[sticky post]My Fanfiction Master List
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dark_baudelaire
Boardwalk Empire
Loving The Man In The Mask Richard x Female OC, Rating K, Word Count 3,000 - COMPLETE

Bridget Jones Diary
22 Mark x Daniel,Rating T, Word Count 2,283 - COMPLETE

Bully (Canis Canem Edit)
Sweet Dreams, Petey Gary x Pete, Rating T, Word Count 2,331 - COMPLETE

Glee
Pleasantville Kurt x Dave, Rating K, Word Count 3,297 - COMPLETE
Valentine's Day Surprise Marley x Kitty, Rating T, Word Count 2,152 - COMPLETE

Halloween
Fade To Black Michael Myers x Male OC, Rating R, Word Count 4,000 +/? - WORK IN PROGRESS


Harry Potter
Riddle Manor
Merope Gaunt x Tom Riddle Sr, Rating T, Word Count 9,000 + - COMPLETE

Pitch Perfect
A Sad Kind Of Bliss Benji x Jesse, Rating T, Word Count 2,000 + - COMPLETE
The Slow Revelation Benji x Jesse, Rating T, Word Count 4,500 - COMPLETE

Pride And Prejudice
The Second Chance Mary x Mr Collins, Rating K, Word Count 3,129 - COMPLETE
The Two Proposals Mary x ?, Rating K, Word Count 1,551 - COMPLETE

The Karate Kid
Never Too Late Dre x Cheng, Rating K, Word Count 1,837 - COMPLETE
The Choice Pre-Slash Dre x Cheng, Rating K, Word Count 921 - COMPLETE

Tormented
Dead In Love Helena x Darren, Rating T, Word Count 2,006 - COMPLETE

Hooked On You Bradley x Jason, Rating T, Word Count 1,275 - COMPLETE

Twilight
Baby BluesJessica x Embry, Rating T, Word Count 3,037 - COMPLETE
Playing The Game
Edward x Jessica, Rating K, Word Count 1,490 - COMPLETE

The Slow Revelation (Benji x Jesse) (1/1)
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Title: The Slow Revelation
Author: dark_baudelaire
Fandom: Pitch Perfect
Characters/Pairings: Benji x Original Male Character, Benji x Jesse, Beca Swanson
Rating: T
Word Count: 4, 500
Summary: Sequel to A Sad Kind Of Bliss. Carries straight on from the ending of that story. Benji meets a handsome stranger who traps Benji into being in a relationship with him. Jesse is unaware of Benji's suffering. Jesse just knows that he hates Benji's boyfriend, but it takes him a while to figure out why he hates him so much... Benji x Male OC, with endgame Benji x Jesse.

A/N: A few reviewers on FF.net wanted to have a sequel to A Sad Kind Of Bliss, and I'm really grateful to them for inspiring me to write this!. I'm not sure I actually like what I've written, but here it is anyway...

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pitch Perfect, just a fan with love for the movie.


Benji and Jesse had made it halfway to their dorm when Jesse saw Beca coming towards them. He stopped walking and Benji stood still too. Beca stopped too. She looked at Jesse for a few moments, but then her penetrating gaze settled on Benji and his split lip. A smear of dried blood had trickled down from his nose. There was a palpable tension in the air between Beca and Jesse. Benji hoped they would not get into another fight.

"What happened to you?" Beca asked Benji, her blue eyes narrowing. "Do I have to go kick somebody's ass?"

Benji laughed. "No, it's nothing. I'm fine"

"Who did it?" Was Beca's next question.

Although Benji should have been expecting that question, it threw him off track. "Uh...It was..." Benji paused as he tried to come up with a plausible lie. "Just some frat guy. I don't know his name. He's been drinking, and I don't think he even meant to hit me" Benji had felt Jesse tense up when Benji mentioned drinking. For Jesse it had hit close to the truth, that he had been the one who had hit Benji. He felt bad that Benji had covered for him, but then Benji always supported him.

Beca's lips pursed up slightly. "Yeah, something's not adding up here. Are you lying to me, Benji?"

Benji felt pinned under Beca's almost accusing stare. Before he could say anything, Jesse spoke up. He eyed Beca with a mild frown. "He said he's fine, so just drop it already"

Beca did not seem like she was going to let up, but then her hard stare softened. "Okay. Anyway, I wanted to talk to you Jesse. We left things in a bad place. And that sucks, you know. We're going to be friends once we get past this. I think we have to have a chat. We didn't finish our talk last time, and it was partly my fault"

A trace of a smile appeared on Jesse's face. He had not expected for Beca to say that, and it pleased him. At the same time though, he was a little wary because of how badly their last talk had gone. And there was Benji to consider. Jesse did not want to just ditch him now, after what he had done earlier. "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea, but I can't do it right now"

Benji knew Jesse was probably refusing because of him, and he could not allow that. It was better for Jesse to sort things out with Beca rather than avoiding it. "Yes, you can" He stepped free of Jesse's arm around his shoulders. "Don't worry, I'll be alright" He smiled at Jesse and Beca before leaving. "See you later, Jesse. And goodnight, Beca"

Beca hugged him tightly as she whispered into his ear quietly so Jesse would not hear. "Thanks, Benji. Jesse won't be away from you for too long, I promise" Benji was surprised, and wondered what Beca was talking about. Surely she didn't know that he liked Jesse? As Beca stepped back from the hug and wished him goodnight, she gave him a slow, sure nod, as if in answer to his unspoken question. As Benji walked away he was still unsure of what Beca had meant, but there was a strong possibility that she knew. Beca was a perceptive person, and she had spent a lot of time around Jesse and Benji. What was strange was that if she did know, it seemed like she approved. Still, she was with Chloe now, and so perhaps that was why she did not mind the fact that Benji liked her ex-boyfriend. As he thought about it more he realized that it was not strange. Some girls might have had a big problem with him liking their ex, but Beca was not in that category. If she knew, then who else did? He worried that if anyone else found out, it would reach Jesse. Beca could be trusted, but he could not trust everybody.

Benji was so lost in his thoughts he didn't notice when he slammed into something solid. It caused him to stumble back a few steps, but then there was a hand on his arm, keeping him steady. Benji's gaze travelled from the hand up to the face of a guy who was vaguely familiar. They had never talked before, but Benji often saw him around campus. He had dark hair and deep brown eyes. The main reason his face was memorable in the crowds of students was the fact that he bore a slight resemblance to Jesse, if he was Jesse's taller, tanned, distant cousin who had a strong muscular physique and was a quarterback for Barden University's football team. "I'm sorry. I should have been looking where I was going"

"What happened to your face?" The guy took hold of Benji's face and tilted his chin up so he could see the split lip better. He shook his head slowly as he examined Benji's bruises. "We better get this cleaned up"

Benji was uncomfortable with having a stranger stand so close and be touching him, especially since the stranger made him think of Jesse. He wished it would have been Jesse standing there, offering to help take care of his face. That was not going to happen though. So he would just take care of it himself. "I have a first aid kit in my room; I can do it myself but thanks for the offer"

"I'm not taking no for an answer, let's go" He replied, with a stern look on his face. He still had a hand on Benji's arm, and he tightened his hold, pulling a reluctant Benji along with him. "You live in Breckner Hall, right?"

"How did you know that?" Benji asked.

"I've seen you go in there; it's not a big deal. Oh yeah, I'm Josh, by the way..." He stopped suddenly and grasped hold of Benji's hand; giving him a firm handshake that made Benji feel like his hand was going to get crushed. "Good to meet you at last, Benjamin"

"You know my name?"

Josh started walking again, in the direction of Benji's dorm building. "Yeah, you're in that acapella group, The Troublemakers"

"The Treblemakers" Benji automatically corrected.

"Yeah, that's what I meant. My brother's in the BU Harmonics and he forced me to go and watch the ICCA final with him. I'd seen you around campus before, and I wondered who you were so I just asked him and he told me"

"Do you mean Eric or Luke?"

"My brother is Eric"

Josh laughed when he saw how surprised Benji looked. "Yeah, I know. He's adopted, it's our family's darkest secret. Just joking. A lot of people are surprised when they find out we're brothers though. We are very different, I know..."

When they arrived back at the dorm, Josh led the way straight to Benji's room. Benji did not bother asking Josh how he knew where Benji's room was. He was more concerned about how he could get Josh to leave. He figured that the sooner he let Josh help him, the better. So he was quick in finding the first aid kit and handing it to Josh. Josh carefully cleaned up Benji's face with a damp paper towel and some bottled water, getting rid of all the dried blood. Benji was fine with everything Josh did until he saw Josh pick up the anti-septic cream. "I don't need any of that"

"Yeah, you do. It's only gonna sting a little..." Josh was right, but Benji still did not like it. He was pleased when it was all over.

Benji smiled at Josh. "Thank you. I'm fine now, so you can leave"

Josh shook his head. "Not yet. I just want to talk to you some more"

"About what?" Benji replied. "I don't mean to be rude, but I doubt we have anything in common apart from Eric"

Josh was not fazed by Benji's reluctance to talk to him. "You're right, but who says we have to talk? We could makeout instead"

Benji was shocked for a few moments, even though he knew Josh did not mean it. "Don't joke about stuff like that" Benji finally replied, after an uncomfortable silence. At least it was uncomfortable to him, Josh seemed like he was enjoying himself. Benji moved over to the door and pointedly opened it. "I want you to go now"

"What if I don't want to go?" Josh ignored the open door in favour of moving towards Benji, and he had him pinned up against the wall in so fast a time Benji did not have a chance to evade him.

"Get off me..." Benji snapped, although he made no move to push Josh away. Because, to his shame, he found himself wanting to know what it would be like to kiss Josh. He had imagined what it would be like kissing Jesse many times, but that was just fantasy. It would never turn into a reality. And perhaps this was the closest he could get to knowing what it would feel like to kiss Jesse. If he closed his eyes, he could even pretend it was Jesse who was kissing him.

Josh shrugged, releasing his hold on Benji. "Alright, take it easy. I just thought maybe we could have some fun. But I'm gonna go. If you don't want me, that's cool. Just don't mention this to my brother, ok? He doesn't like it when I hit on his friends" He turned to leave, but Benji stopped him, grabbing hold of Josh's arm.

"Wait, don't go. It's just that I like someone, and it's really confusing for me. I'm having a hard time dealing with it..." Benji had not meant to tell Josh that, but somehow once it was out there in the open he felt so much better. Like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. "I just...He'll never like me back"

Josh scoffed. "Then he's an idiot"

"No, he's not. Don't talk about..." Benji paused, biting his lip as he just managed to stop himself from saying Jesse's name. "About...him like that"

"I'm sorry. So you really like this guy?" Josh went to sit on Jesse's bed. "Why don't you come sit with me and tell me all about it? I'm a pretty good listener..."

"Yeah, ok but that's my roommate's bed..." Benji sighed. It was just a bed, but still it was Jesse's bed and somehow Josh sitting there did not seem right. "Why don't you come and sit on my bed?"

"Why does it matter? Your roomie's not gonna care, is he?" Josh laughed. "And you know, I sat here because I thought this was your bed. So you're the dork into Star Wars and magic? I should have guessed..."

Benji frowned at Josh, a little hurt by the label Josh had instantly put on him without even thinking beyond Benji's love for magic and him being a sci-fi fan. "Yeah, well...That's just who I am. If you don't like it, I don't care"

"No, it's ok. I don't mind. Although you do know Star Trek is better..."

"I'm gonna pretend you didn't just say that" Benji joined Josh on the bed. "Are you sure you want to hear about it? It's gonna take a while to tell you everything, and you'll probably get bored..."

Josh sat closer to Benji and put an arm around him. "I want to know all about it. I won't get bored, and whatever you tell me will stay with me. I promise"

Benji took a deep breath. "Ok...Well it all started when I came to Barden University. He was the first friend I made here. He became my best friend..." Benji told Josh everything, apart from Jesse's name. By the end of his story though, it was clear who he was talking about. There was just no way for Benji to speak honestly about his crush on Jesse without revealing the truth.

"So your roommate...What's his name?" Josh asked.

Benji was just about to tell Josh when he saw Jesse walk into the room. Jesse was surprised by what he saw, and also he was confused. There was Benji, sitting on his bed. Nothing wrong with that scenario. There was a stranger sitting next to him, with his hand on Benji's shoulder. There was definitely something wrong with that, but Jesse could not figure out why it was wrong. All he knew was that seeing them sitting there made him feel uneasy. "Who's this, Benji?"

"Oh, hey. You're back. Jesse, this is my, uh...My friend, Josh" Benji stood up from the bed, and Josh rose with him.

Josh smiled at Jesse coolly and offered his hand. "Nice to meet you. Benji's told me a lot about you, dude"

Jesse shook hands with Josh, and returned the smile. Josh was squeezing his hand and although the pressure was uncomfortable Jesse did not let it show. He simply gripped Josh's hand as hard as he could. "Oh yeah? He hasn't told me anything about you"

"He wanted to keep it a secret, but we're not just friends. He's my boyfriend" Josh let go of Jesse's hand and wrapped an arm around Benji's waist.

Jesse's smile froze in place and became strained. He glared at Josh and then looked at Benji. "He's your...what? Benji, what the hell is he talking about? Is he really your boyfriend?"

"Um..." Benji tried to move away from Josh, but Josh just held him tighter. "He's just-" Benji tried to deny what Josh had said, but that become very difficult when Josh kissed him forcefully. It took him by surprise, and he couldn't even think straight anymore, let alone find the will to push Josh away. When it ended Benji was a little disoriented and suddenly he was thankful Josh was holding onto him.

