A/N: This idea has been mouldering in the drawer by my bed for a good six months now. I finally decided to bring it to life. I've yet to see this pairing - Lily Luna and Tom Riddle - and the idea intrigued me. What would happen, I wondered, if Tom came back for Ginny, only to find her married to his nemesis? What would happen if he set new sights for revenge - the ultimate revenge! - on Harry and his family in the form of the only female Potter, Lily? I hope you enjoy this little brain-child of mine. Let me know what you think! Cheers, fellow readers!
Time has not been unkind to this family. As the days became months and the months became years, their love for one another grew, multiplied, developed into an unstoppable force. The once scared children became content adults, presiding over their progeny with an aggressive love.
That is one aspect of time.
Time as a force is one that cannot be stopped, cannot be placfed on pause. Even when a Time-Turner is in use, Time soldiers on relentlessly, chronologically, the wants and wills of the people left unheeded. Figures of the past, once gone, once their time has ended, remain in stasis. They can't move into the future. Or that's the way it's meant to happen.
Because sometimes there are incidences. Incidences that cannot be explained, incidences in which those who were meant to stay in the past where they belong transcend all barriers and find themselves in a time unknown. Such things don't occur often, but when they do – disaster is inevitable.
Let the story begin.
It is an unusually cool night in the Potter household, nineteen years after the fall of Lord Voldemort. The windows of the cozy home in Godric's Hollow are thrown wide open, curtains fluttering, yearning to embrace the subtle caresses of a phantom breeze. The stars shine brightly, twinkling coldly in the infinitely vast wilderness of the sky. The illumination of a full moon serves as the night-light to a young girl with fiery hair huddled under the covers of her bed.
Posters of a woman with a slightly lighter shade of hair in Quidditch robes line the walls, winking and smiling over her as she sleeps. A man with glasses and messy black hair with emerald eyes holds a place in a picture frame on the bedside table, smiling down at a baby with the same red hair as the bed's occupant. Next to this is another frame, this time with two black-haired boys – one with bright eyes of emerald, the other with mischievously warm brown ones – looking slightly sheepish, the taller of the two about to place a rather large spider a top the shorter's head.
The room itself is painted a bright green, reminiscent of spring, comparable to the budding youth within the room. There is a small broomstick propped in the corner beside a rocking chair, scarred by too many run-ins with grubby hands and overly-excited little boys. A black cat lies curled upon the rocking chair, ears twitching at a far-off rustling in the grass.
Suddenly, a whimper sounds from between the white sheets, the little girl thrashing in the throes of a nightmare. The cat leaps down from its position on the chair and onto the bed, pawing at the little girl's hands which cover her ears. As quickly as the nightmare begins, it ends, the cat giving her one last nudge with its nose before settling back down in its original spot and resuming its sleep. The little girl now has a peaceful smile on her face, hands relaxed against the comforter, the indifferent moon bathing her in its apathetic light.
Lily Luna Potter is pale as Death, a little Snow White swathed in the white funereal garments of the pure. All is still in that moment, a snapshot frozen in time. The breeze is dead. The crickets have ceased their chirping. The clocks have stopped.
The only thing that has continued its movements are the dust motes in the air, dust that begins to dance, to swirl, to rage in a whirlwind that disturbs nothing, failing to eschew all movement until they have coalesced into the corporeal form of a boy – a man – that should not exist, a man who had been defeated nineteen years previously.
Only, he now comes in the guise of a seventeen year old boy.
Tom Marvolo Riddle.
The tall boy stands with his eyes closed in the center of the room, the moon outlining his perfect features distinctly. Dressed all in black – black robes, black cloak, black loafers – his pale, nearly white skin standing in stark monochromatic contrast to the rest of him. His wavy black hair is parted to the side as in the days of old, the sudden exhalation of air from his nostrils causing one rebellious lock to flutter up into space and slowly, oh so slowly, back down.
His eyes snap open. Yet another darkness antagonistic to his pale skin. Spidery fingers sweep the cloak from his shoulders and lay it gently across the end of the bed, the black clashing mightily with the white.
It didn't belong.
Tom Riddle walks – glides – saunters, a predator circling its prey, around the bed until he stands before the little girl with red hair he has come for, the girl who hasn't seemed to have aged one bit since he'd last seen her down in the Chamber. He reaches out one long, pale finger, tracing the outline of her kind face.
