Chapter 1 : .
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You know what he is now.
You know what he wants.
But her heart gives a sickening lurch all the same, and Minerva curses herself for being so weak when faced with the eyes of a pretty boy who has so much to offer and so, so much to lose.
What is it with the good girl who always thinks that she can change the rotten seed, the bad-boy appeal that sends girls like her into an endless spiral of pit and despair? What is it with the good girl who always thinks that with sweet smiles and encouraging words and a little bit of faith, she can teach the emotionless sadist how to feel?
What is it with a charming grin and a flash of straight white teeth and a mysterious aura that makes a man so irresistible to a woman? Tom had the art of manipulation down to a science, his aristocratic good looks simply serving as a means to an end. What was it about the human mind that was so weak that a pretty face could derail it's sanity, it's logic all together?
"Please," he begged, pleaded with her, the desperation in his eyes like coal cutting through to her core. "Only you can save me now. You have to save me from what I might become."
Might become? It is too late for that sentiment now. She has heard the whispers fall from gossiping lips - Tom Riddle the muggle hater Tom Riddle the ambitious Tom Riddle will do whatever he wants Tom Riddle will get his way Tom Riddle will be on top of us all one day Tom Riddle just you wait and see.
She had seen the handsome features contort into anger, seen the hideous curl of his lips into a semblance of a smile that was not a smile at all, but rather it's twisted relative, seen the way he instilled fear into those around him, seen the way he could control a follower - because that was what they were, his faithful, his minions - with the simple flick of a finger.
Minerva had seen it all and more, and she saw it now in the endless, soulless pits of his eyes, masked and veiled in what she could have sworn would be fear, were it belonging to a normal man.
A weaker person would give into his pleas. A weaker woman with a fondness for taking the troubled soul under her wing would fawn over this broken shadow of a man, this mockery of a human being. Because he is no more human than she is fool, and he will not get past the barriers she as built. Not this time.
Not like last time.
Last time she was unprepared. Last time Tom Riddle, the Tom Riddle, had told her that she was fascinating, and that her smile was enchanting and that whatever she dreamed in life could be hers, and as she spoked she dreamed of him, and as she dreamed, hers he became.
Gentle kisses in moonlit corridors acted as unspoken promises between them, that they were right and this was right and we are to be one, you and I, and you will pull me out from inside me, flip me around and make me someone worthy of loving you.
And she had really, truly thought that she could.
He had taught her to become the woman she never thought she could, taught her how to thicken her skin, how to shut the world out while letting her power in. And she had done so - her magic growing stronger every day, and him, complimenting her, telling her how proud he was, how she could do anything, how the world would be hers and would be his and together they would sit at the top and be worshipped and adored, and she had believed him.
It's funny, the things that a person can make you believe when you love them. They can make you believe you're worth nothing, or everything, that you're useless, or that you're the most precious thing to exist on this earth.
Tom made it his business to ensure that she knew what she was; his.
"You're driving me mad," she would scream at them when they fought, when he spoke of killing so casually that it didn't make sense, couldn't, or when he used the word mudblood or implied that muggles weren't worth anything, or that the to of them were worth everything. "What are you doing, why are you doing this, love isn't supposed to do this! I'm losing my mind, Tom. What have you done to me?"
And he would smile that smile and tuck her curls behind her ear and kiss the side of her throat and breathe those words, hot against her ivory skin, as if branding her with them. "I have made you alive," he would hiss, and then, "Insanity becomes you, darling."
For a while that was enough.
Now she simply stared at the man she thought she had known, knowing that he was no man at all, only a hollow shell filled with all the darkness of the world. He was cruel and evil and cared naught for anyone but his own self, which was why he was there, begging for her to return.
Tom Riddle didn't want to change. Tom Riddle didn't want redemption, or love, or to feel the warmth of her arms around him once more.
Tom Riddle wanted someone he could twist, bend to his will, make his puppet and make his toy. He wanted someone weak, whose soul he could consume and claim as his own.
But he was the one who had taught her how to shut the world out and let her power in, he was the one who made her what she had become. Minerva had turned her skin from porcelain to ice to stone, had trapped her soul in barbed wire and locked her heart in an iron casket.
Never again would he break his way inside with charming grins and straight white teeth and a mysterious aura.
Never again would she allow him too.
"I love you," he spoke again, his words causing her gaze to return to his face. And it was pain she saw there, and terror, and hope, and she did not allow herself to be fooled. Tom Riddle didn't feel emotion, didn't know hope, but was a vacuum that sucked it from the world around him. "I love you, and I know you love me, and Minnie, you have to save me, you have to save me and I can't do this with out you and I want to be good, I want to be whole and only you can make me whole, and you have to save me, and..."
"No," she whispered, allowing herself to speak for the first time now that she felt her voice was on her side. "You know nothing of that word, and one day it shall destroy you, and you shall realize how little you ever really were."
And as she left his pleas echoed down the hall, the last desperate calls of a broken man on the brink of self-destruction, but she did not turn her head.
Joy had abandoned her, fear could not touch her.
Emptiness would be enough.
A/N: angsty Tom/Minerva = my life. I love playing with the idea that she could have loved him, saved him, but instead turned her back as everyone else had and gave him that final push to becoming who he was.
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