Chapter 1: The Unwanted Welcome
September 1st, 1938
A young boy stood at the platform with eyes shining with curiosity and bafflement. There standing before him, hundreds of children of varying ages laughing and cheering before him. Running around him as if he wasn't a part of the picture. They all knew each other. The elder students all greeted their classmates with hugs and enjoyment. The younger students, the First Years seemed to have recognized each other as well. It was as if everyone in the room had a companion and he was left astray.
But the children were the least of his concerns, it was the train. The bright red steam engine that brought a happy atmosphere to the platform. Almost a welcoming aura.
The dark haired boy arched his elegant eyebrow at the train. Was this the mode of transportation that would take him away from his orphanage for good? The idea pleased him immensely but he did not show it. His face remained cold and indifferent as he continued to scan his surroundings.
Owls, frogs and cats all clung to their owners or stacked into cages. Things he'd never even dreamed of. Things that were strange and abnormal. Things that would make any child squirm with delight. And he wondered vaguely if this was a dream.
He found a sense of belonging here. And he refused to allow anyone to snatch it away from him.
This was the wizarding world. And this was where he belonged.
The pale faced boy clutched his small suitcase. It didn't contain much. It was ridiculously small compared to some of the other children. They had two or three suitcases, each one at least three times larger than his. He suddenly felt self-conscious at the lack of belongings he owned. Slightly humiliated but he would not let it show.
The eleven year old stepped around the gathered families. He hated those children with all the love in the world. Why wasn't that him? Where was his mother and father? He hated them for not being there.
"Now you be careful now dear," A crying mother said to her young daughter. The man and woman looked slightly out of place. With their Muggle attire while everyone else dressed in robes. The boy cringed in horror when he caught sight of the child's horrendous mane.
"Write to us every day; tell us what everything is like over there," A smiling father patted his daughter's pathetic excuse of hair.
He hated her, he had decided. He had seen enough.
He boarded the train and was baffled by the amount of students dressed in their Hogwarts attire. He had the same one but his was not as new and fresh as theirs. He gulped and stared at his own uniform. Wrinkly and dirty. A second-hand uniform. It smelt of peanuts he now realized. He hoped no one would come close and notice this as well.
He pushed past students without a small gesture or 'excuse me' He tried to ignore the points and stares that would sometimes follow him.
The boy's hands clammed with sweat and he gave a nervous gulp. He searched for an empty compartment. He didn't want to look like a fool wandering around. The fact that he was alone was painfully evident. He wanted to be apart of the laughter, the jokes. He gave a nervous gulp as the other students weren't interested in him. He just yearned for someone to call him over and welcome him.
He opened a compartment door which contained a small group of boys. Perhaps he would make some friends.
They all looked up. They were first years to but they all seemed to have known each other. One of them frowned up at him, as if he had interrupted an important conversation. Another stared at his robes with mock. The rest just looked up at him expectantly. Their air of arrogance swallowed him up.
"Is there room for one more?" He asked, he was pleased when his voice didn't shake or tremble. The dark haired boy eyed the empty spot beside a blonde haired boy.
His heart sank when the blonde picked his bag off the floor and hauled it into the empty spot and turned to snarl up at him.
"Sorry," The blonde sneered, his voice not containing any apology. "It's taken,"
The dark haired boy turned and left. His suitcase bouncing behind him. Humiliation rang through him, leaving him with a sick and hollow feeling. He just felt so shut down. And they had barely said a word.
He hated them. He would make them pay.
The boy strutted through the small hallways. The train had already left the station and students had already found their seats. However some still wandered the hallways.
He was shoved to the side by some older students. He knew all too well that it was deliberate.
"Look out, freak," One of them hissed at him. Tom Riddle had never felt so small. He could only give them a frown and shrink away. He just wanted to find a compartment and stay there forever. His heart swelled with hate and neglect.
Self consciously, he reached up to touch his face. What could be wrong with it? What could be wrong with him?
He felt so lost. Like he was trying to find his way through the dark with no sense of light. He absolutely despised this feeling.
He turned to random compartment begging internally that it'd be empty. A group of girls laid within it. And just like the group of boys had they all turned and faced him. Their pretty little faces scrunched up into criticism.
They all eyed him with scrutiny.
"What do you want?" A red headed girl hissed. Her eyes narrowed into slits. None of the girls said anything but their faces told him to leave all on their own.
His heart swelled, as if ready to burst. His eyes burned with unshed tears. Why did they hate him so?
"Well don't just stand there, freak," A girl hissed. A few girls giggled at her insult. Cheering her on. The girl simply smirked at their praise. "Say something,"
How many times had he been called that already?
That was what he was to them wasn't he? Back at the orphanage he was one. The kids, the caretakers, everyone thought he was a freak. They beat him for it. They teased him for it. They singled him out for it.
Everywhere he went. He was nothing but scum to them.
Without another word he left the compartment leaving a loud bang behind him. Tears had begun to fall from his face. He was weak. He hated how they made him feel like that. He felt defenseless, he felt like he was nothing.
He was inferior to them all. He hated it! He absolutely hated it. He wanted to go back. He wanted to go back to the orphanage. He never thought he would say that but that was how much he hated this this place. It was worse than that godforsaken hell hole.
