Author's Notes: I haven't written any Tom/Danielle in a while, so I hope that it's alright! MandaPandaAR requested this on my LiveJournal, but I thought that I should post it here. This obviously ties into Riddles in the Dark: Tom and I.


Dresses

The air captured within the orphanage was warm that afternoon, and it seeped into every crevice despite the fact that it did not move. In the hours before, it had seemed to grow heavier and heavier, and now it weighed down upon me as though it was a burden I had to bear.

I paused for a moment, holding my hands languidly before me. Soap dripped from my fingers and onto the floor, for the heat caused my head to throb, robbing me of the care I might have possessed in regards to the dishes that I was washing.

I had not seen Tom since that morning, at which time he had disappeared on an errand for the Madam. I could feel his absence as much as I could have felt his presence, for he was always certain to be near me. With him not there, I felt careless, and I felt that I could justify this carelessness.

I did not know for how long I stood there, yet after a considerable length of time had passed, I unfroze myself. Something had jarred me from my trance; there was a slight pressure upon my leg for a moment, and then it was gone.

I glanced downward. The simple dress which I wore was marred, to my astonishment, with a great black streak. I had never cared for the garment, as I did not delight in clothing as girls the same age as I constantly did. It struck me as odd, however, that I could not remember where and whence the streak had come. It had not been there before, I knew. Almost as if by magic, it had appeared; yet Tom was most obviously far away, and he alone at the orphanage could perform…

Suddenly, my gaze rose and I once more stopped, fixing my eyes upon the tree that was just outside of the window. A wisp of black was disappearing behind it, quickly yet not too quickly, so that I recognized it immediately as the sleeve of a familiar robe.

I abandoned my post in the kitchen and slipped out through the door, closing it soundlessly behind me. I winced as I traversed across the coarse grass, for my feet were bare—and soft, as I no longer felt any desire to gallivant outside under the summer sun.

When I neared the tree, Tom stepped from behind it, dressed in his Hogwarts robes. He was clutching a brown parcel in one hand and his wand in the other. A pleased look flitted onto his features, lightening his countenance.

"Danielle," he greeted, his voice smooth. In an instant, his wand disappeared into his pocket.

Though I felt my heart lifting as I looked upon him, I could not help but frown.

"You have ruined my dress," I accused, the streak once more catching my eye. I did not think to inquire about what he himself wore, or why he seemed to be hiding.

He followed my gaze and smirked.

"It was my impression that you would not mind," said he, and I bit my lip. Of course his words would ring with truth.

"I am not terribly fond of it," I admitted, "though you know I do not have many others."

He waved his hand. "Do not worry about such things."

I nearly smiled in spite of myself. "What is it that you are planning, Tom?"

"I have a gift for you," he told me.

"Another?"

Tom raised his brows nigh in amusement. "Have I spoiled you so much that you are no longer willing to accept gifts from me?" He did not wait for my response. "Do not fret, Danielle. What I have for you was already yours. It is not truly mine to bequeath to you."

He took my hand in his and closed my fingers around a corner of the parcel which he had previously held. It was light in my grasp, and I regarded it curiously. I could not imagine what it contained.

With little prompting, I tore at the brown paper, which nearly came apart in my hands out of its own accord. Peaking out from within was a snatch of faded grey material—a grey that was almost periwinkle in color. I furrowed my brow and glanced at Tom, who nodded.

After another moment had passed, the paper fell to the ground and a long dress was draped across my arms. I inspected it for a beat with confusion, for it looked old and worn. Yet then I held it out before me, clutching the sleeves between my fingers.

"Tom!" I gasped, nearly dropping that which he had given me. "This dress was my mother's!"

I flew to him and his embrace, the dress pressed between us.

"Thank you," I murmured at length.

He placed his lips upon the top of my head in a kiss. "I would obtain the world for you, Danielle."