A/N: I just found this on my computer (while procrastinating and trying to avoid writing Tempora Abducto) and thought I should post it as I quite enjoyed reading it. It's a one-shot, I may write others from this arc, purely to satisfy Tom/Hermione cravings without having to go through the usual garbage. Just nice little scenes which pop into my head and don't need any past or future, they just need that moment. I am planning to update Tempora Abducto today, and I go home for Christmas next week so hopefully I'll be able to really get into it then, but I'm also doing a Dramione, spanning a week with each chapter documenting one day. I'm actually really pleased with how it's going and you should be seeing it before the year is out. I think that's all my news so far. Let me know what you think!
Wait for the Song to Stop.
"Why did you ask me?"
"Why did you say yes?"
Hermione pursed her lips as her eyebrows knitted together in a frown. She didn't answer him.
"Look around," he said, his eyes roaming over the entrance hall. "What do you see?"
"Students," Hermione said blankly.
"Look closer. Particularly at the females."
Hermione glanced carelessly at a gaggle of girls in brightly coloured dress robes, giggling and gossiping as they waited for their dates to greet them (or in the case of Andrea Midgen, for the rest of her friends to disappear with their dates).
"They're excitable. Foolish. Desperate little creatures who live off of attention. I'd rather spend an evening with a girl who loathes me than a girl who loves me."
She could see his point. That was so typical of Tom, despising any sign of love, no matter how shallow it may be.
"What about Judith? She's not silly."
"All girls are silly when it comes to the graduation ball. Now, I've answered your question, you answer mine."
"Well, you only live once," Hermione sighed. "Imagine how exciting it'll be when I get home and tell them that I attended the Graduation Ball with Lord Voldemort himself."
She didn't need to look at Tom to know he was smirking. She could practically feel the smugness radiating from him.
Truth be told, the real reason Hermione had agreed to go to the Graduation Ball with Tom Riddle was because she was curious. Curious as to why he had asked her in the first place, curious to find out what it would be like to be at a ball with the future Dark Lord, and curious to see the reactions of the other seventh years when the Slytherin Head Boy was seen at the ball with the Gryffindor know it all.
Curiosity killed the cat, Hermione.
She ignored her inner monologue as the doors to the Great Hall opened. She felt Tom tense beside her as the girls squealed in delight and rushed forwards, desperate for the party to begin. Boys shot weary looks to one another as they were dragged into the hall by anxious dance partners and within forty five seconds the entrance hall was void of any students other than Tom, Hermione, a few stragglers and a crying girl on the stairs who had been stood up.
Tom tutted disdainfully at her sobbing and led Hermione towards the hall.
"Care for some punch?" Tom offered a goblet full to the brim with bright pink punch to her and Hermione frowned.
"My mother told me not to accept drinks from strange men."
"But she didn't tell you not to accept drinks from future World leaders, did she? Drink up, there's a good girl," he pushed the goblet into Hermione's hands and she took it, though she didn't drink from it.
"World leader?" she said in return, "You have to be kidding. Not even close. Pest would be a more accurate term."
Tom scowled. "If I'm such an inconsequential pest then how comes you're still terrified of me?"
"I'm not," Hermione said stubbornly, scowling back at him. She swatted away one of the decorative fairies that came fluttering a little too close to her. "I just don't want to get too friendly with a man who I know has already killed his father, his grandparents, and that poor girl Myrtle. Can you honestly blame me?"
Tom froze. "How do you know I killed my father?"
"Because I'm very very intelligent."
Tom's expression softened into a doubtful smirk. "I'm yet to see the evidence. You're a time traveller and you claim to know all the laws, yet here you are, breaking them left right and centre." His eyes fell to the goblet in Hermione's hands. "I haven't poisoned it. Drink mine if you must." He swapped goblets with Hermione and she frowned a little before taking a sip.
She didn't die, and therefore decided to explain her disregard for the rules he had just mentioned. "Where I'm from, you already knew everything that I'm telling you, and you knew because I'd told you. It's a circle, Tom, a circle of time, and who am I to argue with time?"
"You know the future me?"
"Yes, we go to the same Herbology club, Thursday evenings, in the Leaky Cauldron, don't miss it, will you?"
"Do you always speak such utter rubbish?" he didn't seem annoyed, more amused at Hermione's quick and creative nonsense.
"Want to dance, Tom?" a giggly blonde girl had approached, red in the cheeks, make up heavy, dress robes indecently low cut.
"I'm not much of a dancer, I'm afraid," Tom replied kindly, plastering on a fake smile that made the girl zone out and not hear a word he was saying. "More of a conversationalist, and I have adequate company to fulfil that particular need, thank you."
The girl looked at him blankly before realising she'd been dismissed. She sauntered away, looking slightly glum that she had not managed to snap up the most popular boy in the entire school.
Hermione's expression was one of not particularly well concealed disgust.
"I feel much the same way that you do," Tom said, reaching across Hermione to take a vol-au-vent from a large silver platter near her elbow. He took a bite and chewed thoughtfully. "These are really rather good," he commented, reaching across to take another one.
Hermione frowned, making a mental note to offer Lord Voldemort a vol-au-vent next time he decided he was going to go on a killing spree. Perhaps that would sufficiently distract him from his homicidal tendencies. She snorted at the thought, catching Tom's attention.
