he arrived, he decided to try the Three Broomsticks first. That was usually where you found the most amount of people.
Sure enough, he spotted Orion sitting with their usual group of friends just inside the doors. He waved to them as he came in, then walked to the counter to buy himself a drink.
“And what would you like?” the lady asked him.
“Just a butterbeer please,” he answered. She bent down to get it for him as a tall seventh year girl walked past him.
“Hi, Tom!” she said as she went.
He smiled at her, not knowing her name, and gave a small wave as the lady put his butterbeer onto the table.
“Tom, you say your name is?” she asked.
He nodded, reaching across the counter for his drink and placing a galleon in its place.
“I swear, you’re my sixth Tom today! It’s such a popular name!”
Tom laughed lightly, taking his butterbeer and leaving.
Such a popular name… It shouldn’t be, really. It was the name of his filthy Muggle father. He had discovered that his father was a Muggle last year, after searching all records but coming up with no one who had the last name “Riddle”. He decided that his father must have left his mother, since she was so poor when she gave birth to him. Why she couldn’t just save herself with magic, he didn’t know, but at least she was a witch. He hated the name, Tom. He didn’t need a name that was held by a Muggle. And he most certainly didn’t need a common name. He was better than that.
Right there, Tom decided to come up with a new name. A name that would be remembered in the days to come. He needed a powerful name. He smiled slightly on his way to the table. His name would be extraordinary. Because he wasn’t an ordinary wizard at all.
A/N: So, this was a bit of a filler chapter, but I like to think of it as the calm before the storm. It’s pretty much the last bit of happy times you see. There’s a ton of stuff with Amaya coming up (which I actually really like) and a bit with Tom too, which is giving me trouble D: I wanted to have a small piece of just a fun time in here, since they are first and foremost teenagers at a boarding school :P I always find it really unrealistic when an entire Hogwarts story is angst. BUT that’s just my opinion and I want to hear yours! So, fancy dropping me a note in that little box down there? You people are amazing, as always. I’m shocked to see that people even read this story, let alone like it xD I <3 you all