A/N: :3 I just discovered a Visual Kei band called Versailles, which has a guy in their group that looks like he's cosplaying as Lestat. . It's in direct competition against some Indie group called Versailles who got bitchy over the Japanese band getting all the searches and they didn't, so they forced copyright on their band name and bitched that VersaillesJP stole their name.

I'm not joking either. Look at Fandomwank. com to see it.

Chapter Eleven

A lot of time passed since that year. Some students left, others moved up in their years. Muriel Lomeswitch was a third year this year and Bill Weasley moved on to his fifth year. Amber Elric was a whopping four years old and still as small as ever, something that Tom liked to remark about in comparison to her grandfather. "Shut it," grunted Edward, "She's a girl, so she's supposed to be small."

"True," said Tom. He eyed the little girl looking up at him with those gold eyes of hers. He could still see those eyes in the baby that forced him into the gate of Truth. He shuddered slightly and moved away, coughing to cover up the sudden chill up his spine. Edward, however, knew better and smirked a bit.

"You have to watch her tonight, Tom," said Edward, his grin growing wider.

Tom snapped around and glared at Edward. "Pardon? I thought you said I had to watch your little brat tonight."

"I did and she's not a brat… per se," said Edward, glaring back somewhat. "I'm going out with Winry and we would like to be alone. So… YOU get to watch Amber," he said, smiling brightly at Tom.

"And what gives you the right to order me around to watch your granddaughter, Edward?" said Tom coolly.

"Every right," said Edward as he picked up Amber, "Because you're the only one left to watch her!" With a bright smile at him, Tom was landed with holding Amber while Edward merrily walked off whistling. "And make sure you give her a bath!" shouted Edward from over his shoulder before he fully skipped off.

"And that man dares to claim he's too old to do certain things?" Tom snorted and looked to the small girl in his arms, who was playing with his hair. He winced when she pulled a little bit at a lock of his hair and grabbed her hand. "That hurts."

"Sorry, Mr. Riddle," she said. "Mr. Riddle… you have pretty hair."

Tom's brain stopped at the term "pretty" being used to describe his hair. Honestly, he was a very picky fellow when it came to his appearance, preferring to look immaculate and clean. However, he had never had the term "pretty" used to describe any part of him what so ever.

"Thank you… I think." He grunted and looked to Amber Elric for a moment before sighing and walking off with her. "Fine, why don't we go into the forest so I can get some peace?"

Amber smiled at him brightly, looking similar to a female version of Edward. It made Tom want to toss her away from him. "Shrimpa says the forest is a scary place and I'm not allowed to go into it, but grandma says it's okay if someone is with you!"

Tom frowned faintly and grunted, looking away. "Fine, just don't tell your grandfather where you've been. I'd rather not have that little man shouting an unintelligible tirade at me and waste five minutes of my life, nor would I like your grandmother to wield that wrench of hers at me a second time."

Amber giggled and wrapped her small arms around his neck. "Okay."

And so, it went as that. Tom took Amber into the forest, her riding along on his arm and he looking mildly irritated that he had to take care of a child. He didn't like children much, since they often just cried and demanded things of others. In fact, he really just didn't like anyone, honestly. He liked his solitude and saw no purpose in having to socialize when the greater majority of people couldn't even hope to be on par with his own intelligence.

He sat down with Amber on the edge of the forest, choosing not to go too far into the darkness in case various creatures wished to skewer him or slice him to bits. Amber looked around avidly and asked various questions constantly.

"What is this?"

"That's a beetle. Don't touch it."

"It just sprayed something nasty."

"I said don't touch it."

"I didn't!"

"Using a stick to touch it is the same as touching it, Miss Elric."

It went on for ages like that, her asking what something was and Tom answering, then Amber poking it with a stick to make it move and Tom having to tell her to stop poking at it. If it weren't for the fact that he had to keep talking to her, he might have enjoyed having her around, because she did seem to genuinely want to know about the things she was seeing in the forest. That showed she was capable of a lot of intelligence. Now, if only she would stop with poking the various things she was inquiring about with that little stick of hers!

"Mr. Riddle," said Amber after having gone silent for a total of five minutes, "Why aren't you married?"

Tom grunted and looked to Amber. "Precocious little girl, aren't you."

Amber just continued to look up at him. "Shrimpa says it's because you hate everyone."

"I do," said Tom.

"But, you don't hate me, do you?" asked Amber, her eyes growing bigger as she looked up at him.

Tom stared at her for a moment and groaned, rubbing his face before ruffling his black hair. After a while, he gave up and sighed. "No, I don't hate you."

Amber beamed at him. "Good! Because I like Mr. Riddle, too!" she said.

Tom sighed and pulled up one of his knees to rest his arm across. She went about poking at various things again as the light dimmed in the forest; the sun setting with various hues of pink and orange and lilac. Tom pulled out the old, tarnished, silver watch from his pocket and flipped it open to look at the time. Amber looked at it with those big eyes of her and tried to touch it, but Tom moved it away from her small hands.

"Shrimpa has a watch like that!" said Amber excitedly.

