Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Anything you don't recognize is mine.

I've had this idea floating around my head for a while now and finally decided to type it up. I've altered the timeline a bit to fit the story, so Riddle has opened the Chamber of Secrets already but hasn't yet killed his father and grandparents. The story begins in 1943 (the beginning of Riddle's sixth year) and will likely be quite a long one. But I have a lot of ideas that I'm excited to share!

If you've read any of my works before, this one is going to be much darker in tone and with an OC that's much different from the others. It'll be Tom Riddle x OC but will take a long, LONG time to get going. I plan on making this slow burn absolutely agonizing and I hope you're here for it. The rating will also possibly go up later on.

I appreciate your reviews and feedback!


Chapter One

Memories

Maeve Rosier eyed the scarlet steam engine squatting before her with disgust.

The Hogwarts Express gleamed and belched white smoke over Platform 9 ¾ and the milling students and parents gathered on it, ready to bear its passengers back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for another schoolyear. Children and teenagers alike boarded the train, happy and laughing, excited to return to their beloved school.

It sickened her.

"You can stop looking at the train like you're contemplating blowing it up," Madoc said beside her with a sly grin. "Mother and Father probably already warned the conductor. They'll have taken precautions against you."

She threw him a poisonous glare. Though Madoc was her identical twin in looks, he shared no similarities with her in anything else. He was quick to laugh; she was quick to anger. He was charming and likeable and outgoing, while she was just sullen, aggravating, and cold.

Or so she'd been told.

"It's not fair," she said for what felt like the hundredth time since she had returned from France a week prior. "They have no right to send me back to school—"

Madoc sighed.

"You're sixteen, Maevey," he said, using his childhood nickname for her that he still insisted on uttering despite her many protests, and then threats. "You still have two years left of school. Of course Mother and Father weren't going to let you drop out."

Her lip curled at several second-years that boarded the train with shrill laughter. "I don't need school. I'm more advanced than any other student."

"Except Riddle," he said, ignoring her murderous look.

"I know magic that isn't even taught—"

Madoc cleared his throat loudly, cutting off what was sure to be another of her long-winded tirades as their parents approached them, back from whatever other pure-blood families they had been talking to.

Vindictus and Eve Rosier cut striking figures on the crowded platform with their expensive robes and sharp features, though in contrasting ways. Dark, heavy-browed, hulking Vindictus, with his many glimmering rings and ivory-tipped cane, was the shadow to pale, beautiful, silver-haired Eve. Despite their differences, they both exhumed a presence that demanded attention; an expectation that when they spoke, they would be heard, and when they commanded, they would be obeyed.

Unaware of Maeve's mutiny, or perhaps unheeding of it, Eve stepped forward and wrapped Madoc in a tight hug. Madoc's growth spurt had already put him a head taller than their mother, so she had to reach up to plant a gentle kiss on his cheek.

"Enjoy your time," she said in her cool, airy voice. She rubbed his arms, and Maeve had to refrain from gagging at her mother's doting. "Keep in touch. We'll see you at Christmas, my love."

"Take care, Mother," Madoc said kindly. "I love you."

Vindictus said nothing, only clapping Madoc's shoulder, but that wasn't unusual; their father was not a wizard of many words. After bidding them farewell, Madoc left Maeve alone to board the train. She stared after him, affronted, but she couldn't blame him for fleeing the inevitable last-ditch effort she was about to unleash on their parents.

"Follow your brother," Eve said softly, but her dark blue eyes sparkled with warning. "We'll write to you whenever we get the chance."

Maeve's hand tightened on the trolley holding her school trunk. "I don't want to go back."

Eve scoffed, looking to her husband in exasperation. "I warned you that sending her to visit your sister was a bad idea. Just look! She thinks that just because she gathered some firsthand knowledge of the world, she has no use for her education! Vinda's poisoned her—"

Vindictus held up a hand, silencing his wife.

"You will board the train, girl," he said to Maeve, his voice rumbling in his chest like the growl of some great wolf, "and you will behave. I told you we would speak of your future before your seventh year, and you will heed that, do you understand?"

Maeve seethed. "Then why send me to France at all? Why let me join Aunt Vinda and Grin—"

"Silence!" Eve hissed, looking around the platform wildly. "Do not speak of such things so openly!"