"I guess that answers my question" Jesse heard a bitter tone in his voice that had no reason to be there. It was not that he cared about Benji being gay. It was a surprise to Jesse, but that was all. Benji was still Benji, no matter who he chose to be with. He thought he knew Benji so well, and it unsettled him that he had not noticed something so important. And if Jesse had not been too wrapped up with Beca, perhaps he would have seen the signs. Jesse decided he just simply did not like Josh and he was suspicious of Josh's intentions for Benji. That had to be why he was so upset. Of course, it was only natural. He was Benji's best friend after all, and so it stood to reason that he would be protective of Benji .Jesse could not figure out how the two of them even had anything in common. Josh did not even remotely look like he would be the type of guy who shared Benji's interests. It did not make sense to Jesse for them to be together. He felt like he had too many shocks to his system for one night. His ex-girlfriend was dating another girl, and now his best friend was dating a guy. Everything seemed to be out of place, and it bothered Jesse.

"I should have told you sooner. We haven't been going out for long, only a month or so..." Benji felt like he had no choice but to go along with Josh's lie. He would have to deal with Josh later, but right now he just wanted to make sure Jesse was alright. He was relieved that Jesse was not angry. He just seemed to be taken aback. "It's a lot to take in, I know" Benji nudged Josh discreetly. "Josh, I think you better go. It's getting late and we've all got classes tomorrow"

For a moment Benji was afraid Josh would refuse to leave, but to his relief Josh simply stared at him for a few seconds before nodding his assent and leaving.

"I'm gonna just crash..." Jesse knew Benji wanted to talk, but he was not in the mood to talk yet. So he just got undressed, only keeping his briefs on and then he got into bed.

Benji was disappointed that he could not talk to Jesse more, but at the same time he did not want to force the issue. So all he did was get himself ready for bed, and when he was settling down to sleep he whispered goodnight to Jesse, not wanting to wake his roommate if he was asleep.

Jesse was not asleep, but he pretended not to hear Benji anyway.

The next morning there was a weird tension between the two best friends. Jesse acted like nothing had happened, and brushed off any attempts Benji made to have a real talk with him. Benji really tried, but Jesse would simply shut down whenever conversation between them took a turn from meaningless small talk to a more serious discussion. All Jesse would tell Benji was that he was fine with Benji being gay. Jesse never said anything, but it was easy to see that he hated Josh. Josh, who would not let Benji go. Two months had passed, and Josh was still insisting on continuing the lie that they were in a relationship. Sometimes Benji believed the lie, when Josh was nice to him. Unfortunately those times turned out to be few and far between. Josh was controlling and possessive. Every so often, Josh would hit Benji when he thought Benji had done something wrong, or if Benji had disobeyed him. Josh was careful to not touch his face which meant that Benji could hide the bruises under his clothes. Josh had also threatened to reveal to Jesse the truth about Benji's love for him. Benji wanted to avoid that at all costs, because his friendship with Jesse was already strained enough. In a crowded coffee shop just off campus, Benji sat with his vanilla frappuchino, thinking about Jesse and how they were slowly drifting apart. They used to spend practically all their free time together, but now Jesse was often too busy to hang out with Benji. Jesse always had some excuse ready whenever Benji asked if they could do something together. Eventually Benji had just stopped asking. He had gotten to be busy too, because being with Josh demanded a lot of his time and energy.

Benji was broken out of his thoughts when Josh sat down at the table with a small plate on which was a custard tart. It was topped with slices of strawberries. "Look what I got for you..." Josh smiled as he cut into the tart and then leaned over the table with a spoonful of the tart.

Benji knew that Josh expected him to eat the cake and be thankful for it, but he could not do it. "No, I don't feel like having cake. I'm just gonna stick to my drink. You can have it"

"No, I got it for you and you're gonna eat it" Josh replied, his voice low so others around him could not hear what he was saying. "I spend all this money buying you a treat and you don't even thank me"

"I..." Benji was not sure what to say. He did not want to tell Josh that he was allergic to strawberries. He had told Josh before, but Josh had obviously not paid enough attention to remember. If he told Josh now, Josh would blame him and get mad at him. Benji always made an effort to avoid arguing with Josh. It never ended well for him when they did argue. To his relief, the spoon was snatched away from Josh.

Josh angrily glared up at Jesse, who Benji had not even seen entering the coffee shop. "Hey, what are you doing? That's for Benji, not you"

Jesse returned Josh's glare fiercely. "So you're trying to spoon feed Benji with a fruit he's allergic to?"

"Allergic?" Josh's anger deflated as quickly as it came, and he turned to look at Benji with a hard, reproachful stare. "I didn't know you were allergic to strawberries. Why didn't you tell me, babe?" Josh rested a hand on Benji's shoulder and squeezed gently. To Jesse it probably looked like Josh is being affectionate, but he did not know that Benji had a fresh bruise there which was sore whenever it was touched.

"Sorry" Benji quietly replied. He thought it was unfair that Josh is blaming him, but he could not say anything about it.

"You did tell him before" Jesse firmly stated.

Benji closed his eyes for a moment, wishing Jesse had stayed silent. "I didn't tell him, Jesse" Benji denied what Jesse had said.

"Yeah, you did. I remember you telling me about it. Why are you lying for him?" Jesse eyed Josh scornfully. "He's a loser and you deserve so much better"

Josh stood up from his seat, his hands clenching into fists. Benji quickly stood up too, and came to stand in front of Josh. "Just go away, Jesse. You don't understand" Benji hated talking like that to Jesse, but he didn't want to see Jesse get in a fight with Josh over him. He was worried that Jesse would get hurt.

"I don't understand? You've been shutting me out for weeks, so how am I gonna understand?" Jesse snapped.

"That's not fair, Jesse. You cut me out first, remember?" Benji sighed. "Maybe it's for the best. We don't have much in common anyway, so why are we even best friends?"

Jesse was hurt by Benji's remarks but it was true that he had pulled away from Benji first. His sweet, adorable best friend who meant so much to him. Yet Jesse had until now been unable to face up to the real reason he had pushed Benji out of his life. When he pushed Benji away, he had missed him so much. He had realized that the main reason he hated Josh was because Josh had Benji. Josh had what Jesse so badly wanted. Now he understood why Beca had gone to Chloe. Beca was a girl who was not afraid to get what she wanted out of life. Jesse however, was not quite so bold. And his feelings were so new. He still liked girls, but Benji was the one definite exception, the only guy he could ever see himself being in a relationship with. And even if he and Benji never got together, they would still be best friends. No matter what happened, Jesse would not be letting of Benji without a fight. It was his own fault he was in this mess, and it was up to him to fix it. "Benji, we have some differences, it's true but that has never stopped us from making a great team. We just complete each other. Please tell me you didn't mean that, because it would just kill me. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry I shut you out. I was stupid, and I made mistakes but I always cared about you. I always will. You know that, Benji. There's no one like you, and I can't have anyone else as my best friend"

Benji ran to Jesse and hugged him. It felt so good to be close to Jesse, after all their time apart. "I'm sorry too, Jesse. We were both wrong. I don't want to lose you either" Benji stepped back with a smile and he did not notice that Josh was advancing towards them but Jesse did. Josh was too incensed to care that he was in public, and he swung at Benji but Jesse quickly pushed Benji behind him and it was Jesse who took the hit. Josh stormed out of the coffee shop and Benji looked at Jesse who he could tell would soon have a black eye.

Jesse smiled reassuringly. "It's okay, Benji. Don't worry about it; I'm just happy I stopped that bastard from hitting you"

"I think we should go, Jesse. If we get an ice pack over your eye, the swelling won't be so bad"

"Yeah, sure" Jesse complied with Benji, but he did not care about the ice pack, he just wanted to be alone with his best friend. When they were settled back in their dorm room, Benji insisted that Jesse lie down and hold the ice pack in place. "Benji, can I ask you something?"

"Ask anything you like" Benji replied.

"Did he ever hit you before?" Jesse did not get a reply, and he sat up. Benji's sudden silence was all the answer he needed. "That bastard. I'm gonna make him pay for what he did. I can't believe I didn't realize what he was doing to you..." Jesse felt a wave of guilt wash over him. "Damn it, Benji. Why the hell would you stay with him when he was beating you?"

"It doesn't matter, it's in the past" Benji pushed Jesse back down. "Just stay still and keep the ice pack in place" Benji sighed. "He didn't beat me, Jesse. You're making it sound a lot worse than it is. He did scare me sometimes. But that wasn't the reason I stayed with him" Benji bit his lip, and took a deep breath, preparing to finally tell the truth. "He knew a secret about me. Something I thought I had to keep hidden from you"

Jesse could hardly believe it, but he was getting a strong feeling that Benji was about to confess that he liked Jesse. He could have kicked himself for not noticing sooner. To think that he and Benji could already have been together if he had not been so oblivious. "Wait, don't say anything. Not yet..." Jesse sat up again, and dropped the ice pack in favour of holding Benji's hands, smiling when Benji entwined their fingers. He and Benji were staring at each other intently, focused on nothing but each other. Jesse was nervous, but as he leaned in and gently pressed his lips against Benji's, all his anxiety faded away into nothing. There was only him, and Benji, and it felt like they were the last pieces of a puzzle just slotting perfectly into place. Benji was finally able to tell Jesse how he truly felt about him, and to know Jesse felt the same way was incredible to him. He would not have changed anything that had happened to him. Even everything he went through with Josh had been worth it. Now he finally had everything he had always wanted.

A Sad Kind Of Bliss (Benji x Jesse) (1/1)
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Title: A Sad Kind Of Bliss
Author: dark_baudelaire
Fandom: Pitch Perfect
Characters/Pairings: Onesided Jesse x Benji, minor Jesse x Beca, Beca x Chloe
Rating: T
Word Count: 2, 354
Summary: ONESHOT. Benji really likes Jesse.Jesse, his straight best friend who is dating Beca.When Jesse and Beca break up, Beca reveals something that Jesse had not expected.Jesse gets mad, and he ends up taking his anger out on Benji.Not that it matters much to Benji - It hurts but forgiveness comes easily because it was Jesse who did it.One-sided BenjixJesse, mentions of JessexBeca and BecaxChloe.

A/N: Pitch Perfect is so awesome. And the fanfics? Amazing, but I really wish there were more slash stories. And also I don’t see many stories with Benji who I love, so I wrote this. Although this ended up being one-sided, and a little angsty. Normally when I write slash, it’s mostly fluff. So this was quite a change. Although you might look at it and think what is this girl talking about, I don’t see any angst here! I don’t know...I guess that’s for you to decide but for me it is a little angsty. Also, I’m really thinking about writing a BenjixBumper story, but a more positive one I suppose, since Bumper will like Benji too. Or perhaps I could attempt a BecaxChloe. Well, I hope you enjoy reading this story :)

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pitch Perfect, just a fan with love for the movie.

Benji was sitting on his bed, reading one of his many beloved comic books. It was worn, and there was a tear in the spine, because he had read it so many times in the past. It was one of his favorite comic books, even though he had not kept it in mint condition, and he did not enjoy the story line that much. No, the reason Benji rated the comic so highly was because it had been a gift from his best friend. Benji had never met anyone like Jesse before. Someone who understood him, and did not mind his little quirks. A lot of people just thought Benji was weird. Even his own parents thought there was something wrong with him. They had never approved of his desire to learn magic, or the fact that he loved to sing, or his many obsessions. In fact, the only time they seemed to be proud of him was when they saw his high grades. Benji refused to let it faze him. It did hurt him sometimes, though. No one cared enough to look past his crazy, but Jesse did and that made him happy. It also troubled him. The problem was that he liked Jesse too much. Benji had always assumed he was straight - before Jesse. Not that he had ever had much interest in girls before, but that was because he was busy with his hobbies. It had to be that. Besides, no girls were interested in him anyway. Maybe if there was, then he would not have developed a crush on his best friend. Whatever the reasons, he liked Jesse, was attracted to Jesse and his feelings for Jesse were getting stronger as time went on. Maybe it was time to find a girlfriend. Or should he be looking for a boyfriend? Benji was so confused.

He just knew he had to find a resolution to his problem before he did something stupid like kiss Jesse. Benji was terrified of Jesse finding out that he liked him. It was not that he thought Jesse would be angry – although there was always a possibility. No, it would be because Benji was sure he would get rejected. And that would burn, it would cut, deep down inside. It would be like the time he had not been chosen to join the Treblemakers, except a million times worse. When he finished reading the comic, Benji put it on the stack of comics on the floor by his bed. He had been inside practicing his magic tricks and reading comics the whole day, apart from a break to go and get food. He was caught up with all his assignments, he did not have Treblemaker practice today, and it was a Saturday so he had decided to use the free time to just relax. Jesse was out with some of his other friends, but when he came back they would watch a movie together. Benji really enjoyed what Jesse liked to call ‘moviecation’ nights. He got to sit really close to Jesse; in the dark. It was great. Although some of the time, Benji would end up missing half the movie because he was too busy looking at Jesse. He did not even have to be too sneaky about it, since Jesse could get so engrossed in a movie that he would not pay attention to his surroundings. Still, Benji felt bad for doing it, but then again it was not like he was a creeper. More of an admirer. Either way, it was still depressing.

The sound of the Doctor Who theme music blaring from his cell phone alerted him to the fact he was getting a call. He looked around, and then jumped off the bed. Where had he last put his cell? He listened for a few moments, and then headed over to the area where the ringtone seemed to be getting louder. He glanced at his desk, and then to the jacket he had left on the chair by the desk. He picked up the jacket and searched the pockets, finally coming up with his phone. Benji saw Jesse’s face lighting up the surface of his cell phone. He slid two fingers down on the touch screen to answer the call.

“Hey, what’s up?”

“.......”

