I realize that it's been 6 MONTHS since I last updated, and with deepest regret, I apologize. I've been terribly busy. But hang in there! I've got a whole month off in January to write- and I've got so much planned for this story! Tom fans have plenty to look forward to, I promise.
To explain my title for this chapter: it's the title to a HIM song. I've been listening to that band a lot recently and have since become addicted to Ville Valo's voice. A lot of their songs can probably relate to Tom and Ginny's relationship, so you may see some of them in chapter titles of the future.
On that note, please read, review, and enjoy!
Chapter XV: Lose You Tonight
That week had been the best week in Ginny's life. Oh, sure, the first half of it was composed of Tom becoming Head Boy, moving in next to her room, trying to take advantage of her, and then the both of them ending up in the hospital wing. But Paul was back, and that was all that mattered. After being released from the hospital wing, she and Paul spent every dying minute with each other. It drove their friends and classmates crazy, the responsible Head Boy and Girl acting like a couple of 1st years with childlike crushes on each other. They were two giddy fools in love, and Ginny enjoyed every second of it. Being kissed, being held, being told "I love you," felt so good. She hadn't felt those kind of feelings since... well, since before she and Harry split up. But she realized now how much she wanted, needed to be held.
Of course, she was a tad bit clingy. And of course, he didn't mind. She had reason to be, and he knew it. The reason as to why Tom had disappeared so suddenly was still a mystery, though Ginny believed it had something to do with the impact of her textbook on Tom's-- or rather Paul's-- skull. And both Ginny and Paul feared Tom's return, she even more-so than him.
The first night after returning from the hospital wing, Ginny had slept in the Head Boy's dorm. She fell asleep in Paul's arms, a comforting feeling. But she had had a nightmare that night, in which she woke up- in Tom's arms. She could remember every detail: midnight blue eyes staring down at her, dark hair messily framing his face, soft lips smirking. His nightshirt unbuttoned halfway, his strong body leaning towards hers. His hand had trailed down her spine-- it had felt so real! --and his cold eyes revealed his not-so-innocent intentions as he pushed himself closer to her... Paul had to calm her down when she finally woke up. She had instantly shied away from him when she saw him next to her, unsure of what was dream and what was reality.
After that first week, things had gotten better. Ginny still couldn't help feeling that every moment she spent with Paul was their last moment together. But as time passed, things became more comfortable, more natural. And life returned to normal, for those few days.
Well, not entirely to normal. There were a few inconveniences here and there. Like Romilda being an annoying bitch and following Paul around when he wanted to be alone with Ginny. Or, unexpectedly, Damien Crowe stopping Ginny in the hallway to ask her out. He obviously hadn't noticed Paul and Ginny's overly conspicuous public displays of affection. So when Damien had confronted her, Ginny laughed in his face. What was funny about it was that a few days ago, she might have said yes simply to get Tom angry at her... but that day, her heart belonged to Paul, and no other.
While Romilda and Damien were mere inconveniences, there was one bigger obstacle: Draco Malfoy. He had immediately noticed the change in Paul's behavior. Paul had, at first, tried to convince Draco he was really Tom, but it didn't work when Draco caught Paul and Ginny kissing in the hallway one day after class.
"So you lost your memory? Figures... oh well, you'll get it back sooner or later," Draco said.
"What do you mean, lost my memory?" Paul asked. Draco rolled his eyes at this, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
"You want to know why Tom disappeared? Because your brain-- Paul's brain-- has temporarily lost all recent memories: memories belonging to Tom. Any memories you have left belong to Paul, so obviously you think you're Paul. But don't be fooled; the Dark Lord is still in full control of your body. When you regain your memories, Tom Riddle will become dominant again."
This news hit Ginny hard. Paul still couldn't remember any of the recent events she had recounted for him, and she realized that what Draco said was probably true: he couldn't remember because they were Tom's memories, not Paul's. And as soon as Tom remembered... Paul would be gone. Ginny shuddered to think about it. She had feared that her time with Paul was limited, and now her suspicions were confirmed. Tom was coming back. When, she did not know, but she had to find a way to prevent it.
Before their conversation with Draco, Ginny wrote to Harry to tell him about the current circumstances. She told him that Paul was back, inexplicably, after Ginny hit Tom. Harry agreed to meet the two that weekend at Hogsmeade, this time bringing some members of the Order. Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks would be joining them.
They got together that weekend, meeting in the Three Broomsticks. Ginny felt relieved to be around Lupin and Tonks. Harry had suggested he bring her mother, to which she immediately said "No!" She did not need Molly Weasley to fuss over her at the moment. Lupin and Tonks, recently married, made the atmosphere lighthearted and comfortable. Tonks' hair had gotten longer-- or she had just made it that way with her abilities; one couldn't tell. But there was something different about her. She looked... brilliant. Glowing.
