Disclaimer: Not me, my dears, for Rowling owns them all.
A/N: First Harry Potter fanfiction.
Summary: In which Ginny and Riddle have as civilized a conversation as possible.
"I don't quite know." He seemed not to notice that the manner in which he tapped his left foot on the floor was horridly distracting. Tap, tap, tap.
She supposed that she shouldn't reply, that it would be safer if she said nothing, that it would be better if she closed her eyes and willed him away. And then she remembered that she was sleeping and that of all things, he would not be willed away, for safety in dreams was not very different from danger. She was playing a losing match.
She shuffled under her covers, tugging once, tugging twice on the lower left corner of her blanket in hopes that if she pulled hard enough; he would fall right off. "How can you not know?" she questioned, sounding more irritated than he would probably like. Of course, what he liked mattered little to her. A rustle of cloth, the ticking of some one else's alarm clock and then, "You are the heir, of course. Aren't you?"
"Oh," he drawled, turning his head slightly so that he might see her out of the corner of his eye. His grip on the sheets tightened until his knuckles faded to white and his timely tapping quickened its pace until it resembled relentless rain on a windowpane. "You've become smug." He continued, voice deep and thrumming with wicked amusement that she had no intention of giving. "Ginny-my-dear."
She leered at him shrewdly, eyes not quite so daring as her hopes, and said, "You stop that tapping, Tom."
Silence reigned sound, and his half-mocking, half-happy smile ruled her sight. "We've reverted to first name basis again, Ginny, isn't that quaint?"
"Would you like me to call you Riddle, then?" She said primly, before stretching her mouth into a grim, ghostly little line on her otherwise freckled face. Her fingers had begun to scratch into the bedcovers again. She really should have cut her nails. Or she really should have insisted that the damned alarm clock be removed. "Or Marvolo, if you would like."
Then he said nothing, but merely gave her that half-half, not quite complete little grin that loved to play over his lips. If he flinched, she had forgotten to notice, captivated by the lonely glimmer in his candle-lit eyes that really were this beautiful shade of…
"Tom is fine. Call me Tom, Ginny." Of poisonous, venom green.
"And you really don't know?" she repeated, relentless and not to be satisfied by his common wiles. If she knew, she would be able to make him disappear again, like Harry was able to before. If she knew, then she could, whether or not he let her was another matter. Tick-tock, tick and tock.
"And I really don't know." He echoed. He leaned forward, and was suddenly much closer on the bed than he was before. He stared at her with those starving, dim eyes and she thought they looked so needing to be filled. He reached for her face and as if he knew she wouldn't let him touch her, dropped it with such alarming speed that it seemed as if it had never moved at all.
She found herself tearing her gaze from his locking stare in fear that she may become too gullible too quickly. Instead, she stared intently at the hand that laid resting on the bed, so aching to touch that it had been left to hang. "You can't win, Ginny-my-dear." He reminded her, face so close that his warm, moist breath fanned her cheek.
Swearing her neck would burst into flames and ashes any second, she said in a voice of gasped out, shaking whispers, "I know…but I do intend to fight."
He drew away, pulling his warmth along with him, and left her finding the room strange and chilly. She, however, noticed only the tiny movement of his suppressed hand, lying so innocently near her lap. "You're much more interesting this time, you know." He told her, thick with admiration, eyes dancing across her body. "Not as easy, not as simple. Such a wonderful girl."
"I won't let you do anything to me."
"And so stubborn!" he continued, smiling for her again. "I suppose, I'm not good enough this time?"
"Pardon?" she stuttered, breath catching like fish in a net somewhere deep in her throat. Her tongue was irregularly dry; it felt like greasy sandpaper inside her mouth.
The corners of his mouth pulled higher. The fingers of his hand slipped higher, lingering and hovering near the curve of her hip. She drew in her breath, in fear that she may not have another. Lowering his eyes to her thin, wispy fingers, he said, "I suppose that now you fancy Potter more than me?"
She watched him as he lifted his head, noticed that his lashes were really quite long for a boy because they kissed his pale cheek so lightly, wished that someone would kick that damn ticking clock off its counter. "Harry?" she said meekly, not even daring to move. She said no more, in fear that she would end up squeaking or something as equally timid.
"Or maybe Malfoy?" He continued, and she repeated the name with as much enthusiasm as she had done for the Boy-Who-Lived. She could almost, almost feel his fingers flickering across her skin and it flooded her mind. He grinned at her with pearled teeth. "Don't shudder, Ginny." He reassured her, withdrawing his hand. "I won't touch you if you don't want me to."
Oh, and for shame. She hadn't even felt it when her body had shuddered, and she realized how her barriers were not as strong or infallible as intended if he could send them crumbling and falling without even a touch. "No." she said slowly, staring at the foot of her bed, past the pale face where the candlelight played so carelessly. "Not Harry, or Draco. Not you either."
"It doesn't matter." He said and with a sweep of his school robes off the bed and the smile off his face he was standing, as far from her as he had been that night. He stared limply at the slipping wax collecting at the end of the candlestick, as if it provided the key to everything that mattered. Voice cold and freezing and hard, he said, "It doesn't matter at all, because I'll be real."
"Be real?" she questioned shakily.
"Quite." He confirmed, looking about the room as if noticing that it surrounded him for the first time. "As real as you, at least. As real as Potter, or Malfoy."
She watched him and heard the sound of his heels kicking against the floor as he left her side to approach an old, mahogany drawer at the end of the room. With a swift flick of his hand, he knocked the ticking tocking clock from its high and mighty perch. She watched the old thing as it fell, fell as if falling unfathomable depths to its doom. When it hit the floor, it shattered into pieces.
