Chapter 3: A Difficult Limbo

AN: Let's hope I can keep my update schedule up to date. Personal challenge, if you will. To be honest, it was hard for me to write like this; it was a much more different style and I'm normally used to writing one shots but this one is a shot in the dark as it will be much more than, say, ten chapters. But I thought, hey, to make something great, you would have to make something good. And to make something good, you would have to make something alright. And to make something alright you would have to start out worse. But of course, you will get better.

I have to say I'm not trying my best in this, nor am I proof reading it as much as I should have; those factors be put to blame if I say so myself. But there's this need for me to write, and at the same time High school doesn't give such luxuries; or rather, the last terms of it certainly doesn't. Although the tests are residing.

Story notes: So I had planned out one chapter per year spent at Hogwarts since the story really isn't primarily focused on that, however I soon found that extremely difficult if not impossible to manage; whether I have sudden half-year gaps or when one day would take around five thousand words regardless. Don't get me wrong, I like long chapters, but I've been told too-long chapters intimidate people.

Breakfast, like within the dorms, were of him spending his time in silence and seclusion. Something of which painted an odd image of the house, with the others boisterously hearty, yelling and cracking jokes. He didn't want to complain about the noise but Balthazar did raise his fingers to massage his temple once every while to ease the headache. He had never been a morning person and rebirth hasn't changed that fact at all. For a moment he fiddled with the symmetry of his maroon-gold tie, making sure it was bilateral; the feat taking several minutes from his morning, but slightly satisfying none the less.

Not feeling the need to eat food as of yet, he decided to concentrate on the intricate details embed within Hogwarts' walls and not to mention the spectacular amounts of detail almost every object held. Balthazar never really appreciated the finer details of the inner castle up...up until now.

Staring at the edges of the mahogany table his fingers rested on, he traced absently the carved scriptures and drawings; so detailed and so anatomically correct and precise, it was a wonder that magic wasn't used within the carving and refining of the wood, surprisingly enough, but it did raise quite some merit and bonus points for originality and hardworking craftsmanship. He hummed appreciatively, ignoring some odd looks directed at him from his table.

He didn't make any attempt at joining conversations and in return the Gryffindors settled to ignoring him which he was thankful for. Balthazar consumed his meal in silence, eating in moderation of a variety of foods before drinking the pumpkin juice from his flask and then pulled out his notebook and a quill, doodling nothing in particular. It was from Lauchlan, who had said that practicing drawing was a good starter for developing muscle control in his hands; specifically in preparation for spells that required intricate and precise wandwork.

After around two minutes he observed his doodle in disdain. What he had at first attempted - to draw a bird, looked like shaky lines from a two year old's colouring in book. A little demotivated but not entirely, he kept sketching, occasionally stopping to appreciate some sort of happy accident produced by accidental splotching of the ink from his self-refilling quill. When the breakfast had finished, he reluctantly placed the quill and notebook inside his robe's pocket once again.

He was quite taken with drawing and the arts, even if he was hardly a participant in those aspects, if at all. Seeing the contrast of ink and parchment; feeling the soft reverberations from the contours of the paper to his quill in his hands, it was an addiction, soon becoming an obsession. It was a way to fill his time spent doing nothing or rather, procrastinating.

Sure, he had no skill in it, but that doesn't mean he can't practice and refine his choppy and barely recognisable drawings.

It wasn't hard to tell, as he walked alongside of the other Gryffindors, that he was sure to be the black sheep - because although he found their obnoxious behaviour ever-so-amusing, it grew old fast. Maybe, though, it was at his own fault - although his body is a child's, his mind isn't and even when he feels certain compulsions to do something reckless, something stupid, something illogically dangerous, his very own logic and mind would win over and the action or the thought of action would be halted, and he would save himself from embarrassment. He still didn't see what motivated the Sorting Hat to place him within Gryffindor yet again. Shouldn't he have changed over the years, enough to garner a house switch? He scowled. Too late to worry about that, he amended.

