Alphabet Soup

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Alphabet Soup

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I Put A Spell On You

"Silly children," Tom chastised. He was smiling, his eyes were sparkling. "You thought you could trick Lord Voldemort? I must say, it was brave of you to try- brave but stupid. I admit, I'm impressed that you two managed to keep up your ruse for as long as you did." Ginny and Neville sat frozen in hard chairs; they were surrounded by blank walls. Neville's eyes were on the floor. He was shuffling his feet nervously. Ginny sat, hands folded in her lap, looking like a defiant statue. "Admiration aside, we need to discuss a punishment."

"Discuss?" Neville choked out, sweating despite the chill in the room.

"Why, yes. I'm not a heartless monster. I can be munificent," Tom replied. Ginny snorted. "You have something to say, little one?"

"No," Ginny answered saccharinely. "I was stifling a cough." Neville elbowed her in the ribs.

"You see? Longbottom's got the gist of it. You know better than to sass, little Ginny. Now, what sort of punishment do you think is deserved?"

"I think you should be castrated for trying to exploit the sexuality of young people," Ginny answered very calmly. She stared into Tom's eyes fiercely. "Did you ever get reprimanded for exploiting that eleven-year-old a few years back?"

"That wasn't my proudest moment," Tom stated, raising his eyebrows. "I could have done so much more. What a wasted opportunity."

Ginny rose and balled her hands into fists. "Oh, that must be really hard for you to reflect on, Tom," she scathed. "Memories of what could have been. Unfortunately, I had to deal with the things that actually happened. You have no idea how long it took me to come to terms with that-"

"I don't think you've accepted it at all, little one," Tom smirked. "You wouldn't be so fervent if you'd really gotten over that delightful experiment of mine."

In a meek act of defiance, Ginny sunk back into her chair.

"Tired?"

"You starve and near exhaust me, Tom," she sighed angrily, arms crossed over her chest.

He ignored her and turned his attention back to Neville. "Why, you're trembling. You mustn't do that. Little Ginny said that you're very brave, dear boy. Don't make her a liar."

"Don't talk about Ginny like that," Neville asserted, lifting his chin and looking at Tom's face for the first time. His eyes widened a bit for the slightest moment, but he continued to stare.

"Yes, I already know that I look like Potter," Tom said through gritted teeth. "Your defense of Ginny is sweet, but she can take care of herself. She's been remarkably stubborn since the day I met her. You have talent as well; I experienced it myself. You killed Nagini, correct?"

"I sliced her open."

"And with Gryffindor's sword, no less! Remarkable. That damned sword has slighted me twice by children identified by the Prophecy. No matter. To the point: how shall I punish you, brave Neville?"

"Do what you wa- wait, how did you "experience" me killing You-Know-Who's snake? And what about Harry using that sword?"

"It doesn't matter, really. Not anymore." He looked thoughtful for a moment. "Have you ever faced a Boggart, Longbottom?"

"Yes," he tentatively murmured. "Why?"

"What did you see?"

"Severus Snape," Neville replied proudly. It wasn't shameful to be afraid of a man who turned traitor and had even fooled Dumbledore.

"When you were thirteen," Tom remarked dryly. "What do you see now?"

"I… I don't know what I'd see."

"Tom, where are you going with this?" Ginny interrupted angrily. Tom didn't so much as bat an eyelash at her.

"As I don't have a Boggart on hand, I'll have to make you see on your own. Both of you." He pulled out his wand and twirled it in his long fingers absently. "There's a little spell, created by Severus Snape, in fact, that will make you relive the truth, but only your worst truths. Truth is a suitable punishment for lies, don't you think?" He smiled darkly at Ginny. "I have a feeling that I know your worst truths already, little Ginny, but I'll be interested to see Longbottom's." He pointed his wand at Neville's forehead and placidly murmured, "In veritibus."

Neville's body went slack and slid onto the cold floor. He immediately began screaming, crying, and shouting, "No, no! Please! Don't! No!"

"What are you doing to him?!" Ginny yelled. "Stop it this instant! Punish me; it was all my idea!"

"I am punishing you," Tom replied, a slight smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Causing him pain causes you pain. It's as simple as that."

"You're disgusting, Tom, do you know that?!"

"I pride myself on it, actually." He raised his voice to speak. "It's rather loud in here with all of the screaming, don't you think?"

Ginny's breath came in hard gasps as she watched Neville cry and rub his eyes as he screamed. "Stop this, Tom! Please!" Tom just smiled and tugged on a lock of his midnight hair. "Finite!" she shouted. "Finite incantatem! Tom, why isn't my spell working!?"

"Mine is stronger."

"I hate you, Tom Riddle! I positively hate you!"

"What a shame," he mock pouted. "A few more minutes should do the trick."

"Please, Tom, I'm begging you, do it to me instead-"

"This is the second time you've begged me for something, little Ginny. I didn't yield six years ago and I shan't yield now. Oh, Ginny, you're crying! How pathetic."

She launched herself at him and beat his chest with her white-knuckled fists. He didn't bother to stop her; it didn't hurt in the least.

That night, as he examined his nude body in the mirror, he was rather shocked to find a small bruise on the upper left part of his trunk. He poked the purple spot, no larger than a two-pound coin, and felt a dull pain. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been physically injured and couldn't fathom how Ginny's tiny fists could have harmed him. He fumed; it had taken him months to return to this youthful, beautiful body and she had marred it in what couldn't have been ninety seconds of little punches.

I rather liked the last paragraph. What did you think? You know you want to press the REVIEW button and let me know. My crystal ball is currently in the shop (somehow a tarot card and several hunks of tea leaves got stuck inside it. Is this an omen??), which means that I don't know what you're thinking. You have to tell me!

...and yeah, I know I'm entirely too cruel to Neville.

Oh, the spell I invented means "within the truths" in Latin.

AHQRider was the first to figure out the reference to the BT Tower in the last chapter. Harry & Ron fly over it in "Chamber of Secrets"! I was asked to provide a little challenge after every chapter; I don't know if I can for *every* chapter, especially with my new schedule looming, but here's one: SPOT THE DAVID BOWIE REFERENCE. Kore, if you're still reading this: it'll be too easy for you, so you can't win the prize =P The prize is the same as last time: get the right answer and you get to write a line, any line, that will show up in a future chapter. BTW, Selkie- your idea comes up next time ^^

Next Time: "Neville and Draco were nowhere to be found." Also... enchanted undergarments.

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