October 3rd, 1941
Somewhere behind heavy wards in Scotland
Tom Marvolo Riddle understood the concept of distractions, even if he himself had never before suffered from such nugatory disturbances.
His purpose and aspirations always stood unrelenting in the very forefront of his mind, and there had been nothing in existence that could deter him from his endeavours, and for such he had been admired and praised by everyone that knew him. In the magical world at least.
Nothing could ever distract him, and yet here he found himself again, with bright emerald green breaking through all of his mental shields.
The colour invaded his clear mind and muddled it with resentment and a newly acquired ability he thought himself incapable of.
Of course, Tom understood the burning sensation of desire, knew intimately the torrid pulses that seared the body in desperate need. He wasn't above desire, and he desired numerous things, like power, control, immortality, and respect. He craved to achieve greatness, be the most talented, most recognized. He sought his name to be known among all men, women, children, and creatures, but never before had he desired another witch or wizard.
He'd desired to control them for his own means, undoubtedly, but he had never lusted for anyone based on their attraction and appeal alone.
Such a thing was incomprehensible to him.
Yes, he understood what society as a general whole categorized as beautiful and attractive. He, himself could admit that he found certain features more attractive than others, but it had never provoked more than natural arousal and a need to satisfy himself.
He had experienced sexual pleasure and the obvious calming release that ensued. Just as any other boy his age, he was undergoing the process of puberty, however trivial he found it.
But sexual pleasure was not what truly satisfied him and got his blood boiling. What did was to gain whatever he coveted, be it connections, special artefacts, knowledge, or simply the control and complete submission from a follower.
He understood how a 'normal' person would react to a person they find attractive, he had, after all, more than enough experience with how people reacted to him. They looked at him with such obscene hunger, hardly able to curb their need to catch his attention at every turn.
Throughout the years he had observed and used people's desires against them. He'd never completely understood their lust for him, the need to belong to someone, but he accepted it and found out that it was yet another weapon to use in his favour, another way to control.
He had long since accepted that he wasn’t normal, that he was different—better, unchained by such fruitless emotions such as lust and infatuation. He didn't want to be like everyone else—average. Average people do not achieve the greatness he desired.
Even so, for the past month, his blood had been boiling, and his stomach clenching and twisting in uncomfortable knots at even the slightest thought of emerald green and raven black.
Tom Marvolo Riddle had been degraded to an accelerated heart rate, vein pulsating in his neck with rushing blood, like some… some… pubescent girl.
He could almost taste the adrenalin as it urged him to do something, anything to quell this intolerable and salacious hunger.
He now understood perfectly and preferred he didn't.
He had been right, it was a weakness, but he wasn't going to let it control him.
That was why he hadn't stopped Abraxas Malfoy and Caius Avery when they had hinted that they were going out to find their newest classmate and teach him a lesson on the Slytherin hierarchy, which he seemed so disinclined to accept and follow.
The raven-haired new student seemed to be quiet and very reserved. He tried his best to stay out of everyone's way, preferring solitude to the company of others and quite unwilling to socialize with his peers for even a moment. In fact, the only people Tom had seen him speak with at length were the seventh-year Slytherin Prefect, Alphard Black, and his cousin Orion.
Tom had to admit that he admired the cunning and aesthetic way the boy had managed to rebuff the attention he had gotten in the first few days of his arrival, when it was first revealed that he was heir to house Peverell. He had done it so perfectly that until that morning he had been forgotten by most, just not by Tom.
He didn’t personally share any classes with the boy, with him being a fourth-year and Peverell being a seventh-year student, but he was told that he didn't speak in class unless called upon and seemed to be averagely powerful. Nothing that would draw anyone's attention and very easily forgotten.
So why hadn't Tom forgotten about him?
His beauty and Lordship status that had initially garnered their peers’ attention held no real value to him, so why was he bothered by the fact that no one managed to get more information on the mysterious new seventh-year student?
Hadrian James Peverell, Lord of his house as proven by the signet ring that he wore, was previously homeschooled by his traveller parents. Because he’d been recently orphaned due to the war raging outside of Hogwarts, he'd decided to attend Hogwarts as per his parents' last request - for him to properly finish his education and further his chances at an apprenticeship within the castle. That was all anyone knew about the boy.
Hadrian Peverell spent most of his time in the library and was rarely ever seen at any of the meals, and it was an even rarer sight to catch him in the common room.
Because of the gap in their ages, he wasn't privy to Peverell's sleeping patterns, but from what he had been told, his curtains were always drawn and when they weren't, he wouldn't get back before they'd all slept and would be out before anyone woke up.
