Joanna hesitated. Honestly, she wanted to hear him out, but her inner voice was telling her to leave. Not wanting to take a step forward or backward, Joanna planted herself on the ground and waited to see if he insisted.
“Look, I’m sorry alright. I was just… suspicious,” Tom quickly said.
“Of aurors. They like sticking their noses up in everything.”
“I told you I’m off duty,” Joanna immediately responded, clearly upset at the assumption.
“That’s what they all say.” Tom paused just as the waiter arrived with their food.
“Please sit back down,” Tom added.
Joanna hesitated for a moment before she returned to her seat.
Dinner went on fairly well as Tom suddenly showed interest in her life. He kept the questions going and gave no room for Joanna to ask any. Maybe he didn’t want to be asked, Joanna thought as she left for home that evening. Tom had volunteered to accompany her home, but she declined. His sudden gentleman act reminded her of the times they had back in Hogwarts, and she found herself secretly wishing they had not lost any part of that friendship.
The holidays went on and Joanna found herself bumping into Tom more frequently at Diagon Alley. He even asked her out for a second meal and a third. Before she knew it, she was certain they had obtained that piece of friendship that only she could have with him.
“I once caught a man who was killing innocent muggle girls and drinking their blood,” Joanna said.
“If immortality is what he seeks, unicorn’s blood will do the trick,” Tom replied.
“I don’t know if that’s any better.”
“Better than killing girls, am I not right?”
“Since when did you care about sparing lives?” Joanna asked jokingly.
“I never did. I’m just saying that unicorn’s blood works better and faster.” Tom’s casual reply told Joanna he had dwelled his years in the dark arts. His knowledge was beyond her years of training, and it made even the senior aurors look uneducated.
“Where did you learn all these?”
“My knowledge comes from experience.”
“You killed a unicorn and drank its blood?”
“No, I know someone who did. But he failed to complete the process, and he was never really immortal or mortal in the end.”
They were seated by the fireplace of the tavern, and throughout their conversation, Tom never took his eyes of the flickering flames.
“Horcruxes are better,” Tom muttered to himself.
“You have all of yours done?” Joanna blurted out what was on her mind, and immediately regretting of wondering so. She knew that if she knew too much, she would have to do her job and stop whatever dark magic he was playing with.
“Don’t answer that,” Joanna quickly added.
“I wouldn’t. I’m not stupid.” Tom finally took his eyes off the flames, and the once tall flames went into hiding under the wooden logs, occasionally peering above.
“What did you do to the fire?” Joanna was watching the fire too, and the sudden lost of boldness in the flames was odd.
“I did nothing to the fire,” Tom replied as he sunk deeper into the red velvet arm chair.
Instead of following after him, Joanna leaned towards the fire, telling herself she did not just imagine it all. Just then, the flames made a sudden rise, higher than it did before. Joanna immediately shoved herself back into her seat, and when she turned to Tom, he merely smiled.
“You did that!” Joanna exclaimed. The empty tavern at one in the morning made her exclamation sound like a shout from the rooftops.
“Hush now, there’s no need to shout,” Tom replied, still smiling.
“How did you do that?”
Tom did not reply. He simply kept his smile.
“Tell me!” Joanna insisted.
“I didn’t do that.”
“Liar. I know you did.”
“You can’t prove it,” Tom said.
“You could burn this whole tavern to the ground if you wanted to. I’m sure you could.”
“You have great faith in my abilities. Aren’t you afraid I may be the next evil wizard to send the world into mass hysteria?”
“I don’t think your ambitions are that heinous.” Joanna found herself answering like her innocent 17 year old self. Had she not matured a day from all the bad wizards and witches she had encountered?
“Unfortunately, your youthful innocence blinds you.”
Tom’s statement plummeted Joanna’s thoughts into a dark vortex of self evaluation. Indeed her innocence was blinding, but only to his dark side, which she feared.
“Enough talk. I want to show you something,” Tom said, after the ticking sound of the grandfather clock became too monotonous to bear.
“Show me what?”
“You would have to come home with me to see it,” Tom replied.
“Go home with you? Can’t you just summon whatever it is here?”
“If I did, I would cause some hysteria, and that’s not what I intend on doing. At least not so soon.”
Tom stood up from his chair and waited for her.
Should she follow him home? Joanna was curious on what he wanted to show her, but it was really late and going home with him might not be the best idea.
“I won’t hurt you. You should know that by now,” Tom added, as she stretched out his hand for her to take.
To Be Continued…
(Leave a comment below or vote on whether Joanna should follow Tom home or go home!)