He looked at his schedule; noting and attempting to remember all his scheduled classes but not so much as trying to photographically memorize it. It was apparent that he had Herbology first with Ravenclaws, followed by Charms with Slytherins...then Transfiguration with...Slytherins and potions...With Slytherins?! What on earth were they thinking when they had chosen the timetable? Did they not realize- of course they would have realized. Balthazar scowled. crinkling the paper slightly. Must be another pathetic attempt at house unity; not that it would ever work, if things are going as they are.

Arriving at Herbology and greeted by Professor Beery; a passionate man of the arts. Something which he found off tangent from Herbology of all things.

Before the lesson commenced, he had folded his robes' sleeves over and under his inside, white sleeves then going onto folding them once he had finished, after all, dirt was always a chore to get rid of and even if he could always use magic, he wanted to at least appear presentable.

He shook his head.

Herbology first period of all things; not a fun way to start the day. It was the first lesson, and therefore their professor had focused more on introducing the topic; asking mundane questions and presenting exotic and more-than-likely-to-be-dangerous plants before the students, if only to get them interested in the subject.

However, the class, thankfully, had gone without a hitch for him and a few students whilst the others were haphazardly sprayed with dirt, slime, seeds without mercy from overprotective or over aggressive plants. He made sure to wash his hands thoroughly, shuffling persistent dirt from his nails; the way dirt clung to his skin made him very uncomfortable. It felt like a suction, really and even though he didn't mind getting down on the ground or some mud in a fight or necessary conditions - it was either all or nothing.

The first experience was nothing out of the ordinary; Ravenclaw students being rather civil and polite to Gryffindors and likewise, if a bit more outlandish. He had never been an expert in Herbology nor was he interested in plants, but he did understand its importance and extreme correlation to Potions.

After that lesson and a brief five minute break to collect his thoughts, Balthazar dutifully collected his belongings once more and adjusted his uniform.

He headed over to Charms holding onto a folder containing many pages of lined, thin-but-reliable parchment, a segment of around two hundred pages per class listed. It was compressed and the width was around three inches, the spine of the folder held together by metal rings. Sure, it was a muggle invention, but that was before he had traveled back in time; this was personally made upon his own request. In retrospect, it was much more useful than having to go back to his dorm at the end of every lesson to retrieve the books required for the next; or having to carry them carefully because they weren't connected.

Although, if he lost it, it would mean all notes and everything his lessons stood for would be lost. Even if he didn't care about his grades per se, he'd still be quite miffed that his pretense of doing work would be abolished so easily. Not that he planned on doing work. He smiled as he sat himself down in Charms class, fiddling with his quill; index finger brushing leisurely up and down the smooth, ivory feathers made from an albino peacock's tail.

The man, last name dubbed as Warwick, was a gruff and sour looking middle-aged man with sharp, canine like fangs and voluminous, sapphire hair that settled like that of a lion's mane behind his thin-tipped ears. He didn't wear robes as most of the professors had, but tattered clothes that looked as if they had seen better days - much, much better days. Balthazar didn't know why he had seemed to develop an instant dislike for the main - 'perhaps it was because of an insistent, nagging feeling or because from the entrance of the Gryffindors, the man still hadn't stopped sneering haughtily at his specific house. Honestly, this has got to be some kind of running record,' Balthazar huffed to himself.

Professor Warwick had introduced himself and started a brief history and description of the subject, very much like how Beery had. Balthazar imagined this would happen in Transfiguration and Potions as well.

How dull.

The teacher didn't exactly give him the best impression; Warwick was brash, rude and has a severe lack of empathy; calling students out, dismissing them if they answered the question correctly, however if one were to answer a question wrong, he would ruthlessly tear them apart with his harsh criticism.

Funnily enough, it was only the Gryffindors who were questioned - with what he remembered to be third-grade material, which was hardly fair.

Perhaps, like Snape, the bitter, violent professor had some pitiful back story, but Balthazar wasn't feeling particuarly empathetic that day either, so he settled for ignoring the students and teacher altogether.

