Joint Fixation

Tom Riddle doesn't know how to love. He only knows obsession.

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3. Discovery

Audrey's seventh year at Hogwarts had proved to be very busy indeed. She had assignments and quizzes every week and still had to find time to do tasks for Tom. After their last encounter in the library he had begun to act strange around her. He wanted to spend more time with her than ever and would ask about her family history very often.

"So Elaine Row was married to…" Tom started.

"Isaiah" Audrey finished.

"Fascinating." Tom smiled. "And he was a great dark wizard?"

"One of the greatest I've heard. He invented all sorts of horrible spells. I don't even want to know what they do." she shuddered. But Tom didn't seem put off at all. Tom was excited about it and wanted to hear more. But Audrey was willing to tell. The more excited Tom became, the more time she got to spend with him. Her feelings for him were becoming deeper and by the end of October she couldn't stop thinking about him. She longed for his strong arms to be wrapped around her or his soft gentle lips to kiss hers.

"You like me right?" Tom asked her at dinner.

"I-uh-" she stammered, slowly turning pink.

"I mean we're friends right?" Tom rephrased.

"Oh, erm, yes. We are." Audrey's stomach was doing those loops again.

"Alright, just checking." he laughed.

Audrey sighed and continued to poke at her macaroni and cheese. She could feel Tom staring at her but she didn't dare to stare back. She was actually becoming used to him staring at her. She had a weird feeling sometimes that he wanted something from her. But she couldn't figure out what it was.

After dinner he approached her with the week's notes ready to be organized. She accepted them and went up to her room to get started. Tom left the common room to fulfill his Head Boy duties. This included, she imagined, taking his nightly bath in the Prefect's Bathroom. Audrey couldn't help but smile when she thought about that. Many times she had imagined what he looked like under his Hogwarts robes.

She sat down on her bed and flipped open Tom's notebook. He had taped a piece of paper on the front of Monday's notes that read:

Hi Audrey

-Tom

Audrey laughed at his short note. She thought of writing him a note back when she turned the page. There was another piece of paper on Tuesday's notes with more writing.

You're amazing

-Tom

Audrey smiled and flipped the page again. Wednesday's note made her blush and her heart began to race.

I like you

-Tom

She hated it whenever he said he liked her. She never knew exactly what he meant. Did he want to be her boyfriend or just friends?

Thanks for being a great friend

-Tom

Audrey got her answer on Thursday's notes. Friday had nothing on them. She smiled bitter-sweetly. It was obvious he wasn't going to see her the way she saw him. But at least they were still friends.

Quidditch season had started so Audrey found herself in the stands watching Vicky and the rest of the Slytherin team practice on the pitch. Vicky had been the Slytherin seeker for 3 years in a row now. Claire was sitting next to Audrey, picking dirt from under her fingernails.

"Why must you do that now? You're so gross." Audrey said, shoving Claire.

"You know I hate Quidditch. Why do we have to come to the practices. Aren't games enough?" Claire grumbled. A strand of blonde hair blew across her eye and she swatted it away in frustration.

"She asked us to come. We weren't busy. We can't say no. Make yourself busy next time." Audrey laughed. She didn't mind watching Vicky play Quidditch. It was a good break from all the academics.

"Oh my goodness look who's here!" Claire cheered in a sing-song voice and swatted Audrey on the arm.

Audrey looked towards the castle to see Tom Riddle walking towards the bleachers.

"Oh no." she blushed.

"What do you mean oh no? Oh yes!" Claire giggled uncontrollably.

"He is everywhere. I swear he's following me or something." Audrey whispered.

"I thought you liked him." Claire furrowed her brows.

"I do. But it's like he's leading me on. He wants to be around me all the time but he just wants to be friends. I don't get it." she sighed. Tom was stepping onto the bleachers but he didn't sit next to them. He waved to them before he sat two rows down.

"Oh shoot." Claire grumbled but continued to stare at the back of Tom's head.

Soon the rest of Tom's gang came stomping down the field to join him. Edward Nott, the smallest of the bunch was forking away from the group and walking in Audrey's direction.

"Eh Row! This is for you." he glared and handed her a sealed envelope.

"Ooo open it! What if it's a love letter from Tom!" Claire squealed after Nott had left.

Audrey opened up the red envelope. Inside was, as speculated, a note from Tom. "Meet me tonight at 11:30 by the Potions classroom." she read.

Claire gasped. "Oh…my…gosh!"she slapped her hand over her mouth, her eyes wide open.

Audrey looked below at Tom who was watching the players intently. She waited for him to turn around and smile or wink but he never did.

After practice was over, Vicky joined the other girls in fawning over Tom's note.

"This is a date." Vicky stated firmly. "We're going to do your hair and makeup."