“What, right now? I can be there in, uh...ten minutes. Yeah. I just...Are you –”

The familiar sound of an ended call made Benji stop halfway through what he had been asking. Although it was a stupid question he had been going to ask. Of course Jesse was not alright. He would never hang up on Benji without at least a bye or a see you later. And his tone of voice had been off. Something was wrong. Benji quickly put on his jacket and shoved his cell into an inner pocket. He hurried over to the door and yanked it open, walking down the hallway before realizing he just had socks on his feet. He rushed back to his room and slipped on his old blue Converses, not bothering to tie the laces which he just tucked inside his socks. He made his way down the three flights of stairs to the exit of his dorm building and headed to a grassy area close to the building where the main library was situated. It was halfway across campus and Benji was out of breath by the time he reached the bench by the oak tree. It was the place where Jesse had asked to meet him. Benji leant forward, resting his hands on his legs to support his weight as he took in some deep breaths. He had a stitch in his side from running so much but at least he had not tripped over his laces. That was good enough for Benji. Still, where was Jesse? Benji straightened up and took a good look around. There were a few other students walking around but he could not see Jesse.

Then he felt a heavy hand drop onto his shoulder, and it made him jump. He turned around with a smile. “Jesse, you scared me” Benji laughed, but his smile soon faded when he saw the hard expression that had formed on Jesse’s face. His jaw was set, his lips pressed together so tightly it was nothing but a thin line. The worst part was his eyes. They were dark, cold and intense. Usually Jesse’s eyes were warm, bright, or filled with amusement. It was rare to see him get really get upset or lose his temper but it seemed like Jesse was headed there now.

“Did you know?” Jesse asked quietly, a forced calmness in his voice. He was not on talking terms with Beca right now – having stormed off halfway through a fierce argument with her – where they had both said nasty things that neither really meant. Jesse had taken a walk, hoping to clear his mind and cool off, but it had not worked. He could not help thinking about it. So many thoughts had run through his mind. And the more he thought about it, the madder he got. Drinking a few shots at the bar where he sometimes performed with the Treblemakers had not been a wise decision either. This was when he had called Benji up.

“Know what?” Benji replied. He had no idea what Jesse was talking about, and the way Jesse was staring at him made him a little nervous.

“About them. About Beca and Chloe being together!” Jesse snapped, almost unaware that his hands were clenching into fists. He felt too hot, like his blood was boiling inside. Yes, he was angry. He was furious. He felt an odd sense of betrayal, even though a part of him had seen their break up coming. He and Beca had been drifting apart for months. He knew the end of their relationship was close. So today, when Beca had texted him saying they needed to talk, he knew what she wanted to tell him. When they met up, they had talked for a long time before they made a mutual decision to break up. Jesse had been sad, but now at least he and Beca could move on. It was awkward, but they would just go back to being friends. Then Beca had dropped a bombshell that Jesse had most definitely not seen coming. Beca had told him she was in love with Chloe, and the two Barden Bellas were going to start dating. It did not make sense to Jesse. He knew the girls were close, but he had always assumed it was like him and Benji – that they were just good friends. Jesse was straight, and he had assumed Beca was too, but apparently he had got it wrong. So what was she? Bi? He had asked Beca, thinking it was a reasonable question but she had not thought so. Instead she had started shouting at him, saying she refused to be labelled which was when they had started to argue.

Benji shook his head frantically. “No, no. I didn’t know anything. I swear...” He bit his lip, finding it hard to maintain eye contact with Jesse. There was something he did know, but it had seemed so trivial at the time, he had not brought it up with Jesse. No, the truth was that it was not trivial but Benji had not wanted to hurt Jesse by telling him. He had hoped he could just keep it hidden from Jesse.

Jesse took a few steps closer, even as Benji took a step back. “You’re lying. Tell me. Tell me now” Jesse practically growled, grabbing Benji tightly and pulling him closer.

Benji closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. “I saw them kiss once. But I thought it was nothing, just a dare. Hey, it went by so quickly, I wasn’t even sure if I had seen them kiss or if I’d just...imagined it”

“And you didn’t think to tell me?” Jesse’s voice was louder now, as he started to shake Benji and he realized he should care but at that moment he did not care at all.

“Jesse, just calm down!” Benji had raised his voice too, starting to get annoyed even though he was also worried about Jesse and the way he was acting .It was just not like him at all. Benji could smell the alcohol on Jesse’s breath. He was not drunk, but there was an edge to him with the drink in his system that Benji did not like. Benji managed to shove Jesse away. “I’m sorry, I really am. What else do you want me to say, huh?”

Jesse saw red, and before he fully knew what was happening his fist was making solid contact with Benji’s face. Not once, but twice. Jesse had not pulled his punches either, he hit hard enough that his knuckles were stinging with the force he had used. Not that Jesse noticed. Somehow everything seemed clearer now, and the reality of what he done set in. He had never hit Benji before, unless play fights were counted .A feeling of guilt washed over him as he saw blood started to trickle from Benji’s nose. “Benji...I...I didn’t mean it”

Benji was frozen there, for a few moments, in shock. His nose ached, and his cheek throbbed with pain but that was minor compared to the hurt he felt inside because Jesse had been the one to do it. Jesse looked so dejected; Benji forced a smile even though he did not feel like smiling at all. “I know. It’s ok...” Benji could understand why Jesse had done it. He was still upset with Jesse but he could not be mad at him. Jesse had made a mistake, he had apologized and that was it. Benji had already forgiven him. He could blame that on his kind nature, but it was more due to the fact that it was Jesse. He was the closest person to being perfect in Benji’s eyes.

Jesse came up to Benji and slung an arm around his shoulders. “No, it’s not. I messed up, but I’m gonna make it up to you” “Don’t worry about it” Benji replied as they started to walk back to their dorm building. Side by side. Benji was really savouring the feel of Jesse’s arm around him. It just felt like he belonged. He was no closer to finding a solution to his problem, but he was still thankful for what he had. At least Jesse was in his life. It was better to have Jesse as a best friend than to be a stranger to Jesse. Benji did not feel like he had any other options but to keep his secret. Jesse could never know. Benji would help Jesse get over Beca, and eventually Jesse’s next girlfriend would come along. Benji could deal with his problem in time. Everything would work out fine in the end – It was something Benji often told himself – Even though he knew it was a lie.

Okay so thank you for reading and if you could spare a few moments to review, I would be aca-static hehe (:

Riddle Manor (Merope Gaunt x Tom Riddle Sr) (1/1)
Icon for my lj
dark_baudelaire
Title: 22
Author: dark_baudelaire
Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters/Pairings: Merope Gaunt x Tom Riddle, Original Female Character(s) , Original Male Character(s)
Rating: T
Word Count: 9,000 +
Summary: Tom was perfect. He was the lone brilliant star shining in the night sky, always just out of Merope's reach. On the rare times he had seen her, he had an expression on his face that Merope knew was a mixture of repulsion and pity. To Tom, she was simply the old tramp’s daughter. The noble house of Salazar Slytherin and her being pureblood would mean nothing to him...

A/N: So I was reading through some wonderful Merope/Tom stories and I wished there were more, and so I thought I should make one as well. This ended up being quite a long oneshot, to my surprise. I was inspired by Downton Abbey when writing this. Also, I hope Merope and Tom are not too OOC...

DISCLAIMER: J.K. Rowling owns all, I’m just a fan of her books and their movie adaptations.



It was a warm, bright and sunny day in the village of Little Hangleton. Just on the outskirts of the village lay the rundown cottage where Merope Gaunt had once lived in misery with her father and her brother. The cottage was now vacant. Merope’s father was dead now, and her brother was locked away in Askaban. She grieved for their loss, but at the same time she felt so much freer. Her father had called her a disgusting little Squib, but the truth was that his and her brother’s physical and mental abuse had suppressed her magical abilities. After she was away from them, she found herself able to perform spells, and she even started experimenting with potions. She was not in full control of her magic, sometimes things happened which she had not wanted, based on her moods. And it was such an occurrence that led to her wandlessly healing Tom Riddle. Merope had been watching him riding his horse, as he often did, on the track that led past her home. She had expected he would ride straight past, as usual. Tom would sometimes glance at the shack, and if that happened Merope would duck down behind the hedge so he would not notice her.

She loved to watch him, but she did not like to see him look at her. On the rare times he had seen her, he had an expression on his face that Merope knew was a mixture of repulsion and pity. To Tom, she was simply the old tramp’s daughter. The noble house of Salazar Slytherin and her being pureblood would mean nothing to him. In the Muggle world, he was the pureblood equivalent. He lived in a manor, and his family owned much of the land in Little Hangleton. He was so handsome and full of life. That was what had attracted her to him. She was meant to despise Muggles. Muggles were scum, according to her family. Yet Merope could never bring herself to feel the same way. Tom was perfect. He was the lone brilliant star shining in a dark night sky, always just out of Merope’s reach. She knew she was no beauty, not like Cecilia, who sometimes accompanied Tom when he went horse riding. Cecilia had auburn hair that fell down her back in soft, silky waves and bright blue eyes, with a delicate build and a fair complexion. Merope’s long brown hair was dull and a mess of tangles, her eyes were a murky dark brown, her face was plain and she was too thin. Merope knew Tom would never want her, but that had not stopped her from having hope that one day he would see her in a new light. Merope had fallen in love with him. All she could do was watch him from afar.

Yet, as he rode past her cottage something spooked his horse, which reared back suddenly. Tom lost his grip on the reins and had fallen off the horse. Merope had watched this event, and was too shocked to move for a few moments. That soon passed, and she found herself running over to the site where Tom’s prone body lay on the dirt path. She knelt by his side, and her eyes roamed over him. She had never been so close to him before, but she could not take the time to enjoy it and instead examined him for signs of life. He had always been pale, but now he was far too pale. One of his legs was bent at an unnatural angle and she was sure it was broken. He had a cut on his head that was bleeding profusely. Merope leaned over him and had cried in sheer relief when she realized he was still breathing, although it was only faintly. Merope had tightly taken hold of his hand and willed him to open his eyes. He did not. He just lay there, still and quiet. Merope had been on the verge of going to get her wand or calling for help when suddenly a golden light appeared around his body. He became less pale. The cut on his head faded and disappeared entirely, although the blood that had already trickled out of the cut remained. His breathing evened out and became stronger. His leg was no longer bent in an unnatural position. The golden light had disappeared as quickly as it had come.

Tom had awoken to see Merope hovering over him, and he had not been pleased. He was confused by what had happened to him. The last thing he remembered was riding his horse. “What are you doing?” He had snapped at Merope, pulling his hand free from hers. He had sat up slowly, and looked around. “Where is my horse?” Tom demanded to know.

“You had an accident, Tom” Merope mentally cursed herself for saying his name. She knew he would not like that, but somehow it had slipped out. Whenever she thought of him, he was always Tom to her.

“Don’t you dare call me Tom. You shall address me as Sir, or Mr Riddle. Do I make myself clear?” His tone of voice was considerably colder than it had been before.

“Yes, Mr Riddle. Your horse, I think he got scared. I don’t know what scared him, but he reared back and you fell...” Merope explained.

Tom frowned at her, but then his face cleared. “I fell from the horse? Yet I feel perfectly fine...How odd...” He raised a hand to his head and grew anxious when he saw his fingers were smeared in blood. “I have suffered a head wound. Why it causes me no pain, I do not know but you must hurry and fetch help...”

Merope shook her head. “No, sir. There is no wound, I promise you. When I first saw you, I was so scared. You were just lying there, so pale and still. You were barely breathing, and your leg was broken. It’s alright now, though. I healed you”

Tom had stood up then, staring at her as he took a few steps back. She was a peculiar little thing, with an odd name. Merope. “You are a strange girl indeed. I knew your father was insane, and your brother too. I had thought you were different. To think I even pitied you...Yet you are just as mad as they are, aren’t you? Do you really expect me to believe I was inches away from death, and you saved my life? With what, magic?” Tom shook his head derisively. Merope stood up but as she walked closer to Tom he held a hand up. “Stop. Do not come closer to me. I am leaving. I shall get help for myself, since you are unwilling to help me”

Tom was true to his word, and all Merope could do was watch him walk away. He now had an even worse impression of her, but at least he was alive. Merope did not know what she would have done if he had died. A few weeks later Merope had received a letter. She could scarcely believe it, but the letter was from Tom himself. He had wonderful penmanship, but unfortunately that made it harder for Merope to read his letter. She could barely read as it was, but she was trying her best to improve her reading and writing skills. Eventually Merope had used a spell that turned the letters into simple block letters, and from that she was able to decipher the main gist of the letter. Tom had invited her to his manor, and she was to be offered a job as a maid. Merope had not even had to think about it, she would have done anything to be closer to Tom, and so she packed up her few clothes into a bundle with her wand and set off for the manor. She always wore her locket around her neck, and there was nothing else important to her in the cottage. This was how the cottage came to be vacant.

Once Merope had reached her destination, she was unsure of where to go next. Instinctively she knew she should not enter by the grand front doors. After all, she was to be a servant and surely there would be a servant’s entrance somewhere. Merope saw a young girl disappear around a corner of the house, and decided to follow her. She was relieved when she found herself at a high brick wall with an enclosure. She stepped into the enclosure and walked up to a simple door. She knocked on the door and then waited patiently for it to be opened. When the door was opened, Merope saw a frazzled looking plump woman with greying hair tied away from her face in a messy bun. She had on a basic black dress and an apron. She frowned when she saw Merope.

