Chapter 8

In the previous chapter:

"Very well. Then where should I begin. I guess it all started when I first met the one wizard known as Albus Dumbledore."

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An eleven-year-old Tom Riddle was sitting on his scruffy bed, staring at the strange old man in front of him. The thing he had noticed first about the aged man was the long white beard and the sparkling blue eyes that were hidden behind a pair of glasses. Secondly he noticed the man's clothes, a strange kind of purple dress with bright green stars on it and instantly decided that the man either had a horrible sense of fashion or simply was colour-blind. 'What a strange guy…' he thought and stared harder at the man.

"If you're here to adopt me, I'm not sure that they'll approve. You look kind of too old to me."

The man chuckled and the twinkle in his eyes increased.

"No, no young Mr Riddle. I'm not here to adopt you. I am here to tell you something of great importance."

The young boy frowned slightly, trying hard to guess what important things the stranger could have to tell him.

"You see Mr Riddle, I am Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and you my boy, is a wizard."

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Taking a deep breath Tom leant back into the chair and closed his eyes tiredly. He had only begun telling his story and already it was somewhat painful to remember the first meeting with the man he had respected and looked up to until the old fool had shown his true colours and betrayed him. Opening his eyes he gazed at the others in the room and smiled gently.

"This is the earliest memory I have of Dumbledore and it's the only thing I remember clearly of our first meeting. The rest is somewhat fuzzy."

Shaking his head, he drew a hand through his hair, trying to calm himself.

"What do you mean with 'the only thing you remember clearly'?"

Tom looked up and met Harry's green eyes, marvelled at how green they were. Why hadn't he noticed before?

"I simply don't remember more, I believe that he already might have begun with his manipulations then. But let me continue my story now."

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An eleven-year-old Tom Riddle dressed in school-robes with the Slytherin crest on it, held a letter from Gringotts in his hands. The letter told him of his heritage and inheritance. He was the heir to one of the school's founders! At first a big smile broke out on his face, but then it turned into a frown. He was the heir of Salazar Slytherin, a bad wizard with one of the darkest reputations through wizarding history. Did it mean that he was bad to? With the letter clasped in his hands he ran for the Headmasters office hoping for some answers. When he stopped in front of the statue it slid aside almost immediately, as if Dumbledore knew that he was there. Taking a deep breath he entered the moving stairwell and rode up to the office. When the staircase stopped moving Tom carefully moved towards the door in front of him and knocked before he entered.

"Good evening Mr Riddle. Is there a reason as to why you have come to see me?" Dumbledore asked and leant forwards while stretching out a small bowl with yellow candies in it.

"Lemondrop?"

Hiding his irritation, Tom cleared his throat.

"No thank you Headmaster. But yes, I have a reason as to why I came here. I hoped that you… that you perhaps could answer a question for me."

The headmaster leant back again in his chair and watched the young man in front of him. While only being eleven years old, Tom Riddle had a look in his eyes that were far older and it unnerved him. While Dumbledore could see great potential for good in the child, he could also see the great potential for evil and to top it all, the boy was powerful.

"Hm, yes I'll answer your question if I can. Please have a seat." The headmaster said while waving his wand, conjuring up a comfy-looking chair.

Tom nodded and seated himself carefully. Suddenly he was hesitant to tell the older wizard of his discovery. But then he shook himself and looked up.

"Headmaster, I was wondering… do you believe that someone can be inheritedly evil?" he asked in a small voice suddenly yet again unsure of himself.

"Hm… why do you ask this child?"

Tom bit his lip and looked down onto the carpet.

"I got a letter from Gringotts that told me that I am the heir of… someone" he whispered softly.

There was a silence resting in the office for a moment before it was broken.

"And this someone… is a person who is considered evil?" Dumbledore asked with a strange light in his eyes.

Unable to answer Tom merely nodded and clenched his hands in the fabric of his robes.

"I see. Well, there is no easy way to answer this question of yours. But... I believe that everyone has a choice, a chance to choose what to become. Nothing is determined my boy. You simply have to choose which road you'll take."

A long moment passed in silence yet again before Tom slowly rose from the chair.

"I see. Thank you Headmaster, for taking time to answer my question. Goodnight professor." Tom said softly with a small smile on his face.

"Goodnight Mr Riddle." Dumbledore said and watched as the boy turned to leave the room. But before the boy left he asked one last question.

"This ancestor of yours… he wouldn't be our own founder Salazar Slytherin?"

The tensing of the child's body was all the answer the ancient wizard needed.

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Tom took a deep breath before closing his eyes and leaning back into his chair.

"After that, I don't remember getting back to bed. I don't remember much from the rest of my first year. In fact, I only remember my fifth year clearly, the rest is somewhat hazy, as if I saw everything through someone else's eyes."

Here Tom was interrupted by Harry who suddenly gasped.

"Your fifth year? That's the year when you opened the Chamber of Secrets!"

Tom nodded with a tight smile on his lips and pain evident in his eyes.

"Yes, it was the year when The Chamber of Secrets was opened.