Cruel Angel
The Beginning

Pairing: Tom Riddle/Usagi

Author Info:
Written by: Tenshi no Nozomi
Contact at:
Edited by: Usa-chan and Pokahydee
Inspiration: Cruel Angel's Thesis, Kimi no Mado Kara, (songs by Kikuko Inoue) and Fuuma from X/1999 (ubber-sexy evil bishie! glomp)

Warnings: Dark-fic, twistedness, suicidal thoughts, betrayal (NOT senshi betrayal), possible character death. Also, spoilers for book two (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), even though anyone and everyone should have at least seen the second movie by now.

Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply. I own nothing, aside from my thoughts and rather... strange musings. I don't think anyone wants to buy those, though.

Thanks to: My pre-readers thus far, Usa-chan and Poka-chan. I don't think anyone else has read this. If I'm wrong, guys, I apologize–I love you all.

Extra Info: Please note that this is the FIRST of THREE parts. Three. No more, no less, if it means the last chapter has to be twenty pages long. And no sequels! I can't take any more projects or inspiration. At this rate I'll be writing fanfics in hell.

Author's Notes:
Erm. I think some explanation is probably in order. How, though can I explain myself? This fic was inspired by several different sources, some of which I haven't listed because I couldn't explain them even if I tried. I had thought of this idea a while ago, but I don't think I would have written it if not for seeing X/1999's Fuuma in action... or Kamui; whichever name he's going by at the time. ;; Such a sadist.

Anyhow. If you know you can't enjoy this pairing for any reason, I highly recommend turning back now. If you flame me, I'm liable to delete the post–and I mean true flaming, people. Don't insult my integrity as a person simply because you didn't like the story/pairing or whatever.

Also. I'm going to do my very, very, VERY best to keep everyone in character. Which could be very difficult. I don't think I'd be far off to say that Usagi and Tom/Voldemort are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Still, I think it can be done, with enough patience. Also, I don't think there are too many out there, so perhaps it will be inspirational? lol.

If you're still here, I invite you to sit down. I hope to delight you, and don't think this fic will be a waste of your time, if I may be so bold.

Usagi climbed out of the telephone booth, face stained red in the wake of her tears. She didn't bother wiping her tears away. The driving rain that was pouring down in silver sheets did it for her. Within moments she was soaked. She didn't care, though, not in the least. She felt completely empty inside after having cried till her sobs became hiccups and breathless gasping gags.

If she'd had any more tears left to cry, Usagi might have started up again. She had died for Mamoru how many times? How many times had she risked life, limb, and happiness to get him back, to help him, to save him? She loved him, but apparently none of that mattered.

Mamoru didn't remember her. It was that simple. Or rather, he remembered the part of her that was neither extraordinary or worth remembering. It horrified her, that he knew so little. He had forgotten the precious moments they'd shared, in this life and their last. He'd forgotten the love that they shared, and now...

Now that girl Anne sought to take the place that ought to have been hers. It should have been, right? She'd died to save him; her love was that strong. She wasn't thinking rationally; she understood that. But it was so hard to be reasonable when her heart hurt so badly. What would she do if Mamoru never came back to her?

Usagi sloshed through the rain water, only barely caring for the fact that the water was ice cold and that it had seeped into her socks and shoes. She kicked at a water puddle glumly, without any real desire to do so. Everything felt numb, but she should have been grateful for it, for the chilling, numbing cold that had overtaken her. Feeling just hurt too much.

A car whizzed by on the road, churning up dirty rainwater from the street. It hit Usagi like a wave, and she paused, watching the car speed away. Slowly, numbness gave way to feeling again, and Usagi began to shiver, breaking into goose bumps. Something interesting caught her eyes, though.

It was a book in the water, churned up by the car that had rushed by. It bumped against the curb once, twice, three times, floating silently in the murky water. It was a dark shadow on top of dark water, bound in dark, now soaked leather, and strangely punctured looking.

Usagi's skin began to itch and tingle. It reminded her of the feeling she always got when she thought of going swimming in the Spring–a dryness, a nostalgia, an incredible yearning. Usagi knelt, shivering, and picked the drenching tome out of the water.

It's pages seemed half dissolved in the water, and the leather was bound to have been ruined. It looked as though it had seen its fair amount of damage even before being left in the rain. It looked like it had been stabbed, perhaps.

The itching, the compulsive need, passed after Usagi'd picked up the book. Now, though, she felt more than a little foolish. What was she doing out in the rain? Yes, she was upset about Mamoru's refusal to even look at her. And picking up a book out of the dirty water... by now it was most likely unsalvageable, just junk. What had she been thinking?