"It's not a date honestly!" Audrey cried as she tried to escape Claire, who was coming at her with a brush and a tube of lipstick.

"Wake up Audrey! He wants to meet you late at night! Alone!" Vicky shouted.

"Okay. I surrender." Audrey threw her hands up and sat down on the bed.

After her hair was straightened and her face was flawless, Audrey looked in the mirror. She had never looked so good in her entire life. Her body bubbled with excitement threatening to spill over. She was hoping more than anything that Tom wanted to meet her with the intention of making her his girlfriend.

"Okay I'm going to go now." she said, putting her shoes on.

"But its only 10:30." Vicky said as she checked her watch.

"Yeah but I want to pick something up at the library first. Don't worry, I'll wear my prefect badge." Audrey said and picked the badge up from her bed. She clipped it onto her robes and walked down the stairs to the common room.

The sky was dark and cloudy. It was a chilly October night at Hogwarts when Tom decided to hold a meeting with his Knights. It was after hours and everyone was safely away in their dorms. Tom looked up at the darkened sky and smirked. He gently played with the Gaunt ring on his finger. He was closer than ever to turning it into his second horcrux. He licked his lips as he remembered his father's murder just three months ago. Soon it would be put to good use.

He looked at his watch. It was 10:30 and his Knights would be waiting for him. He would have to wrap up the meeting quickly because he was also seeing Audrey that night. Tom decided he was going to have a heart-to-heart with her about his dead parents to gain sympathy. At the rate he was going, he could be invited over for Christmas. All he had to do was cry about how he had no family to spend the holidays with.

Tom closed his eyes as the cool October breeze blew across his face. At first he had felt nothing towards the girl but now he found her very interesting. In fact he was becoming very fond of her. She was proving to be an entertaining companion. There was a possibility of actually keeping her around after he obtained the book. His mouth watered at the thought of the book again. It was his ultimate fantasy. He never fantasized about women at night. It was always about the horcruxes. Power turned him on like nothing else. The best part about being Head Boy was not the Prefect's Bathroom, but having his own bedroom. He could read with the light on without disturbing anyone, leave his prized possessions lying around, and touch himself as much as he wanted.

He headed towards the empty Transfiguration classroom for that was where the meeting was being held. Tom had purposely chosen Professor Dumbledore's classroom because he was the only teacher at Hogwarts who did not adore him. He was the only one Tom could not fool and planning dark things in his classroom was a great disrespect.

"Good evening gentleman." Tom said as he entered the room. The five boys stood up in his presence and only sat down again after he had done so. The room was dark as the only light was a flickering torch in the back and the glowing moon. The boys looked like silent shadows on the cold autumn night. 

"Good evening my Lord." They all said at once. Tom's expression was cold and stiff. He put his hands on the desk and closed his eyes.

"I have gained new information. I believe the book is at the Row estate." he told his followers. "Have any of you found information from the friends?"

Mulciber spoke, "The giggly blonde one told me about the library sir. She's been there. There's a blocked off section with dark magic books. No one's allowed in."

"Good work Mulciber." Tom praised him and Mulciber's eyes lit up with pride.

"Excellent. Now I need a way to get into the house. Breaking in would not be wise." Tom tapped the table with his long fingers, "I prefer to be invited but I'm not close enough to the girl yet."

"If I'm not prying too much, my Lord. Why do you need this book exactly?" Avery asked nervously. Tom scowled.

"I'm afraid you are prying too much, Avery. Do not ask me again." Tom glared at Avery. He actually had the nerve to question the Dark Lord's actions? He would be punished later. None of his followers knew about the horcruxes he was planning to make. They were his well kept secret, too precious to be revealed.

Tom stood up from the table and everyone else followed suit. He turned around to face his followers once more.

"In the meantime, I would like for you all to learn some new spells I have come up with myself. Use them on as many muggleborns as you can. Half-bloods as well if they're that obnoxious." he laughed, "And be careful not to get caught." he said, glaring at Mulciber. Out of all the boys, Mucliber was the most prone to getting in trouble. Last year he had been caught throwing hexes at a third year Ravenclaw and given a month of detention. Not to mention Professor Dumbledore who had been suspicious of the Knights from the start, began following Mulciber around, trying to gain information.

"When are you going to open the Chamber again my Lord." Lestrange clapped in excitement, "Last year was boatloads of fun!"

"I don't plan on opening it again this year, Lestrange. Killing Myrtle was enough. I got what I desired from her." Tom smiled and the others laughed sinisterly.

Tom stopped smiling when he heard a footstep outside the door. He waved for the rest of them to be quiet. Tom turned around to see Audrey standing in the quarter open doorway, her eyes in the shape of full circles. Tom took a step towards her and she bolted down the corridor.

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