"She is quite pretty, you know."
"That Muggle who you have in the back of your head. Louise, wasn't it? And just when I thought you liked Mudbloods, you gone and had yourself a dirty friend. This, I wasn't expecting, Theodore."
"Don't call her dirty."
"Salazar Slytherin's own heir, and he sides himself with a Muggle. Pathetic."
"Aren't you tired of climbing out from the pipes every morning like a rat in the gutter? Don't you want to end that pain, Theodore?"
"I'm not going to kill her."
"Sure. We'll see. You'll fall eventually. I know that you can feel me wherever you go. You cannot run away, Theodore. You can't leave me because I will be there. Every. Single. Time."
"Theo!" The boy rotated his body robotically to see the endangered Muggle-born running towards him with two books in her arms. Charms was exceptionally dull and did not draw the possessed boy to even take part. Theodore's mind was so dampened, that he didn't even notice the books that he had left behind. Hermione panted as she handed them over to Theodore before leaning to catch her breath.
"Thanks." Hermione then got up from her knees and held her chest to ease her lungs back to normal. The Parselmouth was silent for the entire lesson, eyes stuck to the desk, not even muttering a word. A definite puppet. It was like there was nothing left to save. Empty, hollow and cold. A mere shell. Looking around to make sure that nobody would see the two, Hermione took the boy's hand into hers once again, seeing if she could break through this time. The boy tried to let her in but he was too strong. Tom was hacking away at the attachment Theodore had for Hermione, soon to be completely severed and unrepairable. "Didn't I tell you to leave me alone?"
"I just wanted-" Theodore pulled his hand away and walked off without saying a word. He left the girl alone in the corridor for the fear of slaughtering her against his free will was destroying him. He was dying on the inside, and she couldn't help him. They were losing Theodore to his own father, trapped within his mind, unable to escape.
Theodore kept his eyes stuck to the floor, refusing to even glance at the spectral manifestation of his father hanging by his side. He wanted to lash out to Tom, wanting to rip him to shreds but what would it amass to? Everyone would only see the insanity that was driven across the boy's mind like a knife. It was killing him slowly, but he couldn't let it out, no matter what. Theodore didn't want to close his eyes ever, only for him to see the mangled bodies of his friends upon opening them. He needed to keep away from Hermione. He needed to keep away from Ron, and Harry… Harry was in far more danger than anyone else in the castle. If it meant to use his body like a braindead slave, Tom would not hesitate to have Theodore kill Harry as well. But the boy was doing the right thing. He was saving his friends. He was, right?
"Miss Brown, have you seen Mr Riddle anywhere? It is urgent that I find him." Theodore overheard the sickening voice that needed silencing from around the corridor bend. He pressed his back against the wall and stuck his head just so slightly that he was hidden well enough to watch whoever had spoken his name. Lockhart, still clad in pink, was occupied with taking and signing multiple photos from the swarm of girls surrounding him. Lavender was stuck in the middle, swooning over the fact that he had said her name, despite being in his class for almost five months.
"Oh, Theo? I saw him in Charms right before it ended but he was already out of the classroom. Why do you ask?"
"I- no problem, Miss Clearwater- have a proposition to make with the lucky boy. Now everyone here must keep it a secret. I plan on taking a protégée as a 'successor', if you will." Lavender and some of the other girls began hopping on their toes while they giddily flailed their hands.
"Theodore and Professor Lockhart? Together?! I can't breathe!"
"He's so dreamy," whispered a girl closest to Theodore.
"More than dreamy!" The diary felt like it was carving a hole in the boy's chest as he turned to the opposite hallway. Lockhart using Theodore as leverage for his soon to be, dwindling attention, only made the boy feel even more contempt to the counterfeit teacher. But to think about him at the current time was a waste of mental energy. The pain was driving him mad, if he weren't already, requiring his space away from anybody else. Tom was twisting the knife inside the salted, gaping wound and it would only get worse by every single step. Theodore staggered along the flooded corridors, ignoring the concerns of the passing people, screaming on the inside.
'You're all not safe… you were never safe with me around… he's taken control and I-I can't fight him. You hear me?! I can't fight him, and I need your help! Somebody help me, please!'
Theodore hadn't even noticed where he was blindly heading to as he pushed the doors of Myrtle's Bathroom before tripping to the ground. Too weary to break his fall completely, a prominent cut on his bottom lip instantly leaked blood to his chin, some dripping to his partially wet jumper. The boy merely wiped it off with his sleeve, and brought himself up to his feet. He had done enough blackouts during the past two years. Stumbling to the sinks to clear his face with cool water, Theodore was still unaware of his current location, only fixated on cooling his burning skin.
"I remember this place. Of course, I did. This is where the hidden entrance to the Chamber is. How foolish of me." Theodore didn't even bother to spin around foolishly. He knew who it was. As the water cleared away from his lashes, Theodore saw Tom in the mirror staring back at him, completely purging the boy's reflection. The elder Riddle had a face of false empathy, lying through the dark scarlet eyes which Theodore now feared. But he didn't cower back. He wouldn't leave. "But no. This place was truly special. It was here where I truly became distant with my former name, a name so disrespectful to be even connected to the great Salazar Slytherin!"