Still, she couldn't get herself to put it back down. I'll just bring it home and see if it won't dry out, Usagi told herself, trying to ignore the nagging feeling in the gut of her stomach and the warning bells that seemed to be going off in her head. And if it's ruined, I'll just throw it away. Her reassurance, though, was a false one.

Usagi finished blow drying and brushing her hair out. She was wrapped up in her bath robe, warm and dry. Of course, it was also three days since she'd let herself soak in the rain like that. Consequently, she'd been sick for two of those days, out with a terrible cold. Now, though, her strength had returned to her, and so had her determination.

Mamoru might tell her no now, she reasoned with herself, but it wouldn't have been the first time he'd told her he didn't love her and sent her away. Perhaps it wouldn't be the last, either. But she loved him, and she was willing to wait until he realized that he loved her, too.

Usagi crossed her room and picked up the book off of the window sill. While she'd been recovering from her experience in the rain, so had the book. Slowly, the pages had dried up, and the leather had as well. And although the "puncture wound" in the book's cover was still deep, it didn't seem as bad as it had before. Perhaps she'd been seeing things.

Usagi flipped through the pages carefully, just in case some of them were still damp. They were a bit brittle, but for the most part, they'd dried nicely. Usagi frowned as some of the pages. Obviously words had been written there, but the ink had ran and smeared from the water, staining the pages deep brown and black. Now it was just an illegible mess. It was a shame, she thought, idly. She wasn't nosy, exactly, but she couldn't help but feel a little curious as to what had been written there.

Usagi flipped casually and quickly through the rest of the book. The rest of the pages were blank. It must have been a diary or a journal, she finally surmised. Still, it was odd. Why would someone throw a perfectly nice diary away? They hadn't even written on half of the pages.

Usagi shut the book, but carried it in her hands. It had a nice heft-not too heavy, but not so light that she'd forget she was carrying it. She fingered the beautiful dark leather gently. It was a nice journal. And since it had just been abandoned... well, finders keepers, right?

Besides, she could use someone that she could confide in. Her life was fairly complicated, and although she loved her friends, she couldn't always tell them everything. It would be good to be able to get it out of her system, to tell it to "someone" without being judged. She couldn't even tell things to her cat without getting talked back to.

Usagi looked around her, scanning her room for a pen. She located one on her dresser and picked it up. She tested it for ink, drawing a gentle but firm line across the back of her hand. She was pleased to see a rich, thick, black ink line run across her pale skin.

Usagi flipped the book open again to the first blank page. She dated the top of the page carefully, trying to make her penmanship as neat as possible. She stopped, though, and put a long mark through the kanji. She'd been neglecting her English homework for a long time, and it wouldn't hurt her to practice using the English alphabet. She had a test coming up soon, anyhow.

Usagi had gotten halfway down the page and was busily writing down her thoughts and feelings and the like when she noticed something very strange happening. Her words, the letters she'd written in were fading. Fading, or being sucked in, one after another. Usagi felt the skin on the back of her neck prickle in alarm. Something wasn't right. The pages were dry, and pages didn't "absorb" ink like that.

Usagi watched, both amazed and horrified, as words began to slowly develop on the page, as though they were being written by some unseen hand. W-h-o... Usagi let out a small, panicked yip. The book was communicating with her!?

She hurled it away from her as though it were on fire or it had tried to eat her. Her heart pounded crazily in her chest. Usagi knew better than to think it was natural for a book to start "talking" back to her. She curled her legs up to her chest and stared at the book where it lay in a heap on the floor. Should she call Luna? Should she call Rei?

How could she even begin to explain it, though? What if the book could choose when it "spoke," and it just made her look bad? Could books have personalities, she wondered? If books could communicate at will, then perhaps...

Usagi got off her bed and walked over the book. Hesitantly she nudged the book over with her foot, ready to jump away and run for the window or door at a moment's notice. Usagi gripped at the Ginzuisho tightly, making a fist around the jewel. She could use all the courage she could get, even if the situation did seem a bit silly or ridiculous.

"Who are you," it read simply. Or not so simply. The letters were rather ornate, as though they'd been written with a calligraphy pen. Usagi knelt down, curiosity and fascination overcoming fear. She picked up her pen and worked up her courage. Hastlily, she replied, "Tsukino Usagi."

She watched the book soak the words up, and had another idea. If a book could ask questions, could it answer? She wrote again, a bit less hurriedly, "Who are you?" She waited, breathe held, for a reply. Minutes passed before anything happened, and Usagi was just about to give up and hold it all to an overactive imagination when it finally replied.

"My name is Tom Riddle. Where am I, Usagi-san?" Usagi was surprised. Despite the fact that this person–or thing, it was a book, even if it did claim a boy's name– wrote in English alphabet, they seemed to know the right suffix. Most foreignors didn't use the suffixes, and were surprised to find out that people used them a good deal of the time.

