Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter!

25 Days of December

Chapter Nine- Red
Pairing: Merope Gaunt/Tom Riddle Sr.

9th December 1925

Merope woke early on the late December morning and smiled at the feel of the sun shining through the window onto her face. She rolled over and her smile widened at the sight of her Tom sleeping beside her.

Her Tom.

It sounded so right. She sighed, lying and staring at his face until he woke up. He looked around, confused. He was always confused in the morning; it was a side effect of the potion. But that wouldn't last past breakfast.

She smiled at him and he smiled back; starry eyed and smitten as usual.

"Good morning, my love." He said in his usual, dreamy voice. Merope beamed at him.

"Good morning." She whispered.

"Shall I make breakfast this morning?" He asked eagerly. He asked this every day; anything to please her. Merope shook her head fondly.

"No. I shall make it." Merope said, with an almost sad smile. "In fact, I should go and make a start now." She added, getting up and stretching.

"Ok. I love you." Tom said, an adoring look on his face.

"I love you, too." Merope said, her heart warming.

Then, she hurried downstairs to her potions room. She sighed. She wished she could stop giving him the potion, that he had fallen in love with her normally. But she was afraid that if she stopped, he would leave her and she would be an outcast forever. She felt her eyes fill with tears at the thought but wiped them away quickly, and turned to the potion.

The transparent liquid was simmering quietly, just like she'd left it the previous day. She stirred it three times clockwise and then yanked one of her hairs out, dropping it into the potion. It turned an unpleasant looking blood red, just like always.

When Merope first made the potion, and saw the colour, she had been worried that it meant something bad, or that it was trying to tell her something. But she had since convinced herself that it was something to do with the heart, and love, so it couldn't really be a bad thing, could it?

She pursed her lips and scooped up a vial of the potion before going to the kitchen to mix it in with breakfast. When Tom joined her in the kitchen, she smiled absent-mindedly at him. She thought of how Christmas was coming up… she needed to get him a present. Of course he loved everything she bought him, no matter what, and always went overboard himself, desperate to show her his undying love, but Merope still wanted to get him something that she was certain he would genuinely like.

"How about we go shopping today, honey?" She suggested innocently. Tom grinned.

"Whatever you want to do, I will do too, my love." He said, gazing up at her. Merope smiled and placed his breakfast in front of him. He didn't question why his porridge was tinged a light pink colour; it was like that everyday, and he loved it that way.

"I love you." Merope sighed, longingly, just as he was about to take a mouthful. He glanced up at her, smiled, and just as Merope was convinced he was going to say 'I love you' back at the moment he was the most sober, he ate the mouthful of porridge. His eyes widened slightly and he turned to give Merope a soppy, slavish look.

"Not as much as I love you." He cooed, leaning forward to kiss her. Merope kissed back and offered a half-hearted smile as they broke apart. "Is something wrong, my darling?" Tom asked concernedly. Merope forced herself to look happier.

"Oh, no! Of course not!" She reassured him. "I'll go and get dressed ready for shopping!" She said. Tom smiled dreamily at her.

Merope climbed the stairs and smiled to herself. It was better this way, she told herself. They were happy!

But her mind couldn't help but keep remembering the ugly, blood red colour of the love potion Merope was forced to make so that her own husband would love her…

.

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A.N- So this was short aswell, but that's mostly because of the pairing. I came up with it while I was making my list of the 25 couples I planned to write about, and I thought 'I wonder if I could fit one of the Gaunts in there' so I decided to give it a try. Tell me what you think! :)

Next Couple is a little more normal: Alice/Frank

Thanks for reading, Toff.x

P.S- werewolbydaymarauderbymidnite: Thanks for your reviews and support! I have really appreciated it! x