"Our existence is disrespectful to Slytherin," muttered the boy emotionlessly. "How could you possibly think that he would look at us with pride in his eyes? When we carry the blood of a 'filthy Muggle'?" Tom's nostrils flared as his pupils thinned.
"I did what I was destined to do! I killed a Mudblood in this very bathroom!" Tom bellowed from behind Theodore. The younger Riddle tried to scoff but it only came out as a sickly cough.
"And what was stopping you from killing another?"
"That's right." Theodore turned around to face his father in his eyes, who shifted into the form Theodore saw a year ago. Voldemort looked livid to the point of wringing his thin fingers around the boy's neck, but did not comply with his urge. "Albus… Dumbledore."
"You think he cares about you? You think that he doesn't know what you are? The old fool is probably watching you closely like he watched me all those years ago. He won't save you from what you'll truly become. Only I can show him what I created, and that creation is you. We will take from him. You and I."
"But you'll lose." The boy's father cackled dryly as Theodore's body began to quiver.
"No, Theodore. It will be Dumbledore to lose. He will lose you to me when I'll take you for my own. He will lose you when all the short-lived faith that he installed in you, will be ripped away when I rise again…"
"Shut up…" Theodore muttered as he covered his face with his damp hands.
"He will lose when I tell you to kill the Mudblood with the Basilisk…"
"Please… shut up!"
"He will lose, Theodore! When you will claim your birth right, when you have the Mudblood dead by your feet, he will lose. He will lose you, and when my powers will return… you will lose Harry." Theodore screamed as loud as he could, squeezing his ears to block out his father. No more, no more! Tears ran down his face as he slowly dropped to the ground.
"No more… no more…" The boy chanted to himself as Voldemort slowly faded away with horrific glee upon his face. Theodore wept on the floor, desperate for his suffering to end. He couldn't take it anymore. If he lived any longer, if he kept on clinging to life then he'd die. Theodore would die as something else would emerge. Something he never wanted anybody to see. His 'true' self.
Theodore remained locked inside of the cubicle for the rest of the school day, the phrase "Kill the Mudblood" ladled into his ears for what felt like an eternity, lingering through his mind before embedding itself firmly deep within. It wasn't until the final bell did Theodore exit the bathroom finally, darting around the castle to evade his teachers who were surely aware that the boy was missing from their lessons. Being set a plethora of detentions was the least of the boy's problems. There was going to be another attack on a Muggle-born soon and this time, the Heir of Slytherin would succeed. Hermione was going to die from his own hand.
The Parselmouth trekked the magical stairways to Gryffindor common room, and gravelly spoke the password to the singing Fat Lady. From the looks of it, almost the entire of Gryffindor was swarmed inside of the main complex, naturally filling the room with overbearing chatter. Wiping the trickling sweat from his forehead and nose, Theodore tried to casually walk through to the boys' dorm without gaining a single glance from anybody else, but he couldn't even manage to do that. The conversations that once filled the room was instantly killed by the boy's sudden appearance. The glares that were aimed to Theodore, forced him to look back, momentarily locking himself within eye contact before moving to the next one. The more he remained surrounded by everyone there, his desire to slash each and every person's insides only grew with more intensity. He needed to be on his own, away from them. Far away.
They all paved way for the boy to escape to the dormitory, not even whispering as he passed by. Theodore remembered this all too well before at his time at Stuggle's. Wizard, witch or Muggle, no matter, everyone could see through Theodore without the slightest obscurity, he was sure of it. From the corner of his eye, right before he ascended up the stairs, was Hermione, Harry and Ron. The two boys stood behind the Muggle-born, who he could see, was desperate to say something to Theodore. Another attempt to try and pry the entire truth from his fractured mind. Alas, the girl held her tongue as Theodore walked up the spiral stairway without halting mid-step. He heard the noises of the other Gryffindors booming from below, changing into his normal clothes before tending to his sliced lip. A soft scab was slightly loose and sore as the Parselmouth rubbed against it. It wasn't so serious that he had to use magic to heal himself. He sat himself on the edge of the bed, and shakily plucked the diary from the messy pile of his school uniform. Dirty, filthy warmth travelled through his arm as he twitched his neck. Sitting beside him was Tom as a sixteen-year-old, mimicking the clothes that Theodore was currently wearing, only with a darker hue that made it look murky.
"Aren't you going to say goodbye to the Mudblood? And Harry," asked the elder Riddle mockingly as he scratched his neck. Theodore kept a blank stare to the windows on the far end of the dorm, watching the orange and purple swirl in the most magnificent ways. He remained quiet as Tom attempted to test his son. "Surely, you want to say goodbye to the two of them, you know? Soften the blow before you show them who you truly are."
"If you're so adamant on killing Hermione and Harry, then take over my body and do as you please. I know that you won't because you're scared."
"I feel fear, but it isn't coming from me, Theodore. No, it's coming from you," said the sadistic manifestation of Tom Riddle as he stood up to prowl around the room. Theodore didn't watch him as he continued to gaze at the sunset. "Why can't you understand what I am doing for you?"
"You're crazy..." A false sensation of air brushed against the younger Riddle's ear, feeling Tom centimetres away from his skull.
