A.N. I own nothing but the idea… but don't we all wish we owned Harry Potter!

Chapter 4: Avoiding Madness

Odette had been hoping that the morning might bring some clarity to her, that the cheery view of the sun rising from the great hall's ceiling would bring some inspiration. However, she found herself as lost as the night before with no true direction of her life lying out to meet her. The problem was that after living for so long it had dulled her passion for life and that was somewhat unavoidable. Odette believed that it might have something to do with the fact that her potential was vast. Choosing a path in life was vital for anyone, it gave a person drive, a person strength, having that one thing to be so passionate about that the world bows at your feet.

Without a path Odette felt like a balloon floating on the breeze waiting for a strong wind to push her about. It was such a sharp contrast from her life as Harry Potter, back then there was always something for her to fight for, whether it was a cause or a new innovation. There was always the pressing weight of the world pushing her towards the next great accomplishment. It was why she had become minister, headmaster, healer and so many more titles.

She was used to feeling needed, vital, like without her the world would fall apart without her to guide it and Odette knew that feeling was a trap. That feeling was why Dumbledore in all his wisdom lost himself in that and a lot of pain followed. People weren't supposed to live as long as she had, that weren't made for it and she was glad she could rest when this body gave out. The fact was Odette was so tired, she had been fighting for so long and so hard she had forgotten all the things that made life grand.

Glancing wearily at Tom Riddle, Odette wondered once more just why she had to end up in this world, sitting across from arguably one of the most monstrous dark lords' in history. If she was honest with herself fighting another war didn't sound appealing at all and Odette wished she could see a solution to this now. Killing him was out because then it was like she was taking the world on her shoulders again by righting wrongs he hadn't even done yet.

Killing him would mean that he was unredeemable and honestly Odette couldn't know that for sure. Odette wasn't going to indulge that impulse because it was dangerously close to letting herself have a god complex. Dumbledore for all his esteem showed her how perilous that road could be and she never wanted to be like him. That man had ignored more than just her sordid home life, the abuse she had undergone as Harry Potter wasn't the only harsh home life that man had indulged by feigned ignorance.

Shifting slightly Odette caught one of his mistakes because Odette was certain there was more to Tom Riddle's story than him simply being a terror at an orphanage. As Eileen sat down it forced her to focus on the present and not her chaotic thoughts. Eileen smiled brightly at her and made a motion as to welcome someone behind her making Odette turn to look. "Odette this is Theseus Lovegood, he is a sixth year Ravenclaw and a very dear friend. Theseus this is Odette, I've decided she's my best mate so make nice!" Eileen said cheerily.

Odette studied him and was struck by how much he looked like Luna, long hair that was the color of pale yellow roses, eyes a clear blue like the water in a pond that hid a depth from the world and a dreamy smile that asks one to give into a flight of fantasy. It was like someone squeezed her heart for a bit and she managed a shaky smile for him. "A pleasure, Mr. Lovegood." "Call me Theseus, wouldn't want to bring the humbangles by being to formal," he smiled speaking in a dreamy far off voice.

It was almost too much, along with Hermione, Luna had been one of his closest friends to the end of her days and seeing her…maybe grandfather…hurt unbelievably. "Ignore his mutterings about fantastical creatures Odette, he is very charming once you get used to it." Eileen said. "No, I find Theseus quite…endearing…come Theseus you must sit by me and tell me more about these Humbangles," Odette said with a winning smile. Eileen was stunned to see no sarcasm in her demeanor and only genuine curiosity in her voice.

