Chapter 15 : Malfoy at Odds
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Without the class he could not hope to make the House Quidditch team as a second year and without the wand he couldn’t hope to pass the classes that he needed to become a second year. It wasn’t the fact that his family couldn’t afford to buy a new wand that bothered him, they could afford to buy a hundred of them, it was the fact that the wand had been in his family for generations and somehow had accepted his use. Now that wand lay somewhere in the forest and probably would forever.
As he lay on his bed staring up at the ceiling a terrible thought came to his mind and his eyes shot wide open at it. If the wand had accepted him perhaps it would accept someone else and if they used it for something against wizarding law and the wand was read he could be in a great deal of trouble. No doubt if someone used the wand for something that broke the law they would dispose of it. Then, if it was found by an Auror and it was read it would be traced back to him. He could see himself being led out of the castle by Aurors and having to stand trial before the Wizengamot, maybe even being sent to Azkaban Prison. Nothing terrified the boy more because he, like all wizarding children, had heard the horror stories about that horrid place and its terrifying guards, the Dementors.
Abraxas had listened to the stories that his grandfather had told about his own stint in Azkaban and what he had witnessed there when the Dementors had captured a wizard who had attempted to escape and had killed a guard in the process. He had described in graphic detail the experience of watching a Dementor deliver its lethal kiss as it sucked the soul from the man leaving him worse than dead.
A sudden sound startled him and he nearly fell out of his bed in fright as a strangled squeak escaped him. A shadowy form stood on the other side of the room and Abraxas recoiled from it. He was pressed against the head of his bed as the thing approached and it was only when Tom spoke that Abraxas realized that his visitor had substance and had not come to steal his soul. What he didn’t realize was that Tom intended to do much more if he had the chance.
“Are you alright, Malfoy?”
“Oh, I am just wonderful! I am suspended from one class, I have lost my wand which means that I cannot do anything in some of the others and my family is going to be furious that something that has been in our family for generations is laying out in that damned forest somewhere, probably never to be seen again. I guess that you could say that I am in great shape!”
“Abraxas, I did not mean anything by it, I was just wondering if there was anything that I could do.”
“Now, you are concerned, Riddle? You did not seem very worried when you cast the body-bind on me in the corridor and cost us points for it. You were more concerned about that little twit that you have been snogging than you were your supposed friend.”
“Never let me hear you call Molly a twit again, Abraxas,” Tom answered as his voice rose in anger. “You really do not want me angry with you because it would not lead to anything pleasant.”
“Are you threatening me, Riddle?”
“Take it as you wish, Abraxas, I really do not care what you think as long as you leave Molly out of this.”
“Maybe you would like it if I got off of this bed and gave you a thrashing like have never had before.”
“I would like to see you try, especially since you do not have the wand that you depend on to get done what you need to. It is really too bad that you lost it over the forest, trying to find a particular piece of wood in the middle of a bunch of trees is going difficult. Maybe it got broken during the fall and you have two pieces of wood to find, that would be a tragic circumstance!”
Abraxas was about to rise from the bed when he suddenly doubled over in pain while Tom glared at him intently. The boy attempted to move towards his adversary but found the pain growing stronger as he neared the other boy. Finally, when he was within a foot of Tom, he collapsed onto the floor and lay there helpless while Tom stood over him. He managed to raise his head to look up at the other child and could see the glare that he had been fixed with.
The boy had dealt with many adults in authority over him during his life and not one of them had ever made him as frightened as he was at the present. Tom’s eyes seemed to be boring right through him and were sending a chill through his very soul that Abraxas felt would never be dispelled. The searing pain in his midsection felt as though his insides were being twisted into knots and he wondered if he was in the process of dying. Abruptly, however, the pain began to subside and he was able to look up at Tom once again as the other boy spoke.
“Do not make me angry, Abraxas, do so and I shall make certain that you regret every moment of my reprisal.”
Abraxas Malfoy could only lay on the floor and watch as the other boy walked out of the room silently. As Tom left the room, Abraxas found that he was able to move once again and he painfully rose to his feet to stagger back to his bed. He sat down on the bed as he thought about what had just occurred. Never before in his life had he experienced anything even remotely similar to it and he wondered just exactly what had happened.
‘There is no way that Tom did what just happened! He cannot know enough to do that because I know that he was raised by Muggles. Wait a minute,’ he thought suddenly, ‘ Amner, it has to be him, he is the one responsible for this and Tom put him up to it. Well, I will just have to have some of my friends deal with both of them and neither one will like it a bit.’
Tom sat silently in the library which belonged to Slytherin House while he considered what had happened in the dorm. He truly regretted what Abraxas had experienced and also was a trifle concerned. Abraxas was quicker minded than most that ran afoul of Tom and far more formidable given the nature of his family. No doubt the boy had learned much from them and was eager to use what he knew. The loss of his wand had been a painful blow that would be hard to overcome and Abraxas had never exhibited the ability to do magic without a wand so Tom felt rather safe in that respect.
