He Noticed

A Tom Riddle & Original Character Story

He noticed her as soon as she crossed the threshold onto platform 9 3/4. His eyes were drawn to her small figure immediately despite the noisy crowds of fussing parents, reluctant children and excited owls. There was nothing remarkable about her, nothing that screamed for his attention. But he felt an odd pull of something undefined towards her, and that was enough to encourage Tom to watch the young girl. She wasn't smiling, nor frowning either. She was expressionless as an older man with the same dark brown hair pushed her trolley forward for her, one hand on the handle while the other gently guided her. Only when it was time to say goodbye did she let any emotion show on her youthfully rounded face. Turning away from her father with a slightly mournful expression, she turned around to board the train, unaware of the boy on the other side of the platform that watched her as she did so.

He noticed how she would flinch every time the Professors called her by her full name. Tom didn't understand why, he thought her name sounded almost melodic; like a soft lullaby murmured by the oceanic currents as they lazily swirled through the blue depths. He felt soothed just by saying it in his head, like a mantra to a wish he had hoped to come true. He wondered what it would feel like to say her name out loud. And so he did, in the echoing chambers of the clandestine cavernous room beneath the Hogwarts castle, relishing the syllables that slipped off his tongue.

He noticed how she rarely smiled properly. When she found something amusing, the corners of her mouth would tilt up ever so slightly and her dark brown eyes would shine just a little brighter. When something was truly hilarious to her she would duck her head to hide her face behind her curtain of hair as though embarrassed by her laughter. In these rare moments, Tom would listen harder to catch the unique sound that left him inexplicably happier than before without any logical reason.

He noticed that she never wrote in plain black or blue ink. Her neat, slanted writing was always composed in the utmost care and in a colour that distinguished her from the others. It was a deep, rich burgundy, so dark that it was almost black. It reminded Tom of the colour of royalty – the rich velvet drapes that hung from the windows of a castle or the luxurious trailing cloaks with silver fastenings. The colour was a composed and subtle sort of passion, a touch of regal poise upon the slightly yellowing parchment that she wrote on. The colour reminded him of her.

He noticed how she was always fidgeting. When sitting, she would wrap an arm around her middle as though shielding from the cold, while the other hand twirled her eagle feather quill. Her foot would lightly tap against the stone floor to the invisible music playing in her head as she cocked her head to the side as the Professor spoke. When she walked, one hand would clutch the shoulder strap of her satchel while the other hand would constantly pull down at the hem of her knitted grey jumper. She would restlessly tuck a long lock of hair behind her ear before it fell back and she would push it back again, a tiny furrow of her brow betraying her annoyance. At meal times, she was never content enough to just eat. She would find something to do during this time, whether it was thoughtfully jotting down ideas for an essay or reading a textbook in preparation for class. Tom wondered what she found so amusing in her textbook that caused her lips to pull up into the first real smile he had seen.

He noticed that she did not lose her temper often, but when she did, it was more frightening than a hundred hell hounds at your heels at the gates of hell. She would never raise her voice, or resort to violence but her methods of torture were far more sophisticated than the usual juvenile methods he witnessed on a daily basis. She would give the offender such a look of severe disappointment that they would simply drown in their own guilt of what they had done. She would not talk to them, or even give them more than a fleeting glance that proved their insignificance. But Tom longed for a single glance, as it would be more than he had ever received from her.

He noticed that she was all but hopeless when it came to the art of potion brewing. The class made her increasingly flustered as her cauldron bubbled strange colours and emitted odd smells and thick plumes of various gases. Slughorn half heartily reprimanded her on occasion, but was too enamoured with her quiet but charming personality to properly berate her. In the end, he had assigned a tutor to her so that she could improve her results enough to earn an 'Acceptable' in her OWL's. As he watched Roderick Davies close his hands over hers in an unnecessary gesture of stirring the simmering cauldron, he inwardly cursed Slughorn for not choosing him instead.

He noticed that she looked visibly upset when informed of Davies injuries. Her face was drained of colour when one of her friends informed her that he had been found in the halls near the Ravenclaw common room, ashen faced and obviously in pain. The Professors had asked him who attacked him, but either he was too frightened to say or honestly could not remember. In the end, he was admitted to St Mungo's to check for further and more permanent injuries. Instead of going to the Hogsmeade weekend that week, she had gone to visit him – a bunch of blooming flowers in one hand while the other carried a care package of sorts with various sweets and quidditch magazines buried within the layers of tissue paper. He wondered if she would ever visit him if he wound up in the infirmary or the hospital, but decided that it was foolish to entertain such ludicrous thoughts because it would never really happen.