“Sorry, love, no beggars are allowed here. I’d give you some food, but it’s one of Mr Carroway’s rules. And here’s me, meant to be preparing dinner, not answering doors. It’s that dratted girl Beth. She still hasn’t come back. Five minutes, she said she would be. And Miss Smithson is in fits, poor thing. There’ll be no need for a ladies maid here, after their deaths. May their poor souls rest in peace” She pressed her hands together and murmured a short prayer. “Now, miss, you had better be on your way” She started to close the door but Merope put a hand on the door.

“Wait, Mr Riddle called me here. He has given me a job. I’m to be a maid here” Merope hastily explained.

The woman, who Merope assumed was the cook, seemed surprised. “Mr Riddle? Ah, you must mean young Mr Riddle. Well, one of our girls did leave us recently. She was a hot tempered madam, that one. I hope you won’t be so wilful. And look at the state of you!” She opened the door wider, and ushered Merope inside. “There, now. Out of the cold, that’s much better. You just come with me and we’ll see Miss Sharpe, she’s the housekeeper. She’ll know what to do with you. I can’t leave my pies for much longer, Lucy will let them burn, I am sure...” She spoke on, at great length, fretting about leaving her kitchen in charge of Lucy. Merope caught a glimpse of the kitchen through a wide doorway as they walked down the hall. A blonde haired girl around Merope’s age, dressed similarly to the cook, was peering anxiously at the large stove. They passed a few doors before the cook knocked on a door. “Miss Sharpe, a girl is here to see you about taking Sarah’s place” The cook called out, before rushing back to her kitchen.

Merope did not have to wait long before the door opened and Miss Sharpe appeared. She was middle aged, slim and also in a black dress, but one of a finer quality with a white lace collar. Her face was pinched and her brown hair was pinned back tightly from her face. “Merope Gaunt, I presume?” Miss Sharpe tutted loudly as she examined Merope from head to toe, shaking her head ever so slightly in disapproval. “This is disgraceful. You are filthy! I cannot let you meet Mr Riddle in such a state” She snatched Merope’s bundle from her and shook out all the clothes Merope had brought. She set the wand aside and Merope instantly picked it up. “Ugh, these are little more than rags. They will all have to be burned. You may keep the wooden stick, although I do not know why you would want such a useless thing. I will present you with two uniforms, which I shall expect you to keep in a pristine condition. You must take good care of those uniforms. For now, you will have to wear them even when you are off duty. I will see what I can do about finding you some suitable dresses for everyday wear...” Miss Sharpe paused to frown at a passing red haired footman who had stopped dead in his tracks to stare at them. “Gary, surely there are better things to do with your time than gawking at us?”

He flushed red, shrinking back from Miss Sharpe’s cold gaze. “Sorry, Miss Sharpe” He hurried off, almost bumping into a taller footman who glared at him. This footman had jet black hair and striking good looks. His face was vaguely familiar to Merope, but she knew she had never met him before in her life. He seemed like he was about to say something spiteful, but seeing Miss Sharpe in the distance caused him to stay silent and he kept on walking. When he passed them, he smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes. Something in his face changed as his gaze fell on Merope but he walked away before she could figure out what it meant. He probably just was surprised to see her, like that other footman had been, but yet she knew it was not that.

“Merope, I would advise you to stay away from that one. He’s nothing but trouble, but he was a fond favourite of Mr Riddle before the accident” Miss Sharpe sighed. “Yet I do not see him in mourning, as we do”

“Mourning for who, Miss Sharpe?” Merope asked.

Miss Sharpe regarded Merope with an air of astonishment. “You do not know? Mr and Mrs Riddle are dead. They drowned on a boat. We just got the news yesterday, by a telegram. It was a most tragic accident. You must not talk about this to young Mr Riddle, of course. He is grieving, and it would be insensitive to mention his parents. Besides the fact that it is not your place. You are here to serve him, as are we all”

“Yes, Miss Sharpe” Merope replied timidly.

“Well, we must not waste any more time. You’re to have a bath now, and then Mr Riddle wishes to see you in his study” Miss Sharpe showed Merope to the servant quarters, and the bathroom for the female servants. She set up a bath for Merope then left for a short while, returning with a towel, undergarments and a maid’s uniform as well as a pair of sensible black shoes. “Hurry and get into the bath before the water gets cold. Make sure to cleanse yourself thoroughly, and wash your hair too. If I’m not satisfied with the result, you will have to bathe again” Miss Sharpe left the bathroom.

Merope had never had a real bath before, and not with warm water. She undressed, before slowly stepping into the tepid water. It felt nice, and after she sat down she followed Miss Sharpe’s orders, and used a washcloth to scrub her body and face all over until it was a flushed pink. The bar of soap in the water gave off a pleasant scent, and was also useful when Merope washed her hair. By the time Merope had finished with her bath, the water was a murky grey. She had just dried herself with a towel when Miss Sharpe came back into the bathroom. Miss Sharpe helped Merope to towel dry her hair, although it would be damp for some time yet. And then she helped Merope get dressed in her uniform, warning her to pay attention because after today Merope would be expected to dress by herself. Then Merope was taken to what was to be her new bedroom, which she would share with Lucy, the kitchen maid. Miss Sharpe then set about combing out Merope’s hair. It was an arduous task to get rid of all the knots and tangles, but Miss Sharpe persevered until the comb ran smoothly through Merope’s hair. She gathered Merope’s hair back and into a tight bun, using pins to secure the hair in place. “This will be the hairstyle I expect to see you with from now on. You must be neat and tidy”

There was a small mirror in the room and Merope was shocked when she saw her reflection. She would always be plain but there was a noted improvement to her appearance. Merope was pleased, and it seemed Miss Sharpe was too, as finally she declared that Merope was ready to be seen by Tom. When Merope reached the study, she was unsure of what to do so she just stood by the writing desk. Miss Sharpe had told her to wait in the study for Tom, and she waited for quite a long time before Tom finally appeared. He had dark circles around his eyes, and he seemed pensive. He held a glass tumbler half filled with an amber liquid.

Tom stared at Merope until he sensed she was getting uncomfortable. He was thinking of what to say to her, and he was also surprised by how much better she looked without all the dirt covering her skin and the rags she had fashioned into some kind of awful dress. “Take a seat, Merope”

Merope gingerly sat down on the leather armchair behind the writing desk. “Are you sure it’s alright for me to sit here, Mr Riddle?”

Tom laughed, taking a large swig of his drink. It was brandy, and left a pleasant burn at the back of his throat as it went down. He had become fonder of alcohol since his parent’s death. It helped to numb the pain. He had not been particularly close to his parents, but they had loved him, and he had loved them in his own way. “It’s perfectly fine, Merope. That’s an unusual name you have...”

Merope smiled softly at him. “I didn’t think you even knew my name”

“Of course I knew” Tom replied. “Half the gossip in the village is about your wretched family. Not that I listen to it. My darling Cecilia is the one who likes gossip...” He finished his drink then set the glass down on the writing desk. “Sorry. I’m being rude, aren’t I?” He did not give Merope a chance to reply and kept on talking. “Anyway, it doesn’t matter. Family is family, and at least you have your brother. I have no one now. Well, that’s not actually true” He laughed bitterly. “Can I tell you something? I bet all the servants know anyway. My father’s bastard is living here”

“The footman...” Merope interrupted Tom. “I don’t know his name, but I thought I knew him. I’ve never seen anyone so handsome before, apart from...” Merope paused. “Another gentleman” She finished lamely, not wanting to mention that it was Tom she meant.

“I assure you that James Bryce is no gentleman. And he shall get nothing from me. I would turn him out with no reference, but my father’s will has certain conditions” Tom sighed heavily. “And I haven’t even discussed why I brought you here, Merope” He walked around the desk, and took Merope’s hands into his own. Merope gasped in shock, a pink flush appearing on her face which brought a little colour to the pallor of her skin. Tom decided that he liked it. And of course it had not escaped his notice that Merope had her affections set on him. It was a great advantage to him now that he realized what power she was capable of. He was intrigued by her, and inclined now to believe her story about saving him. The doctor he had seen had found no signs of injury on him, in fact he had told Tom he was in great physical health. There was no cut on Tom’s head, although he knew there should have been. “I could have died, and if I had there would be nobody to carry on the Riddle line. Thanks to you, I survived. I don’t know what you did, but it was some kind of magic, was it not?”

Merope bit at her lip worriedly. “Magic? I don’t know what you mean, sir”

“You know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s no need to be afraid. I’m not going to run down to the village hall and tell everyone you’re some sort of...witch. That is what you are...Is it not?”

Merope stayed silent, but that was enough to confirm Tom’s suspicions. “This is wonderful, Merope. It was a shame that Bryce did not accompany my parents on their trip. If he had drowned, everything would be far simpler. I don’t suppose you could whip up some kind of spell or enchantment to help me get rid of him permanently?”

She shook her head, uneasy upon hearing his words. He had found out her secret, not that she had gone to any great lengths to hide it from him, and she was so glad he was not perturbed by it. Yet now he wanted to use her magic for evil. Merope had known he was not very kind, but to ask her to get rid of someone, especially a man that was his half-brother, was simply horrid. She did not think it was in her power to murder anyone, and even if she had been able to do it, she would not do it. She loved Tom, would do almost anything for him but she had to draw a line somewhere. “No, I can’t do that. It doesn’t work that way. I don’t have great control over my magic. And I came here to be a housemaid. I thought that was why you brought me here”

Tom glared at her. “Of course it was, you silly girl. Don’t look at me in such a way, it’s not like I asked you to kill him, I just want him gone from this house. To go to some far, distant land and never return. Is that really too much to ask? You do disappoint me” He let go of her hands. If Merope could not help him he would find another way. And yet perhaps in time he could still persuade her to change her mind.

Merope was relieved by what Tom had said. “I am sorry, Mr Riddle. I had thought you meant him harm. It’s just not in my nature to want to hurt people”

“Yes, of course it’s not. You may go now, Merope. I’m sure Miss Sharpe has some cleaning for you to do somewhere” After giving her a clear dismissal Tom gestured to a pile of rectangular boxes wrapped up in brown paper and tied with string. He had almost forgotten about them. “Those packages are all yours. I had them brought up here, much to Carroways’ horror. My butler is quite a stickler for tradition. I hope you enjoy them. If anything is the wrong size, just tell me and I’ll get it sorted out”

“Thank you so much, Mr Riddle. I shall work hard here, and I am most grateful to be working in this beautiful manor” Merope hurriedly went to pick up all the packages and left, Tom shutting the door behind her as quickly as he was able to. It was not too heavy a load, but she had to walk slowly for fear of dropping some of the packages. On her way back to the servant quarters she came across Gary, the red haired footman. He insisted on helping her carry the packages, and stared at her unabashedly for the entire journey. Merope was quite glad when they reached her room and he left. He seemed like a kind sort of person. She sensed the staring was not malicious, he was just curious about her. Yet the staring had made her uncomfortable.

As the days went by Merope soon settled into her role as housemaid. Summer turned to winter, as the months passed by. She barely got to see Tom. She was so busy doing her cleaning duties, and he was hard at work taking care of the family estate alongside the estate manager. Merope had noticed that Cecilia’s visits to Tom were few and far between. She hoped that Cecilia was at least sending Tom letters. It would have been better if she had been around more to support Tom through his grief over his parent’s death. Although part of Merope was glad that she rarely saw Cecilia. Cecilia hated her, and the feeling was mutual. Merope did not think Cecilia deserved Tom, but there was nothing she could do about it. With her half days off Merope had been experimenting with her wand and concocting potions. She had also devoted some of her free time to making dresses under the strict guidance of Miss Sharpe, who had warmed up to Merope considerably since seeing how conscientious Merope was about her cleaning duties.

Gary had become a good friend to Merope, and gave her lessons in reading and writing. The cook, Mrs Fontaine, suffered from migraines. They only came up once in a while, but when they did she just soldiered through the pain. Mrs Fontaine was devoted to her kitchen and was like a mother figure to the younger servants. Merope had wanted to help her, and so she had used some spices and fresh mint leaves from the garden, along with some other ingredients that were a lot harder to source, to make a draught that eased the pain of Mrs Fontaine’s headaches. She had told Mrs Fontaine it was just a home remedy, an old recipe that had been in her family for years. Mrs Fontaine had been doubtful of it at first, but now she treasured the little bottle that held the draught. Merope had found ways to help all her friends amongst the servants. James Bryce was not a friend, but neither was he her enemy. He was not neutral, like Miss Sharpe or the butler Mr Carroway, but he never went out of his way to annoy her. He had a great talent for upsetting the other servants, and Mr Carroway clearly wanted to get rid of him but that would not happen. And James knew it. The only person Merope did not get along with was Beth, another housemaid who was mean spirited and spiteful. Beth had dreams of being a Hollywood starlet, and felt like being a housemaid was beneath her. She was lazy, and constantly shifting some of her workload onto Merope. Merope had been sorely tempted to place a nasty hex on Beth, who took great pride in her smooth, clear skin and pretty face. Yet of course a hex would just get her in trouble with the Ministry of Magic. Merope did not intend to be dragged off to Askaban. She wanted to remain close to Tom as long as she was able to.

Merope’s birthday came around and to her surprise the servants had a party to celebrate it. The party happened after dinner. Mrs Fontaine had baked her a lovely sponge cake with a jam and cream filling, smothered in white icing. There was a delicate rose alongside Merope’s name written in cursive on the top of the cake. Much merrymaking was had by all, especially after Mrs Fontaine brought out a bottle of cooking brandy and Miss Sharpe contributed a bottle of dry sherry. Merope had a little of the sherry, but she did not like the taste much. She loved the cake, and all the presents she had been gifted with by the other servants. Unsurprisingly she received nothing from Beth, but Merope did not care about that. Gary had pulled her to one side as the party was winding down to a halt and given her his gift. It was a silver chain from which hung a small silver cross. He had insisted on helping her put the necklace on and had made Merope promise she would wear it every day. Merope had been very touched, by all that had happened at the party. It was the best birthday she had ever had, and she strongly suspected Gary had a larger role to play in the party than he would take credit for. He was, after all, the only one who had known the day Merope’s birthday fell upon. She had not even really wanted to tell him, but Gary had worn her down by constantly asking until she finally gave in. The bell for the upstairs drawing room had gone off, and Merope had been the one to answer the call. It was quite late by now, and the other servants had all retired to bed. The only reason Merope was around to hear the call was that she had been in the kitchen, sneakily having another piece of her delicious birthday cake.

