Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters from the books or movies. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.
An eleven year old Tom Riddle appears in 1991 just before the start of the school year. The world is not ready for the darkness he can bring.
A/N- A big thanks to my beta Eclectic Pet who not only makes my work better but helps me to decide important things!
“Please state your name and date of birth for the record.” The old man with the funny clothes said in a stern tone.
This was not the first time today that he’d been asked these questions. He was getting a bit tired of this game, but Tom needed them to believe his story so the act had to continue.
“I’m sorry sir.” He said in his most polite and timid tone. “I-I don’t know. I was h-hoping you could tell m-me.” He added the stutter to show these fools how frightened he was. He was a fast learner and showing the old man from before how much he could handle himself had been an obvious mistake if his situation now was anything to go by.
“Then it is true, you have no memory from anything before one thirty-two this afternoon when you stepped out of The Veil located in the Department of Mysteries?” The man asked and Tom could hear a seat creak as one of the other men shifted.
There were around thirty old men looking back at him. He knew exactly which one had moved, but he would not look at his attacker now. He would play dumb and bide his time. Revenge was something he would have to wait for if he was to get what he really wanted. Which was much more important for now.
“T-that is true.” He said, looking to the man asking the questions and looking as pathetic as he could manage. “I have n-no idea who I was or w-what happened to me. W-what has h-happened to me Sir?” Hoping for a real answer before he was forced to use his power on the fool in front of him.
“This all must be a frightening situation to find yourself in son.” The leader said in a much kinder tone. “This is what we have figured out. Your name is Tom Marvolo Riddle. You were an orphan born in the year 1926. You were sent your letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1938 but went missing soon after. By the reports I have in front of me the professor that was assigned to explain everything to you reported that you had gone missing a week before he went to speak with you.”
Tom nodded to all of this information as if it was the first time he’d ever heard it. So the now old man sitting among these other fools had reported him missing? Interesting. He willed himself not to look at the man. There were two in this room that knew exactly what happened to Tom in 1938. By what he could see of the man now, this was no longer 1938. Tom would be surprised if it wasn’t the 1980s by apparent age of the man who attacked him.
“I’m sorry sir.” He interrupted looking back to the man in front. “School of W-witches? Magic?” He asked knowing that he shouldn’t remember anything about his conversation with the old man.
The fool in charge smiled as if he pitied Tom. It took another feat of control not to slap him for that look.
“Yes my boy. I am sorry to have to be the first to tell you this. You are a wizard. You are about to enter a whole new world in time and ideas.” He said as if Tom should be impressed. “It seems biologically you are in fact still eleven years old. Whatever happened to you in The Veil you have not aged a moment since entering it. For this reason, we have decided it is best if you attend to your schooling after all.”
Tom worked hard not to show his pleasure at the idea of still getting exactly what he wanted. Even if the old man had tried to kill him. “But how l-long was I away sir?”
“You have been gone for 53 years young man.” The man said sounding sorry to have to give him this news. “Fortunately you have not left behind any relatives that we can find. You have no memories, and you were an orphan back in your own time.”
“So I’m to go back to an orphanage? On school breaks?” He asked, as he would really like to know their exact plan for him.
“No, no, no. Obviously, muggles can’t be trusted with your care; they’ve already lost you once for Merlin’s sake. No. Do you remember the woman who found you in the Department of Mysteries?” He asked sounding as if he had a big surprise.
“The nice one with the red hair?” He asked as he tried to remember the woman’s name. She had been kind to him. He was sure she would be easy to manipulate.
“Yes, well she has a little boy the same age as you, and she and her husband have agreed to take you in until your maturity.” The man announced and those around him nodded at their brilliance. Though he noted that the one he knew only frowned at this.
Tom’s expression cracked a bit as he thought of having to live with a strange family for the next seven years. He guessed it was better than going back to an awful orphanage. He would be among wizards even on the holidays. It was a big improvement from his old life, or at least seemed that way for now.
“T-thank you sir.”
The doors then opened and the woman from before walked in with a warm smile on her face. Next to her was a dark haired man looking much more apprehensive.
“You may take him now Mrs. Potter. I hope it isn’t too late to buy him things for school?” The man asked as if Tom was some kind of thing to be passed around.
The woman rolled her eyes when her back turned to the group of old men. “We will take care of everything sir.” She said making a face to Tom to let him know she thought the process was ridiculous as well.
Once they were out of the room both of the adults relaxed a bit. “We’re going to buy you and Harry’s school supplies tomorrow.” She told him as they walked to a brass looking elevator.
“So you have no memories at all? Not even about your favorite Quidditch team?” The man asked seeming to try to lighten the mood.
“James, he was in a muggle orphanage before the incident. I told you this, muggles don’t have Quidditch.” The woman said sounding annoyed.
“I don’t have any memories sir.” He told the man politely. “What is Quidditch?”
That started the man on a huge explanation of a ridiculous sounding game played with several kinds of balls while the players flew around on brooms. Tom pretended to be rapt with this as they headed back up and out of the Ministry.
