A tall, black-haired boy was leaning against the nearest pillar, watching. He was strangely blurred around the edges, as though Harry were looking at him through a misted window. But there was no mistaking him —
“Tom — Tom Riddle?”
Riddle nodded, not taking his eyes off Harry's face.
But his wand had gone.
“Did you see — ?”
He looked up. Riddle was still watching him — twirling Harry's wand between his long fingers.
All the time he spoke, Riddle's eyes never left Harry's face. There was an almost hungry look in them.
“If I say it myself, Harry, I've always been able to charmthe people I needed.”
“Well, you weren't the first person Riddle wormed things out of,” Harry muttered. “He could be charming when he wanted. . . .”
“It took a very long time for stupid little Ginny to stop trusting her diary,” said Riddle. “But she finally became suspicious and tried to dispose of it. And that's where you came in, Harry. You found it, and I couldn't have been more delighted. Of all the people who could have picked it up, it was you, the very person I was most anxious to meet. . . ”
His eyes roved over the lightning scar on Harry's forehead,and their expression grew hungrier.
“Haven't I already told you,” said Riddle quietly, “that killing Mudbloods doesn't matter to me anymore? For many months now, my new target has been — you.”
“Imagine how angry I was when the next time my diary was opened, it was Ginny who was writing to me, not you.”
“I have been waiting for you to appear since we arrived here. I knew you'd come.”
There was an odd red gleam in his hungry eyes now.
“I wondered, you see. There are strange likenesses betweenus, after all. Even you must have noticed. Both half-bloods, orphans, raised by Muggles. Probably the only two Parselmouths to come to Hogwarts since the great Slytherin himself. We even look something alike . . .”
He looked into Harry's face. “But it makes no difference. Infact, I prefer it this way. Just you and me, Harry Potter . . . you and me. . ..”
“a little pause…That hurt, didn't it. Harry? You don't want me to do that again, do you?”
“His mother died in the attempt to save him — and unwittingly provided him with a protection I admit I had not foreseen. . . . I could not touch the boy.”
Voldemort raised one of his long white fingers and put it very close to Harry's cheek.
“. . . but no matter. I can touch him now.”
Harry felt the cold tip of the long white finger touch him,and thought his head would burst with the pain. Voldemort laughed softly in his ear, then took the finger away and continued addressing the Death Eaters.