"You… are the Heir of Slytherin. You are born from such nobility yet the fact that you don't want any of it confuses me, Theodore. Have I not been kind to you? Have I not accomplished my duty as a father, to help you grow and flourish? Have I not?!" Tom backed away slowly as Theodore twisted his neck to gain full vision of his father. Scarlet to scarlet. The words did not leave the boy's mouth, but they didn't go unheard. Tom had melded with Theodore's spirit and mind, completely aware of the boy's thoughts. He saw the hatred and rage that Theodore had for his father, and feasted on them to gain more control. The more the boy stayed within the short vicinity of the diary, the stronger Tom became. Theodore was fighting a losing battle and he didn't even know it.
"Let me be…"
"Don't you understand? I can't leave you, Theodore. I need you. I need you to become what I always wanted you to be… Me." Theodore immediately tightened his fist to a ball and swung it with as much force as he could possibly deliver at his father. Tom evaporated into a cloud of black smoke, grinning devilishly before vanishing back inside of the diary. The Parselmouth threw the diary to the floor and stamped on it repeatedly with such ferocity that his heel began to ache. Why couldn't he destroy it? Why did he ever write back to the diary? Why did he even care for his cursed heritage in the first place? He should've listened to Hermione when she said to forget about Slytherin, but now she was going to die. Theodore didn't listen and because of that, she was going to die. Through the clenched teeth and watery eyes, Theodore finally gave the diary one last stamp before kicking it underneath the Viripin-free bed.
"Kill the Mudblood… Kill the Mudblood…"
"What's going on here?" Harry's voice came from the open doorway of the dorm as the Boy Who Lived stared at the Heir, who had his back turned to his cousin. The tears were quickly wiped away before Theodore turned 90o to show half of his face. He was in no mood to convince Harry to stay the hell away from him. Theodore sniffed sharply before ridding the extra fluid in his eyes as he walked over to the other side of the bed.
"That's it? You're up here making a racket, but it's just nothing? And you just expect me to believe that?"
"If you're going to say something, Harry, then just say it. Otherwise stop wasting my time and leave me the fuck alone." Theodore said harshly. 'No, I didn't mean to say that.'
"We already did that. And now look at you. You don't even look alive. Your cheeks are still thin, and you look like you can barely stand let alone walk. And you're skipping classes. What's the problem?" Harry asked sternly, closing the door behind him in case things got heated in the room.
"Why do you even care," spat the Heir. Harry scoffed.
"Why do I even- for a smart guy like you, that is the most stupidest question that I have ever heard. I'm not going to answer that because you know what I'll say."
"Why is it so hard for you to trust us? To trust me? Don't you remember what we did last year, together? We took a bullet for each other yet here you are, strutting around the corridors like you don't mean anything to anyone!"
"Well, when you've been stuck inside the hospital wing for more than a week, feeling fucked up everywhere and your friends don't even give a shit, you tend to rethink if some friendships were even worth having." Theodore spitefully added. Harry clenched his fists as his face became flustered with anger. Theodore didn't mean to say any of this, it was all Tom's doing. Theodore couldn't control himself as every ounce of negativity experienced during the past two months, spewed out against his will. He was just so angry.
"We had our reasons." Harry gritted through his teeth. Theodore started to walk towards his cousin in such a threatening manner that Harry was almost considering using brute force to push him back.
"Don't ever give me that bullshit again. You didn't visit me because you knew. You knew what I did but instead of trying to help me, you left me alone."
"You pity yourself so much that you can't see the people that you hurt, next to you. You lied to us, Theodore. What did you expect that we would do?"
"I expected you to be there!"
"You know why we didn't come! Stop playing the innocent card because we know what you did, Theo! We know!"
"This is the boy who became my hindrance," hissed the wispy image of Voldemort appearing next to Theodore. "This is the famous Harry Potter?! KILL HIM NOW!" Theodore ignored his father's contained screams as he only focused on Harry.
"Then say it," stated Theodore grimly. "I want to hear it come out from your mouth. Say it."
"I said say it!" Theodore shouted unintentionally in Parseltongue. Harry started to back off, truly worried that his best friend had turned deranged over the edge, possibly beyond helping. Theodore's eyes were scarlet, and shone brightly in the barely lit room. They looked so familiar, yet it was nothing of Theodore. 'I'm sorry, Harry…'
"Let me help you, Theo. Please."
"As if I would need your help," sneered Theodore as he lowered himself to reach for the diary. "I didn't come here as a celebrity. I'm just a nobody, a poor orphan who's got nothing. Better off on my own like I always been." The infected Parselmouth stood up and hid the diary behind his back as he left towards the door. Harry said nothing as he watched Theodore brush past him, and exit the room swiftly. Whatever was taking over Theodore, was killing him on the inside.
Theodore strutted menacingly down the stairway, and stood still at the archway of the staircase, observing each of his fellow Gryffindors to make that nobody had their eyes on him. Everyone seemed invested with their own problems, giving the boy an opportunity to leave undetected. He just had to make sure that he wasn't seen as suspicious. A mistake on his part. For a fraction of a second, he and Hermione were locked in eye contact. Knowing her, she'd probably bound off the sofa to try and stop him from leaving. Not this time. He wouldn't let her.
The Parselmouth instantly paced towards the portrait door without looking back or sideways. He finally reached the portrait hole and pushed through it, briefly hearing the first syllable of his name before the portrait closed behind him. He took the risk of jumping onto a moving staircase, almost tripping over the edge. Luckily, he grabbed onto the marble banister before suffering a relatively gruesome death. As he descended two floors, he could see a ray of golden light bursting from the seventh floor above, the entrance of Gryffindor Tower. Somebody was following him. He jumped onto the third floor platform and briskly walked along the said corridor, still cautious of the teachers and prefects that patrolled the hallways.
