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The Meeting of the Riddles (a Harry Potter fanfic)
The night wind whipped around his cloak as Tom Marvolo Riddle strode through the streets of Little Hangleton. His boots slapped through a puddle and he paused outside the local pub, the Hanged Man. His gaze wandered up to the far end of town, where a large manor house rested on the hill beyond the graveyard.
If what Morfin Gaunt had said was true, then that manor was the Riddle House, and Tom’s father was just down the road.
Once more, Tom felt the twinge of disappointment in discovering that his uncle was a raving, filthy lunatic. There was not an ounce of rationale left in Morfin’s mind, but he had nonetheless proved useful. Tom clenched his hand in his pocket, where he felt the cool metal of the Gaunts’ ring press against his finger.
He set off again, moving silently in the direction of the Riddle House. As he walked, Tom’s mind began to wander. He had waited so long to meet his father. What would he be like? What did he look like? Tom felt momentarily uneasy as he recalled Morfin saying that he looked like “that muggle”. But his father couldn’t be a muggle. Tom raised his chin higher. He was a pureblood – the heir of Slytherin. His father was a wizard, perhaps a wizard in hiding. Yes, that was it. Tom Riddle Senior was a wizard in hiding, and he, his son, would convince his father to come out and destroy the muggles that had restrained him for so long.
Tom felt a thrill of excitement run through him as he began to make his way up the winding path to the house; he was going to meet his father, the man who was the reason for his birth. He was going to meet him.
His heart was thumping loudly in his chest, his hands clammy with nerves as he approached the door of the manor. He paused on the front stoop, staring at the knocker with trepidation; he had a moment of misgiving – would this Riddle accept him? Would he look on his son with pride? Tom shook his head to clear his mind. Of course he would be proud – look at all Tom had accomplished in his short sixteen years. He took a steadying breath and knocked.
After a few moments, an elderly man opened the door. His wispy hair stuck up from his wrinkly head and unfocused eyes bulged out from a bony face. He squinted at Tom, confused.
“Who’re you?” he croaked.
“I’m here to see Tom Riddle,” Tom said, his pulse quickening.
The man frowned a moment, then beckoned him inside.
They walked down a long, dark hallway, alight with the feeble, flickering light of rows of candles. At the end of the hall, the old man fumbled for a doorhandle and leaned against a door, opening it with a loud creak, and led the way into a dimly lit dining room. The room was large, echoing, made of cold, hard stone. This room, too, was lit by candles; Tom assumed that their electricity was out. A long table took up the center of the room, surrounded by chairs, only two of which were occupied. An wrinkled old woman draped in shawls was sitting hunched over her plate. She looked up with piercing eyes at Tom, then frowned. She glanced at the man sitting at the head of the table questioningly.
Tom swallowed nervously, seeing that the man at the table bared every resemblance to himself – thick, dark hair; sharp, defined facial structure, cold dark eyes…they were nearly identical.
Tom Riddle Sr. stood up uncertainly. His dark eyes searched the stranger’s face, taking in his appearance. Tom took a breath and stared at him.
“My name is Tom Marvolo Riddle. You’re my father, Tom Riddle.”
Tom Sr. jerked as though he had been hit, then his face hardened. “You’re that – that woman’s son.”
“My mother, Merope Gaunt, died the night I was born. She’s been gone nearly seventeen years.”
Tom Sr. sneered. “Serves her right, the bloody b****. Hoodwinked me, she did. Told me stories – nonsense stories… Desperate to have you. She –” his voice faltered, “she wasn’t right, that woman.
“Scandalous little grub,” the old woman sniffed.
Tom felt anger beginning to build up inside him. “She was a witch, from an ancient, pure-blood family.”
“There’s no such thing!” his father shouted, an old anger seeming to burst out of him, as though he had fought this issue many times before. “She and her brother and their father, the lot of them were mad, utterly mad. And you have some nerve, coming in here, into my household, expecting me to take you in and –”
“I said nothing of you taking me in,” Tom said quietly, anger raging inside him like a serpent. “I wanted to see what sort of a man you were. I am…disappointed, I must say.” He refused to acknowledge the longing he felt in him, the devastated feeling that was struggling to be recognized, the desire to have a father that took pride in him –
“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE, YOU B****RD! YOU ARE NO SON OF MINE!”
Hatred burned in Tom’s heart, and he drew his wand from his pocket. Tom Sr. recoiled, staring at him in horror. “I have no further use of you being alive, then,” Tom said quietly. Then he pointed his wand at the old man, who had been standing in the entryway, and hissed “Avada Kedavra!” A jet of green light shot from his wand and struck the old man, who doubled over and hit the ground, dead.
The old woman began screaming, the sound piercing, and Tom pointed his wand at her and the scream cut off as green light hit her and she too fell forward onto the floor.
Tom Riddle Sr. staggered backwards, upending his chair, staggering away from his son, staring at his dead parents and Tom in terror. Tom leveled his wand carefully at his father, a detached coldness gripping his heart. He gave the faintest smile that didn’t reach the ice in his eyes and didn’t heal the pain in his heart. “You should have listened to my mother. You should have learned to believe, Father.
There was a rushing sound and a flash of green light, and Tom Riddle Sr. flew backwards as the spell hit him and he struck the opposite wall and crumpled to the floor like his parents, eyes wide and terrified.
Tom lowered his wand and took a few steadying breaths, and was surprised to find himself upset. Why should he be upset? Tom Sr. was a worthless muggle – he deserved to die. Tom shut down whatever part of him that felt remorse and longing – took it and cast it away from him, determined never to feel it again. With a fierce determination, he took off Morfin’s ring as he walked over to his father’s body. He knelt down, set the ring beside his father’s head, and started to recite incantations he had read in that library book all those weeks ago.
He could never truly describe what happened as those spells did their deeds. It felt as though he was splitting in half, as though he was dying, as though he was coming apart at the seams, every fiber of his body on fire and unraveling, and he was writhing on the ground, screaming in agony, wishing it were over, clutching the cold stone floor as if it were the only think keeping him bound to his world –
And then it was done. He lay on the ground for several minutes, gasping and sobbing in pain as his body felt weak and vulnerable. After a time, he Tom felt he had enough control over his body at least enough to sit up. He sat up slowly, every fiber of his being screaming in protest. Apprehensively, he looked at the ring.
It was glowing green, and as he watched, it faded until there seemed to be nothing remarkable about it at all. Gasping, Tom gingerly picked up the ring and turned it over carefully in his hand. It pulsed gently, as though there was a heartbeat inside it.
A wide smile broke across his face. He had done it. He had made a Horcrux. He could not be killed. His gaze drifted to the frozen face of his father. “You served your purpose, after all,” he told Tom Sr. quietly. He rose to his feet and stared down at the dead man. “Goodbye, Father. I’m sorry you couldn’t understand.”