By the time they got back to the couple’s small house he had found out several important pieces of information. The first was that he wouldn’t have to share a room with anyone. The couple had a large enough place in a town called Godric’s Hollow. The woman’s name was Lily and her husband was James. They both worked for the Ministry of Magic though they seemed to have very different jobs. Lily couldn’t speak much of her job, but it seemed as if she was some kind of scientist. James was something called an Auror, which seemed like magical police.
Lily spoke as she pushed open the door on a bright and comfortable looking home. “We haven’t really had time to set anything up for you yet, but I’ll transfigure a few things in my work room for now. By the time you guys get back from school we’ll have something more permanent setup.” She promised making Tom interested in exactly how transfiguration worked.
“Harry, Sirius we’re home!” James called into the house.
“Who is Sirius?” Tom asked knowing they had mentioned Harry was their son.
“In here!” A man called from down the front hall.
“My best mate. Harry was keeping an eye on him for me.” James said with a laugh as he headed down the hall.
“I hope he hasn’t ruined Harry’s dinner.” Lily said as she followed the sound of the man’s voice.
Tom decided it would be best to follow the family and meet the other boy he would be living with. He had never really gotten along with children his own age before. But this was a new beginning and it would be important to not get the reputation he had had back at the orphanage.
He entered a smallish dining room after the two adults and found a grown man and a boy his age playing chess at the table. He didn’t give the man much attention as he examined the boy.
He looked very much like his father. A bit shorter than Tom with messy black hair and round wire rimmed glasses. There was dirt on his face and his hand was reaching for a plate of cakes that Lily had just moved without him noticing. He was giving all his attention to the board.
This made Tom look as well; chess was a game of the mind, which gave Tom a bit of hope. It would be nice to have someone smart to talk to. As he watched the pieces on the board moved as they were directed. When one piece challenged another, they actually fought for the space.
Tom stepped forward finding this obvious piece of magic to be one of the most wonderful things he had ever seen in his life. It hadn’t really become real until he saw it used so frivolously as to animate a game.
The movement must have gotten the other boy’s attention as he looked up at Tom with his mother’s vivid green eyes. They looked at one another for a long moment.
“Harry, this is Tom. He’s come to live with us while you both are in school.” Lily said placing a gentle hand on her son’s shoulder.
“Do you want to see my broom?” Harry asked giving Tom a welcoming grin. Did this mean the boy was just as obsessed with the stupid game as his father? Tom forced a smile on his face, knowing that was what was expected of him and nodded.
“Hey what about our game!” The man sitting next to Tom said before he too gave Tom an easy smile.
“Queen to F5.” Harry said as he got to his feet. “Checkmate.” He added as his queen bashed the king’s head in.
James was still rubbing his son’s victory in as the boys headed to the back yard.
“He lets me win.” Harry explained with a shake of his head once they were out of earshot of the adults. “But it can be fun sometimes. Why are you staying with us?” Harry asked as he unlatched a shed to retrieve his broom.
Tom looked around the small yard and wondered where they had room to fly as James had described.
“I’m not supposed to tell everything. They say I was found in a secret part of the Ministry.” Tom started to get the boy’s attention.
“Mum is an Unspeakable.” Harry explained sounding eager to hear more. “She isn’t allowed to talk about work much.”
“Is being an Unspeakable an important job?” Tom asked curiously, as he knew very little about the way the world worked in this time, let alone a whole new society he was now joining.
“Very important.” Harry said puffing out his chest proudly. “Mum is the first muggle-born to have ever gotten into the Department of Mysteries.”
“The way they talked at my hearing, muggle is what wizards call non-magical people?” Tom wanted to be sure he understood the definition.
“Hearing? Yeah, muggles are non-magic folk. Are you a muggle-born?” Harry asked looking at Tom more closely.
“I don’t know, but they say I was brought up in a muggle orphanage back in my own time.” He purposefully let the information slip to keep the boy’s attention.
“Your own time?” Harry asked sounding more excited, the broom forgotten.
“They say I was born in 1926, but that I disappeared when I was eleven. I don’t actually remember any of my life from back then, but everything seems so strange now.” Tom said keeping to the memory loss, story for now.
“Wow that is so cool.” Harry said grinning at him in a friendly kind of way. “Well I can help you out with anything you need to know. I can imagine how strange this all seems.”
“That is very kind of you.” Tom said answering with his own smile. “Do you know any magic?” He asked wanting to see how far ahead of him this wizard boy was.
“Not really. I mean I’ve done magic on accident a few times. You probably have too.” He said thoughtfully. “But they don’t let you have a wand or teach you spells till this year. And we’re not allowed to use magic outside of the school on summer breaks or anything. As underage wizards we have a mark on us that will tell them whenever we use magic.”
Tom nodded slowly finding all of this very interesting. “Your mother said we would be going to get school supplies tomorrow. Does that include our wands?” He asked itching to start learning about this power; he’d had all his life. He remembered what Dumbledore had done with his wand.
“Yeah!” Harry said and his whole face lit up. The other boy was obviously very excited too. “We’re going to meet my friend Neville there, and maybe some other wizarding kids too.”
“What about the muggle-born? How do they know to go shopping and all that sort of thing?” Tom asked remembering how he was told he was a wizard.
