A/N: Hello all! Just a little Voldy ficlet because I'm constantly intrigued by him; especially his days at the orphanage. Whenever I think of him in that time, I imagine him with his own little routine, his own little ways of doing things that he adheres to everyday. So...that's pretty much what this is!
Hope you like it!
Up at Seven, Down in Seven
When Tom Riddle woke at seven o'clock exactly, he turned to lie on his back and stretched from his toes to his fingers before swinging his legs out of bed and tapping the bedside table three times with his middle finger. Then he sat for no longer than a minute, waiting.
A knock at the other side of the door.
"Tom? Are you awake?"
"Then change out of your nightclothes and come down for breakfast."
Then the sound of footsteps. Retreating.
Tom tapped his bare toes on the hard wood floor twice before standing, turning sharply left and walking four paces, starting with his right foot, until he reached his wardrobe. He ran his right index finger around the circular handle three times and marvelled at how warm it grew. He practised every morning and each morning it was getting warmer and warmer. That meant each morning he was growing stronger and stronger.
He twisted his hand around the hot handle and pulled the right door open, then the left. He didn't need to open the left today but he liked symmetry. It felt wrong not to. Like bad luck.
He pulled out his dark brown trousers, unfolded them and placed them on his bed carefully. Then he took out a fresh white shirt that hung lifelessly on a misshapen wire hanger. He reshaped the hanger the best he could and placed it back inside. He looked at his clothes on the bed, admiring how their seams lay perfectly even before washing himself with a flannel and some cold water from the battered old sink in the corner of his room.
He studied himself in the slightly cracked mirror for ten beats of his left foot before fogging up the glass with his breath and carefully writing his initials.
T. M. R.
He peered through them, watching his own eyes, his own furrowed brow, for five taps more before rubbing them off with one clean sweep of his pyjama sleeve.
Gone. Clear. Just him left. No name.
And he hisses in the mirror, in that tongue he knows snakes understand. Ethel Cardew three rooms down found a grass snake in the fields and took it into her room. She liked Tom, smiled at him, trusted him with her secret.
He told it to bite her.
It obeyed and she screamed but it only left two small holes in her palm which had mostly healed a week later. She didn't smile at Tom anymore and he didn't miss it.
He turned his attention to his clothes and began pulling them on in the order he had practised all his life. Undergarments first, of course. Then shirt, the trousers, the socks, then belt, then shoes. Then the jacket, if he needed one that day.
Today he didn't. Today Tom knew it would be another day of sitting alone in his room with only the drumming of the rain for company and the mirror for entertainment. But first, breakfast.
He took the three steps to the door (he could make it in two but Tom wasn't in a striding mood today) and hovered his hand over the door handle. He concentrated hard; squinting and biting his lip until it oozed blood. Finally, with one last tense of his hovering hand, the handle twisted.
Tom exited his small room, ignoring the other children racing past him, not even bothering to punish them for pushing. He let them all run along in front as he took the stairs quietly and alone, just as he liked.
There were fourteen steps but Tom always managed them in seven.
When his feet landed on the floor, that number echoed in his head.
Seven. Always seven.
He licked his lips and tasted blood.
I hope you liked it! It was fun to write...in an odd sort of way.
Anyway, please leave a review! Thanks!