Many people wonder about the mind of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. In the dark of
the night, when every shadow on the wall seems to be a Death Eater, they wonder…
how is it that this man can kill so many people? Muggles, Muggle-borns, hundreds
have had their lives ended by this… monster. They muse that it must be like the mind
of a demon, a devil, evil to the very core.
They could not be more wrong…
* * * * *
Tom lay awake, his face buried in his pillow. The eleven-year-old struggled to muffle
his sobs, not wanting his roommates to hear them. He only cried harder when he
thought of what Malfoy, for instance, would have to say if they found him like this.
"It's not fair…" he mumbled. "It's just not fair…"
He'd been so excited when he heard that he'd get to leave the orphanage. It was awful
there, with all the kids avoiding that "odd Tom" because of the strange things he
could do. Tom had been teased and picked on a lot, he hadn't had a single friend
there. The only one had been a small snake he'd found in the garden once… but the
bullies had killed her – "by accident," they said – scarce months later.
He'd stared wide-eyed at Diagon Alley and all its shops, completely lost. He'd met
another boy his age there who'd shown him around. They'd struck it off immediately,
Alastor had been very nice and Tom had smiled for the first time in what seemed like
years. He'd sat with Alastor and some of his friends on the train-ride, laughing and
joking with them, talking about Houses, Quidditch, and any topic they happened to
think of. For the first time, he'd felt that he was just "one of the gang", not an
outsider, the odd one out. He'd so looked forward to Hogwarts, if it was going to be
like this all the time… /friendship…/
Then… the Sorting. Tom remembered what the Hat had said to him. Remembered as
if the words had been branded into his mind.
"Hm… you're quite a difficult one to place. You'd do all right in Slytherin, but I'd
prefer not to put you. A bit ambitious, but not really cunning or ruthless enough. Very
clever and intelligent – you'd make a good Ravenclaw! Quite brave, you could go
into Gryffindor as well. But… wait… what's this? You're of that bloodline? I'm
sorry… I guess I have no choice but to put you into SLYTHERIN!"
He'd been in shock. /No… not Slytherin…/ he'd heard far too many awful stories
about that House. He'd glumly gone over to the table on the far right, which was
hardly applauding. He could hear the whispers. /"Riddle? Never heard of them… you
don't think he's… not one of ours… a *Mudblood?*"/
The boys sitting nearest him had moved their chairs away, as though he had some
kind of disease. He'd tried to catch Alastor's eye, he felt so lonely… Alastor had
looked away.
After that, Hogwarts only seemed like a bad dream. The classes were fascinating, yes,
but that was all that seemed good about it. The Slytherins were contemptuous – a
/half-blood,/ one of /them?/ None of his House-mates would even talk to him. It
wouldn't have been as bad if he hadn't managed to get on the wrong side of Malfoy
the very first day – he couldn't exactly remember what had happened, but it involved
accidentally tripping him in front of a bunch of Gryffindors... Malfoy had been
embarassed, humiliated, and very angry. And Malfoys had sneaky ways of getting
back at you for things like that… ways involving lies and rumors spread through the
House.
The other Houses didn't bother with him. He was a /Slytherin,/ after all, and
/obviously/ a nasty, evil person, plotting how to best hurt and humiliate them with
Malfoy and the other snobbish purebloods. Alastor had never spoken to him after the
Sorting, always leaving a room when Tom entered. Apparently he felt betrayed, but
not nearly as much as Tom himself.
"Why?" Tom sobbed. "Why me? What did I do to deserve this?" /It's not fair…I'm
just a normal kid… it's not fair…/
* * * * *
Later came the desire for revenge, the wish to make everyone pay for what they'd
done to him. The Muggles who'd tormented and abandoned him? Tortured and
murdered. The Slytherins who'd sneered at their half-blood classmate? Made to grovel
at his feet. The others, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs and most of all Gryffindors, who'd
hated him simply because of his green-and-silver badge? Whimpering in terror at his
very name…
But before the hatred came something else. At the core of the Dark Lord's mind, there
is a scared little boy, crying in the dark, all alone…