‘Abraxas, please do not become a liability, I gave you just a small taste of what happens to people that I am angry with. I would really hate to have to do real harm to you but shall if you make me. You are far too valuable to me as a friend. I would hate to have to prove to you what I do to those whom I dislike.’
Molly sat quietly in the common room of Hufflepuff House while she read her potions assignment. She was blissfully unaware of what had happened in the dorm between Tom and Abraxas, but what she was aware of was the fact that she was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the friction between herself and the boy that she cared for.
She had made many attempts to bring Tom to something closer to her way of thinking. She saw value in the boy as he was incredibly talented as well as intelligent. He had qualities that made him desirable but he also had some that made him frightening. Tom could be incredibly cold, almost to the point of cruelty although Molly had never experienced that side of him. She had felt the sting of his indifference and it had hurt badly, but never had he been cruel to her. It would have ended their relationship not to mention bringing down the wrath of her parents upon him.
There was also the fact that something told her that there was a lot more to Tom than was visible. Although she believed him when he said that he had been raised by Muggles parts of his story did not ring true. A few times he had told her things that contradicted what he had told her before. She wondered if he might not have grown up in some sort of institution for orphaned or unwanted children. Molly Porter was an avid enthusiast when it came to studying the Muggle world and knew that such places existed. The thought of growing up in a place like that saddened her and she understood that perhaps Tom had grown up in that situation and felt shamed by his past life.
She had felt urged to speak to him about what she felt but feared his response should she be incorrect. The last thing that she wanted was to upset someone and make them angry with her. She finally shook her head and looked back at the lines of text before her. The assignment was a long one and she wanted to do well on it. The end of the term was in sight and she knew that the professors were going to start piling on large amounts of work to be finished before the summer break. She was actually looking forward to the challenge and hoped that she was up to the task ahead of her.
A glance at the clock on the wall and the hurried passage of other students told the girl that it was time for the evening meal. She rose from the chair that she occupied to carry her things to her dorm and then rushed to catch up with her friends as they walked to the Great Hall. As she walked with her friends she wondered about the schools that Muggle children attended. Surely they were not as grand as Hogwarts and she wondered if they had to wear uniforms like the students at the castle. She also wondered what their classes were like although she knew that they likely weren’t studying the things that she did.
“Molly, are you in there anywhere?”
She turned her head to see her best friend, Carol, as the other girl tried to get her attention. The eyes of the other girl were wide with fright and concern while a glance around her showed the rest of her companions sharing the same expression.
“Did you say something, Carol?”
“What in the name of Merlin had you so distracted? You do realize that you almost stepped where the staircases were not! You would have taken real flying lessons if Albert had not grabbed you although I doubt that the landing would have been pleasant or gentle. Please tell me that you were not thinking about Tom again. You really have it bad for him and I am afraid that he is going to hurt you in the end.”
“Tom is not going to hurt me and no, I was not thinking about him I was thinking about going to a Muggle school and how it must be.”
“Why would you even think about that?”
Molly turned to the girl that had spoken before answering.
“I just think that it is all so fascinating. An entire world where magic does not exist and is not believed in. Their books have pictures that do not move and their letters have to be read by the recipient! No Howlers for them! They have to read the words in the letter to find out if someone is angry with them.”
“I guess that way would be a lot better than having it blasted out for everyone else to hear, especially if you get it while you are in the Great Hall. That would be so embarrassing! Can you imagine having everyone in the Great Hall hear what a Howler is saying to you? I think that I would just die of embarrassment if that happened to me.”
Molly giggled at the expression that the girl wore on her face but had to admit that what her friend was saying was right. She knew that she would be mortified if everyone in the Great Hall heard what a Howler was saying to her. She watched as the stairs returned to the needed location and then as the others in her group began the descent again. They talked quietly among themselves as they walked and soon were entering the giant room for the meal.
Tom glanced at Molly as she entered with her friends and scowled as only she paid him any mind. He knew that the other members of Hufflepuff didn’t like him and that many of them suspected that he was behind some of the happenings that had befallen students. The boy enjoyed the power that he wielded to get others to do as he wished, but also knew that right now Malfoy was a liability. If Abraxas decided to open his mouth in anger and tell what he knew it would cause a great deal of difficulty. Tom really didn’t expect him to do it because he would implicate himself in the process and that was the last thing that a Slytherin would do.
Abraxas entered the room alone and then walked to the Slytherin table to take his customary place. He gave Tom a swift glance and then turned to a girl to begin a conversation with her while the others in his group were left out. Crabbe and Goyle looked at each other in confusion before shrugging their shoulders and turning to the meal that was preparing to begin.
Finally, after much effort at ignoring Tom, Abraxas turned to the other boy. Tom had been hoping that they could mend the damage and was not prepared for what came next.
“Riddle! Do you have something to say? Is something on your mind? Out with it or leave me alone.”
Eyes turned towards the looming argument as Horace Slughorn began moving towards the table that the members of the House that he headed occupied.
