Title: Five ways Tom Riddle and Minerva McGonagall Never Lived Happily Ever After

Author: sapphiretragedy/diggingupophelia, depending where you read.

Rating: Err … I'm going to say R to be safe.

Pairing: Tom Riddle/Minerva McGonagall

For: The LJ community 5nevers. The challenge is to write the same scenario 5 different ways. All the scenarios are AU.

Notes: I know that these characterizations may be slightly off, but keep in mind that these scenarios are AU, so some drastic character things had to change in order to make the scenarios work. I don't think I was too off the mark; but I had fun writing it anyway. Comments/ConCrit is always appreciated but is never required.

oooOOOooo

.1 The Best Part of Me

Tom brought her a journal and told her it was the best part of him. He wanted her to keep it for always. He brushed her hand as she took it from him. She tucked it carefully in her bag and went to class.

Later that night she sat with the journal on her bed. Her hands traced over the supple leather binding, and she gently pulled the cover back. The first page was blank, she looked at it, puzzled. Tom hadn't written a single word. She turned the page and discovered it too, was blank. Curious, she quickly flipped the pages with the thumb and forefinger of her right hand while holding the book in her left. All the pages were as blank as the first.

"Perhaps, he means for me to write in it," she whispered to herself. She summoned a quill and a pot of ink. She neatly unscrewed the cap and dipped the quill into the pot. She opened to the first page and wrote, Dear Tom,. She gasped as the ink disappeared.

How did you know my name? appeared on the page in Tom's spidery script. Minerva jumped, causing the ink and journal to fly from her lap. The inkpot cracked on the floor and the journal lay closed and free of any ink stain; it stayed there until morning.

oooOooo

The next morning, Minerva went to the Great Hall early and waited for him outside the large oak doors.

"Tom," she snapped, when she meant to casually call. She could feel a blush creep into her cheek.

"Did you like your present?" his voice was smooth and his eyes were sparkling.

She almost hadn't the heart to tell him she did not, in fact, enjoy the present. "It was … interesting," she said uncertainly.

"Did you guess what it was?" he whispered excitedly. "Took me forever to get Slughorn to give me the information I needed."

Minerva's eyes grew wide. "You … a professor helped you with this?" she was flabbergasted.

He gave her that charming smile for which he was infamous. "You could call it that," he lowered his voice. "I've plans to make more. I could teach you. We could both live forever."

"Tom!" Minerva shouted. She remembered herself and lowered her voice. "Tom, I'm older and wiser and I'm telling you this is a horrible idea. I want you to stop … for me. She looked up and noticed that students were beginning to file in for breakfast. She held out her arm and he took it. He led the way to an empty corridor and said nothing as they walked.

"Two years is hardly a significant age difference," he teased. "But I thought you'd be proud. It's very complicated magic."

"It's Dark Arts, Tom," she chastised. "I …" her voice trailed off.

"You what?" he asked, reaching out to brush her cheek and lift her chin toward him.

"I thought you … never mind, it's silly," she smiled. "Can you reverse it? Restore the best part of you to your person?"

"Why should I?" he asked knowingly.

"Because," she blushed, "I think I might be in love with you. No," she corrected, "I am in love with you."

"No one's ever said that before," he whispered, his throat suddenly feeling tight. He leaned against the wall to brace himself and he refused to look at her.

"I mean it," she whispered, gently caressing his arm. "Please? We could be so happy."

"Forever?" he asked, as though it were impossible.

"Forever."

"Give me the journal," he demanded, holding out his hand. "We'll destroy it tonight. Now that I have a reason."

She kissed him for the first time, knowing for certain he would be faithful to her; faithful to the light.

.2 Stepping into the Darkness

Tom had blindfolded her and led her by the hand to his secret chamber, deep beneath the school. He would never allow the basilisk to get her; it wouldn't come unless he called. She gripped his robes tightly they climbed down into a place she could not see; her fingernails accidentally scratched his neck.

"Sorry," she whispered tightly.

"It's just a little blood," he replied, his feet coming into contact with the cold stone floor. He set her down and kept her blindfold on.

Minerva tried to pry it off, but it was surely stuck. She stilled when she heard him whispering – it sounded odd, like a snake. It sent chills of fear down her spine. "Tom, what is that?" she asked, not moving.