Because of this, one could understand why, when said new Slytherin classmate was seen walking and laughing in the corridors between classes with seventh-year Gryffindor Golden Boy Fleamont Potter, the consensus was shock, indignation, disapproval, rage, and lastly, revolt.
The house of Slytherin was not going to stand for such an insult.
Tom had said nothing when he had seen the effortless camaraderie they seemed to share. He hadn't allowed his feet to stop moving and he hadn't allowed his hand to tremble. He hadn't allowed himself to show the rage he felt at the nauseating scene he had had the misfortune to witness.
He hadn't uttered a word about it, unlike the rest of the Hogwarts population and had tried, in vain, to push the situation out of his mind. He would not succumb to this weakness.
For the rest of the day, he hid behind his perfected mask of cool indifference and ignored a situation he would usually have a hand in rectifying. Why? Because he couldn't allow himself to speak, lest his jealousy manages to take control of his actions and sways him to act upon this urge to dispose of both men. He could imagine how beautiful it would be to watch the life drain out of Potter's eyes before he collapsed limply in his own pool of blood. Yes, the satisfaction would taste all too sweet, topped only by Peverell's own demise.
Tom shook himself out of these fantasies and shot a quick glance at the clock hanging atop the fireplace, noticing that it had already been over an hour since Malfoy and Avery had taken their leave from the common room. Another ten minutes and they would miss curfew.
No one had left to their rooms yet. Everyone was still about, waiting for Malfoy and Avery's return so they would find out the damage that had been inflicted and wanting to collect on their bets. Maybe even vindictively waiting to catch a glimpse of the victim.
How long would he be unconscious for? Two days or maybe a month? Had they severed a limb?
No one doubted that retribution would be dealt, not even himself.
No one cared for Peverell's wellbeing, so why was he so anxious? What was this uncomfortable aching pang in his heart when he thought of Peverell being hurt? Had he not just fantasized about taking the boy's life himself?
This was all too foreign to him. He didn't understand. It was unclear, and things had always been clear to him. He didn't like this new development, and he wouldn’t tolerate it. He would get himself under control. Things would be clear again. Hadrian Peverell was no one, and this beating he was being served would extinguish any appeal Tom had towards him. He was sure of it, because he hated weak and pathetic people and that is what Abraxas and Caius would render him to.
Excited chattering, giggling, and mocking laughter was quickly stolen by the ear-shattering bang of the entrance door slamming open.
Each and every head in the common room turned towards the entrance and watched the imposing figure of Hadrian Peverell emerge from the shadows of the alcoves with two beaten and bloodied bodies levitating behind him.
The silence that followed was out-measured only by the suffocating presence of Hadrian Peverell's magic. It was wild and uncontained, lashing out and filling the room.
Power. So much raw power. How had he managed to conceal this amount of magic?
As soon as he’d felt it, it was gone.
No one uttered a single word, and it was as if everyone had simultaneously stopped breathing, including Tom. No one moved when Peverell dropped the rope-bound bodies to the ground, this incomprehensible situation seemingly having rendered the whole of Slytherin house immobile.
Tom marvelled at the complete nonchalance in which he disposed of the two bodies, and once again his stomach knotted and the skin at the back of his neck felt fevered. Had he not been distracted by the sudden surge of arousal, he would have noticed that there was no wand in sight.
Peverell's face was impassive as he let his eyes trail over the whole room, completely unscathed from the duel that must have taken place just a few minutes before.
''I'm not quite sure if you all understand the meaning of this display,'' he started with a deep, velvety voice that carried dangerously over the ringing silence, gesturing towards the unmoving bodies. Tom was unable to suppress his shiver at the darkness that caressed him.
''But as I would like to not have to resort to these measures again, I shall indulge you with an explanation,'' he continued, inspecting his nails in an act of easy indifference. It was as amusing as it was insulting, but Tom managed to bite back his smirk.
''These two fools,'' Peverell sighed exasperatedly, ''bound at my feet, had the audacity to believe they were allowed to dictate who I am to spend my time with. Furthermore, they tried to hurt an acquaintance of mine. Not to worry,'' he smiled wickedly, making some of the younger students whimper, “they quickly learned the consequences of such uncouth actions. Rest assured that the next time anyone presumes they are able to control me or tries to hurt anyone I decide to associate with, they will not be dealt with as generously, and such people should be wary of my retaliation.''
Once he was sure his threat had set in, Peverell's eyes snapped towards Tom. His expression was still stoic and impassive, but his eyes had narrowed slightly, flashing in a warning that, no, he was not exempt from this threat.
Rage struck his every nerve, clashing wildly with lust for this boy who dared challenge him.
