Disclaimer: Not mine.

This was written for the Hogwarts Online Forum. Prompt given: Evil

Blood Wins Out

Tom Riddle sat in the back of class, his head resting on his hand as he looked out the window daydreaming. He hated history, hated that they expected him to learn dates and names of long dead Kings and Queens. He hated that the teachers wrote notes in red ink on the top of his papers, informing him that he was too lazy and needed to apply himself to his studies and to stop dreaming.

He hated the room he lived in even more. The other boys shared a room, sometimes with as many as three others. He, however, slept and studied apart from them, separated in more ways than just the private room the teachers said he should be grateful to have. In the dinning hall, he sat alone, not by choice, but by the Headmistress' insistence that he was disruptive to the other students.

"You are a bully and a thief. Even your own blood has not tried to find you," Headmistress Collins had raged. "You, young man, will learn your place if you are to stay here." Pulling a wooden ruler out of her top drawer, she had pointed to a chair and told Tom to ready for his punishment.

He never cried when she hit him, be it across the skin on his open palm, or harder as she hit his backside, all the while telling him it was his fault, he refused to give in. He schooled his face not to show any emotion and sometimes bit clear though the inside of his lip to stop from crying, knowing that it would anger her even more.

During exercise time, while the other kids were giggling as their swings went higher, or seeing who could kick the ball the farthest, he sat on the ground, looking out of the gate, examining the faces of the passersby. He played a game, seeing if he could tell who would stop to look into the playground as they walked by. Most pretended not to notice the orphanage, as if in the seeing they would be held responsible for the welfare of the unwanted waifs within its walls.

He found if he concentrated really hard he could almost make them stop; almost see him when they turned their eyes to the playground kept behind the iron gate. He smiled at that, that they would do his bidding and look into the yard, but still not look at the bully and the thief that sat on the ground just inside the gate.

At Christmas time, there was always an invitation to one of the big houses north of the city, where they were fed on plates painted with bright pictures and served drinks in real glasses. Tom liked to see the fine linens on the tables and the clothes that the host wore and would inspect each picture that hung on the walls as he roamed the rooms, unattended and forgotten.

"You shouldn't be up here by yourself." A tall woman in a white dress that fell all the way to the floor said kindly.

"I was just looking," he replied evenly, lifting his chin in defiance.

"I see," she said with a smirk at his audacity. "What is it you want to see?"

"I have never seen a real house, not that real people live in."

"Oh." She looked around the room he was in uncomfortably, for the first time aware that these children had been truly forgotten. "Would you like me to show you?"

"Yes, Madam," he said stiffly. "If you are allowed."

"Allowed? It is my home, of course I am allowed." She laughed and held out her hand to him, tugging him down the halls and pointing out the rooms as they passed them, occasionally opening a door so he may look inside.

"Is this your son's room?" He asked seeing toys littered on the floor and spilling off shelves.

"It was," she said with a sigh. "We lost him last year. Infantile paralysis, it was a terrible thing."

"You could get a new one at the orphanage. It is wasteful not to have someone use these things," he said, not meeting her eyes.

"There is that," she laughed sure and easy, pulling him out of the room and closing the door. "I wanted to, did you know that?"

"No," he said slowly.

"Then don't mention it to any of the others." She waited until she saw his nod and squeezed his hand warmly. "Maybe we can come to visit."

Twice Tom saw the woman and her husband walk into the yard. Twice she looked at him and smiled, pointing him out to her husband who smiled as well. He didn't have to concentrate to make her turn her head in the dinning room, to slow her step, to seek him out among the children. She seemed to sense where he was, as immediately her eyes would find his and he would see her face soften.

One day as he sat watching the pavement, seeking people's thoughts and making them stop, as had quickly become his favourite game. He saw the woman and her husband come out of the front door with a boy about his age between them. A new boy, one that had only recently come, now dared to take his place. He scowled at them, pushed his way between them, angrily yanking the door open, running to his room and rushing to the window where he could look down at the new family. He knew he would stay and the other boy would go and no matter how much he didn't want it to hurt, he still felt his chest ache as he watched.

"Tom," Headmistress Collin stood frowning at him. "That little show of temper you just demonstrated on the step was completely uncalled for."

"They were mine." Tom said harshly, still watching from the window as the woman that had worn the long white dress walked away, another's hand tucked in her own.

"Nonsense," Collins sighed. "You come from bad- blood and they wanted someone from a better class. Now, for your little display you will miss dinner tonight and think about your actions young man, and if you ever let your temper get the better of you again, it will be another trip to my office."

Tom turned slowly and watched her back as she walked out of his room, pulling the door closed behind her. Holding his arm to the window, he examined the bluish veins running under his left forearm. Contemplating what the Headmistress had said, he thought of the boy that had left with the couple as he picked up a letter opener form his desk and raked it across his flesh, watching as his blood welled and slipped quietly to the floor. His frown deepened as he brought his arm to his mouth and tasted his blood, salty and warm, sweet and coppery, and wondered how the other boy's was different.

Tomorrow, he thought, he would find a new game to play and stop sitting at the gate waiting and watching for someone who would never come. Yes, tomorrow he would find a new game.