All I Ever Need
Dear Little Brother,
Fuuuuuuucccckkk. Wholly fucking hell! What did I ever do to deserve this?
Dorothy Rionach Riddle. Tom Marvolo Riddle. Wool's Orphanage.
It took me an entire fucking year to finally know my -our- last name, and the name of this run-down orphanage. I am not pleased, not pleased at all.
I had already guessed that I was somehow reincarnated in the past (which isn't fucking fair -I wanted hover cars, damnit, not to be discriminated against because people are so fucking sexist, both men and women) because of the way people are always dressed and their behaviour, but let me tell you that it's another thing entirely to be reincarnated into a goddamn fictional universe.
And then to have you as a twin, on top of it all?
Yeah, when I finally meet God, Fate, Life, Death, or whomever is fucking responsibly for my situation, I'm fucking sucker punching them in their goddamn faces.
I'll admit it, the thought of suffocating you in your sleep has crossed my mind, more than once. I mean, I'd be saving Britain a lot of trouble in doing so. So many people wouldn't have to die, to walk through hell, and so many future orphans could still grow up with their parents. I could save two wars before they even get the chance to begin.
I wouldn't be charged, either, since I'm only a year old. Who would blame a toddler in committing cold-blooded murder? They'd label it an accident, bury your little body, and move on in their lives. I might be bullied later on when other kids eventually find out, but honestly I could care less what a bunch of snot nosed prats think of me.
I can't do it, though. Fuck me and my weak heart, but no matter how many times I try to remind myself of all the horrors that you will commit, I just...Can't. Your eyes are too big, too innocent and full of wonder, your body too squishy, small, and adorable, and your habit of hugging me and following me around too damn cute. I swear my heart tried to burst out of my chest when your very first steps was towards me, not Mrs Coles for anyone else, and every time you babble "Doo"...
It's not fucking fair, but I learned that life has never been fair in my first life (apparently neither is death or reincarnation) and so why should I expect that to change this time around?
Despite my better judgment, I can feel myself growing attached to you a little more every day. I realized that I truly love you when a couple came to the orphanage age the other day, who were looking to adopt a baby girl. When it seemed like they were going to settle for me, but either couldn't or wouldn't take you as well...I panicked. Sudden fear, of me leaving you and you I, shot through me then. I hope you fucking appreciate me screwing my chances by throwing up on the woman.
I just can't see Voldemort when I look at you. You don't have red eyes, your nose is still in place, your dark hair is ever so silky, your soul isn't torn, and your hands aren't stained red. Not yet, and I swear, if I have anything to say they never will be. You gurgle and tootle, not hold meetings on how best to murder and torture others. And you never will, even if I have to fucking tie you up and shove morals and common sense down your throat. This I vow.
Maybe I'm just signing my death again. Maybe I haven't learned from my mistake. I don't know, but I do know that I absolutely refuse to have an insane and nose-less brother.
Well, at least I'm going to be able to do fucking magic, this time around, and keep my older sibling privileges. (Even if it's only by twenty three minutes.) Silver linings and all.
The Stranger You Call Sister
31th of December, 1935.
"Happy birthday, Tommy!" I grin and hold out his presents. They're not wrapped, since I couldn't find wrapping paper anywhere and it would just be a waste anyways. Still, I used most of my sparse wages for these past three months working at the library in order to afford them.
He better fucking appreciate it.
And appreciate it he does. With wide, sparkling eyes, he greedily snatches the book and candy from me. "This is the brand new Infant Chimpanzee And Human Child by N.N Ladygina-Kohts!" Tom breathes. "Where did you find this? Ms. Baker said that she wouldn't be able to order it for another month..."
Ms. Baker being the Liberian, and the only one around here that is willing to hire a couple of orphans for cleaning and other odd jobs around here. Nice lady, if a bit too trusting at times. (I caught Tom trying to steal a few books in the beginning, thinking that he should seize his chance while he can before Mrs. Coles finds out and tries to 'warn' Ms. Baker, but he gave in under the painful pinching of his ears and a long lecture about the right and wrong times to steal. Tom sulked and gave me the cold shoulder for a couple of days, but eventually forgave me when Ms. Baker gave us our own membership for free. I occasionally like to remind him that if not for me, he would have blown his chance at earning any kind of wage.)