Mine, he thinks possessively.
Her eyes are released from the bonds of sleep in that same instant, an unnatural green peering sleepily up at him.
Time has begun again.
He hisses in rage as the eyes of his enemy try to focus.
And it is that one word that shatters the illusion. Her eyes are not green – rather, it is merely a reflection caused by the walls of her room and the moon. It is not Ginny, he knows this now as he looks more closely at her. The heart-shaped freckle by her left eye isn't there, nor is the scar on the bridge of her nose from being hit in the face by George's broomstick. The freckles themselves are paler, not nearly as numerous, and her right eye has a yellow splotch near the center. Her hair is a deeper red, longer, more luxurious. No, this is not his Ginevra, not at all.
This is someone better.
She yawns, rubbing at her eyes. "Daddy?" she repeats.
Perhaps in another lifetime, he muses, I could have been.
The plotting wheels of his revenge are set into motion.
"No, little one," he replies. "I am not your Daddy."
At this, she freezes, looking up in horror at the unknown man beside her bed.
"Do not scream," he soothes – he orders.
"Who – who are you?" she asks fearfully.
"A ghost of someone I once was," he answers mournfully.
She glares at him. "You don't look like a ghost to me," she says defiantly.
Tom chuckles at her insolence. Braver than her mother.
"Tell me. Can someone who is not a ghost do this?"
He winks gaily at her and his appearance begins to waver, becomes smoky, and vanishes, only for him to reappear on the other side of her bed. Lily scrambles eagerly to her knees, her white nighty pooling around her.
"How did you do that?" she asks in disbelief.
Tom shrugs. "Ghost," he says matter of factly.
"I still don't believe you," she declares snootily, crossing her arms over her still-flat chest. "You're not transparent. James told me all ghosts are transparent. His teacher said so."
"Did he, now?" Tom quirks an eyebrow in her direction.
"Yes. He did." Lily sneers. "And I'll prove you're not a ghost!"
Before Tom can react, Lily leaps at him, knocking him to the ground. Tom stares up in shock at the little nine year old sitting triumphantly on his abdomen.
"Ouch," he says in jest. "I guess you win."
And he smiles his most disarmingly dangerous smile.
Lily is immune to his charms. "Mummy told me to never trust strangers," she says, still sitting atop him. "And mister, you're a liar and a stranger." She pokes him belligerently in the chest.
Tom, having enough of being squished by a child, discreetly waves his hand and Lily suddenly finds herself back in her bed with the covers settled over her lap. He stands, dusting his robes off.
"Then let me make myself more familiar to you."
She tugs the covers up closer to her chin, wary.
"Okay," she says reluctantly.
Tom looks around for a place to sit before sighing upon finding nothing. Snapping his fingers in a bored manner, an armchair appears before him, the same color as Lily's room, and he settles comfortably in it beside her bed. He crosses his left leg carelessly over the other, his thumb rubbing the tiny cleft in his chin. Catching Lily's eyes he smiles once more, and Lily becomes a bit more comfortable in his presence, bringing the blanket down from her chin.
"My name is Tom," he says finally.
"Tom?" she repeats in alarm, the covers back at her chin in an instant.
He looks hurt. I should have known Ginevra would say something about our… past. "Is there something wrong with that name?"
"No – I mean, yes – er…" she stutters, having the decency to – finally – look mollified, feeling sorry for offending the lonely boy. He looks encouragingly, if a little sadly, at her to continue. "It's just that my Mum told me a story once. About this boy, named Tom," she clarifies, "how he hurt her when she was a little older than me. He – um – well, he made her do bad things to people. And she couldn't remember doing them!" she says with wide, scared eyes.
Oh my darling little child, he thinks with relish, you have no idea the things I made her do!
She continues her babbling and he plays his role as attentive listener well, looking horrified at all the right parts. It is all he can do to restrain himself, however, when it comes to the part where Harry Potter (he sneers the name in hatred within the confines of his mind) saves the day once again, stealing his Ginevra from him.
"That's awful!" he cries out in mock-indignation at the story's conclusion. "I'd never do such a horrid thing to you!" I'd do worse.
She smiles, slightly reassured. Lily screws her face up, thinking, before finally saying, "My name is Lily, by the way. Lily Luna Potter."
"That's a very pretty name, Lily Luna, especially for such a pretty girl like yourself. Tell me," he inquires offhandedly, "what year were you born?"
