Chapter 1

A New Beginning

Tom Riddle was packing. He was excited to be going back home, although if you looked at his face you would never know it. It was expressionless and blank. Tom was ready to go back. If he had to put up with one more sticky toddler, clingy child, or arrogant bully, he would snap. There was a knock on Tom's door. Tom's roommate, Anthony, walked in without an answer.

"So, Tom off again?" He sneered. "Off to that loser school? Where do you go again? Oh, yeah. The Learning Institute for Troubled Young Men. 'Cause you're a loser retard who has to be locked up in a mental institution all school year! Ha! Why do you love so much there? Probably 'cause the other kids 'understand you' meaning they're just as stupid as you! Maybe you should marry that freak school and the kids if you love it so much!"

Tom was boiling with rage, but he kept his emotions in check. He replied smoothly to the bully,"Yeah! That's a great idea! And maybe while I'm there, I could tell the teachers hi for you! I'm sure they all know you by now! You must have to go down there so often! Andy." Anthony's jaw dropped. However he quickly regained his composure and punched Tom in the stomach. Hard.

"That's for insulting me! And this," he smacked his palm across Tom's face, "is for calling me Andy!"

If Tom wasn't doubled over in pain he would've laughed at the expression on Anthony's face. Anthony hated being called Andy by anyone other than his group of bullies. Which was exactly why Tom refused to stop calling him that.

There was another knock on the door, a gentler knock. One of the orphanage staff walked in. Immediately a sorrowful look replaced Anthony's fierce look. Tom was still clutching his stomach and barely noticed the young woman who had just entered.

"Oh, I'm sorry to walk in like this." She said. "I didn't mean to interrupt your good-byes. Oh Tom look, you're all choked up." She smiled like it was the most adorable thing she had ever seen. A single fake tear rolled down Anthony's face. Tom was burning with anger and resentment, but he struggled to keep his face quite clear of emotion.

"Well, it's time to go Tom. Your train leaves at eleven, and the Director is getting quite fidgety. He will be most upset if we don't get a move on." Mr. Philipiajenardaldo was the orphanage director, but no one could say his name, so people just called him the Director. He was quite strict and seemed to think all children were filthy little imbeciles. And most were, according to Tom. But not Tom. Oh no. Tom was the smartest, most charming, and slyest in his year. He could turn the Director into a frog with a wave of his wand… for Tom, of course, was a wizard. He was not a retard and had never even seen The Learning Institute for Troubled Young Men. That's just what the people at the orphanage thought. Instead, every year he attended Hogworts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This was his third year, and he now considered the school home.

Tom grabbed the handle of his trunk, which was disguised to look like an ordinary Muggle suitcase. He dragged it along with great effort, for although Tom was the smartest in his year, he most certainly not the strongest. Anthony looked at him with a look of fake sympathy, but anyone could tell he was struggling not to laugh.

"Well, goodbye, Tom." Anthony said. His laughter was ill disguised, but the orphanage staff member was already down the hallway, waiting for Tom to catch up. "Can I just have one more minute?" Anthony asked, an evil look on his face.

"Fine," the woman sighed. "But make it snappy!"

Anthony pulled an unwilling Tom into a rough embrace. Tom thought it felt a bit like a hug from an anaconda.

"Goodbye Tommy!" said Anthony meanly. "Have a wonderful time at loser school!"

Tom staggered away as soon as he could breathe. He tugged as hard as he could on the handle of his heavy trunk. He managed to get it into the hallway (about a foot) in three minutes before the orphanage staff member sighed and walked over to help him.

"This is embarrassing," thought Tom. "With a swish and flick of my wand I could be at the train station in ten minutes."

But unfortunately, the laws of the wizard law were very strict. Tom was not to use magic in the Muggle world until he was 17. When Tom and the young woman finally reached the Director's office, they were gasping and clutching their sides. The office was up two flights of stairs.

"What took you so long?" asked the Director in a gravely voice. His face was red and it was clear that he had been drinking again. "I have a car waiting for you downstairs! You're going to be late."

Tom and the young woman groaned as they started the strenuous journey back downstairs.

"Quit your complaining, you miserable excuse for a human being! You're lucky we let you go to this special school! It sure does cost enough!" Tom resisted the urge to remind the Director that it didn't cost the orphanage anything because he had a scholarship.

When Tom and the orphanage staff member reached the final stair at last, they were so out of breath that they collapsed. However, Tom looked at his watch and with obvious effort jumped up.

"It's 10:45!" he exclaimed. "I'm going to be late!" This was out of the question in Tom's mind. He would NOT miss the train to the only place he had ever felt accepted.

With renewed strength Tom dragged his trunk outside. The driver, another member of staff at the orphanage, helped Tom hoist his trunk into the back of the car.

"Goodbye!" he said to the kind lady who had helped him with his trunk. He tried to sound as bored as he could while still wheezing terribly. A faint smile crossed her weary face as she waved from the door.

Tom slid into the passenger seat of the old car as the driver started the engine. It coughed and hacked, sounding almost exactly like Tom, except ten times louder. But it did start with a few gentle promptings from the driver. Tom was practically quivering with impatience and anxiety by the time the car got going. They rode in almost silence for about ten minutes until they reached King's Cross Station.