"Tokyo, Japan. I found you at the side of a road," she told it. Usagi couldn't help but be fascinated by this. "What are you?"

"That's what I would like to know about you," Tom replied. Usagi might have been wrong, but she had a feeling if the boy had had a voice then it would have sounded a little bewildered. "You can't be a muggle, or you'd never have been able to contact me. You must be a witch, then?"

Usagi frowned in confusion. "A witch? What on Earth are you talking about? What's a muggle, anyhow?" Usagi sat back and watched the words disappear again like magic. She still couldn't get over that, it was just incredibly fascinating. Usagi realized that if what the book was suggesting was true, then it possessed some kind of magic... and thought that she did as well.

"Not a witch? What are you then?" Usagi felt suspicion rise. Why did this book need to know any of that? And why was she talking to it, anyhow? Usagi realized all at once that this could be very dangerous. If Rei found out that she'd been messing around something that could possibly have been possessed by a youma or an evil spirit, she'd never let Usagi off the hook.

"I"– Usagi stopped, pausing. How should she answer this question? What could she say? I'm me? I'm a human? I'm a girl? I'm the reincarnation of a Lunarian Princess who will some day become Queen of Crystal Tokyo? She might not have been the brightest crayon in the box, but even she knew a good idea from a bad one. "Never mind what I am," she told it, evading the question clumsily.

"Usagi," her mother called from downstairs. "Dinner's ready!" Usagi's stomach rumbled as though on queue. She called back that she'd be down in a minute, that she had to finish something really quick. She had to admit, she did want to finish this discussion with Tom. Or the book. Whatever.

"I have to go... Can I talk with you later?" What a ridiculous question. She wasn't on the phone with anyone. She was talking to a book. A book with a personality. A book with a brain hidden somewhere in between it's pages, cover, and binding.

Usagi waited again. She tapped the pen against her cheek impatiently. What was taking so long? Finally "Tom" replied.

"Very well. Perhaps you'll be willing to tell me more about yourself later. I have a favor to ask, though." Usagi gulped nervously. A favor? What kind of a favor could a book possibly have to ask? She chewed on her lip gently and contemplated her reply.

"That depends on the favor." Usagi knew it wasn't the most cunning response anyone could have made, but for someone who was generally as open as she, it was the best she could have offered. Ami and Rei would have been so proud of her for not rushing into things and trusting something or someone implicitly. Of course, that would probably be after they were done berating her for talking to the thing at all, so maybe they'd just be relieved.

"Don't tell anyone about me," he requested. Usagi blinked, not understanding. She was about to reply when the book continued to "speak" to her. "The last time I met a young girl, she told her family about me and they mistook me for a monster.They tried to destroy me."

Usagi's eyes widened, and she understood then. That would explain the strange stab on the cover. "I'm sorry," she told it, knowing how incredibly stupid that probably sounded. "Don't worry, though. I won't tell anyone–I promise."

"Thank you," Tom replied. Usagi noticed in the back of her head that Tom was replying much more quickly now. It was as though he'd just needed to get warmed up again. Usagi's mother called for her again, sounding more than a little irritated her.

"I'm coming," she called back. Hastily, she scrawled "goodbye" into the book before shutting it and running downstairs for a later dinner. Still, even when she went to bed that night, the last thing she'd see before she closed her eyes would be that book, and it would be on her thoughts even after she'd drifted into her dreams.

Almost a week. The book, known to her as "Tom" had been in her possession for an entire week. She'd only talked to him a few times, but each time she did, she found herself becoming even more absorbed by what he had to say. Yesterday evening she'd spent several hours writing back and forth with him. She'd gone to bed that night and woken up with a sore wrist.

Still, she felt the desire to talk to him even now, at school. He was easy to talk to–even easier than her friends. He passed no judgements, he listened with sympathetic "ear," and he gave good advice. Sure, sometimes the words he said were a little weird, but that had to be the cultural difference. He hadn't asked her anymore disturbing questions.

Granted, Tom hadn't really told her much about himself, either. Usagi got the feeling that "Tom" hadn't always been a book, or a part of one, but he hadn't said. And since he hadn't pried at her for information, she had decided to extend the same courtesy. In the back of her mind, though, the questions nagged.

It had been another long day for Usagi. She'd woken up late, missed breakfast, gotten to school late, taken a test that she had probably failed, and served out detention for her tardy after the day was over and all the other students had gone home. Then, of course, had been the dreaded Senshi meeting.

Not that Usagi regretted seeing her friends. She loved them dearly; they were the most precious things in the world to her, aside from her family and Mamoru. But Senshi meetings could become quite unpleasant for the laid back blonde, especially once Rei and Luna got into nagging at her.

