Disclaimer: don't own Harry Potter or any canon characters. The characters you don't recognize are probably mine as well as the plot.

I hope you enjoy!


Tom Riddle hated rain and snow. It was even worse when the two types of weather combined to make his life hell.

At least, the boy believed that it couldn't be a coincidence his birthday would be both rainy and snowy, and that he couldn't even leave the wretched place he had been forced to call home for ten years now.

It was no secret at the orphanage that on such cold days as this one it was prudent not to bother him. A flock of foolish cowards, they were. Utterly pathetic and ready to do anything to fall into his good graces.

The boy sniffed, lying on his bed, and wrapped himself up in one more blanket. It was thin and didn't really make him feel any warmer than before, but at least its weight soothed him and made the violent trembling go away. He sneered at the pathetic feelings of weakness licking at his stomach.

Harsh winds were blowing through the windows, which didn't protect the inhabitants of the orphanage from the cold and the caprices of weather at all.

Thus, no one was surprised when half the population of the orphanage was brought down by illnesses – mostly a simple cold, but some children also had the hints of developing pneumonia and antritis. Fortunately, Tom only had a slight fever and a running nose – nothing more.

To the devastation of the rest. They would love to see him down, and crush him in his moment of weakness, like the vultures they were.

From his early childhood Tom had found that he was special. No one was like him. The other children didn't have his special talents and were inferior to him in all ways.

He could make things move without touching them. He could make animals do what he wanted without training them. He could make bad things happen to people who were mean to him.

His revenge – always rightful, of course, he never made any mistakes – was frightening and the mere idea of it forced others to treat him with the respect he deserved, afraid to make a sound out of line.

Whatever he wanted – he got it. No one dared to disobey or take back the things he had robbed them of. The chilling to the bones fear they held prevented them from talking against him. Only once had a boy whose rabbit had been hung on Tom's whim gone to the caretakers to deal a complaint.

Needless to say that Billy Stubb regretted his decision up to that time.

Being cooped up in hospital for four years now, unable to eat or drink without his throat hurting, to walk himself, to dress himself, to get up from his own bed… Certainly did leave enough time for thinking about the mistakes one had made in life.

Tom sneered at the remembrance, the scared eyes of Billy Stubb springing to his mind. The only good thing about the memory was the pleasant tingling he had felt while willing the boy's bones to break one by one, slowly and excruciatingly. The sound of his pained screams was still ringing in Tom's ears.

Breathless, Tom pulled out a letter from beneath his pillow. He knew it wasn't sensible to leave it there for the whole world to see, but couldn't do anything about it. There was this unreasonable longing burning deep inside his heart that made him caress the worn envelope.

In his hands Tom was holding the very first letter he had received in his short life.

A pity that it was from officials of some kind – school stuff were still considered that, right? – he wouldn't mind receiving one from another person-

Tom hit himself on the hand lightly. "Snap out of it," he muttered, despising himself for his desire.

As long as he remembered, there was a rule in the orphanage – never trust anyone but yourself. Everyone was ready to betray someone else for a pat on the shoulder from the caretakers, who were like wardens in a prison.

The caregiver likes you – you get some additional blankets or clothes or sweets. If not… Well, all the deaths could be written off as an accident or some disease. God knew no one ever checked.

And Tom learned this rule well.

In the beginning, when he had been a mere child, much younger than now both in body and in spirit, he had longed to be friends with someone yet couldn't figure out how friendship worked. Its mechanics were a complete mystery to him. He observed others and couldn't stand their naivety, their constant cheerfulness and the way they blabbered on and on, day in, day out. He had tried to fit in, at first, but had given up on that after first few tries, the belief that he would never find anyone like himself settling firmly into his mind.

Who would compare to him, after all? None of those stupid, immature, bubbling idiots could be in any way equal to him. They couldn't rival him in wits, in appearance, in manners and couldn't do the same things he did – like forcing someone to commit a deed this person didn't want to or give away their possessions to him as a present.

Tom had even invented a game – to compel someone to donate their most priceless belonging to him and, when they wanted it back, blistering with rage and spitting indignantly, he would smile innocently and say they had presented it to him and how disappointed he was at their stinginess.

It always worked, somehow. Whenever he smiled sweetly and talked politely, he didn't have to use compulsion to get what he wanted most of the time.

It was becoming rather boring, to be frank.

