Prologue- Lucius Malfoy
Lucius breathed in deeply and glanced briefly at Narcissa before returning his focus to the door in front of them. They'd been searching every orphanage in England looking for one small child, and thus far they were having no luck. He raised his fist and rapped twice on the impressive wooden door, a frown pulling down the corners of his lips. He did not desire to be there, mist clinging to his very bones as day began to turn to night. If it wasn't for Narcissa feeling particularly guilt ridden, they could be at home, in the warmth and safety of the manor.
As it was, he didn't understand why it was only now that Narcissa demanded they search for the child. The Dark Lord had tasked them with finding his spawn before his death, and they had tried. When their search was unsuccesful, and only resulted in them being put under an even finer scope of inquiry, they had given up. But suddenly, after a tumultuous night spent tossing and turning, Narcissa wanted to renew their task. When he demanded an answer, she had merely replied that it was their duty, and they had already failed too much to deny it now.
The child- they didn't even know the sex, honestly this was a doomed expidition to begin with- would be of age ten by now. And so they had traveled from one orphanage to the next looking for ten year olds with any trace of magic or recognizable heritage in them. Sadly- or luckily, he wasn't honestly sure- none had stepped forward. He highly doubted it was about to change now.
A woman of about forty with a very homly, motherly look about her answered the door at long length. She was acceptable, he supposed, for a muggle. He could also see a couple of faces peeking around a wall behind the woman; young ones sent by the older children to spy on the visitors, no doubt.
"Can I help you?" The woman asked, smiling but cautious.
"My name is Lucius Malfoy. This is my wife, Narcissa." Lucius replied blandly, plainly allowing his voice to echo his emotions.
"A pleasure. Would you like to come in?" She asked, more cautious now, but well mannered. He just nodded and gestured for Narcissa to enter first. The woman led them to a sitting room and closed the doors so the lingering children couldn't hear. At least not very well. "Can I offer you some water, or tea," She drifted off a bit, not really wanting an answer.
"Madame my time is precious, thus I must get right to the point. Ten years ago a...close friend of mine sent his child away, to a location unknown to me. I have been searching to find that child. It would be 10, quite close to 11 now. At the time of receiving it would not have been hardly a year old. Perhaps it would even have been delivered with the last name Riddle. Did you receive such a child?" Lucius demanded with narrowed eyes. The woman looked affronted, and then surprised, and then back to undisguised caution.
"I believe so sir. A little girl named Tristan Riddle. She was wrapped in a blanket with a note bearing only her name and birth date. She arrived here in September of 1981." She explained tensely. Lucius looked to his wife when Narcissa grabbed his hand.
"This must be his child. It must be." She said softly. Relief rang clearly in her voice, and not for the first time did Lucius wonder what nightmares caused this frantic renewal of their search.
"May we see her?" Lucius asked after a moment of hesitation. They had suceeded after many years. But was this really success? Perhaps the child would be safer here, away from magic and all those who could potentially realize just who she is. The daughter of Voldemort.
The woman looked at the Malfoy's a moment longer, by all appearances, trying to sum them up. Even through his oppresive thoughts, Lucius found himself wondering why this woman would be so suspicious of a potential adoption.
"I'll bring her down." She agreed after a long pause and stood to disappear out the door and up the stairs.
"Lucius we've finally done it. We've found the Dark Lord's daughter." Narcissa breathed, again sounding more relieved than ever before. He even found himself granting her a small smile. She obviously did not share his concerns regarding this find. What would they do with the child- the girl? Send her to Hogwarts? Where every teacher would look at her name and know immediately just who she hailed from?
"Yes. It would appear we have." He remarked stiffly.
"Draco will be so pleased to have a sister. Someone to practice with and guide in our ways. And when…He returns, he will reward us for finding her, I know he will." She seemed so enthusiastic, and confident that He would return. Secretly Lucius hoped he would not. But he could never tell his wife that. He would never dare breathe the words anywhere but in the safety of the deepest pits of his own mind.
