Chapter 3: Carving the Beast
September 6th, 1938
"Gryffindor? Bloody Gryffindor?" Tom mocked in her direction as Hermione ducked behind a book, shielding herself from the Slytherin's insults. "I thought you were better than that, Granger," He hissed again, trying to get her to show him any reaction.
However Hermione did not move. She only flipped through the book and forced herself to write an essay her new Professor had assigned her.
"I mean honestly? Hufflepuff is already bad, but Gryffindor?" Tom Riddle burst out laughing that drew a certain attention from the occupants of the library.
He saw her bite her lower lip and smirked internally knowing he had gotten a form of reaction from her.
"Are you going to start prancing around the hallways now? Announcing your daring hearts and chivalrous souls?" He snickered down at the poor Gryffindor who was trying to bite down angry tears that threatened to fall.
Tom Riddle noted proudly that she had set her quill down and just stared blankly at the pages. Her jaw firmly clenched and her face fighting back any signs of recognition.
"Chivalry! Bravery!" He chanted with mock, "Are you going to start saving lives now?" He poked still trying to provoke another reaction from him.
He examined her closely; she was trying her hardest to stop any emotion from flooding through. But all those weeks together, he knew better.
She hadn't spoken to him for almost an entire day, trying to avoid him. She had even tried to make new friends to keep herself busy. But to her dismay, all the other Gryffindors weren't interested in her. In fact, Hermione firmly believed that they found her annoying. And so, there she was again, left all alone. That gave Riddle more than enough opportunities to find her, corner her and insult her House.
"I'm disappointed, Granger," He drawled.
There was a large slam. It even made Riddle jump slightly. Looked up Hermione had stood from her seat. Grasping her book in clenched hands as her face was contorted into anger.
"If you're so disappointed. If you're so ashamed. If you're so displeased. Then go find someone who fits your criteria." She hissed, her voice cracking from her fury.
Riddle smirked at his victory. It didn't take much for her to be completely offended by this reaction. She gripped the sides of her book even tighter. Her fists paled to a white.
The Slytherin found this quite amusing. Watching this young girl react the way she did all because of him.
Hermione glowered down at him while he only found humor in the situation. When neither of them spoke, the Gryffindor practically stomped her foot and made to leave.
Riddle quickly grasped her hand pulling her back. She gave a small 'eep' and he enjoyed that look of surprise on her face.
"Who said you could leave?" He asked calmly, his tone relevantly indifferent. Hermione's face melted into shock and disbelief as he mouthed those words.
"You cannot tell me what to do!" She hissed trying to yank her hand away from his cold grip.
"Sit down, Granger," He spoke, his face still calm, as if trying to train a stubborn dog. His tone infuriated Hermione. Her temper heating up once more.
"No," She bit back, her gaze challenging Riddle to make the next move.
"Hermione," He warned, and it struck the Gryffindor that he was being completely serious. This kid honestly expected her to bend to his every single will?!
"Let me go, Riddle," She frowned.
She pulled her arm again but he only held her tighter. He wasn't going to let her leave wasn't he?
"Sit down," He ordered. His tone was not cold but Hermione felt a strange compulsion to obey. She glared back down at him, trying to escape him.
"No," She repeated her anger radiating but she showed now detestation.
"Granger," He warned, like a mother scolding a little toddler. Hermione did not like being spoken to in such a matter, it made her feel small.
They both stared at each other for a few moments. One with fiery rage, the other shining with amusement.
With a defeated sigh Hermione ripped her hand from his grasp and she sat down. Riddle's smirk widened. The brunette scowled at him but she did not hate him.
He did not gloat of his victory, but it shone brightly in his eyes. Something that annoyed Hermione to no end, but she simply replaced herself in her original seating and proceeded as if nothing happened. So did Riddle as he mentally celebrated his control.
Hermione ducked the insults as she scooted towards Riddle at the front of the classroom. She could feel angry stares directed towards her. Particularly the Slytherins. They mentioned something about her impure status as she scuttled to the chair next to him.
It had almost been a month since she attended Hogwarts, and the Slytherin's had been insulting her blood status ever since.
But it wasn't as bad. At least she had Riddle by her side. Even if he couldn't say or do anything, it was still better than being targeted alone.
"They just won't shut up," Hermione muttered as she pulled out her textbooks. Riddle stared at her, examining her every movement.
He stared back at the Slytherins who were trying to toss papers at the back of her head. He looked back at Hermione who shrugged into her position, as if it would somehow shield her from their assaults. She wasn't scared or broken, she was simply annoyed.
He wondered vaguely if she knew that he suffered the exact same treatment at a tenfold in the Slytherin Common Room. It was often that he would get cursed or hexed just as he walked in. The older students found pleasure in teasing the First Years, but Riddle was generally targeted for his questionable heritage.
His eyes unwillingly trailed to his right arm; there was still a painful scar there. There were many scars. Both physically and emotionally. But he hid them well though. He did not want anyone finding out. Especially Hermione.
He glanced at Hermione who gave a huff as Abraxas Malfoy insulted her heritage. At least Hermione suffered as well. That made him feel slightly better.
"Don't you think that, that book is rather..." Hermione trailed off as she examined her companion's harsh Curse book. Riddle did not care. He would learn every single curse in the book. He had sworn that he would make those kids pay. Pay for their mistreatment. He enjoyed the thought of making them plead for forgiveness.
