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A Little Intelligent Conversation
by BrightFeather

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all associated characters do not belong to me. They are the property of JK Rowling. I borrowed them, hugged them, squeezed them, called them George, then gave them back like a good girl. No characters were permanently harmed in the production of this story.

Author's Note: This is for the Harry Potter Free-For-All FQF. The only guidelines are that it be gen and “Tom Riddle and his search for intelligent conversation.” It doesn't specify which one, either! Leaves it pretty open to interpretation, yeah? :) I s'pose if there's a pairing, this is a sort of Tom Riddle Senior/Merope Gaunt.

How in hell did I end up like this? Granted, Mother didn't like it when when I went down to the pub in search of something to drink and someone to talk to. No, she didn't like it at all. But all the old veterans hang out there, and they've got stories of the Great War that are well worth a listen. We're so far away from any kind of decent society that intelligent conversation is hard to find now that I finished Oxford. That's all I was looking for—a little intelligent conversation.

Last thing I clearly remember, I was riding my horse and a rather plain girl gave me a drink of something. Now, I glance at her and shudder internally. She's an example of why cousins shouldn't marry cousins if I ever did see one. I was bewitched, I swear it. If people still believed in such things, and if there were still witch burnings, I swear that she'd end up being tossed onto a fire.

I've been being careful. If she suspects, I will probably spend the rest of my life captive in this squalor, most likely drugged with opiates into compliance. To make matters worse, I think she's pregnant. To think I would ever touch... that. She scuttles for heaven's sake. I like my girls with spirit! I'm not wearing a wedding ring, either. In my surreptitious after midnight searches, I've never found any hint of a marriage certificate, either.

I suppose that's one thing to be thankful for. Perhaps Mother and Father will believe me when I tell them that I was kidnapped. I hope so. After she falls asleep tonight, I'm going home. I know roughly where I am, and I have just enough money to get home. Unfortunate for the girl, I suppose, but she should not have kidnapped me in the first place!

If she shows up in Little Hangleton and makes claims, Mother will insist on supporting the child, but it will be a bastard, after all, and bastards can't inherit. My parents will see me married to someone suitable quite quickly after I get home. As long as she's better looking and brighter than Merope, I'm not sure I care, as long as I'm quit of both this place and my kidnapper. This isn't my fault. None of it is and I won't stay!

Carefully, I lay myself down on the squalid bed and close my eyes to feign sleep. Only a few more hours, and I'll be free. A few more hours and I'll be home. A few more hours and I never have to see Merope's face again. A few more hours and I'll have at least my parents to talk to. A few more hours...