Hearing the bell had quite frightened her. She had a fear of being caught up so late, when she should be sleeping. As she was walking upstairs and onwards to the drawing room, she did wonder why Tom had felt the need to summon a servant so late in the night. When Merope reached the drawing room, the door was half open. When she looked inside, she saw Tom sitting down on the carpet, leaning against the velvet chaise lounge. He was staring right in her direction, but yet somehow he was staring right past her like she was not even there. His dark eyes were dull and listless. There was a half empty crystal decanter beside him.

“Mr Riddle?” Merope hesitatingly stepped into the room. Only when she was standing directly in front of him did Tom seem to break free of his vacant stare.

Tom smiled wanly up at his housemaid. She looked worried about him. “Ah, Merope...Care to join me for a drink?”

Merope knelt down in front of him so they were on the same level. “I think you’ve had more than enough to drink, Mr Riddle”

He took hold of the decanter and pulled out the stopper, taking a long swig out of it. It was a fine Scotch and it was helping him boost his low spirits. His head felt pleasantly fuzzy, but he was not drunk. Nowhere close to it. And yet Merope appeared to think he was. Tom stood up, to prove to her that she was wrong, but then he realized it was not a good idea for him to move so fast. He would have stumbled and fallen had it not been for Merope grabbing hold of him. “Yes, I think perhaps you’re right” Tom admitted.

“I had better help you up to your room, sir” Merope suggested firmly, but really it was not a suggestion. She was going to help him whether he wanted her help or not. He was not in a fit state to walk on his own. He was not in a drunken stupor yet, but if she left him there on his own he soon would be. To her surprise, Tom made no protest to her plan. He leaned on her for support as Merope slowly made her way up the stairs and to Tom’s room. She sat him down on his bed as gently as she could. While it was a relief to have his weight off her, Merope was already missing being so close to him. She assisted Tom in taking off his shoes and pulled back the covers so he could crawl into bed. Once he was settled comfortably on the bed, covers pulled back over him and his head resting on the pillows, Merope bid him goodnight.

Tom reached out and took hold of her arm as she was turning away. “No, don’t leave me here alone” He pleaded softly. It was rather humiliating that he was asking a housemaid to stay and comfort him, but Merope was not just any maid. There was something special about her, and it was not just because she had magical powers. Most importantly, she loved him. Tom would have had to be blind not to see her devotion to him, and right now he just wanted to be around a person who cared for him. “Will you stay until I fall asleep?” He asked her.

Merope sat down on the edge of the bed. “I’ll stay as long as you want me to. It’s just that I...” Merope hesitated. She wanted to know what had made Tom so upset, but at the same time she knew it was not her place to ask. “Is everything all right?”

“No, it’s not, but in time it will be. I don’t want to talk about it, but I will just say you won’t see Cecilia visit anymore” Tom sighed heavily. “It’s all over...I’ve lost her forever” He whispered.

He sounded broken, and it hurt Merope. She did not want him to suffer, but she was thrilled that Tom would no longer be with Cecilia. She was dying to know what had happened to cause them to part, but it was something that would have to remain a mystery. “I’m so sorry, Mr Riddle” She wished she could do more for him. And then she remembered the potion she had made a few days ago. “I have something that can help you sleep. You’ll wake up feeling so refreshed. Should I fetch it for you?”

“No, but thank you for the offer” He studied her closely, for the first time noticing a glimpse of something silver. “What’s that? A necklace?”

“Oh...” Merope put a hand up to her throat. “I thought I had tucked it away. I won’t wear it when I’m working”

“It’s fine, but where did you get it from?” Tom asked as he sat up in bed, his curiosity rising. “Can I see it?”

Merope unfastened the necklace and handed it to Tom. “It was a gift from Gary”

“Gary? Oh, you mean Anderson...Why is he giving you gifts?”

“It was for my birthday, sir” Merope explained.

Tom examined the necklace, not making any attempt to hide his distaste of the cheap piece of jewellery. “You had better not wear it anymore. It’s just a piece of junk, it’s not real silver”

Merope frowned at Tom, thinking his judgement of her necklace was harsh. “Well, I don’t mind. It was nice of him to think of buying me a present. He’s a good friend to me” She smiled softly as she took the necklace back and put it around her neck once more.

Tom was just about to tell her that it was clear Anderson liked her, but then he changed his mind. It was selfish, he knew, but he wanted Merope to only love him, and no one else. If she knew that Anderson liked her, there was a chance she could fall for the footman. Only a very small chance but it was still a risk Tom was not willing to take. He had already lost Cecilia to another man but he would not lose Merope as well. Lately it seemed to Tom like he was losing control of his life, with his parents’ unexpected deaths and Cecilia’s betrayal. At least he still had a hold on Merope. Tom could at least still have control over Merope, and that comforted him. “I didn’t know it was your birthday, or I would have gotten you a present”

“Oh, it doesn’t matter” Merope replied, letting a soft laugh escape her. “It’s not even my birthday anymore, we’re past midnight now”

Tom leant closer to Merope, staring into her eyes. “Would you like a birthday kiss?”

“Sir, you don’t know what you’re saying” Merope’s smile slipped away, although her face felt hot with his close proximity and a part of her desperately wished he really meant it. “It’s the drink talking, you don’t mean it”

Tom was getting frustrated. He did not bother trying to explain to Merope that he did in fact honestly want to kiss her, and it had nothing to do with him having had a little too much Scotch. Instead he simply pressed their lips together, wrapping his arms around Merope so she would not be able to push him away. He felt Merope tense up, but then she relaxed into the kiss and willingly responded. Through that kiss Tom could tell that Merope was shy, unsure of herself. It was probably her first kiss, and Tom was glad of it. Unlike Cecilia, Merope had a sweet innocence that was refreshing. And he was sure Merope would not hurt him like Cecilia had. The problem, Tom thought, as the kiss ended, was that he would likely be the one who ended up hurting her. Tom was not sure why it should bother him, but it did. He gently released Merope from his hold. “So there, you see I do mean what I say. Goodnight, Merope”

Merope had daydreamed of such a moment, but it was one thing to dream of something and another thing entirely to really experience it. It had been wonderful, even though she still thought the drink had caused Tom to suddenly want to kiss her. She stood up from the bed, “Thank you, sir. Goodnight” She smiled, but as she was turning away from the bed Tom caught hold of her hand.

“When we’re alone together, I think you should call me Tom. In fact, I won’t take no for an answer” Tom stated firmly.

“If that’s what you want, sir. Ah, I mean...Tom” Merope replied.

Although she felt uneasy about what he had asked of her, she was also pleased. The boundaries between her and Tom seemed to be blurring, and Merope knew that she was not behaving in a manner befitting what Miss Sharpe would term as a respectable young girl but she could not bring herself to care. She was not sure what was going to happen between her and Tom, but she was under no illusion that he actually liked her. If anything, he was using her for comfort and Merope told herself she did not mind, although of course she did. Yet, she wanted Tom to be happy and being with him like this was better than not being with him at all. The next morning, Merope overslept and was soundly scolded by Mr Carroway, but she did not mind her chastisement when she thought back on what had happened the night before. Merope went about her duties that day in a state of distraction, and even Beth who loved to shirk her duties got annoyed with Merope’s lack of diligence in her work. It took Merope causing an accident with a stack of plates to make her pull herself together and get back to her usual hardworking self. In the week that followed, Merope did not see Tom, much to her disappointment. He had gone on a trip on London, but when he returned he came back with a present for her. It was a floral perfume in a delicate glass bottle, and Merope treasured it.

Tom had kissed her again, and he had been very much sober. Merope had thoroughly enjoyed herself, and she was sure Tom had too. He taught her about French kissing, and although she had been shocked at first, she soon started to enjoy it. It made their kisses more intimate. It was something that Merope loved and yet feared. Every time they met up, she reminded herself that what they were doing meant nothing to him. Yet she still could not help falling for him even more, and at times she even pretended he loved her too. Merope knew it would not end well, but she also could not stop herself from seeing him. As long as he still wanted her, Merope would be there for him. Eventually, Merope gave Tom her virginity. He had been gentle with her, and it had not hurt as much as she had feared it would. She had marvelled at the strange, exciting, pleasurable sensations he made her feel, and at the way she had felt such a powerful connection to him. Merope knew the memory of that fateful night would stay with her forever. She did not regret it afterwards, even though it made Tom change his attitude towards her. He became cold and distant, and Merope had felt like she was nothing more than a broken doll he had gotten bored of. Their secret meetings came to an abrupt halt. Tom began to ignore Merope whenever he saw her, and she knew he went out of his way to avoid her at times.

Merope had been expecting it to end. She had known what she had with Tom could not last, and that he could not ever love her like she loved him. It was not like she was unused to suffering, having lived through years of constant abuse from her family. Yet in her heart she still felt the pain of Tom’s rejection keenly, and she was depressed because of him. He had been cruel, but she did not blame him. His soul was just as tortured as Merope’s, in different ways. He too had suffered. Merope was glad she had been able to distract him from his troubles, at least for a while. Merope had worked hard before, but now she threw herself into her cleaning duties, and even asked for extra chores. Merope kept herself busy to stop her from thinking too much about Tom. Merope did her best to appear unaffected around her fellow servants, although they were more observant than she thought. They knew she was sad, but since she would not tell them why, they all did their best to comfort her in their own ways. Merope often thought that the servants were like one large, dysfunctional but happy family, and she was content to be part of it. Her real family had never been kind to her, apart from her mother, who Merope could scarcely remember now.

When she first threw up, Merope thought she had caught the flu, after the cold chill that had settled in her body. In the cold winter months, influenza had already affected some of the other servants. Miss Sharpe had insisted that Merope be confined to her room until the doctor could come and take a look at her. When the doctor had come, however, he had been sure it was not the flu. He thought Merope had simply eaten something that had upset her stomach, as well as having a common cold. Mrs Fontaine had taken that as an insult to her cooking, and had loudly declared that it could not have been her food that had made Merope feel sick. The cook had interrogated Merope thoroughly about her eating habits. Merope vaguely remembered having eaten some blackberries which grew wild on bushes in the village, and Mrs Fontaine had declared the fruit to be the culprit. Yet Merope had been sick again the next morning, and from there it continued on until Miss Sharpe took her aside for a private talk. Merope had not understood why Miss Sharpe had looked at her with such a disappointed, grave expression, and she had wondered what she could have possibly done wrong. Miss Sharpe explained to Merope that she suspected Merope was pregnant. Merope had not been able to comprehend Miss Sharpe’s words at first, and it had taken a while for the information to sink in.

Pregnant. Merope wanted to tell Miss Sharpe it could not be possible, but the words stuck in her throat. Miss Sharpe took her shocked silence as a sign that she had been right, and had then reprimanded Merope aggressively for her actions that had led to such an event. The housekeeper had demanded to know who the father was, but Merope had stubbornly kept her silence. Miss Sharpe had grown so frustrated at Merope’s lack of answer that she had struck her. She had then begun to cry, and hugged Merope tightly. Merope had welcomed her embrace, and did not blame Miss Sharpe for striking her. She knew in her heart that Miss Sharpe had just gotten so angry because she cared about Merope. Miss Sharpe told Merope that she could no longer stay at the manor. It seemed very cruel to Merope. She did not want to leave, but she also knew Miss Sharpe was right. She could not possibly stay, with a baby on the way. And there was more risk of someone figuring out that the father was Tom, if she did stay on. It would cause a terrible scandal, and Tom had already been suffering enough.

As Merope packed up her belongings, in a suitcase that had been kindly given to her by Mrs Fontaine, she was in a numb state. It was simply easier than being upset. She had cried enough already, and tears would not change the past. And she did not want the past to change. It saddened her that she had to leave Tom, but she felt like she would always have him with her, through their unborn child. It was a thought that comforted her. Merope had decided against seeing Tom before she left. She did not want to tell him about the baby, but if she saw him she was afraid she would not be able to stop herself from revealing the truth. It pained her, but she knew that even if Tom found out about the baby, he would not care. The baby would just be another inconvenience to him, like his half-brother James was. She had written a letter to Tom, and had managed to persuade Beth to deliver the letter after she had gone. Beth had gone from hating her to pitying her since the discovery. Merope knew that Mr Carroway was eager to see her leave as quickly as possible. Yet she knew many of the servants would miss her and she would miss them too. Miss Sharpe had given Merope some extra money despite Merope’s protests that she could manage on her wages. Merope had saved most of the wages she had earned. If she was careful, her wages along with Miss Sharpe’s thoughtful donation, would mean that she could pay for her room and board for a while. Merope had no intention of going back to her family home; there were too many bad memories there. Mrs Fontaine and Lucy had generously made up a basket of provisions for Merope to carry away with her. Even James had taken her aside and wished her well in her travels. He had told her he knew he was going to be an uncle, but he had also promised not to tell anyone. Merope was not entirely sure she could trust him, but it was out of her hands now. He knew, and that was that. Fond farewells were exchanged between Merope and the servants, and then she departed from the manor.