Usagi understood that she fulfilled her duties as leader poorly at best. The fact of the matter was that if she could have advocated the position to someone else, she would have done so a long time ago. That, however, was impossible. To make matters worse, Usagi was not cut out to be a leader.

She had no desire to go fight, whatsoever. Usagi wasn't exactly a coward–if her friends truly needed her, she'd always be there–but she wasn't brave, either. Aside from that, violence wasn't really in her nature. Sure, she fought with her friends, but the idea of actually hurting someone, much less killing them, horrified her.

It had been the usual nag-fest that it normally was. And although Usagi had brushed it off with the usual defenses (crocodile tears and denial) the comments still stung her. She knew they were dissatisfied with her, but what could she do? She could no more change her nature than a zebra could change its stripes.

Usagi went inside the house and went up to her room without bothering to stop by the kitchen first, which was her usual schedule. A nap sounded like a stupendous idea after her long day, and Usagi was certain she could hear her bed calling her. She went into her room and undressed unceremoniously, pulling on a large sleeping shirt after wards and dropping right into her bed.

Thirty minutes, passed, though, and Usagi found herself tossing and turning despite her exhaustion. Finally, wearing a deep scowl, Usagi got up. If sleep wouldn't come to her, then she'd have to preoccupy herself with something else.

She considered the new Sailor V game she'd bought just last weekend. She wasn't very far in it; it was a lot harder than the last one had been, and she just hadn't felt the same kind of urge to play it like she normally did. Instead, she'd spent one day napping, another day being lazy and moping around due to being heartbroken, and three days had been spent talking with "Tom."

Her eyes fell on the book again. She felt the temptation to speak with Tom again. She knew she really shouldn't. She should have taken the book to Rei-chan a long time ago, or at least sought out Luna's advice. However, the combination of being so mad at the two that she couldn't see straight and her promise kept her from it. If curiosity would not be her undoing, then surely pride would be.

Usagi knelt down, picked up her pen, and began to write again.

Tom had been puzzled by his continued existence. For a long time, there had been nothing but a sort of silence and strange nonexistence. It had been like he'd gone to sleep. It hadn't been until the girl had started writing in the diary that he'd finally begun to regain consciousness. Even now he could still feel the pull of the abyss at him.

He'd thought for sure that his battle with Harry had been the very end. The feel of the serpent's fang in his cover–in his being, where his soul had still been stored–had been so very painful. He didn't think even Potter could have understood it, even though he himself had not been doing so very well. His body had been wounded, but not his mind, not his soul.

He didn't know how he'd gotten out of the Chambers in tact. Dumbledore must have been becoming truly senile if he'd forgotten to destroy his diary. So perhaps Potter had thought he was truly defeated, and disposed of him. He'd probably never know. Maybe that was for the best, anyhow. Still, he wondered just how he'd managed to arrive in Tokyo Japan.

He was an entire continent away. Surely he could not have merely "drifted." Maybe one of his followers had meant for this to happen, and it was an elaborate scheme to resurrect him. Perhaps Dumbledore had been foolish enough to think that simply dropping him away in some foreign country would be enough... Perhaps...

"Hello, Tom."

So. She was writing again.

It had been harder to try to "persuade" this girl than it had been to persuade Ginny. Granted, the Weasley girl had been a lot more susceptible. She'd been younger, and more foolish, and more trusting. This one was foolish and trusting to respond to him in the first place, but apparently she had her reservations. She had, at least, not taken him at face value.

"Usagi-san. Did you have a nice day," he asked, the spitting image of politeness. As though he cared.

Although, in some ways, he was beginning to think that perhaps he did. The girl was very strange, an enigma that was becoming increasingly enticing. She had picked him up and unknowingly rescued him from the elements and probably eventual destruction. He had, however, been making a suspicious recovery ever since she had begun to speak with him. He had an idea that his recovering strength had little to do with the poison wearing off and a lot to do with her.

She had been unable or unwilling to unveil to him who she was. She'd told him her name, and he knew some of the basics about her, but he didn't know the answers to the questions that bothered him the most. He didn't know how she had the ability to heal a wound that would have been fatal to any human. He didn't know whether or not she was a filthy mudblood or a pureblood. He didn't even know if she was who she truly claimed to be.

He doubted that she would have lied intentionally to him. She had no reason to lie to him. She was a rather naive, simplistic child, who couldn't see beyond her problems, as petty as they were in the grand scheme of things. Ginny had been much the same. Manipulating this girl shouldn't be hard, either, given the time.