"I found it lying about in the dirt," said Tom. "Some time around the time I found your 'shrimpa's' watch is when I found this one."

This was a lie. Tom had found the watch lying about all right, but he had found it lying about where Donovan had been lying when Tom had come back to fetch him along with Mulciber. Unfortunately, that man had disappeared somehow and that raven with him. The watch was something of a curiosity to him. It was unlike anything he had ever seen before, except the one that Edward kept on him all the time. The difference, however, was that Edward's had an inscription on the inside and an inscription on the back. This one only had an inscription on the back of "Flame".

He decided that one day he might inquire to Edward about it, but for the moment he was going to keep it on him. He flipped the watch closed and put it back before standing and picking Amber up. "Time for dinner," he said. Amber smiled brightly at him as he turned and walked toward the castle

Muriel Lomeswitch was running from the hut that Hagrid lived in as quickly as she could. Tom watched her and raised his eyebrows before heading over to catch up with her. Amber blinked and hugged Tom as they made the detour. "Miss Lomeswitch, I presume," he said loudly.

Muriel squeaked and looked around. She was a small, mousy haired girl when she was a first year and now she was a small, even mousier haired girl as a third year. He expected she didn't get many boys clambering after her attention. Though, if he looked at her rightly, she wasn't terrible looking, just fat with long hair the color of a field mouse. When he thought fat, however, one could argue his definition of fat was a bit broad. The girl was developing a bit early with her hips growing a bit wider than the other girls already.

Muriel blushed heavily as she looked down at her feet. "U-um," she started, "I was talking to Mr. Hagrid, sir."

"Well, at least I didn't have to ask you what you were doing. Is this a normal thing for you; to skitter about trying to avoid others?" he asked.

"U-um." She looked around as if for a quick exit. He almost felt sorry for her. "Professor Riddle, I was just talking to Mr. Hagrid about… boys."

"Boys?" Tom was intrigued anyone would think Hagrid was good about giving advice on anything, but most especially on boys.

"Yes, sir," she mumbled. "I.. I wanted to know if it was normal… for boys to pick on me because I…" She looked as though she was having trouble saying what she wanted until she spat out, "I don't look pretty."

"Of course you don't. You're fat and your hair looks like a mouse's, but that doesn't mean you should be asking advice from that weirdy," said Tom. Muriel looked up at Tom finally and she looked crushed. Her pale gray eyes grew watery from tears and her cheeks and nose grew red. "Go along now. Buck up and forget what the boys say if it bothers you."

"I hate you!" she screamed and ran off.

Amber blinked and looked at Tom quizzically. Tom snorted and walked on toward the castle as Muriel ran as fast as she could away from him. When he made it to the teacher's table at dinner, he was greeted by McGonagall slapping him and taking Amber to sit down with.

"Pardon me, Minerva, but I'm taking care of that child, thanks," said Tom, unphased.

"I'll feed her, thank you," said McGonagall swiftly.

Tom snorted and eyed her back for a moment as she attempted to sit with Amber on her lap. "I'm sure she can feed herself now, thanks." McGonagall shot him a sharp look as she went about sitting down again. "Is this about that girl Muriel Lomeswitch?" She shot him a sharp look once more, her cheeks flushed and those dark eyes of hers very angry. "Ah, right on the spot I see."

"You could be more tactful, Tom," she snapped.

He rolled his eyes and took Amber from McGonagall before sitting her down in a chair next to him. Minerva huffed and moved closer to Tom as though to keep an eye on him. "If you're worried I'm going to somehow pass on my own bluntness to this girl, I'm afraid you are entirely too late for that. She gets it entirely from her own grandfather, I assure you."

McGonagall grunted and looked away. "A teacher needs to be more tactful with talking to a student. You're supposed to set an example."

"And I told her the truth. She's fat and mousey and no boy is going to have her unless he's a pervert," said Tom.

"Says you," snapped McGonagall. "And for you information, she is NOT fat. Zelda Jones in Slytherin is FAT. Muriel is an early bloomer."

"Indeed, you seem to have many girls here that could qualify for fat. Are you going to snap and slap me for telling them so every time?" asked Tom, smirking faintly when McGonagall glared at him. "By the time she grows into womanhood, Muriel's ass will be the same width as a car's." He grunted when McGonagall kicked him sharply on the ankle.

"You don't know that, Tom. After all, she is still growing." He snorted and she sighed, rubbing her temples. "Tom, for the sake of my sanity, please do be more tactful when speaking with the children, particularly the girls. I don't wish to have another come to me saying that you told them that they were fat and ugly, especially when they're clearly not and a diet would only make them sick."

"That's because not all of them are as pleasant to look upon and speak to as you are, Minerva," he said, smirking faintly. She huffed and looked away from him. "Fine, I'll not do it again. Will that please you, Minerva?"

McGonagall seemed to consider it a moment before nodding. "All right," she said slowly, "But, I also want you to apologize to Miss Lomeswitch as well as promising that you'll at least keep quiet the next time one of the girls says something about how others are picking on them about their appearance."

