Joint Fixation

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

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2. Payment

Audrey had spent her lunch and dinner organizing Tom's notes. His handwriting was, surprisingly very clear and elegant. Most boys had horrible handwriting but his was beautiful, just like him. She sorted the notes so they were all together by subject, date, and colour-coded with an index in the front. By the end of dinner, they were ready.

She sat in the common room waiting for him to arrive. Vicky and Claire were sitting next to her, eagerly eyeing the door. Tom entered the common room alone and spotted Audrey right away.

"Hello ladies." he grinned at each girl, meeting their eyes personally. "I've come for my notes. Are they ready?"

"Yes of course." Audrey proudly handed him the papers. She had worked hard on them and they were even more flawless than her own. The three girls stared as Tom flipped through the papers, his lips parting slowly in astonishment. 

"These are impeccable, Audrey. You must let me borrow your services every week." he was almost begging. Audrey looked up at him and melted. How could she say no to that face? She imagined what her life would be like if she said yes. She would be very busy and it might not be a good idea during her most pivotal year at Hogwarts. But then again, maybe she could finally gain popularity and be noticed. The other girls in the common room were already staring at her. They were all wondering what she had done to capture the attention of Tom Riddle. Maybe people would finally stop picking on her for being a bookworm.

Claire nudged Audrey back to reality. "Well?" she whispered, still beaming at Tom.

"If you really want me to then I'll do it." Audrey bit her lip.

"Perfect!" he said cheerily, "Here's a galleon for your troubles." he reached into his pocket and pulled out a shiny gold galleon.

"Oh no. A galleon is far too much." Audrey protested as he put the coin in her hand, making her blush at the skin contact.

"Not at all! This work is brilliant. It deserves more! But I'm afraid I'm not as rich as my fellow classmates." he frowned. It didn't take away from his beauty at all. It just made her want to give him a hug and never let go. She tried to stutter out a response but he was already walking away. She looked down at the galleon in her hand. It was very generous but she slipped it into her pocket anyway.

"I can't believe he gave you a whole galleon! One more and you could buy those cute shoes we saw in Diagon Alley last week." Vicky said with excitement in her voice. Audrey could have bought those shoes without Tom's help. Her family had money. But the galleon meant something more to her. It wasn't just payment for a task. It was a reminder of him. He had been in possession of this galleon and now it was hers. Sure it was childish and even a little creepy but that was a big reason why she had accepted the payment.

She glanced in Tom's direction. He was sitting with Oliver Avery and both were laughing about something. She wished that she could join them and be part of the joke. Tom and his group were so alluring. Probably because Tom himself was so alluring. Everything about him was attractive. Suddenly Tom looked away from Avery and right at Audrey. She quickly looked to the side, pretending she had not been staring at him. When she dared to look back, he was deep in conversation with Avery again.

 

 

Tom was pleased. He had convinced the girl to work for him and now all he had to do was casually ask her questions about her family. Tom had sat in the library all of last year researching about horcruxes. He thought he had finally found the instructions on making one but he had been mistaken. Through further investigation he found that Isaiah Row had been the original creator of the horcrux. Though he had never made one himself, he had created the concept. And the book still belonged to the Row family, passed on over the generations. Tom had managed to trace the Row family tree to Audrey. Audrey Row was his ticket to immortality.

He looked down at the notes he had paid her for. They were excellent quality but he hardly cared. He didn't want notes. He wanted information. He had been studying her schedule for the past week. After classes, she would go to the library until ten o clock when she had prefect duties. Then she would return to her dormitory by midnight. Her prefect duties were on alternating days. It was Tuesday, which meant she would be patrolling the halls tonight. Fortunately, he would also be fulfilling his Head Boy duties.

