Chapter 1 : The Noble House of Riddle
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“Tom, the heat is absolutely dreadful, why on earth would I want to accompany you on a ride?” a young woman whinged as she lay across a richly upholstered sofa. She fanned herself dramatically.
Her companion rolled his eyes as he turned to leave the room. If she wasn’t so good looking, he would have left Cecilia ages ago for one of the other dozen young ladies of the village that were dying to have him.
Tom Riddle pushed his dark hair out of his eyes as he left the cool shade of his home. He begrudged Cecilia for accurately describing the weather, but he would not allow her to think she’d gotten the best of him. Thus, Tom hurried to the stables and called one of the servants to tack up his horse.
With her plain, pale, face gleaming with sweat, Merope Gaunt furiously stirred the glistening pink potion. Seductive scents rose up from its surface, but she endeavoured to ignore the smells of stables, gold, and some kind of crisp aftershave.
She glanced up frantically when she heard the distant sound of clopping horse hooves. Her pupils dilated as the light streaming into her kitchen through the one grimy window hit her. Merope had been living in the dark for too long, trying and failing many times to brew Amortentia.
“Come on...” she whispered frantically. The last spin of the soup spoon caused the potion to flash a bright magenta before fading to a lighter colour with a mother of pearl sheen. As the characteristic spirals rose from the potion, she allowed herself a small, desperate smile before racing to the decrepit sink.
Fumbling with the cleanest cup she could find, Merope pushed her dull brown hair out of her face. The clop, clop of the horse drew closer. Merope pumped a gush of water quickly into the wooden cup, spilling some down the front of her dress. Ignoring this, she rushed to the cauldron and scooped a spoonful of Amortentia into the water, mixing it around clumsily.
The horse and its rider were almost upon the opening in the hedge and Merope, taking one hopeful and hurried glance into a cracked looking glass on the wall, rushed out the door of the tiny cottage. Careful not to spill anything out of the cup, Merope set off at a brisk trot down the bumpy lane, oblivious, in her haste, to a curious blonde girl hiding amongst some nearby nettle.
Merope reached the break in the hedge just as a handsome, dark-haired main appeared up the crest of the road, riding a glossy, chestnut horse. She sighed a breath of longing before straightening her grey dress, insuring that her golden locket could be seen, and standing up straighter.
The blonde girl ducked behind a nearby shrub as the horse and its rider neared. She quickly dusted off her clothes as she stared avidly at Merope’s back.
“Hello!” Merope called out nervously as Tom Riddle reached her position; she strained to pose at an attractive angle. Tom barely glanced down at her as he rode past, but when he saw the bedraggled girl who called his name, he spurred his horse on in disgust. Merope grew distressed as he passed. This could be her only chance. “Wait!” she cried. “Aren’t you thirsty? It’s rather hot today, isn’t it?”
Tom slowed his horse. He could feel the sweat pouring down the back of his neck and his hair stuck to his forehead. A parched sensation rushed over his throat at the girl’s mention of being thirsty. He turned his horse around slowly.
“Why do you ask?” he said and he noticed the way the girl’s eyes became round as saucers when he answered her.
“Spit it out,” Tom said quickly with half a mind to just turn around and seek refreshment elsewhere. Merope cleared her throat hurriedly.
“I’ve just been pumping some water and I have a cup here and I- I was wondering if you wanted some,” Merope said quickly. So quickly that Tom could barely understand her with his head so clouded with heat, but he grasped her meaning when she held up a glass of water.
Tom surveyed the girl. She was an ugly little thing. There was nothing in any of her features that could tempt him, but he was rather thirsty and the water did seem as if it were clean. Accepting her offer of a drink wouldn’t do any harm. The girl could hardly expect that he would pay her any attention afterwards. Tom reached for the cup.
