The sounds of screaming woke me up from a dreamless sleep.

I wasn’t sure where it was coming from, it could have been the left or the right, or even directly across from me. Occasionally, I could see my neighbor when he went over to the crawl space to get his meal. He would watch me, unblinkingly, before sending a crooked smile full of rotten teeth and bags under his black eyes. I tried not to be visible, instead choosing to wait several hours at a time, before finally getting my tiny tray of food.

The yells and cries made me mad, constantly, and I had accepted a long time ago that my years here drove me to insanity. I could not remember how long I had been stuck in this cell, but each day was a struggle—to live, when I wished for nothing more than death.

It was a miracle that I even had my memories, but the dementors mostly left me alone. That was unnerving in its self, and I often wondered why. Was I too depressed already? Did I have no happy memories left for them to take and torture with?

Drink up baby doll

Are you in or are you out?

Leave your things behind

‘Cause it’s all going off without you

I tried to picture my mother, whom I had not seen in several years. But all I could picture was her horror-struck face, as she appeared at my court hearing, before disowning me. The only family I ever truly had, and she couldn’t bear to know me. I was a disgrace, she’d said, a failure. I was not really her daughter, not after what I did. And oh, how could I have done that? What had driven me down that path?


Even pleading my innocence, I was believed to be guilty. I offered to show them all a memory of what really happened, but they said it would have been tampered with, and not to be trusted. So I was sent off to Azkaban, with the belief that I killed an Albanian to create a Horcrux out of some Ravenclaw diadem.

Why would I want to split my soul?

Why would I want the chance to live longer?

This was not life—this was a slow and painful death.

Before I was sent away, they asked me where it was. If I told them, my sentence would be cut in half. If I didn’t, I would be sentenced to life. But how could I possibly know? I was innocent, and it wasn’t mine. I was just to blame.

Excuse me too busy you’re writing your tragedy

These mishaps

You bubble-wrap

When you’ve no idea what you’re like

I had lost myself a long while ago, and she was not going to come back. For I wasn’t Catherine Bourkin—not anymore. That naïve little girl was like the rest, in love with a boy who would never love her back. And I harbored no feelings for him now, other than complete and utter hatred.

He is the reason for being here.

“Inhabitant of Cell #213, you have a visitor,” a voice informed me, and had I not been staring directly at the door, I would have written it off as in my head. But was this man even real, or was he just a figment of my imagination? That had happened before, after all. “You must come, now.”

I just shrunk further back into my corner, blinking my eyes to try and rid myself of this hallucination. My subconscious rarely wished to torture me, but this was just too much. A visitor? I had two friends in my seven years at Hogwarts, and one of them was my deceased mother.

Or at least, she’s dead in my mind.

So, let go, let go

Jump in

Oh well, what you waiting for?

Perhaps this visitor is from the Ministry of Magic, and he’s come to finally hear my side of the story. Maybe this is my ticket out of here, so I can't just sit in my cell and ignore it. Chances like this don’t come every day—it’s been eight years.

With a hopeful spark, I jumped up from my crouching position, ignoring the protests of my muscles that had not been used in years. I was once a shapely woman, but malnourishment and confinement had made me weak, and my striped pants hung loosely off my body, covered with dirt.

I could not remember, for the pathetic life of me, when I had gotten into a fight with a dementor, but my shirt was ripped, exposing my pale stomach and several broken ribs.

My hair hung down my bag in black tangles, for I had not seen a brush in ages. I considered it a miracle that it wasn’t in dread locks, and in a quick attempt to make myself more presentable for the Ministry worker, I ran a hand through my hair, but stopped once it reached a knot.

So I won’t have silky hair, that’s fine. I’ll still be out of this Hell in no time. I might even apply for a job—I’d make an excellent auror.

It’s all right

‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown

So, let go, let go

Just get in

“Miss, you must hurry along,” he urged, opening the door for me and eyeing my shackled hands wearily. I almost rolled my eyes, but my days of sarcasm had been long over. “He is not a very patient man.”

I limped along the dark hallway, chancing peaks into the cells of my other prison mates. Cell #197 was occupied with a rotting corpse, and I wondered how long he had been there. And how had the others survived the smell?

It gains the more it gives

And then it rises with the fall

They all looked the same, staring at me with a murderous envy. Did they know whom I was meeting? Had this happened before? I wished it so. I had never wanted, more than anything, to get out of here. I couldn’t spend my days in a 5 by 8 cell, wasting away until I was next to nothing.

Why had he done this to me?

