Chapter 1 : Paper
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That was what my mother always told me as I was growing up. She would sit me down on her knee and hold me close to her chest so I could play with her dark hair and stare up into her large eyes like shining blue marbles.
“Natalie,” she would say softly in a voice like silk. “Love is a precious thing. One day you will experience it and think that your life is complete and whole. You will think that the world can be a better place and the sky is the brightest of blues. When cupid is your witness you will think that nothing can bring you down. But your heart is like paper, my dear, give it away too recklessly then it will become broken, torn, and destroyed by those you once thought you loved.”
Her stories would always amaze me as I would cuddle up into her arms and she would hold me there, her hand against my head. I was young and could not understand her words to their full extent, but somewhere inside my childlike mind I knew her words were important. Everything my mother said was important to me; she was the only person I had. We were abandoned by my father when I was a baby, leaving us flat broke, it was a tough and perilous journey for survival. My mother would feed me all she could and left little for herself to eat. She was a sick woman and was too ill to work, her limbs old and broken and arthritis rotted them. She had always been too sick to work for long hours, but the small income with did receive was from my mother doing other peoples laundry for them on some occasions. I could always remember walking through our home smelling cleaning detergent and after a time it became the smell which would remind me of home.
As I grew older, I took over as the woman of the house. Most days I took care of my sick mother forced to skip school on most days. I, myself, went out and begged for money on the street, a few people gave me some coins from their purses, but most just walked on past and didn’t pay any attention to the young whelp out on the streets with a mouth to feed.
Our salvation came on the day of my eleventh birthday, I remember it well. We sat round the small kitchen table, eating half stale bread when an owl tapped on the window with a letter attached to its leg. My mother almost had a heart attack at the sign of the owl at our window and she was yelling at me to shoo the animal away. But I was young with an inquisitive mind and so I opened the window and allowed the owl to enter the kitchen. It flew around our heads as my mother yelled and cursed at me for being a foolish girl, but I watched as the beautiful creature landed on our table and held it’s leg out for me.
I approached and removed the letter and as soon as it was free the owl hooted happily before soaring back out of the open window. The letter in my hand was on thick parchment and written in green ink and the contents were surprising. I had been accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. My mother couldn’t believe it, but the words on the letter were true and on September 1st 1938 I found myself on the platform ready to board the Hogwarts Express.
Though that day should have been the happiest day of my young life, I was terrified to leave my sick mother at home, alone. I begged and pleaded to stay with her but she wanted me to get the best magical education I could. She convinced me to leave with a promise that I would see her at Christmas in four short months. Unfortunately that moment never came because she could keep her promise, in my second month at Hogwarts, my mother passed away.
Tears would well up in my eyes in the days that passed, I would find myself hidden away in the Gryffindor common room, staring with blank eyes out of the windows of the tower. I refused food for days on end, wanting the pain inside me to be the end so I could see my mother again, but my request was refused and I was saved but the most unlikely person.
A boy, a Slytherin no less, though around school he was a solitary and silent type. He gave me hope where there was none, we connected through the loss of our parents. On the outside to many he seemed like a very bright and kind person, but I knew the truth about Tom Riddle, he was cold and manipulative, he was also the only person who would paid attention to me and I idolized him.
I grew older and my hatred and lust grew with me. I became vicious, cold and heartless towards those who I used to call friends. Words started to spread about the sorting hats choice to put me in Gryffindor. Hatred grew wildly like fire and soon it consumed me completely until I was trapped inside my own bubble.
Through all this the only person I would talk to and open up about me life with Tom Riddle. He was using me to do his bidding so his hands were clean from the close scrutiny of Professor Dumbledore.I knew this but I still I stuck close by his side and did his bidding no matter what it was. I would steal from Professors and students; I would torture people just for the fun of it and do whatever he wanted me to do. Without Tom I would have been alone, like a small puppy alone and lost without its mother, pining for food, as helpless as the runt of the pack.
Soon my admiration towards Tom grew and bloomed into something else, even then I remembered my mother’s words but ignored the warning. I knew I was in love with Tom, but I still knew that he would never see me in the same light, I was his servant, doing his bidding and helping him with whatever needed to be done. I was a nobody, someone he wouldn’t even look twice at to save from trouble. It didn’t stop my love for him to bloom like a new rose on a spring morning, opening up to the new adventures of life. Just looking at him made my heart flutter like thousands of butterflies, every time he spoke it felt like my heart was going explode into thousands of pieces.
I could have followed him forever and he would have let me but I made a terrible mistake, I told him of my feelings.
After that I became, in his eyes, someone to despise even more, but still I followed him and admired his every move. He would make me do terrible and horrible things and still my heart made me obey him. It was like I was under his spell; I would do anything for him.
My heart just longed to hold him in my arms, for him to feel my love for him, for him to escape from his shell of cruelty and hatred for the world, but my desires were lost under a blanket of hate which built up inside me. Nothing felt right anymore, the Tom Riddle I used to know was gone and somehow he became the one person I couldn’t live without despite his hatred of me.