When Tom had been informed of Merope’s departure, he had been shocked at first, and then guilt had threatened to overcome him. He had let his guilt form into anger and had then unfairly directed it at the servants, particularly Miss Sharpe and Merope’s fellow housemaids. He had demanded to know why she had left, and what he had been told had astonished him. He found it hard to believe, but he knew it was the truth. He would not be lied to by his servants, not with such a serious matter. He had wanted to know where Merope was going, but had been met with a tight lipped resistance from the servants. In desperation he threatened a meek looking blonde girl with losing her job and being sent away with no reference. It may have seemed cruel to the other servants, but he had to find out where Merope was, and he did not truly intend to sack the girl. It turned out her name was Lucy, and she was a kitchen maid. Lucy had revealed that Merope was staying at the village inn, and from there would travel out of the village. She had no further knowledge of Merope’s future destinations, but she had let it slip that a housemaid had a letter from Merope that was addressed to him. The housemaid’s name was Beth, and she had a conceited air about her, likely because she was pretty. She had refused to give him the letter, saying Merope had wanted her to keep it for a month before she handed it to him. Unlike Lucy, she could not be bullied into submission and threats to her job were met with amusement on her part. So he had then tried to bribe her with a wage increase, but when that had also failed he pretended he had given up of getting the letter.

He may not have been able to bribe Beth, but his brother was more amenable to being bribed, despite the mutual hatred felt between them. James was not selfish for once in his life, and asked for something on behalf of his adoptive father. So Tom had signed over the deeds to the gardener’s cottage to Frank Bryce. Tom had often pitied Frank for having to raise his father’s bastard and live with the shame of knowing his wife had betrayed him. The man was an excellent gardener, and Tom had been planning to let Frank retire in the cottage, so he had not minded signing over the deeds. James had kept to his end of the deal and had procured the letter for him. Tom had no idea how he had been able to sneak into the female servants’ quarters, but he did not really care.

The important thing was that he finally had the letter, and he read it while his chauffeur was driving him to the village inn. As he was reading the letter, Tom was hit hard by the knowledge of how shameful his actions had been. Up until now, he had been able to believe he had done the right thing by pushing Merope away. He had convinced himself he had done it more for her sake than his own. He had been fine with being with her while he was still in control of his emotions, and using her as a rebound from his break up with Cecilia. Everything between him and Merope had been fine, until Tom had actually started to feel something for her, and it had scared him. He was not ready to open up to her, so soon after Cecilia had broken his heart. Tom had actually been foolish enough to believe Cecilia was the one, but he had been wrong. It had been unbearable when Cecilia had betrayed him, and if Merope had ended up doing the same it would have been too much for Tom to handle. Also, there had been the significance of their social class to consider. Tom was proud of his upbringing, and had always looked down upon the lower classes. Before he had met Merope, Tom would never even have dreamt of being with a girl who was poor. And Tom’s own father had nearly destroyed his marriage by having an affair with a maid. Yet Merope was very different from that maid. That maid had been a wicked temptress who had only been after his father’s fortune, and had foolishly thought getting pregnant would secure his father’s affection for her permanently. Merope had not manipulated Tom in any way, in fact it had been he who had toyed with her feelings and used her. It was Tom who had not thought to obtain a form of protection before the night he had slept with her. That night had also been when he realized he had feelings for her.

Now all Tom wanted was to have Merope by his side once more. Merope and his unborn child. He would marry her, and for once think not of his reputation in high society. “Make haste, Huntley” Tom urged his chauffeur, despite there being a blockage ahead in the road. Tom still had his eyes on the letter, and so he had not noticed why the car had slowed to a halt.

“Sir, there’s a fallen tree. I can’t go no further until it’s gone” Huntley replied.

Tom refrained from snapping at Huntley, it wasn’t his fault of course but Tom was still very annoyed at the delay. He waited for a while, but then he had enough and decided to walk. When he finally reached the inn, he saw Anderson inside along with a few regulars. The red haired footman was sitting at a table, nursing a glass mug of beer with a glum look on his face. When he saw Tom, he made to stand up but instead he swayed on his feet and ended up knocking his mug of beer to the ground. He glared up at Tom hatefully as he used the table to lean against as he stood back up again. “You bastard” Anderson hissed, his face turning red as he made to lunge at Tom, but a burly man stopped him from doing so. The man grabbed Anderson and dragged him over to the door, before throwing him out of the inn.

The man was the innkeeper, and he gave Tom a hard, unfriendly stare. “What do you want down here?”

“Is there a girl staying here? She has long dark hair, she’s pale, has brown eyes and she’s quite thin” Tom asked, staring back at the innkeeper coldly.

“There might be, there might not...” The innkeeper replied evasively, crossing his arms. “And just who is going to pay for the mess your friend made?” He gestured to the shards of glass on the ground, lying in a pool of spilled beer.

“He’s my footman, not my friend, and the man simply had too much to drink” Tom handed the innkeeper a large sum of money. “Now, where is she?”

The innkeeper counted the money carefully, and then pocketed it before pointing to a narrow staircase at the far end of the inn. “Second door on the right”

Tom marched upstairs and to the room Merope was staying in. He was too impatient to knock, and so he just opened the door and went inside. The room was small and gloomy. The only light came from a tiny window. Merope was sitting down on the tiny bed, and her attention was focused on the red wool and the knitting needles she had in her hands. “Gary, I won’t go with you. I can’t just...” She looked up then, and her words trailed away into nothing when she saw it was Tom who stood in the doorway. ”What are you doing here, Mr Riddle?”

“Mr Riddle? I thought we had a discussion about that before...” Tom replied, smiling at her tenderly.

Merope rose from the bed, setting her knitting down and then she frowned at him. “I wish you hadn’t come here. People will talk; you’ll ruin your reputation...”

“So let them talk” Tom stepped closer to her and pulled her into his arms. “And I don’t give a damn who knows about us”

“No!” Merope exclaimed angrily, reluctantly pushing him away. “There is no us, there never was an us. We were never together”

Tom caught hold of her hands, and kept her close. “Not in the right way, Merope. I know I treated you badly, and I’ve never been good at apologizing, but I truly am sorry” He raised one of her hands up to his face, and dropped a soft kiss onto the back of her hand. “You didn’t deserve to be hurt by me. You loved me, and I took advantage of your love. I used you, but once I realized I liked you, I couldn’t do it anymore. That’s why I shut you out, you see. I was selfish, and I didn’t want to face up to my true feelings for you”

“You really want me?” Merope whispered reverently. “That’s not possible...”

“Yes. I want you, and our baby too” Tom replied sincerely.

He had such a solemn expression on his face that Merope found it hard to doubt him. “It would never work, though. We come from different worlds. I should just be with Gary. He offered to marry me, take care of the baby. He’s a good man. And you could move on. Find another lady like Cecilia to marry...”

Tom scowled at the mention of his footman. “Anderson won’t be coming near you or the baby. You’re mine, and I don’t want any other woman. Especially not one like Cecilia” He stated firmly. “Now, where’s your luggage? I’ve come to take you home, and I’m not going until you agree to come back with me”

“I only brought one suitcase. And some food...But I can’t go back to the manor”. Merope shook her head sadly. “What would my place be there?”

Tom wound his arms around her once more, and this time Merope did not stop him. “Your place would be at my side, as my wife”

“Oh, Tom...” Merope leaned against him, and clung to him tightly as she started to cry. She was so overwhelmed by everything that had happened. Merope could hardly believe it was true; it was like a dream come to life. To think she would get to be with Tom for good, and raise the baby with him. To think that she would even be able to take his family name as her own, and be wed to him. These thoughts made her feel happier than she had ever been before. Merope felt Tom press a kiss gently onto the top of her head, and he continued to support her as she cried. Finally, Merope had been able to cry tears of joy, not of sorrow as she so often had in the past. She would never be lonely again, because now she would have her own family to cherish, as long as she lived.

Thank you for reading this story :)

22 (Mark x Daniel) (1/1)
Icon for my lj
dark_baudelaire
Title: 22
Author: dark_baudelaire
Fandom: Bridget Jones Diary
Characters/Pairings: Mark x Daniel
Rating: T
Warnings: Some swearing
Word Count: 2,283
Summary: Mark is sitting at home, feeling low after a bad breakup with Bridget. He gets a visitor, but it is not who he was hoping it would be. Instead of Bridget, it's Daniel who is on his doorstep...

A/N: I totally support Bridget/Mark but the idea of Mark/Daniel is intriguing to me too since I am a fan of slash. I hope you enjoy reading this oneshot. :)

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing, I’m just a fan of the movies


Mark Darcy sighed heavily. He was sitting alone at home wondering if he had messed up his relationship with Bridget for good this time. They had not spoken in months. In his hands, he held a glass tumbler. The tumbler was half filled with a very fine Scotch, and it was not the first drink he had consumed that evening. Truth be told, it was his second drink. He might have another. Yes. If he wanted to drown his sorrows in alcohol, then it was his choice. Although, he was going to have a pounding headache in the morning and he did have a deposition to attend. Besides, getting drunk alone was not fun. He had only been drunk once in his life, and it been a horrid experience - he had gotten violently sick all over his mother’s Persian rug and suffered from a terrible hangover. Mark drained his glass. Bridget, who was probably smoking heavily again. Not that she had ever really quit smoking. She was just sweet enough to pretend she had quit, for his sake. Still, at least when she was with him she did cut back on her cigarette intake. They were so different, but that was what was so wonderful. He loved her, and if he had lost her he did not think he could bear it. Bloody Daniel Cleaver. This was all his fault. Even when Daniel was not around, the man had the remarkable ability to ruin Mark’s life. What if Bridget was with him now? Surely not. She wouldn’t be so naïve as to get sucked back into his lies. She would never go back to him, would she? Then again, she had done it once before.

The argument that had led up to their split had revolved around that cheating bastard. Mark wished he could take back a lot of what he had said on that day. He and Bridget had fought before, but it had never gotten so serious. He sighed heavily when he heard the soft chime of his doorbell. It took a real effort to push himself up from the couch. The drinks had made him feel weary. Mark set the glass down on a side table and slowly made his way to the front door. Could it be Bridget? Who else would call at such a late hour? A small smile appeared on his face at the idea of seeing Bridget again. When he had opened the door, his smile faded away to nothing when he saw who was on his doorstep.

It was Daniel Cleaver. The man was a mess. His black suit was ripped and streaked with dirt, like he had been rolling around in a muddy field. He had a black eye and a busted lip. His bright blue eyes were glassy, and he was swaying slightly. There was an almost childlike smile on his face, and blood was trickling from his nose.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Mark asked.

Daniel laughed, his eyes training on the tall, dark eyed man standing in front of him with a hostile expression. “Marky, Marky , Mark. My old pal. My friend...I was in the neighbourhood and I thought I’d stop by. Surprise you” He came forward, as if he expected Mark to invite him.

Mark blocked his path, shoving Daniel backwards. “We’re not friends anymore” Mark snapped. “How do you even know where I live now? Who told you I moved here?”

Daniel shrugged, not seeming perturbed at all as Mark pushed him away. He chuckled as he clasped his hands onto the lapels of Mark’s striped pyjama shirt, practically leaning against the other man and causing Mark to have to take a step back so he didn’t lose his balance. “That’s...Well, that’s a funny story actually. Too long to tell you right now. Come on, let me in. It’s bloody freezing out here”

They were close enough that Mark caught the scent of Daniel’s cologne and surprisingly he did not get overpowered by the smell of alcohol although it was present, lingering on Daniel’s breath. “Good. I should just let you stay out here in the cold”

Daniel smirked at him then, and Mark had an urge to punch him but restrained himself. “But you won’t do that Mark. Because you’re just this great, nice guy. I fucked our friendship up for good, I know that....”

Mark sighed, detaching his pyjama shirt from Daniel’s grasp and stepping aside so Daniel could stumble into the house. “Come with me. I’ll show you to the guest room”

“Don’t walk so bloody fast” Daniel called out from behind Mark as they approached the stairs.

Mark turned back, eyeing Daniel up and down with a frown on his face. “Right. You go first. I don’t want you to trip and break your neck. That would be a shame”

“Ah. So you do care! ” Daniel replied, outstretching his arms to Mark. “Come on. Let’s just hug it out...”

“Don’t even think about it” Mark warned, moving back as Daniel tried to embrace him. “Just hurry up. And please stop talking to me”

“I know you and Bridget broke up”

Mark went rigid for a few moments. “I don’t want to talk about it, especially not with you Cleaver” He grabbed hold of Daniel’s arm and pulled him forwards, up the stairs.

Daniel went willingly, leaning against Mark. “I can help you get her back”

“What can I do to make you be quiet?” Mark hissed. “Are you hard of hearing? Did I not just say I don’t want to discuss it?” Mark was relieved when they reached the guest bedroom. He pushed Daniel inside then walked out, slamming the door shut behind him. “Fuck...” All Mark wanted to do was go to his room and try to sleep, to pretend that Daniel was not even there. Yet he could not do it. Mark was not sure how much alcohol Daniel had consumed and thought it would be best to keep a close eye on him. Just in case he choked on his own vomit or something equally horrendous. It was an unlikely scenario but even so, Mark felt like it was his duty to look after Daniel. Despite how Daniel had betrayed him, Mark had been sad to lose their friendship. Not that it was something he would ever admit to anyone. Besides, it was simply the right thing to do. Yes, of course it was. So he went into the room. Daniel was sitting on the bed, attempting to get undressed. So far he had taken off his shoes which had been tossed onto the floor and now he was struggling to undo his tie. Mark set the shoes neatly together by the end of the bed. Then he swatted Daniel’s hands away from the tie. “I’ll do this...”