He'd begun to wonder if perhaps she wasn't some kind of witch anyhow. Perhaps not an "undiscovered" witch, but one who'd been purposely left uneducated. He'd heard that the Asian culture had completely different traditions concerning magic. It was viewed more of as a curse than a gift, and widely ignored by the wizarding populace. That was why his power had failed to take hold in the Asian countries.

Their mythology of wizardry and magic was much different than the western view. Magic gifted to humans, according to their legend, had nearly ripped the world asunder. The gods had barely rescued the world, and such. Tom found the theory to be rather ludicrous. A talent was given to be used, not squandered and forgotten. If the wizarding community was too afraid to use their powers, then they were scum deserving to be wiped off the face of the world as well.

This girl, however, seemed to have a grip on her magic. Maybe not a focused one, but some unconscious understanding of its abilities. There could be no other explanation for the rate that he was healing at. That itself was a thought worth wondering over. If the girl could heal at will–subconscious or not–then perhaps, wouldn't it be best to use this girl for what he

could? "Actually," she replied, "it's been about two days."

Ah. Well, then, that explained it. He thought it had seemed a bit long. Time was more than a little disjointed, though, for a memory locked in a diary. It ran strangely, brokenly, skipping far ahead sometimes and lagging at others.

"You must have been busy." The image of politeness, little good-boy Tom. He hated that name. He hated it so very, very much. If only he was back in a real body, able to do what he wished, rather than having to rely on this girl. And what thanks he would have for his savior. How ever would he express his gratitude?

He wondered when he'd manage to gain this girl's trust. Yes, he wanted his own body back, but for the moment... any body would do. Just to be able to move, to feel, to speak again... Even if it were from a foolish child's body, he could accept it. He was desperate.

And did he ever envy this simpleton, who could move and feel and talk. People always took for granted the simplest things in life, like being able to move and hear and smell and see. Tom longed for that again, amongst other things.

She had not answered, and it had been a fair span of time. "Are you alright?" As though he cared, again. The thought of actually minding, though, if not for his own selfish reasons was a disturbing nag at the back of his mind.

"I... think so," she responded, writing slowly, as though she were thinking her response through. "I haven't had a wonderful day, though." Was that all? Her sniveling little "problems?" What kind of problems could a non-wizarding teenage muggle girl have? How ridiculous.

And he hated playing the goody little two-shoes. It was too much like his entire school career. "Would you like to talk about it?" Please say no. Please don't bother me with your silly little sentimental drivel like that Weasley girl did, he prayed to himself. Still, it had been his ability to listen to that brainless drivel that had given him power of her.

"Thanks for the offer, but I don't think you could help me much with that." There was a pause, as though she were debating something, a question. Finally, words scribbled in that same thin ink appeared. "How did you get to be inside of a diary, Tom? Surely you weren't always like you are now."

So she was curious, was she? Curiosity had killed the cat. Luckily for her, she was just a silly brainless girl. "It was by my own choice." He was trying to avoid truly answering the question; there was no way he could explain it to a child that hadn't grown up in the world of wizardry.

"You chose to... to be a diary," she asked. Her handwriting was scribbled hastily, and with little care. She was surprised, if nothing else. He could, perhaps, understand her feelings. Still, this conversation could give him more leverage than he'd begun to imagine.

"There were some that I knew who wanted nothing more than to destroy me. In an effort to save myself, I hid my self in this book," he explained. The tale was only half true, and only when taken as a fanciful version of the truth. "I've been trapped here for fifty years." Which was, he guessed, a very close guess, give or take a few years.

"Trapped? For fifty years," came her reply. She could not believe such a length of time. He understood; muggles and wizards ages much differently. A muggle could expect to live perhaps eighty to ninety years if they were lucky. Most wizards' life spans tended to be twice that, although their visible age kept up with a muggle's until about their fiftieth or so year.

"It's been a long time," he admitted. And it had. Such a long, long time. And he had tasted freedom and life and the world not so long ago. A taste that lingered with him, that he yearned for, that burned in him. He wanted more. "What I would give to be able to live again..."

For a long moment, there was no reply. He'd begun to wonder if he'd triggered the alarm bells. She was silly, and rather foolish, but she wasn't completely blind. He would have laughed if he'd had a mouth and vocal chords when she replied. "Is there something I can do to help you?"

Oh, she was right within his grasp. He had her, he could win, he could almost taste his victory. "There is one way, but... it's not something I would recommend." He needed to lead her in, to bait her curiosity and her sympathy. He had to move with sublime care, or he would lose, and in the worst way. If he slipped and fell now, there couldn't possibly be redemption from his mistake.

"Why? Is there something I can do?"

