The Sugar Quill
Author: Nohwrah B.  Story: Before Evil Came Along  Chapter: Chapter Two: I Saw Sunset, I Saw Sunrise
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Chapter Two: I Saw Sunset, I Saw Sunrise

Chapter Two: I Saw Sunset, I Saw Sunrise

 

    We decided to have secret meetings, to make it a little more exciting. I also believe he didn’t really want to tell his other friends he was hanging out with me, but I didn’t really mind. I never told a soul either.

   Keeping our friendship a secret was harder than I thought it would be. All those excuses one needs to make up and one has to make sure that one doesn’t use the same excuse twice a day, or that one doesn’t sneak out of a class when the other couldn’t. It took a lot of planning and we soon had a strategy to meet four times a month, once a week.

Once during class, once, we would sneak out of our Common Rooms and we would skip breakfast, lunch or dinner twice.

It was particularly hard for me, Persephone, Aglaia and Uma liked to check up on me in the evening, or they would come and sit with me in the Great Hall. Plus Minerva kept staggering after Tom. But we managed to fool them every time, although I still don’t know how we pulled it off.

But it was good that we did.

I had such good a time… Tom and I, we could truly talk about everything. We liked to discuss our future. Tom was a serious boy.

He could appreciate a good joke every now and then, but he took almost everything in earnest. I could see why. If he had good notes he could stay in the Wizarding World, something I think he desired more than anything. He hated Muggles.

We had some wild discussions about that, we had. He was a true Slytherin that way. He didn’t want Muggle-borns or Half-bloods at Hogwarts. I didn’t have to fear, because like I said, I come from a long line of pure bloods, but a lot of Ravenclaws didn’t and a lot of them were friends. The things he wanted done to them to “clean out the Wizard Race” were awful, and it made me sick to think that some of those could be done to any of my friends. And when I told him that he was a Half-blood too, he got so mad he scared the living daylights out of me.

‘I am not a Mudblood!’ He would yell. ‘Tom Riddle is a Mudblood, and Tom Riddle doesn’t exist anymore… There is only Voldemort!’

But I knew Tom still was there, because every time I said something, Tom would say something back. When we were together, he was no Slytherin and I was no Ravenclaw. We just were Tom and Shiphrah. A boy and a girl, being very good friends.

Well, you can pretty much guess what happened, can’t you?

Indeed, we became more than friends. We fell in love. But it wasn’t until our fourth year that we gave in to our feelings. Before I gave into my feelings, at least. I never really knew how long Tom had wanted to be more than friends. He wouldn’t tell me.

It happened during one of our secret meetings. Oh, yes, I remember everything so well. We had sneaked into the Divination class. I had heard from Persephone that Professor Ekstispeks had told her last class she was going to be sick that day, so that room was empty.

The attic was so hot it made you drowsy almost instantly as you entered and it smelled of tea-leaves.

‘Oh look,’ he said, obviously faking his own surprise ‘isn’t this a pretty couch…’ And it was… It was a soft couch of pink velvet; the arm rests were matte gold and it was covered in white rose petals. ‘Ekstispeks must’ve seen what was coming.’

We sat down and had a beautiful view over the lake and the grounds and the sun shone so beautifully bright, as if she knew as well that we would be looking up at her.

We soon agreed to skip some lessons, and I know, that sounds silly, but if you would’ve been there, you would’ve done the same.

And we just sat there and did nothing but look. I can still see that view if I close my eyes, and it’s still one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever seen, one of the most wonderful moments I’ve ever known. And the funny thing is, I know Tom knows it too… He still feels it, I know he does.

But back to the attic- Suddenly, he put on a very fake yawn and he stealthily laid his arm around me. I let him. I liked it and I got closer to him and softly leaned against him, resting my head on his chest.

I could hear his heart beat, louder and faster than a normal heartbeat. He breathed short, irregular breaths. I noticed I did too.

And we looked at the sapphire sky contrasting with the lake as the sun made it shine silver. We- well, at least I- felt special and alone, alone in the entire world. I enjoyed it with every short, irregular breath.

After an hour or so, Tom nodded off and suddenly the lake and the sun didn’t seem so pretty anymore. But he did… Oh he got more handsome everyday and it never hit me like it hit me then, not even when I first saw him on King’s Cross.

I couldn’t keep my eyes of him, and I loved…wait- I don’t think love is strong enough a word. Let’s say I adored watching him.

I could’ve sat in that classroom for hours, just looking. I knew for sure, that moment, that there was nothing about him I didn’t love. Not a bloody thing- pardon my language. Even despite some of his frightening features.

I was aware of my feelings, maybe even of his too- that they were strong, but somehow I had always considered them rather… I wouldn’t say mundane, or wrong, but I can’t seem to think of other words.

I mean, I think practically every single girl at Hogwarts was interested in him. Yes yes, I know this sounds very cliché: he was the playboy and we were the airheads running after him, but we were. It was just that he didn’t devour every girl he came across.

