A/N: Random one-shot. I felt I had to write something about Tom Riddle; he fascinates me. I'll continue this if enough people show interest.

xx

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Light rain washed the shingles of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in a thin gloss. In the offing, lightning illuminated the green sky, sending rabbits into their holes for shelter, ushering the drunken vagrants back into dimly lit pubs with long fingers of electricity.

Tom Riddle couldn't be bothered by the light; he'd learned to harness and control it when he was fourteen. The only thing keeping him awake was the endless dripping from a crack in the stone ceiling.

"Goddamnit," he mumbled to himself, punching his pillow. "You'd think they'd fucking repair this place."

Angrily, he threw the covers off his body and strutted, shirtless, out to the common room. He surveyed his kingdom with an air of dissatisfaction, noting the guttering fire and the leak in the west window.

And then he saw her.

A cascade of dark red curls fell over the back of his wingback chair. One slender arm was draped lazily over the intricately carved wood; a gold earring twinkled in the dying firelight.

Pointedly, he marched over and settled into the chair across from her. "Who are you," he demanded, "and what are you doing?"

She stared him down with sharp green eyes. "You're the one who invaded," she said smoothly. "It's my right to ask you first."

He arched an eyebrow. "You don't know who I am?"

"We've been in classes together for the last seven years. Of course I know who you are." She paused. "But how silly of me to think you'd emerge from your Potions book for five seconds to notice your classmates."

Is she honestly giving me cheek? Tom tapped his ring against the hard pine of his armrest. "You know I make the rules here. Answer my fucking question."

She considered this. "I'm Aurelia Hart. And I'm sitting in a chair."

"In my chair."

Demurely, she crossed her legs. "Unless your name is engraved on this wood in gold, this is no one's chair."

"You're pushing your luck."

"You don't scare me."

Thunder echoed off the vaulted ceilings; the rain was coming in sheets now. "You have no idea what I'm capable of."

"Try me."

"I will."

"In the middle of the common room?"

"I told you—I make the rules here."

And just like that, her long nightgown was off, a cloud of black satin at her feet.

xx

Kicked back against the headboard of Tom's bed, Aurelia blew a ring of smoke into the thick air. "You weren't here this morning."

"I had business."

"Who?"

Tom pinched the cigarette from her fingers and took a long drag. "Wyatt Hughes."

"Camilla's father."

"Yes."

"What's he done to offend?"

"Got re-married last weekend." He handed it back to Aurelia. "He chose a Muggle."

Aurelia said nothing. She hadn't yet told him she was a half-blood.

Thoughtfully, he turned to her. "You ought to come with me next time."

She paused, mid-drag. "You mean—"

"The world needs to be rid of them all," he said lazily. "We're the only ones that deserve to learn the arts of magic. Purebloods. The chosen few."

"Have you chosen your next victim already?"

With an air of indifference, he waved a hand in the air. "Who knows. Thaddeus Wright, maybe."

"The Auror?"

"The Mudblood." A seedy grin twisted his handsome face.

Aurelia put out the cigarette and turned back to her lover. "You're going to invade the Ministry during our next Hogsmeade weekend, or what?"

"Not just me. Pollux Black… Caspar Crouch… Charles Rosier…"

"Your Death Eaters. So it is true."

He looked quite self-satisfied. "Rumors have been spreading, have they?"

"Like wildfire."

"Let me make you my own," he purred.

There was no rejecting an offer of Tom Riddle's, so Aurelia didn't protest when he took her arm. Not a single cry of pain escaped her lips as he touched his wand to her wrist, watching in depraved pleasure as the Dark Mark snaked its way into her skin.

"It's beautiful," he whispered, running a hand up her thigh. She felt him, hard, pressing into her, and held her breath. The flickering candlelight caught the onyx stone he wore on his first finger.

"What's your ring?"

"A part of my soul is inside."

She gave a smirk. "Isn't that sweet."

Wisely, he refrained from telling her that it was every inch the truth.

xx

Her toes sifted the dying embers as Tom went through the list again. The pain kept her awake.

"Rhett and Louisa Thomas and their children."

"Their daughters are at Beauxbatons," Charles said. "But it will be easy enough to catch the two of them at the Hog's Head."

"Ursula Graham."

Caspar ran a hand through his thick blond hair. "Mine," he growled hungrily. "And I'm going to teach the tart a lesson before I kill her."

Everyone but Tom and Aurelia chuckled heartily. All business, he went on with the list.

"Violet Wright."

All heads turned toward Aurelia.

"I'm assisting her this term," she admitted, "but certainly you don't think—"

"A Mudblood is teaching Hogwarts students," Tom said sternly. "You're alone with her daily. You can make sure the half-breed never lays a finger on a wand again." From his robes, he produced a small vial of red liquid.

"Pale Horse Potion," Charles grasped. "So you have mastered it."

A dangerous threat gleamed in Tom's eyes as he regarded Aurelia. "That and more," he growled.

Aurelia took the vial.

xx

"I've fallen in love with you," she whispered, eyes lowered in shame. The blood of Professor Wright still stained her fingers, and she shuddered. "Enough to give up everything."

He stared back at her.

"They know it was me," she went on. "I have to leave here."

For a wild moment, he considered taking the fall. She had her whole life ahead of her; graduating from Hogwarts meant nothing to him.

"Go, then," he said in a grating voice. "You've spent your usefulness."

She stepped closer to him, achingly close. The temptation to kill her washed over him; she had the peculiar power to make him weak, and he hated her for it.

"You don't mean it," came her velvet whisper, "and I know it."

On impulse, he pulled a rusted old mouth organ from his pocket and pressed it into her hand.

"What's this?"

"Keep it with you always, and keep it safe. As long as you have it, part of me will be with you. Forever."

Time seemed to stop for a moment, and she could see through his well-fortified defenses, like she was peering through the morning fog. Then, just like that, they were solid again. "Now go."

Holding the treasure to her breast, she kissed him, then slipped out of the room.

xx

"Name?"

Gratefully, Aurelia sank into the wheelchair, and looked up at the nurse. "Tyra Stark."

"Let's get you up to the birthing ward, Mrs. Stark."

Aurelia didn't bother correcting her.

Twelve hours later, a baby girl lay in her arms, wrapped in blankets. She had Tom's dark hair; Aurelia couldn't help but smile.

"What's her name?" the Healer asked gently, pen poised to fill out the card.

"Vesper Violet Stark."

"Father?"

Aurelia played with the mouth organ. "She has no father."

As the Healer left the room, Vesper's little fingers found the harmonica and curled around the cold metal. Like in the womb, she heard a heartbeat inside.