Joint Fixation

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

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6. The Date

"Will you please stop moving." Vicky snapped as she french-braided Audrey's hair. It was the day of the Hogsmeade trip and Vicky was getting sick of Audrey's constant hiccuping.

"I-hic-can't help it!" she said, trying to choke one back. Audrey always hiccuped whenever she got extremely nervous.

"Well try to hold still, you're making me mess up." Vicky complained.

"Here," said Claire pulling out a container of blush, "You look too pale." She applied the blush to the apples of Audrey's cheeks.

"Okay. Done." Vicky stood up and looked at her body of work. She handed Audrey a mirror. She looked perfect. She could always count on her friends to give her a good makeover. They had, of course, insisted upon it when they had heard the news.

"Just remember to be yourself and don't be nervous." Claire smiled and patted Audrey on the back.

The week before, Audrey had told her friends about Tom's Hogsmeade invitation. They had been 'prepping' her since then.

"Oh I'm so glad he changed his mind!" Claire squealed, "Tom Riddle could be your first boyfriend! How amazing is that!"

It would be pretty amazing. It would be a dream come true. At least it would have been before she had found out Tom had killed Myrtle. But yet she was still going out with him and she couldn't, for the life of her, figure out why. It wasn't just because he was good looking. She wasn't that shallow. It was something else about him that drew her in: something indescribable. It was the way she felt around him. He didn't make her feel safe, not at all, but he made her feel happy. Audrey shook her head. That hardly made sense.

"Audrey!" Tom yelled from across the Entrance Hall. He was wearing a grey overcoat that reached just above his knees and his hair was slicked back. He looked like a suave businessman, ready to take his wife out to dinner. Audrey approached him slowly.

"Hello Tom." she said.

"You look stunning." he looked her up and down and smiled.

Audrey blushed, "Thank you."

"It's cold today. Might spend a lot of time indoors." Tom said as he slipped on his gloves. The two of them walked together off of Hogwarts grounds and towards Hogsmeade. Many other students had joined them. Almost all were staring incessantly at the couple, some with awe, and others with jealousy. Audrey was starting to feel uncomfortable. That is until Tom's gloved hands brushed hers. With every step, his hand would swing closer and closer to hers until he was holding it. Well, he was certainly being bold.

"Could we go into The Three Broomsticks?" Audrey asked once they arrived in Hogsmeade, "It's freezing." It was nearing the end of November and although there was no snow on the ground, it was gently flurrying and the wind chill must have been around negative 15 degrees Celsius.

"Of course." he said and began pulling her into the warmth of the pub. It was crowded already but they managed to find a booth in the back.

"I've never been in here before. It's…cozy." Audrey said as she looked around the pub. The place was clean and well kept and the furnishing looked new though the air was a tad smokey.

"Yes and they have the best butterbeer wait til you try it." Tom said. His leg was touching hers under the table. Audrey breathed in slowly. He was driving her crazy with his advances. Looking into his eyes across the table made her want to jump across it and do him right there.

"So!" he said, pulling her back from a fantasy involving Tom, herself, and minimal clothing, "What are your plans for Christmas? Are you going home?"

"No, I'm not actually. My parents decided to go on vacation this Christmas…without me," she chuckled, "You know, sort of a second honeymoon thing."

"Oh so you'll be here. Great." He was smiling to himself, not at her. "We could spend Christmas together then. I mean if you want. No pressure or anything."

"No, of course I want." Audrey bit her lip. This date was definitely turning out well so far. "You don't go home for Christmas?"

"No, I don't really have a home. Well, I live at an orphanage but I don't want to go back there. I'll be 18 on New Years Eve so they're kicking me out soon." He lowered his head and took a sip of butterbeer. Audrey couldn't help but be upset.

"So after this year, you'll have no place to go?"

"No. I'll need to get a job and my own place." he sulked. Audrey couldn't imagine what it would be like to have no family and no real home. She had lived a very privileged and sheltered life.

"I'm sure you'll find somewhere to stay for the summer. Your grades are brilliant. You'll find a job right away." Audrey said cheerily. Her words seemed to cheer him up.

"Do you want to go to Honeydukes?" he asked.

"Sure." They both stood up and he helped her put her coat on.

Honeydukes was just as full as The Three Broomsticks. Audrey had never seen so much candy in one place before. It was colourful and beautiful and it smelled like chocolate, lemons, and strawberries. Audrey drifted towards the strawberries.

"Oh these look so good!" Audrey pointed to the strawberry broomstick gummies.

"Go ahead and try one." Tom said, picking up a gummy and handing it to her.

"They're not free!" she loudly whispered.

"So? It's just one. How much could it cost? A knut?" he laughed. She reluctantly put the candy in her mouth and chewed. Her whole mouth filled with the sweet strawberry taste. "Is it good?" he asked. Before taking one for himself. She nodded.

They looked through the bubble gum section where they had gum that would allow you to blow bubbles up to 2 feet in diameter. There were sweets so sour that they included warnings of permanent pucker and a soda that induced continuous giggling.