When the teacher instructed them to conduct Wingardium Leviosa on the feathers provided, Balthazar had already zoned out and started a vague sketch of what he hoped would look like a hippogriff; first lightly sketching out the shapes and then roughly sketching out its form...yes...oh yes, was he getting into this. The wings actually looked like wings for once and if he just adde-

"AVIOR!" He heard Warwick bark as all attention turned on him. He lifted his head up slowly but not completely, raising an eyebrow towards the Charms professor.

"Yes?" He inquired, ignoring the annoyed stares from both houses.

"Yes sir," Warwick growled.

Balthazar's eyes widened slightly underneath his locks of hair before an almost hysteric expression appeared on his face. The professor had set him up for this one, he did. He almost snickered in the absurdity of the situation, feeling almost hysteric. Oh, what his 'parent' would do if she saw him like this.

"There's no need to call me sir," he retorted before mockingly adding, "professor."

Warwick's eyes bulged at the sheer insolence and smugness almost radiating from Avior, who kept his eyes level to the Professors; not a sign of fear or regret showing through; just burning flames. First look into the Professor's grey-tone eyes, they had shown shock - perhaps the surprise at a student actually having a back bone, but that quickly wore off, only to be replaced by anger.

The professor was angry at his misconduct. Angry at his lack of decorum. Lack of respect.

And yet Warwick saw no fault in himself; nor the hypocrisy of the situation. Being as old as he was, Balthazar was picky as to who deserved his respect and loyalty; and he was not one to quickly give either of them to certain people, and certainly wasn't one to be forced either. No, for once, he would be his own man. So he would stand up to himself, as he had his pride too; consequences be damned.

'Day one and this place is already a bore,' he thought glumly.

"Fifty points from Gryffindor for such blatant disrespect!" The professor spat, pronouncing each word with deliberate slowness and shaking, as if there was difficulty containing his anger.

Balthazar was sure he saw a vessel in the Charm's professor's forehead bulge conspicuously.

Some Slytherins grinned childishly whilst the Gryffindors gasped, horrified, before turning accusing and hateful glares onto him.


It seemed as if he was going to get a detention as well, Balthazar suspected when Warwick continued, not yet finished in sentencing his punishments.

Then, however, as the mouth formed into a word, suspiciously, the teacher paused, before a deviously cruel smile crossed his rugged face; victorious and gleeful.

"For every charm I list that you cannot perform," his smile seemed to widen at each and every word "an additional thirty points would be deducted and you will gain a detention in correlation."

At that moment, Professor Warwick looked very much like the cat who caught the canary who had gotten the cream.

Balthazar frowned slightly at the demand but not outright - he didn't want to give Warwick the satisfaction of seeing him in turmoil, even if it was for entirely misunderstood reasons. Thoughts were running through his head at the speed of light as the gears turned and spun in his contemplation. The real question was; was he really stupid enough to expose his power in charms - and for being able to conduct spells that were almost physically impossible for the undeveloped magical core of an eleven year old? His frown lengthened along with his silence as he looked down towards nothing in particular, eyes zoning out for the briefest moment. And, perhaps, it had been Warwick's goal - to exhaust his magical core so much that he would be physically inept for weeks, or perhaps, comatose? It was a stupid idea, he berated himself. He could just apologize and get it over with and resume his conduct as a small fish and slink back into the shadows. He felt sweat accumulate behind his collar as more and more eyes fell on him. Soon enough, he had the attention of all the students in his class and as of the current situation, he wanted nothing more than to be invisible once more.

'idiot,' he berated himself as he allowed himself to wallow in his stupidity for a second before making a swift recovery.

He turned to the professor again, eyes rounding on Warwick.

"And if I don't comply?" He asked, tone cold and even. In the background he could hear derogatory terms being thrown at him from both houses. Except Gryffindors targeted him specifically whilst most of Slytherin had just laughed at the sheer stupidity and foolishness of Gryffindors. Some stayed silent; to which he was thankful for.

"Then you will apologize for your rude behaviour, shut up and only receive three detentions with me and you will wipe that pride clean...along with another deduction of fifty points."