“Girl, what are you doing?” said a loud voice behind the two of them. The blonde girl seemed to have decided it was the time to reveal herself. She stepped out of the hedge and brushed a few leaves off her white dress. She placed her hands on her hips and glared at Merope like a mother would to a naughty child.
“I- I...” Merope said, frightened.
“Putting a love potion into someone’s drink is not the way to get a man, Merope,” the blonde girl scolded, striding forward towards Merope and Tom.
“A love potion? Who are you?” Tom asked incredulously, withdrawing his hand. Merope threw a nervous glance in his direction before shaking her head desperately at the girl.
The woman ignored him and turned to Merope. “Listen to me- if you have to spike his drink with Amortentia to get him to love you, then he is not the bloke for you. What you need, Merope, is to find someone who’s going to appreciate you for what you have.”
“But I love him!” Merope cried and Tom backed his horse away in horror.
“No you don’t! You just like him because he’s handsome and rich!” the blonde said exasperatedly. “Do you know what’s going to happen if he drinks that potion? You two are going to run off and get married and then you’re going to get pregnant. But then, for some stupid reason, you’re going to stop giving him the love potion, he’s going to run off and ditch you like the worthless trout he is, and then you’re going to die in an orphanage giving birth to the most powerful dark wizard of all time!”
Merope gaped. Tom Riddle opened and closed his mouth. The woman glared smugly at both of them.
Tom found his voice. “L-love potions...” he stuttered. “Pregnant... trout... wizard! H-how?” He glanced between Merope and the stranger in horror. “That’s it! I’ve had enough. You’re both mad!” he screamed before galloping off towards the valley, his horse kicking up dust behind him.
“And good riddance!” the woman yelled.
Merope looked heartbroken; tears began to rush down her face. “I- I loved him!” she wailed. “He was going to- to drink it and then we’d... be happy and-”
“Did you just ignore my whole monologue back there?” said the blonde exasperatedly.
“And now I won’t find... anyone to love me! And I’ll be a- alone forever!” Merope continued as if she hadn’t been interrupted.
“Oh bugger,” her companion mumbled; her face softened slightly. “Merope... Merope c’mon, stop crying.”
The sobs continued to rack Merope’s body. The stranger uncomfortably put her arm around the young woman’s shoulders. “Listen, Merope. It’s not the end of the world-”
“Alone!” Merope howled.
“Oh for goodness sake, get a hold of yourself, woman!” the white-clad girl cried and when Merope continued falling into deeper depression, the stranger stood in front of her and slapped her across the face. Merope choked back one last sob and stared at her.
“He is not the last man in the world, my friend, and you could do so much better,” Merope’s companion said.
“But how shall I ever find love?” Merope asked, tears threatening to break way again.
“Oh pull yourself together and stop being so dramatic. All you need is a makeover!”
“Wh-what?” Merope hiccupped.
“We are going to take you to a spa, get you a facial and some manicures and pedicures, and do something with this hair. And then we’re going to buy you some new clothes because it looks like you’ve been wearing this dress for months. I might have to do some serious self-confidence therapy on you first, though...” the woman said busily, steering Merope onto the road and up towards Great Hangleton.
“But how does that put me in the path of love?” Merope enquired.
“We’ll work on getting you a man later. I suppose dating sites don’t exist yet?” the blonde asked offhandedly.
“Dating what?” Merope asked bewildered.
“Never mind.” And with that, the stranger led an extremely confused Merope Gaunt up the dirt path to a future much different than the one she was originally destined.
A/N: So basically, the plot of this one-shot (and those that shall come) is pivotal events in the HP series in the hands of the fans. We all have scenes that we wish we could change and/or events we want to prevent. This is just my silly take on what would happen if a fan (with all the knowledge of reading the HP books) showed up in some of those scenes. This one, obviously, is the prevention of Voldemort’s birth. Treat these one-shots as stand-alone. The previous one-shot didn’t take place in the plot of the current and such.
Hoped you liked this and come back for more! Reviews are lovely ;)