Preening, I say smugly, "You're welcome. I also got you your favourite chocolate Deckers."
"Thank you, Dorothy," he tells me sincerely and gives a quick hug. "I'll retrieve yours. Stay here." He disappears from other side of our bedroom door, having hidden my own present much like I did his.
Little prat is good at hiding things, too, and I know because I tried looking for it. Ah well, I guess it's only fair since I don't let him peek either.
Tom returns minutes later with his hands behind his back. "Close your eyes," he orders and I do, left hand open and waiting.
Something flat and rectangular is put in it -like a notebook, I guess. Then Tom grabs my right hand and hands me another package. I open my eyes and grin down at my presents.
"I know this isn't the exact brand that you wanted, but-"
"Aw, Tommy, I love it!" I cut him off with a hug and a kiss on his flushed cheek. 'Adorable.' The art materials during this time isn't as good as in the twenty-first century, and especially with what we can afford with our pitiful wages, but I feel touched that Tom bought me an art notebook and artistic pencils nonetheless.
It's his turn to preen and turn awfully smug, and doing a terrible job of hiding it to boot. I can't help but laugh.
"Come on, and I'll draw you first."
"Can you do it by the twisty tree outside?" he asks, perking up. "I could have a garden snake on my shoulders, too."
I hesitate, glancing outside of our window. It's terribly sunny outside...
"Seriously, Dorothy?" Tom groans, giving a look that informs me exactly how ridiculous he thinks I'm being.
I bristle. Well, excuse me! He wouldn't enjoy being under the sun's fucking hot rays if he died via skin cancer, either! "Don't give me that look, Tom," I narrow my eyes and reply waspishly.
"You won't die if you're outside for an afternoon," he continues flatly, ignoring my words and tone. "If you're so worried about gaining a bit of colour just cover yourself, like you usually do."
"It's too hot for that today."
"Then don't dress like a bloody nun."
"I can still draw you against the tree, with you actually inside, you know." Though now I don't particularly feel like it anymore...
"Fine. Wait here," Annoyed, Tom leaves the bedroom to go search for a snake in the great outdoors.
'Prat.' I don't think this fondly, either. I half a mind to refuse him or to draw him in a dress for reminding me about my death. Maybe my anxiety wouldn't be so bad if I was able to bathe myself in sunscreen, but Wool doesn't 'waste' money on things such as that. As it is I do my best to stay away from the blasted sun, only going outside if it's gloomy and cloudy. And anytime I'm forced (like the dreaded Sundays) I make sure that my fair skin is covered head to toe. I don't fucking care if I happen to look ridiculous.
(Such a drastic change from my past life. Olivia the Vain -the old me- would weep if she saw me now. With my boring, itchy dress, rat's nest that I dare to call hair, pale as fuck skin, and tiny, bony, malnourished sticks for limbs. I wonder if my parents would even notice...Jacob and Nora would, at least.)
Tom reappeared minutes later with a grass snake draped across his shoulders. With his shoulders back and raised chin, it seems like he's trying play the part of a rich snob, but really he looks simply ridiculous. I don't bother to hold back a snort and I get an irritated glower in response.
I raise my brows, silently daring him to do something about it.
He turns to the window and ignores my bait.
"Hello, Speaker," the snake hisses.
"Hello," I greet back in parseltongue.
"The other Speaker promised me a juicy rat if I stayed," he informs.
And so with him leaning against the window, staring off "in the distance" like in some cheesy romantic movie, and the snake hissing lazily, I sit on the floor and draw.
He should be thankful that I'm a person with mercy, and decided against giving him a frilly dress. 'Although his expression if he saw it would be fucking hilarious...'
March 4th, 1936.
