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The Q-Files
Flight of Death: Prologue 
3rd-Dec-2005 03:52 pm

Title: Flight of Death
Author: Susie Q
Rating: PG-13/T
Genre: Drama/Romance
Pairing: Tom Riddle/OC; other canon pairings possible but not central
Spoilers: Primarily CoS, HBP; some SS/PS, PoA, GoF, OotP
Timeline: Pre-Hogwarts – post-Hogwarts (spans approx. 60 years)

Summary: She was born with everything. He was born with nothing. But he's about to take everything he wants and more, and she might be the only one who could save him. But at what cost to herself?

Disclaimer: The characters in this story from the Harry Potter series belong to J. K. Rowling, Scholastic Books, Bloomsbury Publishing, and any others holding ownership rights. Permission was not acquired to use them; no infringement intended. All original characters can be used with my permission only.

Foreword: I began this story before the release of The Half-Blood Prince, but only in concept. I ended up able to incorporate a good deal of the history revealed in the sixth book, but I'll be straying occasionally, so please let me take some creative liberties with Riddle and his past. The original draft of this story took a great many more creative liberties than this does—I think it follows the HBP timeline much more closely, as it was drafted and written after I'd read the book.

I should say here that I know that this plotline is no longer all that original (when I conceived it it wasn't nearly as popular as it now seems to be), but I am plunging ahead because it will absolutely not leave me alone. So the basic story isn't so original, but I have never found another story that even resembles this one, so I hope you readers who stick it out won't be disappointed with me. If so...reserve your rotten tomatoes for the end.

Important note (sorry, this thing just keeps getting longer): I should note that I have worked my own HBP theory into this story, which, in as few words as possible, is that Snape was working under Dumbledore's orders the entire time. It hasn't found great popularity back at home, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. I hope when you read it will be a little easier to understand, but if not, please say so in a review and I will try to explain a little more fully.

Just a warning: sections of this story will be largely OC-based. If this bothers you, the exit is right there on your browser's back button. Thank you for your time.

Dedicated to my friend and cyber-sister bobmcbobbob1.

Further notes posted at conclusion of story.

by Susie Q


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
June 1945

The day was warm and bright, but Alexis Levine felt like she would never be warm or bright again. She strolled across the lush grounds of Hogwarts until she made it to the lake, where she looked across the gently rippling waters and finally dropped to the grass.

The end of the school year was usually a time of celebration for Alexis, but this year, all she could think about was how everything was going to change.

"I thought I might find you out here."

She looked up to see the familiar form of Tom Riddle standing over her, his robes whipping around him in the breeze. Normally she would have smiled, invited him to sit down—maybe done more than that—but today she wasn't in the mood to see him.

"Hello, Tom," she greeted distantly, turning away again almost immediately.

He sat down beside her. "Are you excited to be going home?"

"I suppose," she replied dully. Against her will, she turned to look at him, her eyes alight with some concern. "What about you? What are you going to do?"

Now Tom turned away. "Oh, I don't know. I'll go back to the orphanage one more time...get my things. Then I have a few jobs that I'm thinking of applying for."

"All in London, I suppose," she said, trying not to sound too hopeful.

"My first choice is actually rather remote," he said. "And unorthodox. For a first job, at least."

"Slughorn's fixing you up quite well then, isn't he?" she murmured wryly, pulling up a few blades of grass and rubbing them between her fingers.

"This wasn't Slughorn's idea," Tom said quietly. "Although you could say I was inspired by him."

Alexis looked sharply at him. "What do you mean by that?"

"Now, let's not get our hopes up. It may all come to nothing," Tom answered evasively. "What about you? I suppose you'll have to start fighting off all your various admirers now that I'm going."

She shrugged. "I don't think so."

"Oh?" He raised an eyebrow. "Moving on that quickly, are we?"

She whipped around, her gaze fierce. "No," she responded. "Though I'm not sure I can say the same for you," she couldn't resist adding.

"Me?" he laughed. "I'm concentrating on my life now, Alexis. I don't think I'll ever have time to find someone as exquisite as you."