A girl, I was a stupid girl, and this is where I ended up. Azkaban. Alone. Dying.

I was too fragile for this. I had never been a Gryffindor, brave and courageous, or a Ravenclaw, intelligent and wise beyond their years. Had I been either, I would have saved myself before I got in too deep. But no one was there to offer guidance, and so I allowed myself to be sucked into a black world, with no escaping.

“In here,” the man pointed, opening a metal door and shoving me inside. I turned around to stare at him one last time, when it was slammed in my face with enough force to completely knock me over.

I sat up slightly, leaning against a wall for support. The room was dingy and small, and the only sound was the rattling of my chains as I breathed. There was one light, and even it was so blinding that I struggled to keep my brown eyes open.

I hadn’t seen light in a long time. It was more painful than remembered.

“Oh, good, I see you’re still alive,” a voice mused, a voice that I hadn’t heard in eight years. I lifted my head, where it had been studying the dirty floor, with surprise, hoping for once that it was all in my mind.

“No,” I choked out, sinking to the floor. My voice was barely audible, it was not recognized. He walked over to me, his pale skin as flawless as ever, his brown hair still impossibly shiny, but his brown eyes were dark and dead. Like mine. That might have been the one thing we had in common.

“I see you’ve surpassed my expectations,” he told me, grabbing my chin and tilting my face to his. I stared behind him, not believing that my nightmares had come true. What had I done to deserve this? “You were supposed to be dead by now.”

“Then kill me,” I mouthed, not trusting myself to speak the words aloud. They were too precious for ears to hear. But words were just words, and his were meaningless. Life was meaningless. I wanted to die.

“Oh, I could never do that,” he chuckled, taking a step back and wiping his hands. They had gotten dirt on them. I was covered in it, I realized, staring at my skeletally thin hands with astonishment. You could see my every bone. “You were the closest thing to family I ever had. I could never kill you.”

I just stared at him, at his handsome face.

It was amazing what time does to people. To some, like me, it destroys them, turns them into nothing. But for him, it just made him more beautiful. I remember how my heart used to pound when I heard merely a mention of his name.

Now it was dull. This man was a stranger.

“I don’t have a family,” I whispered, looking into his eyes that reflected my image. My cheekbones were gaunt and I had bags under my eyes, but that did not matter. Who was I trying to impress? “You took that away from me.”

He slammed his fist on the table.

I remember when he would do that. What was it called—rage?

Yes, he was angry. I haven’t felt angry in a long time, seven years, at least. Emotions are a waste of time, and I didn’t want to waste more of it. By merely existing, I had done so already.

I cackled madly, finding his anger amusing.

“We’re going,” he ordered, gripping my bony arm and attempting to drag me away. “I’ve come here to rescue you. It’s about time you got out and joined me. Oh, Cathy, you’ll be so proud when you see what I’ve done, what I’ve become…”

“No,” I told him, shaking my head.

I wasn’t sure if I was telling him ‘no’ when he used my old nickname, or if I was saying that I wouldn’t join him. He couldn’t rescue me if he was the reason I was here in the first place.

“You can’t stay here,” he told me, smirking and caressing my cheek.

When I was seventeen, even the simplest of touches would light my skin on fire. He knew this, he knew I loved him, and he used it for his every advantage. But I didn’t see the boy I once loved, and I didn’t feel anything anymore. I was devoid of all emotions, and he did this to me.

“That’s not going to work, Tom,” I spoke quietly, glancing down at my bare feet. They were turned black from the dirt, and it almost looked like I was wearing socks. “I’m staying here.”

“You can’t stay here,” he repeated, but dropped his hand nonetheless.

“I refuse to follow you,” I said, my voice becoming louder. Years of talking to myself had still kept me capable of speech—a sign that my madness came in handy. “I would rather stay here than go with you. Why did you even come? What were you trying to accomplish?”

“We used to be,” the spark in his eyes told me that he was lying, even though I couldn’t remember how I distinguished it, “friends, Cathy. We used to be best friends.” Even I could vaguely recall this wasn’t true. He was once my best friend, but Tom had no friends. He just had opportunities. “You have to come and see what I’ve done.”

“I would rather live than come with you,” I told him.

I don’t think he understood the power behind my words.

“Stop being foolish, Catherine Grace,” he scolded, gripping my forearm tighter but I felt no pain. It was trivial, and fleeting, and I had learned to ignore it. “We aren’t in school anymore. This isn’t acceptable behavior.”