The class saw a corner of Balthazar's soft lips lift up in amusement before the his eyes concreted, seemingly about to say something. Some students leaned forward to get a better look, and a better listen; oh, was gossip going to spread tonight.

"Then, I," he murmured, picking himself and his wand up, pushing his chair back with a push of his leg. "Accept," he lifted his wand up, pointing it straight at Warwick's chest. "Your proposal." He finished, chin held high; looking down upon the professor.

A sneer of a smile was sent to him from the teacher as Balthazar stood calmly in his spot, ignoring the growing tension in the room and the Gryffindor students' trepidation; they were oh so eager to please. Who would stop that rampaging idiot from losing more points? As far as they knew, their very second lessons and Gryffindor was possibly at a negative!

"Very well." He paused. "Why don't we begin with the levitation charm?"

He saw through the ploy like clear water; it was a pathetic attempt from Warwick at placing him within yet another disadvantage by not saying the spell's names, and just referring to their commonly known functions, but he guessed he would have to comply.

Nodding in a no-nonsense fashion, he weaved his wand through the air, lifting the feather up with ease, eliciting some impressed murmurs from his house. He was completely silent and after a few seconds, so was the entirety of the Charm's classroom.

He heard a faint growl from the professor, but paid it no mention as he stared politely yet condescendingly at Warwick, waiting for another order as the feather drifted back down on his desk. Although, knowing that it would be a bad move, he couldn't help send an egoistically smug smirk towards the professor. He blamed it on all the teenage hormones. Dark times indeed.

Next came the cleaning charm, bleaching charm, cooling and warming charms, each command steadily growing in difficulty.

When it was obvious that Balthazar wasn't backing off or failing any time soon, the professor paused, wracking his mind for advanced charms he would have the annoyance of a child perform. He didn't care if some were impossible for a first year to know, and furthermore, practice.

Warwick was relying on that. He couldn't be shown up, no. He saw the students look at Avior in shock and awe and he saw the jealousy and disbelief. He growled. He wouldn't lose face.

Not by a useless Gryffindor; with his house full of blood traitors and mudbloods. The difficulty rose by tenfold and yet the blasted Avior still wasn't faltering. That's it, Warwick thought. He didn't care what spell it took; he would take the student down. A spell that no first year would know; and even unlikely practiced among the senior years...his eyes widened. Yes. This would be it. He would put the boy in his place.

"The Patronus charm," stated the professor, exterior nonchalant, calm, placid.

Balthazar blinked and his hand twitched as he froze momentarily at the onslaught of memories. Figuratively batting the vintage apparitions away, he cocked his head at the professor before shutting his eyes. This was a bad idea. He would regret it in the end. It would hurt him the most. So why, was he so compliant in doing so? Had he always have had these self destructive, self deprecating behaviour? Knowing he wasn't about to find an answer anytime soon, Balthazar, yet again, pitched the blame upon teenage hormones before getting back to matters at hand.

"As you wish." He replied huskily, voice deeper; seemingly much older than an eleven year old would carry.

He gave a negligent sweep of the class before spotting a dauntingly familiar face. Almost freezing up again at the sight of Tom Riddle; who, at first glance, looked nonchalant, but Balthazar could feel slight annoyance at the blatant disrespect he had shown...and a tinge of...was that jealousy? Balthazar thought incredulously. Ah, well. No matter now, he guessed.

It was extremely tactless of him, Balthazar admitted to himself. Tactless with extreme lack of finesse and subtlety; the idiotic, compulsive behaviour and juvenile outbursts he seemed to have retained from his previous life in Hogwarts. No matter, he thought once more. This may as well be a warning for people looking to target me; I am setting my position and this will show them that I won't stand down to those who I don't respect. Juvenile, yes, but effective nonetheless.

The Patronus was a light spell. His eyes met Riddle's. You'd better watch this carefully, Tommy boy. Master Harry's only going to do it just once.

He smirked towards the to-be Dark Lord before pointing his wand towards Warwick. That's it. He's insane, and there's no cure.