Vindictus stared at Maeve, impassive, but if possible, his black eyes had darkened even more at her words.

"Get on the train," he said lowly, "or I will make you."

They stared at each other for a long moment. It was like staring at a distorted reflection of herself; she and Madoc both favored their father's features and coloring over their mother's, down to the square of their jaws and the point of their chins. The only trace of Eve in Maeve's face was her slim nose over Vindictus's hooked one.

After several tense seconds, Maeve shoved her trolley forward.

"Fine," she said. "Good-bye."

She stormed toward the train without another word. A shiver licked down her spine as she recalled the look in her father's eyes, but it wasn't because she had been afraid of him.

He had been afraid of her.


Tom Riddle folded his newspaper and set it down in the seat next to him as the door of his compartment on the Hogwarts Express slid open, revealing Madoc Rosier on the threshold.

The boy grinned and said, "Wotcher, Riddle," before dragging his trunk into the compartment and storing it in the overhead bin without waiting for Riddle's reply.

Normally, this slight would have bothered Riddle, but he knew better. He'd shared a dormitory with Madoc for the past five years; he knew how the other boy breathed, thought, slept, ate. Madoc was a bit of a rebel, hardly adhering to custom or protocol, but his loyalty to Riddle was unwavering—the perfect lieutenant.

If Riddle cared for such things, he would almost consider Madoc Rosier a friend.

"Madoc," Riddle said smoothly, inclining his head in greeting. It had taken months for the name to settle in Riddle's mouth without tasting like dirt. First names implied familiarity; intimacy. He had wanted no part in it when he'd arrived at Hogwarts, intent as he was to keep everyone at arm's length, but the Rosier boy had been persistent. Rosier is just a fancy title, he'd complained. And I have a sister. Just call me Madoc. "Good holiday?"

The other boy shrugged as he flopped into his seat, years of manners lessons thrown out the window as soon as he was aboard the train. "Decent. Nothing more, nothing less."

He didn't ask Riddle about his own holiday. They had all learned never to ask about Riddle's other life—his life outside of Hogwarts, outside of the Wizarding world.

"I stayed home," Madoc continued, "but Maeve went to France—"

As if her brother saying her name had summoned her, the devil herself strutted into the compartment, lugging her trunk with practiced poise. Madoc rushed to help his twin sister, but Riddle remained rigid in his seat as Maeve Rosier's eyes found him.

"Hello, Riddle," she said. Her lips—painted with the signature shade of garnet that she'd begun using at the beginning of their fifth year—curled in a sneer. He'd never despised a color more. "Have a good time at the orphanage this summer?"

He smiled—a cold, bland thing, but his eyes promised her pain and death. "I did, in fact." He pictured Billy Stubbs's face, covered in blood, while he begged Riddle to stop. "An exceedingly good one."

Her sneer widened. "I thought so. Like calls to like. It's no wonder the filth in your blood calls to the filth of the Muggle world."

Madoc, done storing his sister's trunk, glanced between the two warily.

"Maeve, if you're going to be insufferable, find a different compartment," he said with a bone-deep exhaustion. "I don't think I can stomach you two sizing each other up for a kill this early in the day."

But this was the way things had always been, ever since Tom Riddle and Maeve Rosier met for the first time precisely five years ago, on the very same train.

Riddle had been a pathetic child back then. Even now, the reminder of his past weakness made him sick. He'd been alone on the Hogwarts Express until two other children his age had breezed into his compartment together. He'd known immediately that their upbringing had been entirely different from his own. Their hair and shoes had shone, and the fabric of their clothing was obviously expensive and tailored perfectly. It wasn't until he saw them that he realized how drab and dull he looked in comparison.

The thought had made his blood boil.

The boy and the girl were obviously twins. They had the same black hair, the same dark eyes, the same olive skin, the same strong face and thick eyebrows. But the boy had smiled easily at Riddle, while the girl's gaze carved him up like he were a piece of meat.

"Hi!" the boy had said. "I'm Madoc—Madoc Rosier. This is my sister, Maeve."

"Tom Riddle," Riddle had said quickly.