"It's a book, Hermione, what's wrong with that?" He sneered, not wanting to reveal his true intentions to the Gyrffindor.
The young brunette pursed her lips together as if trying to find a polite way to scold him.
"I'm just saying that you shouldn't waste time reading books like…that" She jerked her head in the direction of the large tome he held in his still undeveloped hands. "I mean 'Burgus and Yiels' List of Dark Curses' isn't rather pleasant reading." She explained, her weak smile trying to lighten the mood.
"So 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them,' is considered appropriate reading?" He hissed back, mocking the choice of reading that Hermione had in her own hands. Hermione winced at his tone but she still remained seated with him.
"I'm just saying that maybe there are better books you could read," She suggested, her tone painfully polite knowing her friend's rather unstable temper.
"What is with you? Who cares about what the book is about?" He hissed back, defending himself too much for Hermione's liking.
"I do, Tom," She was practically begging him as she leaned forward. "I care about the Dark Magic you're reading about, and frankly, I don't like it."
"Well does it look like I care what you think?"
Pain was reflected in her eyes and Tom was proud that it was because of him. He watched as her gaze dropped to the floor, as if the floor would tell her what to say next.
"Tom-," She began but he was defensive and was quick to cut her off.
"Hermione, why don't you stick to your reading and I'll stick to mine," He barked at the young Lioness. He privately rejoiced when she coiled back into her seat. She wasn't scared, she was disgusted. He didn't like that reaction, he decided.
He sat there, he was waiting. He wanted her to say something. Anything. He wanted her to bark back a comment. He wanted her to snarl something in defense. He wanted something out of her. But she didn't say anything.
Hermione Granger only regarded him as if silently asking him 'why'
She didn't get up to leave like he expected, instead she pulled out her own books and read them in silence.
That night they sat in the library in silence. They stayed until the library closed. They always did. But this time there was no laughter or intelligent conversation. They only sat in a tense silence. They were practically pouting in their own seats. Glaring at the books in front of them. Quite comedic to an outsider.
Neither was ready to get up and leave. Because doing so would admit defeat and both were too stubborn do so.
When the librarian came and shooed them away both eyed the other party. They both stood up simultaneously, they gathered their books simultaneously. They were waiting for an apology from the other. However they were both to hotheaded to even dream of giving in.
No one noticed a small chuckle from the librarian who was watching the stare down.
As they exited the library they exchanged one last glare before they each stormed down opposite directions to their own Common Rooms.
Both of them had already forgiven the other. They wouldn't admit it though.
"Again, Flint!" Abraxas Malfoy shouted at the sixth year who dangled Tom Riddle from the ceiling.
Tom Riddle winced as he braced himself for the curse. Flint and the other sixth years laughed as he casted the spell and the young boy's face contorted and shifted into the different faces of animals.
He fought back a shout of help when his face melted into one of a pig's. His pale face shaded into a bright pink. His nose a giant snout and his ears were now large and floppy.
The other Slytherin's gathered around as they watched the young First Year's face change from animal to animal.
"How about a monkey?" A second year suggested. There were shouts of agreement and Riddle was ready to burst into tears.
Hair sprouted from every corner of his face, his eyes widening as his face was Transfigured into one of a Drill Monkey.
Humiliation pumped through him as words of insult were shouted at him.
"Quite an improvement I think!" A female voice cried out.
"Maybe we should leave him like that! He looks much better looking now!" Another commented and the entire Common Room burst into laughter.
The torture went on for the entire night. It was the weekend after all. The students didn't mind staying up late to humiliate the 'Muggle' boy.
Riddle swayed back and forth trying to find a way to get down. He hated them all. He imagined killing every single one of them. He wished he could get his wand right now. He would use all the curses he knew on them. He would kill them all.
"Look at him," A fourth year cooed with mock.
"Aweh, he wants to get down, Flint," Another smirked. Riddle gave a cry. He tried to shout. To tell them to let him down. He wanted someone to help him. Anyone. Where were the professors? Was there anyone to help him?
He felt the spell holding him upside down cancel and the young boy fell to the cold stone floor with a loud crash. He felt dazed for a moment as he recollected himself. He couldn't get up however. There was too much pain holding him.
Riddle gave a gasp as he gripped his left knee. Blood soaked through his uniform as new scrapes and cuts formed.
It hurt so badly. He bit his lower lip and focused on his own hurt so that he could possibly block out the assaults of the Slytherins. Maybe that way he didn't have to hear them.
He would not cry. Not in front of them. A large lumped was formed in throat as he shivered. He felt so alone. He was a baby deer that wandered into the predator's den. Lost and scared.
He was so vulnerable as they continued to laugh and hiss rude things at him.
"Filthy blood!" One would shout.
"Unworthy of the Slytherin Crest!" They would howl.
Riddle kept his head low hoping it would make him disappear. There were so many enemies in one room. Everyone hated him. Everyone wished he was dead. They made him wish he was dead. He wanted nothing more than to crawl into a deep dark trench and just die. No one would miss him anyways.
No one wanted him.
He was worthless.
A/N: Poor Riddle *sadface* It's okay; this is how we will carve your destructive nature! Then all will be well and swell! Because all hate was born from something right?
Yes I know Tom Riddle isn't a Muggle but he doesn't know that yet :)
~We're All Just A Little Mad