"I'm sure he will." He said instead, however half-hearted. Narcissa opened her mouth to say more, until a little throat cleared at the door and they looked up to see that the woman had returned. And behind her, Lucius could just barely see some black hair and a shoulder.
"Come on now Tristan. Be polite." The woman's demeanor had changed drastically. Before she was wary and tired. With this girl she seemed caring and protective. The little girl slowly crept out from behind the woman and Lucius was honestly stunned by the image before him. Exactly like her mother.
Her hair was black as night and waved delicately over her shoulders and down her back. He doubted she allowed it to be cut more than a few times her whole life for it to be so long at only age ten. A portion fell over her face like she wanted to hide, and with her undoubtedly considerable gifts, he wasn't surprised. He had no doubt she was magic, she veritably shimmered with it, even from afar. He also had no doubt that she was tormented for it. That would certainly explain her cowering.
She blinked, and her eyes enthralled him immediately. They were such an alarming shade of blue- like he had only seen once before. She was pale and small and fragile, a doll allowed to be mangled by a toddler a few times too many. But despite the shadows beneath her eyes and the distrust painted across her face, she was not afraid to look him in the eye. She reminded him so much of the last woman to bear the Riddle name. Cassandra looked back at him from this girl's face. He couldn't help but to smile.
"Tristan Riddle. You look just like your mother."
Chapter One- Tristan Riddle
The man and woman Miss Reynolds brings me to see look like the rich people I read about in books. Their hair is fine and long and they are dressed with no cost in mind. The woman is smiling softly at me, and the man has a peculiar look on his face. Like he recognizes me, but I know we've never met before. Ever. I very lightly push into their thoughts.
Miss Reynolds doesn't like it when I use my mind to listen to other people's thoughts, but I do it anyway. I never thought it was a bad thing; I did it all the time when I was little. But one time during a game of cards, I used it to cheat. That was when I found out nobody else could do it and that I wasn't supposed to. Shortly after that, I discovered I could do many things that were not normal. Shortly after that, I became familiar with the fear of looking over my shoulder wherever I went. Nobody likes a freak.
"Tristan Riddle. You look just like your mother." The man whispers after a long moment of staring at me. I push into his mind. I see a woman, laughing while she reads a book. She looks almost just like me. Cassandra. Her name was Cassandra, and she was beautiful.
"Miss Tristan, I haven't seen you smile for a long while!" Miss Reynolds says happily and it's only then I realize my lips have raised into a smile. I try to make it stop, but then I see her again and I can't.
"I…I…" I'm not sure how to justify my smiling without admitting I saw my mother in a strange man's head. But I don't have to say anything. The woman speaks for me.
"Tristan, I'm Narcissa Malfoy. Your mother and I were like sisters. Your father and my husband...worked together." She's skirting around truth, but it doesn't matter. I still can't say anything. They knew my parents. The man continues to just stare at me. I push into his head again. He's still thinking of Cassandra. I push into the woman- Narcissa's- mind briefly. She's thinking of the woman and a man. I can't see his face. Is that my father?
"Tristan, are you okay?" Miss Reynolds asks. I snap out of it finally and nod.
"You knew them. Were they kind?" I ask.
"Your mother was the kindest woman I've ever known. She would have never given you up Tristan, but events unfolded in such a way that left her no choice." The woman explains. I nod slowly. She died, I don't even need to read her mind to see that. The regret in her tone says everything.
"Tristan, would you like to know more about your parents? And have a real home?" The man finally speaks, his voice remarkably calm for how riotous his thoughts were. I consider them for a long moment. They can give me answers- and based on their appearances, comfort and security. It would be wise to accept them, I'll never get an offer like this again, I know that much. I look up at Miss reynolds, whose lips are pressed tight together so she doesn't give anything away. She would miss me, and she doesn't seem to like this couple. But she would never say that out loud, because all she wants is for me to be happy.
"Yes." I say simply. They both smile, her more than him, and Miss Reynolds releases a pent up breath. She doesn't know how to react, so she just says that she'll get the paperwork drawn up and leaves the room. I'm left with them- my new gaurdians. Narcissa holds out her hand towards me and I go to her. When I'm within reach she puts her hand beneath my chin and tilts my face up.