'Though not anymore,' Tom thought with glee, opening the envelope and reaching for the letter inside. The emerald green ink had faded, but Tom could still make out the words on it.

It also brought the memories of the man who had delivered it, the freakish man dressed in purple and yellow, who had been smiling too much and too kindly before he exchanged his first words with Tom.

The boy had disliked this Albus Dumbledore immediately and felt smug when he saw the smile slipping from the man's face after Tom had expressed his views on other people- muggles and the like. Then the man's face became closed off, like a concrete wall, not an emotion breaking through.

Tom preferred it like that, to be frank.

Re-reading the text once again and feeling a thrill of anticipation piercing through him, Tom settled in a nest of pillows and blankets he had snatched from his fellow orphans. His last thought before drifting off into the dreamless nap was speculations about what this school of magic would be like.

Tom tugged at his uncomfortable robes he hadn't yet gotten used to. They were constricting and left his, eghm, private parts open for the wind to breeze through – not something he was particularly happy or impressed about.

He guessed he simply had to get used to it, just like he had gotten used to saying 'Merlin' or 'Morgana' instead of 'God', to calligraphy – even with a quill instead of a pen his writing was still neat and lines perfectly straight just like his teeth were – and to wizards' general ignorance in regards of muggle culture.

What concerned Tom, as much as he wanted to forget all about those filthy ignominious sub-people, every piece of knowledge was important.

He had read real life accounts about how pureblood families forsook their imperiled children just because they didn't want to use muggle means to save them. It was obviously much easier for a pureblood mother to bear the loss of her son if it meant he wouldn't be touched by those 'paws of wretched muggles and their vile inventions'.

Tom had no scruples against using muggle technology when needed, a fact that could give him upper hand some time later in life. And it made his life easy, besides.

The wind blew again, and Tom covered his face with his hand to shield himself from the grains of sand and dust it carried. Scowling, he brushed a lock of his dark brown hair back into his perfectly combed hairstyle.

He was standing in front of the barrier between the platforms 9 and 10. According to that motley creepy man, the entrance was right there. Tom could see it – after just a few minutes of observing he had seen a hundred of people coming to and from the wall.

Couldn't wizards be more careful?

Tom had noticed a couple of police officers looking suspiciously at the barrier. While they couldn't exactly see wizards travelling through the wall, dissipating in its bricks, it was fishy that so much people would swarm around a seemingly uninteresting barrier between two platforms, especially when others were void of crowds.

Tom straightened out his robes and straightened himself. He had never hunched, but this time he had to pay even greater attention towards his appearance – it should be impeccable.

His robes were immaculate, shining with cleanness, not a dirty spot on them. Dark brown tresses parted to a side, not a hair out of place anymore. Boots polished and wand carefully tucked in the holder, he was a picture of perfection – just like he should be.

Tom ignored occasional odd glances people were throwing his way because of his appearance. Most seemed to think he was a young actor of some kind, anyway, – the platform was full of weirdly-dressed people today.

He knew that most muggleborns – and as much as it pained to admit it, he was one, too - usually chose to change on the train, but Tom was too… embarrassed to undress in front of anybody, be it a boy or a girl. He wasn't ashamed of his body, per say, but reluctant to show it to some strangers.

He stepped forward and in a moment passed through the barrier.

A whirlwind of colours – and he was in a buzz of another kind. People were talking, mothers were crying, not wanting to part with their child for the most part of the year, children were shouting to each other things like 'hurry up or the train will go away', fathers were cheering their sons and daughters proudly, pleased with them receiving their magical education at one of the best educational establishments in Europe.

All those sounds created a cacophony, which hurt Tom's ears, sensitive to sounds. Yet the boy didn't allow his face to grimace or show any other signs of discomfort.

He had read in books about purebloods and how they valued endurance, power, and the purity of blood.

While Tom lacked the latter and couldn't correct his upbringing or ancestry, he had a hunch that he would be powerful; even that wand shop owner had told him so. He also knew he would gain wealth over the course of time. And endurance…

Let this be a test for him. If he were indeed to become as powerful as he expected himself to be, he would need to lead and to order people and to make them do things they wouldn't want to. He had no doubt that some would be offended and their shouts of fury and possibly even physical attempts at harming him would be more difficult to fend off than the mild annoyance he felt now in regards of all this buzz.

Grabbing his trunk tighter, Tom set his jaw in determination and moved forward, to the scarlet train.

Yes, he would become great one day.

He was certain of it.