Peverell suddenly took three steps in his direction and came to a stop just two feet away from his sitting position in his armchair. He tilted his head to the side, hair falling into his eyes as he assessed him.
Tom cocked an inquisitive eyebrow at him but dared to do no more, curious to hear what the boy had to say to him.
''Now, we wouldn't want our house's reputation to suffer because of a couple of imbeciles, so I shan't speak with Slughorn, just this once. Please do try and keep a tighter hold on that leash of yours,'' was all he said before he turned around and left, seemingly unbothered by the fact that it was now well past curfew.
Once the portrait hole shut behind Peverell, Tom turned to the two bound fools still lying helplessly on the floor.
''I want to speak with the sixth-year boys in their dorm room immediately.'' He didn't have to raise his voice; it carried through the room in dangerous waves filled with the promise of punishment, should anyone refuse his orders. He stood and made his way to the stairs, leaving his other associates to deal with the bound boys.
His mind was reeling. How was this possible? How had he managed to best Malfoy and Avery?
Peverell hadn't shown any spectacular abilities in class, his work mediocre at best. He shouldn’t have been able to hold a candle against Avery, yet the dark, enraged power that had been pulsating and radiating around Peverell had been real. The promise to hurt had been real, as was the deep seething malice that had taken his breath away.
The door swung open and Nott walked in, his shoulder loaned to Malfoy, whilst Lestrange and Rosier had to carry Avery's trembling body inside.
Avery was shaking uncontrollably, and his face was devoid of any colour besides the fresh blood that was running down his cheeks from the open wound in his head. His hair was matted to his tear and sweat slickened face, and his eyes were shut in pain. He was a complete mess and unable to use any of his limbs, whimpering and groaning with each step he took.
From the state Avery was in, Tom gathered that he hadn't been the only one to throw around a few dark curses.
Lestrange and Rosier looked at him for permission to set him down, which he gave.
Once they placed Avery onto the bed, they all turned to him, waiting for him to speak.
Tom’s eyes snapped to Abraxas, whose face was lowered in shame and fear, but his body was locked, presumably because of the shock he was going through.
He was in much better shape than Avery, but still had a red streak of blood tainting his dishevelled platinum blond hair, and his robes were torn in several places.
''Explain to me how Hadrian Peverell managed to get the best of you,'' he requested calmly, but the threat in his voice was obvious.
''We f-found him with P-Potter, b-but P-Peverell, it was Peverell. Fleamont didn't have to l-lift a finger,'' Abraxas stuttered, clenching his jaw whilst shaking his head. His hands were clenched at his side, trying unsuccessfully to keep them from trembling. His face was hidden away by his long blond hair, an indication that he had lost control over his emotions and was unable to reign in his obvious terror. ''I-I'm not s-sure...'' he trailed of shuddering, unable to finish his thought.
What had Hadrian Peverell done to them exactly?
''What do you mean, you're unsure? Were you not conscious when he attacked you and Avery?'' Tom hissed at him.
''I was,'' he whispered in a way that spoke loudly of how he wished he hadn't been. ''I don't understand. It's impossible,'' he mumbled, locking his stormy blue eyes with Tom's grey ones for the first time since his arrival.
What Tom saw had him almost stumbling back. Abraxas was terrified, completely panic-stricken and frantic, flighty. He wanted to escape. Not Tom, but the memories of Hadrian Peverell.
''They were disarmed,'' he continued, voice pitched with hysterical incredulity.
This caught their attention; everyone's heads snapping to Abraxas, and Avery released a whimper from his bed.
''Do you mean to insinuate that Hadrian Peverell bested you both wandlessly?'' Impossible. Wandless casting was nearly impossible to master, almost unheard of. Wizards and witches needed their wands for a reason—that reason being the need to focus and channel their magic. One didn’t just go around performing complex wandless magic.
Of course, Tom was able to cast a select few spells wandlessly, but not any dark spells like the kind that seem to have been inflicted on his housemates.
''See for yourself,'' Abraxas offered, his eyes never leaving him. ''Because I have no words,'' he confessed, completely disturbed by what he had been witness to that night.
Tom took the invitation and without a second thought invaded his mind. Abraxas’s mental walls were down and the memory he wanted was offered freely for his viewing.
Abraxas and Avery rounded the corner of an abandoned hallway close to the library when they had finally found the subject of their ire leaning against the wall, smiling gently at the Gryffindor boy who seemed to be rambling and gesturing wildly with his hands, presumably talking about Quidditch.
''Peverell, so glad we've run into you,'' Avery called out to them, instantly halting their conversation.
