For public static void, I hope you like it!
For the Crossover Month of The Golden Snitch. Koldovstoretz, Vladimiranova.
Word Count: 1,444
Jean Grey doesn't know how her parents got her into an orphanage all the way in England—a run down little place that most definitely has at least 20 rats somewhere in the building that has yet to catch up to the comforts of modern plumbing—when they started realizing the possible extent of her powers.
She does know why they do it. They want to get as much distance between them and her as they possibly can. And sending her to Australia is either too expensive or too complicated for them, Jean doesn't care enough to find out
(As that would help. As if she wouldn't be able to reach them from here if she really wanted to.)
It doesn't really matter, though. Jean is well aware that it probably should, that she should probably feel something. After all, her parents had sent her away, had denounced and abandoned her.
And yet, Jean does not care about that at all. She is here now and that's what is important. She could run away if she felt like it—being seven years old doesn't stop her from finding her way and managing to survive—but staying easier and letting other people take care of her is easier.
So she stays, more or less reluctantly. There would be so many better places for her to stay—cleaner, with better food, and more ways for her to continue learning and figuring out how the world worked—but she is not yet sure if that would be worth the effort. She'll give this place a chance, because it is most certainly be possible for this orphanage to be hiding something or someone of value. If she's already here, she can at least check whether or not this is the case before she dismissed it.
If nothing else, then she would figure out how to make people like these like her, which could only be useful in the future.
(There are some things she is unable to deal with though.)
Jean goes out on a walk in the worst clothes she owns one day. It's an old, yellow dress that has seen better days. She gave it to one of the least sanitary children to play with before, to make sure that it was in the worst shape it could be in.
The girl is absolutely delighted at the chance for a reason that Jean isn't sure she wants to know why that is the case. But the girl seems like her and Jean isn't about to complain.
(She has an advantage when it gets to figuring out what she has to do in order to appear likeable and she is not ashamed to use all of her abilities to her advantage.)
She goes out in the city and a few days later, Wool's Orphanage happens to recieve a donation from a politician so that they can finally install proper plumbing.
Not that anyone manages to figure out that those two facts are connected in any way. They aren't meant to be, yes, but a part of Jean is nevertheless disappointed that not one person notes it as a coincidence or anything.
(A small correction: one person manages to figure it out.)
Tom is the first person Jean meets in England that is actually worth the energy to talk to. All the other children here are incompetent fools and the adult's weren't much better. God knows that the girl Jean shares a room with seem to be happier running around in the dirt than picking up a book.
It's pathetic, honestly.
Tom had been grounded after the patrons had caught him terrifying a girl and as such he had not had the chance to speak to her these past two weeks. He hadn't left his room for anything but the 'loo' as they called it here—still in the garden, but they had started working on it the day before yesterday, so the end of that was approaching—and to take a bath once time.
("Not one of my better works" he admits. "I was a bit sloppy"
"But why frighten when you trick them into liking and voluntarily doing things for you?" she asks. "That seems to be a far more sensible choice to me."
"You actually make an excellent point," Tom acknowledges. "I am afraid it is a bit too late for that though."
"I am sure you will get a chance to do that sooner or later.")
He sits down next to her as she is reading. The other children are playing outside like the fools they are, but Tom has managed to get ahold of a book himself.
"Hello." His voice is quiet when he speaks. The tone conveys more calculation and thought than Jean can remember hearing in her life and she is already convinced that in some way, shape, or form, she is going to have fun with this boy.
He appears to be around her age, perhaps a few months older: He holds himself better than she would have expected of anyone in this place—particularly one born here, as the surface of his memories reveal.
(They scream of want or desire is so strong that it is almost tangible.
Jean wholeheartedly approves.)
"Hello," she replies. She isn't going to prompt the first move. He has to prove himself worthy of her time, even if she has no doubt he will.
"My name is Tom Riddle," he speaks, calm and measure. "How do you like it here so far?"
Jean immediately likes that he doesn't bother to point out the obvious information both of them know, like all the other children had done. Yes, his question appeared a tad thoughtless as well, but this was the first time they were speaking and he did not have much to base this conversation off.
"Jean Grey," she replies, not all that much different from the way he had spoken. "And better, now that modern plumbing is going to be an actual thing in the near future."
"I completely agree." Tom nods solemnly. "I cannot believe that we were stuck with this until you did something about it. I should have considered doing something like this ages ago."
"How do you figure that I was involved," she asked innocently, yet daringly raising an eyebrow.
"Do you think me a fool?" he replies.
And from that point onwards, their conversation only got more and more interesting.
Less than a week of intensive conversations later, the two decided that they were the only two suitable intelligent people in the entire orphanage. They spent a lot of their time together, even if most other residents were still bothered by Tom.
(Jean made sure that their disgust lessened gradually. It wouldn't do for them to get suspicious.)
Jean doesn't ask Tom how he managed to convince the patrons to let them room together. She is holding out for something in exchange, though, and she is well aware that he knows it.
Both of them are too practical to do anything else.
It takes them only a day of living together to discover what they can do.
Normally, both of them would be far more cautious, but being around someone like them—someone who didn't completely understand what these 'emotions' were supposed to be or why they were so important with the exception of a selected flew like anger—that make them lower their shields.
And so Jean catches Tom talking to a snake that had made their way into their room.
The strangest thing was, Tom actually seemed to feel something when she entered the room. He was afraid of, what, losing her?
"This is not what it looks like," he tried to reassure her, much less smooth than he usually was.
"Oh, but it is," Jean argued. She smiles and closed the door.
Only, she didn't use any part of her body to do so.
Tom's eyes lightened up and grew in size. For a moment, he seemed to lose control of his jaw.
"You're like me," he breathed in amazement.
Jean shakes her head. "To be honest, I don't think so. We're both different, obviously, but I think what I can do and what you can do isn't the same thing. I can't talk to snakes, for example."
A part of her half expected Tom to be disappointed, but his expression only turned calculating. "That would make us much harder to stop, if we were to work together."
"I like where this is headed," Jean declared as she lay down on her bed, which was a lot less stiff since it was moved in this room. "Do tell more."