"Who would buy this stuff? Why would you want to giggle uncontrollably?" Audrey asked when she picked up the soda bottle.

"Some of the things in here are really strange." Tom laughed. He looked left and right, "I'll be right back. Stay here." he ordered. She watched him weave his way through the crowd until she could hardly see him anymore. He stood tall at 6 foot 2 so she could see the top of his head for a while before it disappeared in the crowd. She folded her arms and waited for him to return. Her first date wasn't going half bad and the more time she spent with Tom, the more she forgot about his transgressions.

'Transgressions? You mean murder.' she thought. Part of her brain kept reminding her and then the other half would shove the thought away.

"Here." he said, returning with a gold sack tied with a blue ribbon, "Don't open it until you get back to your room." he said slyly. Audrey looked down at the package in her hand wondering what it could possibly be. She placed it inside of her pocket and continued exploring the store with Tom.

On the way back to Hogwarts later that afternoon, Tom had his arm draped over her shoulders casually. Everyone else seemed to be leaving as well because it was starting to get dark.

"I hope you enjoyed today." Tom said, as they got closer to Hogwarts.

"I did." Audrey smiled and leaned into him a little bit. Tom stopped walking a few feet away from the door.

He turned to face her, taking both of her hands in his, "Would you go out with me again?"

"Yes, I would." she smiled shyly.

'He's a killer Audrey. You're saying yes to a killer.' 'Shut up! Shut up shut up shut up!'

He smiled back and it looked as though he was going to lean in to kiss her but then he changed his mind. Audrey stood disappointed that he hadn't taken his chance.

"Well," he said clearing his throat, "I'll see you around then." He lifted her right hand and kissed the palm of it before he opened the door for her and made his way down the corridor. Audrey stood where he had left her, staring at the place where his lips had met her skin. That was it? He wasn't even going to make a second date? Audrey pursed her lips. Hopefully he would ask her out again soon.

Tom speed-walked down the corridor in the direction of the library. He needed to do more research on the founders of Hogwarts. So far he had only learned about Salazar Slytherin, and through years of digging, he had discovered he was the heir to the Hogwarts founder. This had also led him to the discovery of the Chamber of Secrets. Thought to be a legend, Tom discovered the real Chamber in his fifth year at Hogwarts, resulting in his first murder. The same murder he was trying to get Audrey to forget about.

Tom slipped into the Restricted Section and began looking around. He soon found a book about Rowena Ravenclaw on the top shelf.

"Professor Rowena Ravenclaw was a witch of Medieval Times and one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was noted for her cleverness and creativity." Tom read to himself in a whisper. He had never been fond of Rowena Ravenclaw but if he wanted to make more horcruxes, he would have to find items of importance to create them from. And what more valuable items could there be than ones that had belonged to the founders themselves? There had to be some information in here about items the founders had left behind.

He looked at his watch. It was almost dinnertime. But he would have to skip it tonight. This was far more important. Tom tried to concentrate on the book but it was rather dry and basic. He had a feeling it would not go into the intimate details of Ravenclaw's life. So he began searching through the shelves again.

He looked through the Ravenclaw section but stopped once he got to Row. He had gone too far. He had already read all of the books on Audrey's family. There were only three in the library. He paused and stroked the spine of Isaiah Row's biography. The book reminded him of Audrey and the day they had spent together. She was definitely warming up to him so his plan was working. He smiled when he remembered the face she had given him when he had kissed her palm. She had looked so pleased, like his kisses meant the world to her. She was so adorable it was almost too much to bear. But he had resisted asking her out again just yet. He would let her pine for him for a couple days first. She was also part of why he was skipping dinner tonight. She would expect him to be there and when he wasn't she would be thinking about him all night.

Tom leaned into the spine of the book and pressed his lips to it slowly. That was the way he was going to kiss her. Gently, like a kind man would; like a gentleman. He imagined how it would be to kiss her. It would most likely be bothersome and wet. He was not particularly looking forward to it. What he was looking forward to was gaining more power over her. With every touch and every kiss he would be closer to the Row's personal family library: the library that contained the secret to making a perfect horcrux.

Tom yanked a random book about Ravenclaw and tossed it onto the table. He would just have to read them all. One of them must contain some sort of clue as to where Ravenclaw's Diadem might be.

Tom opened the book and began to read, " Etched upon its surface was Ravenclaw's famous quotation: 'Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure.' It was said to enhance the wisdom of its wearer, which is Ravenclaw House's most treasured attribute." It was difficult to concentrate as his mind kept wandering back to the plan involving Audrey. He shut the book, frustrated. It was evident that he was not going to be able to concentrate on finding more potential horcruxes before he obtained the book. He growled and cursed his lack of focus. The girl, though necessary for his ultimate goal, was distracting him. It was time to take more serious action. His invitation to her home over the summer had to be solid before he could concentrate again. It was time to move in for the kill.

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