He remembered the first time she came to the orphanage; she was just a little girl, traumatised by the death of her parents. She had witnessed her parents die in front of her eyes from murder. She wouldn’t allow anyone near her, in fear of getting killed herself.
She was just six.
Tom Riddle observed her from a distance, a feeling overcoming him that he hadn’t ever felt before; concern. He wanted to take all the negative feelings away from her and just protect her. He wanted to protect a mere girl that was the same age as he.
It was weird.
* * *
A week later since her arrival, the girl was being tormented by the bullies of the orphanage; always moving towards her as if they were going to hurt her. She would scream and hide away in her room – thus, making her miss lunch or dinner – or even all food sessions. Today was a normal day for the orphanage, the bullies tormenting the new toy.
The girl screamed at them to go away, tears pouring down her face. She was cornered in the sitting room; the kids nearby who weren’t bullying her were laughing at the scene. Tom Riddle had walked into the room wondering why they were loud, only to see red at what he saw.
One of the bullies was about to grab the girl, when suddenly his wrist was grabbed roughly, soon broken. The bully howled in pain, backing away from the girl and his saviour. Everyone was quiet and backed away when they realised Tom Riddle, the ‘weird kid’ had stopped the bully from going near the girl. Fear crept into their bodies at the sight of the boy having an alarmingly calm look on his face – which was quite weird for someone just six. The girl was looking up at Riddle’s surprisingly tall form in awe, slowly getting up from her crouched position on the ground.
“No one harms the girl anymore,” Riddle said calmly, “or else you mess with me. Am I clear?”
Everyone nodded, scared that they would be the next victim from Riddle’s wrath. They remembered what had happened to the other boy; his pet rabbit was hung up dead from a high place, all in display. Despite no proof on who did it, they all knew it was Tom Riddle because the boy who owned the rabbit bullied him before the rabbit incident.
When everyone left the room, Riddle turned to the girl. “Screaming at them to stop won’t do anything.” he told her in a monotone voice. “Learn how to defend yourself. Get over the fear of someone trying to kill you.”
“I’m afraid of death.” she murmured quietly. Riddle’s eyes widened at the similar fear they both had. His eyes hardened later when he realised he was showing an emotion, and held his hand out to her.
“You hang around me and you will no longer fear your death from the other kids and people.” he told her firmly. The girl stared at his hand momentarily in dear, before slowly placing her hand in his.
Did I also mention that they were just six?
* * *
5 years later…
They looked at the large castle before them, awe etched on their faces. Riddle and the girl he protected from the orphanage for five years was beside him, holding on tightly to his hand secretly. Riddle squeezed her hand to tell her they were moving again, and to also loosen the hold on his hand. He may tolerate her holding his hand, but holding it tightly was almost crossing the line in the cold boy’s opinion.
“It is amazing!” she breathed out, giving him an excited smile, ignoring his look of annoyance when she squeezed his hand tightly again. “This is our home, Tom!”
Riddle lost his look of annoyance and gave her one of his rare genuine smiles, nodding in agreement. A lot had happened in the five years they’ve known each other. Like Riddle promised, no one harmed her while she stayed by his side. The kids were scared that if they did harm her, then they’re dead by Riddle. They don’t know why he acts like that with her – neither does he, actually. He’s never felt anything like that apart from emotions of anger and frustration.
Riddle and the girl became friends soon enough during those years, Riddle eventually trusting her on his life more than anyone, the girl sharing the same feelings with him. Because of him, she still had a reason to continue on with life. If he could do it, then so could she.
Together, they were inseparable. Where one goes, the other follows. And luckily, they were both witches and wizards – otherwise Riddle wouldn’t have been able to look out for her, and she wouldn’t be able to steer his thoughts away from the evil.
All thoughts of taking over the world were at the back of his mind ever since she came; it annoyed him but also pleased him. Not ever, had he ever felt such calm in his life until he met her.
They were good for each other, whether they knew or not.
“Riddle, Tom!” the teacher called out. Riddle gave his friend a small nod and smile of assurance that no one saw, before letting go of her hand and walking to the front with a blank look on his face. Whispers started going around, the girls finding him cute while the guys thought him to look cool to hang out with.
Before the Sorting Hat could even be put on his head, the hat already made its decision. “SLYTHERIN!”
Riddle calmly took his seat at the house table, ignoring the applause and looks of shock on the people’s faces, his eyes connecting with his friend who was looking around nervously, her anchor that was Riddle long gone. “Smith, Rose!”
She made her way to the front on shaky legs, almost collapsing on the stool from nerves. A few students snickered, making her look down, her face flushed. Riddle glared at all the students who laughed. It was just like the orphanage…
It actually took a while for her to get sorted; it seemed she was having a talk with the hat when the students and staff noticed her whispering to the hat. Seeing the sorting take this long was something they have never experienced in Hogwarts.
