He was finally back after another dreadful summer. Leaving the hellhole he called 'the orphanage'. His life had become an endless loop for him; numbing him. It was the same thing over and over again. Every. Single. Year.
And he had to get used to it because nothing would change. So he observed the world carefully—bottling up his emotions, putting on his mask, and making everyone believe what he wanted them to believe. Except for one person and one person only. Albus Dumbledore. Tom couldn't begin to fathom any reason in which he could've seemed untrustworthy to Dumbledore. I mean, he was the top student of his year—charming, brilliant, witty, resourceful, cunning, ambitious.
Everything a Slytherin should be.
Except he was so very wrong about his first point. Because he didn't have everyone wrapped around his finger as he once thought. No, no, no. There was one other. A single outlier. He didn't realize it but this one would stop him from carrying out his plan. But he didn't see this one until she ran into him.
When they collided, he barely had any reaction to the person's presence. But it was when he dropped his diary, his anger flared. Whipping around to face the culprit, he was forced to look down to find a witch with honey brown hair and piercing green eyes staring back at him.
In the eyes.
Something people rarely did unless he initiated it. He found that she wasn't intimidated by him at all. And he hated it. Absolutely despised it. Who did this girl think she was? As if on instinct he drew his wand, thinking of the proper hex to put this clumsy witch in her rightfully deserved place. But much to his surprise when she met his glare, she laughed. Her eyes crinkled, sparkling with amusement while she raised her hands up as if she was surrendering. Something Muggles did.
Strange, he thought to himself.
The girl before him chuckled, "No need to draw your wand on me." When her eyes met his, she cocked her head at him. "You look as if you want to kill me."
Trust me, his mind hissed. I've already thought of many ways I could do it.
Her smile fell when he didn't respond. Good, he thought. Don't fucking smile. Her eyes bored into his, studying him just as he was doing the same to her. "Well, in that case, I'm sorry."
Before he could say a word, she bent down, picking up his diary. He fought the urge to grab it from her and shove her in the process, taking a few more minutes to observe the girl in front of him instead. She was tall, though still many inches shorter than Tom. Skinny, but not to the point of lanky. Her wavy hair caught the light in the most perfect way, letting her natural golden highlights shine through.
But that wasn't what caught his attention. It was her eyes. Her eyes were the hue of spring growth, catching the light just as her hair did. Soft and bright all at once. They were the glimmering color of emerald, sparkling in the light. Utterly captivating, but reeking of innocence.
And it was now his mission to destroy that innocence. And below her eyes, were small freckles, powdering her nose and cheeks. But then, his eyes found her uniform—the yellow tie popping out at him. Taunting him. A Hufflepuff. She was even more infuriating than he could even begin to imagine. All of the Hufflepuffs were soft, reliant little pushovers who needed validation from everyone else. He watched as her eyes fell down to his diary as she lifted it toward his body. "I have one just like this."
His mouth formed words before he couldn't stop himself. "A diary?"
"No," she admitted through a breathed out chuckle. "A sketchbook."
Something he rarely felt for anything—let alone someone.
But then he saw something flash before her eyes when she looked up at him. "You have a..." She trailed off, a playful smile creeping upon her face. "diary?"
"Is there a problem with that?" he asked sharply. He was becoming defensive, dropping his mask because of the anger that was ripping through his body. Like a parasite. She was the parasite. He quickly hissed, "I thought Hufflepuffs were the nice ones."
"You mistake patience for being nice," she chided in a calm manner.
How dare she speak to me like that? he thought, shaking his head. But when he looked back up, she was already walking away. No one ever walks away from him. He was so focused on the fact that she stood up against him that he stiffened when a hand clapped him on the back.
He heard a familiar gruff laugh. "Welcome back, Riddle."
He turned around, his expression neutral. Curt nods were exchanged. "Hello, Avery."
The wizard before him rolled his eyes. "Always so professional, Riddle."
The left side of his lips tugged upwards creating a sinister smirk on his god-like face; casting a spell of desire and lust to eyes that dared to look his way. He always had that effect on everyone. He enjoyed it—the power he held over the students, the professors.
He thrived on it. Soon, Lestrange, Nott, Rosier, Mulciber, and Dolohov all made their way to the group, chatting amongst themselves. When the time came to walk into the Great Hall, his group stayed behind. They always did, having the luxury of being the last students to enter.
While Tom was listening to his so-called friends, he heard a laugh. Loud, bright, joyful, so full of life. The type of laughter you could hear from a mile away and still remember it as clear as day. It was music to his ears. A gift from the angels.
But it had to come from her.
Their entire group turned to look toward the doorway where the brunette witch—and another girl with dark black curls and mocha skin—stood. She was leaning against the wall, her sketchbook in hand. He realized that indeed, her sketchbook looked identical to his diary. He had to pat his robes first to make sure his diary was still there.
