How Tom Riddle Became The Greatest Villain Of Them All
"I knew my superiors would think me mad. They would think I had lost my head, that my brain had gone down the drain, but I couldn't—to leave this dimension like this, with such potential, a world already fated to be abandoned by ours. If the paths are to be permanently closed, who was I to deny them a chance of victory? Say what you want, since I'm doing what I will—I do try to avoid hypocrisy—that better dead than red, as the saying goes. But I can't agree, not only against communists, I dare say even now. However, this isn't a blind bet. I met the kid, the one that one day is supposed to grow up to be one of the worst Dark Wizards of all time. But this lad didn't strike me as that. He was different, clearly. Not just a parallel version, but an alternate too. I saw it, some of those trademark traits I know ours possessed. A hunger and ambition coupled with the clear desire to dictate. But I saw other things too—alien to what we think and know of that infamous, wicked man. After meeting the kid, I made my choice."
-James Holsher, a Post-mortem Diary of an Interdimensional Gate Keeper
James Holsher was approaching an orphanage, one that he had his eyes on for some time. Four days had gone by since he had first felt the usage of magic. It wasn't a common ability, but neither was it too special. Back home, a world where wizards had built to themselves a longstanding society through the ages, the skill to detect magic was less of an asset, but as a scavenger on the outer dimensions where magic could be either scares or even rare, it was incredibly useful. It was, in fact, while performing this job under the Ministry that he had found others who shared this curious ability with him.
As he pressed down the doorbell, he took a moment to arrange is clothes, taking off whether dust he could find. He prodded his coat too more than once, finding each time his wand safely stored within. It was funny to be so anxious at meeting a 15 year old. It felt both deserving and silly, since the person he was about to properly meet was a boy who shared his name with another man, one from his home dimension who had done great things. Well, terrible too, obviously, but great.
A young woman in an apron came to the door, and she eyed James with the utmost suspicion. She looked around him as if expecting one more person, or perhaps someone else entirely. James concluded she wasn't used to receive lonely men at the doors wanting to adopt. He supposed it even gave off the wrong impression.
"Good afternoon, Ms. Hudson." James offered a smile, but she didn't seem convinced.
"Excuse me, do I know you?"
"Well, we spoke on the phone last week. I'm Mr. Holsher." He told her, offering a handshake and setting his eyes on hers. They were sweet, the archetypical kind you would find on young, idealistic women. James had learned a bit about Ms. Hudson, and he knew she was a good person.
She took it with suspicion, but her eyes lost their keen the longer she stared at James' stare. "Yes… I suppose, but Ms. Smith has gone out and—"
"It will not take long. I told you, remember? I only need to talk to Tom for a few minutes, Tom Riddle. I will be on my way then."
Muggles, those with a strong mind, could resist Confundus, but even then little could even the most headstrong do to stand up against the spell their first time. James himself was a good wizard, meeting the minimum requirements to set foot out of his home dimension, and he found himself impressed at the fight Ms. Hudson was putting up. But alas, she finally gave in.
"You came in a good time, Mr. Holsher. He just brought Alice from school." She said as she guided James up the floors.
"Alice? A girl from the orphanage too, I suppose?"
"That would be right. She is also the only person he listens to." Ms. Hudson shared with a sigh. "He can be quite stubborn."
"Would that be how you describe him?" James asked.
The young woman stopped midway her step up the staircase, and she turned her head slightly.
"What is your interest on Tom, Mr. Holsher?"
James had trouble believing, but it seemed she was already escaping from his spell. He managed to make her look his way and set his eyes on hers once again.
"Very few individuals find enough discipline to self-study at home. Tom has attracted my attention. I think the young lad has future. Think of me as an investor."
He knew she wasn't entirely under control, but it was enough. She started walking up the stairs again, and he followed closely.
"How did you come to know of him?" she inquired.
"He sent me a letter."
"A letter? Who sends letter these days?"
James shrugged. "I have the impression Tom has a flair for dramatics."
Ms. Hudson nodded. "That he does. I suppose that is a good way to describe him too."
They stopped in front of a door at the end of a dusty corridor on the third floor. By the other doors positioning, it didn't seem as if the rooms had a lot of space.
"This is the boy's floor," Ms. Hudson told James, catching his less than impressed look at the uncleanliness, "They were supposed to have cleaned it last Sunday."