"I'm pregnant!" she admitted eventually, unable to hold in her excitement. Harry had already known; he was beaming at the happy couple. Ginny tried to smile, too, but no movement came from her lips.
Because she could never share that same happiness with Paul. Because there was no Paul anymore... he was just a memory, as Tom had been. And he would soon fade away. Tom would return in his place.
"Wow, Tonks. That's great. I'm happy for you both," she managed to say. It was true; she was happy for them.
"Thanks, Ginny." Tonks smiled in response. Lupin placed his arm around her. Ginny smiled back softly and folded her hands in her lap underneath the table. A warm hand grasped hers gently; Paul had moved his seat closer to her.
"So," Harry addressed Lupin and Tonks, changing the subject, "what do you think of Paul?"
"He seems nice," Tonks shrugged. Lupin agreed. Nice, Ginny thought, of course. That's all he is: innocence and goodness. The angelic face of Tom Riddle. But underneath the surface is Tom's hidden memory, waiting to regain control of Paul...
"We have to be on our guard," was all she said. "Tom could return."
"Yes; well, we'll have to trust you to keep an eye out for that, and to keep in touch with us," Lupin said.
"I will," Ginny responded. She hated talking like this, with Paul here. It made her uneasy.
"Do we have a plan of action? For when the bugger returns, I mean?" Tonks asked.
"We need to establish his plan of action first," Harry said.
"Yes," Lupin agreed, "what does the young Tom Riddle want?" Everyone looked expectantly at Ginny, including Paul.
"Well, er, he said something about feudalism, or imperialism, or... I don't know. He seems to want social status and political power," she said. Harry sighed.
"That's all the information we have, then?" he asked. Ginny nodded.
"Although," Lupin interrupted, "do you think it possible that he has no plan of action? Perhaps he just has an idea and hasn't yet put it into play?"
"It's entirely possible," Harry responded. Ginny took a sip of her butterbeer. It was cold; she hadn't touched a drop of it until now. The creamy liquid went down slowly, and she made a face at the temperature of it, then pushed her mug away.
"I agree. It sounds like Tom isn't sure of what he wants," Paul added. Ginny stared at him in disbelief.
"That doesn't make him less of a threat," she pointed out.
"I know," he responded casually. Too casually. Ginny clenched her fists and stood up.
"Doesn't this bother you? That Tom is going to return and take over your body? That you can't do anything about it; that you're just a pawn??" she said loudly. Paul frowned.
"Ginny, I'm just trying to help--"
"Well I refuse to be a pawn!" she yelled.
"Ginny, sit down," Harry said. She glared at him, but sat down after a few deep breaths.
"Paul's in a tough situation. He's Lord Voldemort's clone, but he's also a human being. Why a clone has so much personality and human emotions, I don't know. Maybe Snape would know- he created the potion that made Paul. Perhaps it's the personality and emotions of young Voldemort, had he any emotions at all. Maybe it's the part of Tom Riddle that is human, and innocent- a split personality of some sort. Whatever it is, maybe we can discover the key to conquering Tom Riddle. To keeping Paul," Harry said.
Ginny looked at Paul. Tom's features were certainly there. But there was something else, too. His personality was hidden in there, somewhere. It showed, every so often. But it wasn't like Tom. It was like Tom, if he were a child. It was difficult to explain how, exactly, Paul could possibly be like Tom, but the best way Ginny could think to describe it was that he was like a child. Was that, then, what Paul was? An exact replica of Tom in body, but incomplete in mind and spirit? Younger, more pure, and more innocent? Would Tom have become like Paul, if he had as a child been exposed to love, as Harry had suggested? So then, Paul was Tom. He was Tom, just if Tom had led a different life.
"You're right," Ginny responded late to Harry. She turned to Paul.
"Only there is no Paul. You are Tom Riddle."
The meeting at Hogsmeade hadn't lasted much longer. They discussed how Ginny would contact them if Tom returned, and then she and Paul said goodbye to Lupin, Tonks and Harry.
The news that Paul was actually Tom Riddle-- in a different life-- didn't seem to bother Ginny. And it bothered her that it didn't bother her. But she couldn't do anything about it. She suddenly felt that Tom's return was inevitable, and that she would have to adjust to it. Paul's disappearing from her was no big deal.
Only it was, because she would lose the one person who made her feel loved. And the person that would replace him definitely didn't make her feel anything close to that. He couldn't replace Paul, even if they were the same person.
Ginny wondered, as they returned to Hogwarts, if she would ever reach out to Tom, wanting to be loved, confusing him with Paul. Because now she couldn't stop thinking about how alike the two were. It scared her. She actually had feelings for Tom. She felt as if Paul was lost inside of him, waiting to come out and open up his arms to her. And she wanted to be the one to bring that out in him. But she had to remind herself that she couldn't change Tom, the way Harry had suggested. He was never going to treat her the way Paul had. She quickly wiped away any more thoughts about Tom.