“All that I wanted to do was talk, Malfoy, but you are too thick-headed to even listen to something that someone else has to say. If you would take the time once in a while to let someone other than you have some input perhaps you could stay out of trouble.”
The words, spoken with a little more force than Tom had wanted, struck home and all were stunned when Abraxas fairly leapt from his seat with his arms flailing at the other boy. He was nearly to Tom when he was grabbed from behind by a larger boy and forcefully returned to his seat. Enraged at the sudden and unexpected contact, the boy looked up at the Prefect with a venomous glare that told everyone around him what he was thinking.
“Do not even think about it, Malfoy!”
The boy glanced at the Prefect who still stood over him and then at the professor who had arrived on the scene.
“Mister Malfoy, there are only a few weeks left in this term and I shall expect a much different student the next time that I have to speak to you. If you continue with the course of action that you are taking I shall speak to Professor Dippet about an alternative location for your education. Have I made myself clear to you?”
Abraxas looked up at Horace Slughorn silently and then, after a long pause, nodded.
“Very well, then let us enjoy this meal in peace. No points shall be taken, but you shall owe me a parchment describing proper behavior when dealing with others.”
“Yes, sir, Professor Slughorn, you will have it tomorrow morning.”
“Excellent, I shall look forward to reading it.”
Abraxas watched as the Prefect and the portly professor walked away from the scene and then turned to the food that had appeared during the disturbance. He would not eat much which was in direct opposition to what Tom was doing. His plate was full and he was enjoying the meal while he spoke with the students around him while he had rejoiced. Abraxas had done him a favor without realizing it. He had shifted the attention to himself which left Tom free to do as he wished. That the wand was still out of the hands of its owner made things even better because it put Malfoy at a disadvantage. Tom intended to return it eventually, but the timing and situation had to be right. It wouldn’t do for Abraxas to find out that his wand had been in the possession of another all along. Tom knew that nothing would enrage Malfoy more.
The meal continued and, as it did, Dumbledore watched the boy that he had first spoken to in that small room in the dingy orphanage. Tom was up to something, of that Dumbledore was certain, but just what that something was mystified the wizard. He knew that the wand of Abraxas Malfoy had been lost over the forest, which meant that it would be nearly impossible to find, and therefore he doubted that Tom Riddle had the item. Still, Tom was acting very mysteriously and he wondered why. It was something that he intended to look into because he could sense a storm coming, it was still far in the distance but it was coming nonetheless.
Tom, having the feeling that he was being watched, stole a glance at Dumbledore. The professor seemed to be watching him and he wondered if the older wizard sensed his possession of the wand. He had known about the items that Tom had stolen at the orphanage and made the boy return them to their rightful owners, would he do the same with the wand?
This all meant just one thing, the wand needed to return to Malfoy, but how? Tom knew that he could not just walk up to the boy and give him his wand, that wouldn’t work. But there was a way to do it and Tom knew what it was. What if he was able to place the wand in the possession of someone else? What if he was able to make Malfoy believe that another student had found the wand and had purposely withheld the information?
Tom looked over at Maxwell Amner and smiled a bit. The big dolt was becoming a liability that had to be dealt with. Obviously Maxwell remembered quite a lot about the incident which had led to Thomas being expelled and that meant that he knew who had arranged the whole thing. If the wand was found in his possession Malfoy would turn on him and do enough complaining to perhaps get the older boy sent from the school. If it worked Amner would be gone and Abraxas would look upon him favorably again. If it didn’t work, Malfoy would get pummeled and perhaps get sent from the school along with Maxwell. If it didn’t work, the boy realized, there was also the possibility that the whole plot could be revealed and then many, including Tom himself, might leave the castle forever.
That left only one detail, how to let Malfoy know that Amner had his wand. He had the perfect tool for the job, a person that no one would suspect as being part of the plan. He looked over at the pretty blonde hair of Molly Porter while the girl talked to her friends. She was perfect for the job, someone that everyone believed and was nearly above suspicion in any wrong doing. All that had to happen was for the wand to end up with Maxwell and for Molly to go to Malfoy with the news. Malfoy liked Molly, even desired her, and would not hesitate to act on something that she told him.
He rose as the meal ended while he thought about the girl. He knew that what he was planning was wrong, even potentially dangerous for Molly because it placed her in a situation that she had no control over or even knowledge of. Secure with his plan of action, Tom looked at Molly once more and then walked out of the Great Hall. The boy had no idea than he was being watched and would have been concerned had he.
Professor Albus Dumbledore remained where he had been seated as he looked from Tom to Molly. The boy had been incredibly intent on the girl and he wondered why because the behavior had not been normal in any sense of the way. Something was afoot and clearly Molly Porter had a part in it, the question was did she have any idea that she had been included in whatever was going to happen? The young professor rose from his place as the room emptied of students to walk to the stairs that led down to the warren of tunnels that Slytherin House called home, there he would pause and look downwards in the direction that Tom Riddle had taken.
“What in the name of Merlin are you up to, Tom, and what part does Molly Porter have to play in it?”
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