Joanna wondered when she was going to die. At that moment, death was such a welcoming thought.
“You’ll be alright,” the voice said again. Then she felt someone touching her face gently.
Tom, Joanna thought.
“Joanna.” His voice was not so faint anymore.
As though death was giving in to her wishes, her eye’s briefly cleared up and she saw Tom hovering over her. A relieve swept across her once aching heart, and the only pain she now had to bear was the one in her body.
Joanna tried to keep her eyes on him when she saw a tear roll down his cheek. Trying to utter a word, Joanna knew that if she failed, it would be the end.
When she could not managed to even mutter, she felt her world slowly slipping away.
“Joanna! Please stay with me!” Tom shouted.
I can’t, Joanna thought.
“Joanna! No, please! Please don’t go!” Tom’s voice slowly dissolved into a whisper.
Soon, there was no more air to breathe in, and no more pain to bear. It happened so smoothly, Joanna did not even realize it.
“Joanna! No!” Tom tried to prop her up but she slipped from his grip.
It did not struck him before, but now it did. Staring at the red glistening blood all over his hands and cloak, Tom realized that he made the biggest mistake in his life.
Joanna was the only one who made him human. She gave him the ability to feel, if not for others at least for her. He never knew he could feel, and the wretched sting in his chest made him wish he could turn back time. Why was he so blinded by power and revenge when he could have the one thing he never had all his life, love?
The bed she was lying on was soaked with blood that the smell started to make him dizzy. Tom slowly backed away from her body, trying not to fall over the furniture in the motel room. His hands where shaking and no matter how hard he tried, they wouldn’t stop. Just like the tears that fell from his eyes.
Clenching his fist, Tom shuffled to a table and slammed his hands on it. He let out an angry yell before he started trashing everything in the room, until he collapsed by the side of the bed.
He could not look at her, for if he did, all he saw was regret. She was the only one who accepted him without fear or hate. She actually loved him, and he actually loved her. He hated himself for not telling her that. He hated himself for not choosing her. He hated himself… for being weak.
Dumbledore killed her, he thought, wiping his wet cheeks dry.
Finally being able to compose himself, Tom stood up and called for Nagini. At the sight of Joanna, Nagini became upset and started to hiss. Tom wished the snake did not have to make things worse, and he was tempted to kill it when it started asking questions. But then he realized that Nagini was all he had left.
“Don’t worry about it Nagini. We’ll have our revenge,” Tom said as the snake slithered right next to him.
“No more games. No more distractions. No more weakness,” Tom added. He closed his eyes briefly, as though bringing himself back to his ‘real’ self, and when he opened his eyes, flames started to grow from thin air. They rose up the walls and slithered onto the bed like a fiery snake devouring its prey; curling and twisting all over the room as the walls blackened and the furniture were torched.
“Everyone who ever crosses me will suffer. Especially that old man. He thinks he knows it all but he has seen nothing yet.”
By the time half the room was engulfed, the flames slowly drew back, as though it had enough.
Finally turning to face what was left of the room, Tom found Nagini wrapped around a skull that now sat on the bed.
Tom watched briefly before he looked up at the gloomy afternoon sky, through the hole in the ceiling. He often wondered how he could find peace is something so plain. A blink later, he found himself looking at the very same sky, just darker and on a different day. There were no stars, and it was a perfect canvas for his dark mark.
A spell shot out into the night sky shortly after, and when it exploded, a skull appeared with a smoke imagery of Nagini, slithering around it and through its mouth.
“That’s for you,” Tom whispered. “And so will everything else.”
Tom knew that was not what Joanna would have wanted, but he told himself that he had no choice. She was now a mere memory and her memory would not be the cause of his downfall, but the reason for his success.
“It’s time the war ends. Tonight will be the night,” Tom said, looking at what was left of Hogwarts; the place he once called home.
“What do we do now, my lord?” Bellatrix Lestrange asked cheerfully, like a child eager to take on every carnival ride available.
“We wait,” Tom replied shortly. He didn’t like the woman, no matter how hard she tried to please him. She was just not Joanna. If only she could take a hint without him having to kill her.
“Do you think he will come?” Bellatrix hurried to his side.
Tom knew the boy well enough, and if there was something they both understood, it was sacrifice.