This story doesn’t begin with a dramatic scene. No, this story begins with the day she was born: a wanted child, a beloved child.
“I know every child is cute as a baby but yours is just a bit cuter than the others.” A tall young man told his friend.
The woman holding the baby chuckled and looked down into those amazing pale green eyes. Her baby looked slightly different than her mother, inheriting the black hair of her father and elongated big eyes that looked more like a snake’s than a fox’s. Nevertheless, the red haired woman was glad to hold such a cute little baby girl.
“Does he know about your plan?” The young man added with a frown.
The woman shifted in her bed uncomfortably. Lillian Gaunt was her name. It was known around the world of her connection to a certain dangerous man. She’s been warned of his quality to impress and manipulate the people around him according to his needs and desires.
“No. Tom’s been leaving for long periods of time and always returns in a bad mood. I’ve been avoiding him for the last few days but he doesn’t seem to mind. He’s planning something bigger and more dangerous than we imagine.” She answered curtly, throwing a quick glance at her daughter.
“You fell into his charms too easily. Dumbledore warned you-“
“Dumbledore is one man. He can’t be everywhere at the same time and he was late, anyway. We both know it was his plan all along.” She said bitterly, her Scottish accent overflowing every syllable.
“I know. I know. But now it’s different. Coming to Hogwarts was your escape and-“He stopped and sighed heavily, grabbing a hand through his messy bundle of red hair. “Hogwarts used to feel like home until he came, you know.”
Lillian raised an eyebrow and leaned back, the baby in her arms cooing cutely.
“Have you told your father about this?” He asked, changing the subject.
“I prefer to raise my child far away from both of them. But yes, Morfin knows. He was delighted when I told him that mom died a very long time ago and he was very clear when he told me I’ll inherit nothing.” Lillian added coldly, rolling her eye at the mere thought. “Like I want anything to do with him in the first place, ha!”
The baby must have felt her mother’s annoyance because she frowned. Lillian looked down into those green eyes and smiled, her expression softening immediately.
Vernon Peverell, the other red head in the room, though his was a brighter color and messier, frowned. His blue eyes fell over the baby girl and couldn’t help feel a tinge of jealousy. That baby could have been his. But she wasn’t; she was Tom’s. Everything Vernon Peverell ever wanted was already Tom’s. It was irritating, especially since Lillian and Tom were relatives and no pure blooded family could accept this except the Gaunts.
“Are you sure you want me to be your Secret Keeper?” He asked for what felt like a hundredth time already.
“Yes. We talked about this before, haven’t we? Who can I trust if not you, Vernon?”
Peverell had a few ideas why he should be trusted with such a big responsibility. Firstly, Tom Riddle Jr was one of the best wizards of his age and you had to be utterly stupid to go against him willingly. But there he was, descendant of the Peverell family, risking his life and sanity for love.
“Dumbledore or someone else from Hogwarts. You’ve always been one of Minerva’s precious pupils. She’d laugh and express joy with her face, something she doesn’t do very well usually.” He mumbled, making her laugh.
“You know why she likes me. I just hope my magic will be inherited.” Lillian whispered, having her baby grasp her finger and bringing it to her mouth.
7 years later and Vernon Peverell was living the life his ancestors only dreamed of. He had a small cottage in Scotland where he was known as the handsome man who could create fireworks with his hands. But Vernon’s happiness was pouring out from one reason only: Lillian. She’d come with her daughter and spend weeks at his house, bathing in sun light and silence. Vernon found himself living the illusion of a happy relationship and he quickly became attached to Lillian’s daughter, Ophelia.
But that day was special. It was a gloomy day of spring, rain pouring cats and dogs, flooding the outskirts of the village he was living in. But something in the air was making that day feel colder than it was. Vernon was an experimented man and knew when death was knocking on his door.
The redhead squeezed his wand tightly and waited in the living room. The front door slammed open and a cloaked man entered, walking inside the house like it was his own. Vernon knew he had to play cool but his heart was beating really fast.
“What an unexpected visit. I never knew we were so close as to know where each other lives, Tom.” Vernon said coldly, getting up and watching the cloaked wizard warily.
“A wizard like yourself, living among muggles; you ended up being a disappointment to pure bloods.” Tom answered in that certain manner of his, reminding Vernon why he hated the dark wizard so much.
“We can’t all be perfect, can we?”
Vernon tensed when Tom pulled off his cloak, revealing his handsome pale face. The redhead invited his guest in and Tom accepted his offer, sitting on the couch Vernon just got up from.
“You know very well why I am here. She’s been gone for 7 years already and I wouldn’t mind it so much if it was just about her.” Tom continued, sounding very relaxed as if he was speaking to a friend.
“Of course, Lillian is nothing but an accessory you can easily get rid of. You’ve always done it with people: use them and dispose of them afterwards. I’m surprised you still have a few followers from school.”
“There will be more when I will make myself understood. We have to stick together, you and I. We’re heirs of strong pure blooded families.” Tom spoke, proud of his heritage.
Vernon sighed and squeezed his wand, having the desire to kill the man who knew nothing but power and pride.
“You’re going to drown in your ego one day. You’ll definitely meet your match and he’ll hurt you where it hurts the most.”
“Enough with this charade!” Tom yelled, getting up and turning to Vernon. “Tell me where Lillian is and you can return to your generic life.”
It took every ounce of will he had in his body to stand straight and look into those icy eyes.
Tom Riddle was annoyed and he wasn’t hiding it. He was glaring at the redhead with so much hatred that his first thought was to kill him. But no, he couldn’t. The Peverells were known for centuries to have courage in the face of Death so he decided to punish Vernon in a different way.
