Author's Note: Reading this story may cause severe mental scarring. As a matter of fact, it probably will. You're welcome? If you're looking to read something a bit more serious along the same vein, see Unrequited.
It isn't his fault. It was obvious the kid was looking for trouble from the first. Had been at or near the center of it all his life if the stories from the drunk woman could be believed. Yet, even that knowledge couldn't make Albus Dumbledore feel better about what he wanted to do. What he'd done before and probably would again. This time, though, there might be interesting consequences. The kind that probably wouldn't end with just a quick Obliviation and visit to St. Mungo's for that strange burning sensation.
Regardless of where his wholly inappropriate thoughts were taking him, it was far too soon to start thinking of the consequences. The boy had known he was a wizard for approximately five minutes and already Albus could see the wheels turning in his head. And, damn him, it was pretty interesting to eavesdrop on the flow of thoughts through the eleven-year-old's mind. Especially when he brazenly wondered what the professor was wearing beneath his plum velvet suit.
Nothing. Nothing under the suit and nothing could make Dumbledore act on his natural instincts when the boy was giving him that look far before he was ready to put actions behind his thoughts. Though if he wasn't careful where he was directing that stare—
"How do I get on the platform?" Tom asked, interrupting Dumbledore's thoughts. He answered the boy's question, gave him money for school supplies, directions to Diagon Alley and a few other instructions before taking his leave. And not a moment too soon.
It was rare to find a child who took such an immediate interest in someone older—especially a child of that age and an adult of his—but Albus put it down to the child's fascination with the world he had just become a part of. His own considerable charm was a part of the equation, but that wasn't something he could reign in. He would just have to wait. See if the child's quick and dirty thoughts turned into something he could work with.
Or if he'd have to get his head examined along with everything else on his next doctor's visit. Now that he thought of it, that might be a good idea anyway. What had possessed him to pull out this suit in the middle of August? Magic had made a number of innovations in medicine, but a permanent cure for chafing hadn't made any inventor's list of priorities yet. He would take care of it soon. Albus smiled back at the dark-haired man watching him walk from across the street. Or he would take care of it.
This was ridiculous. It had taken Albus three requests—yes, requests—to get Riddle into his office for a friendly little chat. Why? Because the little monster had become so popular there was practically a line of worshippers starting at the doorway of his dorm room. Even Headmaster Dippet took a private lunch with the child twice a week. And Tom was reveling in it. Riddle's thoughts of just what he could command his new minions to do had made the Transfiguration professor blush. He hadn't been that bold until he was at least fourteen; even then it had taken half a bottle of Old Ogden's spiked with Euphoria Elixir to keep him from chickening out.
But finally, he'd earned an audience with the new rising star of Slytherin. Much good as it would do, Albus thought as he took in the sneering preteen sitting in his guest chair. Though it was tempting, he resisted the urge to probe the child's mind to find out why he was especially cocky today—there was only so much shock a man his age could take in one day. Finding out what Dolohov was thinking about when he snuck off to the bathroom during class was enough trauma for one day. He had no wish for young Riddle to add to it.
"Did you want me for something?" Tom asked, his voice silky.
Albus nearly choked. The way he'd asked that begged to be answered in the same smarmy, obnoxious way, but getting fired was also not on Dumbledore's agenda for the day. What was then? Why had he decided to put himself through the torture of attempting to befriend another of the little snot-nosed Slytherin brats when his attempts to get to them early hadn't been entirely successful in the past?
Gellert, his traitorous mind supplied. He forced the thought away. Not everyone had the potential to turn perfectly good ideas into a plot to control Muggles as easily as one would charm a teapot. Not everyone found the idea of using excessive means for control not only necessary, but a mild turn-on. And not everyone had the nerve to look at Albus Dumbledore like he had his number, was squeezing it in his fist and would use it against him in a way he wasn't entirely sure he would hate.
It was the attitude, wasn't it? Dumbledore thought as he sat behind his desk. It certainly wasn't the boy himself. He was entirely too young—Azkaban was not a place for one of the most brilliant wizards Hogwarts had ever seen—far too sure of himself, and just a bit too…something. Something about the boy was off. Maybe that was it, then. Albus had always been drawn to all kinds of damage. Like calls to like, right? That would explain his "friendships" with Elphias Doge, Pollux Black and that one weekend with Cornelius Fudge that had left the men unable to look each other in the eyes for a few months. If Albus wasn't mistaken, Fudge was still in denial that anything had happened.
"I just wanted to see how you were getting on," Dumbledore said. He eyed the boy over his half-moon glasses. With barely an effort, the words "banana" and "swallow" flashed through his brain from Riddle's thoughts. He closed the connection quickly. Albus shifted uncomfortably and began to blush before he realized the boy may merely be hungry. From his expression, it was hard to tell exactly what for.
"I'm fine." Riddle shrugged. "I have yet to find someone who doesn't like me once they come to know me. I've gotten to know quite a few people. Much better than I thought I would given the time I've been here." Tom finished his statement with a small smile and Albus shifted again.
It was official. This was all in his own dirty old man mind. I really ought to get out this weekend. Or tonight, Albus thought. If his Wednesday afternoon thoughts were this bad, he wouldn't make it through walking his Six Year students through transfiguring thick wooden stakes into brass door knobs if all he could think about was knob polishing as he stood in the front of the classroom.
"Have you pulled anything out recently?" Albus blinked hard at the question. "Records that might have information about my parents?" Tom elaborated. He shrugged again. "I know we didn't discuss it, but when we met I got the impression you were just as curious as I was."
"I confess, I was and still am a bit curious about your parentage, but it never occurred to me to conduct a search of the school's records," Albus said. "We are only notified when a child of magical birth is slated to attend the school. Very little information is passed on to us about the parents, save for an address if the child is Muggle-born and a school official has to visit."
"So, you have my father's address?"
"I may have gotten an owl from the Ministry when you were born," Dumbledore answered. He gestured around the room at the large number of shelves filled with books and notebooks full of documents. "It may take me a little while to find the information, if it is even still accurate. I would think your caretaker at the orphanage had done everything she could to see that you had no other relatives before keeping you."
At that statement, Tom's thoughts turned so dark Dumbledore began to reach for the bottle of firewhiskey in the top drawer of his desk before he remembered himself. Not in the middle of the day again. Then he reminded himself not to read the child's thoughts without provocation and focused instead on the dark gaze boring into his. As unsettling as ever.
"I am sure she did what she felt was best," Tom said shortly. "I would just like to know if I…"
'If you're Pureblood like the rest of your house," Dumbledore filled in. The child nodded. "You know your blood status bears about as much importance as the cost of your robes."
This was met with an icy stare.
Dumbledore frowned. "I just meant that neither mean very much if you don't have the brain power or ability to make yourself stand out."
"Perhaps you're right," Tom said. He stood from the guest chair and stretched. "I seem to have made an impression on a number of people and I've just gotten started." He began walking towards the door and stopped, glancing at the professor over his shoulder. "I know we haven't spoken outside of class much, but I do hope you'll let me come to you if I need anything."
Dumbledore nodded, but said nothing. His mouth had gone dry and his thoughts had gone into the trash bin again, against his now shaky will. Flashing one last small smile, Riddle escaped the Transfiguration professor's office, leaving him to his thoughts. Albus quickly locked the door. With these kinds of thoughts, it was probably for the best.