She made to knock on the door, but James held her hand by her wrist. She was taken slightly by surprise, and James realized his heart was beating faster. 'This is just a kid', he thought to himself, 'He never even went to Hogwarts'.
"Could you describe him to me, what you think of Tom? This is important, I assure you." James whispered.
She seemed conflicted, but James realized it wasn't about the effect of his Confundus. It was, in fact, something else entirely. They held their eyes on one another and Ms. Hudson stole Tom's door a look. James executed a silent charm, one that would keep Tom from possibly overhearing them, if he so tried.
"He's odd." Ms. Hudson whispered.
"Strange things happen."
"This is a strange world, Ms. Hudson."
"It's not like that," she whispered, "it doesn't fit anything. I've heard about them, read a few things too. I thought he was one, but—"
"Doesn't quite fit in?" James interjected, and Ms. Hudson looked at him again apprehensively.
"I hope not. The gangs would know. Eventually they would know, and the orphanage—"
"You are a brave woman, Ms. Hudson. Despite the danger you still kept him."
"Well," she said, her cheeks slightly rosier, "Alice wouldn't do without him. He also manages to keep the orphanage in order."
"They listen. It's somewhat… unsettling however."
"Anything bad ever happened?"
"No. That it did not."
James gave it a second, holding her eyes on his before knocking himself on Tom's door. He heard footsteps on the other side and the door unlocked itself. James noticed he hadn't heard anymore foot steps however.
Ms. Hudson made a motion for him to get in, "Tom, you've got a visitor."
James entered the room, and he noticed Ms. Hudson pulled the door almost to a close, but still left it open. James made sure, with a slight twitch of his fingers, that they wouldn't be overheard. When he turned, he found a boy sitting on the other side of the room. Books pilled over, with a notebook in front of him while he held a pen on one of his hands.
The kid was pale, and dark-haired. He wasn't however, what you would expect of other 15 years old. His room was impeccable, even more so if compare to the corridor. His hair combed over his head in a deliberate way, and though he was dressed casually, he could see the boy fitting along an older crowd. When he left his chair, James saw that the kid also had posture, somewhat imposing even, but James could be sure if it was his bias that caused such impression.
"I apologize, but you are?" Tom asked.
James managed to smile. Suddenly his anxiousness gave way to a more adventurous feeling. He knew he usually did a storm over a glass of water, but once he got into it, it became much easier.
"You've certainly never heard of me."
Tom frowned at the comment, "I suppose. It is hard to know those who don't introduce themselves."
James crossed the room and offered him a handshake, which Tom took gingerly. "James Holsher, a pleasure to officially meet you, Mr. Riddle."
"The same, I suppose." Tom said, and James knew the kid's eyes were on him. Not just as a kid, but as something else. As a predator who had just received a prey in his lair. "Why you've come?"
James didn't answer immediately. He turned away from Tom, and looked around the boy's room. "You might want to take a seat."
Tom didn't seem happy to be taking advice on his own bedroom, but he obliged. James felt he was intrigued, though by what he wasn't as sure. He had a couple of theories. The boy took his seat at his chair, and James took the liberty of sitting at Tom's bed.
"So?" Tom asked.
"To start, how do you do?" James asked impishly.
Tom raised an eyebrow, "Unnerved. Strangers in my bed isn't really part of my preferences."
"Strong preferences, you think you have them?"
"I have strong priorities."
No doubt. If something isn't to change, that would certainly be it, wouldn't' it?
"And by which means you will achieve them?" James asked more intently, his smile gone.
Tom frowned, and James believed he was catching on. "Whatever means necessary."
"Even when it is unfair? Even when you have something no one else has?" James inquired further, and Tom froze. The boy looked at James under a new light, much more defensive in James opinion.
"You are not from the Protectorate. You are taking me away?"
"Come on, Tom. You think we would still be here if that was the case?"
"I wouldn't make it easy for you, so yes." Tom shot. But at the lack of James' response, Tom continued with a annoyed pout, "So I'm a parahuman?"
"Can you do things others can't? Perhaps then, perhaps not."
Tom shook his head, "What is that supposed to mean?"
"Ironically, we are something far more natural, Tom, far more beautiful. Far less incisive too."
James nodded at Tom. "It is magic that we can do."
Silence took over as neither Tom or James made motion to fill it with something else. Tom seemed to be mulling it over, while James was simply enjoying Tom Riddle's reaction. The Tom Riddle from his world would certainly have behaved in a different way, but it was still entertaining.
