Chapter Fifty-one

Another Horcrux

"But I killed Edmond pretty much in cold blood, didn't I?" Tom insisted later on as the three of them sat around on conjured furniture in the makeshift living room. "I could make a Horcrux right away, you know. You've got up to a day to do it."

"Where do you think you're going to put the thing?" Abraxas grumbled. "You can't very well put one inside of me—I've already got one."

"How do you know they won't both stay in there?" Tom pointed out. "Anyway, I was thinking to put it inside Hermione."

"Tom, much as I like the thought of you being inside me, I suspect Dumbledore's already found his way in there, too," Hermione said with a shudder. "He's been sending me some of the most horrid dreams. At first I didn't want to believe it, but after reading more about Horcruxes I have to. He must have done it when—when he stole our baby. When he said he was going to let us breed again."

"What did he say?" Tom growled.

"He said he was going to put us together so we could breed again," she answered with a hot blush. "You don't suppose that's the reason he hasn't still been looking for us, do you?"

"That sick bastard!" Tom shouted, pounding a fist into the straw bale beside him. "I'll kill him. That's what I'm going to do. But I can't do it while he's so strong and I'm so weak. I need to make Edmond's death count."

"That is just—just crazy, Tom," Hermione told him. "If you start making Horcruxes, you might even become that thing Dumbledore is hoping to make you be."

"Edmond's already dead, Hermione," he pointed out. "My soul is split already. There's no point to wasting it."

Sighing heavily, Hermione nodded her head. "Use me, then," she said. "Take him out and put yourself in. I'd far rather protect you than tolerate him any day."

"You're sure, Hermione?" Tom wanted to know. "It's going to hurt an awful lot."

"Do it now, Riddle, before I change my mind," she insisted.

"I'll prepare the potions," he said, almost in a whisper, as he slid a hand along Hermione's cheek. "I love you, you know. Don't forget that when you find out what a moody bastard I can be."

Hermione chuckled then. "I already know what a moody bastard you can be," she informed him, kissing his hand before she moved away. "Perhaps I'd best take a nap while I wait—rest up for it."

Tom nodded, and kissed the top of her head. Then he immediately turned and began looking through items on the table for any ingredients that might be there before he had to resort to more drastic measures to obtain the rest.

)0(

"When you drink this first one, it's going to get the blighter out," Tom explained as he showed two different vials to Hermione. "He's likely to fight it tooth and nail, and you will get sick. But that's what you want to do, because he'll come out through your throat along with the rest."

"Fun," Hermione commented.

"Once he's out and disposed of, then you'll drink this," he continued. "I'll be as gentle as I can, love, but believe me when I say that it's still going to hurt."

"You're worth it," she told him, squeezing his arm for a moment. "Let's do this thing."

Tom set the first vial into Hermione's hand and she downed it in one gulp. Her face began to contort just from the taste, and she cast him a look he would never forget as she tried to hold back a scream with little success.

Hermione fell to the ground and kicked her feet while her hands flailed about everywhere. Her face stretched into unusual shapes as other parts of her body also bubbled and roiled. Eventually, she flung herself forward and retched out the Horcrux right at Tom's feet.

"Riddle, you bastard," croaked the smallish creature. "Do you really think I'm going to let you get away with this?"

"You don't have a choice," Tom smirked as he stepped on the creature's head, ready to crush it.

"Oh, but I do," it said. "I've only just begun this fight, Tom. You've no idea what you're dealing with."

"Neither do you, old man," he said as his foot did it's dirty work. "Neither do you."

With a sickening crunch, the Horcrux turned to dust. Tom and Hermione looked at each other then. She was still on the floor, panting for air.

"Do you want to rest?" he asked her quietly, and Hermione shook her head. "Then best we get it over with."

Hermione grabbed the little vial Tom held out to her as he sat down as well. She brought it to her lips, not even hesitating before she drank it down as well. If it were at all possible that a Horcrux was lovingly made, it would have been this one.

"Everyone all right, then?" Abraxas asked after a minute or two during which the pair held on to each other and did not move.

"Yes," Hermione rasped. "We're fine."

"That's a relief," he said with a shake of his head. "Didn't know what I'd do if you'd gone and killed each other off. Is anyone up for some food?"

Two disgusted groans were all the answer he received. With a hearty laugh, Abraxas added, "Well then, I guess that leaves more for me."