For the next couple of weeks, Lily was acting a bit strange around Tom. He asked her what was the matter but of course she refused to respond. She would repeat to herself, "Is he a murderer? It's so possible. All the clues lead up to it. No wait. No way. He is not a murderer. He just can't be."
The idea of Harold's body no longer pursued her mind but sometimes, when she just had to dig deep, the memory would resurface and haunt her all over again. Tom never spoke about it again, nor did Lily bring the subject up. It was too horrifying to announce it aloud.
Also, Peter told Tom about James discovering their meetings. At first Tom would not believe it. He did not think it possible.
It was late January. The sky was black save the pale moonlight sending bright glitters of shine across the frosted grass, covered in melting, slushy snow. The winds were light but chilly, howling softly in the night. Tom, clothed in a grey cloak himself, was standing in front of his hooded members, except for Peter, who was told not to attend this particular meeting.
"My dear friends, I have been informed that you have all improved your powers and knowledge in the art of magic. Is that correct?"
"Yes, Lord," a boy answered.
"Well I want to inform you all that there has been a very big problem since Halloween time."
"What are you talking about?" another asked.
Many murmurs were heard from the group.
"One of you will die tonight."
"And when I mean you, that includes James Potter!"
Even more louder murmers were heard. People looked around, back and forth, to find James. Tom pointed him out behind a bush not too far away.
"You there! James! Why don't you come out and present yourself, hm?"
James stood up silently, trembling, and walked over to the group. They all looked at him hungrily.
"My dear James, please, tell us what you're doing behind that silly bush? Wouldn't you rather stand in a nice spot like this instead of crouching painfully behind a dirty thing like a bush?" Tom asked in a sickeningly sweet voice.
"I'm not doing anything."
"You were eavesdropping, weren't you? For how many days have you been there? How many times have you listened to our private conversations, our meetings?"
Instead of answering, James exploded, rudely pointing his finger at Tom.
"You! You're an evil freak! You're a liar! A demon! You killed all these people! You're the blame for so many awful things!"
Tom laughed a high cold laugh.
"And you know what! You're going to end up killing Lily!" James continued.
"Kill Lily? I would never do that. I love her. Don't you already know that?"
"It's a lie! It's pretend!"
Tom walked up to James and grabbed him by the collar in a very rough manner. His face began to redden as he spoke with much anger.
"Whatever you do, don't say that. I love Lily, alright? So don't you dare say that it's pretend because it certainly is not. I love her more than I ever thought I could. Of all the people in her life, I love her most alright, so don't you dare say that!"
"I don't believe you. You're dangerous. You'll kill her like you did to the other people!"
"I wouldn't hurt her. I wouldn't dare! What don't you understand!"
"You're a crazy man, Riddle," James said calmly. "Who knows what you think?"
Riddle calmed down and let out an irritated sigh. "You don't have any proof, do you?"
"You don't have any proof on me. You probably told a whole bunch of people that those three students died and that it was all my fault. And they didn't believe you, did they? I mean c'mon, Potter, who are they going to believe? A brilliant young student like me or a mischievous hoodlum like you, someone who always gets in trouble for the silliest reasons?"
"Maybe nobody knows what you really do, but I do, and soon enough, Lily will too!"
Tom let out yet another cold piercing laugh.
"And who will Lily believe, hm? The only man who loves her or a boy who tries just too hard? I think she knows who to believe in, Potter. It's not right to make decisions for somebody else. And since you are of very little threat to me, I'm not even going to waste my time to dispose of you."
He took out a wand from inside his cloak and pointed it ominously at a defenseless James. He then mumbled a few words from a spell, and with a flick of his wand, James fell completely unconscious.
It was a bright morning on a school day. Sirius rushed in to wake a very sleeping James up. James woke, feeling severely dizzy.
"Wake up, mate, or you're going to be late for class!" Sirius warned.
"School's about to start soon. You slept late, I presume?"
"I believe so."
"Well get ready. I'll meet you in the Great Hall for breakfast," Sirius said before exiting the room.
James sat up. Not only did he feel dizzy, but he felt as if he couldn't remember anything, as if his memory of his recent whereabouts were lost. He could not recall what had caused him to be in such a sleepy and tiresome state, and what had happened the day before. There was a very strange feeling that surpassed him, and no longer how long he sat there to think, trying to remember, he could not. He finally gave up and got out of bed to get ready for breakfast.
James entered the Great Hall, which was, as usual, filled with great crowds of noise and loud chattering students. He sat at his table unable to eat. Lily, who sat not far from him, looked at him with a very odd gaze. She had not spoken to him ever since he warned her about Tom. She did not dare. She looked at him with concern, wondering why he was unable to touch his food, but she decided not to speak afterall.
"What's wrong?" Remus, who sat beside him, asked.
"Something doesn't feel right."
"I can't seem to put my finger on it. I just don't feel natural, that's all."
James finally ate, but with much discomfort. He took his bites slowly, trying to figure out what was wrong. He felt he was being watched. He looked up and saw Tom Riddle sitting across at the Slytherin table giving him a disturbing stare. He was confused.
'Why is Tom looking at me like that?' James asked himself in thought, but could not discover why.
A smile, one that seemed very much mocking and satisfying, spread across Tom's face. Yes, he was definitely satisfied with the outcome. James no longer remembered. That was his plan after all, and it had worked.
Not long after, Lily paid a visit to James in a random hallway. He was walking to class when she finally caught up to him.
"James, I want to speak to you."
"About the Tom thing."
"What Tom thing?"
"You know, about Tom being evil and all!" Lily replied.
James laughed. "What are you talking about? Tom is perhaps one of the most brilliant trusting students Hogwarts has ever faced! Tom being evil? He is such a good person!"
Lily began to get very irritated. "What! But you claimed him to be evil just a few weeks ago! Why the sudden change of mind?"
"What sudden change of mind? I never thought Tom as a bad person at all. Nope. Not at all."
"Anyways, I just wanted to tell you that I've been thinking about it and I really don't know what to say. I just don't want you to ever mention Tom in front of my face again, ok? It'll make our lives easier that way."
"No, Lily, I seriously don't know what you're talking about," James told her, confusion arising.
"You remember at the Gryffindor Common Room? When you came down late at night to warn me about-"
"I don't remember what I said to you that night."
"Now, why would I talk about Tom? Not everything's evolved around your boyfriend, Lily," James snapped.
"I've got to go, Lily," James said before backing up then rushing off.
She stood there, red in the face, infuriated. How could he warn her about Tom for so long and pretend he never did after so much time? What nerve! She stomped off, angry, and vowing to never go near James again.