"I'm special, then. I knew I wasn't that simple. But you… prove it. Prove you are a wizard." Tom manage to veil the order as a request, but the wording gave it away. Still, James complied. He took out a wand from his coat, pointing to downwards and twisting it carefully.
"Expecto Patronum." He voiced it low, and a small gazelle came out of white clouds, circling around James and eventually stopping in front of Riddle. His eyes were set on the magic, on the eyes of that impossible animal, and they shone with wonder. He was smiling now, and his expression had turned less cold. He seemed more of a kid now, James realized.
"Where can I get one of those?" Tom asked, his eyes on James' wand.
James' shrugged. "That's impossible."
"What?" Tom asked incredulously.
"You are the first wizard I find in this world. There isn't really a wand maker you can find around these parts."
James shrugged, "I come from a world where wizards are somewhat common. Not a lot of us, but enough. It makes me think you aren't from here too, though I'm certain you aren't from mine. I would know."
Tom seemed to sink on his chair, but it wasn't long before he raised his voice. "Can I come with you? And then return—"
"By my laws, I suppose I can take you back, since you are already an Interdimensional traveler. Actually, whatever story there is behind you misplacement would certainly be an interesting mystery to crack, but that's not the point now. If you come, you can't return."
"Can Alice come?"
"Alice?" James asked.
Lord Voldemort didn't have any siblings.
"You have a sister?"
"Well, not by blood, but that doesn't matter. We chose it, so it must be even better."
James eyes the kid strangely, "She cannot come, for the same reason you can. She belongs here, so she ought to stay here."
Tom cracked his fingers as yet again James denied him of his plans and ideas. He pinched the bridge of his nose, his eyes on the floor a he clearly went through a thunderstorm inside of his head.
"Then… then it doesn't matter. I'm not leaving her."
James couldn't help having his jaw drop. He stared at Tom Riddle as if the kid had turned into a chimera.
"Why?" James inquired.
Tom didn't seem to appreciate the question, frowning at James' prodding. "I'm not abandoning her."
James nodded at that, but he knew he couldn't leave things at that. "That empathy," the older man started, "…hold on to it. It is a great asset."
Before Tom could say anything, James stood up and brought forward a small pouch from his coat.
"Tell me young Tom, what is it that you desire? What priorities you have that you feel so strongly about it?"
Tom seemed bothered by the lack of care from James. He was annoying to a great degree, but he had both his attention and his curiosity. He decided that it was too late to stop indulging both himself and James.
"You told me there wasn't any other wizards in this world, right?"
James had not only his hand inside the pouch, but also his entire arm, down to a length that should be physically impossible. It didn't stop him from simply nodding as he clearly searched for something.
Tom couldn't fight his smile. "Than I suppose now it is an obligation."
"An obligation?" James asked, his movements now still. He had either found what he was looking for, or he had stopped to better listen to Tom. It could be both too, though.
"I will become the greatest hero there ever was."
James had his eyebrows slightly upwards, but his skepticism held them mostly down.
"I don't think you have a costume yet—"
"I never will. I'm not a coward."
"Have you gone out once yet?" James pressed.
"It would be foolish. It is not yet time."
"And when it is, what will you do?"
"I will erase them all. The Endbringers, the Slaughterhouse 9, the Teeth. There can be only one at the top."
"That's a lot of power. Won't you go mad over it?" James wondered.
Tom seemed disgusted at the suggestion. "I know what I want, the end I desire. Now it's just a matter of figuring out the path, the middle."
James nodded, but seemed absentminded. He took out four sticks, four wands from his pouch, and gazed at them with some apprehension.
"I guess I have to cover for the Ollivanders," James muttered before looking at Tom again. "The wand chooses the wizard, Mister Riddle. Although, I believe this isn't as great of a collection as it should be, these four wands are what I could recover in my travels. May the best match be a good one too."
Tom seemed surprised, looking between the wands and James himself with disbelief. He then turned his eyes to his own pile of books over his desk, before returning to James
"I suppose you don't carry with you a couple of books on… magic?" he said, the last word with holding more meaning to him than the rest.
James shrugged once again. "You are about to be surprised."
A/N: Riddle thinks beating all the bad guys automatically makes him a hero. I don't think that's how it works, and James thinks so too. What James thinks that I'm not too sure off is whether this is all worth it.