Potter spun around, glare instantly falling onto his face, whilst Peverell just tilted his head to the side. The smile was gone from his face but there was no outwardly sign of hostility, just slight irritation at being interrupted.
''Malfoy, Avery,'' he acknowledged but didn't move from his position, whilst Potter already had his wand in his hand, ready for the attack.
''We would like to have a few words with you, Peverell,'' Abraxas requested, and the command didn't go unheard.
''That so,'' Peverell commented bemused. ''Why don't you go on and head to your tower, Fleamont, I'll speak to you tomorrow,'' he told Potter without moving his eyes away from the two Slytherins in front of him.
''I think I'll stay a while,'' Potter told him resolutely, probably knowing what they had planned for their housemate.
''You better listen to him, Potter,'' Avery spat, taking another step forward. ''You don't want to find yourself in an uncomfortable situation,'' he warned but, obviously, the Gryffindor wasn't about to move and leave his friend behind to be attacked. He was a Gryffindor and therefore had no sense of self-preservation.
''How about you watch yourself, Avery. I may not be Head Boy, but I am still a prefect,'' Potter threatened, causing both Malfoy and Avery to chuckle.
''Gentlemen,'' Peverell intervened. ''Must there be such hostility in the air?'' he questioned, wrinkling his nose as if disgusted with the display.
''You seem to need a reminder of your place, Peverell,'' Abraxas said, none too pleased with Peverell’s nonchalant behaviour.
''And you wish to be the one to remind me, Malfoy?'' Peverell asked him with a raised brow.
''Your insolence will be punished,'' Avery promised, smiling cruelly at Peverell, but the boy wasn't shaken.
''My insolence? What have I done to offend your delicate sensibilities?'' Peverell asked with a tone of genuine curiosity, which Tom knew to be completely ingenuine. Potter chuckled lightly, drawing Avery's attention once again back to him.
''Slytherins do not associate with Gryffindors, especially not when they don't have the common courtesy to associate with their own house,'' Abraxas told Peverell airily. ''What have we done to offend you so that you would shun us so publicly?'' he asked, and Tom could feel the genuine curiosity behind his question. It had been running through everyone's mind for the whole day, so he couldn't be blamed for asking.
''I see,'' Peverell mumbled, licking his lower lip. ''So, you wish to decide with whom I keep company based on the sole reason that I was sorted into Slytherin house. I also seem to have overstepped some form of boundaries that the Slytherin hierarchy has set up, and because I have overstepped said boundaries, by associating with a blood traitor, you now wish to teach me a lesson in the name of Slytherin house for my ghastly betrayal. You wish to assert dominance over me and show me that I am at the very bottom of this hierarchy, meaning that my freedom is yours to do with as you please; this based on the account of my unknown blood-status, and presumably powerless state, as opposed to the obvious superiority of outstanding pure-bloods such as yourselves. Have I left anything out?''
His question was left unanswered as hexes and curses started flying.
Peverell didn't attack, just shielded and dodged the spells effortlessly, and Potter was holding his own until Abraxas managed to finally disarm him.
Avery took the opportunity and sent a bone-breaker at Potter, which Peverell managed to shield him from at the last second, but the distraction was enough to allow Avery to disarm Peverell, wand flying towards him and caught with acute reflexes.
The duel should have been over; Malfoy and Avery had won. They now had the upper hand, but it was only Potter that looked marginally nervous at having no wand to defend himself with.
''I guess pretty words are all you're worth, Peverell,'' Avery mocked as he twirled the newly won wand in his hand.
Peverell nodded, but neither noticed the small smirk that twitched at the edges of his lips. ''That's right Avery. Now give Potter back his wand and let him leave. It is, after all, I that has slighted you,'' Peverell tried to bargain.
''I don't think so, Peverell. Potter needs to be taught a lesson of his own,'' Abraxas mentioned lightly. ''Don't you think so, Avery? It seems like too good an opportunity to miss.''
Had they been paying attention to Peverell they would have noticed the fire that flashed in his eyes. They would have noticed his subdued back straightening and his jaw setting in determination.
He had allowed his housemates their fun, but threatening his friend seemed to have crossed some line for Peverell.
''I wouldn't do that if I were you, Avery,'' Peverell warned, all pretences dropping. His voice gained a dangerous edge to it and his eyes flashed brightly in warning.
''Have you forgotten that you're wandless, Peverell?'' Avery reminded him, face contorted in fury when he noticed that the boy wasn't cowering in fear and submission.
''Last warning,'' Peverell threatened, garnering an incredulous look even from Potter.
Without warning, Avery aimed a Crucio towards Potter, but once again Peverell saved him, and Tom had to wonder if the boy had been sorted into the correct house.