“They get a letter like everyone else, but usually one of the staff also go and help to guide them through the process. That is how it happened for mum anyway.” He said nodding before he remembered the broom in his hands. “Oh, so this is a Nimbus 2000, it’s the fastest broom on the market. Dad got it for me as a birthday slash going to school present. You want a try? First years can’t bring their own brooms so we don’t have long to use it till the holidays.”
Tom couldn’t help the smile that spread across his face as they walked into the hidden street of Diagon Alley. People in colorful robes moved everywhere talking about things like Quidditch and caldrons. He could feel everything settle in place as if he was finally coming home. There were strange things to look at everywhere as they moved down the street, but it all just felt so right.
“Okay let’s look on your lists.” Lily said pulling out a sheet of paper to go over. Tom would have liked to do this on his own. But expressing that to Dumbledore had not gone well for him. So this time he would let the adults help.
“I think we better get your robes first. Then…” She started but Harry groaned.
“Muumm!” He said to get his mother’s attention. “Tom and I want to get our wands first!” He added and Tom couldn’t help but nod in agreement.
She smiled down at the two of them knowingly. “Okay, you’re right. Wands are much more important than robes.” She said pointing to a dark shop ahead of them. “Ollivander’s it is then. No better wand maker in the world.”
When they stepped into the shop it seemed completely abandon at first. Then a small man with large silver eyes came out from behind the shelves. “Ah I was wondering when I would see you again Miss Evans. Willow ten and a quarter inches, very swooshy, good for charm work. How is it treating you?”
“Very well thank you Mr. Ollivander. Though I am Mrs. Potter now.” She said a bit pink in the cheeks.
“Potter? I think I heard that somewhere. Now these must be your sons?” He asked looking between Harry and Tom.
“I’m not.” Tom said without thought. It was odd to be called anyone’s son. “I’m just staying with the Potters.” He added and looked up to Lily’s kind face. “They’re taking care of me.” He added trying to seem more pleased with the idea.
“Harry is mine.” Lilly said but still reached out and patted them both on the shoulder.
“Well you will both be needing a wand now I assume.” Ollivander said looking between the two of them. They both nodded eagerly.
Oddly enough, the man pulled out a tape measure and started measuring Tom from what seemed like head to toe. He walked away after a moment and the tape just moved on its own. He had gotten a second tape for Harry and the magical tapes were now measuring the oddest things while the old man roamed his shelves.
“I remember every wand I’ve ever sold, and the most important thing to remember about wandlore is this; it is the wand who chooses the wizard. Though it isn’t always clear why.”
By the time, he returned the tapes had fallen to the ground and he held out a wand for each boy to try. They both took them looking to each other for an idea of what to do.
“Well, give them a wave.” The man said waving at both boys.
Tom had hardly moved the wand at all when the old man had taken them back and was returning with new ones. It felt like they had been at this an hour when Tom waved the most recent stick and the air tingled all around him. He smiled as he looked down at the wand and knew this was his.
“Yew, thirteen and a half inches, phoenix feather core. Very impressive.” The man said with a smile before turning to take Harry’s most recent try.
The other boy looked at him with envy and seemed to try all the harder to make the next few wands really work. Tom couldn’t stop looking at his new and powerful tool. He could feel his magic now as if he hadn’t had any before.
“I wonder.” He heard Ollivander saying in the background. He had no idea how much time had passed before he looked up to see Harry wave a wand and the light and magic settle around him as well. “Curious.”
“What’s curious sir?” Harry asked the question that had been on the tip of Tom’s tongue.
“The phoenix that gave the feather for Tom’s wand gave another feather. One other feather. It is curious that the two of you who are not brothers, should be destined for wands who are.” The man explained. “Eleven inches, Holly, phoenix feather core.” The man said smiling at the two of them. “I think we can expect great things from the two of you.”
Harry was grinning at him as Lily moved to pay for their wands. “You think it’s a sign?” Harry asked as their wands were wrapped and put away.
“A sign of what?” Tom asked as he too was wondering what it could mean, and if it was important.
“That we are brothers, in a way. Maybe not by blood, but by magic.” The other boy said sounding excited by the idea.
“I think I would like that.” Tom said thoughtfully. From the short time he had spent with the other boy, he could tell Harry was one to put his whole heart into any goal. It could make him a very useful ally in the future.
After wands, they moved to robes as Lily had said before. When they went into a shop called Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasion they found the shopkeeper busy with another boy Tom’s age. He was about Tom’s height with white blond hair and very sharp features. As he stood on a platform he wore, an expression like this was all below him.
“School robes?” The woman stopped her pinning to ask.
“Full sets for the both of them.” Lily replied motioning to Harry and Tom.
“I’ll size the taller one first.” The woman said motioning for Tom to get up on a second platform. “You go find exactly what fabrics you were thinking.” She added sending Lily away.
Harry stayed with Tom but sat down in a chair nearby.
“Are you twins?” The blond boy asked looking between Harry and Tom.
Tom looked back to Harry and thought for a moment. Harry looked as if he was considering as well. He could tell Harry didn’t like the demeaning tone in the boy’s voice. He felt it was best if he handled this new person.
“Not really.” Tom said and gave the boy his best charming smile. “I’m just staying with the Potters for a while.”
“Why?” The boy asked with a sneer. “Are you muggle born?” He added the question with even more venom.