"Extraordinary. It's like looking into her face several years before I met her." She remarks, rubbing her thumb over my cheek. Her hand drops to my shoulder and she gives me a smile. "We've searched for you for so long." Not very hard evidently. There are only so many orphanages in England.
"Who were my parents?" I ask eagerly, and her smile sours just slightly. I glance at the man, who has returned to simply staring at me.
"Your mothers name was Cassandra." Narcissa tells me, which I already knew, but nod anyway. "Your father...was Tom Riddle. But that is not the name he was known by." She admits with a sigh, and she looks around like she's suddenly paranoid.
"We shall speak more of it when we get you home." The man inturrupts before I can further question his wife. He holds out his hand and I lay mine on his. He gives me a small little handshake. "I am Lucius Malfoy." He says regally, and I nod softly.
"It's good to meet you." I reply pleasantly.
"We have much to discuss with you, but it would appear we have plenty of time to do so. For now, are there any pressing matters you wish to know?" He asks with one raised eyebrow. Everything he does, even the way he speaks, shows that he is a well bred man of means who is used to everything being done for him. But he's not callous, rather he seems unsure of how to talk to me really.
"Where do you live?" I finally decide on a question and he smiles ever so slighlty.
"Almost two hundred miles from here." He acknowledges.
"Do you have children?"
"A son, Draco, who is only a little older than you." He nods.
"Will I go to school with him?" I've been home schooled for my whole life, having someone to walk me through public school would be a great benefit. Lucius exchanges a look with Narcissa, and I have to contain myself before I can push into their minds again. I really shouldn't make a habit of it.
"That is one of many things to be discussed at a later time. In any case, his school doesn't start for a few months, so we have plenty of time to make that decision." Narcissa is the one to answer this one. I nod and look to the door of the sitting room when Miss Reynolds reappears.
"Tristan dear, why don't you go on up to your room and start to pack. I'll go over the papers with you in my study Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy." They stand and Narcissa gives me a fond smile as I lead them to the doorway. Lucius only nods to me, looking less pensive then when I first walked into the sitting room, but still stoic.
Miss Reynolds takes them down the hall to the study and I dash upstairs. This is it. I'm getting out of here, and while I'll miss Miss Reynolds, this may be my only chance to escape the others in this miserable house. And even better, it's to people of good prosperity who knew my parents. Maybe they can tell me exactly what I am and why I can do what I do. Maybe they'll have all the answers I've never even thought of the questions for. Maybe they can tell me who I am.
It usually takes weeks or sometimes months for adoptions to be finalized. But my assumptions about the Malfoy's having lots of money were spot on, and they speed up the process quite a bit in the legal circles with their...influence. It only takes three days before they're back for me. I've packed all my belongings in a box that Miss Reynolds gave me. A couple pairs of clothes, some worn books, and a few little knick knacks. This is the first time I've been glad for having so very few belongings. I won't have much to move.
Now I just have to wait a tiny bit longer. Miss Reynolds and the Malfoy's are downstairs signing the final papers and making sure everything is squared away nicely before they receive my legal stuff and take me home. I sit on my bare bed and pick at my nails, a touch nervous.
"Well I thought I'd never see the day we got rid of creepy crazy Tristan." I look up at the voice. A group of girls is standing at my door looking pompous as ever. Jessica, the leader, flaunts in followed by Brittney and Hillary. Even though we're only ten, the girls like to play Mean Girls and think they're better than everyone else at the orphanage. Despite the fact that they were also abandoned by their parents. They're the same as every one of us.
"Thank god she's leaving." Hillary piles on.
"Who would want her though? I bet they're sending her to the mental ward. Or as a human experiment to a medical center." Jessica taunts. I just look away. If I wasn't so scared of what I'm capable of, these girls would have been dead long ago. But the moment I could start remembering my life, I knew it would be better for me to endure than destroy. I don't want to hurt people, even though I know I could.
"Hey, Crazy! We're talking to you!" Brittney growls, upset that they're not getting under my skin. You'd think after ten years of their behavior and my lack of response would deter the endless stream of taunts, but no. They just never give up.