Just like it had always been, the abandoned girls' bathroom smelt like ancient sewage and the rotting carcass of mice. Theodore stood facing the moonlit central sinks, expecting the Basilisk to burst from the ground at any second. The boy assumed that he was alone as the usual whimpering of the ghost girl could not be heard from any angle. Tom walked out from behind Theodore, and had his hands behind his back, pale face gleaming from the refraction of the moonlight. The elder Riddle decided to keep his usual attire by wearing the Slytherin uniform instead. The teenager was silent for a while, until he spoke softly.
"I never did tell you how I killed the Mudblood back then, did I?" Tom asked casually.
"I didn't come here to listen to you gloat about one murder." Theodore responded coldly. It was probably the only emotion he could truly feel.
"Right! Right, of course! How could I possibly compare myself to you, dear boy? I mean, slaughtering a man at the fresh age of twelve? I wasn't even seventeen when I first killed somebody! Like father, like son, eh?" Theodore said nothing and walked to the sinks with the diary in his hand. "Why are we here? A change of heart, perhaps?"
"Maybe. It's not like I have anything to lose."
"You may have nothing to lose, but you have so much to gain. Our pride of our heritage, carrying out what Salazar had forward for us. So much to gain, so much power! We must do this. You must do this." Theodore sniffed as he brushed his nose with a sleeve.
"Yeah… I know." The younger Riddle found the snake-tap and hissed in Parseltongue to separate the sinks. As they shifted to reveal the large pipe in the middle, Theodore took the diary in both hands and opened it up in the middle. Tom was standing on his right, peering into the black hole. If one could listen so carefully, the sounds of scattering rats could be heard from down below.
"What are you waiting for, Theodore? Jump."
"You said that I should close my heart to those who did not comply with Salazar's wishes. You said that, right?"
"Why bring up something that I already know?"
"So by being half bloods, the both of us, don't we represent the one thing that Salazar despised? The unity between wizardkind and Muggles? Isn't our existence against his wishes?" Theodore spoke blankly as he traced his finger against the empty pages. Tom became agitated that Theodore had not jumped inside of the pipe yet. His former friends were coming to 'rescue' him as they spoke, father and son. By the time that they'd get here, the Basilisk would be ready for them. It was the perfect trap but the boy wasn't moving. Why?
"I have been cleansed by the power of Slytherin's blood alone! My filthy father means nothing to what I am!"
"Doesn't make you any purer. We're just filthy half-breeds, and nothing more."
"My heart's been closed, Tom. Ever since I picked up this diary from this bathroom, you used me like a pet. A naïve animal who you manipulated to do his bidding. I haven't felt true happiness in weeks, all because of you. You ripped me apart, took me away from my friends and kept me as your own. I… I don't feel the same anymore. I-I never wanted… I never should've opened the Chamber. I should've thrown the diary away when I had the chance. I should've listened!" Theodore raised the diary above the pipe, ready to let it flutter into the abyss. Tom looked furious but remained still as the slightest of movements could mean his entrapment in the Chamber forever.
"You think that they'll forgive you for what you did," sneered the elder Riddle. "You think that Harry, Ron and Hermione will welcome you back with loving arms as you rid me from your being? You think they'll care?!" Those words hit Theodore hard in the stomach. His father was right. Even if he explained to them what had happen, nothing that he could do after would redeem him. He'd have to run away, no matter how far he'd go as long as he was just away from… everything.
"That's fine… they don't need me. I was only just a burden to them. They deserve better…"
"Deserve better?! How can you say that?!" Theodore closed his eyes and sighed. Why couldn't he just drop it? He was so close but he just couldn't do it…
"I-I told you already, Tom. My heart has been closed. To everyone that I cared about… and now to you."
"Don't do it."
"Since you love Salazar so much…"
"…then you can bury yourself with him."
"Theodore!" Tom shouted.
"Goodbye… Tom." Theodore said mundanely as the diary began to slip between his hands. He was going to be free from the shackles of Tom Riddle. The diary would be lost forever, never to resurface once again. Tom Marvolo Riddle died here.
"NO! STOP!" Suddenly feeling something heave against his back, Theodore was thrown behind him violently as he smacked the tiled flooring hard against his ribs. He was painfully winded, and was struggling to breathe, holding the area from where the pain originated.
"…saw him go down this way, I swear! Maybe he's in here- Theo!" Ron, followed by Harry then Hermione, rushed into the bathroom to witness the boy laying upon the floor in pain. The trio came to the boy's side at once as he groaned, not because his rib was probably cracked, but because they were right where Tom wanted them to be. Theodore groggily spoke as the other three helped him sit up. "He's trying to say something. What is it, Theo? Why are you down here?"
"You… go… before… kills you…" Theodore uttered as his head twirled anti-clockwise in a dizzying motion.
"Who's trying to kill us," asked Harry.
"Theodore, you have to speak properly. Who's trying to kill us?"