When they returned to Hogwarts, Draco found them outside of the Gryffindor common room. He claimed to want to speak to Paul alone. Paul assured Ginny it would be alright, and she entered the common room without him.
"You're going to remember, sooner or later," Draco said to Paul when they were alone.
"I know," Paul responded, "and I'm ready for it."
"Good. There's no use resisting. But, to help you along, I'm going to give you something." He pulled out something from beneath his robes. It was a thin black book.
"What is that?" Paul asked.
"It's a diary," Draco explained. "I stole it from my father. No, it's not the diary you're thinking of. This one's different. Ask it questions, and it will answer you. I'm sure your memories will return quicker." Paul took the book. He didn't want to remember so quickly... he couldn't leave Ginny. Once he was gone, Tom might try to hurt her. But on the other hand, he wanted to know what that diary was. He wanted to ask it questions, to find out more about who he was, who Tom Riddle was. Curiosity would win out in the end.
"Thanks," he said, before turning to enter the common room. He hid the book under his robes before going to talk to Ginny.
Paul never told Ginny about the book. He feared it would hurt her, somehow. Yes, he would use the book as Draco had instructed, but not right away. He wanted to spend some time in ignorance... just one more night with Ginny. Why she loved him so much he couldn't comprehend. But he was glad that she did, and he wanted to be there for her, before he "disappeared," so to speak.
Ginny slept in his room that night, in the warmth of his arms for one last time. Those arms that may never hold or comfort her again. He played with her hair absentmindedly as she drifted off to sleep.
"I love you," he whispered into her hair. She opened her eyes and twisted around in his arms to look directly in his eyes.
"Do you?" she asked. He'd said it plenty of times in the past week, but she questioned it now that she knew what Paul really was... a copy of Tom, and nothing more. Soon enough, those words would mean nothing.
"Yes," Paul responded to her question, studying her carefully. He seemed to understand her reason for questioning him. "I do. And I won't forget that, not even after my memories return. I'll make sure he doesn't forget it." Ginny stared at him. How could he promise her something like that so easily? He noticed the worried look on her face and took her face in his hands.
"Ginny, I may regain my memories sooner than you think," he said. Ginny's eyes widened.
"What do you mean?" He sighed.
"Just a hunch. But don't worry; I'm not going anywhere," he promised. Ginny shook her head.
"Oh of course you're not. I'm not worried," she said. Paul dropped his hands.
"What?" he questioned. She sighed.
"You're not going anywhere; you never left to begin with, right? You're Tom, you've just lost your memory. So of course you wouldn't be going anywhere," she explained. Paul frowned.
"I suppose you're right," he said. "Then we don't have to say goodbye..." he muttered.
Ginny closed her eyes and shook her head. So had he been trying to say goodbye? She buried her face into his chest and he wrapped his arms around her. Part of her wanted to cry, but she fought back the tears. She wouldn't cry. Not in front of him; she'd already done it more than once; he'd witnessed the tears that had been brought about by merely the memory of Tom Riddle. She would never cry because of Tom again. She had changed, since his return. Grown up, grown out of the little girl she was when she first met him. Her life since that moment had changed it's course, it's destiny, and now she'd have to face the inevitable. Tom was in her life again, for good this time. There was no escaping it. And the worst part was that she had already given her heart to him, unknowingly. She had made herself vulnerable. The only thing she could do now is keep her feelings at bay.
Paul ran his hands through Ginny's hair, and she sighed. She tilted her head up to kiss him once more, and then let sleep overcome her.
As soon as he was sure she was asleep, Paul gently shifted out from underneath Ginny's sleeping form. He reached for his robes and grabbed the black book that had his fate sealed inside of it. Taking a deep breath, he opened the book to the first page.
It was blank, just as Ginny had described. But Draco had said that this was not the diary he was thinking of. So what was this book?
He grabbed a quill and ink and began to write.
Can you tell me who I am?
The words disappeared instantaneously, and then were replaced by a handwriting not unlike his own.
Well, it would help if I knew your name.
Paul blinked at the words on the page for a second. He wasn't sure what to put, but eventually decided to write three words.
Tom Marvolo Riddle.
Instead of disappearing this time, the letters in his words rearranged himself until they spelled something completely different.
My name is Lord Voldemort.
The words lingered for a moment longer, then disappeared again. Paul wrote.
Who am I? he asked again.
You and I are one in the same.
I seem to have forgotten everything.
There was a pause before the next reply.
Then let me show you...
Reviews would be extremely helpful because things are going to change, a lot.
If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them. So feel free to ask!