She shook her head, still smiling.
"My company isn't quite as dreadful as you thought it would be, is it?"
Hermione raised an eyebrow and Tom sighed.
"I can understand that you may disapprove of my...extra curricular activities," Hermione's eyebrows raised even higher, "but as a companion I am not the most dreadful option, am I?"
"Yes but all this chit chat is just a façade, isn't it? You don't like other human beings so you could be the greatest person to attend a ball with ever and it still wouldn't mean anything because I know that secretly, you'd love nothing more than to Avada Kedavra me every time I open my mouth."
"No honestly, it's not. I have had plenty of opportunities to kill you and I haven't. Why? Because you are the only girl in this school who is tolerable, bordering on pleasant company."
"Quite the charmer, aren't you?"
"If I'm honest, I've kept you alive until now purely so I didn't have to attend this disastrous ceremony with some vapid, pathetic excuse for a witch who would demand I dance with her, or would try to rape me in the dungeons after it's all over."
"You really think a lot of yourself, don't you?" she said mildly, watching various couples attempt to dance, smiling slightly when they failed miserably.
"I'm a handsome man and these girls will not take no for an answer, believe me."
She did believe him. It was hard not to when she noted the wandering hands (so early in the evening, too!) and low cut dress robes.
"You've got confetti in your hair."
Hermione reached up to cautiously feel around her head for any sign of confetti, careful not to displace the intricate hairdo that Sally Anne had insisted upon doing for her. Tom watched her search for a short while before he became bored and reached forward to remove the glittery, wizard hat shaped piece of card from her hair.
"Thanks," Hermione said, taking a sip of her punch, only briefly making eye contact with him before she returned her attention to the couples on the dance floor.
"Do you honestly think I'm going to kill you?" Tom asked.
"Try. I can assure you that you won't succeed."
"Well I wasn't planning to until now," Tom said, "but since you've made it out to be such a challenge...you know how I love a challenge, Hermione."
Hermione rolled her eyes.
"I think we'll make it through this evening. The only thing keeping me sane right now is the fact that you despise this whole ridiculous ceremony as much as I do."
Hermione smirked, just a little. The smirk disappeared when she realised that she'd have to do this all over again when she got back to her own time. She voiced this concern to Tom, who eyed her with what seemed to be genuine sympathy.
"I could arrange to have you killed before the ball. Send me a reminder nearer the time and you'll be dead before light of the next day."
"I'm actually considering it," Hermione responded, forehead creased in a look that was part frown, part disgust and part fear as one girl close by pulled her date into a fierce kiss, devouring his face in a most unpleasant sort of way.
"I need a drink." Tom stood abruptly and picked up Hermione's almost empty goblet. "Do you want me to add a little something extra to your drink? To make the evening more bearable?"
"I don't want you adding anything to my drink, thank you very much."
"Abraxas Malfoy has a flask of Firewhiskey. Yes or no?" he waited patiently for an answer.
Hermione had never been particularly interested in alcohol, but she had a feeling that punch just wasn't going to cut it if she wanted to escape with her sanity from the ball at the end of the night. Despite her brain telling her it was a very bad idea to accept a spiked drink from a man who was quite arguably the most evil in history, Hermione nodded decisively.
The evening started to go by a lot faster, now that she had some whiskey in her veins. Silly things seemed funnier than they would had she still been drinking punch, and Tom even became enjoyable company.
"Dance with me."
Hermione looked at him as though he had asked her to run a marathon. Naked. Trampling kittens as she went.
"I'm not asking," he informed her. "Dance with me. See? No question mark. No upwards inflection to insinuate that it's a question. Nothing of the sort. Get up."
Hermione tried and failed to make herself weigh more as he pulled her up from the chair she had been sitting in all night. Her head swum a little from the Firewhiskey that Tom had added to her drinks, though she wasn't drunk. She was Hermione Granger! She didn't get drunk.
She also didn't have a habit of attending dances fifty years before she was born with future/present (depending on how you looked at it) Dark Lords, but there was a first time for everything, wasn't there?
Tom led her over to the dance floor and pulled her close. He wasn't a bad dancer, but nor was he very good. That suited Hermione, who had been born with two left feet and thus was hopeless at anything remotely connected to dancing.
He must have dragged her through six or seven songs before Hermione decided it was time to sit down. She pulled away from him and he frowned.
"I want to sit down," she explained, turning away.
Tom pulled her back. "The song's still playing."
Hermione looked blankly back at him, not sure why this was relevant.
Tom pulled her back into his arms and continued dancing.
"I want to sit down!" Hermione complained, attempting to push him away with the hand that he wasn't firmly holding on to.
"Hermione, I don't know whether anybody's ever told you," Tom leaned forward so he could whisper in her ear, his voice low, and for the first time that evening, a little menacing, "if you're dancing with the Dark Lord, you wait for the song to stop, okay?"
Hermione pulled away from him slightly to look at his face. It was expressionless.
She waited for the song to stop, and then she sat down.
Tom followed, picking up a couple of slightly stale looking vol-au-vents before he sat down next to her.
She felt very sober.