A/N: Just a little something because I missed writing Tom. It's set after Change Back but I don't think it's completely necessary to read it beforehand. Let me know what you think. =] Oh and if the format goes silly again, drop us a line to let us know? For some reason it keeps uploading everything I write underlined and in italics and won't un-underline the whole lot at the same time, rather paragraph by paragraph and it doesn't always save everything.
"Do you love me?" he asks, rolling over to look at her.
Hermione frowns and doesn't answer. He smirks.
He reaches out a long fingered hand to gently stroke her side. She closes her eyes gently and sighs.
"Do you?" he persists.
"Do you love me?" she asks, turning the tables on him and opening her eyes.
"Of course not," he replies in a silky whisper. "That would be foolish to feel like that."
She rolls her eyes, feeling a little stung, despite expecting nothing else.
"So why do you stay? Why do you coexist with me as peacefully as you do? Why aren't you ordering me around?"
"You risked a lot when you saved my life," he answered flatly. "I may despise the concept of love but I can still appreciate what you did for me. I'm not completely inhuman."
He smirks again and kisses her collarbone softly with cool smooth lips. His hair is slightly tousled and she runs her fingers through it to neaten it a little more, despite knowing that it will inevitably become a lot more ruffled before they get out of bed.
"Did you miss me?" she asks abruptly, breaking the comfortable silence. "After I left?"
"Charms lessons certainly became duller."
She can feel him smirking against the skin of her neck.
"I suppose I missed you initially, yes."
"Really?" She's shocked by this plain and open declaration. It's more than he has ever said and probably more than he will ever say so she commits the small treasure to memory. She doesn't even mind that he purposefully added the initially in to make sure he didn't give her too much.
"Well you were the only one in our year who could hold a reasonable conversation. And the fucking was enjoyable, too."
He had said about the conversation before the fucking, and that was no accident, she decides, trying to hold back a smile.
"Speaking of which, we're going to have to get up soon but I'm not going to face the day before you've fucked me senseless, so you'd best get to it."
People who are not used to him would expect her to slap him after that, but instead she smiles and complies, because that is all she ever finds herself able to do when it comes to him.
Much later, when they're both lounged on the settee, her with her feet in his lap, reading thick heavy books from Hermione's vast collection, he marks his page and sets the book down on the table turning to look at her.
"You never answered," he says.
"Hmm?" she doesn't remove her eyes or her mind from the book, and even if he repeats she still won't hear him.
He runs a long index finger down the arch of her foot and her leg spasms as her toes curl. This gets her attention and she too marks her page and sets her book down on the table.
"You didn't answer, earlier."
"Oh," she says simply. What can she say to that?
"Well, do you?"
"Love me, you thick headed troll."
She raises an eyebrow and he continues to wait for an answer.
She doesn't know what to say. He'll never love her and she doesn't know whether she can be in a relationship where one so carelessly disregards love as an inconvenience which gets in the way between sex and deep conversation. However, when she thinks about the way his breath feels on her neck and the way that he kisses her, she thinks she might just…even the way he looks at her sometimes makes her stop what she's doing. She wonders if he loves her but doesn't recognise the feeling to put a name to it. When she thinks about the terrible things he has done, she doesn't love him, doesn't love him at all.
Lord Voldemort is gone now, however, and she is living with and lusting after Tom Riddle.
He's still looking at her, patient and curious, his eyes burning holes into her.
"No," she says, "don't be silly."