TITLE: The Riddle She Loved

AUTHOR: Odium of my Requiem

SUMMARY: Just a short review of Tom Riddle while he was in school in the eyes of a girl. It's good, don't worry.

DISCLAIMER: Not mine, but damn I wish it was.

If anybody asked she would not be able to explain it. She would not be able to pinpoint the one aspect of him that made her love him… maybe it was because of his eyes. They were black. And not just a boring dull grey- black, or a deep, dark brown- black, like hers. No, they were plain, simple black- black. Some would call his eyes cold and unfeeling; because they seemed to simply absorb all the light that entered them. They wouldn't twinkle and they wouldn't shine. They would simply look. Not stare and not burn holes into you, as some do. They weren't calculating and they weren't observant, though he was both. They were simply just black.

It could maybe even be the way he walked. Correction; de didn't walk, he moved. It wasn't a glide either, or a saunter, or a stiff march. It was kind of in between. His back would be ramrod straight, his shoulders slightly slumped. His head held high, his expression unreadable. He took small strides, not large, swooping ones like many over- confident males she knew. His pace was slow, yet slightly hurried. Almost as if he needed to be somewhere, but did not know where exactly. His expression suited his carved facial features extremely well. It was not one of casual indifference, nor was it cold and stony. At some angles it seemed to be pensive and contemplative, but then, simply by a slight tilt of the head, it seemed to be arrogant and haughty. Another fraction of a turn, and it looked nonchalant and bored. His face was perfectly symmetrical, with dark, thin eyebrows and long eyelashes. He had thin lips, pale and colorless; lighter than his skin color. His skin itself was flawless, yet many would call it pasty and boring. It was not even slightly tanned, yet it didn't look unhealthy, as if it needed to see more of the sun. It seemed to radiate its own light, yet it did not glow.

She also felt that it could be his smile, or rather, its lack thereof. His mouth was always set in a straight line, and not a grim one, mind you. She had never seen him truly smile. Yes, the corners of his lips would slightly turn up for two seconds or so, but that was it. He never scowled or frowned and nothing ever seemed to surprise him.

And just like that, everything about him was capricious, elusive.

But he was open. Or at least he seemed to be. He wasn't like all the other moody, "loner" guys who would glare at you and tell you to mind your own business, nor was he one to stay quiet all the time. He was neither shy nor boisterous, neither friendly nor hostile.

He would talk to people, and tell them things about himself so that they thought he was close to them. But they were always things that didn't matter. She noticed that he would always remain tight- lipped when any talk went towards his family. He seemed to dislike people asking about his bloodline and what his parents did for a living. He would change the topic or turn the question around, or simply not answer, and that was what she figured to be his weakness, his soft spot; a button that others couldn't press because they didn't know where it was.

His voice, oh, she adored it. It was soft, yet steely, with a slight 'holier- than- thou' air about it. He was not loud, but somehow his voice would carry on so that everyone heard him. He was a smooth talker, he could flatter and charm, and somehow he had mastered the art of being evasive and cryptic, without drawing any suspicion. He was never sarcastic or blunt, and would choose his words cautiously. It would make her queasy at times, they way he would talk to people as if he was weighing them, probing them, trying to figure something out… but what, she didn't know.

All the Professors were extremely fond of him. He was exceptionally sharp; he got the best grades and, when asked a question, would always know the answer. But for some reason he never answered questions in class. In stead he would choose to let others answer, as if he wanted to test them and see if they knew. He was extremely curious, but chose to find out things by himself rather than ask others. She saw him in the library constantly, pouring over books and researching topics that they weren't even studying in class.

Nobody ever seemed to wonder about him. They had their set opinion of him and nothing could change it. Most of the boys in her year were either slightly jealous of him, due to his exceptional grades and even more exceptional looks, or they didn't give him a second's thought, dismissing him as "that pale bloke with all the cronies who's no good at Quidditch". A friend of hers felt that he was "a narcissistic snob with a stick up his arse", where as another girl she knew thought that he was actually "really decent and charming, a perfect gentleman". She did, however, know a fair amount of girls who thought he was extremely good- looking, but then she also knew many girls who thought of him as dodgy and untrustworthy, someone who gave them the creeps because he had a whole bunch of followers. And he was in Slytherin.

Yes, another thing about him that caught her attention. She knew many Slytherins, and they were all malicious and haughty, cruel to everyone except their own. This one bloke, Klaudius Black, was extremely formidable. Everyone, from the other Houses that is, feared him because he was known for his temper as well as for jinxing people on a daily basis without getting any punishment. And yet, Klaudius was not feared nor followed by his fellow Slytherins, he was.

He had never once lost his temper in front of others, and his voice – his smooth, sharp voice, so thick with layers that you somehow found yourself hanging onto every word he spoke – was always leveled and controlled. But still, it was him who seemed to be the leader of the pack of Slytherins. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as if wherever he would go, others would follow. No, it wasn't like that… atleast not all the time. In fact, he was seen alone, by himself a lot. But every time he went up to the Slytherins, or spoke to them, they would listen with rapt attention. Almost as if they were… scared of him. Or something of the sort.

But he wasn't scary. Or at least not in the conventional sense. He did not have a giant, towering build. He did not stomp around, glaring at people or growling. He did not even show off his hexing and cursing skills.

But as she sat and pondered, a vision flashed through her mind's eye, and, with growing unease, she felt that she might understand their fear.

It was the flash of red.

If she thought back to every time she had seen him duel in DADA class, or every time Professor Slughorn told them off a new potion, or even every time she saw him master a new spell in Charms or Transfiguration, she remembered his eyes. That hungry, manic glint that would take over and his eyes would flash red. Just for a second; long enough for her (who had spent six years relentlessly studying and scrutinizing him) alone to notice.

And it was that red that would cause her to look away.