"Don't do it, Dorothy," Tom hisses in my right ear.
I turn to him with an expression so fake that Barbie would be jealous. "Eh? Do what, dearest brother?"
He narrow his eyes. "Don't play dumb," he grips. "It doesn't suit you."
"Mr. and Miss Riddle," Mr. Wadsworth calls out sharply.
We both snap our heads up look at him, unaffected by his irritated look. "What?" We simultaneously and flatly question.
A muscle in Mr. Wadsworth jaw jumps. He hates us because we're consistently "stealing" first and second place in academics from his own son and our classmate, Peter, and he knows that we know that he knows, so we never trouble ourselves by showing him fake respect that we do with most adults outside of Wool's. There's no use in trying to win him over when we all know that it's never going to happen, after all. (Plus we've seen the looks that he gives Martha when he thinks none of us are watching.)
"Is there something that you would like to share with the rest of the class?" he challenges.
Mmm, well, half the class looks like they want to know but are trying to hide it, while the other half looks like they couldn't care less. 'How about your secret plans for wooing Martha? Or your awful taste in women -although I suppose that's evident in the plans of wooing Martha in the first place.'
It's clear that Tom and I are thinking similar things during the pointed glance that we share.
"No," Tom finally answers both stoically and curtly.
'Read: fuck you.'
"Then get back to your seat, Mr. Riddle."
Tom goes and sits in the middle row, on the complete opposite side of the classroom than I. Though not before shooting me one last non-verbal warning.
Mr. Wadsworth begins the third period, and I do my best to ignore his droning voice while I doodle. Both Tom and I are smart enough to skip a couple of grades, however Mr. Wadsworth is a petty man and refuses to recommend us when he believes Peter is more deserving. How do I know this? Well, you'd be surprised how much snakes can overhear. Anyways, thanks to his own insecurities (not Peter's) Tom and I are doomed to die of boredom everyday, seven days a week. We can't even secretly pass notes to each other anymore.
My hands tingle painfully just thinking about it.
"Riddle!" Mr. Wadsworth barks.
Both Tom and I jump in mild surprise, eyes snapping to the front. I hear a few snickers from my childish classmates, as Mr. Wadsworth marches to my desk. I level my stare and don't look away, even as I feel my hairs stand on end and clutch my pencil tighter.
"How many times do I have to correct you?" he growls, pointedly glancing down to my left hand which held my pencil.
I can feel Tom's eyes boring into me, more than anyone else's. However I keep my own eyes locked with Mr. Wadsworth's. I don't reply because anything I say would be worse than breaking the no-lefties rule.
Which is complete and utter bullshite.
"Stand up and face the class," he orders.
I do and go up to the front, holding my hands palm up, even as the shimmering anger at this unjust and bitter hate towards Mr. Wadsworth stirs within me. But then when he joins me in front of the class and takes his wooden yardstick, he shakes his head and says:
"No, no. You never learn that way. Drape your upper half over my desk."
"What?" I demand, shocked despite myself. And then when his meaning clicks inside my brain, it's like someone suddenly doused my flickering flames of anger with gasoline, causing it to blaze.
How dare he! At least Mrs. Coles has the decency of doing it in the privacy of her office -but this son of a bitch wants to do it right here, right now for the whole class to see my humiliation!
"Sir, I don't think-"
"Sit down, Mr. Riddle, unless you wish to share your sister's punishment," Mr. Wadsworth cuts him off icily.
Tom grounds his teeth together, scowling darkly and gripping the edges of his desk harshly.
Tom stiffly sits back down, but with an even darker expression if it's possible.
It's hard to tell who would cause Mr. Wadsworth to die a horrible, painful death from looks alone -Tom or myself.
"Today, Miss Riddle. Unless you would prefer I add in another two strokes?"
"You are not excused," I spit angrily. "Hit my hands until they're raw, or take away all of my breaks. I don't care, but I will not bend myself over so that the class can watch as you spank me like a fucking toddler!"