"Riddle?" the boy named Madoc said. "Haven't heard that one before."

"He's probably a Mudblood, Madoc," his sister had said, disdainful. She'd glared at Riddle as if his very existence reviled her. "He's not one of us. Let's find another compartment."

But Madoc had shrugged her off when she'd tried to tug him back out.

"You go," he'd told her. "I'm staying here."

The girl had seemed shocked, like no one had ever rejected her before, until she'd caught Riddle staring and scowled.

"Fine," she shot at her brother. "Have fun with your new pet."

She'd given Riddle one last sneer before stalking out of the compartment, leaving him alone with her brother.

"Sorry about her," Madoc had said with a dirty look after her. "She's not exactly the nicest person. Or even just nice…"

But Riddle had been burning—with questions, a desire to know, and, for some reason, shame. Even though he hadn't understood the reason why the girl seemed repulsed by him, her scorn had still raked him the wrong way.

"What's a Mudblood?" he'd asked Madoc.

And from then on, Riddle had made it a priority to antagonize Maeve Rosier in every way possible. After all three of them had been Sorted into Slytherin House, Riddle had done everything in his power to make sure he beat Maeve Rosier at everything. It helped that he was naturally talented and gifted at magic, but so was she. If he brewed a potion correctly on the first try, then she would learn all that month's Charms spells to get ahead of him. If she was the first to master a particularly complex bit of magic, then he would push himself to master something even more powerful. Their rivalry had spilled into hatred, and in turn, their hatred fueled their rivalry. He was sure that the only reason they hadn't dueled to the death and brought the school down around them yet was because Madoc was forever their mediator, reining both of them in before they could cause bodily harm—or worse—to one another.

It didn't help that they had both been made prefects last year. It only embittered them more. Riddle didn't want to be her equal—he wanted to be her better. Superior to her in every way possible.

But Merlin, would it feel wonderful to rip that bloody sneer off that pure-blooded face of hers. Let her see what she thought of his lowly blood status then.

"Not to worry, Maddy," Rosier said, caressing Madoc's cheek mockingly as she sat down beside him. "I can behave myself."

Madoc looked doubtful. "I'll believe that when Merlin himself comes back to life."

Just to rankle her, Riddle asked, sickeningly polite, "How was your holiday, Rosier? Your brother said you were in France."

She tossed him a wicked smirk. "Wouldn't you like to know?"

Riddle kept the patient half-smile on his face despite his mind whispering I will kill her one day. To everyone in Hogwarts—except, of course, Albus Dumbledore—he was well-mannered, responsible, respectful, and possessed a disarming sort of endearment, especially with the girls. He had an appearance to maintain, and flaying the flesh from Maeve Rosier's bones would hardly do.

"Maeve…" Madoc sighed, reproachful.

She rolled her eyes. "Very well." She pointed to Riddle's discarded newspaper. "Muggle news?"

Ignoring the clear note of disgust in her tone, he nodded. "There's a war going on. It's important to be aware of what's happening in it."

She sniffed. "Your precious Muggles don't matter. The real war is in our world—with Grindelwald."

At the Dark wizard's name, Riddle detected an almost imperceptible shift in the air. He watched Rosier closely. Her eyes avoided his, focusing instead on a point above his right shoulder. Her fingers tangled together in her lap, the emerald ring she wore glinting when it caught the light. Riddle tucked her reaction away to ponder at a later time before he turned to Madoc, clearly dismissing her.

"Any sign of the others?" he asked. "I told them not to be late."

"I didn't see them," Madoc said carelessly.

A disobedience he would have to rectify later also.

No sooner had he thought it then the three other boys he and Madoc shared their dormitory with entered the compartment: Henry Avery, slight and fair-haired; Lucien Lestrange, stocky with a face like stone; and Abraxas Malfoy, with his imperious grey eyes and startlingly white hair.

"Apologies for the delay, my—" Avery stopped when he noticed the female Rosier, gulped, and hastily continued. "—Riddle. We, ah, got caught up by some third-years squabbling over a compartment."

Lestrange grunted and shoved past the skinnier boy to take the seat to Riddle's left. "Nothing a quick Bombardment Spell couldn't solve."