"You'd be willing to help me? It would be asking for quite a bit. More than I can ask for you, even as a friend." The anticipation almost made him ache. Oh, would she bite? Would she take the bait? What if she smelled the lie, smelled the trap? He had a feeling she must have had powerful friends; power tends to attract power. If he made the wrong move, sounded suspicious, she might turn him in. She might have the book destroyed beyond repair or have him exorcized.

"You think of me as a friend?" Oh, move cautiously, he warned himself. He was an inch away from his goal and an inch away from peril at the same time. It was enough to make him want to tear the pages out of his binding.

"You are my only friend," he confirmed solidly. He should have been pleased with himself; he knew that she'd taken this hook line and sinker from the way her penmanship on the above line had shook. She wasn't afraid, per se, but she was shocked. She wasn't the only one, though–Tom was quite surprised with himself, too.

Tom had never considered friends to be an important subject. He liked allies and admirers, and even people who feared him or loved him for whatever reason... those were things he could trust, blind love and true fear and zealousness. He'd never bothered to make friends, not real friends, although he'd always had a silver tongue. He'd sung to them like some jeweled canary, sung to them quite sweetly, and they'd followed like demure little lambs, even as they died.

To his surprise, though, he honestly meant it when he called this foolish child his friend. It was ridiculous, because he had no room in his plots for a girl who knew magic in her heart but not her mind. He had people to kill, a world to conquer. He wanted no queen or slave, just him on his throne as he watched the mudbloods and muggles bleed to death. He'd known her for all of two weeks, at best, and she had been half afraid of him through the whole time; she'd hardly told him a thing of use. And yet there it was, plain as day or the nose that had once been on his face, simple as whistling a tune or killing a person. It was almost instinctive.

Perhaps, one day, he'd have the time to examine it. For now, though, he was treading dangerous waters, and there wasn't time for foolish thoughts like the ones he'd been entertaining.

"I'm sorry," came her reply. That genuinely shocked him, and puzzled him at once, that she was surprised. Before he could asked she'd begun to explain herself. "It's not that I don't think you're a nice person. But... it would... I think that would be awfully lonely," she finished.

She couldn't imagine living without friends. It was hard enough, seeing Mamoru, and him being almost oblivious to her existence. He thought of her as a silly little girl again, and there weren't even words to describe the pain that inflicted. She hugged the small black book a little closer to her chest, thankful that she'd been given such a unique friend. It was beginning to seem to her that they'd been put together for a reason; Tom seemed to need her as much as she needed him at the moment.

Little did she know that he needed her much, much more than she could dream of.

He decided to take a gamble, then. He could lie to her, and she would never know. There was a reason that he'd managed to remain in Hogwarts without being expelled, after all. His silver tongue could sing a song as sweet as a canary's.

So he told her that there had been one girl, once, a girl with hair as bright as flames. She would have saved him, too, but a young man had come to stop him. The story was true, of course, but Tom twisted it like a person would wring a shirt; he told it the way he wanted her to hear it. Without cause, this young man had deemed him to be evil and had nearly destroyed him with powerful magic that no child his age ought to have possessed.

It was half true and half a lie, but in its entirety, it was false. He knew it, but he didn't care. She'd never know the difference. But he wondered if perhaps the story had been too far-fetched. He hated the feeling of being on pins and needles. He needed to summon up his courage and end it, for better or worse.

Surprisingly enough–this girl was always full of surprises, he was finding–she bridged the gap for him. "But how? How could she have saved you? You're... I thought you said you were stuck in the book, Tom."

"I could get out, if I had a body–or a body that was willing to house my soul for a short while. It takes a tremendous amount of power, of course, and the "host," per se, must be willing." If he'd had breathe to hold, he'd be turning blue!

"How much power," she finally dared to respond after a few minutes of passing.

"On a scale of one to ten? Perhaps an eight. You have that kind of power, though–I've felt it since you picked it up. To be honest, I don't believe I'd still be around if it had been anyone else. You have a sort of healing aura to you." It was the truth, and the best way he could put it. Had he been too bold?

"Then do you think I could...?" The question was left unfinished, but they both knew what she meant.

"If you wanted to. Without the desire to, you can't expect to get anywhere. You have the talent, though." It was true. Oh, Morgana (1), if only she had the ambition for it, he prayed.

"I do. I'd do anything to help any of my friends, and that means you, too."

He almost felt guilty for having led her to it. Almost. But he needed it, to find freedom. He had things to do, and people to seek vengeance upon.

"Then allow me to instruct you."

He staggered to his feet in this unfamiliar body. The muscles knew how to move, but he felt like a ghost not quite settled into the body. He either moved it to fast or too slow. It was because the weight and the height were off, because he was not a he anymore. He was dwelling in a girl's body.

He rose, shakily, trying to master it. Merging with Ginny had not prepared him for this. It had taken more energy than normal to get in because of her power. Whatever it was, it gave her abilities, but it also tried to protect her. In this case, against an invader–him.