"Expecto Patronum," He all but commanded, and then hated himself for it before adamantly ignoring the 'I bloody told you so' at the back of his mind, his eyes currently occupied by something else's appearance within the room - a large, majestic silver dog darted, charging at a white-shocked Warwick before running around the room, huffing jovially; silver wisps flying out from the dog's feet, as if to channel dirt, before it ran towards Balthazar, slowing down to lick its creator.

"...Hello, Sirius." Was Balthazar's pained whisper after a moment of silence, wand lowering. When he reached out, he ran his hand over the corporeal dog's form as if to pat it; and sometimes he just wished to, but he knew he would then be met with nothing but webs of his own magic and desperation.

The dog barked in recognition and sensing no immediate danger, disappeared in wisps of silver.

Mood shifting, he lifted his head towards a still wide-eyed Warwick.

'How'd that taste?' He thought bitterly, expression a storm - mood souring by the second. Not waiting for a reply, he collected his belongings before exiting the classroom half an hour early. Thankfully, for their own good, nobody had stopped him. He was angry at himself for unearthing such hidden emotions and cases; any reminiscence of his deceased godfather made his heart ache and body tremble; it tore him from inside out, and he himself were to blame. Eyes shining, he held back tears that threatened to overflow but his face was as emotionless as ever; the maelstrom and spectrum of feelings whirling within him, confined inside a cold-hearted shell.

He continued to walk in a set, fast pace, uncaring for the teachers that may spot him out, or the caretaker that would inflict punishment upon him. His teeth gnashed against each other as he held back screams, his anger and sorrow bubbling hot inside him; the helplessness of that day all coming back to him and he was just so...livid. And it had been his fault; this was all his fault. Balthazar himself had promised Death that he would have no intervention whatsoever; it had been a spur of the moment decision and he had felt oh so empty back then.

In that way, Balthazar had greatly overestimated himself. He had been without temptation for a decade, so why now? Why was it just now, that he was realizing with all his might the overall potential of this situation - the changes he make, he would help so much with his future knowledge, and the people he would sav-

Yet, who was he kidding? He sighed. His impulsive behaviour was getting to him again, and the ambiguity of his loyalty was too bipolar to trust in any sense; he wouldn't be satisfied with choosing a side, and he never would have. So what good would he do, if he were to permanently and publicly align himself as a player for the light? He would gain nothing but trouble, and that was why he had come back here, no? If he were to change anything, and anything at all, it would be done silently and without a trace, he concluded.

He reached the banks of the riverbed but sat down upon a patch of concrete surrounded by grass.

The river had a pungent scent; as one would smell near fish and the flowing winds had only made it all the more noticeable for his sensitive nose. But it was a fresh smell, so he didn't mind - not at all.

He had decided to skip out on the next two classes he had - Transfiguration and Potions, him being not in the mood for any of the activities nor socializing or being under scrutiny of both Dumbledore and Slughorn.

He knew the incident that played out within the charms class was bound to spread; whether from the grapevine or overhearing from professors...god knows. Balthazar also admitted and reluctantly prepared himself for the consequences; telling off a teacher and wagging two classes on his first day - not exactly the best first impression, either. Not that he cared. It wasn't...nothing seemed to hold the appeal it had a few years ago when he was thrust into the life of a candid, spoiled pureblooded child. It was an interesting experiences and it had kept in occupied, but Hogwarts; oh no, Hogwarts was nothing but a repetition and although his escapade with Warwick had sure made him feel some emotion - whether negative or not, the prices to be paid were much more than he was willing to pay for, in more ways than one.

He felt tired and rather unwilling to move his limbs, feeling the strain upon his magical core from his earlier display of impeccable, magical performance in front of both the Slytherins and the Gryffindors. Balthazar stopped himself as his eyes almost slid shut, not wanting to take a nap here and now. It would leave him in a vulnerable position; one that he wouldn't put past Hogwarts' inhabitants to give up, and also for the fact of sabotaging his barely existent sleep schedule. If he wanted to grow to his full, potential height then he would have to be weary as to what nutrients he consumed and slept as much as he could muster.