He pulled his trunk out of the car with effort and told the driver, "You can leave now. I know my way around." The driver shrugged and pulled out the station, knowing that Tom was indeed capable. It was Tom's third year of going to his "special school". Tom waited until the driver turned the corner of the next street before finding himself a trolley and wheeling his trunk to the barrier between platforms nine and ten. He allowed himself a slight smile as he inconspicuously leaned against the barrier and slipped through it and into the wizard world. He looked around Platform Nine and Three Quarters. It was exactly how he remembered it; the air was thick with smoke and steam, people were running about everywhere, shouting at their parents and chattering with their friends. Owls hooted impatiently and cats meowed belligerently, as if telling their masters to calm down. Tom looked around with a fierce joy in his heart, a joy that he tried hard to hide on his face. However, although he was not smiling, you could see his happiness in his eyes.

Tom gave a small start when he heard the train's conductor calling, "3 minutes 'till this train departs! All aboard!" He rushed onto the train, lugging his trunk behind him. After struggling with it for a few moments, he looked around to make sure no one was looking. No one was paying him any mind, so he whipped out his wand and performed the Hovering Charm. He had mastered this charm in his first week of his first year, and now, in his third year, he was so good at it that he could make it look like he was pulling his truck while in reality it was just floating a few millimeters above the ground behind him.

Tom finally came to a compartment that did not have students packed like sardines inside. He immediately saw why. There was a small, morose looking first year inside. She was wearing round glasses that looked too big for her face and the illusion was added to by the frame of poufy dark hair surrounding her face. She carried with her the unmistakable smell of sour milk.

"May I join you?" Tom asked, somewhat reluctantly. The girl looked up, surprised and hopeful. However, she seemed to figure out there were no more seats anywhere else, and went back to looking miserable.

"I suppose." she muttered. Tom walked into the compartment. He rummaged through his trunk until he found one of his more interesting spell books, then shoved his trunk under the seats. The train started to move as he stuck his nose into his book and before long was absorbed. He saw himself performing the spells it described, mixing the advanced potions it illustrated, while impressed teachers and envious students watched and cheered for him in awe. Until a voice interrupted his fantasies and he was forced back to reality.

"I'm Myrtle." said the girl across from Tom. She looked at him expectantly.

"Oh, nice to meet you, I guess." he replied, unable to keep an annoyed tone out of his voice. "I'm Tom." He delved back into his book. He was just about to learn what would happen a dragon if you fed it the Draught of Living Death, when he was interrupted again.

"That book must be fascinating." Myrtle said. Tom looked up, really irritated now, though he kept his face clear of emotion.

"It is a most wonderful book. I don't suppose you've read it?" he asked politely, though he already knew what the answer would be.

"No." said Myrtle. "I come from a family of non-wizards, so I'd never even laid eyes on a spell book until two weeks ago when I picked up my school things. Diagon Alley is amazing, don't you think?" She looked slightly less melancholy, as if pleased that she and Tom were starting a conversation.

"It's good, I suppose." he said with an air of dismissal. Then he buried his face pointedly in his book once again. Myrtle got the message. Tom heard no from her rather than her small sniffles of disappointment and sad sighs. Finally, when there was hardly enough light to read by, the conductor's voice could be heard through a small speaker in their compartment. He could barely be heard through all the static, but nonetheless Tom was able to make out a few words.

"We have arrived… HogwortsSchool… Please remain seated… complete stop. First years… Slughorn. Enjoy…year at Hogworts!"

Myrtle was looking at the speaker like it had just told her to go eat a hippogriff.

"What?!" she asked frantically.

Tom sighed, frustrated that people couldn't just figure things out for themselves. Why was everyone but him such idiots?

"It said that we have arrived and first years are to go with Slughorn when we reach the platform."

"Are you a first year too?" asked Myrtle eagerly. "And who's Slughorn?"

Tom looked appalled and disgusted. "I most certainly am NOT a first year! I'm entering my third year at Hogworts! And Slughorn is the large guy who looks like a bit like a walrus. You can's miss him."

Myrtle seemed disappointed, but Tom didn't care. It wasn't his job to babysit a daft first year! The train stopped and Tom pulled his trunk out from underneath his seat. He once again charmed to follow him, while he ignored Myrtle, who was struggling with her own trunk. The train doors opened and students rushed to squeeze through them all at the same time. The result was lots of pushing, shoving, and people falling down. Tom wisely waited until the bulk of the student body had reached the Hogsmede station out side, and then hurried to join them.

He set off down the road to the carriages. He joined a carriage with three other Slytherin boys and a triplet of Ravenclaw girls. They were all staring daggers at each other, as if they couldn't bear to be in the same space. Tom laughed inwardly at how dumb they were. Didn't they realize how stupid all that rivalry was? But there was nothing Tom could say that would change their minds.

"Let teenagers think they have to be dramatic about everything." he thought amusedly. When the carriages finally reached the castle doors, Tom was already sick of his fellow teenage wizards. It was not until he stepped out of the carriage that he remembered why he had been excited to come back in the first place. He looked fondly at the familiar castle, with its tall turrets and towers, candles gleaming out of every window. Tom sighed as he walked through the familiar tall oak doors into the familiar entrance hall.

"It's good to be home." Tom thought contentedly.