Chapter 11 : Chatper Eleven
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Jade Sterling was not the kind of girl to trust as simply as the others. But, much to his great surprise, she had given up her useless defences and was cooperating with his every wish. She would miss him enough that she would love to divulge her thoughts and feelings into that little book.
Tom Riddle smirked as he locked the door to his dormitory. Stupid, stupid girl. He descended the stairs and glanced around the desolate common room. Only a handful of students had bothered to stay at the castle during the holidays. Not that he cared: he would much rather have the entire place to himself; he could have free reign of the castle and do whatever he pleased.
His robes floated behind him as he quickly navigated his way through the castle. The familiar dampness of the dungeons hugged him as he went. Most of the students staying over the holidays wasted their time by playing hours of exploding snap, or chasing a snitch around the Great Hall. However, Tom, being much different from most students, preferred to spend his time in the west tower of the castle near the Ravenclaw common room. What Rowena was thinking when she put her worthless students so far up in the air was beyond him.
Portraits greeted him as he whisked by; but he could not be bothered to stop and have a chat with a worthless painting tonight. Helena Ravenclaw had promised to meet him. He was so delighted when he convinced her to reveal herself as Rowena's only child. Most students could hardly obtain a passing glance from the tall ghost. She would usually float right through students because her nose was stuck in a book. In fact, Tom had made doubly sure he had a book outlining Ravenclaw's history as he began to haunt the tower himself. He may not be able to find out about a diadem from a book, but he could certainly find out about a diadem from the previous owner’s daughter. Patience.
Tom leaned against a bronze raven statue. Of course he had seen many Ravenclaw students stare at him suspiciously whenever he found himself near their common room. He hoped none of them were dense enough to actually think, even for a moment, that he was somehow jealous of their pathetic little common room, or their pathetic little house. His thin finger ran the length of the bronze figure, a chill running through his hand.
He quickly spun around and smiled at the shadowy figure before him. Helena Ravenclaw had to have been the most beautiful woman in her class when she attended Hogwarts thousands of years ago. Her lengthy blue dress gowns hung on her small frame, and her brunette hair flowed down her back. Tom smiled at her.
"Ah, Helena. You look gorgeous today. I wish I could kiss your hand." He bowed his head down as the ghost giggled and ran her icy hand through his arm.
"You're going to make me blush."
Tom nearly had to cup his hand over his mouth to stop his laughter; of course she could not really blush, she couldn't even breathe. "So, Helena, how has your holiday been thus far?"
He followed as she glided down the stairs, leading him nowhere in particular. Generally, she wished to remain far away from other students and their prying eyes. "Oh, you know. Lonely," she said drearily.
"Then you should come visit me in my dormitory."
She quickly turned around and snapped her fingers in his face. "Don't be insolent, I will never come close to the Slytherin common room! Filthy."
"Why do you feel that way?" Tom frowned. "I'm sure the Slytherin common room is nearly as nice as Ravenclaw’s?"
A long sigh escaped her mouth as she stared longingly past Tom. He glanced over his shoulder.
"I've been in the Slytherin common room, once."
"Oh? When was that?"
She glanced down at him and shook her head. "It doesn't matter anymore."
Tom inched toward her. "Of course it does. You can tell me anything."
"You don't care about me," she barked at him. It was very irritating to Tom that she was so moody. Some days, she could scarcely contain herself from sharing her secrets with him, and on other days she would treat him with more apathy than a toddler faced with a plate of vegetables.
"Helena, of course I care about you," Tom crooned.
"Not from what I've heard lately! Spending time with that other prefect from your house! What does she have that I don't?" Helena shouted.
Besides a body? Tom sighed. "Who?"
"I don't care to know her name. You're sharing secrets with her, Peeves has heard you," she snapped.
"That is true, unfortunately. I won't lie to you, my dear." Tom shook his head. "We're studying for Arithmancy together, I'm having a horrible time with the exams. I haven't passed an exam the entire semester." Helena's eyes softened as Tom slunk down.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, I had no idea. Peeves made it sound like you two were gallivanting around the castle with each other. You know, you could have told me that you weren't doing well in classes. I could have helped."
Tom glanced up at her, "I… I'm just so embarrassed; I've never had difficulty in classes before. You're so intelligent, Helena, and I didn't want you to think that my intelligence was sub-par."
"I could never think that about you. You understand me like nobody else." Tom perked up. "I can tell you things I would never dream of telling others. Things I never even told my mother." She crossed her arms and stared out of the window as small snowflakes drifted onto the frozen ground.
"What things?" Tom's heart fluttered inside his chest. What kinds of things was she hiding from her mother? Perhaps she knew why the diadem had gone missing? Perhaps she was the reason the diadem had gone missing?
"The way I died," she said solemnly, not bothering to look at Tom.
