Characters: Merope Gaunt / Morfin Gaunt / Tom Riddle
Disclaimer: They're not mine. I just like to occasionally play with them.
Wordcount: 1,061 thereabouts.
Notes: Darkfic. Implied incest. Written for the Unhappy Endings Challenge at darkones
She awoke in a panic, threadbare blanket woven tightly around her. Crushing breath filled her lungs as she lunged from the bed, certain he was restraining her. Tumbling to the floor, she cried out as her head knocked against the dirty, worn boards, eyes screwing shut against the sharp pain and the stars exploding behind her eyes. One hand clasped to her mouth, the other against the rapidly growing lump on her forehead. Had she cried out? Had she awoken him? She listened, the thump of her heartbeat loud in her ears.
A rumbling fart echoed through the small cottage, the creak of bed springs and then deep guttural snores. He would awaken and take advantage of Father’s absence soon, she knew, as he had in the past. He would come and she would let him and afterwards she would clean herself, tears silently falling against her filthy shift.
She pushed herself to stand and pulled the bedcovering around her shoulders. Tiptoeing through the house, she knew if he awoke, he would give chase and she would hurt, maybe even bleed. Her first pain-filled steps on the frozen ground faded as her body adjusted to the temperature outside, not much colder than it was inside. She would go to where she always hid, not far from the big house. She’d curl under the shrubs and stare up at the windows, the lit panes of glass as bright as sunshine. She pushed thoughts of her brother out of her mind as she curled into herself, pushing her natty hair down the neck of her shift for insulation
It was not much later when she heard the sound of raucous singing coming up the lane. She peeked out of the bush, and spied for the first time in years, the son of the house, home finally from school. She ducked back into the shadows, but not before he saw her and mistook her for beggar. Would he remember her from when they were children? Of course not!
She could smell the alcohol on his breath as he pulled her out from her hiding place, persuading her by calling her his pet. He pulled her into his embrace, not caring she was filthy, not caring her hair had not been washed in ages. He spun her around and around, crying, “dance with me, my sweet!” as they passed the frost covered lawn animals.
When the music in his head was over, he led her back to the kitchens and bade his servants to feed her before his manservant clapped a hand on his shoulder and led his drunken charge to bed. They left her in the care of Cook, who sniffed once in disgust, before dropping a rough wooden bowl full of hot stew and stale bread in front of her. She ate heartily, not caring the stew burned the roof of her mouth, not caring the servants stayed away because of her smell.
Where was he? Where could he have gone? Would he return for her?
When the kitchen door opened, her face lit into a brief smile before fading. Another servant entered, carrying a heavy muslin gown. “Master wishes you to have this, to keep you from freezing to death” the kitchen maid muttered through clenched teeth.
Without being told, she knew the maid was jealous. She could see her thoughts as clear as if the girl had spoken aloud. Let her freeze! Who was this filthy creature the master’s son has brought into their home? Why did he never look once in her way? Why would he give HER a dress when he’d never even spoken to me?
The valet came down the back stairs and without ceremony shooed her out of the house, but it was all for naught, the damage had been done. Even though the master’s son never looked her way again until she took matters into her own hands, she watched him whenever she could, her fingers caressing the now filthy dress he had given her. Deep in the forest, she would hold her arms aloft, remember how it felt to be held as they danced in the moonlight. She would watch his red cloaked back tearing across the countryside on his hunter, and imagine it was him behind her, grunting and pulling at her skirts.
She should have remembered her dream. She should have heeded the warning.
It was the last she ever received.
Crimson, scarlet, maroon and black.
Freshly spilled blood glittered like black diamonds under the light of the full moon. Teeth were coming for her, leaping, her wand torn from her hand, and then she was pushed aside and the one behind her torn instead. Screams rent the air, the smell of ozone close and choking. A serpent undulated in the sky and she stared up at it desperately, as the very air around her became mist, brilliant green sparks filling the void where she once stood. There was screaming all around, the copper smell of blood filled her nostrils. She turned in a panic and a boy ran towards her and then through her. He was bleeding from multiple wounds and even as she turned to watch him, he fell at the side of a dead girl, keening her name over and over.
A shadow fell over her, a shadow which filled her with fear. She turned towards it, the face of the cloaked figure hidden from her. Screams rent the air, causing the hair on the back of her head to stand and gooseflesh to break out down her arms. Who was doing this? What war was this?
The cloaked figure came closer and instinctively she knew it was coming for her. She backed away, not taking her eyes from it, falling over the bodies of the boy and girl. Her backside hit the wet ground and it squelched. In revulsion, she turned over and scrambled away on hands and knees. The cloaked figure repelled bodies from out of the way with a wave of a wand. She stumbled again, and this time she lay still, staring into the face in shadow.
The cloaked figured paused over her and then reached out a hand. She was lost, stumbling, and a hand outstretched was heaven.
She slid her cold fingers into the pale, clammy palm and stood.
Instead of releasing her, the other hand reached up and threw back the hood of the cloak, revealing a face so hideous, she screamed. She was staring into the face of one damned, red eyes and slits for nostrils. The mouth opened, revealing fangs as it hissed into her face before shoving her violently back down to the ground.
The language of her family filled her mind, the legacy of her ancestor, Salazar Slytherin.
“Hello, Mother. You have no idea how often I’ve longed for you to see what I’ve become.”