"Two thousand seven," she says proudly, "the same day ten years after Lord Voldemort died."
Tom freezes. I… died? Quickly, memories begin to flood his mind, memories he never had…
A man emerges from the bubbling contents of a massive cauldron, cloaked in darkness –
A boy with emerald green eyes jerks and screams at his feet, surrounded by crazed laughter –
Bellatrix Lestrange and his most loyal Death Eaters burst from Azkaban with himself in the lead, flying unaided over the churning ocean –
Pain beyond imagination before he thrusts himself from a boy's mind too full of that most despicable of all human emotions – lo –
His anguished screams echo ten-fold upon finding the locket and ring gone, destroyed, Hufflepuff's cup, vanished –
I am about to die –
Nagini's head is separated from her body in a fantastic spray of ruby blood –
"Think, and try for some remorse, Riddle…"
A red and gold sunrise rents the air –
Tom surfaces from the memories as one might from a vision of torment to the continued chattering of Lily.
It won't happen again, he vows. It won't.
"I'm starting Hogwarts in two years – did you ever go there, Tom?"
"Yes," he says distantly, still caught up in the past, "Yes, I went there, once."
"Was it wonderful?" she sighs dreamily.
As Tom refocuses on her he realizes she's now laying on her stomach, feet crossed high up in the air, her face a mere six inches from his own as she looks at him expectantly.
"It was everything I ever wanted," he states with more truth than she could possibly ever know.
A splash of gold hits the side of his face. The sun, without their knowledge, had begun its ritual of ascent.
"I must go," he says unexpectedly. Before Lily can even register his actions, Tom's cloak has encompassed his shoulders magnificently.
"Wait!" she cries, jumping to her feet and sliding off the edge of the bed to stand before him. "Will I see you again?" she asks dejectedly. The yellow splotch in her right eye looks up at him imploringly.
Surrounded by family and she's still lonely. Just like Ginevra.
He cracks a small smile before lifting her hand and placing a small kiss upon it.
He smiles fully before fading away, leaving Lily blushing, staring at the spot where he had lightly touched his lips to her now tingling hand.
The door opens softly then and a head with a shock of black hair peers inside the room.
"Daddy! She squeals before launching herself into his arms, kissing his nose.
He laughs heartily, kissing her back on the same spot just like every other morning. "How did you sleep, my little flower?"
"Yucky – I had a bad dream again."
A frown furrows his eyebrows, accentuating the growing lines on his forehead. "Was it the one about the vampire again?"
"I knew I shouldn't have let you watch that movie!" he says self-deprecatingly, pain apparent on his sensitive features.
"Daddy, it's not your fault!" she exclaims with wide eyes, grabbing his face in her two little hands. "I made you let me."
Harry James Potter sighs unhappily before swinging her around and sitting in the rocking chair with Lily on his lap. "How come you didn't call me or Mum into your room?"
Lily's eyes light up in excitement. "Because a boy came to visit me!"
Harry cocks his head to the side. "A boy, you say? Aren't you a little bit young to be thinking about boys?" he gives her a roguish wink.
"Umm…" Oh no – what if Daddy and Mummy find out and I can't see him again?
With a shake of his head, Harry sets Lily to her feet, laughing. "Never mind, Lils – go wake Mummy so we can play Quidditch later."
Once Harry hears Ginny's laugh and Lily's squeal, he allows the frown to return. Walking to the door, he rubs his scar absently. At the threshold to Lily's room he looks back on it, now washed with golden light, listening to the morning bird-songs. Everything looks as it should, and yet… Something isn't right. He goes to step back into the room –
"Harry!" Ginny calls. "Harry, I need you to keep the monster from tickling me!"
"I'm not a monster, Mummy!" Lily yells, "I'm a dragon! RAWR!"
His eyes light up merrily and he closes the door behind him, forgetting, for the moment, his feelings of unease. Harry Potter joins his wife and daughter, scooping both of them into his arms and tickling them. The house echoes with their laughter and love, yet something far more sinister joins in with their laughter, unheard, behind the closed door.
Several years have passed and Lily, now fifteen, storms unhappily into her dorm in Gryffindor Tower and throws herself onto her bed face-down.