“But framing me and getting me sent to Azkaban is?” I asked him blankly, still unfeeling, but wanting answers. It was the only thing I thought about, my first two years here. Why, why, why? “They think I’m a murderer, Tom.”

“I had to do that,” he said, his eyes searching mine for something, anything. But my brown eyes were as lifeless as my soul, and the only thing one would ever see in them was red veins and almost a decade long lack of sleep. “It was a test. And you passed. Now let’s go.”

“No. Let go.”

Such boundless pleasure

We’ve no time for later

Now you can’t await

your own arrival

“I can’t do this without you,” he confessed, and I just shrugged, taking a step further away from him and twisting the knob on the door. It was locked, and I was not powerful enough to use magic.

You’ve twenty seconds to comply

Eight years previous

I stared at Catherine, silently viewing my options. We were sitting in her very first flat—it was small and dim, and yet she was incredibly proud of it. I did not understand that. How could she be proud of such a pathetic place?

It was no secret that her mother wished desperately to marry her off to some rich pureblooded boy, where they could have wealth and power, and obedient children. It was also no secret that Catherine wished to marry no one other than me, but I could never give her that. Not now, at least.

She had to prove herself strong enough.

“What are you thinking?” she asked me, her brown eyes staring up at mine instead of the scrapbook we were currently looking through. I always wondered why she bothered to make them, for it was no secret that her time at school wasn’t too enjoyable, but she claimed that she wanted to remember. She was cuddled into my side, and I did not shake her off for one reason—I needed her to love me. She played a large role in my rise to power, even if she did not know it yet.

“I’m just thinking,” I told her, and her pout proved that she did not enjoy my vague answers. But how could I tell her that I was busy planning ways to manipulate her into doing my dirty work? She was better than a follower like Nott or Avery—she was a servant.

“How long have we been friends, Tom?” she asked rhetorically, holding up a hand to silence me so that I could not answer. If telling the truth, I would have said ‘we aren’t friends, never have been.’ But this would not do well for my plan, so I stayed mute. “Eight years. And yet you still refuse to tell me anything! It’s infuriating!”

Her temper was one of the reasons that she had not been whisked away to some arranged marriage. It was not befitting for a girl her age, especially one looking for potential suitors. Women were not supposed to be outspoken.

And yet I never told her this. Admittedly, I almost didn’t mind it.

“I tell you only what you must know,” was my familiar answer, followed by my trademark smirk, and she accepted it with a glare, and a new flourish of flipping through the picture book. She stopped on a specific page, before flushing bright red with the hopes that I hadn’t seen it.

I had.

I knew of her fancy to me, and I remember pretending that I didn’t notice her take a picture of my profile that day in the library. I also pretended that I had no idea she slept with it under her pillow in fifth and sixth year.

But I knew it all.

“I tell you everything,” she whispered, her beautiful face peering up at mine, her captivating eyes glancing at my lips before looking at her hands. “Well, almost anything, if you ask. Why can’t you trust me?”

Her bottom lip jutted out, and it was with horror that I noted the tears forming in her eyes. Surely this young girl didn’t have such strong feelings for me? I almost felt resentment for what I was about to do, but shook it off.

The great Tom Marvolo Riddle does not second-guess.

You bubble-wrap

When you’ve no idea what you’re like

“I trust you,” I told her, petting her shiny head awkwardly. It was a lie—I knew it, and with tears falling down her face, I could tell that she knew it as well. But it wasn’t in my heart to trust anyone, and I was positive it would only get me into trouble—or expose a weakness—if I did.

“Riddle, I don’t think you understand what you’re doing to me,” she said after finally calming down, and I questioned her with a smirk. Was this female that angry to use last names? It felt surprisingly bitter, but I did not dwell on that.

“Oh, I know exactly what I’m doing to you,” I retorted.

For I did know, and it was rather obvious. She fancied me, nothing more to it.

I was almost disappointed when I realized this fact. I had often thought that she was above all of this—she didn’t waste her time like her classmates. I didn’t think her capable of such disappointing emotions.

Perhaps she's the reason I lost faith in humanity.

“And how do you plead?” the Minister asked me.

And then it rises with the fall

So hand me that remote

Can’t you see that all that stuff’s a sideshow?

There was murmuring from around the court, but they all shared one thing in common—disgust. People were glaring at me, some with malice, and some with disappointment. They could not understand what had made me do such an awful crime.

After all, Headmaster Dippet and Professor Dumbledore always spoke so kindly of me.


