Joint Fixation

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

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4. You'll Never Tell

 

Audrey ran. She hardly knew where she was going. She just knew she had to get away from him. She finally stopped when she reached the Slytherin common room.

"Salazar!" she managed to choke out. She entered the empty common room panting. She looked back at the entryway expecting to be ambushed by Tom Riddle and his gang. But no one came. Still, her heart would not slow down. She was shaking uncontrollably, still unable to fully process what she had heard. She couldn't go back to her room because she was supposed to be out with Tom. The girls would get suspicious. What could she possibly tell them?

"Oh, I had to come back early because I found out my date is a cold blooded murderer." Yeah right.

But she couldn't just stay in the common room alone either. The boys would probably come back soon and when they found her…

She decided to just go into her room. Luckily, the girls were already sleeping. Early morning classes made both of them hit the sack by 11. Without bothering to change her clothes, she crawled into bed and shut the curtains on her four-poster. There was no way she would be able to sleep tonight, not after finding out Myrtle's real killer. How could everyone have been so dense? How could he have fooled the entire school into thinking he was a nice guy? The thought of him made her sick. And now her life was in danger. Now that she knew about what he had done, he would kill her too. But she couldn't avoid him forever. They went to the same school and were in the same house. He could probably have her killed by tomorrow.

The next morning Audrey had not slept at all. Every time she had succumbed to her exhaustion she saw his face threatening to murder her. There was no way she could go to Potions that morning. He would be there, looking at her, waiting for his moment to pounce.

"Come on Audrey wake up!" Vicky said as she ripped the curtains open. Audrey groaned and turned over to avoid her. "Come on now. How late were you out with Tom? Didn't get any sleep huh?" she giggled. Audrey sat up at the mention of Tom's name.

"Tell us what happened last night! Did he kiss you?" Claire asked as she rushed to Audrey's bedside.

"No." she replied grumpily.

"Aw." Both Vicky and Claire said at the same time.

"Well what happened then! Tell us while you get ready!" Vicky pleaded.

"Nothing happened. We just talked." she lied, "Nothing to tell. We're just friends." She got out of the bed, completely forgetting that she was still in her clothes from last night.

"Why are you still in your robes?" Claire laughed. Vicky did not look as amused.

"Oh." Audrey said, looking down at her attire. "I guess I was so tired I just forgot."She walked over to the bathroom and tried to pretend everything was normal but her hands still shook as she tried to brush her hair.

"If you say so." Vicky said looking disappointed. They didn't bother her after that but kept exchanging looks of concern.

Audrey had no idea what she was going to do now. Could she feel safe walking the hallways? Was he going to come after her? She needed time to think. Maybe she could plead with him or pretend she hadn't heard anything. Or maybe she could just stay in her room until she graduated and then move to another country. Yes, that sounded best.

"I-I don't think I'm going to go to class today. I'm not feeling well." Audrey said as she looked in the mirror. Her skin was pale and she had dark circles under her eyes.

"Don't you have that big Potions test today though?" Claire asked, as she dried her hair, still in her towel.

Oh no, she had completely forgot about the Potions test. It was worth a big chunk of her mark. She couldn't miss that. She would have to go to Potions and just avoid eye contact with Tom. It wasn't like he could hurt her in public. But how had he killed Myrtle? She had been found in the girl's bathroom. Not even that was a safe place. She would just have to stay around people at all times.

"Could you guys meet me outside the Potions room after class? Then we could walk to History together." Audrey said, hoping they would agree.

"But that's so out of the way." Vicky frowned.

"Please…" Audrey pleaded.

"O…kay?" Vicky replied and Audrey let out a sigh of relief.

She walked half the way to Potions class alone but it wasn't very far so she hadn't been too concerned. When she entered the classroom, Slughorn was already inside preparing for the test.

"Miss Row! I trust that you're prepared for the examination today?" he gave her a cheery smile.