It was so quiet now. "As real as me." She repeated. Lifting her head, "What will you do?"
He turned to her, smiling again, grinning again, eyes so deep and empty again. "What do you think I'm going to do?"
She lowered her eyes because she didn't want to meet his gaze. "And you really don't know how?"
He chuckled, drifted closer to the foot of her bed, where he stood, towering like a snake over a cowering prey. "It seems to matter so much to you to know how I returned, Ginny-my-dear. I wonder why? It can't possibly be that you're so eager to be rid of me again, could it? I rather thought you would enjoy my company. You did so like it before."
"I was just curious." She told him. When she didn't look at him, he cupped her chin and forced her head to lift, her eyes to lift, to look at him. The candle was burning out, she figured, the light was getting dim, and in turn his eyes were dimmed too. A ghost of a smile began to flicker near his lips, though it was as inconsistent as the flickering light in his eyes.
"Curious." He repeated. Slyly, he continued, drawling and sonorous, "I am quite curious also, but curious about other things."
Change the subject; change the subject. "I wish you would leave."
"It isn't morning yet. Wish for the morning and for time to speed. You have better luck persuading it than me." The candle flickered out and she was as deaf as she was blind. There was nothing to hear and nothing to see until there came the unmistakable rustle of cloth and the dipping of the side of her bed as someone forced upon their company.
"Destiny, or fate." He whispered into her ear as he hovered above her, trapping her wrists on either side of her head. And though she had no intention of winning, she fought and then she lost. It was purely traditional, purely expected. An old habit of sorts that was hard to break, this resistance was.
When she was still, he trailed his mouth from the corner of her mouth to her jaw and down her neck. "Destiny or fate? It has nothing to do with that, Tom."
He halted briefly, breathing against her collarbone. "Oh?"
"Luck. It's only luck." She said, breathing becoming more uneven as the seconds passed. Something was pounding and racing and bursting inside her chest. "It's nothing but luck. If it were destiny or fate, you would have disappeared when Harry destroyed the diary. If it were destiny or fate, it wouldn't have turned out in your favor." She breathed, and gasped as he littered her mouth with kisses, some light and some not.
It was quite some time later that he said, "Not in my favor."
She scoffed. Of course, she hadn't intended to stoop as low as to become quite as harsh as he was, but it was deadly contagious, his manner. Especially when he began to…engage in activities other than talking. "Then in whose? Don't tell me that your return has any positive effect for Harry, or Malfoy."
He paused, breath feeling terribly hot on her lips. She listened as he breathed, straining her ears to catch his speech. "In yours, maybe, Ginny-my-dear."
"Nonsense." She quipped, before thinking.
He smiled against her mouth and in the darkness of night, she could still see the lethal shade of his eyes, for they were so close and still glimmering. "In yours, definitely. Or otherwise you'd be lonely."
She could vaguely feel his tongue flickering out of his mouth and licking his lips. Their mouths were so close together, barely apart and only allowing enough space to talk. "That's cruel, Tom."
He grinned. "As fate so often is."
"You'll be destroyed again, by Harry. You can't possibly win."
He kissed her and said, "But I do intend to fight." Then he kissed her again and teased, "Unless you don't want me to, Ginny-my-dear."
"It's not in my favor." She claimed. "It couldn't be in my favor, because there's nothing that I need from you. It's not in my favor." And she repeated this until her voice faded after being muffled by an onslaught of kisses and was replaced by steady breathing. She relented to the silence because of the giddy feeling in her head. It was similar to the sensation of a child doing something that she shouldn't be doing.
"Shouldn't talk so much, Ginny." Tom whispered. "I'd like it better if your mouth wasn't talking while I kiss you." He watched her as she stared at him, and only stared, for the next few minutes.
"I won't let you be real."
He smiled. "Oh? How, pray tell, will you accomplish that?"
"I'll wake up." Then, she made a move to shove him off of her, but his grip was too tight and too loose at the same time. She found herself only writhing under him in vain attempts to slip away. He waited until she ceased to move, defeated and weary and too strong to cry. "Get off."
"Don't." he said. "Because you'd like it if I were real. Then you wouldn't have to wait until the night."
"You don't really need me, Tom." She protested, but it was so weak and almost submissive.
"Of course I don't." he said, nuzzling into her neck. "The question is whether or not you need me." She opened her mouth, and noticed that it was agape and not emitting any sound. Therefore, she closed it, much to his pleasure. He kissed her again. "You're so interesting this time, Ginny. I like you much better this time. You'll like it too."
"You're sure? About destiny? And fate?"
He murmured into her skin, "Hmm…sure. It's all destiny and fate."
"Oh." She looked at him, arching forward, seeking his mouth. "And should I thank it, or curse it?"
He let her kiss him. "Depends," he said, against her mouth, "whichever you prefer, of course. It doesn't really matter." He let her hands slip free of his grasp, felt her frame his face with her fingers. It felt like a feather's touch, but it was not quite as fragile. "So which one will you choose?"
"Neither." She answered. "Neither."
She closed her eyes and felt the sun burning into her eyelids, as if to devour them whole. His touch, it felt as light as dust, as light as sunlight. Soon enough, his touch was sunlight, and he was replaced by cold, empty air that another body should have filled. Her blankets were in disarray, kicked off the bed and into a frenzied clump on the floor.
For a moment, she said nothing, not quite comprehending the end of a dream, but soon enough, she stood and made her bed, dressed and left the room. And then she was in the Great Hall, chatting with Harry and Hermione and Ron about other things, like Quidditch. She forgot things like dreams, and destiny, and fate; forgot things like the broken clock at the foot of her roommate's drawer.