"Now who's that," Avery laughed.
Tom's jaw tensed before he shot Avery a look as if to say, back off. Avery smirked, though none of the others noticed their wordless conversation. Tom turned back, observing the witch who was now furiously scribbling in her sketchbook.
"She's a Hufflepuff, you horny prat," Lestrange snapped, flicking Avery in the back of the head. "The Hufflepuffs are always the worst."
Tom could practically hear Rosier's eye roll. "I bet they're all freaks in bed. Making everyone believe they're innocent and pure."
"I bet she's a freak," Avery laughed. "Just look at her. She's hot as shit and that skirt. It's barely covering her—"
"Shut. Up," Nott hissed, elbowing Avery in the gut. The rest of them laughed but stopped when she looked up.
Her eyes met his instantly, and for long drawn-out seconds, they just stared at each other.
"She knows," Mulciber hissed. "She knows."
This time, Rosier was the one to throw an elbow. "She doesn't know shit. Stop being a git, Mulciber."
Her mouth moved much too quickly for Tom to be able to read her lips. Those full, red, luscious lips. He mentally cursed himself for that last observation. His expression remained flat as he raised an eyebrow as if to say, what?
She repeated her statement again, mouthing it much slower this time. "How's the diary?"
He shot her a glare, which only caused a giggle to escape her lips. Who was this girl and why isn't she afraid? His hands balled up into fists as he tried to keep his emotions under control. He was always in control, but at this point, he was learning that she made it drastically harder for him.
"Am I too mean for you?" she mouthed.
He mouthed back, "Not in the slightest."
She winked. The Hufflepuff winked. Tom could imagine what she sounded like as she mouthed, "Perfect."
Before he could say anything, her friend turned around to meet his gaze. A smirk played out on his face as he winked at the pair. The friend's smile fell and he watched approvingly as the girl grabbed the brunette witch's wrist and pulled her through the doors of the Great Hall.
That was the type of reaction he thrived on. But it all came to a halt when he heard Dolohov's voice. "Now what was that about, Riddle?"
He turned around. "Nothing."
"Nothing?" Avery scoffed. "You never informed us about having the Hufflepuff all wrapped around your finger."
"Don't worry about her," he sneered. "She's a Hufflepuff after all."
"Finally someone gets it," Lestrange groaned.
"But I want to know everything about her," he ordered. "Figure it out."
He didn't wait for their protests, or opinions, or anything. Hell, he wouldn't listen to them. They only listen to him. He turned on his heel and walked through the doors of the Great Hall, the rest of his group following close behind. Much to his dismay, his eyes betrayed him as he looked over at the Hufflepuff table. It took him only a few seconds to spot her at their table, only to find that she was staring back at him.
No, she wasn't staring, she was studying him and his group. His eyes stayed trained on her as they all reached the Slytherin table, but she was now focused on her sketchbook, pencil moving quickly against the paper. Tom watched as she lifted her sketchbook up and showed some of her friends whatever she drew, which had them all bursting out in laughter. His face darkened into a scowl when a few of the other Hufflepuffs looked over at the Slytherin table, obviously whispering about them.
Nott's voice cut through Tom's thoughts, though his eyes stayed trained on that table. "Are they laughing at us?"
"They better not be if they know what's good for them," came Lestrange's response through a sneer. "I've been dying to try out some new hexes I've learned over the summer."
Tom hated the summer.
His hand clenched into tight fists under the table. His fingernails dug into his skin, the pain reminding him that he's alive. But the pain was also a reminder of his weakness. Being human. Humans were weak. That was his ultimate weakness. And he hated that more than he hated summer.
The Hufflepuff caught his eye again, instantly locking. Brown and green. Dark and light. But unlike the others, her smile didn't falter. Instead, much to his surprise, she quirked an eyebrow at him. Innocently, even. A fake innocence. Just as Rosier stated. Challenge, he then realized. She was challenging him. Seeing how far she could go before he would snap. But he wouldn't allow himself to stop. Instead, he would brush it off and act as if her insufferable behavior didn't affect him.
He would play this game, but better.
Because Tom Marvolo Riddle was known for his charm, his wit, his intelligence, his ambition, his beauty. And there was no way in hell, he would let that Hufflepuff beat him at this game. He was too close to his ultimate victory to stop now. But first, it looked like he had to take a quick detour. A detour with honey brown hair and emerald eyes. He was always known for enjoying challenges, for going above and beyond in everything he did.
The Hufflepuff before him was a challenge. Specifically, a jigsaw puzzle. Only a few pieces were put together right now, but he would find the rest of them. He would figure her out and put all of the pieces back together. Gaining her trust in the process and leading her through the darkness, his darkness, as if she was a lost little puppy. Leading her the wrong way, while truly getting her wrapped around his finger in the process.
And then, when the puzzle was finally complete...
He would destroy it.