The Sugar Quill
Author: Nohwrah B.  Story: Before Evil Came Along  Chapter: Chapter One: You Were An Island To Discover
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The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Everything you recognise below is, sadly enough, not my own

Disclaimer: Everything you recognise below is, sadly enough, not my own. It’s all JK Rowling’s, who does a much better job than me. The Johnstones, however, are entirely mine.

 

Author’s note: I want to thank my wonderful beta reader Honeychurch, who’s a bright light in this dark world full of spelling errors and ellipses :). I’m sorry for being annoying from time to time. I want to thank all my friends as well. I’ve never had a cross word from them, even though I badger them constantly about my fics.

 

**Before Evil Came Along…………...

 

Chapter One: You Were An Island To Discover

 

Do you know why I agreed to this? Because I have to tell you the story… I really do, to make you understand that he was not always like this. He was not always evil, not always full of hate. In fact, he was dreamy. All girls fancied him, they didn’t mind he was a Slytherin. But… back then, he still was Tom.

It was his youth that changed him. Not Hogwarts, no, he loved it there. He was top of every class, he was prefect; he had friends in every house -even Gryffindor. Even though he faked those friendships, it was important for him to be liked, loved.

     It was the orphanage that scarred him for life. He was beaten up, used as a servant and he could not use magic to prevent it. I think the sudden change from being hated to being loved, idolised and then having to change back, I think that was too much for him.

You know, when I think of him, I still feel his warmth. Yes, even Slytherins can be warm and open.

You don’t believe me? I have to admit, when I see who he has become.

I hardly believe it. I- It’s almost impossible to see any resemblance between Tom and what he calls himself now… Voldemort. Oh, what are you shuddering for? I knew him, I was close to him and I don’t fear his name. Why should you?

Anyway, back in those days, and I’m speaking about days about sixty years ago, it was just a nickname. I helped think of it. It took us four months to come up with that one;

we had first tried some stuff with Marvolo, his middle name, but-

There are so many things I need to tell you about Tom… I don’t even know where to start. I guess you’ve heard that a lot, eh? Well, when you know someone as well as I knew Tom- and I knew him well, mind- there are so many things that come to mind. I’ll just start with the first of September 1938, the day Tom and I were first-years at Hogwarts…

 

I still remember the first time I laid eyes on him, oh, he was such a handsome boy. His jet-black hair and his pale skin contrasted so beautifully and his dark brown eyes were intoxicating. You drowned in them, if you looked in them for too long. He was tall -taller than the already big man with him (I thought it was his father, later I learned it was someone from the orphanage) - and so very shy. He was looking at his ticket for platform nine and three-quarters so nervously and then he gazed around, helplessly, because he couldn’t find a sign saying nine and three-quarters.

I had been staring at him for a few minutes, allowing myself to blush. I knew the way of course, I had been at King’s Cross so many times I’d lost count. I had four older sisters and an older brother, you know.

Alastair had just finished at Hogwarts, while Persephone was in her last year, Aglaia was in her sixth and Uma was in her fifth. I had seen them disappear into the wall between platforms nine and ten and I was ever so excited to finally do it myself. I come from a long line of pure bloods. We had only one uncle, uncle Virgil, who couldn’t do magic and he was the disgrace of the family. It was hammered into me, by great-grand-parents, grand-parents, parents, at least a dozen aunts and uncles, about fifty older cousins and of course my siblings that being a Squib was a disgrace. I had not shown many signs of magic and I was scared to death of not being a witch. But I had turned out to be one; I kept the family-honour intact.

My parents had already gone onto the platform to board the suitcases. I hadn’t, under the pretext that I wanted to say goodbye to London. I had always been very theatrical, so mum and dad didn’t think more of it. The truth was that I wanted to look at him; I wanted to talk to him, and help him, because he obviously wasn’t going to find the Hogwarts Express by himself.

‘Need any help?’ I said, after gathering all my courage and going over to him. Luckily, I wasn’t that small. For a girl I was actually rather tall -and our eyes met on approximately the same height.

His worried face broke into a smile, a real smile. Not the mean, malevolent smile you expect. I think he was really glad to have some guidance for his first steps into the Wizarding world.

‘I-I don’t know…’ He said, still smiling, but he seemed to have realised there was a possibility I was a Muggle. His voice was so warm, as if I was being enwrapped by soft and cuddly blankets.

‘I’m a witch, don’t worry.’ I said, I was trying so hard to look like an adult and self-conscious girl, but I barely knew what I was saying. ‘You can come onto the platform with me if you want; I’m going now anyway…’

‘Oh, you are?’ He asked.

I can honestly say that it was love at first sight for me. Yes, and you know what? To this day I still love Tom Riddle. I do not love who he has become, mind, I could never love the thing he is today. But the Tom he was back then, I gave that Tom my heart without expecting it back and he can come and swipe me anytime…

 

***

 

     He came with me, through the barrier and onto the train. We were lucky to find a compartment to ourselves.