Daniel smiled at him. “Thanks, Mark”

Mark was about to tell him not to talk, but decided not to. There was no point, not with a man like Daniel. He was too stubborn for his own good, and would continue to talk anyway. “Well, that’s alright” Mark soon got rid of the tie and Daniel slipped off his suit jacket while Mark got on with unbuttoning Daniel’s shirt. “Come on, you have to stand up now”

Daniel shook his head. “No, I like it on here. I thought I had a soft bed but this one is so much better” He laid back on the bed so he was facing the ceiling. Mark sighed, feeling his irritation with Daniel rising as he pulled the suit trousers down past Daniel’s legs and finally off. He folded up all the clothes and placed them on a chaise lounge where he also found himself sitting. It was either there or the bed, and Mark much preferred to keep his distance from Daniel.

“Mark...” Daniel called out. It was easy to ignore the first time he did it, but by the time his name had been called over eight times, Mark had had enough.

“Whatever it is, I don’t want to know! Just bloody well shut up, this is hard enough as it is having to babysit you all night!” Mark snapped.

“I was just going to tell you that I feel a bit...sick” Daniel propped himself up on his arms, and Mark was alarmed when he saw how queasy Daniel looked. He glanced around the room until his eyes fell upon the ugly vase that had been a gift from a client. He carried it over to Daniel and sat by him.

“Here, if you have to throw up do it in this vase. At least then I’ll have an excuse to throw the hideous thing away”

“It is pretty vile, I have to say. The person who made this must be off their rocker or colour-blind” Daniel stated.

Mark laughed, and Daniel laughed with him. There was a moment where all the tension seemed to just fade away. They were just two men, sharing a funny moment. Mark cleared his throat and took the smile off his face. He should not be amused. It was not a funny situation at all. He hated Daniel. Hated him with a fierce intensity. He could not afford to lose sight of that. “Right. Well, yes...” He started to shift himself off the bed, but Daniel grabbed hold of his hand tightly.

“Just stay with me, Mark. After we fell out over Kaori-”

“Kiyomi. Her name is Kiyomi” Mark spoke through gritted teeth. He could not believe Daniel had brought up his ex-fiancé.

.“Oh, right. Yeah, sure...I guess I got her mixed up with another woman” Daniel shrugged lightly. “Anyway, I was jealous. Really fucking jealous. I had to take her away from you, because it wasn’t fair”

“It wasn’t...fair? What wasn’t fair, Daniel? I thought you were happy shagging anything with a pulse. You never were like me. I wanted to be in love, settle down, marry and start a family. It might not mean much to you, but it was what I wanted more than anything else. And you ruined it...”

“I was jealous of her...”

Mark stared at Daniel with his dark brown eyes devoid of warmth. “You really are a selfish bastard. You don’t even have the guts to own up to your mistakes. Instead, you’re pretending that you were jealous of her? That doesn’t even make sense. You think I’ll believe you? All you’re doing is lying to me. Although yes you are good at being a liar, aren’t you Daniel?”

Daniel shook his head slowly and then sighed heavily, running a hand through his hair. “It’s not a lie. I was jealous of her. I’ve always had a thing for you, Mark. I like women, you know that but I’d make an exception for you. I never just saw you as my best friend. Why would I make something like this up? That would be pretty low, even by my standards. It’s the truth. You’re fucking amazing, Mark. Everything about you is so...perfect”

“So kiss me...” Mark replied, smiling slightly as a look of shock crossed Daniel’s face. “If you like me, then prove it” Mark was certain Daniel would back away, as Mark took it one step further by leaning closer to the other dark haired man. However, Daniel did not back away and their lips met. Mark froze, unsure of what to do. He had not thought Daniel was being serious about liking him. And as Daniel started to kiss him with more fervour, Mark responded with an equal keenness. It did feel good. As good as kissing Bridget made him feel. It was a little different of course. Daniel’s lips were more dry than Bridget’s lips were, his skin less soft. As they kissed, and Daniel’s hands started to wander Mark idly thought about pushing Daniel away, but it was a thought soon dismissed. Although he knew he should stop it. They were both a bit drunk. Before tonight, the thought of being intimate with a man had not entered his mind. And a part of Mark still hated what Daniel had done to him. Yet now he was seeing Daniel in a different light. And Mark was having fun. It seemed like such a long time since he had last had some fun. All he did lately was work on his cases.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Daniel asked, staring at him intently.

Mark’s mind flashed back to the time when Bridget had said he was too uptight. He wondered what she would think if she could see him now. He felt bad for what he was doing, even though him and Bridget had broken up. And this would take his and Daniel’s ex-friendship to somewhere entirely unexpected. Still, none of this was going to stop him. He knew it was a bad idea, but he was going to go through with it anyway. For once he would just go with the flow. And in a way, he felt freer somehow. There was still tension between him and Daniel, but it was altered now. Less hostile, more exciting. Mark could tell that Daniel wanted him, and it gave him a thrill. And he wanted Daniel too. “Yes, I’m sure...”

Thanks for reading and I’d love to know what you thought of the story :)

Fade To Black (Michael Myers x Male OC) (3/?)
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( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )

Fade To Black (Michael Myers x Male OC) (2/?)
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Title: Fade To Black, Chapter Two
Author: dark_baudelaire
Fandom: Halloween
Characters/Pairings: Michael Myers x Male OC
Rating: T

Chapter Three

A/N: Okay. I’m sorry it’s short, and nothing much happens. Also I’m sorry it took a while to get it done, and I have no idea when the next chapter will be written. I suck, I know :( Anyway, I still hope you enjoy reading it :)

DISCLAIMER: Michael Myers is most definitely not mine, neither are the movies he features in.

Where do we go from here? – Trigger: The Rasmus

It had been a smooth ride for a while until the road they were travelling on became bumpy. Lucas was getting jostled around inside the trunk and he was fighting to keep nausea at bay. Whether it was from the car ride or because of what he had witnessed. It could not have been have been more than an hour that he was stuck in the dense darkness of the trunk but to Lucas it felt like forever. When the car stopped and finally the trunk was popped open, Lucas scrambled to get out as quickly as he could. His legs felt cramped and as he stood on his feet again he stumbled a little before steadying himself. Michael just stood there silently, watching him. Lucas averted his gaze, instead looking around. They were in the middle of nowhere. There was a little ramshackle cabin a short distance away. Near to it was an outhouse. It had to be somewhere out of town, on the outskirts at least. The ground was dry and dusty, the soil baked over time by the heat of the sun. Wild grass was sprouting in threadbare patches.

“Where are we?” Lucas asked. Michael said nothing, just grabbed the teenage boy by his arm and started pulling him in the direction of the cabin. Lucas had to follow, it was either that or be dragged along and he much preferred to walk. When they got up onto the porch Michael grabbed hold of the door handle and wrenched down on it. All he succeeded in doing was making the door handle break off. He tossed it to one side and then stepped back a few steps before slamming the sole of his black boot against the door, which shuddered but the lock held firm. Michael kicked the door again, and Lucas was almost certain he heard a growl coming from the masked killer as his attempt to open the door was thwarted yet again. Michael strolled around the side of the cabin and Lucas followed a few steps behind, curious to see what Michael would do next but not wanting to get too close to him. By the time Lucas had turned the corner he saw Michael had a rock in his hand and it was not long before the rock was thrown, creating a sizable hole in a single pane window and sending pieces of glass raining down onto the ground. Michael cleared the rest of the glass still clinging to the window frame using his bare hand. He sustained a few scratches and a deeper cut on the palm of his hand, but he ignored it. Michael’s gaze travelled from the window over to Lucas before he beckoned for the teenager to come forward.

Lucas sighed and without being prompted made his way into the cabin via the broken window. He just barely managed to get in, the window was small. There was no way Michael would be able to fit in there. Still, Michael would find a way in. Lucas knew that. For the moment though, he was alone and he studied his surroundings. The air in the cabin was stale and smelt musty. There was a thin layer of dust that had settled on practically everything in sight. The floor was bare apart from a rug which could have been a deep red when it was new, but now it was a murky brownish red color. There was a single makeshift bed pushed into a corner of the room, an old mattress covered with a dingy off white sheet and a faded blue comforter. There were a few cupboards lining one wall over a small counter and a propane stove. A small sink was there too, and when Lucas turned the faucet on, the pipes sputtered before a few drops of water came out. Lucas waited but no more water came. Seeing as how the cabin seemed to be abandoned, he had not really expected to find a working water supply but he thought that he might as well try. He peered into all of the cupboards but all he found was some old tins and a packet of stale trail mix. It had not taken long to explore the cabin, but as he had done so he found himself starting to get tired. And the time kept passing, slowly but surely. Was Michael still lingering around outside? What else could he be doing? Lucas was not even sure what the time was, but he knew it was late. Maybe past midnight. He had been through a lot, and his tiredness was starting to catch up to him. Lucas did not like the idea of sleeping on the mattress but it was better than the floor at least. So he shook the dust off the sheet, and then spread it on the mattress again. He sat down on the makeshift bed until he was too tired to sit up anymore. Just as he was settling into sleep he heard a knock.

There was only one door, the door that led into the cabin. Another knock came, this one louder. Lucas went over to the door. There was a simple but sturdy lock. A rusty key was hanging near the door from a rusty nail. Simple enough. All he had to do was pick up the key, insert it into the lock and turn it. As he was in the midst of unlocking the door, he hesitated. For a few moments he toyed with the idea of not letting Michael in, but what would he really achieve with that? Nothing. Michael would still find a way inside, and then he might be mad at Lucas. Besides, if all he was planning was to keep Lucas held hostage then why should that be a bad thing? He might be safer with Michael than he was at home. If he had been at home right now, he would probably have gotten into another fight with his stepdad. And he would have lost, like he always did. And even if it turned out that Michael had darker plans for him, at least he would not have to go back home. He was still afraid of what might happen to him, but his fear was balanced by his hope that somehow everything could turn out alright. Michael was a monster, but he had not always been one. And perhaps a part of him was still good. Or maybe Lucas was deluding himself. He opened the door wide.

Michael was there, holding a duffle bag, which he held out to Lucas. “That’s... for me?” As usual, he was met with silence but he did see Michael nod. Well. That was progress. A small amount of progress, but it was some form of acknowledgement. “Thanks, I guess. I mean, I-I do appreciate it-” Lucas stopped talking when Michael slammed the door shut and just stood inside, staring at him. Lucas got nervous and retreated over to the makeshift bed, making a big show of rifling through the bag so he did not have to look in Michael’s direction. There was a few bags of chips, a packet of peanuts and two bottles of mineral water. Michael had probably stolen the snacks and the drinks, but it was trivial considering all the other crimes he had committed. There were clothes too, and as Lucas looked more closely he was surprised when he realized the clothes were actually his own. And at the bottom of the bag was an old photo of Lucas and his mom. A photo he kept hidden safely in his room. Lucas’s stepdad had destroyed all the other photos of his mom in a drunken rage not long after she had passed away.

“How do you know where I live?” Lucas asked, his curiosity overtaking his fear. “Did you...follow me? Is that what you did?”

“Yes, I did follow you” Michael replied. His voice sounded hoarse and was deeper than Lucas had expected. Michael had been silent for so long and now he was breaking his silence, after years of playing mute. “And I thought you would be like the others. Except you’re not like them at all”

Lucas half smiled, looking straight up at Michael. “So you do talk...” He knew he should be worried about the fact that Michael had followed him .It was strange, but Lucas found that he did not care about it as much as he thought he should.

Thanks for reading :)

Chapter Three

Fade To Black (Michael Myers x Male OC) (1/?)
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( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )

Hooked On You (Bradley x Jason) (1/1)
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Title: Hooked On You
Author: dark_baudelaire
Fandom: Tormented
Characters/Pairings: Jason x Bradley
Rating: T
Warnings: Some swearing, references to bullying and suicide
Word Count: 1,275
Summary: Bradley is going to see Jason at his house, but for what reason? How will Jason feel when he sees Bradley? Oneshot. Slash.

A/N: Not sure where this came from. I just like their characters a lot, and I like slash so I thought okay let me just write and see what comes out. I hope you enjoy reading this oneshot :)

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing, just a fan with love for the movie.

I’m hooked on you...Addicted – Kelly Clarkson

Bradley White crossed the road to visit the Banks residence. It was quite handy that Jason lived just opposite him. As he walked on the paved driveway, he looked up, his gaze settling on one of the top front windows covered with blue curtains. It was the window for Jason’s room. He grinned when he saw the curtain twitch and waved as he caught a brief glimpse of Jason before the curtains closed again. The curly haired geek looked paler than normal, face drawn into a gloomy expression. Bradley was not surprised .After all; Jason had been through a lot. Bradley was partly to blame, but it was not something he would ever admit to. Stopping by the red painted front door with the frosted glass window, Bradley pressed his finger against a button situated to the left of the door. It did not take long before the door was pulled open by an older dark haired woman wearing a black dress who had the same eyes as her son.

She smiled at him brightly. “Hello, Bradley. I haven’t seen you in such a long time. You know you’re always welcome here, so don’t be a stranger”

Bradley shrugged. “Yeah, well I’ve been busy, Mrs Banks. And thanks...I’ll come by more often in future. Is Jason in?”

Mrs Banks sighed, lowering her voice to a whisper. “He’s holed up in his room. Lately that’s all he does, just stay in there. What with those awful bullies and Darren’s suicide...I worry about him. I was thinking about putting him in therapy...” She brought a hand up to her pearl necklace, clutching it like a life support. “His father thinks I’m overreacting. Perhaps I am, but I’m so glad you’re here. I think seeing a friendly face will really help to put a smile back on his face. Come in” She stepped aside to let Bradley enter, then shut the door behind him. The soft strains of classical music drifted through the house. “You can just go straight up, you know the way. Bradley, you will stay for dinner, won’t you?”