Riddle felt immense relief at the decision, clapping along with everyone but not as exuberant as them, his friend almost running to him. When she sat down, she grabbed onto Riddle’s hand and buried her face in his arm for comfort. Riddle simply patted her head twice like a dog before continuing on watching the Sorting Ceremony. When it was done, Headmaster Dippet stood to the podium and said his speech of welcome to the newcomers, and old comers. And then Riddle and Rose had the best dinner they ever had in their whole life time.
* * *
Years passed, and the two were still inseparable – even when they made new friends. Because at the end of the day, the two would leave their friends and sit together in the Common Room, catching up a bit before just getting engulfed with comfortable silence. People assumed the two were dating, because of the way they act around each other. She would have her head leaning against his shoulder when they’re together, and Riddle just allows her to do so, sitting all straight and polite. And for that, girls were jealous of her, the boys jealous of Riddle since Rose was quite a beautiful girl; the healthy chestnut brown hair that was wavy and to her waist, her skin pale and flawless, her brown eyes full of light and curiosity in life. And don’t forget Riddle; he’s matured greatly wooing the girls around. Jet black hair styled to perfection, his green eyes bright and full of secrets, and his tall, lean frame striding gracefully down hallways. Some people considered them the power couple.
Not once did the two comment on their rumours.
But despite it all, the two felt something for each other. Maybe it’s because they only had each other at the orphanage, or because they’ve stick together through most of their life including on their first days of Hogwarts – but either way, they felt something for each other. Riddle didn’t know what it was, but the girl had a hunch on what it might be…love.
Riddle didn’t think of it that way, thinking it was merely a small infatuation, since he found out he couldn’t really love since he was conceived under a love potion. But it wasn’t until that fateful day did he realise it was love – the day where he left her all alone, breaking his promise.
* * *
It was a cold, snowy day, and in spite of it, the students still wanted to go to Hogsmeade on the weekend. And that included Rose Smith. She had tried to convince Riddle to come with her - to no vail, saying he had ‘studying’ to do – when really, he already knew Seventh Year knowledge. But nonetheless, Rose decided that it was a time when she no longer needed Tom Riddle hovering over her for protection, and went out all by herself (needing to get approval from Riddle first. He didn’t like it, but he allowed her some freedom) to Hogsmeade. So she promised Riddle that she’d be back, and went on her way.
She was successful and enjoyed her time, making her way to leave the small village because she wanted to share her accomplishment to her friend, and because the snow was getting stronger and horrible to be in.
She never came back.
* * *
Riddle waited outside in the cold for her, wondering where she went. Everyone had returned, but there was still no sign of her. Distinctly he heard a group of girls talking to each other about finally getting rid of someone for good when they walked by him, but he paid no mind to it (and their flirtatious looks), waving it off, in lookout for her.
It was soon nightfall in Hogwarts, and now the teachers were concerned for not only Rose, but for Riddle who still stood outside for her. Even the students noticed his strange behaviour – and he’s the student model in the school.
“Mister Riddle...” Riddle looked to his left and saw Headmaster Dippet, Professor Dumbledore and Slughorn. They were staring at him in concern. “You are going to get a cold if you stay here longer.” Dippet told him.
“Rose isn’t here yet, sir.” Riddle told him, facing the front again. “I promised her I would be here for her when she comes back.”
“She probably couldn’t come back with the weather like this and decided to stay there.” Dumbledore suggested. Riddle didn’t like that at all.
“You don’t understand, sir.” Riddle said impatiently. “This is the first time she has ever been out by herself without me at her side. She could be in danger.”
“Well nonetheless, you need to head back inside.” Dippet said sternly. “Horace, if you will…”
“Come on, m’boy.” Slughorn murmured, going over to Riddle. “Let’s go, shall we -”
“Dippet! Anyone!” the four turned to the voice and saw up ahead a group of people emerging through the nasty weather, a few of the people carrying something.
The teachers didn’t see what they were carrying, but Riddle knew what they were carrying. He noticed the limp hand that fell from their hold, he noticed the wavy hair from the distance…
“Oh dear…” Slughorn murmured, realising what they were carrying when he noticed Riddle dash into the cold night in just his uniform (no warm clothing on him) towards the people.
It was Rose Smith.
* * *
Rose Smith died from hyperthermia and blood loss from the beating she got from a group of girls who were jealous of her and Riddle’s relationship.
Riddle lost the woman he miraculously fell in love with.
Riddle never got to tell her his true feelings to her.
That was the last time they saw the soft, calm Tom Riddle they knew.
Now he was gone, and Lord Voldemort rose.
And the girls that killed Rose Smith got what they deserved by the Dark Lord himself.