We talked the entire journey, about Hogwarts, about our lives, about our feelings when we had got our letters. He was a highly sensitive boy, remarkable he was. He even had tears in his eyes when I told him about the death of my eldest sister Ishtar. She had died two years before. She was an Unspeakable and we all knew it was a dangerous job. But we never really expected not to see her again when she left that morning…

And he kept on marvelling, as long as our friendship lasted- as long as we lasted- about the names in my family. His first was a simple Tom, while ours were, I have to say, somewhat unique. Mum and Dad had tried their best, they loved rare names. Dad always said that a rare name was a ticket to a rare reputation, to fame. And the one thing that crossed my mind when he said that was that Ishtar had already acquired hers.

But back to Tom. He told me thousands of times, that he could deal with Alastair and Uma, Persephone, Aglaia and Ishtar, but my name was beyond him. I liked it when he said that, it made me feel special. True, Shiphrah was definitely not a common name.

He said we were a family of freaks and he begged me to let him be part of it. My siblings and I had grown close, since the passing of Ishtar; to him we looked like a perfect family. We were not, but I think any family looked perfect to Tom.

‘Phrah,’ He used to say ‘If I’m going to be part of your freak family, I can’t just be Tom… I need something bigger… freakier.’ Thus we came up with Voldemort.

He was really happy with it, really proud. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him beam like that…

Well, I was so excited! I had already found a friend I could talk freely with on the first day of school, but my happiness was ended abruptly when the Sorting came up.

We had talked about what house we wanted to be in, but he kept on saying he knew too little of the houses to say anything.

I was sorted before Tom, and, to my relief, I was put into Ravenclaw. Johnstone was- and still is- a Ravenclaw name. We had traced back our family name to the first generation ever to come to Hogwarts and we had always been Ravenclaws.

It hadn’t crossed my mind that Tom could be in a different house. And certainly not Slytherin.

My brother and sisters had always told me Slytherin was for evil, self-centred, spoiled gits, and as far as I could see, Tom wasn’t any of those things.

I have wished so often I could have been a Slytherin! I think I was the only Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Gryffindor who ever supported Slytherin during Quidditch matches. I even used to break the rules on purpose, to make sure our house had less points than them.

In the beginning, it did look like Tom hated me. He avoided me as much as he could, and when he couldn’t, he simply ignored me. I felt horrible.

All my friends had noticed I had a soft spot for him, of course. Most of them liked him too, especially Minerva, she was a Gryffindor -I think she teaches at Hogwarts now. She was the worst of all his fans. She followed him everywhere and when he came near she always blushed furiously.  She was always going on about what he was like and I wanted so badly to say I knew, but not many would’ve believed me.

Tom belonged to this select group of Slytherins who believed they were more than others.  They mingled with others, of course, but only if absolutely necessary. The presence of Mudbloods, as they called Muggle-borns, made them even more reluctant to engage a proper conversation with other students. But it never really bothered anyone. I think that’s mostly due to his good looks, and of course people never knew him like I did. They hadn’t spoken to him on the train, like I had. And the way he was now was so terribly different from the way he was acting at that time.

Tom was acting the most anti-everything-but-Slytherin of them all. I think his high marks and the appreciation he received from everyone had gone to his head. And I had had enough of it.

So one day -Mid-March, I think it was- I waited for him after one of his classes. Being one of his die-hard groupies -but one of the secret kind, mind- I had memorised his timetable and I knew he mostly was the last to get out of the classroom.

I was right.

‘Tom!’ I called when he was tailing his class.

He stopped, looked at me, but he started walking again, faster than he had before.

‘Oy, Tom, wait!’ I yelled again and again he picked up some speed. He made to go into the boys’ lavatory, but I was faster and I drew my wand.

‘Oh no, you won’t!’ I said, pushing him against the wall with it. ‘Tom, I want to talk to you.’

‘Hi Shiphrah…’ He said, forcing an awkward smile. He had dropped his books and wand and was holding his hands up. I think he even was a bit scared. If I hadn’t been so mad, I would have burst out in laughter. ‘You might want to look out with that… Fearfully dangerous things, wands are…’

‘Tom, I know better how to use one of these than you do. Now get into the Transfiguration classroom before I give you jelly-legs.’

‘Easy with the threatening, Johnstone…’ He smiled the same smile I had seen on King’s Cross… and I melted.

‘Listen… Tom, why- why aren’t you talking to me anymore?’ I was so terribly scared he was going to say something about me not being good enough or something, but he didn’t.

‘I don’t know… Should I be?’

‘Yes… I mean no… Perhaps…’ I looked into those beautiful dark eyes again. And I realised again that he was everything I wanted. ‘Well, I mean, on the train we could talk so well, about everything… And I can’t see how you could’ve changed completely and I know I haven’t, so why shouldn’t we talk?’

‘I guess you’re right…’ He said, coyly, but there was something strong in his voice.

A long silence followed and neither of us knew what to say.

‘Prah… Would-would you have cursed me?’ he asked, somewhat shy.

A sudden rush of warmth spread throughout my body. I let out a very silent giggle.

‘Of course not… I don’t even know how to do the Jelly Legs…’

So I guess that’s where our real friendship starts…

 

 

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