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CHAPTER 13




[a/n:     STOPPPPP!!    Hopefully, that got your attention lol. 
I have important announcement. Lol. I have revised the first three chapters and there are a few important parts I have changed. Some due to complaints of a certains someone's death and some because I wrote it yrs and yrs ago and so it sucked. lol so i hope you guys check it out?]



How could I not see this coming?’ she groaned inwardly, her stubbornness came to bite her in the arse. ‘But then again it isn’t as if he’d see the difference if I were to lie’

 

“I don’t see the point to your question, Riddle. Where did I come from? What exactly do you want to hear?”

 

“The truth, Vane.” He said quietly. “We’ve been… friends for quite some time now and I know nothing about you at all. I want to know where you came from, where you were before, what you’ve been doing before I found you, what happened before I found you?” Suddenly all his questions were bursting out of him before he could control himself. Finally he was close to acquiring the answers.

 

Hermione sighed heavily, stalling as her mind formulated the answers she would provide. “I was home-schooled. Our neighborhoods were all magical families. They decided against sending us anywhere since they were all very close friends and their families had been together for centuries. Their children and I learned magic through Professors they had hired.”

 

Wealthy, I should have known’ he thought inwardly. “And where exactly is this neighborhood?”

 

“Like Hogwarts, it isn’t plottable. Each family was very protective of their own.” She lied smoothly that she almost believed herself.

 

“They must have been very important witch and wizards to have to go through such measures to keep to themselves.” Tom implied. “Would I happen to know of any of them?”

 

“No, I presume not. We don’t live anywhere near Hogwarts. Don’t bother asking me where because I won’t be able to tell you even if I wanted to” She told him. “It is safe to say however, that every family in the neighborhood was well-off.”

 

Tom smirked, “I guessed as much. You must have had quite a life.”

 

It was true that even though she was from the muggle world, her family was well-off. She knew he would quickly lose interest if she had told him she was a muggleborn. She was annoyed with the tone of his voice, as if he was mocking them.
 


“What made you come here then? And why were you… when I found you, why were you in that state?” he asked carefully.

 

“Last year, our family was in a middle of a battle. A… a Dark Lord was rising. Our families did all they can to defeat him… to protect us but most… passed away.” Her voice broke but she recovered quickly, remembering the Order of the Phoenix and Harry’s parents.

 

“Who exactly is this Dark Lord?” asked Tom. “And what battle are you speaking of? I heard nothing of any battle last year except Grindelwald’s… expeditions”

 

“It doesn’t matter who it was. What matters is that he will pay… surely if my life depended on it, he will pay.” Her eyes burned against Toms’. The hatred that had somehow calmed down a notch over the weeks fueled, raging like an uncontrollable fire within her.

 

“And have you any idea where this person is now?” Tom was almost sure she was speaking of Grindelwald though he was not quite sure why he felt a pull inside of him when her brown eyes scorched his. He had never felt so uncomfortable in his life as he watched her chocolate brown eyes.

 

Sitting right in front of me’ she thought dryly. “I’m not quite sure. The last I saw of him, he was just about to kill me. It was then that I… apparated. I knew of Hogwarts’ existence from my Great-grandmother. She had come here for a few years and she told me it would be a safe place to hide were I to need it. She had told me how to enter, I arrived just outside and… crawled through the forest. I wasn’t even sure if I was anywhere near Hogwarts at all. All I could see were endless trees and treacherous roots and bugs.”

 

“Am I right to assume that nobody knows you are here? Your parents? Your friends?” he asked.

 

Hermione balled her fists as the word ‘parents’ fell from his lips casually. “I think I’ve answered enough of your questions for today, Riddle, don’t you think?"
 

 
Tom deliberated for a second, watching her agonized yet furious scowl planted on her face. He had not asked the important questions yet. His face was expressionless as he nodded at her and went back to his writing.

 
She was relieved and at the same time surprised that he had abruptly let go of the subject. She knew he had more questions for her to answer and she knew every minute it would be harder and harder to respond with her pile of lies.



She was partly glad she had devised a set of lies if it so happen that Professor Dumbledore chooses to question her. She cannot keep lying about her memory any longer that much she knew. There was Hagrid to consider as well. She had told him so much about her past –the future— that she was almost sure it would reach Dumbledore, knowing how close the two were.

 

 She watched as Tom Riddle’s brow furrowed, furiously writing on his very long parchment briskly as if there were no time at all and the end was near.