"Stupid boys and their stupid hormones and their stupid, stupid selves. I hate them! I'm going to be a nun because boys are just so STUPID!" she screams, beating her fists and legs against the bed, tears falling from her eyes. "I hope Albus kills the bloody poofter, I hope he rips his arms and legs off and skewers his – "
"Now, now, Lily," a voice near her ear breathes in amusement, "I'm sure Scorpius doesn't warrant such punishment as losing the ability to procreate, no matter how terribly he wronged you."
"Go away, Tom," Lily mumbles, her voice muffled by the pillow. "You're just like the rest of them, coming to a git's defense when he doesn't deserve it."
"Really, now? Would any other 'git' do this?"
Lily yelps as she suddenly finds herself laying beside Tom in her bed, her head nestled on his shoulder in the protective custody of his sturdy arms. Scowling up at the boy, she realizes he looks exactly the same as he did six years ago. Timelessly young, beautifully handsome: her best friend.
"You know, you make me really uncomfortable sometimes," she states haughtily.
"Oh?" he raises his eyebrow and smirks down at her, knowing how much she hates it when he does something she cannot. "How so?"
"Hmm, let me see," she says mockingly, tapping her finger against her chin. "You creep up behind me and whisper in my ear, I'll wake up in the middle of the night to see you staring at me; at night when I'm sneaking around the castle you enjoy prowling in my shadow and trying to get me to scream and – oh yea! – you forcibly flip me over in my bed and pin me to your body in such a way that, had I not known you had no interest in me sexually," she says with a minute hint of bitterness that, had it been anyone but Tom, would have been lost upon the ear, "I would say was extremely intimate. How's that for an answer?"
Tom's chest rumbles with laughter as Lily snuggles closer to him, negating her contrived caricature of anger completely.
"Oh shut it, you," she growls, interrupting him as he's about to open his mouth, "I'm tired and angry and you just so happen to have a soft shoulder and smell nice."
"I wasn't going to say anything," Tom replies innocently.
"Whatever." And she pokes him in the ribs, causing him to squirm uncomfortably.
In the ensuing silence, Tom tightens his grip on Lily and, waving his hand, closes the curtains around the four-poster bed while non-verbally casting a silencing charm and Notice-Me-Not around them.
"So," he murmurs softly, brushing Lily's hair from her face, "what happened with Scorpius?"
"Nothing I shouldn't have expected," she sneers angrily. "He just spent several months trying to get me to like him in revenge for some prank that Al and Hugo pulled on him. And, just as always, stupid, naive little-old-me fell for it."
"Did he – "
"Violate me? Please, Tom, sometimes you're so medieval," she snorts in an attempt to seem strong.
"Lily," he says in warning. She's my property, he thinks viciously, the anger welling up within him, Mine. No one harms what belongs to me except for me. I have plans for this child that is in my possession.
His eyes flash an ominous red.
"Tom," she sighs, feeling his tense ire but refusing to meet his eyes, "forget about it. It's not a big deal – I'm – I'm a big girl," she sniffles. "I can handle it." Lily buries her face deep into his shoulder, willing her tears to disappear as she wraps her arms about his middle.
"Oh, my darling Lily," he laments, kissing her hair gently, "were I able to protect you from the nastier bits of life, I would." Oh, the irony! "Is there anything I can do?"
"No," she sniffs, focusing on the rhythmic strokes of his fingers through her hair, beginning to relax. "Tom," she voices several minutes later, a soft smile lighting her features as she struggles to focus on his face through the calm, nearly hypnotic state his ministrations have put her under. "Tom, why..." a blush stains her cheeks as she remembers herself. "Never mind."
She shakes her head. "It's too embarrassing."
Tom stops brushing his fingers through her hair, sorely tempted to wind them in further and yank her head out from his shoulder.
He ignores the temptation.
Of all the years he's been with Lily, he has never once been able to breach the child's mind and refuses to waste his time attempting to now. Lord Voldemort hates failure above all else – what he wants, he must have, and right now he wants to know what this child was going to ask. He refuses to accept failure.
"Please?" he inquires, imbuing his voice with all the persuasive power he can muster.
Lily makes a little noise.
"I won't stop bothering you until you ask what you meant to," he warns.
Knowing Tom speaks the truth, having been privy to that obstinate side of his before, she grumbles out, "Fine. I was going to ask why all boys couldn't be more like you. Satisfied that you've sufficiently embarrassed me now?"