"Me…" The trio looked perplexed and anxious by the boy's single word. They knew that he was the Heir of Slytherin, and that if he was really trying to kill them, whatever he used for the victims could be inside of the bathroom at that very minute. Harry blocked it from his mind as he told Ron to help support the Parselmouth to the hospital wing. Theodore was making far too many frequent stays in there.
"We'll just say that he passed out in the common room. If they know that we were out of bed this late, then- Hermione? Come on!" The Muggle-born was standing over the open entrance, facing into the black pipeline. Or rather, she was staring at the thing that was barely hanging on the edge. She nervously bent down and picked up the damp diary that had almost fell into the hidden hole. It felt vile in her fingers, like it contained pure bloodlust and hatred. Hermione had no idea as to why Theodore would be so obsessed with such a thing, but whatever it was had to die. It didn't matter if it was seen as a 'family heirloom', Theodore needed to come back to them.
"Hermione…" grumbled Theodore, still hurt from his rib. The girl didn't reply. "Hermione… throw it away…"
"W-what…" Theodore stood on his own and walked one step towards Hermione, who still kept the diary in her hand. A horrific thought crossed the boy's mind as he thought to himself what had just happened. Tom was now leeching off her. The younger Riddle knew what hatred his father had against Hermione, and knew that he'd use her like a piece of unwanted meat.
"Throw the diary down, Hermione. Please!"
"I… I can't!" Theodore threw his vision all over the place, looking for the wretched boy he called a father.
"Let her go, Tom! Don't do this, she's innocent! Don't kill her!" Theodore screamed. Hermione was slowly shuffling closer to the pipe, almost forced to plunge her way down headfirst until all that would be heard from above, was the fatal snap of her neck.
"Who's Tom," said Ron as he shook Theodore by the shoulders. "Who's- Hermione! Get away from there!"
"I can't," sobbed the Muggle-born as she was struck with fear. Her own body was moving against her will. She couldn't let go of the diary and she was going to kill herself. "Help me! I'm going to fall in!"
"Let her go, now! Now, Tom!" The elder Riddle formed next to Hermione with her back turned, grinning madly. Hermione wasn't stopping as she started to cry. Her tears were poisonous to Theodore's ears as he was beyond begging. He was his father's puppet, no more. "I SAID NOW! LET HER GO, NOW!"
"What was that about me only killing one Mudblood?" Upon pure instinct, Theodore leapt to Hermione, who had one foot already off the ground, and tried to catch her by the hand to pull her back away from the pipe. Ron and Harry had the same idea as they were half a metre behind the Heir, ready to catch the possessed girl, only…
As he grabbed onto Hermione's arm to pull her back, Tom's diary instantly latched itself onto Theodore own, clamping down on him like a leech spawned from Hell. Writhing in pain, Theodore swung his arm in a desperate attempt to dispose of it once and for all but he just couldn't. His ribs were in far too much pain to even muster the sufficient strength needed. Theodore slammed it again and again next to the sinks but its hold only grew stronger. The trio tugged onto it as well, but they too were futile to its strength. Thoughts on slicing his arm right off were clear in the boy's mind but none of that started to matter. A new sensation coupled with the pain, grew on the trapped boy's arm as it almost felt like he was being sucked through something small.
"Harry," muttered Theodore as he saw the golden glow coming from the diary. Harry noticed this and panic drove across his face as he knew that something bad was going to happen.
"Come on, pull! We have to get this thing off, before-" The golden light instantly spread across the boy's body as the diary began to shake. To the other three, Theodore looked like he was fading away like golden ash.
"Theodore! THEODORE!" And he was gone. Only the three children, the hidden ghost girl and the Diary of the Dark Lord was all that remained in the bathroom. Devastation was all that they could feel and show as they saw their friend crumble away to nothingness, right before their eyes. Hermione and Ron were frozen in their places, but Harry just dropped to his knees. He had just watched Theodore die right there, and he couldn't do a thing about it. He couldn't save him.
"H-he's not- he can't be…" Ron stammered, too shocked to say anything calmly. He then frantically turned around, searching to see if his best friend had only vanished to a different area of the bathroom. "Theo? Theo! THEO!"
"Ron, stop." Harry said quietly.
"He can't be gone! He was just here and- oh god! Theodore…" Hermione still hadn't said a word. Maybe there was too much to feel that she couldn't possibly say anything. Theodore wasn't dead. That wasn't dying. She never saw a person die right in front of her, but she didn't need to. She refused. Theodore wasn't dead.
"No. He's not dead." The Muggle-born firmly stated.
"He just turned into dust, Hermione. How could he not possibly be dead?!" Ron shouted.
"He's not dead. He can't be dead," said Hermione as she bent over to pick the diary up from the floor. Slimy water dripped off the flaking spine, pattering on her shoe. "I… think that he's in here." Ron looked at her like she had lost her mind.
"Inside the diary? Are you mad?! How could he be inside of the diary?!" Hermione tried to look certain of her assumptions but even she had trouble convincing herself. Had the guilt of carrying the diary and putting herself in danger arrived? Was this going to be her way on coping if Theodore was actually dead? Convinced that he was stuck inside of the shady diary?
"Throw it away." Harry said grimly.
"What did you say, Harry? Throw it away?" Harry nodded, causing the girl to look appalled by his sudden choice. "We can't throw the diary away, Theodore's inside it!"