The blue-eyed boy had situated himself upon a rock as he leaned comfortably against an oak-tree, eyes heavily lidded as he felt the wind play around his hair, enjoying the tingling sensation as the comfort brought a smile to his face. He made a note to check his pocket watch; seeing that only half an hour passed, he knew he would have time to spare. Balthazar frowned when his stomach grumbled but ignored its cries for hunger. If he were to sate it now, he would have to go back inside the school, inside the great hall where he would be reprimanded for his insolence.

He huffed. Hogwarts was slowly becoming more of a prison than an educational system as he was sure he had learned absolutely nothing and will continue to do so until possibly the later years of his repeated education. It was precious time spent whilst he was situated in here, but then again, did he have a plan as to what he would do - if he had just run away?

Eyes closed, he huffed in frustration as the logical part of his mind took control. Without his family for him to - and Merlin does he hate to say it - rely on, he would be nothing but a beggar of a teenager, paroling the dangerous streets of wizarding Britain and with the looming threat of a war, also taking in account of Grindelwald's expanding forces, running away was just about the most hair-brained idea he had thought of. And yet..but had some appeal. No, scratch that. It had so much appeal, especially towards his adventurous side. He knew how to handle himself; he knew reasonable magic, he was adept at dueling and he knew how to manage his money.

He had a bag of golden galleons at his disposal and Balthazar wasn't stupid; he knew how to manage money. And with every minute that passed in his seclusion he felt a plan forming within his head regardless of is refusals or attempts to distract himself; his hands remained motionless as he held onto his notebook and quill, his mind working fast. His thoughts then turned towards the Aviors and he felt the foundation shatter - if only slightly. Half of him tried to justify the matter; speaking in seductive tones - 'they're not your real family now, are they?' A traitorous voice crooned. 'You were sent there with disregard by Death - you hold no ties with them.'

They helped me - they trained me and had taken me i- The deep, dark voice laughed coldly; it was soft, breathless and played beautifully within his ears; the resounding sound felt cool and comfortable within his head. Yet again it was darkly persuasive - intoxicating. And he was sure that for all he was worth, that voice couldn't have, wouldn't be...himself. He shook his head, attempting to shake out the mocking, dormant voice within his mind that spoke so loudly, yet so convincingly. He fanned himself by pulling and reclining his robes, creating gusts of cooler pair in the process, soothing his now uncomfortably hot skin. which felt so out of place - shining a pitiful red within the cold weather's snow.

It was one thing he had hated about himself; whenever he had gotten into heated arguments or if he had been flustered at the smallest of aspects, a reproachful heatwave always seemed to send waves of heat through his body, making it extremely uncomfortable and flushing his face; the unwelcome blush only growing brighter and evermore obvious when harboured within his pale complexion. Of course, he could always have placed a glamour upon himself but that would easily make wizards and witches suspicious and looking to see what he's had to hide, which honestly defeats the purpose, not to mention wasting energy and causing more problems in the process.

Also there was the glaring problem of Tom Riddle. Now, although Balthazar was remotely modest, he would be dubbed as a fool if Riddle didn't save that incident into his head; guessing the Slytherin to either search up about his family, or gain a disclosed curiosity that would only rise if Balthazar had not wanted to hold back. He scowled; that would mean he would have to hold back much more than he was doing so, if only for Voldemort Jr. to withdraw his attention; and honestly, with the way things are going now, that would mean literally hitting rock bottom in every class. Something that he, himself would unwilling to do.

But if he was to somehow maneuver himself to the middle of the ladder however... Yes, that would prove to be the most beneficial, if not a bit difficult to achieve, but once he'd made his spot certain within the midst of the student body, their surge of curiosity for him would dim. If his family would create complications for him for not achieving as they would have wanted him to, then that was just dandy. It wasn't as if they were his - Harry Potter's - actual, real family. They were a fake replica and in a way, also a prison for Death t confine him in within his first ten years, before he entered another; Hogwarts.

He groaned. 'Well played, well played, Death.' He commanded as he clapped his hands sarcastically within his head.

Enter: Tom Riddle.