He noticed the way her hands shook as she carefully dropped the ingredients into the cauldron, her eyes tensing as though she expected it to blow up any second. The greyish sludge brightened into a brilliant sapphire blue that matched the description in the textbook perfectly and Tom could just about see the joyous excitement in her sparkling brown eyes. She thanked him over and over again for helping her by filling in Davies place and happily proclaiming that this was the first time she had ever made a potion that was even close to being safe for human consumption. Tom chuckled lowly at her last comment, earning a curious look from her that quickly morphed back into her victorious expression. As she corked the potion and delivered it to Slughorn's office, Tom decided he would never forget that fleeting look of surprise and genuine happiness that crossed her features.

He noticed that she didn't like going to the library. She would often borrow her textbooks but then hurry out, the heavy tomes tucked under her arms or spelled to levitate in front of her while she walked. Curious, Tom had followed her, surprised to find that she preferred to work in the draftee and often empty quidditch stands. She climbed the stairs till she got to the very top of the Ravenclaw stand and would sit cross legged with all her books spread around her while she worked by the flickering ball of light that emanated from the flames in a glass jar. Tom watched her for a few minutes longer before climbing the stands himself and arriving at the top. She dropped her quill in surprise as she finally noticed his dark figure against the shadows, before clearing a space in her mess of books and parchment so that he could sit comfortably. He asked her why she came out here to study in the cool blanket of night. She smiled cryptically and told him to mind his own business. Smirking, Tom decided that he also quite liked it out there in the open skies talking and studying side by side with her.

He noticed that she gradually became more comfortable with his presence around. She would no longer hesitate to start a conversation or to disagree with his opinions. She ignored the warnings of her housemates, the rumours and theories of evil that lurked under the handsome and charismatic exterior of Tom Riddle. She continued to meet him most nights up on the quidditch stands, changing from the purely school based topics to more colourful ones that ranged from wild tales and literature to random musings of whatever they were thinking of at the time. She told him of her loving family, her quiet but intelligent father and her ill mother who had spent the last few years in and out of hospital. As tears glistened in her eyes, Tom felt helpless to help her through her pain as he knew nothing of love till he met her.

He noticed that she reserved a special kind of smile for him, one that would reach her eyes and light up her entire face in a kind of surreal beauty that made Tom wonder how he ever thought of her as plain. He first saw it when she thought he wasn't looking. They were working silently, preparing themselves for their final 6th year exams. While he carefully penned an annotation onto the side of his Transfiguration notes, he was marvelling at where his life was compared to last year. The hunger to purify the world of muggle filth was still pulsing strongly through his veins but there was something else besides the bitterness and hatred- a small but shining beacon that begun to invade his cold and lifeless heart. The more time he spent with her, the more fascinated he grew and the larger that beacon became. She was quiet and perceptive where the others were obnoxious and unobservant. She was soft and warm where they were cold and insincere. He found that she knew a lot more than she let on, and sometimes she told him of these secret things. He would listen to her soft lilting tone for all of eternity if he could, and as she spoke, he felt privileged to have earned her trust enough for her to say these private things to him. He smiled softly to himself as he caught her staring, her heated face turning abruptly away with evident embarrassment. Tom turned back towards his carefully organised notes, hoping that despite the dark and twisted path that lay before him, he would still have her trust in the end even if all else crumbled to dust before him.

He noticed the warmth radiating from her body as he held her in his arms during the Annual Christmas Ball during their 7th year. He had asked her as soon as the event was announced, well aware of the intentions of Davies as he looked at her too often for his comfort. Despite the genuine disbelief that lurked in her eyes, she accepted, giving him that familiar warm smile before prancing away with the excuse of having to meet a friend. But she had lied to him; she wasn't going to meet a friend at all. In fact, later that night she had appeared at his portrait hole that led to his private Head Boy dormitories. It was a little past midnight, and Tom opened the door groggily, his dark blue eyes widening in surprise at his late night visitor. She was standing before him, a bashful look on her flour streaked face while her arms were laden with an iced chocolate cake with the words "Happy Birthday Tom!" in stark white icing. She asked if she could come in and he wordlessly opened the door further for her. He asked her how she knew it was his birthday but she just winked secretly, claiming that she had her sources. He didn't press any further, watching her as she handed him a slice of cake. They talked late into the night, her in her Ravenclaw robes that were lightly streaked with flour and him in his blue cotton pyjamas. He thought it was the best night of his life, but now, with the feel of her soft skin underneath his palms and his chin resting on top of her head as they swayed gently to the music, he knew that that night would only come a close second best to this one.

