III. Stay Away [major plot changes]

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24th august 2016 | hey there! i've completely changed the plot of this chapter, as in how much evelyn knows about tom riddle. it WILL change the future of the story. just so you know :)

STAY AWAY

I woke early, long before anyone else in my dormitory. Despite a dreamless sleep, I felt refreshed and ready to adapt to this new life of mine. I slipped out of bed, dressed in my uniform and pulled my hair up into its usual ponytail. I reviewed my timetable several times, memorising my lessons. They were organised quite similarly to the timetable I had had in my time. Once I was sure of my day, I double-checked my bag. 

Before I left the dorm, I felt the sudden need to check my pocket to see if my time turner was safe. I looked over my shoulder, making sure nobody was looking, before putting a hand in my pocket. Wrapping my fingers around the cold metal, I lifted it out of my pocket and read the inscription over again:

I mark the hours, every one,
Nor have I yet outrun the sun.
My use and value unto you,
Are gauged by what you have to do.

After reading the inscription for what felt like the hundredth time, with a sigh, I put the small gold device back into my pocket. I shook my head, collecting myself together, before leaving my dormitory and walking in the direction of the Great Hall. As I walked I kept replaying what Dumbledore had told me in my head, ticking it over in my brain. I wanted to get this task over and done with, though I feared it would take longer than just this school year. It could take days.

It could take weeks. Months. Maybe even years.

This scared me as anything could happen between now and the near future. Tom Riddle could be working at becoming Lord Voldemort quicker or slower than I thought, and he could be kinder or more evil presently than I presumed. Shaking these negative and positive thoughts out of my head, I continued my way towards the Great Hall. Once I reached it, I slipped inside and took a seat at the Ravenclaw table. Once I had sat down, I got out one of my favourite books and started to read about dragons, which happened to be my favourite species of magical creature. I was also quite found of the Golden Snidget, but it really was a pity that they were extinct now.

After a few more minutes of peaceful reading and eating toast in silence, I was joined by Jessica. I looked up and was met by her bright blue eyes. Her thick, blonde hair was down and was swept over her right shoulder. She smiled brightly at me, her white teeth practically glittering in the candlelight. I offered her a small smile and flipped the page of my book, continuing to read more about Swedish Short-Snouts.

"Good morning, Evelyn!" She chirped, "You must have a good memory to find your way back down here from the Ravenclaw common room. I'm envious of this mind of yours." I smiled to myself and looked up from an interesting paragraph about wing span and how it affects the flight in different ways. Incredibly interesting, seeing as it was the sixth time I had read this book.

"My brain's just cluttered. I need to work on my storage." I said. Jessica smirked, before lifting my book so she could see the cover, tracing it with her finger. Her eyebrows raised ever so slightly.

"Dragons? Interesting. I never really liked them. I find them a bit too terrifying. Honestly, I prefer centaurs. I know they're technically not beasts, and that's why I find that—" I was listening, but I couldn't help but watch the door as my mind trailed off. Tom Riddle had just walked in, on his own. He looked smart and tidy, not a hair out of place. He sat himself down, and nobody sat with him, or invited him over. My brow creased, contemplating.

I might as well, I thought as I looked back at Jessica, who was ranting about how centaurs were misunderstood and were actually really lovely creatures. I leaned across the table more, closing in on Jessica so only she could hear what I was about to say.

"Er, Jessica, can I ask you something?" I whispered. Pouring myself a glass of pumpkin juice, I tried to sound as casual as possible, "Do you know Tom Riddle?"

"How come? Do you know him?"

I sighed and looked about the table. Nobody seemed remotely interested in what we were talking about. They were too busy eating breakfast or discussing timetables and teachers to hear our conversation about Tom Riddle.

"I sort of met him yesterday. And when I say met, I mean..." I trailed off, not quite sure what our meeting could be rephrased as or called. There seemed to be no synonym or adjective for how I had met Tom Riddle. The closest thing I would be able to think of would have been stared down.

"Well, er, I don't know him. You see, to tell the truth, I don't think he has many friends. He seems a little bit reserved at times, but I'm pretty sure he's not bad. He's never started trouble with anyone. He's clever though, really clever, and teachers like him a lot...I guess because he's nice to them and is good at what he does. He's good at spells and he does everything to a really high standard. He's just kind of...alone, I guess. "

"Introverted?" I queried.

"You could say that. He keeps to himself and doesn't bother anybody." Jessica started to butter her third slice of toast, "You could say he's a bit of a Riddle." She smiled feebly at her joke, tapping the butterknife gently.

"Do you know why?" I asked her, curious. Jessica sighed as he was about to bite into her toast, placing it back down onto the plate. She criss-crossed her fingers. 

"There's this rumour..." She bit her lip and checked around, "It's just a rumour of course, but there's a rumour that went around that his mum died. But I don't know for sure."

"Oh..." I looked down at my book, which was lying open on a page about dragon flight. Dumbledore-from-the-Future had told me that Tom Riddle was a troubled boy and, if this rumour wasn't just a rumour, no wonder. As tragic and sad as it was...was that really enough to turn someone into Lord Voldemort? I supposed grief did different things to people.

"In third year someone made a remark about his mother...and it was weird. It was the only time I've seen him so...emotional. He's usually quite calm. But that was a couple of years ago," Jessica looked about her, "Look, personally I think he's a bit dangerous."

"Dangerous?" 

"Dangerous as in nobody knows enough about him to know what he's really like. He could be plotting a rebellion to overthrow the world, or he could be planning a mass mission to save the house elves. Who knows what's going on with him? All I know is he's intelligent, and he's obviously a brilliant wizard. And he's handsome. We'll also give him that. But he doesn't seem to let people in. I think he likes it that way."

I thought to yesterday, when he had snapped at me. He had seemed cold, harsh. But I couldn't yet be sure. It would make sense if he was...cold, for lack of words.

"But, if I were you, I'd keep my distance from him. For your sake, and his. I think he's capable of big things. And I don't want you straying too close to someone like Riddle. You could get hurt." Jessica picked up her toast again, "Please, stay away from Tom Riddle."

I closed my book on dragons, and looked over Jessica's shoulder at Tom. He was checking over his timetable, one of his dark curls falling down into his forehead. I quickly averted my gaze and looked back at Jessica. I offered her a smile. Her words rung in my head. 

If I was to stay away from him, for both of our sakes...how could I possibly save the wizarding and Muggle worlds? I had no choice. 

And, I thought to myself, neither does he.



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