It was to his curiosity; the person that had walked in front of him with well-practiced elegance. It was apparent with the silence besides their two footsteps softly thudding against the train's wooden floors. He, Tom had observed, had mid-length, raven-black hair and carried what looked like a heavy case along with an owl. Through the crisp details of his clothing and general appearance, Tom could see that he was of great wealth - or rather, a pureblood, as one of many books had put it. He didn't bring himself to be jealous; through his trips throughout Diagon Alley, he had seen many...spoiled magical children begging of the most outlandish or unnecessary items.

He was surprised, actually, that anyone had the conscience of sitting even in a cabin near him, as he was sure he still excluded a certain aura that repels his peers; and that certain aura had been of his control for almost a quarter of a decade.

They were off the train and walking towards carriages which seemed to be pulled by an invisible force.

Although… He shot his interest a quick look; finally able to get a fine view of the said person's face.

He was beautiful - Tom would give him that; and he was the utmost vain. He had dark hair which contrasted greatly with the pail palette of his skin;. It was beautifully smooth and almost white . His eyes almost seemed to have a daunting glow of energy; as if he held so much power it was attempting to escape from his being. The colour they held were Royal blue mixed with small tinges of green and dark spots within the iris and although they were of an interesting colour, the moment he saw them, they reflected of something that looked like a grotesque horse with wings.

Racking his mind for more information, his mind came to a stop at a certain chapter in Hogwarts - A History. Thestrals, he thought in enlightenment 'it was apparent that one could only see a Thestral if one had not only seen, but accepted a death - or many deaths. If one had seen however hadn't accepted the deceased one, they would perhaps only feel flickers of the Thestral's presence and slowly, as denial starts to fade, does the creature seem to materialize into a physical entity. Through the student's eyes, they were crystal clear.

As if confirming his answer, when he turned to the carriages he was once again met with nothing, but when he turned back, he saw the boy step upon and seating himself on the carriage's seat.

Suddenly more focused on Hogwarts, Tom pushed his knowledge of the mysterious student to the back of his head for later perusal and followed the steps of the other students, getting into a carriage of his own, adamantly ignoring the annoying and hyperactive and excited chattering students. He allowed a small scowl to grace his face, his eyebrows furrowed to show his disapproval and desiderata to not be interrupted or spoken to. Needlessly, the other students - two red heads and a brown-eyed, glassed boy were making enthusiastic conversation whilst showing him minimal interest whatsoever.


It was easy to ignore the ruckus of the students as he effortlessly zoned out of their petty and tedious conversations. He already knew many things about the school and what it had to offer, as he had done endless research about it over the days he had waited for this moment. He would like to assume that he wasn't completely clueless as to the goings on, but, Tom knew, he would definitely be at a great disadvantage to those who had wizarding heritages, or are even half-bloods. But he wouldn't let that get him down. No, definitely not.

Throughout his days after the discovery of magic and Dumbledore's - he sneered - confirmation, it was a repetitive thought that rung through his head like no other. After all - he smirked - sheer skill, genius and motive would tower over the likes of a few years' more of educational experience. So what if he had not come from a prestigious, pureblooded and ancient family; he was dedicated and his magic was stronger than what a normal first-grader, either magical or muggle, would be able to carry.

A cruel, twisted, phantom of a smile edged along the tips of his mouth. Much, much stronger.

When he was waiting along with all the other students in front of his most despised professor; Tom always had a dislike for Dumbledore, perhaps if only because the old man could easily see through his guise and, or his hidden intentions and dark history. There were many instances in his meeting of Albus Dumbledore had he felt slight traces of the old man within his mind, which to his exposure to magic, had miffed him greatly. And so, had he began his research into the two important subjects as occlumency and legilimency.

It was a rather brash and presumptuous of him to think that Dumbledore of all people - who were revered by almost all the wizards and witches he had met, would use such frowned upon practices as legilimency was; and on a minor, no doubt. Ah, well. Being the genius he was, Dumbledore, magic, and that certain boy. He'll find it out, all in time.

Although, under certain circumstances, he was an impatient man. Then again, weren't they all.