Trade Mistakes

A Tom Riddle Jr & Original Character Story

"I may never sleep tonight, as long as you're still burning bright.

If I could trade mistakes for sheep, count me away before you sleep.

I'll stay awake till I dream my mistakes so they fade away."

~ Trade Mistakes by Panic! At the Disco.

Tom cocked his head slightly, examining the ancient mirror in front of him. It was grand and beautiful beneath the thick layer of dust, with etchings of mysterious runes surrounding the gilded gold frame. Stepping closer, Tom started in surprise as he saw he was not alone in his reflection. Turning around, he saw that he was indeed alone in the deserted dark room before he examined the reflection more closely.

There was himself of course, a perfect replica straight down to the shine of his Head Boy badge and the scratch on his shoe. But there was something different about his expression. It wasn't cold and sneering, or factitiously polite. There was something about the look in his dark blue eyes and the set of his thin lips that looked almost warm and contented. Disturbed at his face that looked much the same but so different, his wariness grew hundredfold at the presence of the girl next to him.

She was hauntingly familiar, with her black hair that ended abruptly at her shoulders and wide hazel eyes that matched the earthy green scarf she was wearing over her muggle clothing. Her head was half leaning on Tom's shoulder, while his arm was wound around her waist. If the uncharacteristic display of affection wasn't troubling enough, Tom's reflection pressed a lingering kiss onto the girls temple while she grinned and held him closer.

Having quite enough of the scene before him, he covered the old mirror back up with the cloth it was originally in and exited the room, his brisk footsteps echoing all the way down the corridor.

The Mirror of Erised. He should have known it from the beginning. Perhaps if he had known then he wouldn't have torn down the drapery in curiosity and stepped in front of the blasted reflection. Perhaps then he would be able to have a good night's sleep without overthinking and analysing everything.

It had been almost a week since he had been in that room but it had felt even longer. He was avoiding her like the plague, ignoring her wounded expressions in the corridor when he passed without sparing her a fleeting glance. A part of Tom felt slightly empty, knowing that he was hurting her but the uneasy feeling swelling deep inside his chest was much more prominent.

He now knew that the mirror showed the owners reflection of what they desired most in their heart. Tom would have expected wealth and power, but instead it showed a girl whose happiness mirrored his own. For many sleepless nights, Tom wasn't sure what to think. In complete honesty, he didn't know that his care for her ran so deep. He didn't love her of course, he wasn't capable of such an emotion but sometime during this year his heart had decided that she was worth caring for without consulting his mind.

He was angry at her, why had she come into his life to interrupt his plans? What possessed her to ask him for that textbook in the library that Friday night? What had happened so that these feelings had crept up on him without him knowing? After hours of fitful bouts of sleeping, Tom came to a realization. She was a weakness of his, a tool that could be used against him in the future. As long as she still lived, he knew that his plans could never come to completion.

Ignoring the sharp pang he felt at his thoughts, he closed his tired eyes once more, willing his fatigued body to rest.

He felt more like a wolf among the sheep as ever as he waited for her after class. The group of students had gradually sifted out of the classroom until she was the only one left inside. Tom listened to her bidding the Professor a cheery goodbye and Merry Christmas before she exited.

"Hello"

She jumped in fright at the sound, clutching her heart as she glared at the boy leaning against the doorframe, his perfectly combed dark hair hanging slightly into one of his eyes.

"Decided to talk to me again?" she asked sarcastically, a frown settling on her soft features. Tom decided that the look didn't suit her and that he much preferred it when she was not scowling at him. Shoving away those disgustingly sentimental thoughts, Tom came back to the matter at hand.

"I'm sorry" he started, knowing that for what he was about to do required a lot more than a simple apology. But from the steely look in her gaze, he knew she wouldn't know what was coming so he ploughed on "I have been feeling the pressure of exams lately. I apologise in regards to my treatment of you"

Her eyes softened slightly at his lie and Tom felt guilty; after all, somebody like him did not deserve her kindness or forgiveness.

"Are you alright now though?" she asked, concerning lighting her face.

Tom couldn't meet her eyes "I'm fine now. Would you like to join me for lunch in Hogsmeade?"

She looked surprise "But the Hogsmeade weekend is not till 2 fortnights away"

Tom pointed to his badge, a weak attempt at a smile on his face "Head Boy. I'm allowed to depart whenever I wish"

In the end, she agreed, excusing herself for a moment as she rushed up to get herself a scarf from her dormitory in preparation of braving the cold outside. She linked her arm with his, oblivious to his stony expression and stiff posture while she knotted her earthy green coloured scarf. On the way out of the castle, she commented on the beauty of the wildflowers that grew only during snow, unaware that it would be the last time she would see them.

"What are we doing here Tom?" she asked, her breath coming out in small puffs as they delved deeper into the forest behind the main street of shops. They had been walking for over 30 minutes and even after a warming charm, she still felt as cold as a block of ice.

"Finding some place. We'll be there soon" he replied calmly, sweeping aside a stray branch so that she could cross unobstructed.

She said nothing, her brow furrowing as she continued to walk. There was something wrong with Tom she decided; he was even more cold and strange than usual. It had been like this in the beginning when she had first met him. Just like to everybody else, he was the charming and handsome Head Boy who was as untouchable as a deadly poison. But over time, he had slowly begun to warm to her, rewarding her attempts at awkward humour and ill thought of stories with a quirk of his lips as opposed to a scowl and a cold shoulder.

So now, as they trekked towards a destination that she knew not of, she wondered what had brought him back to this state. Was it something she had done? Or was it just stress from school? She broke out of her reverie when she ran into something solid, causing her to rock unsteadily before a pale hand caught her wrists almost painfully. He said nothing as she thanked him quietly and went to sit on a log that was snow free and almost bench like in its shape.