 

Hermione knew Tom was the most intelligent student in the school yet she could not understand why he would pull that much concentration on any school work. She could not even remember any school work that requires him to have piles of parchments and books on his table. She even half guessed he had forgotten she was still there.

 

“You look like you’re getting ready to have a matrimonial ceremony with that piece of parchment of yours, what exactly are you doing anyway?” she asked, curiosity getting the best of her.

 

“I suppose you haven’t heard.” He said, again, without looking up. “A few months ago the Headmaster announced a…ball” he threw the last word as if it was venom.

 

“A Ball? Whatever for?” she said incredulously. She practically memorized Hogwarts; A History. She had never heard of any ball at all in 1945.

 

“He’s attempting to start a new tradition for generations to come.” He told her dryly. “A social event.” He said the words with distaste.

 

“And what does that have anything to do with what you’re doing?” she eyed the mountain rolls of parchment.

 

“I am the Headboy.” He said arrogantly and impatiently. “It is my duty to do the planning and arrange the event.”

 

She wondered if she had been that arrogant when she held the title back in her time. “If it had been announced months ago, why are you only starting now?” She had been assigned many events, mostly Defense classes and gatherings of the fighters. She had prepared everything months before the actually day of the event was to take place.

 

This time, Tom stopped writing and looked up, his eyes narrowing, clearly annoyed “Because the Professors keep changing their minds about the event, not to mention some of the parents disapprove of the idea. With the many deaths happening, they think it inappropriate to have a social gathering at all.”

 

Hermione scoffed, “All the more reason why the gathering should happen! What people need the most is unity and overcoming adversity in numbers.”

 

“How very… philosophical of you, Vane. However, I disagree. Grief should be dealt with unaided. Unity is not power and altruism is blasphemy. Besides, I would have thought you more as the kind of person to handle pain all on their own, Vane.”

 

Hermione looked down at her hands. She hated that he was guessing right about her. She did not want an audience to her pain, he was correct. She hated that he was right, “’When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone.’”

 

“Tennessee Williams” Tom raised an eyebrow. “By any chance, are you doing Muggle Studies? Coming from a wealthy ancient magical family, I didn’t think you’d have any interest at all—

 

“I should be the one surprised” Hermione cut him off, reverting the question in hopes that she wouldn’t have to answer his. She had told enough lies in one day. It was too dangerous to lie to someone ten times more manipulative and cunning than her. She wondered if Tom would tell her about him living in a Muggle Orphanage.

 

She realized she had never proven herself a friend towards him and yet he has towards her in so many ways. She was beginning to think her plan would fail as he had not yet opened up to her.

 

She did not think anything of it at first since she already knew everything about Voldemort and yet he himself has not provided her anything about his past. If he was to trust her, she needs to get him to open up.

 

His mouth twitched for half a second as if he had given too much information, “In any case, Vane, I hardly think a Dance would be appropriate at this time, let alone help people overcome their grief.”

 

“Dance?” her eyes widened in surprise. She did not expect a ball at all, she was expecting a simple gathering of all the students. She had organized such an event before, all students to have one worry-free night; a night where they did not have to think about Voldemort or deaths or anything about the war at all but simply being with their friends. There was hardly anyone who danced though of course there was music.

 

“It is to take place in two weeks. They finally made the decision yesterday after your attack.” He noticed Hermione’s mortified expression and added, “If you’re worrying about your dress robes, there’s a Hogsmeade trip on Friday. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really should finish this soon, I have a very tight deadline.”

 

She was not mortified because of lack of anything to wear to the wretched dance. She did not want to go in the first place. “Why are you even doing this alone, Riddle, where’s the Head girl?” Usually it was only Hermione assigned to do everything since the Headboy in her time already expected her to do a much better job than him.

 

“Her Grandfather apparently caught the Dragon pox, she’ll be back in a week or so after her Grandfather passes away.” He said nonchalantly as if it was everyday his peers’ Grandparents caught a deadly disease and was dying.

 

“Would you like me… to help?” she offered, hesitant. If she was to make him confide in her, she needs to gain his graces and she needs to prove herself worthy to be trusted.

 

Tom raised his eyebrows, his quill still touching the parchment as he stared at her. He knew there was something up. The Vane he knew –or at least from what he’s observed over the last couple of weeks— did not have a heed on whatever he does. She was never such a helpful or thoughtful person, atleast not to him.

 

He did see her helping a clumsy first year gather her books and have seen her reprimand younger students as if she was a Prefect or the Head girl. It had unnerved him at first but after awhile, he was used to it. She was certainly comfortable enough doing it that it almost seemed as if it was out of habit. She does not even appear to notice it herself that she was doing it.

