drawing blood (2/2)
hp, tom riddle/minerva mcgonagall (slight albus dumbledore/minerva mcgonagall), 840 words, r.
roar for me, little lion
hear your voice, knew right away
if you were here your eyes would say
there is blood on my feet
as i'm walking away
rivers are red, it's starting to rain
sunday afternoon, rachael yamagata
Weeks pass. She has not been avoiding Tom, she decides, she is just not actively seeking his company.
‘How long will we have to wait?’ She asks Dumbledore, one morning. An earnest question, perhaps, and it makes her uneasy just how reliant on him she has become.
‘Patience, Minerva.’ Dumbledore says, a wry grin. It makes her think of the nursery rhyme her father used to repeat to her; patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace, and grace is a little girl who didn’t wash her face. She almost laughs.
The first floor bathroom’s closest, and the door swings closed behind her with a reassuring thud. She closes her eyes, lets her fathers voice echo around her head. remember, minerva, patience is a vir—
She starts, and her eyes fly open. ‘Tom,’ he’s as surprised to see her as she is, she notes, collecting herself, ‘this is a girls bathroom. Or in all your haste to conquer the world did you forget to learn to read?’
‘Witty,’ he says, sarcastic. He goes to leave, but she steps forward, setting her shoulders square to his.
‘What were you doing in here?’ She glances around, her frown deepening.
He shrugs. His hair has fallen across his forehead. It makes him look rather wild, she thinks. ‘Things.’
She cocks an eyebrow, ‘Heir of Slytherin things, perchance?’
‘I wouldn’t know.’ He steps around her, a cool hand ghosting across her arm. The hairs stand on end, and she moves towards him, slightly. ‘Now there, Minerva,’ he hisses, mocking, ‘control yourself.’
They’ll find Myrtle’s body in that same bathroom two days later and oh, the irony could sing.
It’s a bright morning, and she finds herself standing next to Dumbledore when the school gathers to watch Myrtle’s body taken away. A handful of Ravenclaw’s sniffle in the corner. She closes her eyes, for a moment. ‘It’s too late.’ She murmurs, ‘We’re too late.’
She feels his fingers graze hers. ‘We can still prove it was him.’
‘Haven’t you heard? He told Dippet it was Hagrid. I heard him gloating to Abraxas earlier.’
When she looks up at him, he is gone.
Hagrid is expelled the next day. She searches out Dumbledore in the gaggle of teachers, shakes her head. It’s too late for that.
She corners him, that afternoon. ‘Come on, Tom,’ she hisses, ‘tell me it was you.’ The tendons in her neck tighten. ‘I can tell you’re dying to admit it.’
A cool hand flutters over her arm, comes to rest around her wrist. He brings it up, studies her clenched fist for a moment. His lips flutter over her knuckles, and she bites the inside of her cheek. ‘There, there, Minerva.’ He says, in a mock sing-song voice, ‘You’ll work it out for yourself soon enough.’
She glowers, goes to step back, but he has her trapped, now. ‘Let me go, Tom.’ Her voice is even. She is not out of control, not yet.
‘Oh? I was just beginning to enjoy myself.’ He smirks, ‘Are you scared? Has the big bad Slytherin frightened the plucky little Gryffindor?’
The muscles in her stomach clench. He leans in closer, ‘Roar for me, little lion.’
She turns her face away.
‘I can’t do this,’ she tells Dumbledore. Her school bag weighs heavy on her shoulder.
‘You have to, Minerva,’ he replies, ‘you’re in too far to turn back.’
She looks at him, hard. ‘So tell me how to go forwards.’
He pauses, considers. The June sun bleaches his hair a soft pink, she notices. ‘He was in the girls bathroom, you say?’ He asks, and she nods her ascent, brow furrowed. ‘The same bathroom Myrtle was found in?’
‘Yes, but I don’t see how— ’
He takes her hands in his and she falls into silence. She expects to feel something profound pass between them, but all she feels is soft flesh on flesh, ‘Trust me, Minerva,’ he says, ‘one last time.’
History repeats itself. She’s heard the saying before, and she wonders if she’s tempting fate when she treads the familiar path to the girls bathroom.
He’s standing in the same spot as the last time she was here, over the sink. She doesn’t start when she sees him. Instead she flushes with confidence, lets her lips curl.
‘Oh Tom, this is a pickle.’ She says drily, watching him freeze, ‘I’m afraid I simply have to take ten points from Slytherin, and from their heir as well, such a pity.’
She sees the tendons in his wand hand tighten and she finds herself fighting the urge to laugh at him. It disconcerts her. ‘Are you going to kill me, Tom?’ She asks, levelly.
He doesn’t look at her. ‘You’re not worth the effort.’
Her fingers curl around her wand. She paints disdain across her face. It’s an expression future generations will come to know well. For now, though, it is Tom Riddle and the fuck you that will fall from her lips.
It’s too late for that, he will say.