|Tea for Tom
Author: Doneril PM
Tom Riddle only wants to be ignored. Barring that, tea and respect will serve well.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama - Voldemort - Words: 1,112 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 01-22-05 - id: 2230096
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Tea for Tom
The dark-haired boy sat quietly in his professor's office. His silver and green tie was tucked into his black jumper and his trousers were firmly pressed. The Slytherin badge on his black robes shone. If one looked closely, though, his clothes were worn from use and expanding charms. Clearly, he had been wearing them for several years and had grown in that time. But, logically, orphans do not, as a general rule, have money for new, superfluous clothing.
"Mr. Riddle," the grey-haired professor intoned as she closed the door behind her. "Do you understand why you are here?"
Tom looked up sharply. "Yes, ma'am. I was fighting with the other students."
"I will not tolerate divisions within my house," she replied, not benignly. "You should have no cause to be fighting with your housemates."
"And to –demean– yourself to physically fighting… To lower yourself to the standards of a mere Muggle…"
Tom concentrated on staring at the toes of his boots. They had been worn dull and were beginning to crack and peel.
"I am aware that you live with Muggles during the holidays," his Head of House spat, as if Muggle were a dirty word that tainted her aristocratic, Pure mouth. "But I will not have any of my students behaving like them."
Tom blinked hard. He hated being reminded that he was the only orphan in Slytherin House, the only one who had to return to the Muggle world every summer. Every one of his housemates knew it, as well. That was the reason he was sent to his Head of House in the first place.
It had been just outside the Great Hall and Quintin Palmer had been teasing him again. Palmer had some of the proudest bloodlines in the House and would happily tell anyone and everyone that he could trace his family back before the Norman Conquest, when his ancestors had first come to the shores of Britain. He was also one the biggest boys in the House, a Quidditch Beater, and the sixth year Prefect.
And one of Palmer's favorite hobbies was picking on the second year Tom Riddle.
From his first night in Slytherin, Tom had known that bloodlines were important and he did not have them; thus, making him unimportant. For his first year, Tom kept to the shadows and avoided confrontation, much as he had at the orphanage where he had spent most of his life. If he were quiet and unobtrusive, he would be ignore and, therefore, safe.
But Tom was also very smart and very talented. He shone in his classes, picking up spells, even advanced ones, in mere minutes. He had outshone Palmer's sister, Ivy. Ivy was pretty and smart, even to Tom's eyes, but he was smarter. And he had seen no reason to hide his talents in class. He hadn't known that Ivy would go crying to her older brother, or that their parents insisted that both Quintin and Ivy be top in their classes.
Palmer and his friends, after realizing who Tom was, found him to be an easy target. They mocked his blood and his clear and utter lack of money. They stole the few hand-me-downs he owned and nearly burned the only letter Tom had from his mother. Only Tom's accidental magic saved the parchment from becoming ash. They sabotaged his work so that Tom had to do his homework and reading in the library. He learned to keep his books in the classrooms, fearing that the expensive tomes would be destroyed if he brought them to his dorm.
This winter, Palmer had gone a step further and began to taunt him in public, especially in front of the other houses, though never within earshot of the professors. The House rivalries were so strong and ingrained that no one defended him. Or, perhaps, they, like the other Slytherins, merely agreed with Palmer's accusations.
Tom had reached the end of his rope, this afternoon. Palmer had told him that he was only a dirty Mudblood. Tom had pointed out that his mother was a witch. Palmer had laughed aloud at Tom's protest and told him that his mother was a shame to the magical community, being a whore to a Muggle. Enraged, Tom had punched Palmer in the nose, causing it to spurt blood down the older boy's jumper.
Professor Dumbledore, the Transfigurations Master, had come across the two boys moments later and saw Palmer's face and jumper spattered with his own blood. Dumbledore had become angry and sent Palmer, with one of his Slytherin friends, to the Infirmary to have his nose fixed. He had then turned on Tom and taken him to his Head of House to be disciplined.
"Pay attention, Riddle," the professor snapped, slamming her palm on her desk for noise and emphasis.
Startled, Tom jumped slightly and looked up at her. After his Sorting, she had told all of the new Slytherins that they could come to her with any of their problems. Tom soon learned that that only applied to the Purebloods. More than once last year she had turned him away, telling him to stop whining and be a true Slytherin.
"You shamed your House today," she snapped. "Professor Dumbledore has already removed more than enough House points, but I don't think that House points are enough in this case. I have heard rumours that this was not the first time you have resorted to such… Muggle means to stop an argument."
Tom fought to keep eye contact.
"You will formally apologize to Mr. Palmer for the injury you caused and will serve a week of detention for misbehavior."
The Heir of Slytherin nodded.
"You are dismissed."
Tom Riddle, chastened, nodded and rose. He quietly left the room, only to run into Quintin Palmer outside his Head of House's office. The boy grinned maliciously and pushed the smaller boy aside, entering the office himself. Curious, Tom waited and peaked around the edge of the door. His professor motioned for Palmer to sit in the same seat Tom had taken. Then she conjured a fine silver tea service, marked with the Slytherin crest, and offered the boy some tea.
Dejected, Tom turned from the door and slowly made his way back to the Slytherin Common Room. Some day, he quietly vowed to himself, he would have tea with Slytherin Purebloods and they would fear to mock his name or his family. Some day, he would have respect and none would dare to call him a dirty Muggle.