 

He watched her suspiciously before he waved off his doubt and said, “I suppose I would… appreciate it if you prove yourself useful. There are so many things left to do.”

 

He was not kidding. The whole school was to attend the ball which leaves a lot of planning for the two of them to do. The decorations, the menu, the music and every other little detail had to be perfect.

 

-----

 

“What do you mean you don’t plan on going?” Greta complained as they strolled the streets of Hogsmeade.

 

“Simply that; I have no plans whatsoever on going to this dance.” Hermione told her as she busily examined Hogsmeade which was almost exactly the same in her time.

 

“I thought you organized the whole thing? I don’t understand why you won’t come.” Ames questioned.

 

“I helped organize it” she corrected him. “I don’t understand why it’s so important to go in the first place.”

 

“There has never been a ball before.” Emma said in her usual quiet voice, “It would be nice if we all go… but I guess if you really don’t want to…” she trailed off shyly, the corners of her mouth pulling downwards.

 

Now Hermione felt guilty. It was exactly the same as when they managed to convince her to go to Hogsmeade. It’s as if Emma was their secret weapon. You can never say no to the girl. It’s as if it’s a crime to make the shy girl unhappy. The three had all approached the Headmaster when she told them she did not have a permission slip.

 

“If it’s a date you’re worrying about, don’t. I’m perfectly sure Tom Riddle will ask you” Greta assured her.

 

Hermione stopped in her tracks, “Excuse me? Why in the world would you think that?”

 

Ames laughed, “Don’t even try to deny it, Nerissa. Everyone in the whole school knows you two are dating.”

 

Hermione’s eyes were wide as she cried, “Why would anyone even believe that??”

 

Greta smirked, “Please! You two are practically attached to the hip. He’s never talked to any girl for more than 2 minutes yet he spends all his waking time with you.”

 

Hermione blinked, “That doesn’t mean we’re… dating.” She cringed disgustingly at the word. “We’re just friends.”

 

The three chuckled at her.

 

“Alright then, you’re not dating but this I can assure you; that boy has got it bad for you.” said Greta. The other two nodded along in agreement.

 

“Ex-excuse me?” she cried incredulously. “What in heavens name would make you think that?”

 

Greta examined her face trying to see if she really was oblivious to all of it. “Dear lord, do you honestly not see how he looks at you?”

 

Hermione blinked. ‘How he looks at me? What in the world is she on about?

 

Greta rolled her eyes when she saw the confused look on Hermione’s face, “I cannot believe you don’t realize it when the whole world already has. I wonder if Riddle himself even knows it.” Hermione continued to stare at her, her eyebrows up in confusion.

 

She continued exasperatedly, “He looks at you like…” Her face scrunches up as she thinks of the perfect description, “like he’s been in a dessert, dying of dehydration and you suddenly appear… a miracle water fountain of some sort.”

 

Hermione still could not understand.

 
“Do you not realize how he drinks in every movement you make? Every word you make?” said Greta.


“How he studies every expression you make on your face?” Ames added.
 

“How he gets antagonized when someone accidentally bumps on you?” 

 
“How he broods in dinnertime when you’re not there?”
 

“How he looks murderous when we steal you away?”
 

“How he always seems to be at the right time in the right moment when you’re in need?”

 
“How completely oblivious he is to the entire world but you?”

 
Greta and Ames were having fun as they both compiled their list and Emma nodded along in agreement.



Finally Hermione understood what they were implying and she almost burst into a fit of laughter. 



“You are reading it all wrong and exaggerating it.” She informs the three. “We are but friends and he…”


She wanted to tell them that he studies her hard because he was curious about her. She wanted to tell them that he was only frustrated because of her mystery and nothing more but of course, that would lead to a lot of questions.

 
“Please do not give us the whole ‘Just friends’ speech, Ner. I have heard it a million times before.” Greta stops her as they reached a shop that Hermione does not recognize. She was too busy trying to find an excuse to examine the shop fully.



“Nerissa, the whole school notices all of that! Even the Professors! How could you not?” Ames rolled his eyes, “Do you know there’s a bet going on?”



“What bet?” Hermione was alarmed this time.
 

“Everyone also knows Malfoy has taken an interest in you although of course we aren’t sure how deep he goes. Everyone has a bet in how long it would take before the two end up having a duel over you.” said Ames. It was clear he had a part in the bet. “More so now that the ball is coming up!”

