1 YEAR LATER
Tom was rather traditional. Surprisingly so.
On my last day at Hogwarts he took the train to the station with me, despite having rented an apartment in Hogsmeade. He'd walked up to my parents and introduced himself as my boyfriend and shockingly he'd hit it off with my parents instantly.
My parents, my dad especially, were so completely charmed by him that they constantly wanted me to bring him with me whenever I came home for the holidays. Giving into the pressure, I invited Tom home with me for the holidays and he agreed. He was currently sitting beside me in the taxi as we pulled into the small town where I'd been born. I was holding his hand, looking out of the window when I felt his hand tighten all of a sudden.
"Tom?" Looking away from the window and up at him, I gave him a concerned look. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," he said with a smile but I didn't buy it. "You never told me that you were born in Little Hangleton."
"Is it important?" I furrowed my eyes in confusion.
He shook his head and gave me a reassuring smile. "It's not."
I didn't push the matter further as the taxi pulled onto the side of the road; unable to go any further. We'd have to walk the last few minutes to the house. Tom was out of the car before I'd even undone my seatbelt; paying the fare and getting our luggage out of the boot. Coming round to my side, he opened my door for me and offered me his hand. Taking his hand to step out of the taxi I went to take my luggage from him but he shot me a look.
Rolling my eyes I let him carry both bags and fell into step beside him, leading the way to my home. We walked through the town, Tom looking around the town and stopping in his step when his eyes settled onto a large manor at the top of a hill. I stopped beside him, looking curiously at the manor that had caught his eye, when a man stepped out of the house.
My eyes widened at the sight of the man and looked between Tom and the man who looked like an identical, if not older, version of him. Tom's eyes landed on the man and I clutched his arm tightly. Although I hated to admit it, there were times when I couldn't help but wonder whether Tom would revert to his old self. So far whenever such occasions had occured, he hadn't risen to the bait.
Looking away from the man, Tom peered down at me with a smile. "I'm alright."
He started to walk again and I walked alongside him, my mind full of so many questions. But I kept them to myself.
"That manor we just passed," he said without me needing to prod him. "Was Riddle Manor and that man is my biological father."
"I had no idea –"
"And why would you?" He nudged me with his shoulder. "But somehow, seeing him, even from a far has given me closure."
"It has." He looked around the road again. "Now where exactly is your parent's home?"
"At the end of the road." I gestured to the house and we walked the rest of the way.
When we arrived at the house, Mum and Dad had ushered Tom into the house with open arms. Dad had taken Tom's suitcase from him, despite Tom's protests, and shown him to the guestroom. Mum had accompanied me to my room as I started to unpack my clothes for the week we'd be here. She sat on the bed, watching me as I moved around the room. When I'd finished tidying up, I turned to find her watching me expectantly.
She patted the bed next to her for me to sit down. When I was sat next to her, she took both of my hands in hers. I looked up at her curiously.
"Sweetheart I know you love Tom but you mustn't," She trailed off, becoming flustered by whatever she was going to say. "Until you're married you shouldn't –"
She trailed off again but this time I understood what she was talking about. I flushed pink and pulled my hands away from hers.
"Merlin, Mum we haven't done that!" I looked around the room, both of us wanting to avoid this conversation.
"And Tom's alright with that?"
"He's very conservative." I muttered in explanation. My cheeks felt like they were on fire.
"That's good," She said in blatant relief. "Because Mrs Jones' daughter is pregnant poor thing, and the boyfriend ran off! Can you believe it? I got worried so I had to check but Tom wouldn't do that. He's a good man."
"You're right," I agreed with a smile, "He is a good man."
"Who's a good man?" Dad asked from the doorway, Tom hovering at his side. Tom's lips tugged into a smirk; the expression telling me he'd heard the conversation.
"Certainly not you." Mum said rising to her feet and linking her arm through Dad's to drag him away.
Tom, now standing alone in the doorway, let his smirk grow even wider. Stepping into the room, he headed towards my chest of drawers, his eyes scanning the pictures on top of it.
Picking up one of the wizarding pictures he called out casually, over his shoulder, "I'm a good man then?"
"You are." Standing up, I made my way over to him and wrapped my arms around him from behind. He stiffened a little at the uncharacteristic action and went to turn around in my arms. "No, don't. I can't look at you and say what I'm going to say next without becoming a tomato."
"What do you want to say?" His words were cautious as I pressed my cheek against his back.
"I'm in love with you." I said softly.
A still silence followed my words before he removed my arms from around his waist. Turning to face me, he used one of his hands to tip my face up towards his. Pressing a chaste kiss to my lips he pulled back and beamed at me, the smile so warm that I felt myself smile back.
"Thank you for saying it back." He said gently.
"I know that since you first told me a couple of weeks ago that you've been waiting for me to say it back." I rose onto my toes and pressed a kiss to his lips, surprising him even further. "Thank you for not pushing me to say it."