Malfoy wisely left Riddle's right side vacant as he sat one seat down, saying, "You're lucky the Head Boy didn't see. He was right behind us."

"Who's Head Boy?" Riddle asked as Avery hurried into the seat next to Madoc.

"Tiberius McLaggen," Malfoy said with a faint sneer.

Lestrange snorted. "Tosser."

Riddle silently agreed. He didn't like any Gryffindors, but McLaggen was the worst sort: vain and self-righteous.

The compartment full of Slytherins slipped into small talk as the steam engine rumbled out of the station and away from London, gaining speed as it went until colors became blurs outside the windows. Rosier had thankfully fallen silent, choosing to read a huge leather-bound book in her corner instead, but Riddle was still annoyed by her presence. It kept him from speaking of more important matters with his followers.

It also kept him distracted of thoughts of why she was hiding something.


At three o'clock, after the young witch pushing the food trolley passed through their carriage, Maeve got to her feet and smoothed out her school robes, her silver prefect badge gleaming on her chest. She left her book in her seat with a promise from Madoc not to let it out of his sight as she went to join the prefects' carriage at the front of the train, doing her best to ignore Riddle as he followed her out.

She despised Tom Riddle more than anything, and to add to her anger, he'd noticed her slip-up earlier when she'd said Grindelwald's name. She knew without a doubt that her interrogation would begin soon. It was Riddle's nature; anything that could help him best her, he would wield to devastating advantage.

Sure enough, they had only walked past two compartments before a door to her left opened and she was pushed through by an invisible hand into an empty compartment. She whipped out her wand and turned with a snarl, but Riddle's wand was already pointed at her, held aloft in a lazy, almost careless way.

Maeve swore at him. "Knock it off, Riddle. You're going to make us late."

Riddle only stared at her, a soft, dangerous smile playing on his lips. She hated that smile. She especially hated the way it made him even handsomer than he already was, with his neatly-combed and parted black hair, depthless grey-green eyes, and features that looked carved from marble and ivory. She hated him.

"What makes you so afraid of a simple name?" he said, his voice as soft and deadly as his smile. "I find it a fascinating concept—fear of a name."

"Get out of my way," she snapped.

Riddle's eyes turned dark, like a storm churning over a raging sea. It made the shifting colors of his irises almost black.

"What are you hiding?" he murmured as if to himself.

"I could ask you the same thing." At the imperceptible tilt of his head, she gave him a savage smile. "I only mean that I find it interesting how quickly you were able to produce Rubeus Hagrid's beast as the true killer of that poor girl last year… After all that searching the professors did, only for you to find the monster from the Chamber of Secrets and save the school from closing at the last second… I'm almost impressed, Riddle."

"That is an interesting theory, but a wholly far-fetched one, Miss Rosier," he said, his smile and wand never once faltering. "I'm afraid that you're quite wrong. Though that wouldn't be the first time, would it?"

She bared her teeth. "I'm never wrong."

But an image of wide, scared eyes taunted her. A small, frightened voice. Please, don't, please!

She took the image and shoved it down, deep inside her. Shut the lid on it and locked it so it couldn't escape. Hid the key so she couldn't find it.

Riddle gazed at her, the same look in his eyes that he always got whenever she beat him at something. The desire to best her. The bloodlust of accepting her challenge and vowing victory over her. She knew that look. Riddle was the only one who could compete with her.

The only one that ever stood a chance of conquering her.

And here she had presented him with the biggest challenge of them all: to find out her own secrets before she discovered his.

Riddle's smile sliced into her with all the savagery of a serrated blade.

Before she could react, he pocketed his wand and opened the compartment door.

"I'll see you at the meeting," he said without turning around, and then he was gone.

Maeve loosed a shaky breath and put away her own wand. Alone in the compartment, she fumbled in the dark of her mind until she found the key again. She unlocked the chest of her memories and peeked inside. The image rushed back to her with sickening clarity.

Please, don't, please!

That was the problem with hiding your own memories, she thought.

You always knew where to find them still.


Please review! I'd love to know your thoughts!

This is more of a teaser chapter than anything. They'll get longer as the story progresses and introduces more plot elements.

Thanks for reading! Until next time!