- Tom is Tom Riddle. "This is speaking," and this is him thinking and conversing with Jerry.
- Jerry is the genre-savvy alter ego. He cannot communicate with the outside word. He can only communicate with Tom, like this. Jerry is an OC, I guess. He is also the ultimate cheat code to evil overlords everywhere.
Do you realize how absolutely terrible of an idea branding all your followers on the arms is? And that - what type of design is that? Snakes and skulls? So tacky. You guys look more like a biker gang with matching tattoos than an actual conspiracy.
Well, how else am I supposed to distinguish between my side and theirs?
Oh, I don't know...how about designing a magical seal or whatever that only those who possess it can see? Or, better yet, just put it in a place not generally displayed to the public!
...Wow! That actually makes sense!
Yes. That DOES make a lot of sense. And on that note, maybe you should throw away the whole "dark army" idea, too.
Gee. Someone trying to take over the world by starting a war. What a Slytherin thing to do.
How else would you take over the world?
Puppet the governments of the countries that matter, and buy out the governments of the ones that don't. But you better hurry. World War I just ended and there's a slew of war-torn, weak, newly created little states that haven't had a history of self-rule for hundreds of years.
That sounds really smart! That way, I won't have to deal with a bunch of stupid minions groveling at my feet, either - the already set bureaucracy will take care of that for me, and I'll only have to deal with my puppets directly. Also, if anything goes wrong, they'll revolt against the puppets, and not me! I can't believe I didn't think of that before. But how would I get around to doing all that?
You could start a Confundus Chain.
You know...Confund someone to confund someone to confund someone else to confund someone who really matters.
That's amazing. And then I can also make them Obliviate themselves afterwards so they can't trace it back to me. We're a genius. Thanks, alter ego.
And by the way, Horcruxes aren't a good idea.
I don't know about you, but insanity is never useful to someone who's about to conquer the world. It's not easy to make smart decisions or try to predict your enemies' movements when you can't even take care of yourself.
That's absolutely brilliant! I should totally try to find a different, less costly way to engineer my own immortality, such as uploading my mind to a computer or something.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you...
THE JOYS OF HAVING A GENRE-SAVVY VOICE IN YOUR HEAD
HOW TO BE A VILLAIN WHO IS ACTUALLY SMART FOR ONCE
Getting hit by a truck is not a fun experience.
Being reborn with all your memories inside a baby's body is even less fun.
Getting called "Tommy Riddle" by a woman looking like she was from the 1920s, on the other hand…
There were two things I could do at this point.
One was be the moral compass that Tom Riddle never got and make the world all sunshine and sparkles and rainbows.
Hell yeah. Let's eff up this place.
Tom Riddle, age 11
"#29. I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion."
Tom didn't know how long Jerry had been inside his head, or if Jerry was even Jerry's real name.
Depends on what you consider a "real name." It wasn't the name my parents chose for me when I was born, but it's the name I chose for myself now that there's no pesky government papers to limit what I can put as an alias.
"Tom and Jerry" has a rather nice ring to it, doesn't it?
If you say so.
All he knew was that there never had been a single moment Jerry hadn't been there for him. Of course, no one really knew Jerry was there, because by the time his language skills had developed enough for Tom to actually tell other people about Jerry's existence, his intelligence had also shot to the point where he realized that such actions would probably get him shipped off to the madhouse.
According to Jerry, he was actually from 2015, nearly a hundred years into the future, and got killed when a truck hit him. He seemed to have this idea that Tom had the capability to conquer the world, as long as he didn't do anything stupid. Which was fine with him. Tom decided that the idea of becoming an evil overlord was rather fun, and with his natural intellect and Jerry's help, it was very possible.
Not that he knew how much of his intelligence was actually his and how much was Jerry's. He remembered from infancy these random undecipherable noises in his head that eventually, along with his development, formed into actually understandable language. Jerry was an adult; had always been an adult. A rather educated one, too, given the complexity of his thoughts. Tom didn't quite know what to think of Jerry. Maybe he really was crazy, and this was a split personality. Although, a highly convenient one. There were certain benefits that came with having the personality of a grown man inside your head, and having an unusually expanded vocabulary and an understanding of integral calculus before you could walk was one of them.
There were a few drawbacks. For one, Tom was rather unwilling to socialize with other children his age, simply because he was so far ahead of them that Jerry was just such better company. And the more time he spent in Jerry's company, the more mentally distanced he became from his peers. In fact, he was so used to conversing inside his head with Jerry that in the first few years of his life he forgot to speak out loud in order to demand things from the matrons. He eventually got better as he became used to Jerry's presence, and the constant reminders of Speak out loud; they're not in your head like I am.