There's a few gasps in the crowd for my vulgar language. I don't give a shite.
"That's ten," Mr. Wadsworth threatens. "We do not use that kind of language in this school, and unless you want to go to the Principle's office you will take your punishment! You know the rules!"
Instead of answering verbally I spin on my heel and storm away. But before I can even reach the classroom's door I feel a hand yank my right arm back -and then I'm being pushed on top of a desk.
"Wha-OW!" I cry out when the unforgiving yardstick whacks my arse much harder than necessary. I struggle, but with a strong hand pinning my shoulder blades down that's all I can do. 'I'm going to fucking kill him!' If I thought my anger was blazing earlier, it's a fucking forest fire now -and then suddenly Mr. Wadsworth lets off when he screams and there's a sound of something clanging on the ground.
I scamper away and turn around to see what the bloody hell happened. I see Mr. Wadsworth, wide and teary eyed with equal measure disbelieve and pain, as he hides his nose with both hands, droplets of blood slipping past his fingers and falling onto the floor. The yardstick lay forgotten by his feet. I also see dark satisfaction on Tom's face. The rest of class seems just as shell-shocked as the teacher.
I wonder if it was me or Tom that caused this.
"Dad!" Peter gapes.
"The freak broke Mr. Wadsworth's nose!" Cries another student, and now it's as if a dam broke and everyone is freaking out and yelling out accusations.
Tom's chair clatters and falls when he abruptly stands, and together we flee the room. Nobody stops us as we run through the halls and outside, and we don't stop until we're hidden in the forest behind the dreadful school.
Breathing harshly despite not running for that long -because my stamina completely sucks in this body- and demand; "What happened back there?"
"The yardstick suddenly swung upwards and hit Mr. Wadsworth in the nose. I'm pretty sure that it broke it," Tom gasps.
The words "like magic" hangs heavy in the air.
"...Did you do it?"
"I don't know," he admits quietly. "I was angry enough, I wanted him to hurt and stop hitting you, but..."
But so did I. It all went by so fast that I can't tell...But...Does it even matter? 'No, no it doesn't,' I decide. I don't regret Mr. Wadsworth getting injured like that -in fact, vicious satisfaction slithers inside of me when I recall his shocked and pained expression. Motherfucker deserved it. I mean, who just grabs a student like that? And hits them with that much force, repeat rule-breaker or not? He's had it in for us since third grade, when he finally realized that his darling son is never going to surpass us.
"Do you think I'll be expelled?" I wonder.
"I don't know," he repeats. "But I did tell you not to do it!" he reminds me with narrowed eyes. "You're ambidextrous, Dorothy. I don't know why you insist on making it harder for yourself!"
Yeah, I'm ambidextrous because adults have been trying to train me to use my right hand since we were toddlers, but I was left handed as Olivia and I stand by it! "Shut up," I scowl at him. "I refuse to give that bastard the satisfaction of winning, that's why!"
"Your stubbornness is only going to get you in trouble," Tom sniffs all-knowingly.
March 11th, 1936.
Indeed, Tom is right in the regard that my stubbornness getting me into further trouble. On the same day of the Yardstick Incident the Principle calls Mrs. Coles in order to inform her that I am officially expelled. The official report is that mid-punishment I had turn around, snatched the stick from Mr. Wadsworth, and gave a mighty whack! The Principle never tries blaming Tom alongside me, but Tom flat out refuses to attend without me so now we're both in deep shite with Mrs. Coles and school-less.
It's been a week since then, and currently Tom and I are locked inside of our bedroom. Mrs. Coles found our rope so now we can't even scale down the wall in order to sneak in the kitchen and steal some food. So far, within these mind-blowingly bored seven days, the only time we're allowed to eat and drink is breakfast. Even that's only a cold egg and a couple pieces of stale bread for each of us. And I know for a fact that Wool's Orphanage is well off enough to afford a richer meal -which only fuels my hatred towards the old bat and this blasted orphanage. We 'mercifully' get bathroom breaks after suppertime, and the only other time we're allowed out is in the morning and nighttime for bible reading and prayer.
