A/N: I'm venturing into multi-chapter land with Tom and Hermione. I've hit writer's block with my other multi-chapter, the monster that is By Any Other Name and so I think writing lots of Tom and Hermione shall cure me of this, and even if it doesn't, it'll be jolly good fun anyway. These chapters will be fairly short but there will also be quite a few of them. I have no doubt that in my honeymoon period with this fic I shall get the first four to five chapters out in the upcoming week, but don't quote me on that - the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Anyway, let me know what you think because it's always nice to hear from you.
She loved the smell of wood polish, battered leather and old worn parchment. She loved the overpowering silence and the slight feeling of claustrophobia that engulfed her when walking between the tightly packed bookshelves. She loved running a finger along the spines of the books and rubbing the dust between her fingers.
Hermione loved the restricted section of the library.
That deafening silence was broken when she opened one of the books. A face seemed to leap out at her and began screaming loudly and shrilly. It was the sort of scream that made her think of the cruciatus curse.
In a moment of stupidity she put her hand over the mouth in a pathetic attempt to stifle the scream. As soon as Madame Pince heard she would be rushing over with her wand, her sole intention being to punish Hermione for disturbing her precious silence, and evidently abusing her books so much that they were actually screaming.
As she touched the mouth of the screaming face, her hand sunk straight through as though she had plunged it into icy water. Her shriek was overpowered by the still screaming book and as she tried to tug her hand out of the book, she found she was being pulled in further.
It was like apparating. It had that same feeling of suffocation. There was no up, no down, no light, no dark. The only thing she registered was the dreadful cold attacking her body and sucking all heat from her.
After what seemed to be an eternity, but in reality was only a moment, Hermione was spat back out of the book and landed on the hard stone floor with a thud and a groan. Her lip was bleeding from where she had crushed it between the floor and her teeth and it felt like her jaw was broken.
It wasn't broken, but all the same, it felt like it.
She sat up, not immediately registering the change in her surroundings.
Once her eyes had adjusted, she realised she was in a dormitory. She looked up to see a pale faced, dark haired boy sitting on the bed nearest her, looking quite shocked. Her eyes dropped to his tie and she saw he was in Slytherin. His eyes dropped to her tie and he didn't hide the look of disgust that came with the revelation that she was a Gryffindor.
He was clutching onto the book as though it were a life line, holding it tightly against his chest, his arms folded over it protectively.
"What were you doing in my book?" he demanded in a well spoken, slightly bratty tone.
"It's not your book," Hermione responded, "it's a library book."
"It is my book, you have no idea what you're -" he stopped and took a breath. "I shall ask you again," he said evenly, now dispensing with his bratty tone and taking on the silky dangerous tone that reminded her so much of Severus Snape. "What were you doing inside this book?"
"I was going ten pin bowling." Hermione didn't often use sarcasm, but the patronising tone of this very typically Slytherin boy had awoken her temper.
The boy's nostrils flared angrily.
"Well what do you think I was doing?" Hermione asked exasperatedly. "Having a private party? Honestly."
The boy withdrew his wand and Hermione matched his speed. "Explain how you came to be here or I will hex you into next week," he growled.
Hermione maintained eye contact and tried to ignore the hairs raising on the back of her neck and the lump that had formed in her throat from fear. She could feel the boy's magic pulsating through the room and decided to dispense with the sarcasm.
"I don't know. One minute I was in the restricted section, the next that book was screaming at me and then I ended up in here." She then added, "with a bloody lip." She waved her wand and the blood around her mouth disappeared. She waved her wand again and the sharp pain in her jaw dulled to a gentle and much more bearable ache.
The boy looked at her curiously. "What do you mean it screamed at you? How can a book scream at you?"
"A face seemed to come out of the pages and start screaming. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be getting back to Gryffindor tower."
"Yeah, good luck." He snorted as Hermione rose and moved towards the door. She whirled around to face him.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" she asked tersely.
"You don't belong here, you have to go back through the book, you dunce."
It was the first time Hermione had ever been called a dunce, and the fact that her jaw was hanging open in shock did not help to dispel the boy's description of her. "What do you mean I don't belong here? Of course I belong here!"
"Well for one thing your tie is of a different style to the other Gryffindors, for another I have never seen your pathetic little face at this school and I would have noticed, what with all the hair surrounding you, thirdly, your skirt is far shorter than Dippet would ever allow and lastly, you just travelled through a book that's not in the restricted section and hasn't been for the last four months. So, my guess is that you don't belong here."
He seemed to be quite triumphant with his deduction and all the evidence he had collected to support it in such a short space of time.
"Dippet? Armando Dippet?"
"Yeeees," he answered in a long, drawn out and rather bored tone.
"Back through the book then, dear?" He enjoyed being patronising, she could tell.
"Why have you got it?" she asked. "How can you read it if it's just screaming at you the whole time?"
"Who said it was screaming at me? Perhaps it only screams at Gryffindors." he answered.
"What's your name?" she asked, struck by sudden curiosity.
"Tom," he answered, smirking ever so slightly. "Tom Riddle."
The colour drained from Hermione's face.
"You've heard of me then?"