"Parseltounge," he said casually.

She heard his footsteps and he whispered in snake language close to her ear. His hot breath brushed against her skin as the blindfold fell away. She gasped at the sight before her – a giant snakeskin, it looked like it had been shed recently.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" he asked, misinterpreting her gasp.

She mutely nodded.

"Come, he said," offering his hand. She took it and he led her deeper into the chamber. "We can practice other kinds of magic here," he said. "Dippet won't know a thing."

"Oh, I don't know, Tom," Minerva said trying to let go of his hand. "We shouldn't, Dark Arts are forbidden."

"Just once, Minerva, for me," he asked as he fished their wands out of his inside robe pocket. He handed Minerva her wand. She didn't take it right away. "One of the Unforgivables. Just so you can say you've done it. No one will ever know."

"You'll know. And I'll know," she resisted as she took her wand into her hand.

"Which one then? Cruciatus is beautiful, but then they all are in their own way. Choose one, Minerva," he whispered against her neck.

"Oh, all right. But just once and you swear you won't tell a soul?" she gave in. She wasn't sure why, but she had a strong desire to know what it would feel like to control that kind of power.

"I swear on your heart," he said, stepping behind her and wrapping his arms around her waist. "Cruciatus, it would look so beautiful with you casting it."

"I … I don't know how," she hated to admit it.

"I'll show you," he promised, releasing her waist and grabbing her wand arm in his right hand. He guided her hand through the movements; a simple arc and a slight flick of the wrist. "See how simple it is?" he asked.

She nodded.

"Now, do you feel the hum of the magic in your blood?" She nodded, again. "Make it bubble with anger – think of Slughorn dismissing you from Slug Club because your father died and left all his money to his other family, Dumbledore forcing you to wait an extra year to become an Animagus, living you life alone without me," he coached. He could feel her slender body tense against his. Her flesh was warmer. She was ready. "Good, keep it up," he urged letting go.

He stepped in front of her and stripped off his robe, pulled off his sweater, loosed his tie, and opened his shirt. "Show me how strong you are … poppet," he taunted, knowing how that word raised her ire.

Minerva didn't think twice as she moved her arm in a graceful arc and whispered the incantation so only she could hear it. He smiled as the hex hit him square in the chest. The pain brought him to his knees and he screamed out loud. She let up the curse when she heard him scream.

"Are you all right?" she shouted, running toward him. "I didn't …" she was cut off by his lips pressing hotly against hers.

"Fine," his breath was ragged, "you were beautiful. It hurt like hell, I love," he paused, "that you can do that to me."

Minerva said nothing as her face went pale.

"What is it, Minerva?" he asked, truly concerned.

"I … I want to do it again, and again," she smiled as she spoke.

"Anytime you wish. Anytime," he promised.

They returned together, every night, to the chamber. He taught her all he knew. Together, they conquered the world.

.3 Unmarked

He may have been Head Boy, he may have fancied her, and she may not have any actual authority in the school, but when Avery came to her sporting that disgusting tattoo, she knew he was responsible.

She should have taken the boy to Slughorn or Dippet or even Dumbledore; but she took him to Tom – the one who caused the problem in the first place. She didn't knock on his dormitory door, just barged through.

"… Mudbloods from the school, from the wizarding world as a whole," he finished speaking to the crowd of Slytherins gathered around him. "Remember you are all of noble blood. It wouldn't do to sully bloodlines – to taint the world." He turned toward Minerva and Avery. "Oh, look, Avery's brought a guest."

"I am not your guest, Tom," she bit out. Tears were making her eyes bright. She found it difficult to breath and felt as though her heart had been ripped from her chest. She left Avery where he stood and stormed out of the room.

Tom chased after her. He was forever chasing her; he was sure he would catch her this time. When he found her she was sobbing at the end of the corridor. He touched her shoulder and she turned to him.

"Would you kill me, Tom?" she said with hitched breath. "Are Mudbloods really that horrible?"

"You can't be …" he whispered through a gasp. "You're so powerful," he reasoned.

"Indeed. Powerful with filthy blood," she yelled, turning away from him.

