|How it all got started
Author: monkeycrackmary PM
Dear Mr Riddle; Due to your living situation this message has been delivered directly into your hands. Congratulations on your acceptance into Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 1,520 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 2 - Published: 01-02-01 - id: 161661
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Tom was not having a very good birthday. In fact, if most children had a birthday like Tom's they'd say it was the worst ever. But Tom had never had parties or presents, even on the birthdays when he wasn't in trouble.
He'd had a haircut the day before, along with all the other children at the orphanage. That's why he was spending his birthday washing windows as punishment. The scissors had slipped on his shiny hair and cut so much off it looked as if he'd tried to shave designs into it. All the other children had laughed at him and Tom had gone to bed feeling humilated.
In the morning, however, his hair was just fine. The adults didn't quite know how he'd done it, but however it had been done it must have been misbehaviour. So he was washing windows and wondering what an owl was doing out at this time in the morning.
With a soft hooting the bird dropped a letter on the other side of the window Tom was scrubbing and then flew off again before anybody had been given a chance to notice the odd things going on.
Tom scrabbled to pull the heavy window open then leaned out and grabbed the envelope, tearing it open. It was most certainly intended for someone else, Tom never got mail, but he could pretend just for a little while.
Dear Mr Riddle it began. Due to your living situation this message has been delivered directly into your hands. Congratulations on your acceptance into Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry.
Tom raised one eyebrow and wondered who could have sent the letter. Whoever it was, they were either very imaginitive or a complete crackpot.
He scanned the rest of the letter. Students are permitted one tame animal of small size.... he'd never had a pet before. There were lots of things he had to get done before school started. Tom decided to believe that it was all true, because he wanted it to be so badly.
He told the adults that he'd gotten a scholarship to a school called Smeltings that he'd once heard some boys at school talk about. Tom was given money to go buy what he needed, but it wasn't really enough for all the things on the list. Tom realised he would have to improvise.
He went down into the orphanage's storeroom and peered around in the gloom for things he could use. There were a few dusty trunks against the wall, but on inspection Tom say that all had their original owner's name stamped on the side in thick black letters. He couldn't start at a new school with a trunk that said 'Donaldson' or 'Brassington'.
Under a lot of cobwebs and dust that made him sneeze, Tom found one that was satisfactoy. The name stencilled on the lid was 'Riddell', he could just say that sometimes he spelt his name one way, sometimes the other.
As Tom was often reminded, beggars can't be choosers.
Diagon Alley was an amazing adventure for Tom. He didn't mind being on his own, there was so much to see. It took a rather long time to find the right wand for him, but when he did the shopkeeper seemed very impressed. Tom was having a wonderful time.
Because he'd carefully chosen the least expensive version of everything, Tom finished his shopping with some money left over. He thought about going back to Gringotts and starting a bank account, or changing the wonderful heavy coins back into normal money, but decided instead to buy himself an animal.
There were so many to choose from that Tom could only hope that the right one would choose him, and this was indeed what happened. As Tom looked at a disgruntled looking toad, he caught out of the corner of his eye a small glass tank half hidden behind a pile of books. A thin snake, not much longer than Tom's forearm, was curled up inside.
"Hello there." Tom said softly. "You're beautiful."
The snake raised its head and looked at him. "Thanksss." It said so quietly Tom know he must have imagined it. But the snake was easily the best creature in the whole shop.
"Excuse me." Tom said to the man behind the counter. "How much is that little snake?"
"You sure you wouldn't rather a cat? Snakes are only good for display, really. And that type of snake." The man clucked his tongue. "Let's just say she may be small and harmless now, but..."
"Some day she won't be." Tom finished the thought. "Please, I only have three sickles left. Is that enough?"
The man smiled down at Tom kindly. "Sounds like a fair price to me."
"What's your name?" Tom asked the snake that night as it slithered around his fingers.
"You own me. You name me." The snake replied, or at least seemed to.
"Nagini." Tom decided. "You look like a Nagini."
Tom was glad of the movement of his new pet in his shirt pocket as he stood alone in the tumult of the train station, looking around in vain for somebody who could show him where to get the Hogwarts express from.
A stunningly pretty girl with long red hair gave him a disdainful glance as she stood between a very well dressed man and a very thin woman with a lot of diamonds around her neck.
"Excuse me..." Tom began. The girl's eyes narrowed.
"What's that in your pocket?" she asked sharply.
"Nagini, my snake." Tom said back, daring her to say anything bad. Instead, the girl's narrow face lit up and she turned to her mother.
"Mummy." She whined. "You told me nobody would have a snake, that I'd look unfashionable. I want one!"
"All right Olive." Her father soothed. "I'll buy you a snake and have it delivered specially."
"Good." She turned back to Tom. "My name's Olive Hornby. I'm named after my ancestor, Olivia Cazelian. Some people say she was the only woman Salazar Slytherin ever loved."
"Really?" even though he had no idea what that meant, Tom was impressed.
"Only the best wizards get into Slytherin." Olive continued as they walked. Tom was so caught up in what she was saying he barely noticed when they walked through the barrier. "My father was. My mother didn't go to Hogwarts, she ever so wanted me to go to school in France like her but Daddy says being ambitious is more important then being beautiful. Who're you descended from?"
"Er..." Tom began uncertainly. "My grandfather's name was Marvolo."
Olive's father inspected Tom more closely. "You don't say? You might be Slytherin-bound yourself then. Keep an eye on him, eh Olive?"
The girl looked as if she was deciding whether or not to have a tantrum, then nodded.
The train journey was very interesting for Tom. Olive told him all about the different houses, other children she knew who were starting Hogwarts that year, and how her mother had once won a prize for being the most elegant witch in Europe.
Tom showed Olive Nagini, which made her so envious she almost turned as green as her name.
"I hope you are in Slytherin." Olive said as the train pulled into its destination. "We'd have so much fun."
Olive herself, when it came time for sorting, hopped onto the chair, pulled the hat on, waited two seconds and was then sorted exactly as she had expected to be, straight into Slytherin. She'd gone up between Hagrid, Rubeus and Ingleton, Jonanna, both of whom were made Gryffindors. There seemed to be a lot more Hufflepuffs, Ravenclws and Gryffindors than Slytherins. Tom's heart sank. He'd really, really wanted to be in the same one as Olive.
Finally Riddle, Tom was called and Tom put the hat on, terrified. After a moment he heard it speak.
"Well, I can see how very important loyalty is to you, oh yes. And you've got a rather good mind indeed. To have gone through so much shows huge personal strength, as well. Dear me, you are a tricky one... and a parselmouth to boot! You know something, my boy? What you end up becoming is, at this point, governed by what you wish to be."
Then, if it's all the same to you, I'd like to be a Slytherin, please. Tom thought as politely as he could.
"Hmmm... yes. Should have realised that myself." The hat replied drily. "Glad we agree then. I sense you'll do big things in SLYTHERIN!"
Tom pulled the hat off his head, ducking shyly at the applause coming from the Slytherin table. Olive was clapping with a huge grin on her face, her hair catching the light.
Tom knew, somehow, that this was the start of an awfully big adventure.