"Are you crazy and deaf now?" Jessica asks with a cackle of approval from her fellow vultures. Again I say nothing. Jessica, fed up with my calm demeanor walks up to me and slaps my cheek harshly. "Even stupid worthless girls have emotions! You're not a human! You're a stone cold emotionless rat!" I just stare into her eyes. Eventually she's too creeped out to keep looking. She storms out, followed by the two minions. I'm so angry I could scream. I don't let them see my anger, any of my emotions, but that doesn't mean they're not seething beneath the surface.
Suddenly something cracks. Looking to the side I see that it's the window pane. The flat sheet of glass has split right in two. There are no other chips or splits. Just a line carved angrily down the pane. It wasn't a rock or ball from outside. It wasn't me. Was it?
"You ready sweetheart?" I don't have time to investigate the strange occurrence, Miss Reynolds is finally back. I push the last few minutes completely out of my mind. I will never have to deal with the trio of tormentors or the other kids who treat me just as bad. I never have to even think about them again. I grab my box and almost run to the door with a small smile at Miss Reynolds.
The Malfoy's are waiting at the door of the orphanage for me, and Lucius takes my meager box of possessions so I won't have to carry it. He seems more relaxed than he did when we first met. Apparently the last three days have eased whatever was disturbing him so.
"Is that it? So little?" Narcissa asks, almost aghast.
"I don't have much." I say sheepishly. She smiles sweetly.
"Now you can have anything you want. I want to thank you again Miss Reynolds. We'll take good care of Tristan." She promises. I don't have to be in her head to know she means it. Miss Reynolds nods, a little stiffly.
While the kids of the orphanage think I'm strange, Miss Reynolds has always been very attached to me. She once said that if she had the chance, she herself would adopt me. I wouldn't mind that. But now I have a chance to find out about my past. And it's not like I won't visit. I hug the closest thing I've ever had to a mother with a sniffle. I know it won't be the last goodbye between us, but I feel like it will be a while before I see her again. She hugs me back just as tight.
"Now don't be a stranger. Write anytime you want." She sniffles slightly and I know if I don't leave soon, I'll have to see her cry. And I always cry if I see her cry.
"Bye misses Reynolds." I say quietly. She kisses my forehead then sends me out with the Malfoy's. The town car they've brought is very fancy. Lucius puts my box in the trunk and takes the front seat. Narcissa helps me buckle into my backseat then goes around to the other backseat. The driver smiles warmly at me in the rearview mirror. I smile back. This is a bittersweet day. I'm so happy to be moving on, finding a place to call home, and discovering where I come from.
Despite the promise before me, I know I'll miss Miss Reynolds, very deeply. She's taken care of me for ten years, and she's the only person I've loved in all that time. As the car starts to roll away I wave to her. She waves back until I can no longer see her.
The drive to the Malfoy's manor passes mostly in silence. It's nearly a three hour drive, but no one seems to know how to say anything important. They promised we have much to talk about, but they didn't say when we'd get to talking about it. Instead Narcissa talks every now and then about trivial stuff. She talks about her home, which she vigorously keeps up to standards, and their son Draco. She talks about their daily goings on and how much care went into preparing a room for me. Finally though she falls silent and it takes me almost twenty minutes to work up the nerve to go on to the subject I really want to know about.
"Who were my parents?" I ask very suddenly. Lucius and Narcissa look between each other as if debating what to say.
"As I've already said, your mothers name was Cassandra. Cassandra Ravencroft. She changed it to Cassandra Riddle when she became pregnant with you, though her and your father were never married." Narcissa begins cautiously.
"Cassandra is a lovely name." I say when they look at me for my reaction.
"Yes. She was a very lovely girl. Sweet and beautiful inside and out." Lucius sighs. Narcissa laughs.
"Her and my husband were childhood friends. When she met your father…something about both of them changed. They met when she was just out of school and though no one could quite say why, she seemed to draw closer to your father even when by all rights she should have drawn away." It sounds almost like a bedtime story.