Tom looked at his watch. It was 9:30 in the evening. He would corner her in the library first. He walked casually into the library, past the plump librarian, and into the history section. Audrey was sitting at her favourite table away from any windows or distractions in the middle of the history section. He walked quietly so he would not disturb her. Even when he was two feet away she did not notice him. He smirked and slowly lowered himself into the chair next to her. She still had not looked up from her book. As she raised her hand to turn the page, he grabbed hold of it.

"Oh goodness!" she gasped.

"Sorry to startle you." he whispered. They were in a library after all.

"That's alright, Tom." she said clutching her chest.

"I just saw you reading and decided to say hello." He gave her a warm look and her startled expression disappeared. "What are you reading?"

"The mystery of Unicorn Blood." she said and flipped the book over so he could read the cover. "I like unicorns." she blushed.

"Fascinating." he faked interest for a while and then checked his watch again, "It's almost after hours. We better get going. I have Head Boy duties tonight."

"I'm patrolling the corridors as well." she replied.

"Oh good! We can walk together." He helped her gather her books and the two of them began walking down the dimly lit hallways. Audrey slung her heavy bag over her shoulders with a grunt.

"Let me carry your bag for you." he offered. He took the bag off of her shoulders and put it on his own. She nodded in thanks. Tom tried not to chuckle to himself. She was painfully shy sometimes. It was not a quality he saw in most people. She was becoming a very interesting subject.

"So," he said after a few minutes of silence, "You like being a prefect?" he had to start his questioning slowly.

"Yeah. It's alright I guess." she said quietly. "Best part is the bathroom."

"Yes, that's my favourite part as well." he laughed and she laughed with him. "Do you have any siblings?"

"No. I am an only child." She stopped for a moment. Two first years had tried to scuttle past them without being seen. "Hey you two! Get back to your dorms! Fifteen points from…" she squinted to see their crests, "Gryffindor!" The two boys ran back in the direction of the Gryffindor common room.

"Me too." Tom said casually.

"What?"

"I'm an only child as well. I might have had siblings if my parents hadn't died." He looked down at the ground trying to look as somber as possible.

"Oh, I'm sorry. That's horrible." she looked at him with sympathy in her eyes. "I can't imagine what I'd do without my parents."

"Tell me about your family." he said, his eyes filling with excitement.

"Well my mum is about the nicest person you'll ever meet. She doesn't work. My dad makes plenty of money. He works at the Ministry. Very high up." she bragged.

"So you live in a nice house then? Good neighbourhood?"

"Yes I would say so."

Tom casually leaned on a nearby pillar. "I've never had any company while patrolling the halls. This is a good change of pace. I enjoy talking to you."

"I like talking to you too, Tom." she smiled but didn't blush this time. They had started to connect already. She was becoming more and more comfortable with him. This was exactly what Tom wanted. He was closer to his goal than he had thought.

 

 

When Audrey, Claire and Victoria entered the Great Hall Saturday morning for breakfast, Tom was already sitting at the Slytherin table.

"Audrey! Come sit here." he called. Audrey looked at her best friends. Both of them nudged her at the same time causing her to trip over her feet but she luckily caught her balance before she fell. Vicky laughed behind her.

"Nice day today." Tom said, looking up at the enchanted ceiling. The sky was blue and clear of all clouds. It was still very warm although it was nearing October.

"Pass the butter Rosier!" Mulicber said rudely to his friend. Rosier shoved the butter in his direction and rolled his eyes. Everyone in Tom's group seemed to be immature and vulgar except for him. Tom was always calm and polite.

"We should meet in the library after school tonight. I would love to get your take on the Potions essay." said Tom.

"Sure. Not too late though. I don't have prefect duties tonight. I don't want to be caught out late."

"No problem."

Audrey felt warm inside. That's how she felt whenever she was around Tom and lately they had been spending lots of time together. But the more time she spent with him, the more she became convinced that he did not like her. At least, not in the way she liked him. She wasn't even sure if she liked him in that way. He was sweet and smart and really cute and her stomach did loops whenever he was around. Okay, maybe she did like him. But he had never made any move towards her. He was just friendly all the time, nothing more.