I make sure to curse God out every single time. Inside of my own head, that is. (Sitting only stopped hurting after the third day since the Yardstick Incident -a result from both Mr. Wadsworth and Mrs. Coles's not-so-gentle touch.)
"I win," Tom announces without any fanfare, driving a line through three of his o's on the scrape of paper.
"What's the score, 31-34?"
I groan, flopping down on the bed and burying my face in the pillow. My poor stomach growls. "How much longer do you reckon the wretched old bat is going to keep us in here?" I wonder.
"Most likely for another five days, at least," Tom replies, picking at something on his shirt. "I don't think I've seen her face turn that shade of red and purple before."
I groan again.
"Why don't you draw?" he offers.
"I don't wanna..."
"Well I'm going to read," he scoffs and get up. He takes the library book that he checked out a while back.
"You've ready finished that twice," I point out.
"So?" he quirks a brow at me. "Do you see anything else to do?" he challenges, gesturing to our rather plain and bare bedroom.
Point to him. We ran out of books to read and games to play by the fourth day, and making random objects levitate can only be amusing for so long. Too bad that neither of us can break the bloody lock -and we've tried, both magically and non-magically.
'Save us, Dumbledore...'
Unfortunately, it's two years too soon for the wizard to make his appearance. We have nothing but ourselves and the spiders for entertainment and company.
Mmm, I wonder what Ms. Baker thinks about our disappearance...Mrs. Coles doesn't give one wit that Tom and I are almost never here in Wool's during daytime, so long as no police comes knocking nor the school bothers her about our attendance. Actually, I have it on good money that she rejoices the sight of our backs every time she watches us leave, and despairs every time we come back alive and well for supper. Therefore she has no idea that we work at the library after school and on the weekends, and will never think to inform Ms. Baker about us getting expelled and being grounded. I don't think Ms. Baker has tried to pay Wool's a visit, either, since I sure Mrs. Coles would come shrieking at us for our gale if she did.
Wouldn't want to let the rest of the town know how truly demonic we are, would we? Although, that doesn't quite line up with her uncaring nature when we're out and about most of the time...In any case, she wouldn't let us keep the jobs even if it's purely because she hates our guts.
I wonder when the day will come where she's finally had enough, and throws us out on our arses for good. I'm honestly shocked she hasn't already! 'Maybe she just doesn't want to give Wool's a bad reputation...It's not like Tom and I like to advertise the fact that we're orphans, after all.'
Yes, that must be it.
"What are you thinking about?" Tom inquires from the foot of the bed, his book laying forgotten on his lap.
"I'm wondering when Mrs. Coles will finally have enough and throw us out." I begin tracing patterns on the sheets lazily.
"Ah. Well, I say good riddance to when that day does come," he snorts. After a moment, he asks quietly while looking at the window; "Do you think we'll ever be adopted? Or will we simply grow out of this rotten place?"
"Do you want to be? Adopted, that is?" I sit up and search his expression for...Something. Longing? Sadness? Anger? We've played off each other's imagination, and we often fabricate our new lives about what we'll do once we leave this place for good, but unlike a lot of orphans Tom barely talks about a life with parents.
He thinks about it. Until he finally locks eyes with me, saying very seriously and with raw honesty: "No. Although I wish to know what happened to our father, and sometimes I wonder what our lives would be like if mother survived...You're all I need, Dorothy. I don't need anyone else."
Well. How am I supposed to respond to that?
Tom's eyes widen. "Why are you crying?" He demands, confused.
"Stupid Tom," I sniff. With my throat closing in itself, and trying to blink away my tears (-which I never gave permission to fall, damnnit, it's ruining my tough image!-) I crawl towards him and wrap him in a tight embrace. "I love you too," I whisper into his soft hair.
Tom wraps his bony arms around my waist, like it's the most natural thing to do. "I'm not stupid," he grumbles just as quietly.
"No, no you're not," I laugh wetly.
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