“What’s wrong with being muggle born?” Harry asked getting up from his seat.
Tom found the way the boy asked the question interesting. Lily seemed like a very capable witch and she had been muggle born.
“So you are.” The blond confirmed with disgust.
“I don’t actually know.” He said pleasantly then sent a look Harry’s way to calm him down. “I’m an orphan and I have no memories beyond yesterday.”
“You’re all done dear.” The woman said quickly as she was obviously trying to dissuade any fighting in her shop. “The robes will be sent to your home as your mother requested.”
“Good.” The boy nodded before eyeing Harry and Tom. “I needed some fresh air anyway. It stinks in here.” He said making his way to the door.
Before Harry could follow to pummel the boy, the woman grabbed him by the shoulder. “Your turn.”
Once the woman was back to work pinning and measuring, Tom looked at Harry. “Is being muggle born bad?” He asked curiously.
“Ignorant gits like that think so. Mum faces a lot of that kind of stuff at the Ministry too. They think that being muggle born somehow makes you less than a pureblood. But I’ll tell you something. In a duel between mum and dad, my galleons would be on mum every time.”
“So your father is a pureblood?” He asked making sure; he knew exactly what Harry was talking about. “And what are galleons?”
“Yeah, the Potters are a pretty old line actually. Not that dad cares about that kind of thing. Galleons are wizarding money. You’ve got the seventeen sickles to the galleon and twenty-nine knuts to the sickle.” Harry explained easily.
“How is your family buying all these things for me?” Tom suddenly realized he hadn’t even thought about money since he appeared in this time.
“I heard mum and dad talking about that last night. The Ministry gave them some money to cover some stuff, but they’re not worried about it. They even mentioned maybe letting us pick out a pet to bring with us!” He said excitedly looking around, as he obviously wasn’t supposed to know this.
“A pet?” Tom asked wondering why a school would let people bring animals.
“Yeah. I want an owl. Owls are really useful. They can carry your post for you and dad said they make really loyal pets.” Harry went on missing Tom’s real question.
“Do they let any sort of animals at Hogwarts?” Tom wondered as he was torn between owing this family more and his desire to have an animal of his own.
“Most anything small is okay. Owls, cats, toads, stuff like that. Neville has a toad named Trevor that he’ll probably bring.” Harry went on. “What kind of animal would you want?”
Tom pretended to think about it for a long while; though he knew exactly what kind of animals, he liked the best. But he remembered how the kids back in school used to look at him when he spoke to snakes.
“I don’t know.” He finally said unsure what Harry would think and not wanting to frighten the boy.
Harry frowned as he looked at Tom. “Well if mum takes us to that store we can find something for you I’m sure.” He said with a firm nod.
After they got their robes, they picked up some more boring school supplies like quills and ink. With half their shopping done, they met James and some work friends at the Leaky Cauldron. They too had a dark haired boy with them. He was on the pudgy side and seemed very nervous, as he looked around at all the adults.
“Neville!” Harry called happily and ran over to the other boy. Tom followed more slowly wanting to get a feel for this new situation.
When he finally made it to him, the nervous boy seemed more at ease with Harry nearby. “Tom, this is my friend Neville. We’ve known each other since we were like born.” He said with a grin. “Neville this is Tom, he’s my new brother.” He said this last fact with such conviction Tom had to smile in response.
He had never really had family before this. He had never even been liked by anyone really. He had to admit he enjoyed the idea of this a bit.
“How do you get a brother your own age?” Neville asked more curiously than accusing. The adults let the three boys sit on their own for lunch, which was also nice.
“I’m an orphan and his parents have agreed to take me in.” Tom explained as he looked over the menu.
“But even cooler when we got our wands today they are linked. Ollivander called them brothers.” Harry cut in paying no attention to the meal at all. “So I say we are brothers by magic.” He added proudly.
Tom got the sense that Harry would be willing to duel someone over this and he couldn’t help the smile at having such a defender. Not that he needed defending, but who knew what the future would bring. When the conversation shifted to Quidditch Tom tuned the other boys out and tried to see what the adults at the next table were talking about.
“I’m just offering to pick up their potions supplies while you go get their books. It would make the shopping easier.” James was saying and there was an odd tenseness to his voice.
“Or we could do it the other way around so I could see my friend.” Lily said sounding exasperated.
“You know he is on our watch list right?” James pressed. “Tell her Frank.”
“Only because you put him there.” Lily said knowingly.
“He’s been obsessed with the dark arts since we were kids, why wouldn’t he be there?” James almost growled.
“Because he hasn’t done anything wrong!” Lily yelled.
Harry sighed bringing Tom’s attention back to him. “Their arguing about Uncle Snape again.” He said tiredly.
“Is he your mother’s family?” Tom asked curiously. Did that make him a muggle?
“No, no. He’s mum’s best friend from forever. Dad really hates him and says he’s evil. Mum says he isn’t and that he just comes off as very serious a lot of the time. And he doesn’t really like people.”
“And he works in a shop?” Tom asked smiling at the idea of it.
“Well he owns the best apothecary in England. He’s a Potions Master and doesn’t really have to deal with customers unless he wants to.”
The Snape man sounded like someone very impressive to know.