"And my dad?" I press. They get quiet again. Obviously they had hoped that I would stay on my mother's subject. Even if just for a bit longer.
"Your father…his name was Tom Riddle. However, most people will never know him by that name. Most people won't even say his name." Lucius says quietly.
"What do you mean? Why not?" I demands curiously. He sighs.
"Tristan your father is responsible for the deaths of many people. He is one of the most feared and hated men in history." He finally admits. When I find nothing to say, he goes on. "It started when he was young. He was also raised in an orphanage but he was...wrong inside. He became convinced that he needed to bring our world to its knees. He need to be feared. This was all before he met your mother.
"Even after he met Cassandra, he was not willing to change who he was. He merely hid the truth from her, keeping her firmly under his control so she wouldn't see the truth. And when she died, he abandoned any pretense and became increasingly destructive. He died trying to destroy a boy who could have ended his reign." I don't know what to say. What they're saying sounds so...unbelieveable. But somehow I know it's the truth. My mother was a good person. And my father was the face of evil.
"They're both dead." I murmur at long length, when I can't bring myself to say anything else.
"Yes. I'm sorry." Narcissa does actually sound genuinely sorry.
"Why are you sorry? There was nothing you could do." I say quietly. "How did my mother die?" I finally ask, not sure if I really do want to know. Narcissa look at Lucius, who sighs through his nose.
"Chilbrith." He admits unhappily.
"I killed my own mother." I say a bit numbly.
"Oh sweetheart, no. she was very sick. There was nothing they could do, even if she hadn't been pregnant. It's a miracle you survived." She insists. An awkward silence decends for a long moment and then the driver clears his throat.
"We've arrived miss." He tells me. I turn from Lucius' steely eyes and Narcissa's pity to look out the window. The Malfoy Manor is spectacular. It's completely black, but huge. At least three stories. There are trees and gardens and fountains everywhere. And to my intense surprise, a pure white peacock, as white as Lucius' hair, flits between two stands of trees less than a minute after we pull in the gate. I gasp.
"Oh yes. We have some peculiar animals about. Come, I'll show you the house." Narcissa seems eager to drop the whole previous discussion. For her sake, since they've been so good to me, I nod and hop out of the car. Lucius is already carrying my box and Narcissa takes my hand. The peacock peaks its head out of a stand of tree curiously. I stop, and Narcissa stops as well. The peacock creeps forward until its close enough to touch. I gently trail my fingers over its feathers and it makes little cooing sounds. "Well I've never seen this before. Usually they're scared silly of new comers. You have Cassandra's way about you." She tells me gently.
"It's so soft." I whisper with nothing else to say.
"Then you'll like our cat. Come, I'm sure Draco is dying to meet you." She insists. I smile at the peacock and follow her. Lucius is nowhere to be seen as we enter the house, but I do see a boy my age sitting on a couch with a book. He looks up when we walk in. I look like my mother, I've seen her face in Lucius' mind and I know I do. But Draco looks like someone took an hourglass, put Lucius inside and turned it upside down for a few decades and when they pulled him out, they got Draco. He has the same platinum blond hair and steel grey eyes. He's pale and kind of lanky, but he's also kind of cute. And I blush as he smiles at me.
"Draco, this is Tristan. She's your-"
"Sister!" He states, standing up.
"No. Tristan had a family, Cassandra and Thomas Riddle. We are her guardians." Even I'm shocked by Lucius' statement as he reappears from a door to the left that as far as I can tell is some sort of study.
"But father-" Draco starts.
"No. You will be friends, cousins maybe. But I'm intent on making sure Tristan knows her heritage. Draco will you show Tristan her room? I'm going to talk to your mother." He states boldly. Draco nods obediently, taking my box of possessions that Lucius has left on the table.
"Lucius are you sure about this?" I hear Narcissa saying as they disappear into the study.
"How old are you?" Draco asks me as soon as they're gone.
"I'm ten. I'm almost eleven though." I explain, following him as he starts towards the stairs to the upper levels.
"I'm eleven already. Are you gonna go to school with me? I'm starting in only a few months." He looks over his shoulder at me, but doesn't so much as stumble as he climbs the stairs.