He noticed the look of satisfaction upon her face as they moved into their flat together in downtown London. She had insisted on manually bringing the boxes up instead of using magic, clearly paranoid that it would cause trouble if someone was to see their belongings floating on their own accord in mid-air. She wiped a light sheen of sweat from her face with her sleeve, scanning the unimpressive flat with such a look of childlike excitement that he would have thought she was looking at a mansion. He dropped the box he was holding and came up behind her, wounding his arms around her waist and surveying the room with her. While it was dirty and shoebox sized and had a strong smell of mould, he didn't care as long as she was with him.

He noticed the small sad smile on her face whenever she would receive an owl from her father. Her mother had passed away a few weeks before graduation, and her father, who had been quiet before almost didn't speak at all anymore. He was distraught from the permanent absence of his wife, the loss lingering with him so deeply that he couldn't shake it off. In the end, he had moved to a small country town in Ireland, far away from all that had happened. He had asked her to go with him but Tom had asked her to stay. He had pleaded with her so persuasively that she had no choice but to give into his cerulean eyes. But Tom saw the pain in hers when her lonely father would send monthly letters to her, telling her of what Ireland was like and asking how she was doing. She would always write back, tears falling onto the crisp parchment as she told him of her training as a Healer at St Mungos and humorous tales of the patients she saw every day. She would remind him to wear an extra jumper when the months got colder and to drink chamomile tea to help him sleep better. She even occasionally composed care packages for him, an eclectic mix of random objects that obviously meant something to her father. During these moments, Tom had learned that silence was the best way for her to mourn the death of her mother and absence of her father. He had learned that the best medication to alleviate her pain was the simple comforting reassurance of his arms around her.

He noticed the relaxed look of pure contentment on her face as she reclined on the couch, a romance novel splayed between her fingers as her eyes darted quickly across the page. The cover bore an overdramatised picture of a damsel in distress; her male love interest overly tanned and muscled, his eyes gazing adoringly into the damsels. Tom had teased her relentlessly for her guilty pleasure, enjoying the way her cheeks would stain pink. From then on, she always kept the cover shielded from his prying gaze, her eyes flickering up to gauge his expression ever so often as if daring him to ridicule her or her books again. Tom rose to his feet, fastening a cloak around himself just as she looked up. She asked him where he was going and he told her that Mr Borgin had asked him to come in to discuss some matters on the stocks in the shop that night. He didn't miss the look of evident disappointment on her face as he bid his farewells but she never asked him to stay either. With a swish of his cloak, he had apparated to the cobbled streets of Hogsmeade. He returned back to the small flat later that night, smiling slightly as he saw she had tried to wait up for him. Effortlessly, he scooped her up from the couch and laid her gently on her bed. He kissed her forehead lightly, amused when her hands had tightly fastened themselves onto his crisp white shirt. Kicking off his shoes, he lay down next to her, cradling her sleeping form in his arms while feeling the extraordinary weight of the small black box that seemed to weigh down his trouser pocket.

He noticed the singular sparkling diamond that glittered on her hand as she idly stirred a pot of wonderful smelling soup. She had her hair tied back, a plain white apron around her waist while she cooked. There was something about the ease she moved about the kitchen accompanied with the ring that she now wore openly that made his heart swell with pride. To think that in a few short weeks, she would be his was enough to make Tom smile like a lovesick fool. Already she was starting to become the doting wife, and he the adoring husband. Every night when he would come home from work or his secret meetings, he would enter the kitchen to find her preparing dinner. He would listen to her hypnotic voice that wove through soft melodies, counting his blessings whilst doing so. He would sneak up behind her, a smirk curling on his lips as she jumped with fright. She would berate him, as though scolding a child before melting into his firm embrace that held her and her heart captive. He would press kisses onto her temple before she deemed it too distracting and would shoo him off to shower or to wait in the living room. As he unwound his arms around her and slinked into the living room, he heard her sing again, and wondered if her voice alone could bring angels kneeling to her feet.