She sat down hesitantly next to him, not noticing as he poured something into a bottle of butterbeer before he handed it to her. She thanked him again and was about to take a sip of the warm liquid when his hand shot out and stopped her, an oddly stricken expression passing over his handsome features.

Confused by his behaviour, she raised a brow in question as she lowered the butterbeer to her lap. Tom was beginning to look like a mental patient as he sprang up from the log and paced the area that the small clearing offered. His hands tugged at his dark hair, bringing it out of the perfect side parted style he preferred to wear it in. But his eyes were the most disturbing part, they looked… deranged. As though he was fighting something within himself. As though he wasn't sure if he could cope with the resignation. As though he had already lost.

Standing up, she placed the beverage on the log and made to move beside him, stopping him in his furious pacing.

"What's wrong Tom? Please just tell me" she pleaded, her fingers wrapping around his larger hands. He stared down at their intertwined hands in confusion before his dark eyes travelled over to some point over her shoulder.

"I care about you too much" he breathed, the sound so quiet it could have been carried off in the breeze that swept the air. Her heart pounded just a little bit faster at his words, bringing a heated flush to her cool skin. His eyes snapped over to hers suddenly, pinning her like a helpless prey by its predator "I'm sorry for that. Believe me, I'm sorry it had to come to this. But it's for the best"

She tried to speak her confusion over his words but he stopped her, quieting her by gently placing both his cool hands on either side of her face. He stooped slightly as her eyes fluttered shut on their own accord, her breath catching as he placed a firm chaste kiss on her lips before moving back. She opened her eyes again, seeing Tom standing across from her and holding her bottle of butterbeer.

"Let's drink. To us" he announced softly, passing her the bottle with white knuckled fingers.

She had so much to say, so much to ask him. Why had he kissed her? Why was he so sorry? But as she looked at him, all her questions melted away. She decided she would savour this moment, not sullying it with all the questions plaguing her mind. After all, she had plenty of time to ask.

Smiling slightly as she felt her lips tingle, she gently tapped her bottle to his before pressing it to her lips "To us then"

She took a long draught, unaware of Tom's wide and frightened eyes as he regarded her. She lowered to bottle, letting it dangle between her fingertips. A strange acrid aftertaste burned in her mouth, making her lightheaded.

"Tom, I think there's something wrong with –" she started faintly, aware that her vision was beginning to tilt dangerously . Strong arms caught her and lowered her gently to the ground as two pale hands stroked her face. "Tom?" she murmured blearily, her eyes beginning to close on their own accord. She saw Tom's face, paler than usual and oddly blank despite the tear that ran down his cheek. "Tom? What's happening?" she asked weakly, her brain sluggishly registering her panic.

He shushed her gently, as though hushing a sleeping child "I'm so sorry" he repeated, pressing his forehead to hers as his hands continued to smooth back her hair "I'm so sorry"

She wanted to ask him what for but she found that she was unable to. Her mouth felt heavy and her brain filled with fog. She felt the lingering burn of his skin on hers, the sensation stronger than all the others around her. She wanted to reach out and touch his face but she couldn't, her arms deciding to disobey her wishes. She wanted to scream in frustration, demand what was happening to her, but the strength within her quickly dissipated until all she could do was let go, allowing herself to submit to the darkness.

Tom held her tighter as he felt her limbs relax and fall slack, allowing the tears to fall freely now. He had never cried in his life, not when the kids at the orphanage made fun of him or even when he thought about how unfair life was. But she was the counterweight, the person in his life that balanced his misfortunes and misdeeds. She was the light to his darkness, and like a candle, he had snuffed her out.

But the deed was done, and he needed to live out the consequences of his actions. He knew that if he wanted to conquer the magical world and rid of filth and undeserving folk, she was a sacrifice he had to make. So he had made it out of passion to his cause, a price to pay for power. Loosening his grip, he gently laid her on the floor, noticing that her body heat was disappearing quickly. He cupped her face once more before rising from the ground, his eyes lingering on her face and committing it to memory. Raising his wand, he pointed it wordlessly to her limp body, watching detachedly as a crystal tomb encased itself around her body, aiding the preservation of the poison he had given her. He magically lowered her into the ground before covering it with snow covered soil.

Bending down, he produced a small bunch of asphodel flowers, placing them above the grave before leaving the clearing, dragging his sodden robes through the snow as he ignored the coldness that settled in his heart.

AUTHOR'S NOTE TIME!

Hello everyone! (or no one, depending on whether anyone reads this...)

I had another random bout of having to write about Tom and a random character (It's an obsession really). I'm sorry if there's spelling errors/grammatical issues or just plain craziness. To aid my case however, i have decided to jot down a few things to explain some things that happened in this story.

Tom poisoned her because he was scared of what would happen if his feelings would develop any further. He was terrified of not being in control, and more obviously, what it would mean for his future evil deeds if he were to have romantic relations with her. It would lose him credibility with his death eater pals and surely Voldemort wouldn't look too big bad and scary if he was strongly influenced by somebody else who was not of pure blood (not mentioned in the actual story but i'll tell you that now :P).

I hope this wasn't too much of an OOC Tom for you guys. I personally think he was mad and power hungry enough to actually kill someone he liked (A bit different in characterisation compared to my other Tom fic "He Noticed" - Huzzah for shameless plugging!)

On a trivial note however, asphodels mean "unending regret" which ties in with the story. Anyway, i'll stop rambling and let you get on with your day/night. Thank you so much for reading and please review! :)

LOVE!
Decoydream xxx