“Well you’re not taking the boys. I’ll take them to the book shop with me.” James finally said loudly.
“Harry likes him and I wanted to introduce Tom.” Lily said glaring at her husband.
“Do you like him?” Tom asked wondering what the truth was.
“Yeah.” Harry smirked as he looked between Neville and Tom. “He has the coolest things in his back room and sometimes when we go he lets me help. He said that he would have something for me today when we picked up our supplies. But it’s hard because dad really hates him so much.” Harry finished with a frown.
Tom could see how much of a minefield it was to have one’s parents have such different views on a single person. Lilly came over to their table a moment later and sat down to talk to them.
“So your father is going to go to the bookstore while I pick up the potions supplies. You guys get to decide which of us you would rather go with. We are going to meet up just after and get a surprise for both of you.”
Harry looked at his hand and then back up to his mom with flush cheeks. “I would rather come with you mum.” He said soft enough that his father couldn’t hear.
“I think I would rather go to the bookstore if that is okay.” Tom said trying to make things more pleasant. Also, a chance to look at wizarding books wasn’t a chance he wanted to pass up.
“That sounds great.” Lilly said patting both of them on the hands before going back to the adult’s table.
“We’re done with our shopping.” Neville said pulling both of their attention back to him. “Heading home after lunch. Do you guys want to sit together on the train?” He asked timidly.
“Train?” Tom asked curiously.
“Oh yeah, the Hogwarts Express. That is how everyone gets to school, and you get a chance to meet the other students on the way. Mum said it’s brilliant. She says she is going to give us money for the food trolley so we can load up on junk on our way. Dad says it’s tradition.”
After that the other boys went on to talking about all the foods and fun their parents had had as kids on the train to Hogwarts. Tom listened trying to absorb as much important information from that they offered.
When they entered the bookstore, Tom saw that every surface was covered in more books than he had seen in his entire life.
“Can I wander?” He asked James who was looking down at their book list.
James forced a smile and nodded. “Just stay in the store okay? I’ll handle these, but if you find anything you want to read just bring it to me.”
Tom put on his mask of charm and nodded at the man. “Thanks.” He said before heading off to look around at the aisles of books.
He wanted to devour every bit of knowledge in the store, but decided if he was allowed to get a book, he should focus on what was most important first. He found a small section on time travel and started to skim the books there.
They made it seem like there was just no way back to his own time, and the more Tom thought about it that suited him fine. He felt he had found himself in a better situation than he had left. There was nothing back in the 30s for him anyway. But that didn’t mean he didn’t want to know everything he could about how he got here in the first place. He chose a book with the most interesting ideas at a glance and headed to look around some more.
“How can you even afford books if you’re an orphan?” The blond boy from the robe shop asked leaning easily against one of the shelves. “Can you even read?”
“I remember reading yes.” Tom said examining the boy again. He could tell everything the boy had on was of the best quality. The way the boy asked, it literally screamed old money. “And I don’t really think my financial situation is any of your business.” He added a bit more stiffly.
“That is something a poor person would say.” The boy sneered. “Well we know what House you’re not getting into.” He said with his usual air of superiority. This boy was so different from Neville and Harry that Tom was finding it very hard not to do something awful to him.
“House?” He asked wondering what that meant exactly.
“Oh of course you don’t know.” He said laughing at Tom with his expression. This was the last straw; Tom could already feel the magic building within him and was trying to decide what he could do to the boy when someone else swooped in.
“Is there something wrong here?” James asked glaring at the boy in a way that made Tom understand why he became a good Bobbie. “What’s your name boy?”
“Draco?” Another man walked up before the blond could answer. This man looked so much like the boy he was undeniably his father.
“Mr. Malfoy.” James said in a way that things made more sense now. “This little thug yours?”
The man looked between his son and James and just smiled. He addressed himself to his son and seemed to ignore James all together. “Is this man harassing you son?”
“He was harassing Tom.” James said stepping up to the other man.
“I thought I heard somewhere that your son’s name is Harry?” Malfoy said looking at Tom for the first time.
“This is my foster son, but I’m no less protective of him. Do you understand?” He asked the other man threateningly.
“Oh yes.” Malfoy said summoning his son to his side. “I’m sure he and Draco will be the best of friends.” He said in a slightly sarcastic tone. “Come Draco, we have a few more errands before we head home.”
Once they were gone, Tom looked to James and frowned. “Who was that?” He asked knowing he would be running into that boy at school. There would be trouble for sure now.
“That was Lucius Malfoy.” James said with a sigh. “He’s very political and is constantly trying to push through anti-muggle ‘reforms’. He is a strong leader in the Purity movement.” He said with disgust. “Worse than Snivellus.” He added under his breath. “You found a book?” He asked to change the subject.
Tom held up what was in his hand and James nodded.
They met back up with Lily and Harry soon after, in front of Eeylops Owl Emporium. Lily was holding a bag full of boxes and Harry was holding a much smaller bag himself looking very pleased.
“Okay you guys. You can pick out one animal each.” James said looking between the boys. “Anything you want.” He added with a grin.
“Anything?” Tom asked feeling nervous.
“Anything.” Lily said encouraging them to enter the shop.