 
“That is completely preposterous! I would never go out with those two if it was a choice between them and the Giant Squid!” she cried loudly, not noticing that the other customers were staring at her weirdly.



“Don’t be so melodramatic, Nerissa.” Greta snorted. “Now, which of these would you prefer?”

 
It was then that Hermione finally noticed what shop she had entered into. Her eyes stared around wildly, her mouth shaping into a huge O. She whipped her head around at Greta who gave her a triumphant smirk.

 

----

 


Tom and Abraxas were sitting comfortably in the Slytherin common room which was very silent as most students had gone to Hogsmeade. Tom was grateful for the peace and quiet. It was the first he had been able to rest his mind since he worked for the idiotic dance.



He preferred to tell Malfoy off only he did not even want to waste his breath nor energy in doing so.

 
“When are you planning on asking her?” Malfoy spoke up. His legs were resting on the table in front of him and his hands were behind his head.

 
Tom sighed as he ruined the silence he so longed for. “What are going on about, Malfoy?”

 
“Nerissa.” said Malfoy as if it was the most obvious thing. “When are you planning on asking her to the ball?”



“Highly unlikely.” Tom answered without waiting a breath. “Now will you please leave me to rest?”

 

“And so you won’t have a problem at all if I asked her?” Malfoy asked, scrutinizing Tom who had his eyes closed. He noticed Tom’s lips twitch ever so slightly which made Abraxas smirk.

 

“I advise you not to waste your breath, Malfoy. How many times does the girl have to say no before it goes through your head?” He was perfectly sure Vane would reject him for what seemed like a millionth time. Besides, she had expressed not going to the ball at all during the week they had spent together organizing it.
 

“I can handle the hard-to-get types, you know that Tom.” Malfoy waved his right hand as if dismissing a thought. He knew all about the rumours and bets going around the school. He sighed before saying, “Alright, here’s what we’ll do. If you still have not asked Nerissa by the end of the day, you will not hold it against me if I ask her.”

 

Tom glared at Malfoy and said, “I’d rather not waste my time in foolish games. Go ahead and ask her, Malfoy.”

 

“I will… I will.” Malfoy nodded, grinning. “I shall ask her tomorrow. After the ball, of course, I might have the chance to show her my best talent, if you know what I mean. In any way, I’d rather give you some time.”  ‘to pluck up the courage’ he wanted to add though he feared what would happen if he chooses to be tactless.

 

Tom simply ignored him, annoyed at his foolish ideas. He was grateful for the girl’s help and she was surprisingly less nasty towards him after he saved her but that does not mean he would ever want her as his date. He wouldn’t ask the wretched girl to the ball if it was a choice between her and taking on a herd of hippogriffs, wandless.

 

-----

 

“This does not change anything, you know. I still refuse to go to that stupid dance.” She growled as she carried the multiple bags she was thrust upon by her three companions.

 
“Yes, you are.” Greta growled back, “I did not just spend galleons on you for nothing, Ner. You are going whether you like it or not.”

 
Hermione closed her mouth, choosing not to argue. She would win the argument, that much she was sure but it would be a very long and exhausting battle. The ball was the day after tomorrow and she decided it would be better to surprise them on the day by not showing up. A herd of centaur wouldn’t stop her. She did feel bad that Greta had spent so much on her but then again, she was wealthy. 

 

“We need to hurry. Nerissa, you’ve still got your 4th detention tonight haven’t you?” asked Ames.

 
Hermione sighed as she remembered. “I’ve still got another two hours so no need to fret.”

 

She balled her fists as she reflected on the happenings a week ago with Professor Dumbledore. She had entered the circular room, trying her hardest to calm herself. She yelped when the Professor suddenly appeared behind the door.

 

“I apologize for frightening you, Miss Vane.” His face looked genuinely worried though there was a hint of amusement in his eyes.

 

Hermione forced a smile on her face and nodded nervously. She felt as though she was a pig getting ready to be slaughtered.  

 

The office had changed since the last time she had been there. The awards were taken down and bended shelves after shelves appeared around the room. There were countless boxes laid on top of the other near the window that she wondered how it could all have fit inside the room.

 

“I’m redecorating my office” The Professor smiled down at her. “If I do say so myself, I own too many unnecessary things.”

 

Hermione could not bring herself to speak. She was too busy concentrating on closing her mind. It was very quiet on the first hour as the two sorted out the Professors’ boxes. Hermione certainly was not willing to be the first one to break the silence.