Peverell stepped in front of the torture curse for Potter and Tom could feel Abraxas's incredulity mixing with his own. Why on earth would anyone step in front of such a curse for anyone, let alone a boy whom you've known for less than a month?
Incredulity made way for shock and sheer amazement at the fact that the man under the torture curse had yet to release a single scream. His body was convulsing with the agony that he was under, but his eyes held strong as steel as he fell to one knee under the pressure of absolute pain.
Abraxas turned to a now wide-eyed Avery, whose grip on his wand had slackened in shock. Avery gasped, and his jaw dropped. The reaction urged Abraxas to turn his head back to Peverell, and he too lost his composure, eyes wide open and jaw firmly unhinged.
Horror, that was the only emotion cursing through Abraxas as he watched Peverell stand up whilst still under the Cruciatus.
Tom watched fascinated as the raven-haired man flicked his wrist and disarmed them both at once, all four wands flying to the other end of the corridor and out of reach.
The next second Peverell had Abraxas thrown into the wall with a sickening crunch and as soon as his fallen body touched the ground, it was bound in tight black ropes. Horror increased to panicked terror at being bound and helpless against the man whose magic was suffocating him.
Tom felt the memory of the darkness that had wrapped around Abraxas like a blanket, and it took all his self-control not to moan aloud.
''Leave, Potter,'' Peverell commanded, his attention focused solely on Avery, who was now kneeling at his feet, unable to move. When a few seconds of silence went by Peverell forcefully ordered again. ''Now, Potter! Not a word about this to anyone,'' he warned without sparing him a glance.
''R-right. Okay,'' Potter stuttered, looking at him with awe-filled eyes. ''Not a word,'' he promised, and with one last glance at the man that had just saved him, he scurried off.
Once Potter was out of sight Peverell lifted his hand, and with it Avery rose into the air, his eyes widening in fear when he started choking and gasping for breath, struggling against the invisible force that held him in place.
''Don't worry,'' Peverell said soothingly. ''You're allowed to scream. No one will hear you,'' he promised sadistically.
Then the screaming started, agonized screams telling of pain and a wish to die. Tom watched as Avery convulsed, his body snapping in all odd directions as Peverell held him up in mid-air.
Tears started streaming down his face, and his lungs were starting to give out, choked sobs mixing into the screams.
Tom could feel Abraxas's need to look away from the scene, but he found himself unable to move his head or even close his eyes. So he was helplessly stuck watching his friend getting tortured with just a few gestures and clenching of Peverell's fingers.
Peverell held whatever spell he had cast for over a minute before Avery found himself slammed down to the ground, surely breaking a few of his ribs, before he bound him with the same ropes Abraxas was bound in, struck immobile and soundless.
''I warned you,'' he told them. ''I shall go ahead and assume that you now know better than to try another attack on my person, or on any other one of my acquaintances,'' he told them drolly, completely unaffected by what he had just done to his housemates.
Having seen enough, Tom retreated from Abraxas's mind. Abraxas was the first to look away, staggering against Nott who had gone to his side when he started shaking mid-memory.
Tom had no words for what he had just seen because it was impossible. He could now understand Abraxas's stuttering and inability to explain what happened. He could now understand his terror and panic. They had gone to teach the boy a lesson and, instead, they had found a master that dealt them enlightenment they wouldn't soon forget.
The show of uninhibited power and complete control had been both glorious and alarming.
His eyes had flashed so viciously it had Tom almost gasping for air as he ached with need.
His defiance under torture had been alluring, sending a rush of heated shivers down his spine before turning his blood to ice.
His sadistic retribution had been delicious and terrifying.
Who is this boy that wielded so much power that rivalled and surpassed his own? How had no one noticed this before? How had he not noticed such a threat?
Why would he hide such talent and prowess, seemingly uninterested in politics? What cards exactly was he holding up his sleeves?
He stood corrected. Hadrian's sorting had by no means been a mistake. No, Hadrian Peverell seemed to be the embodiment of Slytherin qualities.
Harry Peverell was perfection, and Tom wanted him. He wanted his loyalty, devotion, and protection as Potter seemed to have it. Wanted to own his mind and learn each one of his dark secrets. Wanted him begging on his knees, vying for his attention, unable to live without him.
He couldn't oppose such power, and he didn't want to.
Peverell may have been powerful, but he was ruled by his emotions just like everyone else. He had seen it when Avery started threatening Potter; gone had been the cool indifference, replaced by immeasurable fury.
Hadrian Peverell could be controlled, and Tom would take immense pleasure in breaking him and making him his.