There was also the slight chance that this was one of those crazy science fiction novels where the person's mind was eventually taken over by the split personality. So far, however, Jerry was little more than a voice of reason and a helpful companion. Tom didn't really think that Jerry would be stupid enough to try to pull off anything like that. Jerry, if anything, was a rational being, and seeing as he felt the same things as Tom, like hunger or pain, using Tom's body to commit his own crimes was really not a good idea. Also, if Jerry ended up getting Tom killed, his own future would probably be rather iffy, too – not that Jerry hadn't survived death already.
Speaking of death…do you think this is what happens to all dead people?
If so, then there should be more people with voices in their heads, Jerry reasoned, but since you're the only kid I know with the consciousness of a mature adult, I don't think so. Who knows. Maybe you'll be able to figure it out in the future.
I don't intend to die, though.
Just make sure that whatever you sacrifice for immortality doesn't drive you insane or make you rely on regular rituals involving the blood of virgins.
What's a virgin? Are you talking about that lady that they always make us read about? Because I don't think you can get blood from someone who's been dead and decomposed for nearly two thousand years…
Never mind. You'll find out when you're older.
…How much older?
When you no longer think "girls are icky."
I've never been puerile enough to think that. All children are equally disgusting. Except me, of course. Tom glared at the children jumping about on the playground from his bedroom window, completely oblivious to his internal conversation.
Now, be nice.
You mean "don't let them know exactly how much you hate them."
Fine. PRETEND to be nice. Except to the obvious bullies. If you absolutely have to take out your anger on someone then use some scapegoat whom you can easily justify fighting back against. That way you won't draw any suspicions of psychotic tendencies until after you've gained too much power for anyone to fight back.
Yeah, yeah, no strangling bunnies, even if their owners are just about the most annoying people in the world. I understand.
And no torturing people without mind-wiping them afterwards.
Speaking of mind-wiping, any help on that? Because I can make things float, glow, break, burn, grow, shrink, and change color, and I can summon things to me, and I can talk to snakes, but I can't make people forget things for some reason. Well, I can, but they forget the wrong things, and act weird for days, and that really isn't...good.
Sorry. Haven't got a clue. This "magic" business is all your doing.
Yes, Jerry was a very interesting entity, and a very helpful one. Except when it came to assisting Tom in controlling his own odd powers. Jerry had nothing to do with that, except suggesting ways on how to maximize use of his rather limited repertoire. So far, he had gained the simpering loyalty of most of the orphanage children, as well as the rest of his schoolmates, in that he always seemed to have snacks stashed away. No one really questioned it, since "that really nice Tom kid" was known to never eat sweets himself but be completely willing to share them with others. They all assumed that every time he got something he just sort of put it away, and then took it out if someone asked.
In reality, Tom (and Jerry) were just using magic to duplicate the same pieces of candy that had been passed out that one Christmas from years ago. That it hadn't gone bad yet showed just how much artificial sugar was in that thing. Tom knew he wasn't going to touch it anytime soon.
Tom mulled over this bit of information. His thoughts, however, were interrupted by a knock on his door. It was probably Mrs. Cole. Even though he hated her, he tried to kiss up to her the most, because she was a predictable constant in his life, and the trouble of having to get used to dealing with a new matron was more than the satisfaction he would receive from offing her. The same with the teachers at school, and pretty much any adult he ran into. Anyway, keeping his room clean and giving an air of false politeness was not that much trouble compared to the benefits he reaped from being so far above reproach that he'd never be considered a suspect in anything, even if he was the only one who could have possibly done it.
Because "sweet little Tom" would never do anything wrong.
"Tom?" Mrs. Cole said, her words slurring slightly. Lovely. She was drunk again. Thank goodness she wasn't the type of person who became violent and abusive when drunk (she usually just locked herself in her office when she decided to bring out the gin), but she tended to behave exceptionally stupidly, like all drunk people, if she ever did decide to reveal herself to the public. "Tom. I. Er. You've got a visitor. This is Mister Dumberton – sorry, Dunderbore. He's come to tell you – well, I'll let him do it."
Just play nice and don't make direct eye contact.
Tom had had plenty of experience in playing nice. But…Why not direct eye contact? Isn't that generally considered rude in Western culture?
Yeah, well, this guy reads minds, and I'm not sure what he'd do if he realized you had some alter ego trying to help you conquer the world. Anyway, pretend you're shy with strangers. That's how all the "nice" kids behave.
What are you talking about? Is he from an asylum? He eyed the man, whose long hair and beard would have given him a rather Merlin-esque look had they been white and not reddish-brown in color. The rest, though, like the long, plum-colored robes (who even wore that anymore?) and weird hat, was more than enough to convince Tom that this was not really a normal situation.
They usually send the orderlies, not the patients, Jerry snarked. You haven't done anything to make Mrs. Cole suspicious of you, have you?