 

The Professor made a few comments about nonsensical things such as his wallpaper being too dreary -when in fact the room was filled with every shade from the school colours possible- along the way which Hermione responded by simply nodding or shaking her head.

 

Finally after what seemed like thousands of years, the Professor opted in letting her go for the night, reminding her of the following night’s detention which again she responded with a simple nod.

 

He had not tried to get any information at all. He did not even try to make any long conversations with her about anything significant. It was ridiculous how she feels more scared facing Professor Dumbledore than facing Voldemort. Then again, she had almost gotten used to Riddle’s presence.

 

The next night, he had done the same thing, not asking anything about her as well as last night’s detention. He had even gone so far as whistling a few muggle songs. They were both arranging his things without magic which was proving difficult considering how much things the man owns.

 

Hermione finally reached the common room after stopping at a few shops along the way. Most had gone straight to dinner and when Hermione chose to go back to the common room, she was entrusted with the job of carrying everyone’s shopping bags back.

 

She wasn’t surprised when she found Tom Riddle lounging on the green couch with his eyes closed. She had already set her mind that Tom Riddle would most likely appear where she least expect it. She sighed before she dropped herself on to the couch across from him.

 

Tom Riddle opened his eyes from the noise, preparing to blast Malfoy’s head towards the fireplace for disturbing his slumber.

 

“You’re back.” said Riddle.

 

Hermione had her eyes closed as she nodded. She did not have any energy left in her to go three stories above the castle to Professor Dumbledore’s office. “Aren’t you going down for dinner?”

 

“I don’t have the appetite.” In fact, he fell asleep and forgot all about dinner but he didn’t need to tell her that. He noticed the bags sprawled on the floor beside her couch and asked, “I’ve never been to Hogsmeade before but one would think you brought the whole town with you.”

 

Hermione saw him eyeing the several bags on the floor, “They aren’t mine… most of them, anyway. They held me hostage.” She rolled her eyes before closing her eyes yet again.

 

Tom raised his eyebrows. “How so?”

 

Hermione sighed loudly. She really wanted to simply rest before she has to walk up to Dumbledore’s office. She can’t however, lose her temper on Riddle again, not when they were finally becoming closer. She needs him to open up to her just as she supposedly had with him.

 

“Goshawk and the others insisted on buying me a dress for the stupid dance.” She reluctantly told him.

 

“I had thought you didn’t have plans on going? Or were your endless ranting of how idiotic and superficial the ball was simply to irritate me?” asked Tom. He already learned to expect the unexpected from the girl and so he wasn’t really that surprised she was changing her mind.

 

Hermione simply shrugged, smirking at him. “I suppose it’s compulsory for the Head Boy to go.”

 

“Unfortunately, yes.” said Tom. He watched her as she rested her eyes, her wild curls enveloping her face. He could not imagine her in a dress nor her curls elegantly made up. She has never really cared much about appearances that much he noticed.

 

There were several spells to get rid of the bags under her eyes and maintain her hair yet there were no evidence of her ever using them. One would think she was careful of her weight due to the bones that were threatening to break out from beneath her skin yet he knew she was not the type of girl to be aware of her diet.

 

She looked positively exhausted and a night in the ball with Malfoy would probably kill her. He knew she was not like any other girls who throw themselves at Malfoy and so he doubts there would be anything that would happen between them after the ball.

 

He did not have any plans on asking her. What he told Malfoy was the truth, only now, so suddenly, he was not so sure. It probably would not be such a pain to ask the girl, would it? Besides, she did assist him with the Ball so it would only be right they go together.

 

“Vane.” He started softly. “Would you— might you…”

 

Hermione fluttered her eyes open. “Spit it out, Riddle. Stuttering doesn’t exactly suit you.”



Tom started again, looking directly into her eyes, “Might you ever consider…”

 



CHAPTER 14 PREVIEW 


She started to turn around back up the stairs when she felt a cold hand softly pulling hers. She stared at his hand for a few seconds before she looked up at his face.

 

“Don’t go” he spoke, his voice unusually deep and soft. His words sounded a little like a plea but then again, Tom Riddle pleading Hermione to stay? Impossible.

 

For someone who detests physical contact, he could not seem to let go of her hand. 

 

[a/n: :-( yes i know that chapter kind of sucked since nothing much happened... so as an apology, i shall post the next one in a couple of days... hopefully i'd finish it by then hehe. Let me tell you, there will be A LOT happening on the next chapter.]

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