He deflated. What a boring story; he could honestly care less how she died. Tom had been listening to her sob stories for over a year now, and he could certainly stomach to sit through yet another if it eventually led to the truth of her mother's diadem. "I'm sure it's a very tragic story. You were so young..."
Helena turned her head toward him. "It's more tragic than you will ever know. I will forewarn any person I can to not go seeking power and glory; those desires became my demise."
Tom's lip twitched. What an idiot. There was nothing greater than power and glory. "What happened, Helena?" he pressed.
"I... I'm not ready to say," she whimpered. "It's getting late, Tom, you'll want to get back to your common room so that you don't get into any trouble."
Before Tom had a moment to stop her, she flew through the stone floor. He shouted in rage and had half a mind to punch the wall beside him.
That bitch! She always ran away before she indulged him with an important story. Helena was possibly more infuriating than that worthless Jade Sterling.
Both women consistently ran away from him, too scared to give in to their desires. At least Jade had a body that Tom could grab onto and keep her in her place. Helena could just float away. Perhaps a couple more conversations would ease information from the ghost.
He strolled down the stairs, swinging his robes as he went. Tom glanced at his reflection in the window, thoroughly enjoying the sight of himself. He pushed the ever-present lock of hair off of his forehead and ran his fingers over his face. Although Tom never spent a moment of his day to make sure he looked acceptable, he didn’t need to, he could always appreciate how nice looking he was. It wasn't just an off-hand chance that women flocked to him and would do whatever he wanted.
He jerked his head to the right and let out a long breath. Dumbledore. Always meddling in his business, always around at severely inconvenient times.
"Oh, Professor, sorry. I was just looking at the grounds. It's snowing," he said casually.
"Yes, it appears that it is. But, forgive me, what are you doing so far away from your common room?"
Tom wished he could just curse this old oaf and get him out of his way permanently. He was a constant thorn in his side that dug deeper as the day went on. "Well, sir, I am a prefect. I generally am allowed to patrol the corridors."
"Of course you are. But, patrolling the corridors on the holiday when there are only twenty students left in the castle? Surely you can understand my suspicions, Tom." Dumbledore's gaze did not waver, he and Tom spent many seconds staring at each other. The portraits on the walls looked on them anxiously, anticipating what was going to happen next.
"My apologies, Professor. I guess I'll just retire for the night, then."
"Good night," Dumbledore said curtly as Tom began to walk down the steps. "But, one more thing, Mr. Riddle." Tom turned back toward his professor. "Will you please not use your dormitory fireplace as a means to speak with Mr. Malfoy? I'm afraid school fires aren't to be used in the floo network unless approved by Professor Dippet. I'll be sure to look into why exactly yours was connected in the first place. Good night."
Without a word Tom rushed down the stairs. Insolent old man! If Dumbledore only knew what he was capable of, he would not be meddling. He would try to stay as far away from him as he possibly could! Tom made a sharp left and paced in front of an empty wall. "I need to find everything that's lost."
A large door materialized in front of his eyes. A greedy smile crossed his face and he pushed through the doors. Nobody else had stepped foot inside this room before; Tom Riddle had penetrated one of the deepest secrets of Hogwarts. If he ever needed time to himself, which was becoming more often than not, he could spend hours in here, rummaging through old books and papers.
"Lumos." The tip of his wand exploded in white light. A thick layer of dust covered the items from possibly hundreds of years of being ignored. He kicked a stack of chairs and screamed loudly. Dumbledore. He waved his wand over a table full of books and sent them crashing against a wall.
Never had he been so insulted in his entire life. Belittled by an arrogant teacher who would never leave him alone. Dumbledore was constantly hovering around him, trying to find out exactly what he was up to. Most teachers trusted him, allowed him to research anything and everything his heart desired. Dumbledore would hardly answer his questions during transfiguration that he deemed outside the subject matter at hand.
Small beads of sweat were creeping down his pale face by the time he was finished destroying any furniture he could get his hands on. Nothing could truly satisfy his hunger for causing pain to his professor, but this would have to do for now. He stared at his face in a broken mirror that leaned against a wall. "I will make sure Albus Dumbledore is killed and stays out of my way on my journey to greatness." The empty face of a mannequin stared solemnly back at him. He shoved it inside a cabinet to his right before pounding out of the room.
Tomorrow was a new day. A new day that was sure to be full of surprises. Poor orphaned Tom Riddle would be spending Christmas with the affluent Malfoy family. He was sure to be lavished with beautiful gifts and delicious food. However, he was much more looking forward to having a discussion with Morax Malfoy. The worthless journal that he so claimed to be Herpo the Foul's was nothing more than dismal writings that Tom could find in a library book. Tom Riddle didn't like much of anything, but he couldn't stand liars. Liars would always pay.
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