He grabbed her shoulder again, more roughly than he'd intended. "Wait. I'll … I'll stop. I'll tell them it … I … was wrong. Just don't walk away," he promised.

She stared at him and reached for his left arm. He, too, was marked. "And what of this?" she asked, "and the others?"

"I'll burn it off if you promise to stay."

"Can I do it?" she asked, scratching at it.

He nodded.

He had a scar there for the rest of his life. But then, he had her, too.

.4 Raising the Dead

Minerva stared at Tom's corpse with one hand resting on The Book, the one he'd left her in case such an event came to pass. Albus Dumbledore had killed Tom Riddle, all because she expressed an interest in him.

Albus said he'd been working Dark spells; he'd called a dementor to him and could control it. She did not believe those lies. Tom would never abuse his power like that, not unless he was provoked. She was certain Albus had provoked him.

It seemed, Albus wasn't as great as he claimed. He couldn't even use the Killing Curse – she supposed she should be grateful, she could bring him back this way; but he was mangled and bloody and nearly unrecognizable. No matter she could fix it all.

She opened the book to the proper page and memorized the incantation. This was Dark Magic of the worst sort, Necromancy, the raising of the dead – but she would blacken her soul if she could have him again.

She stood over him, placing her hands on his chest and her lips on his as she whispered the incantation into his open mouth.

Her words breathed new life into him. His eyes opened, they shone red. "Minerva," he croaked.

"Tom," she whispered collapsing against his chest. "It worked."

"Indeed, it did," he said wrapping his blue-tinged hand in her black hair. "I never doubted your loyalty."

"I'll kill him," she vowed.

"One step at a time," he soothed. "We have all the time in the world for that."

Minerva nodded against his chest and calmed her tears against his slow beating heart. Tomorrow she would heal him. Then, she would plan – Albus Dumbledore would pay for her tears with his screams and for her blackened soul when the twinkle dimmed in his eyes.

.5 Burden of Truth

Minerva had returned to the school to visit the Headmaster and Professor Dumbledore. She'd been invited to stay for dinner in the Great Hall. Tom Riddle stared at her for the duration of the evening meal. She smiled at him and gave a small wave; the pair had become friends – of a sort – during the time they spent engaged in official prefect duties the last year.

After the meal was over, Minerva noticed that Tom remained behind, lingering in the doorway. She excused herself from the High Table and went to Tom.

"I was hoping you'd leave this way," he said. Something was troubling the young man that was certain. She had never seen him looking so – heavy with burden.

"Why is that?" she asked, giving him a soft smile.

"I … have you been getting my letters?" he asked. "I sent owls but I don't always trust those birds. Especially when I have to send them from that Muggle hovel I'm forced to live in," anger crept into his voice.

"I received one owl from you. The day after term was over. I was quite disappointed, actually," she shrugged, "but I merely assumed you were busy with other girls."

He shook his head. "I did something horrible," he whispered, unable to look her in the eye. "Reprehensible – and I don't know; I can't control this anymore. And you're the only one I trust."

Minerva put a hand across his shoulders. "Let's take a stroll around the lake, shall we?"

oooOooo

They'd made three laps around the lake before he even started to talk about it. He alluded to a trip to see his Father's family. She nodded, knowing full well he had no relationship with those people.

"What did you do? Transfigure them into tea cups?" she laughed.

"No," he whispered, "I … I killed them. My grandparents and my father, all three of them are dead. The Killing curse. It was so quick," he confessed. He looked at her, sorrow and fear in his eyes.

Minerva stared at him and said nothing. She nodded. "What would you like me to do with this information?" she asked, it took all of her restraint to keep from running for anyone else to listen to this confession.

"Forgive me," he said simply. "Forgive me and teach me to be … a better man."

Minerva walked quietly for another two laps around the lake. Tom walking next to her – a murderer walking next to her -- asking her for forgiveness that was not hers to grant. She mulled over his request and looked him in the eyes one last time before answering.

"I forgive you, Tom," was all she said.

He nodded, and his shoulders sagged a bit, as though a weight had been lifted from them. "It's a start," he was relieved.

Minerva wasn't so sure she'd done the right thing; but if she hadn't forgiven him she would never have the chance to save him. And she would save him or die trying.

-Fin-