I've been good, I swear! Tom replied as innocently as possible.
"How do you do, Tom?" said the man, holding out a hand.
Are you SURE he's not from the asylum? Tom asked.
It wasn't in Tom's nature to be vulnerable or unsure of himself, but he was a good actor, if anything. He hated being polite, sure, but that didn't mean he didn't know how. His manners, when called for, could outstrip those of all the other orphan scum stuck in this place.
"Um, I guess I'm okay," Tom said, looking down and fiddling with the hem of his shirt. Then he looked up, pretending to realize that the odd man was holding out a hand, and hastily whispered, "Sorry," before shaking it.
He's a wizard, just like you, Tom.
He can make things float and explode, too.
You're kidding me. He's a wizard? A wizard?
For someone who can use his mind to defy the laws of physics you seem rather close-minded to the fact that there might be other people out there who can do the same thing…
Oh, shut up.
Tsk, tsk. And I thought you were the sweetest little boy ever -
Spare me that bullshit, will you?
Where'd you learn that language?
"No need," the man said. "I am Professor Dumbledore."
"Professor?" Tom asked. "Of what?"
"I am a Professor of Transfiguration at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," he said, drawing a stamped envelope from his robe pocket. "I have come to offer you a place at this school – if you would like to come, that is."
Tom took the letter and read it over. Hogwarts? Witchcraft and Wizardry? Who does he think he is? Tom ranted. It's the asylum; I knew it!
Calm down, Jerry drawled. Just play dumb. It's not the goddamned asylum, okay? Whatever you do, don't lose your temper in front of him.
It's a bit hard not to; he's an absolute moron.
A moron who can read minds and happens to be the most powerful wizard on the continent of Europe, so please, for the love of Pete, if there's one person in the world you shouldn't reveal your true nature to, it's this guy.
How do you even know all this stuff?
Like I told you, I'm from 2015.
Are you sure this won't create some weird paradox?
Seriously, though. How do you know you're right?
Have I ever been wrong?
"…Witchcraft…and Wizardry?" Tom asked, feigning incredulity. "Isn't witchcraft a bad thing, though? I'm not sure about this."
"Witchcraft is just a term for magic users. It is the choices you make that define good or evil," Professor Dumbledore said kindly. "But never mind that. You and I are different, Tom. Have odd things ever happened to you when you were feeling strong emotions? Things that couldn't be explained normally?"
Tom continued fiddling with his shirt, shooting a look at Professor Dumbledore out of the corner of his eye, making sure to avoid the other man's face. "I…are you saying that's supposed to be magic?"
"That is correct."
"Um…sir, can you show me?"
Okay, pray he doesn't set your wardrobe on fire…
Because that would mean he saw through us. Tom, you haven't stolen anything lately, have you?
How could I, with you breathing down my neck, literally, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week?
Hey, step number one to being an Evil Overlord is not letting anyone know that you're an Evil Overlord.
But Professor Dumbledore did little more than draw a long, pointed stick (That would be a magic wand, Tom) (I'm inexperienced, not a moron, you moron) and levitate a few books around in the air. Tom tried his best to look amazed, which was harder than it sounded, because after practicing levitating things for so long the novelty effect had worn off. Not so much, however, when Mr. Merlin changed the flying books into cuckoo clocks and back again.
"These are some of the things you'll learn at Hogwarts, along others, which I promise you are much more practical than floating books around and making cuckoo clocks. But never mind that," and Professor Dumbledore's eyes twinkled – "What can you do?"
You are the epitome of angelic innocence. Repeat: You are the epitome of angelic innocence.
"Umm…well…sometimes, I only have a few pieces of candy, and a lot of people see me, and I don't want to just give a few people things because that might make the others feel left out," Tom tried, "except when I look down again, there were a lot more than there were before. And at first I thought I was just counting wrong, but then it happened again and again, like in those fairy tales with the pot of gold that never runs out."
"Go on," Professor Dumbledore encouraged.
"And another time we were supposed to clean our rooms for the government inspectors, and even though my room is normally clean I had some things lying around that day. And then all of a sudden they went back to their spots." Tom settled back and gave a proud little smile, all the while completely dying on the inside from the disgusting bitter aftertaste of the thickly laid on artificial sugar. "I figured out how to do that one again, too. So now everything I have is always clean. I'd help my friends clean up, too, but I was afraid of hurting their feelings, because I know they'd ask me how, and I wouldn't be able to tell them, and then they'd get mad because they thought I was hiding something and wasn't sharing…"
Professor Dumbledore held up a hand, and Tom paused, before ducking his head sheepishly again. "Sorry…I just get a little excited sometimes…"
And the title of Drama Queen of the Year goes to…
Shut your face, or I swear to god I'll…
I thought you were atheist.