"Oh, they are the most fantastic beasts, I have something of a fascination with invisible creatures you see as they are the hardest to find and discover…" Theseus began happily while Eileen watched on with a wide smile. Odette was finding listening to him was as relaxing as listening to Luna had been. Luna had been one of the only people that could quiet her mind so easily and she found that Theseus shared her trait.

~~~~~~~~~T~~~~~~~~

Tom decided that Odette Porter was utterly fascinating, but he held himself back from pursuing the mysteries surrounding her so as to prolong his entertainment. It seemed that she was brilliant, always right behind him in marks, able to cast almost every spell with uncanny easy the first time…just like him. She also seemed to be avoiding him, and if anything that only made her that much more…interesting. It was as if Odette was trying very hard to make believe he didn't exist which was odd considering most of the student body wanted his attention in some way.

Odette's behavior was odd, her mannerisms were odd, the way she spoke was odd, the way she moved was odd and just about everything she did seemed to only add to her mystery. Tom kept his observations to himself and his inner circle had learned not to try to overtly antagonize her. Within two days she had managed to cow almost the entirety of the Slytherin house, quietly, by subtle displays of power.

Though it seemed as if she refused to acknowledge anyone but Eileen Prince and Theseus Lovegood. However, that wasn't quite right either. Odette spoke when spoken to and answered questions when called on in class…always correctly of course. There was an awkwardness about her impeccable manners that Tom just couldn't get a grasp on and it was as infuriating as it was captivating. Odette was avoiding him though and this proved to be more challenging then he had thought.

Every time he tried to talk to her after class she was always disappeared before he managed to catch up with her. When he tried to catch her before class, she never seemed to be around until the precise moment she needed to be to be on time. If he tried catching her in the hall during off times it was as if she was a ghost and he was never able to find her. Still he figured out that by sitting back and observing her from afar he could get some answers.

He found by listening in during meals while Odette talked with Prince that the oddly graceful way she moved was a product of her extensive training in ballet. Her ease with the material at the school was because she seemed to already know the spells and that was very interesting. Her heritage was also shrouded in mystery, no one was quite sure if she was half-blood or a foreigner Pureblood. Tom would take great pleasure in unraveling all the secrets, taking everything she is and breaking her. It would only be that much more satisfying doing it the more challenging she proved to be.

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Avoidance didn't solve anything, Odette knew this and yet here she was avoiding Tom again trying to delay the inevitable. It seemed like no matter what form she took there will always be a connection between her and Riddle. He was following her; Odette knew it but that he was so discrete that it was hard for anyone to tell. He was ease dropping on her conversations, following her with his eyes when no one was looking and Odette was trying to censor herself to keep him from discovering anything. Though it was unlikely he could even consider the truth about her seeing as she was a dimension-hopping boy who had killed a version of him.

No, Odette didn't think that was anywhere on his radar but that didn't mean he wasn't discovering certain oddities about her. After only a week of being around Tom Riddle she understood her past (future?) enemy more and she hadn't thought that possible. Tom was a true prodigy, unlike her since she had a thousand years of knowledge she didn't count herself. In comparing the first time she had been this age and Tom Odette had to admit her old self had been completely outclassed.

Riddle was not only powerful but so intelligent Odette wouldn't have been surprised if he could teach the classes he was currently attending. It was clear to her that he was bored with the curriculum, whether that knowledge came from her familiarity to teaching or Riddle she couldn't be sure. Some of the teachers saw that too, Professor Merrythought, had taken Tom on as an unofficial apprentice and had him doing all sorts of interesting projects.

Professor Merrythought had been the defense against the dark arts teacher for nearly fifty years now and Odette expected she would retire soon. She had also taught Dumbledore if she wasn't mistaken and that was a disturbing thought. Dumbledore watched Tom very closely, so he knew how bored he was in class but he did nothing to relieve that boredom. In fact, Odette was sure that the treatment of Riddle at Dumbledore's hands had added fuel to Riddle's fire as they say.

From what she remembered of their first meeting Odette was genuinely surprised they managed to get through all seven years without killing one another in her old universe. Deciding what to do about Dumbledore and Riddle had left Odette stumped and she had been avoiding both wherever possible. When dealing with her feelings about her former mentor Odette could admit that they were always conflicted. She both hated and admired Dumbledore.

For obvious reasons she both disliked and understood Riddle; therein lied the problem. Odette didn't know whether she wanted to approach him or shun him. Odette knew he had suffered, was still suffering under the hands of muggles, and she knew she wouldn't be able to let that pass. Riddle needed someone, badly, before it was too late to reach his heart. Some might argue it was already to late but Odette knew better. It would have been too late had Riddle already released the Basilisk, killed his family and step wholly onto the path of insanity.

That would all happen this year if this universe followed her last and it was all stuff Odette knew she could influence him to avoid. She had a weapon against Riddle that no one else had, Odette understood him and had no fear of him. Even those closest to Riddle now as followers and general hanger-ons feared Riddle though they probably didn't know why. Odette might not understand how to interact socially with people anymore, but she had enough experience to understand them. She knew from the moment she looked in their eyes what they were feeling, and even the most guarded were laid bare before her.

Odette had never really used her knowledge to manipulate people like Dumbledore had nor had she used her power to draw them in like Riddle. She despised manipulation, having been a victim of it enough to leave a bad taste in her mouth. So the only way in her mind to save Riddle from his path of self-destruction would be to be a genuine friend and Odette wasn't sure she could do it. Riddle guarded against such things viewing it as a weakness, he would not be an easy nut to crack.

Sighing, Odette made her way to the unused classroom on the third corridor she had converted to a dance/music studio to meet up with Theseus and Eileen. They liked to watch her dance and were helping her fix some of the old abandoned instruments the house elves had brought her. She used a hidden corridor to save some time and absentmindedly noted she had lost Riddle again. Giving a long-suffering sigh Odette knew what she had decided before she had even acknowledged that Riddle would be at Hogwarts. Deep down she had always known she would try to save him…it was that blasted 'saving people thing' Odette had never managed to kick.

Now that Odette had admitted to herself the only road she could have taken given who she was, Odette contemplated her plan of action. For now she decided she would actively observe Riddle from afar just had he would continue to do with her. When the time was right Odette thought she would approach him, or somehow get him to approach her. There was one thing she knew for sure though; Odette was no one's lackey…not anymore. If Riddle wanted anything to do with her he would have to learn that since after all the time she had spent in a position of power Odette bowed to no one.