“Where is Lillian?” Tom asked once more, taking a step towards Vernon. “Do you believe that I don’t know why you’re protecting her, Vernon? You are so obvious and pitiful. You expect she will fall in love with you. Those are just lies. I know her Vernon. She is part of my blood.” He hissed, his voice fluctuating with the information he was throwing at Peverell.
Vernon sighed and looked down at his feet.
“It’s not about Lillian anymore.” Vernon muttered.
Tom raised an eyebrow, his eyes set on the pitiful wizard in front of him.
“Love is not for wizards like us, Vernon. Love makes you weak.” The dark wizard hissed.
“That child-” Vernon started, “-that child is your daughter. If you kill the mother you will curse her entire life.”
Tom watched Vernon for a few minutes before he started to laugh loudly. Standing there, ready to defend himself, Vernon felt his blood running cold and every ounce of happiness was slipping from his body.
“Very well then.”
With one elegant sway of his wand, Tom had Vernon pushed up into the air by an invisible force. The dark wizard walked towards him calmly and forced the redhead to drink some liquid. Vernon spat it over Tom’s cloak but with another sway of wand, Vernon was immobilized. Tom forced the Veritaserum down his throat and waited patiently, his eyes sparkling with eagerness.
“Now, where is she? Where is Lillian?” Tom asked, visibly calmer than before.
Vernon tried his best to keep his mouth shut but his mind had the answer. Tom stared at him for a while, looking at him as if he was searching deep into his soul. When he got the answer he wanted, Tom’s eyes darkened before he pointed the tip of his wand at Vernon.
Peverell had time for one thing alone and that was informing Lillian of the danger that was coming.
In Clifden, West Ireland was a house just like any other house built for a large family and hidden between thick trees. It looked like whoever was living there was a very private person with quite a large bank account.
It was a sunny day, that one, which was the first after a long series of gloomy days. A girl around 7 years old with short brown hair and pale green eyes was playing in the garden, finding out that she could create things from thin air.
Her mother was standing aside, watching her daughter with a soft smile. Lillian was happy to see that her daughter was already showing signs of empty handed magic from such a young age. They were living quietly and the people from the village would rarely come over to watch what looked like an old abandoned house.
“Mommy, look! A fox!” Little Ophelia exclaimed in delight, pointing at the fox running towards the red haired woman.
But that wasn’t just a fox, it was a Patronus form. It didn’t have to say anything but nod its head for Lillian to know what was wrong.
“He’s coming.” Lillian whispered.
Her eyes snapped to Ophelia, who was gawking over the cute Patronus. Feeling her mother’s heavy gaze on her, she looked up and frowned. Lillian’s face paled and panic was visible all over her being.
“Ophelia darling, you have to hide. Go into my room on the second floor and hide in the dresser.” Lillian told her daughter, her tone sending the right message across.
Ophelia nodded and ran into the house, entering through the back door. Lillian took a deep breath and looked at the sky. Her beautiful lifestyle was going to end just as tragically as it begun. Her thoughts were only about Ophelia and her future and it was worrying. She didn’t ask anyone to look over her child because she knew if she’d die, Vernon would know what to do. Now, she only hoped he was alive.
Lillian entered the house in a hurry and heard a buzzing sound from the kitchen. Something was interfering with the radio and she knew what that was.
With Ophelia safely hidden by wizards and witches in a secret compartment in the dresser, Lillian was left to prepare for the end. She was a talented witch but Tom was different.
The front door suddenly opened and even the kid could hear the heavy steps of a man that was bringing death wherever he was going.
Lillian glared at the stairs before she opened a secret compartment in the wall from the far back of the hall. Her hands were shaking as she checked for something very precious that has been hidden in there from her last visit home. She wanted to give it to Dumbledore but didn’t get the opportunity.
The woman rushed into a different room that had a small beautiful white owl and gave him a letter and a ring.
“Send the letter to Dumbledore and drop the ring back where it belongs.” Lillian ordered.
The owl could feel his master’s anxiety and nodded without making a fuss, like before. He sprang his wings and flied through the window, not once looking back.
Lillian walked into the hall and closed the secret compartment in the wall before taking one last glance at her room. She had been entangled into his web for far too long and she had so many regrets that were still haunting her. That man tainted everything in her life and she didn’t want that to happen to her daughter as well.
“How did you find me?” Lillian asked in a very thick Scottish accent.
“I see you have been very busy, Lillian. This house has every possible protection around it.” Tom said, looking at the walls before turning his attention on her. “Very impressive, I must say.”
Lillian looked nothing but afraid. Before her was the man that pretty much raised her, the one who she fell in love with and had a child with. It didn’t matter that he planned everything because she was just as much of a Dark Wizard as he was.
“How did you find me, Tom? The Charm-“
“Your little friend, the Peverell, he told me where you are. You didn’t choose your Secret Keeper wisely, cousin.” He responded, his eyes narrowing at the woman. “Now, where is my daughter?”
“What have you done with Vernon?” She changed the subject, hoping she could buy more time.
Tom sighed, “He might be still alive. Now my daughter. Where is Ophelia?”
Lillian’s eyes widened and pointed her hand at her cousin. Tom chuckled bemusedly, taking one step towards her. His grasp around his wand tightened but the door towards his left cracked open and Ophelia’s chubby face appeared from behind it.
“Go back inside, Ophelia! This man-this man-“
With one simple sway of his wand, the woman known as Lillian Gaunt was dead. Ophelia gasped and ran back inside the room, hiding.
Tom thrashed the house but couldn’t find the little chubby girl. He looked everywhere before making himself heard through the house, like an amplified echo.
“Wherever you go, I will find you. Rest assured, Ophelia, your place by my side is irreplaceable.” He breathed out before disapparating.