"Of course professor." Audrey tried to smile back. A crowd of Ravenclaws entered the room. All of them were frantically trying to cram the last bit of information they could fit in their heads. Audrey was fully prepared for the test but it would be difficult to concentrate with Tom sitting just a few feet away. She sat down, pulled out her quill and began scratching at the paper nervously. She doodled tiny 'X's in the corner of the notebook, keeping her eyes firmly on the page. She shut her eyes completely when she heard Mulciber's voice behind her.

"What's the last ingredient in Felix Felicis again?" he said in a frantic voice. Audrey heard the other boys shout wrong answers and shuffle papers. The six boys walked past her and sat down in their respective seats. Audrey could smell Tom's cologne as he walked past her. Her body immediately reacted to the scent: her stomach sank and her heart sped up.

When the class had filed in, Slughorn began handing out test papers.

"You all have and hour and a half. Good luck." He clapped his hands together and sat back down at his desk.

Audrey looked down at the test. She had studied every question. She knew every answer. But her brain refused to work. All her brain wanted to do was look at Tom.

Look at him! Just look at him!

Audrey shook her head and tried to concentrate on the test. The first question was about elixirs.

Which of the following describes an elixir:

a) a potion designed to enchant or charm the drinker.

b) a sweetened, aromatic solution used as medicine.

c) a liquid mixture made by steeping, soaking, or boiling ingredients in water.

d) a benign medicine preserved in alcohol.

e) none of the above

She studied the question for a few seconds until she realized the answer was 'b'. Feeling relief over finding the correct answer, she quickly circled the 'b' and moved on to the next question. She would not let Tom distract her. She would not look at him.

"Times up!" Slughorn yelled as he stood up. Several students jumped at the sudden sound after over an hour of silence. Audrey had managed to finish her test just in time, which was very unlike her. She usually finished well before the allotted time was up. Once Slughorn had taken her test, she gathered her things and sloppily shoved them into her bag. Claire and Vicky were waiting for her as she sprinted outside of the classroom.

"What are you in such a rush for?" Claire asked, "Oh look there's Tom!" she said Tom's name in a sing-songy voice and pointed behind Audrey.

"I don't want to be late let's go!" Audrey said frantically, struggling not to look back into the Potions room.

"There's plenty of time though." Vicky said. She checked her watch to make sure.

"I want to get a good seat!" Audrey pleaded, "Please you guys." Audrey gave Vicky a frightened look. Vicky looked from Audrey to Tom, who was still in the classroom, and back to her friend again.

"Okay. Let's go Claire." she said quietly.

The three of them walked to History of Magic and sat down in the empty classroom. Audrey saw Vicky open her mouth to speak but Professor Ridley stepped in. Ridley was an extremely strict teacher and any speaking out of turn, even before class, would result in a detention. But Audrey was relieved that the professor had walked in. It had spared her the awkwardness of an explanation. But she would have to tell someone soon. Professor Dumbledore would listen to her for sure. He was the only professor that didn't blindly love Tom. But she had no real proof he did it. It was her word against his and ultimately it was up to Dippet for the final decision. Professor Dippet placed Tom as his favorite student. It wouldn't be likely that he would believe her. But she had to tell Dumbledore. Dumbledore could protect her. Unfortunately, this week Dumbledore had left for Europe for an unknown reason. Though it was suspected that it had something to do with a dark wizard who had been terrorizing parts of continental Europe.

As she sat in class, she wondered what Tom could possibly be thinking right now. He was probably worried that she had told someone. He was probably planning her murder too. Audrey closed her eyes and tried not to hyperventilate.