He returned from summer break and his hatred and cruelty had increased further, it had consumed him whole. On his hand he wore a signet ring, it was some kind of trophy, I knew what he had done, but I could not bring myself to say it. Around Tom I felt like I was under his control, I would obey his every command. It was then that I felt something inside of me was trying to break free from his hold, telling me that I was under his spell and what I was doing was wrong. Unfortunately, that person inside me was stuck under layer and layers of hatred, lust and pride I held for myself.
Looking back now, I knew I was being a fool.
Everything about me was so confusing, some days would revert back my old eleven year old self, but then I would set my eyes on Tom and that naïve, broken thing would retreat back inside me and out would emerge the cold and heartless creature I had become. Even if I wanted to undo everything I had done, I knew it was too late to save myself and that I was just another of Tom’s servants, but I kept my head held high and walked with him without looking back.
I still remembered the events from my fifth year, some of the horrible and despicable things that I couldn’t even dare to look back on. Tom had been made a prefect and my admiration for him grew even more. I watched as he took on more power than before and then a girl died in the bathroom. I knew who had done it, but every part of me screamed out against it! Though, I had stayed silent as Hagrid was blamed for the death and he was expelled from Hogwarts. Tom received an engraved trophy for services to the school, but I knew he was the one who had killed that girl…I just didn’t know how he accomplished it.
Still now I regret holding my tongue, but every fibre of my being wished and hoped that I wasn’t right and it wasn’t Tom who killed the girl. He walked around the school with a new stride in his step and people adored him even more. Even now my own desire grew inside me, but the naive creature inside was pounding to get out, to be free of the chains holding inside me and stopping it for speaking forever. The Natalie I once was had burned away to ash and now only the cold and ruthless shell on the outside remained.
Graduation day came and my heart still clung to Tom. I had passed with megre grades and nothing to show for myself, but Tom…Tom had passed with outstanding results and being a prefect and a head boy, he left with the silent and unknown fact that he had killed multiple people whilst only a teenager. That was the cold and harsh truth I wished didn’t exist. I had convinced myself he wasn’t a killer and he was really the bright and fantastic boy everyone thought he was, but the cold truth was staring me right in the face, but still I couldn’t hold them as fact. I was torn between my love for Tom and the truth, but my body was weak and I clung onto the truth to try and keep myself afloat in the river of guilt, I would surely sink to the bottom if I thought otherwise.
I was able to find a job in Knockturn Alley, but every day after work I would sit in my rundown apartment during my free time writing letters to Tom which I would never send. He had already used me to a breaking point and he no longer cared about me, but I knew that the love still burning inside me would be my end. Someday I would see him again for the man he really was and I hoped that at that time I would realize all my mistakes, but I knew the consequences for my actions that I had made and I couldn’t change them now.
Days, weeks and months passed since I had last seen Tom and I did not know what had happened to him. I was broken, alone with no one to turn towards for salvation. My life had crumbled beneath my feet. I was cursed with the guilt of my actions. Every day I would visit my mother’s grave, crying into the cold earth and curse her for sending me away to Hogwarts, but then I would have never met Tom.
Years later I saw him again, he was walking through the streets of Knockturn Alley by himself just as I was leaving my midnight shift to head back home. I didn’t even need a second glance as he caught my eye, the old memories flooding back to me and my old life taking over. I followed him without making a sound and he didn’t even turn around. My love still flowered and bloomed deep inside me. When the moment came I called out and he turned, eyes darkening as he recognized my old and pleading face.
He tried to push me away, tell me to leave him alone. He called me names, spat in my face and pushed me into the dirt but still my stubbornness would let me give up and he accepted it and instead led me away. I loved him with all my heart, his dark hair, dark eyes and that cold and calculating look he gave everyone when he looked them down. Without Tom Riddle my life was nothing. Without Tom Riddle I was forever going to be lost and alone.
Tom led me away from Knockturn Alley and into a quiet and dark corner away from any prying eyes. Hope fluttered inside me that he was about to tell me everything I ever wanted to hear,that he had feelings for me, tell me that my worst fears were not true, and tell me that he was a loving and fantastic person through and through. But as I looked into his dark eyes I only saw hatred harbouring inside them. Still I could show no fear inside my pleading eyes as my heart continued to flutter with the feeling of love.
Tom opened his mouth to tell me everything, what I didn’t see was the wand in his hand. A flash of bright green covered my vision and the last thing I heard as I fell backwards was my mother’s old words. The vision of me on her knee, my head resting against her chest as she rocked me slowly as a young child. Her wide eyes as shiny and blue as large marbles and her soft and silky voice as she spoke her words.
”Natalie, love is a precious thing. One day you will experience it and think that your life is complete and whole. You will think that the world can be a better place and the sky is the brightest of blues. When cupid is your witness you will think that nothing can bring you down. But your heart is like paper, my dear, give it away too recklessly then it will become broken, torn and destroyed by those you once thought you loved.”
Thank you to everyone who has been reading this story even when it was un-edited. This is the new edited version, greatfully helped out by my amazing beta megthechef43 over at the forums to hit her up if you need an amazing beta reader! This is going to be the final edited version of the story so I am no longer going to be editing this. I would also like to say thanks to Viikidaviking and rouge_bludger who have left reviews on this. Thanks everyone!
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