I didn’t kill that man, and I didn’t go searching for some possession of Rowena Ravenclaw. I didn’t want to make a Horcrux, and it they’d only searched my wand, they would have realized that I didn’t do it. If they’d only searched my memory, they would have known.

I didn’t pay attention to them talk amongst themselves, and it was with horror that I noticed every single member, but one, in the courtroom raise their hand in what I was sure not to be my favor.

“I hereby announce Catherine Grace Bourkin, of the pureblood Bourkin family, to life in Azkaban Prison.”

Now you can’t await

your own arrival

You’ve twenty seconds to comply

A burly man gathered me up, but I just screamed, thrashing and flailing.

I was innocent, I was framed, and I sure as hell would never look at Tom Marvolo Riddle—the love of my life and my best friend—the same way again. How could he do this to me?

“I’m innocent,” I sobbed, but no one took notice.

Oh well, what you waiting for?

Present Day

“I can't do this without you,” I confessed, watching her as she shrugged. She took a step away from me, and I was shocked at how annoyed I felt. How dare she step away from the powerful Lord Voldemort?

She deserved to be cursed, hexed, or at the very least beaten for defying my orders, but something stopped me. I wasn’t sure it if was seeing her in such a state, or knowing that I had done this to her so willingly.

Catherine had always been a beautiful woman. Even I could recognize this. There were plenty of unworthy people at Hogwarts who knew this as well—mudbloods and petty girls. I had to stop them before they hurt her.

It was the guilt that caused me to do so, I knew. If someone other than me had deliberately hurt her, I would have killed him or her without so much as a second thought. That was different. I was just trying to make a better, stronger person.

It was almost noble, what I did.

But then why does it weigh down on me like a boulder?

“Unlock this door at once,” she hissed, and for the first time upon seeing this grimy, pathetic, skeletal version of Cathy I actually saw a spark of the old her. It made me smirk immediately. Some things never change—including her temper.

“I don’t think I will.”

She gave a cry of anguish, sinking to the floor, and pulling at her hair. I felt a dull ache in my chest—probably a cut or scrape that hadn’t been healed properly. I’ll have to kill that Healer immediately. He basically left me to die.

“You need to go,” she cried in desperation, taking a step towards me. I saw something in her eyes—something that reminded me of those days back in her flat, when I would just watch her. There was hidden determination.

That was why I kept her around, I now remembered.

“And I can do nothing to change your mind?” I asked her, fighting the strange urge to take her and just hold her, and tell her that everything would be all right. She was just so fragile, and so un-like the Cathy I once knew, and was almost fond of.

Are you in or are you out?


It’s all right

‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown

“Then I shall leave,” I announced, pulling her into a brief hug. I noticed, but did not discourage, her pull a wand out of my right pocket. I knew what she was going to do—it was inevitable. I had managed to break the unbreakable Catherine Grace Bourkin.

So I walked out the door, sparing him one last glance, and wiped away water that fell. Brilliant, the healer somehow made me leak as well. For I was not crying, not for the girl that made me what I was, not for the smart, courageous, beautiful, and maddening Cathy.

“You were the closest thing to family I ever had,” I whispered.

And then I was gone.

He walked through the door, sparing me once last glance.

Be it a trick of the light, but I swear that I saw his eyes shine with unshed tears.

Memories were starting to come back to me, and I wondered if it was merely his presence that triggered them. Watching his retreating back, I glanced down at the wand in my hands. The wand I had stolen from him, without notice. I had finally defeated Tom Riddle—in my own insignificant way.

I realized that it was all I ever wanted to do—it was why I had bothered even staying alive. I needed this last confrontation, and I needed to win, before I could move on with my life. Perhaps I expected different before, but I had known deep down not to expect anything.

So, let go, yeah let go

Just get in

Oh, it’s so amazing here

It’s all right

And it really was all right. Time went on, and he had changed. He lost every last human identifier possible—because he made sure of it. I always knew that there was something wrong with him—even from the start—but I never acknowledged it until now. It was unavoidable. There was something rotten just below the surface. He was a monster.

It’s all right

‘Cause there’s beauty in the breakdown

It was with a smirking face that I pulled out his wand, pointing it at myself. It was the first time I had felt something in years. Control. I was the controller of my destiny, my fate. And no one could take that away from me. So I took a deep breath, and screamed the most pleasant words I’ve ever heard.


I was the closest thing Lord Voldemort ever got to love—and I was proof that he wanted nothing of it.


Author's note: the song lyrics used is from Let Go by Frou Frou

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