Tom sat quietly at lunch, barely touching his sandwich. His Knights were very tense as well and were whispering among themselves nervously. Whenever Tom would glance at them, they would immediately stop talking. He was becoming irritated by his followers. He looked down the table at Audrey who was eating with her friends and avoiding any contact with him. He was not going to frighten her off. He hadn't spoken to her or sat next to her all day. If she had heard the entire meeting then his plan was totally foiled and he would likely have to kill the girl. It was very unfortunate. Not only was she pivotal to his plan, but, she was interesting and intelligent. Not to mention he would be spilling pure magical blood. Nevertheless, she was a threat to his image. It was not his intention for the world to know his plans just yet. He needed more followers and more power before he revealed his true self. For now he was just Tom Riddle. But soon he would be Lord Voldemort.

"Do not bother me tonight." Tom instructed his Knights without looking away from Audrey, "I will take care of things myself." The Knights nodded and continued to eat their lunches.

Tom smiled. He would play with her head today. So far he had ignored her. And after lunch he would ignore her again. But he would follow her after dinner and confront her then. A simple killing curse would do. Then he would move the body into the Chamber for the basilisk to feed on. Her disappearance would be a mystery forever. But the thought of killing her still wouldn't sit right with him. He had never had a problem with murder before, but this girl was different. Had he actually made a connection with her? No, it was impossible. He did not attach himself to anyone, not even his Knights. He was simply disappointed that his plan had been skewed off track. He did not want to kill off such a valuable asset. But he was sure he'd be able to find a way to obtain the book without her.

The sun set over Hogwarts and the full moon was now shining in the sky. Tom raised his head like a snake and locked his eyes on his prey. Audrey had stood up from the Slytherin table. Her hair was in a messy bun and she looked tired and worn. Her sweater was lopsided and she was gripping her wand tightly inside her robe's pocket. He was not sure where her two friends had disappeared to and he was surprised that she had let them leave her. She was obviously aware of the danger she was in by the twitchy way she was moving.

Tom stood up and slung his tote bag over his shoulder. She was walking quickly so he took long strides. When he reached the hallway, she was running down the stairs towards the dungeons. He stalked after her, quickening his steps but not running. Once he reached the bottom of the steps, he looked left and right. She was nowhere to be found. But Tom smiled. The Potions classroom was to the right and the Slytherin common room was to the left. She had most likely gone left but there was no way she had made it to the common room before he had reached the bottom of the stairs. She was hiding somewhere.

Tom crept slowly, making sure to make no sound. He made it a quarter down the hall when he heard heavy breathing and the sound of a shoe scraping against the stone floor.

"Audrey?" he called in a teasing tone of voice, "I know you're down here."

There. He had spotted her behind a wide pillar. He stepped around the pillar and found her. She had her wand raised in his face but her hand was trembling.

"Now, now Audrey. Put your wand down." he laughed. The foolish girl actually thought she could overpower him.

"You-you killed her. You killed Myrtle." she whispered.

"Technically, no. A basilisk killed her." he smirked. Had that been all she heard? Just the part about Myrtle?

"You killed her. You told it to! You blamed it on that poor third year!" she cried.

"That half breed? He didn't deserve to be at Hogwarts. How he got in I'll never understand." Tom said coolly. He needed to find out exactly what she had heard. "How long were you standing there? How long were you spying on me?"

"I-just for a moment. Oh!" she yelped when he grabbed her wand hand and lowered it to her side.

"Was I standing when you walked in?" he stepped closer to her. They were so close that he could feel her body heat.

"Y-yes." she stuttered. There were tears in her eyes threatening to spill, "Are you going to kill me?" she asked. He squeezed her shaking hand.

"Now why would I do a thing like that?" Tom touched her face slowly, "You're not going to tell anyone…are you?" he chuckled.

Audrey shook her head. "No."

"I didn't think so. Now here." he said and pulled his notes for the week out of his bag, "Organize these and sort out everything I need to know for the Charms test."

The girl just stood there, staring at the notes he had placed in her hands. She looked up at him, tears rolling down her red face.

"Off you go." he ordered and pushed her gently in the direction of the Slytherin common room. She stumbled but began walking down the hallway slowly. Tom grinned and turned the other way, back towards the Great Hall.

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