"I don't know." I shrug my shoulders honestly.
"I hope you are. It would be boring for you to remain here while I'm off at school." He states without a single doubt in his voice. I can't tell if it's arrogant or not. "This is your room." He stops in front of a large door that looks just like the others in the hallway. I open the door shyly and gape. "It's not as big as mine, but it's the third biggest in the house. My mum and dad obviously have the biggest."
"It's enourmous." I breathe, and he looks surprised.
The room before me is perfect in every sense of the word. It's twice, maybe three times, the size of my room at the orphanage. There's a grand four post bed with white gauzy curtains and sheets, and a closet that could easily fit three of me inside it. There's several classic works from the famous artists on the wall and an easel with a blank canvas in the corner, almost like they know I love art. Walking in a bit, I see a large bookcase completely packed with different genres of books up against the wall. I can't even put words to how I feel looking around it.
"My mum and I decorated. We didn't know if you would like art, but mum says that your mother loved it, plus I think the room would be too plain without something on the walls. I don't know if you paint, but I'm sure you could get a tutor if you wanted, so we also put out the easle." Draco chatters as I look around in wonder.
"It's so beautiful!" I finally am able to gasp out. Who would have thought I'd go from the bland orphanage with its bratty inhabitants to an oasis of awesome in just a few hours. Of course, I do wish Miss Reynolds was here, but this is just too good to be true right now. Draco smiles at my approval, but it almost looks more like a smirk.
"I put some of my favorite books in the shelves. I don't know what you like to read, but they're pretty interesting." He goes on.
"I love to read. I can't wait to scour these." I declare.
"Scour? Never heard a ten year old say that." He points out. "It's something adults say." He adds when I merely blush.
"I read the dictionary a lot when I was bored. Besides, maybe I'm an adult on the inside." He kind of snorts a laugh and puts my box down on my bed.
"Whatever you are, you have an interesting vocabulary." I grin a little sheepishly.
"Draco would you mind going to talk to your mother?" We both look to Lucius, who's just arrived at the door. Draco nods, smiles at me, and hurries off. Lucius calmly closes the door after him. "Tristan, we have something we need to discuss. About who you are." He says almost tensely. I can only nod. He points me to my bed and I jump up on it while he takes a seat across from me in the window bench. "Tristan, do you believe in magic?" He jumps in right off the bat. I shrug, not sure what he wants me to say.
"I dunno. I guess. Not the cheesy state fair magic. I think there's people out there who look after us and use magic to keep us safe. Like angels and spirits." I explain. Coming from a ten year old, it must sound stupidly naïve.
"What if I told you that not only angels used magic? What if there were people who were different than normal people. Who went to school to learn how to use that magic and become even more special." He supposes.
"I guess it's possible. But how would we not know about them? That seems like it would be a hard thing to hide from people." I suggest.
"There are ways. I want you to understand that I'm not being theoretical." He pauses and then continues. "I myself use magic all the time. Draco will be attending the same school I did at his age in the fall. And after much discussion, Narcissa and I have decided that you will attend as well. Because just like my family, you have magic in your blood too." I'm speechless for a moment. This seems so impossible, like he's just trying to punk me. But it would explain so much. Why I am the way that I am. I just never in a thousand years thought it would be magic.
"You father was a wizard. One of the greatest wizards known to us. But as you already know, he used it for the wrong reasons. And your mother was a witch, one of the brightest to ever graduate from our school. She could cast magic even without her wand. And she had such a deep connection with the earth that it obeyed her every wish. A trait passed on through her unique family genetics. You come from two of the most remarkable people of the wizarding world and it is my wish that you will attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as you have always been meant to." He explains.
"Is this for real?" I ask quietly. He gently pulls a wand out of his snake head cane and flicks it without a word. A fire springs forth in my previously dark fireplace. Another flick and it's completely extinguished. Not even an ember is left. "Oh cool! Will I learn to do that?" I ask excitedly, too enthused to be surprised. He chuckles.
"Of course. I promise you Tristan, you will learn how to do everything."