Tom leers at the face that is still veiled from him. "Quite," he replies, stroking her hair languorously. "Quite satisfied, thanks."
"Git," she complains half-heartedly, refocusing on the measured caresses he bestows on her hair, dropping off to sleep not long after.
Once Tom hears her breathing become soft and regular and he's sure she's in a deep sleep, he vanishes in a swirl of dust motes to appear, hundreds of miles away, at the Potter residence.
Having read Lily's letter from home that morning, Tom had learned that Harry would be away on undercover Auror business, leaving Ginevra home.
"Time to play a little game," he whispers malevolently.
The smile on his face can only bring ill tidings.
With another churning of dust, Tom materializes beside the bed of Harry and Ginny. As he removes his wand from the folds of his robes, Ginevra stirs, turning to face him.
"Tom," she moans.
He is frozen.
"Why, Tom? I thought we were friends…"
He breathes again.
"Why are you hurting me?" she murmurs. "I love you… I loved you… why… why…"
Tom casts his cloak from his shoulders, a dark, hungry look in his eyes. He leans over her, suspends himself above her, the muscles rippling in his arms.
"Open your eyes," he chants in a whisper. "Ginevra, my Ginevra, open your eyes."
When she does, the terror held within those muddy orbs is enough to sate his lust for a lifetime.
"You're dead," she says in a hushed voice. "I'm dreaming. I must be dreaming."
"No, dear," he rumbles. "This is one nightmare you cannot wake from." He covers her mouth with his own, leaving her no choice but to follow his lead.
An hour later Tom refastens his cloak and stares down at the sleeping woman. She will have no memory of their time together. It will remain, deep in the recesses of her mind, as that creeping feeling that haunts one on moonless nights, that itch that bothers us in the middle of a bright, sunny day when we haven't the faintest clue as to why we feel so trapped. His empty eyes twinkle with the reflections of the stars before he disappears back to Hogwarts and to his work in progress.
Lily, still sound asleep, shudders.
Something isn't right.
"Lily! Lily, get up! You're going to miss the train home and be stuck here for Christmas!"
"She's right, you know." Hot breath tickles her ear and she smiles, looking sleepily up at Tom. "I've been trying to wake you for ages."
"Oh all right, Rosie, give it a rest! I'm getting up!"
"You better, Lily, or Aunty Ginny will kill you!" Rose Weasley says anxiously. "Not to mention, me!"
Lily opens up her four-poster bed so Rose can see her. "See? I'm moving. Now go away!"
Rose sneezes. "Ugh! Lily, did you bring the whole of Hogwarts library with you? I can't believe the House Elves haven't dusted in here!" she sneezes again, dust motes slowly flowing around her in eddies, only leaving upon her exit from the room.
"That wasn't very nice, Tom," she admonishes.
"I could say the same thing to you. Really, opening the curtains without warning? One would think you want to get caught with a stranger in your bed."
Tom smirks broadly at her flushed face. It rankles him to see that Weasley girl, the spitting image of her mother, the Mudblood who had foiled his plans, conversing with his Lily.
Ginevra wouldn't dare lay a hand on her. He grumbles in his head. Silly little chit. You will be one of the first to yield to me, you and your filthy mother.
"Tom, go be useful somewhere else so I can change into my robes." Lily turns her back on him, waving her wand to pack some items into her trunk and lay her clothes for the day out on the bed.
"And if I don't want to leave?" he questions softly.
"Don't be ridiculous, Tom," she snaps, flustered, back still towards him. "I need to change!"
A soft gasp leaves her lips as his fingers dig into her hips and his cheek lays itself against her own. She shudders, fights against her instincts, her judgments – He's my best friend! – but how can she continue to do so when every fiber of her being wants this, has yearned for it ever since she was thirteen and she and her friends began telling stories, asking questions, about boys and sexuality?
Corinne laughed with Aurelia, Lily, and Kathy as they all sat cross-legged on the floor painting their nails, drinking butterbeer, and eating candy nicked from Honeydukes by Hugo, Albus, and James.
"Kathy, you can't really have a crush on Hugo!" Corinne said. "He's Lily's cousin!"
"Yea," Lily hiccoughed. "As much as I love him, he can be a real dork."
"But he kissed me!" Kathy said. The three jesting girls went quiet, staring at the suddenly frightened one in front of them.
"No WAY!" Aurelia squealed, breaking the silence. "When? Tell us everything! How could you have kept this from us?"
