LbN: I wrote this a while back for a challenge. Xposted on The Chairman's profile.
Mrs. Cole took a few deep breaths and poured herself a cup of tea. He was out of their hair now…. It was over. She glanced over at her calendar, still shaken from the meeting.
The past few weeks had been tense to say the least. When the Riddle boy had gotten back from school, he'd seemed…angry. Angry and determined. He barely spoke to anyone, not that he'd been overly loquacious before. And while his younger years had been marked by a few nasty curiosities, his final weeks at the orphanage were downright horrific.
Of course, she had no proof.
Still, it was too much of a coincidence that bad things happened whenever he was particularly upset. All of the clothes in Amanda's wardrobe shredded to bits. Griffin's nightmares. Sarah's illness that no one could quite figure out. Little Steven's tumble down the stairs had been the last straw. She'd been ready to kick Riddle out, or have him transferred to the asylum, when he'd come down to see her that afternoon. He'd given her a letter from some professor, and demanded to leave. Fine with her. She'd turned him loose, hoping the rest of the world survived having him around better than they had.
The boy stood in the filthy shack, panting with anger.
Morfin understood—it was his family's shame after all—but he kept his knife handy all the same. If this boy had come for trouble, ol' Morfin would give it to him, no mistake. "And who're you, coming here and asking questions about all that? It's over, innit...It's over..." He slumped back into his chair, eyes watery but still trained on the boy.
It seemed the teen was calming down. The cool demeanor he'd had when he first entered the cabin returned, and he sounded almost…peaceful when he next spoke. "I understand. I'm sorry to have taken up so much of your time. If you could point me to the village square, I'll leave you."
"Up the road. Don' follow the signs—through the woods is quicker. You'll see a path. Get out."
The boy fixed him with a look and left. He backed out of the shack, never taking his eyes off Morfin.
The village square was packed with people. Shoppers ran to and from store and stalls. Children played near the fountain. Men argued loudly over sporting matches and the price of a good pint in those "bloody stuck up cities". No one really saw the boy moving quietly through the crowds. He made sure to stay out of the throng as much as possible—keeping to the shadows of the squat buildings.
He made his way to the pub. That was where they congregated—the Muggles with the loosest lips. Not that he'd have trouble getting information out of any of these…vermin. But he had traveled all day, and had almost been stabbed by his (he shuddered at the thought) uncle that afternoon. He was tired, and the sooner he could accomplish his task, the better. He needed to know who was in the house, and if they would be alone. He could have looked around himself, but he didn't know if they had servants—housekeepers, gardeners. The last thing he needed was to be spotted by a nosy gardener who would tell five other people before five minutes had passed. At least this way he could make sure he wasn't remembered.
The six men and the bartender turned and stared as he walked into the cramped, dusty building. One of them whispered behind his hand. He could make out one word over and over again: Riddle. Yes…the sooner this was behind him, the easier it would be to move forward. "Hello," he said to the bartender.
"Morning," the burly man said with a nod.
"I'm trying to find my uncle's manor…Tom Riddle. I'm visiting from London, and I must confess I'm finding your lovely forest a bit of a challenge to navigate."
"Riddle's your uncle, you say?" the man asked, suspicious.
"Indeed, sir. I haven't seen him in years unfortunately," the young man lied. "I got a letter from him shortly after my mother died, asking me to visit. Not sure that they're there. I thought they may have come down to the village for the morning."
The older man's face softened. "Far as I know, they're up there. They don't really mix with us villagers much. You'll take the north trail up the hill. Just near the fountain. Lead you right to it."
"Thank you," the boy said. He made his way back to the door, muttering something under his breath. He turned and saw the few patrons' and the bartender's eyes go glassy for a moment.
"Oi, Dickey? Did you order something? Can't remember what I was doing."
"Don't know. Did you hear, the tramp Gaunt was spotted skulkin' 'round the Riddle place again?"
Tom Marvolo Riddle smiled and slipped back into the shadows.
The house was quiet, save for the deep voice raging in the parlor. As the sun sank behind the trees, the young wizard moved silently through the halls. He sneered at the portraits on the walls, shaking his head at the Muggles' obliviousness. They had so much…and deserved none of it. They hadn't even noticed him in the house. He'd watched them from the shadows before retiring to one of the many rooms to think for a bit. Not once had they suspected that they weren't alone.
"Why would they turn down the proposal?" Tom Riddle Sr. raged. "THEM! Barely a drop of noble blood in them. They should be so lucky as to find a match for the girl."
"She's ten years your junior, and the father was made aware of your…mistake," another male voice said.
The boy's face grew hot with anger. A mistake, was he? That was rich. Noble blood…. He was the only part of their family that was noble in any way. He was the only great one among them. But they knew nothing of him—of his power or even his existence. It was time for them to learn of Lord Voldemort.
"I'm a Lord!" Riddle groused. "How dare she turn me down?"
"Perhaps she sees you for what you are," Voldemort suggested, stepping into the drawing room. The dessert things were set up on the bar on the far side of the room. The smell of roses reached the teen's nose, and he almost retched. "Sees you for the filth you are."
The family whipped round to face the intruder. "Who are you?" the grandmother snapped.
"I?" he asked, smirking. "Do you not recognize family when you see it? No, I suppose you wouldn't. You left before I was born. Running from your…mistake."
"You're…you're him?" Riddle asked. "She wasn't lying."
"I am Tom Marvolo Riddle."
The grandfather stood from his chair then, and shook his pipe at the wizard. "I don't know what you're playing at boy," he said. "But if you think you can just show up here and cause a scandal…think again. We're an old family—older than your mother's—and we could ruin you."
"You? You can do nothing to hurt me. I am a greater Lord than you could ever dream to be. You are nothing compared to Lord Voldemort."
"What's a Voldemort?" the grandmother asked.
"Nonsense, dear," the oldest Riddle said. "Probably a nutter like Gaunt. That is, if he's telling the truth."
"Lord Voldemort has no need to lie to the likes of you—"
"What's that you're saying? The likes of us!"
Tom Riddle Sr. just stood there, mutely staring at his son.
"Lies are used to gain advantage. Filth like you are of no use to me."
"That's it! I'm calling the police."
Tom Marvolo Riddle, from that moment on, Lord Voldemort, waved his wand through the air twice. The two old people fell still and silent. Dead.
"What? No!" Tom Riddle yelled.
"Be seated," the teenager told him.
"You've—you've killed them," the man stammered, hovering over his parents' bodies.
The man did so. This child was obviously dangerous, but maybe if he did what he was told, he could reason with the boy. "Listen—"
"I think you've done enough talking for a lifetime," Voldemort said calmly, taking out his wand again.
Riddle glared at him.
"How dare you look at me?" the boy, his son, asked softly.
The older man dropped his eyes. "Please, son, you don't have to do this—"
"Silencio! Crucio!" Voldemort watched as the man writhed in silent agony. Finally, he lifted the spell. He wasn't here for entertainment. He had other business to attend to. "Avada Kedavra!"
The Riddle family was dead.
The sun had set by the time Voldemort made it back down to the Gaunt shack. It was an easy enough task, sneaking up on Morfin. The man was drunk and falling over. His job would be quick.
The man's eyes slid out of focus, and he dropped the knife. He turned, wand trained on a snake now instead of the boy. A flash of green light, and the snake was dead.
Altering his uncle's memories took a while, but finally he finished. With the false memories and his uncle's wand showing a Killing Curse if anyone cared to check, no one would ask many questions.
He stood to leave, but stopped. The light from his wand glinted off the ring. "Accio!" Pocketing the ring, he took a last look at the sleeping man and Disapparated.