A/N: This was something that I wrote without any knowledge of where it would go. I'm not sure if I like it, but I love Tom and therefore love writing him. Please don't be put off by the fact that it's an OC, this is mostly because we aren't aware of the majority of Tom's school year like we are with Harry's. Anyway, read, review and enjoy.


Denial.

by Flaignhan.


Rosa was a challenge. He wasn't sure whether he enjoyed the competition or despised it. He supposed it was a good thing, healthy, even. They fought to outdo each other in every single lesson. They couldn't compete on the homework because both of them always achieved top marks on it. Instead, they battled it out on extra curricular assignments.

Everybody steered clear of their corner in the library, two round tables, always stacked high with books. These tables belonged to Rosa and Tom, even if they were on Prefect duty, or if they were having lunch, nobody dared sit at them. It was suicide, especially if you sat at Tom's. It was an unspoken rule to leave those two tables alone, for good.

They had only ever been interrupted once, in the library, and that was during a heated debate about the theory surrounding animagi. Madam Burk had stormed over and ordered that the pair of them leave, and they were only allowed back once they knew how they should behave inside the library.

They bickered all the way down the stone steps, each of them blaming the other and still adamant that they, themselves were right about the theory, and that the other one was an unrivalled fool.

Tom pulled Rosa into an empty classroom, locked the door with a flick of his wand and set his books down upon the table.

Rosa moved towards the door.

"No, Rosa," Tom said smoothly. "You're not leaving. Not quite yet."

Rosa pointed her wand towards the door and shot several spells at it. It remained locked.

"Let me out of here Tom."

"Not until you know that I'm right," he told her. He set his wand down on top of his text books.

"Fine, you're right, whatever, now let me go."

Tom shook his head. Then, he began to stare at a fixed point on the wall, concentrating more than Rosa had ever seen him concentrate during any lesson or over any essay before. His body began to change, he started to writhe.

Rosa looked on in horror. Where Tom had once stood, tall, proud, and dreadfully smug, there was now nothing. Rosa looked down at the floor and saw a snake coiled there, deep dark green with light grey rings decorating its scales.

The snake uncoiled and began to slither towards Rosa, hissing, tasting the air, tasting Rosa's scent, her fear. Rosa wanted to scream, but her breath was caught in her throat. The snake began to coil itself around her leg.

"Get off, Tom!" she hissed. "I'll tell Professor Dumbledore!"

This made Tom stop and look up at her. "I will! I swear!" Rosa knew she'd hit a sore spot. Professor Dumbledore was the only teacher who didn't adore Tom. Who didn't fall for his charm or his intelligence. On the contrary, if ever Tom made the slightest slip, Professor Dumbledore pulled him up on it. It was rare, but Dumbledore made sure that when it did occur, he would make sure Tom felt suitably embarrassed, in the hope to knock him down a peg or two.

Tom removed himself from Rosa's leg, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Closing her pale blue eyes momentarily to calm herself down.

When she reopened them, Tom was standing before her, smug and cocky as ever.

"I think it's safe to say that I'm right, yes?"

Rosa nodded, her heart pounding. "You're unregistered," she told him after a moment's silence.

"I think it's the best way to be."

Rosa seemed to be having a mental battle. Finally, she said what was on her mind. "Will you teach me?"

Tom looked her up and down, and even though his wand was still resting on top of the huge pile of text books he'd brought down from the library, she still felt vulnerable. Academics she might be able to match him in, but she knew she had no chance if they ever entered into a duel.

"I don't see why not."

"Really?" Rosa sounded surprised, as though she hadn't expected him to say yes. He hadn't expected himself to say yes either, but the idea appealed to him. Having a student, someone who he could teach, mould, even influence.

"Meet me here after dinner tomorrow."

Rosa nodded, and Tom picked up his wand, waved it in the general direction of the door and it swung open. He picked up his books and left.


"Concentrate, Rosa!"

"I can't!"

"You've hit a wall and you need to break through it! Now try again!"

"No! I give up!"

"You almost had it last week! What's the point in giving up now?"

"Because you're being horrible!"

Tom looked at her with disgust. "That's pathetic. Try again or we won't have any more lessons."

"Maybe I don't want any more lessons!" Rosa yelled

"Try again!"

Rosa screamed in frustration, screwed up her face, and after a few seconds, a tiger was standing in her place, glaring at Tom with pale blue eyes, chest heaving with every heavy breath that Rosa took.

"Now. That wasn't so hard, was it?"

Rosa growled and Tom decided he probably should have waited until she changed back to make that comment. She pawed at his leg and Tom lurched backwards, sending a desk flying.

"Those claws are very sharp, Rosa. You'd do well to keep them away from me."

Rosa changed back and Tom was sickened by the smug grin on her face. "You weren't scared, were you Tom?"

"At least I didn't threaten to go running to the Mudblood lover."

"What did you just say?"

"You heard me."

"You do realise that I'm muggleborn." Rosa told him, her teeth gritted, a scowl sitting on her brow.

Tom's eyes narrowed. "No you're not."

"I can assure you, I am. You're experiencing what is commonly called 'denial', Tom."

Tom's lip curled.

"I think that's the end of our lessons."


The evening after Myrtle died - poor Myrtle, everyone felt sorry for her now she was dead, never when she was alive - Rosa unintentionally caught his eye. He looked at her with that sour look he had always reserved just for her. There was something else behind it though.

She had been worried all along that he'd been wrapped up in it, and she'd ignored it. After all, it was just a coincidence that his animagus form was a snake. Just a coincidence.

She knew it wasn't a coincidence though. She also got the impression that he knew that she knew. She wondered why he had never set the beast on her, whatever it was.

Perhaps he was still in denial.


The End.