"Theodore wanted the diary inside of that pipe over there. If he knew that it was dangerous then maybe that was the reason why he was down here. We have to throw it away." Hermione shook her wild hair and clutched the diary to her chest.
"No. I know that he's in here, we just… please, guys. Believe me when I tell you that he's inside of the diary, I know it." She looked to Ron, who was disheartened and pale to the nose. Harry also looked pale, his scar even more visible than before. They didn't believe her one bit. Hermione shakily opened the first page of the diary, hope draining out of her so rapidly. Maybe he was dead. She had so much to tell him, but it all meant nothing now. She promised to help him, but she failed. And now… The saddened Muggle-born let three teardrops run down her face, splashing onto the diary's page. She didn't notice that they were instantly absorbed, for she felt the pain of a heartstring twang inside. How… strange…
"Tom? Wake up, Tom! It's morning!" The black-haired boy sighed heavily as he lifted his slim body from his bed. Usually, he'd get up much earlier than the current time but last night was… exhausting, to say the least. He stood up from the right hand side of the bed stretched, twisting his neck and arms.
"What did I say about shouting into my ears in the morning, Theodore?"
"It's alright," said the handsome sixth year, although his comment came across as more snide then meaningful. Tom walked into the bathroom with his things to clean himself before leaving for lessons. If everything went according to plan today, it would be most rewarding. He could feel the satisfaction lying inside of his veins, bursting to come out. But he needed to wait. He couldn't expose his motives when he had done so much. Yes, he need to wait just a little bit longer.
Cleaned and dressed in his usual uniform, Tom walked into the main part of the common room, watching his 'friends' chat amongst each other with joy and excitement. The end of the year was dawning upon them and summer was around the corner. That meant that he'd have to go back to the utter filth-bag of an orphanage for nearly two torturous months. Oh how he loathed it there. But that wasn't in the present for he was here now, in Hogwarts. Where he truly belonged.
Sitting on the sofa with an arm wrapped around a pretty girl of the same age, was the same boy that had woken Tom up from his slumber. The boy known as-
"Theodore Lestrange, I can't believe you!"
"I said I was sorry! You didn't honestly expect me to remember, did you?"
"Yes! That's the entire point of an anniversary, you remember the time when you first get with somebody! How dense could you get?" Theodore shrugged and attempted to kiss her on the cheeks multiple times, ignoring her squirms and pushes.
"Terly, I'm sorry, alright? I'll make it up to you, I promise." Terly scoffed and turned her head away as she flicked Theodore with her golden locks of hair. Tom watched them with a vacant expression on his face and shook his head in disapproval. To think that one of his own had problems with a mere girl. However, Terly was of pure descent so it would make sense for procreation purposes. Tom had those ideas in mind as he would sought to create a child that he would command under his bidding. Any child from his bloodline would surely be of use to him. Tom walked over to the bickering couple and pulled Theodore away from Terly to speak with him in private.
"You've seen enough of her for thirty minutes, now listen. Tonight, I want you to tell Slughorn why i won't be there. Do not let him be interested."
"Where are you going?"
"I need to run an overdue errand that could cost me a few hours. Remember what I said. If I find out that somebody knew where I was then-" Theodore widened his eyes in a quick flash of fear before nodding his head. The shorter black-haired boy scurried off to his girlfriend and kissed her straight on the lips before leaving through the main door. A sense of power surged through Tom as he knew what was going to happen today.
"Where am I?" The faintly greyish-green hue of his surroundings, plastered everywhere in the unfamiliar room. All faces, hair, ceilings and windows held this consistency, making Theodore think that he was looking through permanent lenses. The confused boy had taken a backseat to the events that had just passed, having to go through so many things. That boy who woke up his father was called Theodore, and his girlfriend was called Terly. Ms Padalin was in Slytherin?! How was this possible, all of it? How could he see this me- Theodore inhaled deeply as he knew what happened. The diary. It was somehow showing the memories that were preserved inside of it like a movie, only that he was inside of it.
The area where he was standing was most likely the Slytherin common room, almost exactly like he had imagined it. Seeing the form of his father infuriated the boy to the point where he wanted to kill him, right there. He already tried, using his hands to strangle him but they only went through like he wasn't there. He was a prisoner inside of the diary, unable to find a way scene started to melt away as golden ash from nowhere, constructed a different area. An area where Theodore was all too familiar with.
Tom felt slightly foul for parading in and out of the girls' bathroom, just to access the legendary Chamber of Secrets. Not only would people decipher that it was he who had set the Basilisk on the Mudbloods, but it could also tarnish the reputable image that he had worked up on for so long. Nobody would trust 'Tom Marvolo Riddle, Hogwarts Pervert'. But, that wasn't his name, and everyone would soon know that. Deciding that it wasn't the right time, the Heir of Slytherin cautiously exited the bathroom and walked to the Great Hall where everyone else was eating. Being a prefect meant nobody would suspect you if you suddenly arrived at dinner at the oddest of times. Sitting next to Theodore and Eldon Rosier, he tucked in to the breakfast that outmatched the food at Wool's Orphanage.
"Hey, Tom. Had any updates on your secret admirers recently," said Theodore as he held back a laugh, so settled with a smirk.
"Over there, sitting on the Ravenclaw table." Theodore pointed at a girl with acne and round spectacles, who spun her head around the moment Tom looked straight to her. He knew who she was, or what she was, to be more specific.