"I – um – "
"Yea!" Corinne agreed in shock, "How could you?"
"You guys!" Lily choked, "Let the poor girl speak! And spare us no details, missy," she giggled, wagging her finger at Kathy. "We're going to have to put you on probation as it is!"
Kathy smiled gratefully at Lily, who gave a wink to the brown-haired girl and gestured for her to begin.
"Well, we were studying in the library for a really long time this afternoon when he put down his book and asked if I wanted to take a break. We packed up our stuff and dropped it off in the Common Room before going outside. It was kind of cold out and I'd left my cloak upstairs so he gave me his," she said, moonstruck. Lily and the others were enraptured by her tale. "He suddenly grabbed my hand and swung me around and said real seriously, 'Kathy, I like you a lot and want to kiss you right now – may I?' And he did!"
"Ohmygosh!" the others squealed excitedly with her. It took them a while to calm down before one of them dared to pose the question they all wanted to ask:
"What was it like?"
"Magical," the Muggleborn Kathy sighed. "His lips were so soft, and I wrapped my hands into his hair…"
And all the while, throughout Kathy's description, Lily thought of Tom. She thought of how soft his wavy hair would feel in her hands, of the warmth of his lips, the heat that would gather in her belly and make her heart race…
And now it was happening. He had turned her around to face him, his hands stroking her hair, his eye lashes fluttering against her cheeks. He leans in to whisper, "I adore you, Lily dear, and am going to kiss you now." Tom's lips slowly capture her own and she melts into his embrace, hands tangling in his hair as she moans happily against his mouth. He backs her up until the backs of her knees hit the bed and he gently pushes her onto it, climbing over her, lavishing her with kisses and warmth and happiness. His hands reach for the hem of her shirt –
"Tom – Tom. I need you to stop," she pants frantically.
He ceases all movement, his body still flush against hers, Lily's little chest heaving against his own. His cheek lies beside her own as he whispers, "Have I frightened you?"
Her heart rate is a bit slower when she replies. "No. Surprised me, but not frightened. Never frightened. It's just – "
A slam on the door. "LILY LUNA POTTER! If you don't leave this room in two minutes I will personally kill you!" Rose Weasley shrieks.
"KEEP YOUR KNICKERS ON, WOMAN!" Lily bellows back. "I'm coming!"
She looks back at Tom apologetically, having seen him wince at the pitch of her voice. "Can we continue talking about this later, please?"
Tom smiles down at her, cupping her chin in his hand. "But of course. I'll see you tonight."
And he is gone in a burst of dust.
Lily vaults off of the bed and pulls her robes over her head, hardly taking the time to divest herself of her pajamas. Just as she pulls her last trainer on, Rose Weasley sweeps into the room furiously.
"Rosie, I'm ready! Now help me with my trunk!" Lily yelps before Rose can say a word. Soon Lily finds herself on the Hogwarts Express with Al, Hugo, Rose, and a compartment full of friends, speeding their way home to Kings Cross, wishing vainly for time to fast-forward to the moment when she can be alone in her room again with Tom.
"Lily-flower!" Harry Potter hollers across Platform 9 ¾ when he catches sight of his daughter descending the train. She rolls her eyes and laughs over the sea of people, waving merrily at him with crossed-eyes and her tongue sticking out. Her desire to see Tom is shunted to the back of her mind at seeing the warmest light of her life.
Bounding through the chaos she flings herself into his arms as he spins her around, a little girl once more for those few precious seconds. Albus appears at their side, rubbing his ribs from the bone-crushing hug Ginny Potter seems to have inherited from Molly Weasley. He, too, grins as Harry puts an arm around his shoulders and ruffles his already messy hair. The three then lightly bash their heads together in that odd ritual that only the four (with James missing) of them understand.
"Dad!" Lily pinches his nose, "Where's James?"
"He's off helping your Uncle's at their shop before heading home," Ginny says behind the three, an amused look in her eyes. "Forgetting someone?"
"Mum!" Lily giggles, "I could never forget you – don't you know I always save the best for last?"
"Hey!" Harry calls in mock indignation.
"And this is why you're my favorite Potter," Ginny winks as Lily squeezes her mother close. "C'mon you lot, let's get home – we still have to go to Grandmum's for dinner with the family."