Harry pulled him to the back to look at all the owls. Tom thought maybe an owl would be a safe choice, but he couldn’t help glance over towards the tanks of aquarium animals. He got distracted for a moment when he saw a beautiful creature with a white and black design going down the length of him.
As often happened when he was around snakes they all seemed to look at him with as much interest as he gave to them. Harry didn’t notice as he pulled away to look at the shop’s small collection of snakes.
“You’re beautiful.” He told the one he saw first with the jagged design down its back.
“I knoooww…” The snake hissed back stretching out to show off the design on its back.
“Do you want a snake Tom?” Lily asked as she was suddenly beside him. He had been so interested in the snake he hadn’t noticed her.
“Would that be okay?” He asked letting his worry show.
She smiled as warmly at him as ever. “Snakes are considered powerful creatures in the wizarding world. There are even a small number of wizards who can even talk to them.” She said letting him know she had heard him before.
“Only a small number?” Tom asked interestedly. He always knew he was special, even among these people.
“Only a few. The most famous being Salazar Slytherin.” She said looking to the card by the snake’s tank.
“Who’s he?” Tom asked wonderingly.
“He was the founder of one of the four great Houses of Hogwarts.” She started but was soon cut off by her husband.
“The evil blood purist one.” James cut in.
Lily just rolled her eyes. “The cunning and ambitious one.” She corrected encouraging Tom. “This is an Adder though Tom.” She said ignoring the sounds her husband was making. “You would have to treat him…”
“Her.” Tom corrected because he couldn’t help himself.
Lily just smiled more widely. “Treat her with a great amount of respect. She’s venomous.”
“Oh that sounds like a good plan.” James said sounding pleased. “Then you can train her to bite Malfoy if he makes trouble.”
“You will have to train her not to bite anyone.” Lily corrected seriously.
“She won’t bite anyone. I promise.” Tom said looking between the two adults with an innocent smile.
That night Tom spent much of his time after dinner sitting in Harry’s room skimming through their new books. He asked Harry things every so often just to test and see if the other boy was ahead of him at all. Harry spent an hour or so looking at the books with him before he got bored and started to pack his things away. Now he was flipping through a Quidditch magazine. Though he seemed to pick up on the fact that the sport didn’t interest Tom very much.
“What about the school houses?” Tom asked remembering the conversation with both Draco and Lily mentioning them. They must be important.
“Yeah. So when we get there the first thing that happens is that all the first years are sorted into houses. Mum and dad don’t really know a lot about the other three because they were both Gryffindors. Each house though has its own thing it values. Gryffindor are brave, Hufflepuff are loyal, Ravenclaw are smart and Slytherin are cunning. Dad says all Slytherin are also purebloodist and dark evil wizards, but Uncle Severus was a Slytherin and he says you just have to be careful around them because they are willing to do a lot of things to achieve great goals.”
“Makes you wonder what he is willing to do to achieve his.” Tom said putting his spell book aside to give Harry his full attention. “What did he give you anyway?”
“Oh he gave me a copy of Magical Drafts and Potions with notes in it written by him. He says the standard school books are ‘written by a dunderhead that wouldn’t know a cauldron from a teapot’.” Tom perked up at this. The idea of notes written by a man at the top of his field sounded like a very useful gift.
“Can I see it?” He asked wondering if he could get use of this gift as well.
“Sure.” Harry said as he got off his bed and opened the packed trunk. “Just return it by our first class?” He added with a knowing grin.
Tom smiled back at him as he took the book from Harry. “Before class. Thanks.” He said settling back down with the new book.
Tom was still reading it in the car the next day as they headed to King’s Cross. He wasn’t really paying attention as their trunks were loaded on trolleys and he followed behind as James pushed his.
“Tom?” Lily said putting a hand on his shoulder to get his attention.
When he looked up he suddenly noticed they were in the middle of King’s Cross Station by platform nine and ten. James and Harry were nowhere to be seen.
“Where?” He asked with a frown as he tucked the book under his arm.
“So we are going to platform nine and three quarters.” She explained and motioned to the brick divide in front of them. “You just walk straight at the wall and you pass right through it.”
As Tom was thinking this information over a large group of redheads approached and a dumpy middle-aged woman started to send what seemed like an army of sons through the barrier.
“His first year is it?” The woman asked Lily. “It’s Ron’s first year too.” She said motioning to a boy about Tom’s age. “I find it’s best to do it at a bit of a run if you’re nervous.” She said in a kind way.
“Thank you.” Lily said and they waited for the family to pass through. “Are you ready? Do you want to go through together?”
“I can do it by myself.” He said feeling put out by the other woman calling him nervous.
“Alright, you first and I’ll follow right after.” She agreed without making a big deal of it. It was something he liked about Lily. She seemed to understand he didn’t need coddling.
With a nod he walked poignantly straight at the barrier and passed through it with ease. He smirked in satisfaction that he wasn’t as nervous as that woman had said.
When Lily joined them they soon found James and Harry who had already loaded their things onto the train. He looked around as so many wizarding families were sending their kids off to school. The platform was filled with hugs and tears and other disgusting things.
“Thank you for your help with all of this.” He said to Lily and James knowing adults ate up things like that.