Like when he invited her to the library to study or do homework, he would just study or do homework. He wouldn't brush her hand or move closer to her to read the same book. That's what all the men did in the novels she had read. But he had not made any of those signature moves. And Audrey was simply just too shy to make any of those moves herself. She had noticed, however, that other girls were not afraid to make those moves towards Tom. But strangely, he did not pay those girls any mind.

"Have you ever seen Tom Riddle with a girl? Think about it." Audrey asked her friends one night in the dorm room they shared.

"No, come to think of it." Claire realized.

"And girls practically throw themselves at him." Vicky added.

"Maybe he doesn't like girls." Audrey laughed. Vicky snorted but Claire looked upset.

"Of course he likes girls!" she cried while the other two burst into fits of giggles, "He's just looking for the right one!"

"Does that mean he's a virgin?" Vicky asked, raising her eyebrows.

"Vicky!" Audrey blushed, "That's really none of our business."

"I think he wants to lose it to you." Vicky winked.

"Who says I'd give it to him!" Audrey frowned. Sure she liked Tom but she wouldn't have sex with him. She barely knew the guy.

"I'd give it to him." Claire said with the most serious face. Audrey and Vicky looked at each other and burst into laughter. They each chucked a pillow in Claire's direction.

"It's almost 8. Aren't you going to be late for your date?" Vicky said as she put her books away under her bed.

"It's not a date. We're not dating." Audrey rolled her eyes, "But yes I should go. I'll see you two later."

 

 

Tom sat in the library waiting for Audrey to come. He was becoming frustrated with his lack of progress with her. She seemed to like him but she had not told him anything about the book yet. He thought it was possible that she may not know about it. If she didn't he would have to start all over and try to find about the book elsewhere.

He looked up when she entered the room. Her hair was tied in a high ponytail and she was wearing her skirt much higher than usual. Was she trying to impress him?

"Good evening Audrey." he said and pulled her chair out for her. When she sat down, he pulled out a book from the restricted section.

"What's that?" she asked, looking at the book's dusty cover.

"Oh just a book I found in the restricted section. I like to go in there every once in a while." He began cleaning the cover with his hand, "To be honest. I have a fascination with dark magic. Just studying it of course. The things that these dark wizards came up with is brilliant."

"There's a lot of dark magic in my family history." Audrey revealed. Tom instantly became alert. He knew that would open her up. As soon as he told her his interest in dark magic, she wanted to brag about how she was distantly involved.

"Really? You're related to dark wizards? I would have never guessed. You're so sweet." he grinned a little too wide.

"Well I don't know much about it. Only what my grandfather told me. He used to read the family history to me when I was little."

"Family history? Like a book?" He needed more information.

"Yes. There are lots of books on our family. They're all in a library at my house."

Tom dug his fingernails into the wood of the table in pleasure. The feeling of being so close to gaining more power was orgasmic. "You have a library in your house? I wish I had my own library. I can't come in here during the summer."

"Oh shoot. I should go before it gets too late." Audrey said, quickly getting up. Tom grabbed her wrist violently.

"No! Don't leave. I'm Head Boy, I'll walk you back." he pleaded. She couldn't leave yet. Not when he was so close.

"Oh…okay." She looked startled. He released his grip on her wrist and smiled.

"So," he cleared his throat, trying to act casual, "Your family would have dark magic books in the library then?"

"Yeah but I'm not really allowed to read those. They don't peak my interest anyway."

"So you don't know what's in them then?"

"No, not really."

"But they're there?"

"Yes…"

Tom closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. The excitement was getting to him. He was becoming too aroused and she was getting suspicious.

"Good, well, I'll walk you back then." Tom swallowed hard. 

Now that he knew the book was probably there, he needed a way to get into the house. This looked like an all year project. If he could drag her into his inner circle she might invite him to her house over the summer. Then he would have access to a whole horcrux at last.

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