Lily groans internally, remembering Tom after her brief respite. She watches forlornly as Harry loads the trunks onto the trolley, Albus and her mum walking ahead towards the barrier deep in conversation over his latest responsibility as Head Boy of Hogwarts.
How is it, she wonders forlornly, that I still feel so alone, surrounded as I am by those who love me? Realization strikes her dumb. It's only when I'm with Tom that I can even feel whole.
Lost as she is in her thoughts, Lily fails to notice piercing emerald eyes appraising her.
Harry Potter, contemplating his only daughter, struggles to recall the memory attached to this specific feeling of unease. It's as he scratches absently at his scar that he remembers. He remembers that morning six years ago – a boy came to visit me! – but more than that, he recalls a splash of red down a long chamber lying at the feet of an immense statue.
"Lily," his voice quavers. Brown with a fleck of yellow meets his gaze, the horror in his own refusing to be controlled.
She frowns in alarm. "Dad? Daddy, is everything alright?" They ignore the people jostling them, lost as they are in their world of incomprehension. Lily grasps his hands in hers, concern etched in her features when the usually burning appendages, so full of life, are frozen. "Daddy, what's wrong?"
"Tom." The name is just barely an exhalation, a ghost on his lips.
But she hears.
And she freezes.
"Who?" she stammers, heart beating erratically. She hardly knows the eyes staring down at her.
"Lily." His gaze sears through her, sparing nothing. "Lily, please tell me. Tell me what he has over you. Lily, let me protect you," Harry says, his voice, his passion, his very being ready to explode in a conflagration of love and presentiment. "Please, Lily. I beg you. Please."
"Daddy, what are you talking about?" she tries to cover the knowledge in her eyes, but it's too late. Harry knows. He knows the instant she reverts to calling him "Daddy," a child's moniker.
"Promise me, Lily," he says fiercely, "promise me you'll fight him. Promise me – "
"Oi! Potter!" a voice calls, "Get a move on! People want to get home!"
Lily seizes the moment to drag her father and the trolley across the barrier and into the main part of King's Cross. But Harry, determination to save his family blazing emerald fire in his eyes, is undeterred.
"He's Voldemort, Lily. Tom Marvolo Riddle is Lord Voldemort. Lily – "
"Harry! Lily! What took you two so long? I almost sent Al home by Portkey!" Ginny says, cross. She stops mid-scold at seeing her husband and daughter, feeling the tension they are exuding. "Is everything alright?" she inquires, those eyes that miss nothing darting back and forth between the two.
"Yes, Mummy," Lily smiles, recovering first. She ignores the desperate eyes of her imploring father. "We got stuck behind a bunch of people with the trolley. Where's the car?" she says with mock-cheer in an effort to take the spotlight off of her and her father.
As they drive through the city of London and then off into the countryside, Lily ignores the chatter in the car and thinks – for the first time – on her relationship with Tom. Thinks and comes up empty.
He never said his full name –
He can appear and disappear at will –
Always looked as though he belonged to a different time –
Never ages –
And Lily Potter turns white as she finally allows herself to believe it, believe that which she's always known and chosen to ignore:
He's Lord Voldemort.
She cannot panic. She refuses to allow herself to think. She is an automaton, dropping her trunk off in her room, washing up, changing, trudging down the stairs, flooing to Grandma Weasley's.
She smiles and laughs, eats and jokes, pulls pranks on her Uncle Percy with Fred and kisses her family good night. All the while, it repeats, a broken record, in her mind:
He's Lord Voldemort. Tom is Lord Voldemort.
It isn't until she begins making her way up the stairs to her room, a hanged man to the gallows, when her father, Harry Potter, grabs her hand, that she shows the level of her despair.
"Lily," he says fervently. "Let me help you."
I am beyond help. "Daddy, I'll tell you in the morning. Please, leave me alone. Please, just… let me go."
His hand around hers falls limp, silent tears tracking down his face as he watches her finish her ascent and quietly close the door.
Silence envelops her room.
She refuses to look up as she changes in the dark. Slowly by layers, the socks are stripped from her feet. She shimmies out of her jeans, unzips her jumper. Throws the sweater and tank-top she had been wearing underneath on the floor beside it along with the now unhooked bra before the white nighty shrouds her form. When she finally looks up in the dark, it is to see Tom. Tom, standing before her, in his black cloak and black robes, black hair parted, black orbs boring into her vulnerable form. Lily stares helplessly back at him.