He staggered to the dresser drawer and looked into the mirror connected to it. The face that gazed back at him was not his own; it was so alien it disturbed him. He touched the soft pink lips that weren't his own, the flushed cheeks, the hair flowing down. So this was the girl who had helped him.

"Not mine, though," he croaked ruefully in a voice that was not his own. She was cute, in a way unlike that of the elfin redhead. She was no beauty, but...

He was blacking out, he realized, his control slipping away from him. He knew that he wouldn't be able to stay in the body for long–the first time never lasted for more than a few minutes–, but apparently the powers that had sought to keep him out were rejecting him prematurely. This was going to be harder than he'd previously thought.

It was a good thing that Tom Marvolo Riddle did enjoy a good challenge.

Usagi woke up, in a daze. Something had happened. She'd done as Tom had suggested–placing her hands palm down on the cover and reciting the words that he wrote out for her–and then... there had been a rush of something like wind. Only it wasn't physical. Perhaps it had been power of some kind. That would have explained the adrenaline rush, at least.

And then...? The next thing she could recount was waking up on the floor of her room, several feet away from the book. What had happened? Had it worked? She should have gone to ask Tom, but... she felt odd. As though something had been tampered with that would have been best left alone. She was probably just being superstitious, but it worried her.

Why had she blacked out like that? It was like... It was unlike anything she'd ever known. It wasn't blacking out, it was Blacking Out. It wasn't anything like sleeping or fainting. The closest thing she could pin it to was the sensation of the "laughing gas" the dentist sometimes put her under. And then... nothing. It was like she was simply gone, like her brain had been switched off, like she'd disappeared.

It frightened her.

She couldn't explain exactly why it frightened her. No harm had come to her, and aside from the fact that she'd "lost time," so to speak, she couldn't name anything wrong. Something did feel wrong, though.

Like looking at water and seeing the rainbow sheen of oil on top. Like the smell of acrid smoke after a thunderstorm. Like eating your favorite food and discovering that, due to your cold, its taste has been tainted on your very taste buds.

She eyed the journal carefully, wondering if maybe she'd gotten herself into something more perplex than she'd previously thought. What should she do? She could tell Rei, of course. Rei knew so much about spirits and the dead, having worked in a temple and shrine her entire life, and she'd be able to help Usagi. Any of her friends would be willing to help her, really. But...

There was always that "but."

Tom had confided in her. Not as someone who needed help, per se, but someone who needed a friend. Someone who was hurt, and lonely. He hadn't asked more from her than she was willing to give. If she broke her trust with him, and he had nothing to do with any of this, then she would be at fault. There was no crime worse–at least to her–than betraying a friend.

Why did it feel like betrayal, though? Usagi bit her thumb contemplatively, worried. Why did it feel like betrayal? Well, he had asked her not to tell anyone. But that was suspicious wasn't? But he'd explained himself, and Usagi could understand–someone who misunderstood Tom's predicament might think he was something evil rather than a trapped boy.

She warred with herself internally over the manner for some time, unable to come to a decision. Finally, she gave up, and decided she'd just sleep on the matter. She could figure it out in the morning. Still, even as she lay in the dark waiting for dreams to come overtake her, she was dismayed. Less than a month ago, she would have told her friends about this immediately. What had come over her?

Another week passed by, and then yet one more. In the space of that time, Usagi didn't black out again. Tom didn't ask her to repeat the experience–she'd explained her discomfort with the idea–but he had expressed his gratitude that she'd been willing to go through it for him. Usagi got to know him better, bit by bit, and they had plenty of time to do so. She didn't even realize it, but by the time the next month rolled around, her handwriting in English had improved a great deal, even though it wasn't marvelous.

Usagi had hesitantly begun to tell him more. Actually, the truth be told, she didn't mind telling him about her life with her family or at school; there wasn't much to tell. But she was more than a little hesitant to divulge in him her number one secret. After all, revealing who she was to anyone was not only dangerous for herself but for her friends though.

She had developed a sense of trust, though, with Tom. He never criticized her when she told him how she felt about things like school, and she'd expected he would have told her–much like Luna–to be more diligent. He'd listened to her sympathetically when she'd told him the not-quite-truth that her boyfriend had broken up with her. He'd even tried to give her some advice on the matter, even though she could tell he knew less about love than she.

That startled her, of course, but she didn't comment on it. Instead, she thanked him for his help, and in truth was quite grateful. His patience with her warmed her heart; the senshi had tired long ago of her whining about Mamoru. And although she could understand that, it still hurt her. Mamoru meant more to her than anything else ever had been.