And that’s what made me realise… Out of all the girls, all the fashion-queens, the rich heirs and Pure Greens, he chose me: a simple Blue, not that rich, not that pretty, with a huge family. It’s probably because of my siblings he chose me, though. But he did, and that was enough.

I worshipped him, seeing him so peaceful.

And I thought- This, I thought… This is how I want to spend the rest of my life. Warm and safe in his arms. The things I felt are too intense and too complicated to explain, you’d have to actually feel them. It’s-it’s a special feeling. I’ve never felt that serene in my whole life. Quite the shock if you’d been spending the previous hours trying to get your heart back in its place. It’s weird, isn’t it, that as a fifteen year old -even an eleven year old- I already knew love. Most people have to search half their life and some don’t even have the luck of finding it at all, but I, Shiphrah Johnstone, had found love the first day of school. Sounds rather comical, don’t you think?

But, as you know, all good things end way too soon. And so did our afternoon-which had turned into evening without us noticing. I think it was about nine thirty when I had finally spotted it had got dark.

But I had to stop that moment and I’d have to live on the memories of one heavenly afternoon. Of an afternoon as I would never see again for the rest of my life. So I woke Tom in what I hoped was a gentle and kind way. It wasn’t. Tom woke with a start.

There was something different about him now; something different about the atmosphere as well. It wasn’t ruined, it was still romantic but it was… different, I don’t know how to explain it- less tangible.  In my heart I had been convinced that the end of the evening would be the perfect moment. The perfect moment for us to be honest about our feelings and I had been so sure that it was going to happen. Until then. I wasn’t all that eager anymore, I sensed there was something wrong with Tom, and although he had intended this afternoon to be a reason for us to get together, I think he knew it wasn’t the right time to do anything more intimate than we had done. I believe he was just about to kiss me.

 ‘I think we’d better get back to our Common Rooms…’ I stuttered.

He looked slightly put out, but he agreed. I know we didn’t kiss right there, or we didn’t confront our feelings, but from that moment, I felt like he was mine… And I knew that I was his forever…

 

***

 

     We never told a soul that we were together. Only my family knew. They were, of course, not truly happy with it, but I was and as far as I could tell, Tom was too. That was enough. My sisters didn’t know whether they should be glad I found the man of my dreams –and he just happened to be the most handsome boy at Hogwarts- or to be scared and shocked that he was a Slytherin. I think they never fully found out. But at least they accepted that I was happy, and I’ll always be grateful for that.

The year that came was amazing. I had never had so much fun in my entire life, and I never had so much fun again.

Tom and I were made prefects in our fifth year, which gave us a lot of responsibilities, but a lot of possibilities as well. The times we sneaked into an empty classroom after dark are innumerable, and if anyone asked we just said we were patrolling the corridors, or that we were just returning from the prefect bathroom.  And no one ever found out.

But then things began to change: attacks happened at school, rumours about the Chamber of Secrets started flying around, Grindelwald had free reign...

When we were around others, Tom changed as well. He had that smug, arrogant attitude again, a look that implied you were useless and a voice so cold and disinterested it could make your blood freeze. When we were alone, he was completely different. He was Tom. But I knew something was going on, and I think I’ve –very, very deep down- always known that he had something to do with the attacks, I just didn’t want to see it.

 I thought, and I hoped, that Tom was going through some changes, that this was his way of dealing with things. A lot had happened in his life, his father had died, his mother had left him, he was sent to an orphanage he loathed where he was loathed in return. People had gone insane for less. And when he “caught” Hagrid for unleashing the evil creature and was awarded with Special Services to the School, I thought everything was going to go back to normal, he’d had more attention and fans than he had in our first four years combined, he had me, and I thought that could be enough to satisfy him.

It was not however. He became even more haughty and stuck-up, and-

Love truly is blind, I often think.

I wonder, sometimes, if it wasn’t just a teenage crush, but when I truly reflect upon it, I know it wasn’t. That special feeling, that warm, caring, peaceful love I felt for Tom, I will never feel for anyone else. That fifth year made me realise that he had… changed and that if- if he kept this up, I would lose Tom to Voldemort –oh, just shut up! A thought that still breaks my heart. I-I feel partly responsible, you know. I loved him so dearly and I would have done everything to keep him happy, to keep him by my side.. And when he- after all the times I tried- still wouldn’t-couldn’t change, or at least become a bit more friendly…I felt- still feel guilty, somewhere I feel I failed to love him. If I had just… loved him a bit more he might not have done those things. He might have stayed with us-me and… and…

Do you want some more tea? Or cookies? Or candy? If you want some candy, I could quickly fetch some for you- or I could call the house-elf. Gabby! What? Oh I’m so sorry! It’s just… When I think about all those things he has done, it’s- I can’t believe it, I can’t believe that Tom has done those things. But then again, the Tom I knew… or thought I knew, is gone.

 

 

 

 

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