And there it was. An empty compartment. His heart felt no better though. He still felt desertion. But at least he was alone. Alone from all those stupid people.
The young boy turned towards the window. He could see a faint reflection as he stared at it. Trying to find out what was wrong with him. He was pale. Was that why? His cheeks seemed hollow. He looked like he had enough to eat, but not enough to satisfy him. His bottom lip trembled. What about his hair? It was a neat patch of raven hair. It was combed to the side not a strand out of place. His face carried a glum expression, as if he didn't know how to smile.
This is what he was wasn't he? A freak?
He hated them.
Hogwarts was supposed to be his new home. Where he belonged. He wasn't supposed to be out of place and set to the side.
He wanted to destroy them. Make them apologize to him. And he would, he would make all of them pay.
They would beg for mercy, they would regret ever mistreating him.
The kids from the orphanage. The students from Hogwarts. He would make them all cringe in fear when he walked in the room-
The door swung open with a loud sound. His head snapped up to find the intruder. He frowned; couldn't they just leave him in peace?
He was dumbfounded when he saw that bushy haired girl standing there at the door. Her eyes, he could not stop looking at those eyes.
Something about them. They shone so bright, with an untameable fire. With intelligence and wit. It was the girl with the Muggle parents. The girl he had decided to hate.
His frown deepened.
"What do you want?" He hissed mimicking to how the girls had treated him.
The girl did not seem dazzled by his harshness. Instead she narrowed her eyes.
"Do you mind if I take a seat?" Her voice was confident. She wasn't asking him, she was merely stating something.
The small boy was frazzled. Someone wanted to sit with him? Him? This bushy haired girl of all people? He was disappointed. He was hoping for someone more…worthy.
His small nose wrinkled up at the girl in disgust.
"These seats are taken," He hissed, recalling how the boys had humiliated him at his most desperate time.
But the girl only showed defiance. Not really hearing him as she propped down her small satchel to the side. It was even smaller than his. He snorted.
"I didn't say you could sit," He snarled, trying to get this lion like girl to leave. The girl gave a small sniff of arrogance and pulled out a large tome from her satchel.
He wanted to read it. He wanted to snatch it from the girl's hands and read it to satisfy his greedy curiosity.
He watched enviously as she read the book's contents. Why would such a young girl read something that was so clearly above her intelligence level?
The boy brought a small hand to scratch the side of his temple.
"What book is that?" He demanded. Allowing himself to show power and control. However the girl did not seem to want to bend to his will. As if she was a force equal or even greater to him. He despised her even more for that.
The bushy haired girl looked up at him. Her round and rosy cheeks made the boy's face appear even more sunken and hollow.
"Hogwarts a History," She elaborated and returned her attention to the book as if he wasn't anything of interest.
His face contorted to something of anger. He would not let this girl; out of all people, defy him as such.
"Is it a good book?" He asked, his voice cool in calm, his mind seething with rage. But the girl looked up at him, baffled. He decided that he enjoyed this expression of shock on her. It was evident that this girl was not used to people taking interest in her literature. He didn't blame those people. Even he wasn't interested.
"It's quite interesting actually," She explained. He saw a small smile graced on her lips. Perhaps this child shared the same love of books he had. Something he could never share with the other children. "I've read it at least five times already," She grinned, she too was excited to find someone with the same passion as she.
"Did you know that the Hogwarts Express was originally built by Muggles?" She said her grin displaying her excitement about the book.
Yes, he had already known. He too had already done extensive reading. He hadn't bought any books, but no one would notice when he would slip into Diagon Alley and hide in the bookshops for hours.
"No, I did not," He smiled back at her with his perfectly carved lie, but it looked more like a smirk.
The bushy haired girl's eyes seemed to have lightened up at this. She then took this opportunity to ramble on about Hogwarts. She was practically reciting the paragraphs from the pages. Truth be told, the boy was annoyed as hell. He wanted to pull out his Yew Wand and curse the girl's mouth shut. Too bad he didn't know any curses yet. But he allowed her to ramble. Even giving a polite nod every now and then.
The young boy would very much like to get up and leave. Leave the girl wondering why he had left so abruptly. But something about the girl intrigued him. It certainly wasn't the hair for sure. He thought as he eyed the nest on her head.
"Oh I nearly forgot!" The girl breathed out as if to take a rest from a long run. "I'm Hermione," She stuck out her hand for him to shake. "Hermione Granger," She smiled up at him.
The boy eyed the hand with scrutiny. He wondered if he touched it if his hair would become as obnoxious as hers. But he shook it nonetheless.
He grasped her hand and was surprised by the warmth from it. It was not sweaty and clammy but it was warm. Her hand was soft to.
"Tom," He began, his eyes glinting with something Hermione could not identify. "Tom Riddle,"
It was the beginning of a friendship whether Tom Riddle liked it or not.
A/N: This is my little outtake of Tom Riddle as a child. I do not believe he was born evil as indicated in the books or movies. I believe something had to have made him cold and defiant. Giving him reason to hate as much as he does.
In case you haven't realized, I changed the timeline to where Hermione Granger was born in Tom Riddle's era and will attend Hogwarts in 1938 instead of with Harry and Ron. There is no Time Travel simply an AU. I wanted to try a different approach to the Tomione fanfictions instead of the classic Time-Travel ones.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter!
~We're All Just A Little Mad