"Are you talking about the Mudblood." Tom asked grimly. Theodore nodded his head and turned to Terly, who was in much higher spirits than before. Tom looked at her with such disgust that an idea came to his head. Tonight, it would be her.
"Myrtle? Myrtle was here when…" Theodore had heard every word his father and his namesake spoke for an evil sensation stabbed his stomach. If this was true, then he had to leave. If his father did what he thought he did, then…
The scene shifted again as the Great Hall faded from the boy's vision, replaced by an area in the castle which was slightly familiar to Theodore. The corridor adjacent to the one of the Potions classroom had Tom talking with a teacher who, in Theodore's eyes, looked obese and strenuous against the buttons on his shirt. Theodore forced himself to listen to the conversation between Tom and the unknown professor while trying to wrap his head around how he was inside of the diary.
"…quite a beauty, wasn't it? The students caught it a few hours ago. A Maibian Adder, one of the last ninety of his species." The fat professor remarked as he wiped his sweaty forehead with an already damp handkerchief.
"I was certain that it was a female," muttered Tom under his breath.
"Nothing, Professor. Just something else on my mind. Are you going to keep in your classroom, or is it worth a few Galleons?"
"Now Tom, I can't let you know about that! It's not particularly… inviting of a boy such as yourself, to involve himself in the basic trade of the world."
"Well, I guess so. But a snake with such rarity must be worth something." The professor patted the boy on his shoulder before he started to walk off.
"If you are interested then I could indulge you with the market trade, my dear boy! How to use your charm to get the reasonable prices. Anyways, I must get going. See you later, Tom!"
"Goodbye, Professor Slughorn."
So it was he who had Viripin locked in the classroom for almost fifty years. Slughorn. Theodore instantly assumed that he was just as cruel and vile as Tom, no matter how jolly he made himself out to be. He held the snake dear to his heart and now that she had left him for good, Theodore wanted her back more than ever. All of this, because he picked up his father's fucking diary. He hated himself.
"Aren't you going to tell me why you brought me here, Tom?!" Theodore shouted as he rotated, knowing that nobody could hear him. "Get out here, now! Show me why you brought me here, you fucking coward! Show me!"
"As you wish, Theo."
The scene changed once more as the wisps of the surrounding area took on black and green shades, slowly solidifying to create the cursed Chamber of Secrets. Theodore began to tremble as all those traumatising nights of climbing outside of the Chamber, flooded right back in. It felt even more sickening to see how much cleaner it was in the past compared to now. Watching and listening to his father facing the grand statue of Salazar Slytherin, he heard the words, 'Come to me, Serpent of Slytherin', he backed away in fear, desperate for someone, anyone…
"Help me… please…"
"If he really was inside of the diary, then we should get Dumbledore to-"
"No, Ron. We can't tell anybody about this. If they found out the truth about who did the attacks then what would happen to him? They could… throw him into Azkaban for all we know!"
"That is, if he's really inside of the diary. How can you be so sure, Hermione?"
"I… don't know. I just know that he's not dead. People don't die from turning into golden dust, it's unnatural!" Ron stopped himself from arguing back and did his best to remain calm and sincere. He sat next to the Muggle-born, who had the diary in her hands, and placed his hand on her shoulder. Ron didn't think of himself as the best person to come to for consolation, but it didn't mean that he couldn't try.
"I want to believe you, Hermione. I want to believe that he's alive, but… it's a diary. His dad's diary, and it killed him. What else are we supposed to think? Please, don't go crazy over this. In fact, you have to get rid of that thing before it takes you too. We can't have you gone as well." Hermione gripped onto the diary tighter as she refused to give it away. Ron pulled back and after a minute of silence, stood up. "Or maybe I'm wrong. You and Theo both know each other the best anyways. I can't deny that." Hermione looked up to the red head, and then back down to the diary.
"I'm not going to stop. You know that, right?" Ron sighed then nodded his head. .
"Neither will I. I- we, can't give up on him. If you say that he's alive then… I believe you." Hermione smiled with an air of sadness being pushed aside temporarily, hugging Ron before they said goodnight to each other. Harry was so distraught that he didn't want to stay with the others, so it meant that she was the one to keep the diary. Knowing how he felt, the Muggle-born decided not to say anything, and kept herself to herself.
"Come on, Theo," whispered Hermione as she opened the first page. "Come back to us. Come back to me…"
"Let us go, beast. Let us purge."
"Let's… rip… kill…" hissed the Basilisk as she spilled out from Salazar's mouth. Theodore saw the blatant image of the feared serpent, luckily unable to succumb to its deadly gaze. It looked exactly identical to how it was now, and was a little more greener, due to the diary's effect on everything he saw. Tom beckoned the Basilisk to wait at the bottom of the main pipe while he himself, went up first.
Tom had reached the opening of the Chamber above with a simple charm, and slightly stumbled upon landing. He cursed as he suffered a minor slash against his hand, but did not worry about that at all. All that mattered was finding the Mudblood scum and ridding her from the place where she did not belong. His first kill. Not a pet bunny or a hungry fox. A real Mudblood. He was going to kill her, and he was going to love it. Everything was prepared. The diary, the book, all of it. All except for the Mudblood.