Alexis would have thanked him, but she got the distinct feeling that his comment was not intended as a compliment, so she kept her lips firmly shut and instead looked back at the lake.

"It's very pretty this time of year," she commented, her voice strangely high-pitched. "It's so nice to come out here and just look." He made no comment, and at last she felt as if her chest might burst if she didn't act. Summoning all her courage, she kept her eyes forward and asked, "Tom...do you want to marry me?"

There was no answer, but she felt the presence next to her grow imperceptibly colder.

"I may never see you again after this year," she went on determinedly, though inside she could feel all her courage slowly slipping away. "If—if my parents knew—or acknowledged anyway—then we could...then I would be allowed to see you."

He stared at her, and she hung her head, already wishing she hadn't said anything.

"I don't think I would be very well-received by your parents," he said quietly.

Alexis relaxed. "Is that what this is about?" she asked in a rush of relief. "Tom, that's nothing—anyone who knows you has to see that you come from decent lineage, the orphanage be damned. You were a prefect, you were Head Boy, for the love of Merlin!"

"Yes, but what does that prove?" he snapped. "That I'm talented with magic? So what? This bloody school has no discretion anymore—they'll let any Mudblood be Head, so long as they're clever with a wand."

"So you don't want to get married because you think you're not good enough?" she demanded, getting to her feet and glaring down at him furiously for the few seconds' advantage she had before he stood up as well and she had to look up again. "Shouldn't that be for me to decide?"

"Well, I think something like marriage should be a mutual decision, don't you agree?" he replied in so flippant a manner she nearly slapped him. She felt hot tears of anger prick at the backs of her eyes, but she wouldn't let them fall.

"Then you're content to just ride off into the sunset and never see each other again?" she pressed, her voice rising.

He stared calmly but coldly at her. She could feel the power of that gaze on her, she knew it well. She'd done it this time...those eyes said everything his facial expression didn't.

"I'm seventeen years old," he began. "You're sixteen. I hardly think now is the time to begin thinking of matrimony. You're using it as a way to avoid a separation that may well be for the best. You can't see what the future holds for either of us."

She stared at him. "You just don't want to marry me," she accused, her tone now as soft as his.

"If you'd have it that way, then no," he shot back, all warmth gone from his voice. "And to be frank, I'm not sure you want to marry me either. This isn't about getting me, it's about getting your own way. I'm just like one more hat you saw in a shop that you wanted, only it turns out in this case maybe the hat doesn't want you."

At these words, Alexis whirled on the spot and strode back to the castle, her posture perfect thanks to her mother's training. She half expected to hear Tom chasing after her, if only to make his verbal evisceration complete. But she should have known better.

Tom Riddle never had to chase anyone.

Author's Notes: I debated for a long time about posting this as a WIP (as you'll read below). What I finally decided to do was post this prologue and chapter one to see what kinds of responses I got, and that will determine whether I continue posting as I write, or I go with my original plan and not post till it's done. Now on to my original notes...

I swore to myself I would never post another WIP after my first attempt at fanfic which took just over two years to write, but guess what? I can't help myself. This story has, like that fic before it, become my baby and my obsession, along with my original fic (I HATE having two major WIPs at once, but there it is), and so here it is...I'm doing what I said I'd never do again: I'm posting a work-in-progress. Warning to all who have made it this far (thank you, by the way): I DO NOT WRITE QUICKLY. My updates will be patchy. I go on little tangents where it all just sort of pours out of me, and then really dry spells where I'll disappear off the face of the planet. BUT I WILL FINISH. Check my bio for updates. I have two more chapters done right now, and I am going to post chapter one with this prologue, since I feel this is too short to be counted as a real chapter.

Sorry this is so short, but it is a prologue, and prologues are the only parts I do not put size limits on (I am a stickler for long chapters in my stories). Next chapter will have some meat to it, I promise. Hang in there for the beginning...it'll pick up.

Please read and review...no flames.

Thank you to EVERYONE who's made it down to the bottom (!) for giving this tired old rag a chance. It's not as cliché as it sounds right now...I promise.

—Susie Q

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