“You’re welcome Tom. We’ll see you over the holidays and I promise to have something proper setup for you by then.” Lily told him warmly.
“The room was wonderful.” He said thinking her work had made a softer bed than back at the orphanage. “You shouldn’t go out of your way.”
“She just wants her desk back.” James said with a wink and patted Tom on the shoulder. Lily elbowed her husband in response.
“Now you two have a great year.” She said lightly as she tried to smooth down Harry’s messy locks. “Write if you need anything and I’m sure to send treats weekly.”
“Harry I packed a little something extra in your trunk this morning, but don’t take it out till you get someplace private.” He said roughing up his son’s hair. “Rule number one boys, don’t get caught.” He said making his wife elbow him once again.
“Try to behave.” She said rolling her eyes.
Just then the train blew its whistle for final boarding and Harry and Tom headed to find a cabin. “What do you think he gave you?” Tom asked Harry curiously.
“Something Mum won’t like I’m sure. You see Dad and his friends were not exactly upstanding students back in their day.” Harry explained as he pushed open the door to an empty cabin.
They put their things up on the racks and Tom retrieved a small woven box. “You could look now, no one is around.” He said as he settled into the seat across from Harry and opened the box.
Harry grinned at him and climbed up to open his trunk when the door slid open once again. Ron from the family Tom had seen before looked between the two of them. “Can I sit in here, everywhere else is full.” He explained nervously.
“Sure we have room.” Harry said climbing down without opening his trunk.
Tom focused back on his pet, letting her slide up his arm and twist around his wrist. “What’s that?” The new boy asked.
“Have you named her yet?” Harry asked watching as Tom set the box aside.
“I was thinking of calling her Marvel because she is so pretty. Did you name the owl?” Tom asked looking to the snowy white Owl caged by Harry’s things.
“I picked a random name out of our books. I thought Hedwig sounded cool.” Harry said looking up at the owl.
“I don’t have a pet.” Ron slumped in his seat a little. “An owl would be really cool though.” He said looking up at Hedwig. “I’m not sure what a snake can do, does she have any powers?” Ron asked.
“She can bite my enemies.” Tom said with a slight grin.
“Marvel’s poisonous. I still can’t believe Mum let you get her.” Harry said seeming impressed. “She must trust that you can handle it.”
Tom looked around the cabin for a moment, unsure if he could trust the new comer but deciding to risk it. “I can talk to snakes.” He told them before speaking to Marvel and telling her to move up his arm and to the other wrist.
The other two boys watched as the snake obeyed him with wide eyes. “I thought talking to snakes was a dark art.” Ron said sounding even more nervous.
“People keep saying that. What are dark arts?” He asked. He had noticed he had a class in defiance of them, but he wanted to know exactly how one classified magic as dark. The book had not been helpful in this.
“How can you not know what dark arts are?” The redhead was asking as the door to the compartment slid open once more. This time Neville shuffled in with his things.
“Glad I finally found you guys!” He said putting his things up and looking at the only one he didn’t know in the compartment. “I’m Neville, Neville Longbottom.” He said holding out his hand.
“Ron Weasley.” Ron replied easily making Tom realize Harry and he had not introduced themselves.
“Oh yeah!” Harry said obviously having the same thought. “I’m Harry Potter and this is my brother Tom Riddle.” He said really running with the brother thing now.
Tom bowed his head politely as Neville got his things settled.
“How come you have different last names?” Ron asked bluntly.
“We are brothers by magic, not blood.” Tom said knowing it would please Harry. “You were about to explain dark arts.” He reminded the redhead.
“Why are we talking about dark arts?” Neville asked with a shiver as he sat down next to Tom.
“Because Tom can talk to snakes!” Ron said remembering what had brought up the subject to start with.
“You can?” Neville asked looking a bit fearful, but more curious.
Tom held up Marvel to show Neville and softly told her to look at the other boy and nod. When the snake did as he asked the other boy’s eyes widened to almost comical levels.
“Is this bad?” Tom asked shyly as he looked between the other boys on the train. They were all from wizarding families he realized and would have much more knowledge about this world than he had.
“N-not by itself.” Neville spoke looking to the other two. “But it may mean you are likely to end up in Slytherin.”
“And that is bad?” Tom asked with a frown. They moved right back to the houses. It seemed to be a major part of life at the school.
“Oh yeah!” Ron said nodding vigorously, though the other two boys didn’t seem nearly as convinced. “Wasn’t a witch or wizard that went bad that didn’t come out of Slytherin House.”
“I’m not sure if that’s true.” Harry said with his own frown. “But if it were that is only because the values of the house are cunning and ambition right? You can be ambitious without being evil, but it makes you more willing to do things to obtain your goals.”
Ron frowned at this as if the statement wasn’t quite connecting all the way in his brain. “Do you want to be a Slytherin then?” He asked almost accusingly.
“Are you kidding? My dad would disown me!” Harry sounded shocked. “But I wouldn’t not be someone’s friend just because they were in a different house.” He added looking up to Tom seriously.
“What house are you hoping for?” Ron asked Tom still in an accusing tone.