"Tom Marvolo Riddle." A curse and a prayer all at once on her lips.
He quirks an eyebrow.
A demon's smile graces his handsome features. He steps closer to her. She holds her ground.
"Tsk, tsk, what's this?" he whispers as he catches a solitary tear making its way down her cheek on a fingertip. Tom stares at it in the cold moonlight, glorying in the many facets of her pain. He closes his eyes and siphons the tear off of his finger with his red, red lips and sighs. "How very exquisite it is, this pain that you feel," black cosmos snapping back open.
He holds out a hand.
"Come to bed my darling, that we might finish what we started this morning."
Lily lays her broken spirits in the palm of his hand and allows herself to be led to bed. Tom gently places her on it and stands between her legs, smiling angelically down at her. He caresses her hair as she stares mournfully up at him.
"Yes, my dear?"
"I love you," she chokes. "Heaven help me, I'm in love with you, despite everything you've done."
"I know," he grins, eyes bloody now. "And it is a magnificent feeling, is it not?"
"No," she whispers. "It's horrible."
"Ah. And therein lies the beauty of it." His hands have continued their ministrations in her hair. "You would continue to torture yourself with this feeling because, deep down," his breath is warm in her ear, "it leaves you feeling more alive than anything else in this world ever could." His eyes return to hers and he winks.
Lily looks boldly up at him, the tears lending her a strength, a beauty, that makes him proud.
"Take me," she states, fire dancing in her eyes. "Just this once. Make me forget everything I know. And then… then we can fight. I've loved you much too long now for it to end so soon."
Tom kisses her forehead and bows.
"As you wish, my lady."
He pushes her softly against the bed until she is lying down. Climbing over her, lifting her nighty slowly, he plants kisses up her thigh, up her belly, up between her surging breasts, slipping the garment up and over her head. Tom licks her neck and when she moans – oh, such a wonderful sound! – he bites down hard enough to leave his mark.
"Mine," he growls at her.
"Yours," Lily surrenders.
Her underwear is gone – when did his clothes disappear? Lily wonders as she stares at his perfectly defined chest, running her fingers up and down the taut muscles, causing his abdomen to seize at her nimble, feather-like touches. Tom stares hungrily down at her, his eyes that hideously beautiful ruby-red her father used to describe to her, before, without warning, he thrusts himself into her.
Lily gasps into the mouth that has reclaimed her own and learns the dance he now practices, meeting him stroke for stroke, kiss for kiss, until the tidal wave they're both riding crashes down around them with stars shimmering violently over the calming waters.
Down the hall, Ginevra Potter flies upright in bed, looking for air to breathe.
Something isn't right.
Tom, still secreted within Lily, kisses her eyelids closed.
"Yes?" that splotch of yellow now stares at him.
"Do you still love me?" He tries to sneer but finds he cannot.
"Yes," she says simply, sadly, brushing that rebellious lock of hair from his eyes. "Yes, I do."
"Then don't fight me. C – "
He freezes mid-sentence and curses.
Ginny is at the door, clawing at the locks, sobbing angrily. "Lily!" she wails.
Tom looks down at the now terrified girl.
"Don't kill her," she whispers.
"I won't," he lies.
"Then hide, Tom. Dammit, hide!"
Still so unwilling to let me go.
"Do you trust me?"
The bangs get louder.
"Yes," she says tearfully, "Godric help me, yes!"
It was all the invitation he needed.
A burst of magic blows the door off of its hinges as Ginny – and Harry with her – races into her daughter's room to find –
A peacefully sleeping girl.
Wands out, they scour the room for that hellion of the past. Nothing is out of order. Nothing is missing. Everything is exactly as it should be.
The two simultaneously turn their wands towards the figure in the bed.
Harry, hand shaking, reaches out to his daughter, brushing the hair from her eyes. He feels for her pulse: strong and slow. Watches for breath: a steady rise and fall of her chest is his answer. Her skin is warm and alive, not cold with death. Harry is satisfied, but not.
Ginny checks, too, unable to believe Harry until she sees, feels, for herself. Harry and Ginny stare down at their daughter for a long while.
Something isn't right.
But they can find nothing to prove it.
Harry takes Ginny's hand in his and, together, they return to bed.
Back in her room, Lily's eyes open.
Scarlet eyes peer out from beneath scarlet brows.
All was well.