Usagi slowed down on her way to Rei's temple. Mamoru was the most important part of her life? When had that developed? Or rather, when had she started thinking of that as unreasonable? Now she came to a complete stop, thinking things over. In fact, the truth of the matter was that she hadn't thought of Mamoru in her usual whistful way for over three days. Was she getting over him?

A short pain struck her, a dull throb. Not pain from realizing that she'd forsaken her dearest, but pain from knowing that her feelings were changing. What were they changing to, though? She still felt strongly for him, so it wasn't that she'd forgotten. She just... didn't feel the same. She didn't have that heart-pounding, skin-tingling reaction to the very thought of him.

Instead, the main focus of her life seemed to have shifted to Tom. Perhaps it was even at ridiculous lengths. She'd even taken to taking him with her to school! It was because he never told her he didn't want to talk to her, though, and he always had such interesting things to say. For a young man trapped in the pages of a book, he knew a great deal. Much of what he knew about she hadn't even heard of, but he insisted that it was bound to be her birthright, with such a powerful gift.

He'd even taken to teaching her simple spells, and he swore that if he ever got out of the book he'd teach her how to properly use them. She wasn't sure how to feel about that, except sorry for Tom, because she'd begun to recognize just how much he longed to have his own body.

And why not? How would she feel, to be blind and deaf and unable to taste or touch or feel? He couldn't even talk in the traditional ways of humans. He couldn't explain to her how their communication worked, but she had a feeling that it wasn't entirely pleasant on his end. It seemed terribly unfair to her that he should have to feel pain and yet have no body to experience the joys that went with pain.

She'd even suggested to him, just once, that perhaps they should try talking to Rei. If anyone could help him, she'd said, it would be Rei. But Tom had rejected the idea, though not violently. He'd said that she might mistake him for something truly awful. Usagi had respected his decision, although she had been a bit disappointed.

Should she be worried about this? She wasn't sure. It was so hard. And why couldn't she simply trust him? It shouldn't be so hard. She'd spend about a month with him–in a strange way, he lived with her. He meant well, he treated her kindly... What more could she ask for?

Come to think of it, Tom had shown her a side that even Mamoru hadn't shown to her. Perhaps she really was being too hard on him. He treated her better than even her best friends and conspirators did sometimes. Not that they had ever hurt or something so ridiculous, but Tom seemed to have infinite patience with her.

Tom... she wondered what he had looked like when he'd still had a human body. Maybe it was superficial of her to think that he must have been incredibly handsome. Tall, dark hair, beautiful eyes, enigmatic... She flushed, dashing away her thoughts. What was she thinking? She might not be passionately in love with Mamoru, but she was still... well, she still thought of him dearly, and aside from that, she wasn't ready to move on. Her heart still hurt from her ordeals.

Tonight, she decided, she'd see if he wanted to try the body displacement thing again. It had made her feel uncomfortable, but she was willing to do it for her friend. And that was what he was to her–a good friend. That was all, of course.


Carefully, Tom moved around the room, adjusting to the body. This was his second time to be in Usagi's body, and it didn't seem to be rejecting him in such a violent manner. He could still feel that itch trying to push him out, but it wasn't an overpowering force.

Perhaps he was winning her over.

He looked in her mirror again, getting a better look at the girl he'd only seen briefly before. She had a heart-shaped face with sparkling, bright blues. Her skin was fair but not incredibly pale. A small pink mouth that looked perfect for pouting. Her figure wasn't amazing, but he had to admit that she had nice legs.

He had to admit that she looked cute, though she wasn't a "beauty." The truth of the matter was that seeing her physical form didn't change what she was to him. She would be incredibly useful to him as a pawn.

She looked innocent enough, and could pose for a normal muggle, having lived as one her entire life. She had incredibly energy and potential that was almost untapped; he had only just begun teaching her. She had willingly allowed him to use her body as his vessel, and from here on out it would only become easier to take control. She would be the best disguise he could hope for if he needed to meet his Death Eaters. Most of all, she trusted him, and to have this kind of power by his side–once trained–would be invaluable to his efforts.

She slept now, in a silence not unlike death. She wasn't even aware of her existence. He had plans for her, for this body. And if she did for him what he asked–as he knew she would do if he just maneuvered himself in the right way–he'd reward her in ways that she couldn't begin to imagine.

Notes (on the story):
– Merlin was a sorcerer in the "King Arthur" legend type stuff, and Morgana was the sorceress. Since Morgana's the evil one, I thought it would be more suiting for a bad guy to call on her than Merlin.

Author's Notes:
Erm, that's it for this chapter. I hope you guys liked it. I really, really do. If you don't mind, I'd really appreciate a review/email telling me how you felt about it. If you ask me a question or leave an interesting comment, I promise to reply in the next chapter.