"That's quite all right," Professor Dumbledore chuckled. "Magic is a very exciting thing. Trust me, there have been students with much more…shall I say, exuberant reactions than yours, and they grew up with magic around them their entire lives."
"You mean there's more?" Tom said, interjecting with as much hope as he could. Professor Dumbledore nodded, and Tom's face lit up, before falling yet again. "I…they must know a lot of magic already, don't they? I'll be so behind. Are there any special rules? Because I've never heard of this stuff until today…I bet I'll be the worst in the class…"
*sniff* There goes little Tommy, off to conquer the world with his impenetrable charm...
You are the most infuriating person I've ever talked to.
Aren't we the same person?
Hypocrite. Just a few moments before we were separate entities and you were someone real from the future who died.
Funny. You never really believed me before.
They could argue for years over this. In fact, Tom still knew nothing about Jerry, except that he was pretty much a permanent residence in his head. Tom was sure that, had Jerry shown up, say, now, instead of having been present from his very birth, he would have been much less trusting. As it was, though, despite Jerry's rather murky background story (for all he knew, Jerry really was an alter ego with a very overexaggerated sense of imagination, or, better yet, an extension of his own consciousness that allowed his genius to spill over into somewhere safe), Tom trusted Jerry. After all, Jerry hadn't failed him…yet.
"Not to worry," Professor Dumbledore said again. "It's a common rule that everyone receives a wand and starts school at the same time. Perhaps students with magical parents might know the names of certain spells, but they will have no way to practice it. You won't be the only one coming from Muggle – that's our term for non-magical people – backgrounds, and anyway, statistics show that students of non-magical heritage perform just about as well as their peers with magical families."
"So this…heritage…doesn't determine how good you are?" Tom asked. "Or are you just saying that to make me feel better?"
"It is actually true. There are teachers at Hogwarts who are Muggle-born themselves."
"And when I finish school…what happens?"
"Generally you would have become integrated into Wizarding society by then, and found a job in our world by then. When I take you to Diagon Alley – the Wizard London – you will receive a more practical view of everything, and I can explain as we go by. "
"So, a sort of secret world, then? And no one knows about it, except for the people with magic?"
"What if I end up not liking it? Can I go back to the, er, Muggle world then?" Tom asked.
Fat chance, Jerry snorted. You're loving the idea of this magic thing already.
I'm just playing it safe! You said "be nice." This is how a shy, nervous kid who's never heard of magic before is supposed to act!
I know. And damn, are you good.
You're welcome. Seriously.
"It is possible, but very rare," said Professor Dumbledore. "There are, of course, restrictions that we would have to place in order to preserve our secret. For example, you cannot use your magic against others, obviously, but especially Muggles because they have no magic of their own and result in a breach of the International Statute of Secrecy. Of course, there are exceptions, such as if you are defending yourself, or saving a life, but it still leads to a lot of legal issues."
"How do they catch those people?" Tom asked. "I mean, if I meet a stronger wizard, say, and I don't know that much magic yet…"
"The Ministry of Magic, our government, keeps tabs on the magic being performed."
"Like, spying?" Tom asked, not having to fake his rather disturbed look..
"Not quite. You have to understand, magic is just energy. When magic is performed, it can be detected, just like, say, a radio signal, I believe? In any event, there are ways of recording and evaluating these situations. There are law records, if you want to spend time looking that up."
One thing he's not telling you: they can only tell that magic has been cast, and not who did it. Pretty stupid, I know.
Wait – so if another wizard did magic inside this orphanage…
They'd think it was you, because this is "your" zone.
What? That's stupid!
Well, that means if you go to someone else's house and did magic…they also can't catch you. Or, if you just move out of your own zone into someone else's zone, I guess.
"Oh, okay! Thank you, sir!" Tom gushed.
Ugh. I think I'm going to be sick.
"Well, if that's all," Dumbledore said kindly, "tomorrow I will be returning to take you to Diagon Alley to get your school supplies."
"You're coming with me?" Tom blurted out.
Accept his help! You're just an average kid with no evil aspirations in you whatsoever! Jerry snapped.
"Sorry," Tom added hastily. "It's just – it's just – well, I've done things alone most of the time before, so, you know. The adults here don't have a lot of time because there's so many of us, so I wasn't really expecting you to come back. But if you can come with me, that would be great."
Jerry was laughing his head off.
"That is understandable," said Professor Dumbledore.
"One last question," Tom said. "Is this really real? Or am I just dreaming?"
"That would be a very deep philosophical question that people have been trying to answer for millenia," Dumbledore said. "But, for our purposes right now – yes, this is real." With that, he tipped his eccentricly patterned hat, and disappeared out the door.
Tom watched him leave, and then let out a breath that he hadn't known he had been holding.
Well. That was...interesting.
Oh, you haven't even seen the start of it yet.