“I really don’t know enough about them to decide.” Tom replied honestly
“My whole family’s been sorted into Gryffindor. Five older brothers and both my parents. I think they would all disown me if I was put in Slytherin. But I don’t think Ravenclaw would be that bad I guess, though if I was sorted into Hufflepuff I think I would jump in the lake and never come back.”
“My parents were in Gryffindor as well, but I don’t think Hufflepuff would be that bad. They like hard work and are loyal friends.” Neville said meekly.
“Mum says the sorting hat is never wrong, and no matter where you are sorted you will find people like yourself to make connections with.” Harry said looking over to Tom. “But she also says it is good to have friends in other houses and get different views on the world.”
“That makes sense.” Neville said nodding and putting his hand into a side bag before getting a look of absolute horror on his face. He opened the bag fully to look inside and quickly started to look around the cabin. “I’ve lost Trevor again!”
“His toad.” Harry answered Ron’s confused face as they all started to look around to see if Trevor was in the compartment. When their searching found nothing Neville went off to search down the train.
Soon after Neville left a portly woman opened the compartment door and smiled at them all. “Anything off the trolley, dears?”
Harry jumped up with a grin as he jingled his pockets with the money they had been given just for this. While Ron’s ears went a bit pink, he muttered something about already having a sandwich. Tom followed Harry out and looked over the sweets on the trolley. He had never had money for sweets before but now that he had the money, he didn’t recognize any of the treats.
“I don’t know what any of this is.” Tom admitted as he looked to Harry.
“We’ll get some of everything; you can try and see what you like.” Harry answered easily. Tom glanced back to Ron as well and wondered how beneficial a friendship would be with the other boy.
He spoke quietly to Harry. “Think we should get enough to share?” He asked looking back to Ron carefully.
Harry glanced back and nodded before ordering enough sweets for the three boys to share. When they came back into the compartment Ron’s eyes widened at how much they had gotten.
“Hungry?” He asked before pulling out a lumpy package and unwrapping it. “She always forgets I don’t like corned beef.”
“Trade you for one of the pumpkin pasties.” Harry said holding up one of the cakes while Tom picked one up as well from their collection.
“You don’t want this, it’s all dry.” Ron said going a bit more pink.
“Go on, have a pastry.” Tom said after chewing his own bite. “Eating junk food on the train is tradition.” He added with a wink to Harry.
Before long, they were eating the sweets while the sandwich lay forgotten on the seat. Tom decided he liked most of it very much, but the Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor Beans were not worth the risk. The other two boys soon fell into a conversation about Quidditch. It seemed they supported different teams and they went into a mostly goodhearted debate on who was better, Chudley Cannons or Puddlemere United.
Tom tuned them out once again feeling maybe this group wasn’t the best ones to ask about dark magic. He wasn’t one to take other people’s opinion on something on face value, and he wasn’t going to leave a tool on the shelf that could prove useful.
A while later Tom was reading the potions book again, Marvel settled comfortably around his neck, when Neville returned to the compartment. Everyone looked up expecting to see a toad but the boy only frowned.
“Have you seen him?” He asked and they all shook their heads. With a sigh he closed the compartment once again to keep searching.
“Don’t know why he’s so bothered,” Ron said. “If I’d brought a toad I’d lose it as quick as I could. Mind you I don’t have any pet, so I can’t really talk. But they are very out of fashion.”
“I don’t think we are the kind of people that care about such fashions.” Tom said knowing the statement would please Harry.
“Well you have that.” Ron said pointing to Marvel as the door opened once again, Neville was back but this time he had a small bushy haired girl with him.
“Has anyone seen a toad? Neville’s lost one.” She said. She had a bossy sort of voice and she was already dressed in her school robes.
“We’ve already told him we haven’t seen it.” Ron said but the girl wasn’t listening. She was looking at the snake curled around Tom’s neck.
“That’s an Adder.” She said in a know-it-all kind of way. “They’re poisonous.”
“Well-yes.” Tom said brushing his finger around Marvel’s tail.
“Should you really be bringing a poisonous snake to school?” She asked putting her hands on her hips.
“Marvel is a good girl, she wouldn’t hurt anyone.” He said not wishing to spread the fact he could talk to her any further than it had already gone.
She didn’t seem to know what to say to this so she looked down and noticed the marked up book. “What have you done to it!” She asked grabbing Harry’s book from his lap and starting to flip through. “This is not the proper way to treat a book.” She said looking as if she wanted to confiscate it from him.
Tom frowned and narrowed his eyes at her. He didn’t like things being grabbed from him. “If it’s my book I can do anything I want with it.” He said trying to take the text back.
“It’s just not respectful.” She said glaring at him and stepping out of his reach.
Tom got to his feet and found he was a few inches taller than the girl. He worked to use that to his advantage as he advanced. “Neither is stealing someone’s book.”
She was still flipping through it as she moved around the compartment out of his reach. “How would you even know if any of this stuff was right?” She asked with a frown.
“The notes are from a Potions Master actually.” Harry chimed in. “Who doesn’t think the regular text is an adequate teaching publication.” He said pulling the book from her hands while she was focused on Tom. “And it’s mine.” He added pulling the book to his chest and glaring at the girl.
“Well fine.” She huffed pushing past Tom. “You all should get changed soon by the way; I expect we will be arriving within the hour.”