He noticed the despairing coldness in the room before he had entered it. All her things were gone, packed and brought away to a place she didn't inform him of. He had tried pleading with her, begging her to see his side of things. But she couldn't, she couldn't accept the truth of who he was, who he was born to be. After she had found that single incriminating scrap of paper in his desk drawer, he couldn't lie to her anymore. So he told her everything, all the sins he had committed against humanity as well as the many more he had planned. He rambled on recklessly, not noticing the look of complete horror on her pale face until it was too late. She shakily asked him why he would do that to so many innocent people and he explained to her. They were not innocent, and those who were never stayed so. They contaminated their world, filling in all that is good with black tar like poison. He told her that she was the only good thing left in this world; in his life and that he loved her more than anyone or anything he had ever known. He clutched onto her desperately, willing her to believe him, to say that she would join him in his quest to purify the world. But instead she asked the one question Tom had never wanted to hear. Was he going to choose his destiny or her? He raged within himself, why did the two have to oppose one another? Wasn't she his destiny too? She waited for his response, a small light of hope in the dark brown depths. But the light faded as he answered her, her feet backing away from him as though he were a stranger in her home. Mutely, she slipped the simple diamond ring off her finger, brushing her fingers against it as she lay it down on the coffee table. Tom stared at her in disbelief, she couldn't be leaving him, he muttered internally, she would never leave him! But as he stood frozen to the floor that warm summers evening, he somehow knew that she would never be coming back.

He noticed things that reminded him of her. It had been years since they had last met but parts of her still refused to part with him. He thought he could hear her voice in the gentle breeze sometimes, softly asking him why. Why what? He wanted to ask her. Why he had lied to her all those years? Why he had chosen his ambitions over her? He tried shunting out that voice, telling himself it was for the best but eventually learning just how futile those efforts were. At other times, he swore he could smell that familiar floral and leather scent that was somehow still distinctly feminine despite its earthiness. The scent hit him when he least expected it, but somehow always when he was alone with his thoughts. He saw parts of her where ever he went – a swish of dark hair as a stranger rounded a corner, the bright green paper tab hanging over the side of a mug which bore her favourite brand of tea leaves, a scarf of the deepest burgundy that reminded him so forcefully of her. Tom continued to live on by, accomplishing his plans and eagerly awaiting the sense of victory that would flood his being when he was done. But every life he took held no excitement for him, no sick satisfaction. He could sense the disappointment behind her dark eyes as he slept fitfully, making him question his motives in his dream state. As time wore on, the gaping hole in his chest grew larger and larger, ballooning in size until the darkness would surely consume him completely and irreversibly.

He noticed that it was an unusually stormy night, flashes of lightning frequently illuminating the streets of the muggle London while the thunder crashed on overhead. He had just returned from Hogwarts after being rejected for the Defence against the Dark Arts post by Dumbledore. He was annoyed with the old fool but not at all surprised. He had expected this, but he had given Dumbledore the chance to do this easy way. But as Tom knew, he would never go down without a fight and that was what Tom begrudgingly respected. Digging his cold hands deeper into his pockets, he ducked his head slightly from the relentless sheet of rain that pounded against him. But then he noticed a long figure up ahead, their stature shorter than him by a head and also soaked through with rain. As she approached, Tom felt his stomach drop with recognition. She had barely aged through the years, her once long dark brown hair now lopped off to a more practical length of a few inches below her shoulders. She was wearing the same sapphire blue colour trench coat that matched his eyes and a burgundy coloured pair of gloves. She was looking forward; unseeingly it appeared as Tom struggled to make out her features in the heavy downpour. As they approached one another, Tom wondered what he was to do. He knew he should ignore her, pretend that her existence was beneath him but he couldn't fight against what he had been yearning to do since he left him all those years ago. He wanted to beg for her forgiveness, embrace her huddled figure against him so tightly that she would never dare to let go. He wanted to finally tell her that he would gladly give up his miserable life just to spend another day basking in the presence of her sunny warmth. But his rambling thoughts did not matter, because at that moment she walked right past him without any ounce of recognition upon her face.

She didn't see the broken young man who stood by himself, allowing the cold to envelope him completely.

She didn't realize that it was her look of indifference that sent him plummeting over the edge into the swirling ravine of darkness that had eagerly awaited his fall for far too long.

She hadn't noticed.

Authors Note:

Greetings! I had this idea for a one shot floating around in my head last night while i was working out a physics problem and i just had to get it out there. I aplogise for grammatical or spelling (or plot) errors that were done in my haste and would also like to state the obvious that i am not JK Rowling or any of the usual jazz that's in disclaimers. Anyway, i hope you enjoyed this one shot and please review to let me know what you think (please refrain from being too cruel... ever heard of that saying "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all"?)! Thank you so much for reading - i really appreciate it :)
DecoyDream xxx