Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
By Silver Sailor Ganymede
It was snowing again. Not that unusual an event in northern Scotland in the middle of winter, Tom thought, but still something that had to be observed. The thick torrents of falling snow would act as a deterrent to most students, who'd prefer to watch the New Year's firework display from indoors.
The fireworks had been another of Professor Kettleburn's idiotic ideas. Luckily Tom had never had the man himself, though by all accounts Care of Magical Creatures was certainly a subject to miss if one wanted to retain all one's limbs – or one's life, for that matter.
Personally Tom didn't see the point of fireworks; they were just another stupid muggle tradition, and he couldn't understand for the life of him why his housemates, all of whom were supposedly purebloods, were getting so excited about them.
"I'm more of a pureblood than any of those fools," Tom muttered under his breath as he continued trudging through the snow towards the Great Lake. "Regardless of what the say, I'm more of a wizard than they'll ever be."
He scowled at the snow ahead of him as he recalled Abraxas Malfoy's taunts earlier this week. The seventh year was supposed to be the head boy, but evidently he didn't seem to realise that that meant that he should prevent first years been sneered at rather than being the origin of such snide jibes.
"You're obviously a mudblood," Abraxas had drawled. "After all, what self-respecting wizard has ever had the name Riddle? Filthy muggle-spawn."
Tom grit his teeth and clenched his fists at the mere memory of it. He'd been enduring comments of that nature ever-since he'd started at Hogwarts in September; evidently this was one thing that Professor Dumbledore had conveniently forgotten to mention to him when he visited him for the first time that summer. He'd show them all – mudblood indeed. He'd invent a curse to turn Malfoy's blood into actual mud, and who'd be the true mudblood then? Who'd be laughing then?
Soon Tom reached the lake. He only knew this after having spotted one of the willow trees that lay on the lake's banks; the ground was covered in such heavy snow that it would have been impossible to tell land from lake.
He took the jar of fire out of his pocket, then sat underneath the willow, not bothered by the cold wind and snow in the slightest. In that place there had been far worse things to worry about than the cold. Filthy muggles.
Tom looked up at what little sky he could see through the snow and a sudden thought struck him. It was New Year's Eve, and that meant that today was his birthday. He'd been twelve for almost a whole day without even realising it. Well, he thought, what was a birthday, really? Just another day. It wasn't like anyone else cared; he'd never received so much as a 'happy birthday' from anyone in his life. Not that this bothered him, of course; to him, his birthday was just the day that his filthy muggle mother had died and left him with those people.
Tom's lip curled unpleasantly as he thought of his mother. The hideous muggle who'd tainted his wizarding blood. Even though his housemates denied there ever having been a wizard with the surname 'Riddle', Tom knew that his mother must have been the muggle one. She wouldn't have died otherwise. Wizards weren't weak; they didn't die so easily as she had.
He shook these thoughts from his mind, turning his attention to the fact that it must be nearing midnight now. Just like with birthdays, Tom didn't understand why people were so obsessed with New Year's. A number was simply a number; besides, why should people be so pleased with seeing the end of another year? To Tom, New Year's was simply a reminder of his own mortality: another year dead behind him, another year of his own life gone forever. No, he didn't see the point of New Year's at all.
So the countdown to the New Year had started. Why Kettleburn had insisted on magnifying his own voice in order to do the blasted thing, Tom had no idea.
Could they please stop with the atmosphere of suspense? It was utterly pointless, and even this far away from the castle it was giving Tom a headache.
Why did they even bother doing this? It was so muggle.
And totally pointless.
Why was he out here again? Why hadn't he just gone to bed and slept through this idiocy?
He wondered what the fireworks would be like.
"One. Happy New Year!"
Almost as soon as the words had left Kettleburn's mouth, fireworks began to light up the sky surrounding Hogwarts. The display was so garish and luminous that Tom was amazed how the muggles didn't notice it. It was testimony yet again to their obliviousness to everything that was going on around them.
Still, Tom had to admit that the firework display was rather interesting. Evidently these had been charmed – there was one in the shape of a phoenix, for example. For some reason Tom felt as though the phoenix were glaring at him with pure animosity, but then he told himself that he was being utterly ridiculous. How could a firework glare? Well, if Dumbledore had anything to do with it then maybe it could, be it was still a stupid thought.
Tom stared at the phoenix, and as it faded away he saw another image, half in the sky, half in his own mind. A skull with a serpent for a tongue. He smiled slightly; he liked that image. In the future, he would take that as his emblem, a sign to show the world that he was not the son of a muggle or a filthy, worthless mudlood, but a force to be recognised, envied and feared. He would show them all in the end, and that skull-like-image would be his, a new constellation carved into the sky in Slytherin colours while the blood of his enemies stained the ground below.
But now there were no skulls in the sky, and the snow below him was pure white. Well, Tom told himself, he had time to waste. One year may have just died behind him, but he had an eternity ahead of him, and soon they would all see just how wrong they had been about Tom Marvolo Riddle.