"Staying quiet I can do," said Tom. He snorted and went back to eating, putting a hand on Amber's hair and ruffling it a little affectionately. "And I'll apologize… when I feel like it."

McGonagall sighed and shook her head. "Fine, whatever. I'm tired of trying to negotiate with you."

"Same with me," said Tom.

Bath time was not a pleasant thought. First, it made him feel somewhat odd to have to handle a girl child in the bath. He wasn't her relative in any way, but a teacher who happened to be babysitting her. However, likely dealing with bathing a little girl couldn't possibly be any worse than dealing with a little boy in the bath.

He was wrong.

It started off fine, him drawing a bath for her while she undressed and then he brought out the soap and what not, including what looked like a little rubber duck with a single feather sticking right out of its head and a painted face that looked very irritated. In fact, Tom could safely say the duck reminded him of Edward.

He washed her hair as she played with the duck, giggling as the duck squeaked and bobbed around in the water. Then, she splashed the water really hard just for the fun of it. Tom jumped as he was hit with the splash, giving way to uncontrolled giggling from Amber. Tom sighed and wiped off his face to continue washing her, handing to her a washcloth to wash parts of herself as well while he got her back. Instead, she splashed him again, harder this time.

Tom decided some pay back was in order and splashed Amber back. She simply squealed with delight and started splashing him harder and trying get him as wet as he could possibly ever want. By the time it was over, he was soaked through and looking much like a wet cat while she had finished her bath by herself and climbed out of the tub slowly to get her a towel. This only resulted in her slipping and landing on her butt, however.

As she cried, Tom sighed and made his way over to her, picking her up and wrapping her up in a towel before setting her down in front of his fireplace. "Sit there and dry off. I'll make you some hot chocolate," he said. She sniffled and nodded before he turned and left to do just that. When he came back, she was dry enough, but still wrapped in that wet towel, so he picked out her pajamas and took the towel. "Here. Wear this. It's clean and it's dry, which is more than I can say for this towel."

Amber giggled and nodded before starting to put the pajamas on, with some help from him. She was definitely on the verge of doing things on her own, in his opinion. Soon, she wouldn't need help from anyone to bathe herself, most especially from an old teacher such as him. He gave her the hot chocolate and let her sip it while he sat down beside her. He looked around and summoned a book to his hands that he opened and pointed to a story. "Would you like me to tell you a story?" he asked.

She nodded quickly and he did as he had asked her; reading a story from the book he had summoned, which was a book of old fairy tales complete with the gore still left in them. When he was toward the end of Snow White, he found that Amber was asleep against him. He sighed and put the book down before picking her up and walking out of his chambers and his office toward Edward and Winry's chambers. She clung to him with those little hands of hers gripping tightly to his fresh, dry shirt.

It took a great deal of energy to attempt to pry those little hands from his shirt. He finally decided that if she wasn't going to let go of it, he might as well just lay down with her on Edward and Winry's sofa until they came back to pull her off of him with hopefully more results than he had accomplished.

Edward glared at Tom. He was sleeping on the couch, lying on his back with Amber sleeping on his chest. Amber had fully dug herself in like a very content house cat and didn't seem too ready to let go of Tom's shirt any time soon.

Winry giggled, trying to hide her smile behind a hand. "Perhaps we should wake him, Ed," she said.

"Damn right we need to wake him," grunted Edward, "He's sleeping with Amber there."

"She's just a little girl, Ed, and you did leave her with him to take care of. There's nothing behind it and if there was, then it wouldn't be you that would hurt the bastard if he had done anything other than what a normal person would with a small child." Edward cringed slightly at Winry and sighed.

"Fine." With that, Edward gently shook Tom's shoulder to wake him. "Riddle. Hey, Riddle. Wake up."

"I'm awake, thank you," said Tom, though he didn't look it. He opened his eyes and he looked very irritated to have been awoken from his precious sleep. "Get her off me. I couldn't put her to bed."

"You did fine, Tom," said Winry, smiling.

Tom rolled his bloodshot eyes and attempted to lift Amber off him. She was still gripping onto his shirt and didn't seem ready to let go. He sighed and looked to a rather amused Edward and Winry. "Don't just sit there sniggering at me," he snapped, "Get her off."

The combined efforts of Tom, Edward and Winry didn't seem able to pry the small hands of Amber off of Tom's shirt. He finally just decided to that off his shirt and let the girl have it, standing shirtless in Edward and Winry's sitting room.

"We'll get it to you in the morning," said Winry, smiling at him. He snorted and shook his head, heading for the door.

"Let her keep it. I can get another. I don't care," he said and walked out.

Edward grunted and rolled his eyes before looking to Amber asleep inside Tom's shirt like it was a blanket. "Hopefully she'll grow out of that."

"Ed," said Winry. She sighed and put a hand on his shoulder and kissed him on his cheek. "Come on. Let's put her to bed and go to bed ourselves." Then, she winked at him before heading over to Amber and picking her up, walking off with a little wiggle of her hips at Edward and disappearing quickly into the room that they gave Amber. Edward smirked and laughed a little to himself before following.

"Ready or not, here I come," he said.