"Who's there," wailed a meek voice from the cubicle. Tom whipped his head to where the voice emanated from and hissed in the pipe quickly, to tell the Basilisk to come to him slowly. He had to get this perfectly.
"It's me, Tom. I know that voice. It's… Myrtle, right?"
"You know who I am?"
"Yeah, of course! I know exactly who you are, Myrtle. In fact, I've had my eye on you for quite a while now."
"R-really?" Tom put on his best to manipulate the doomed Muggle-born with his deadly charm. A mere fly in the grand spider's web.
"B-but why would you look at me for? I mean, look at me. No boy has ever said that to me." Myrtle nervously stuttered behind the cubicle door.
"Well, I can't really look at you if you stay in there. Come out."
"I… no. I can't." Tom glided to the cubicle door, diving into the false role of comfort and attraction to the girl. He couldn't leave here without her body dead on the ground.
"Please, Myrtle. I've seen beyond your exterior. I've seen everything on the inside and I… need to have it. Please, Myrtle. I need you. Please. I can't hold back any longer."
"Myrtle?" The sounds of the door-lock sliding came from the inside as Myrtle opened the door ever so slightly, at the minuscule chance that her dream of a boy was lying to her. "That's it. Come out."
"There isn't anybody there? This isn't some sort of sick joke."
"No. Just me and you. That's what you wanted, right? You and I, together?" Myrtle creaked the door a little further, revealing most of her face to the blood-hungry Heir. Tom felt internally sick that she was even so close to his presence. Even to the regular wizard, Myrtle was below average-looking, nothing exciting to Tom. Of course, women never really excited him so much as the thought of a relationship seemed utterly useless. Oh well. It was time.
"Tom? Why did you come into this bathroom? It's only for girls."
"I heard what Olive had to say about you, and I'm sorry. I only came here to rid you of your misery. Would you like me to do that?" Foolish enough to fall for his alluring voice, Myrtle complied as she swung the door open, tears in her eyes. Somebody noticed her. Somebody cared for her and it was Tom, the boy who seemed otherworldly and beyond her. Tom Riddle cared for Myrtle Warren. She felt happy, overjoyed, loved. She felt… she felt…
She felt cold. Yellow eyes and a pair of scarlet to go with them, and she felt cold. She tried to breathe but nothing was coming in or out. She wasn't even dying. How could she when it had already happened? Myrtle seized up but then after that, she felt… cold. And that was it. Floating a few feet into the air, the spectral Muggle-born looked down to the sight of her own body being dragged by the boy she claimed was her everything, and the body of something large slip away into the separated sinks. It was all so horrible. She was dead and her body was being taken like a prized animal. Why was she dead? Why did he do this to her? She thought that…
"Tom," asked Myrtle in a whimper as she floated above her limp, lifeless body. "What happened? W-why am I like this? What did… what…" Tom's eyes were flashing with red as he gave her malicious stare that silenced her. Beyond timid and frightened, Myrtle backed away as the boy walked closer to him.
"If you ever… EVER tell anybody that I killed you right here, death will not even save you from me. Do you understand, Mudblood?" Myrtle broke on the inside when he said that. A Mudblood. A taunt that she only heard from the other Slytherins and now from her one and only. "Good. Now if you will be so kind…" The ghost girl remained shocked and almost completely petrified by what she saw. She saw what Tom had done to her body and now… she was nothing. Nothing in life, nothing in death. Her sickly obsession for the boy, cost her life and a body which had been vulgarly violated to beyond evil. Tom Marvolo Riddle, had killed the Muggle-born Myrtle Warren and made his very first…
Eyes barely able to stay open, Hermione flipped through the book multiple times, rubbing, writing, ripping and burning but none of them worked. She was getting nowhere. Hermione had spent the past three hours, desperately trying to free Theodore from the diary but nothing helped. Trial after trial, but nothing worked. Swallowing painfully, Hermione pushed down the tears and plucked her quill again from the ink bottle and began to scribble in the middle page.
'Theodore? It's Hermione. If you're there, please tell me.' The words sunk into the pages but nothing came back like the multiple times before. He was there, she knew it but she just couldn't get him out. How could you exactly free someone from a possessive diary? Hermione tried again and again until she snapped. Dropping the quill onto the table, she placed her head in her hands as tried to fight the tears who conquered her in the end. She cried too many times today for him. Hope was lost as she didn't know what to do. In the morning, they'll realise that Theodore went missing. An innocent boy controlled by the diary's malign nature but they would never know. Not even her. A buildup of tears slipped through her quivering fingers and blotted against the pages of diary.
It shook. It jumped, then shook again. Hermione removed her hands from her face and wiped the tears away as she was no longer infected by guilt. Her red eyes showed confusion as she stared at the rabid diary. It spun and writhed like a tortured animal, twisting, rolling in apparent pain. The Muggle-born instantly grabbed it and slammed it on the table flat, so that she could see what she had suspected all this time.
"Theodore?" She faintly whispered.
'Help me, Hermione! Help me!'
Part 2 is here, people! Mind you that these are like one massive chapter split into three bits so keep that in mind. I currently have three different endings for this arc and I want to make sure that it's the right one because it could literally change the entire story. Let's just hope that you'll like it anyways. A few more chapters and it's almost over. Let's keep on going guys. Hope you liked this one. Later
War Sage: Thanks and you just sit back:)