He considered it for a few moments, and then nodded. “Sure, why not?” Bradley flashed her a smile before turning and heading upstairs, going down the hallway and stopping at the door which led to Jason’s room. Bradley tried the handle, but he could not turn it. The little fucker had locked the door. Like that would actually stop Bradley from entering the room. He laughed as he knocked on the door, rapping his knuckles against the wood. “Jase. Open up, mate. I want to talk to you, and that’s pretty hard to do when there’s a fucking barrier between us” He waited for a while, until he lost patience and knocked again, this time pounding on the door with a closed fist. “Open the door, Jason. I’m not playing around anymore. If this door isn’t open by the time I’ve counted to ten, I’m gonna break the lock” Bradley started to count. “One, two, three...” Bradley viciously kicked the door in time to his counting. “Four, five, six...” He stepped back from the door and slammed the rubber sole of one black Converse against the door. “Seven, eight –” Bradley abruptly stopped counting as he heard the sound of the door being unlocked from the inside.

On the other side of the door, Jason took a deep breath before he pulled the door back slightly. “What do you want?” He asked.

The blonde haired football captain rolled his eyes, pushing past Jason to get into the room, before he shut the door. “Isn’t it obvious? You didn’t answer my texts. I was worried about you, mate”

Jason frowned at Bradley. “Right. You were worried about me” He laughed bitterly as he went to sit on his bed. “Why can’t you just leave me alone? Please. Just go away. I can’t deal with this today..” He propped his elbows up and buried his face in his hands.

Bradley walked over to stand next to the bed. “I just want to help you, Jase. Help you get over losing Shrek”

Jason glared up at Bradley. “His name is Darren, and he is dead. He’s dead, and it’s your fault!” He exclaimed angrily.

“I didn’t make Mullet top himself, did I?” Bradley rested a hand on Jason’s shoulder, smirking when he felt Jason tense up. “Just calm down, Jase. All this stress, it’s not good for you mate. By the way, your mum was really pleased to see me. Yeah. For some odd reason she still thinks we’re friends” Bradley laughed. “It’s fucking hilarious. How many lies have you told her? Don’t worry, I went along with the charade. I’m even staying for dinner”

“I hate you. I really do” Jason hissed.

Bradley leaned closer to Jason, and whispered into his ear. “But you like me more than you hate me”

Jason leaned back, but Bradley followed his movement. “That’s not...It’s...It’s not true!” He wished his voice was more certain.

“So ...How do you feel about this?” Bradley asked. He did not give Jason a chance to reply as he moved to straddle the other boy and pull him close. Bradley roughly pressed his lips against Jason’s lips. Jason made a half-hearted attempt to push Bradley away but Bradley locked his arms around Jason and intensified the kiss. Jason tried so hard not to be responsive but it did feel really good. Jason was not surprised when Bradley took it one step further, trailing kisses down to Jason’s neck and then sinking his teeth into the soft skin there, sucking on his pulse point. It stung, but it excited Jason too. It was just Bradley’s way of marking him. Like he owned Jason. And perhaps, in a way, he did. It was really something strange. Nobody really understood him, apart from Darren and he was not around anymore. And that was partly because of Bradley. Yet, here Jason was being pushed back onto his bed with Bradley lying on top of him, and all he could think was how amazing it felt. To be here, pinned to the bed by such an attractive guy. Nobody could deny that Bradley had been blessed with good looks. Yes, he was fit, and in more ways than one. He had an athlete’s physique. He was fucking perfect. At least, on the outside. Inside, he was messed up. But it didn’t matter. Because Jason was messed up too. In his own way. And the truth was he had always liked Bradley. Way back when they were still friends. Before Bradley abandoned him for popularity. And now, even after everything Bradley had put him through...Bullying him, treating him like dirt, using Jason to get off... Jason still liked him. So much that he had betrayed his one and only friend. That would be the hardest thing he had to live with. But right now, he was in the midst of hooking up with Bradley and it was hard for him to think straight. It would happen again. And again. At least until Bradley got bored of him. Or until Jason had enough willpower to just say no, and mean it...



Thanks for reading! :)


Dead In Love (Helena x Darren) (1/1)
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Title: Dead In Love
Author: dark_baudelaire
Fandom: Tormented
Characters/Pairings: Helena x Darren
Rating: T
Warnings: Mention of bullying, mild horror, undead main character, small amount of swearing
Word Count: 2,006
Summary: Glancing into the mirrors, she gasped in shock when she saw an overweight boy standing behind her who looked familiar. He was wearing the school uniform. "Darren?" Helena whirled around, but there was nobody there. She was seeing things. It was a hallucination of some sort. It had to be...

A/N: So I recently watched Tormented and I wish there was more fanfiction so I'm just adding to it. I was in the midst of writing a Bradley x Jason fic when suddenly I started thinking of Helena and Darren and then somehow this odd oneshot happened. A spur of the moment fic. I am really sorry; I'm not sure how much sense it makes. Also, Darren is able to talk in this fic and he and Helena both probably come off as OOC. Still, I hope you enjoy reading this oneshot :)

DISCLAIMER: I own nothing, just a fan with love for the movie.

No it's never enough...Dead In Love – The Desert Sessions

Helena was sitting on the floor of the girls bathroom, one hand clasped onto her tender earlobe where Khallilah had ripped out one of her earrings. She did not understand why Natasha and her horrid little clique thought she was the one sending nasty messages. It was not in her nature. Although a part of her could not help but feel pleased they were getting some form of payback for all the vile things they had done. After all, they had been some of the ones who had bullied poor Darren enough to push him into suicide. Helena felt guilty; she wished she had done something to help him. No, she had never participated in his bullying but whenever she saw him get bullied she chose to ignore it. Because it was better to keep quiet around them. She had just had a taste of what would happen if she became a target of theirs, and it was a horrible feeling. And the girls had not even done much to her. What Darren had suffered had been much worse, and she had done nothing.

Helena gathered up her things that had been tossed onto the floor by Natasha and put them back in her bag. Her little silver mobile phone was smashed beyond repair, and her lips twisted as she remembered Natasha stomping down on the phone with her high heeled shoe, insulting her phone while the other girls laughed. Sophie and Khallilah had been wearing heels too, as they so frequently did even though it was against the school rules.

Snotty, spoiled bitches...

That was what Jason had called those girls, while he was talking to Justine by some lockers. He had not referenced any names, but it was obvious who he was talking about. Helena had been nearby, and she had heard everything. It had not surprised her to find out that Darren liked Justine. Helena had already known. Darren would stare at Justine with such longing. Helena had not liked it. Perhaps because she wanted a boy to look at her like she was special. Like she was precious. Most boys at school were awful, but Darren was nice. Polite. Like Jason, his best friend. Not that Darren and Helena had spoken much. He stuck with Jason, and Helena was always with Emily and Justine. Although lately, Justine had abandoned their friendship and gone over to the dark side. Helena wondered if Justine had known that her new so-called friends were going to ambush her in the girls bathroom. Helena sighed as she zipped up her bag and slowly stood up. She felt a sudden chill, like a draft of icy air had swept through the room. Glancing into the mirrors, she gasped in shock when she saw an overweight boy standing behind her who looked familiar. He was wearing the school uniform.

"Darren?" Helena whirled around, but there was nobody there. She turned on the taps at a sink then she ran her hands under the cold water spraying from the tap, and splashed her face. She was seeing things. It was a hallucination of some sort. It had to be. There was no possible way Helena had seen Darren Mullet. He was dead. And yet, Helena could not get his image out of her mind. It had been Darren, but he was different. Something was not right, his skin was a strange, sickly greyish green colour and there were noticeable veins on his face. His eyes were odd too; an eerie pale grey and they had dark circles around them. He looked almost like a zombie. Except that zombies did not have the ability to disappear into thin air. Ghosts could, however. Perhaps Darren was a ghost. No. No. Helena had to stop over analysing what had happened. She had been stressed and her imagination had somehow conjured up an illusion. Darren was dead, and she hoped he was at peace now.

By the end of the school day, Helena had firmly put the incident out of her mind. "See you later, Emily. Don't forget that tonight we're watching Pride and Prejudice at my house. Kiera is simply wonderful as Elizabeth. And I don't think we'll bother watching the commentary version first. We'll just dive straight in to the movie. Won't that be fun?"

Emily timidly nodded and Helena smiled as she hugged her friend before they parted ways. As Helena passed the cemetery, her eyes were drawn to Darren's grave. Slowly she walked over to the grave, coming to a stop near the cross staked into the soil at the top of the grave.

"I'm so sorry. Darren, I should have tried to help you..." Helena bit her lip, her eyes filling with hot tears. It was most peculiar. Helena was not the type to cry. At Darren's funeral she had felt sadness but it had not consumed her like it was now. His loss somehow seemed more poignant now. "And now it's too late. You're...You're gone. Hopefully to a better place..." She squeezed her eyes shut, as a tear spilled down her face and willed herself to stop crying. Helena wiped at her eyes angrily as the wind swept past, her tight ringlets swaying in the cold breeze.

"Helena...You...did... help me" Helena froze for a few moments, as she heard a voice, distorted somewhat, but vaguely recognizable. Another trick her mind was playing on her. It had to be. She backed away from the grave, but stopped when she hit something solid. An eerie prickling sensation spread through her, and as she turned she saw him. Darren was there, gazing at her reverently.

"I must be going mad..." Helena whispered, shaking her head in denial of what she saw in front of her eyes. "What's happening to me?"

"No, you're... not...crazy. I came... back... from the other...side... to get my... revenge. I have... a list, Helena" Although Darren was talking, his lips never moved and Helena realized she was hearing his thoughts. It seemed impossible. Yet, there he stood in front of her, and he seemed so real. Helena hesitantly reached out but before she could touch him he grabbed hold of her hand. It was an odd feeling. His hand felt warm in hers, like he was real, like he was still...alive.

"Am I the only one that can see you?" Helena asked.

"I...can...choose who...sees me" Darren replied.

"Who is on the list?"

Darren brought her hand up to his lips, and brushed a kiss over the back of her hand. It made her want to shudder and yet she was also pleased by the show of affection. Helena felt very conflicted at that moment in time. "You're...beautiful"

Helena frowned. "Stop, Darren. Don't say that to me, not when you don't mean it. I know you like...that you liked Justine"

"Not...anymore"

"Why, because of Alexis? So now that Justine likes him, I'm your second choice? That's not fair, Darren .And you're...one of the...undead. I just don't think it would work out between us..." Helena tried to pull her hand free from Darren's grasp, but he tightened his hold so much that she felt like her hand was going to be crushed. "Let go of me. It hurts, please. Just let go..." Helena begged.

"We'll be...together...forever. Promise me..."

"I can't do that. I won't do it!" She exclaimed, and then sighed in relief when he released her hand. Darren reached into a pocket of his blazer, and took out a folded sheet of lined paper. He pushed it at Helena, giving her no choice but to take it. She unfolded the paper, which was blank apart from a list of names.

Jeremy

Sophie

Marcus

Bradley

Natasha

Jason

Khallilah

Alexis

Justine

Mr Ramsey

"Why does Jeremy's name have a line through it?" Helena asked, and then the answer hit her with a horrifying clarity. "No. Please, tell me you didn't kill him...Tell me, Darren..."

The callous expression on his face told all she needed to know. "You have to stop this. Why is Jason's name on here? He's your best friend; he was your only friend. And Justine doesn't deserve to be on this list either. It's them, can't you see Darren? Justine would never bully anyone, she's kind and sweet. I admit, she has lost her way recently but even so... You can't punish her just for hanging around with them, for being with Alexis. She doesn't know what he did, what they did to you. And she's happy with him. Justine is so close to her dream of studying law at Oxford. Don't destroy her happiness..."

"I'll...take them... off... the... list. But if...I do...then...you...have...to...make that...promise"

"Say I do decide to make the promise" Helena swallowed hard. She felt so sick, so terrified and she was repulsed by his quest for vengeance although she did understand why he was doing it, but it was so wrong. It was not his fault that he had turned out like this. "Then you'll take Justine, Jason and Alexis off the list?"

"Yes..."

She would have to die to save them. One life versus three lives, there was no choice. Not really. In her heart she had already decided from when Darren told her he would take them off the list. For Justine, her best friend, she would die. For Jason, who had been brave enough to accuse Darren's tormenters. Even for Alexis, she could die. He was not her friend or even someone she liked but he was the nicest one out of his friends. Helena took a deep breath. "All right. Kill me, Darren. Then I will be yours forever. Don't forget the promise you made..."

"No...I don't...want...to kill...you" Darren came closer, and Helena fought the urge to step back. "I want...to...be with... you. Be your...boyfriend" He wrapped his arms around her, and Helena stood perfectly still. Her heart was beating faster, in anticipation or fear but she did not know which one. It probably was both. Yet she had made the promise, and Helena was never one to break her promises. So she would just have to endure it, even if she might dislike it. He pressed his lips to hers gently, and she responded reluctantly at first, but then she soon realized she wanted to be kissed. That she actually liked him kissing her. It was quite a thrill, in fact. Perhaps because she had never been kissed before. It was insane. A murderous undead zombie or ghost or some bizarre mixture of the two supernatural beings wanted to be her boyfriend. She knew she had to stop him somehow. Helena could not stand by while he murdered more of them. Even though they had been cruel, she could not rationalize their deaths. However she did sympathize with Darren to a point. Helena was conflicted but whatever happened at least she would try to stop him. Her conscience would not allow her to let it go. Ever.

Can I just say once again that I am so sorry. It just gets so bizarre, I know. Thank you for reading, and reviews are always appreciated :)

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