Part One: How the Winds Howl (was Home is Where the Snakes Are, originally Three Blind Mice)
Chapter One: The Pillow Fight
Thursday the 2nd of February 1933
Mr Brown was off school today, though the substitute wouldn't say why. He didn't know the seating plan, though, and he's rather shy with the cane, so I don't mind. He does smell quite strongly of boiled potatoes, but teachers always smell, at least a little.
Mrs Cole made me help her with a girl who got brought to Wool's earlier. She had a bunch of glass stuck in her hands, and Mrs Cole didn't have a table in the right spot to safely put the glass, so I had to stand there, holding a plate, while she put shard of blood-coated glass after shard of blood-coated glass in it. It was so boring that I eventually resorted to counting the shards. There were 82. 82. How did she even get 82 shards of glass into her hand? I have no idea. She hasn't said a word since she got here, though I think that might just be because she's got a big red mark on her throat, which is definitely going to be a bruise. Her clothes are really weird, too. A bit like a dress, but also not. The thing has a hood. Not even "she's wearing a hood over it"; the outfit itself has a hood at the top. And weird, really long pockets in the front.
Anyway, we're supposed to turn the lights out now, since there's school tomorrow.
Wool's Orphanage couldn't be described in many ways beyond "dingy". It was a square building erected decades prior and rarely repaired, to the point that, while the children's rooms, always shared with between three and five others of a similar age, didn't have windows, they could still see central London quite clearly through the cracks in the walls. There was no heating system, and, as could be assumed, the drafts could be quite terrible, so they fairly relied on the periodical donations of blankets from the local church, so as not to freeze. It was in one of these that six-year-old Tom Riddle curled up in on his bed, with its mattress far older than himself, and attempted to drift to sleep against the barely-spring winds of this early February night.
In the bed to his right, Sally Jenkins was already asleep; closer to the heart of the rat-infested institution and warm under an embroidered quilt her aunt, Enid, had bought, the winds could hardly touch her. Across from her lay the new girl, oddly still, eyes tightly shut, her working hand clutching the blanket, more like a slingshot pulled taught than a sleeping child. To her left, or across from Tom, was Billy Stubbs, currently engaged in feeding the baby rabbits he found in the beachside park when the orphans all took a trip there the week prior. One had already frozen to death, so he covered the remaining nine with his blanket, more than he did himself, along with curling himself around them, to act as a human shield against the wind.
Eventually, the even tone of Sally's breathing, the snuffles of the bunnies, and the whistling howl of the wind lulled Tom into a kind of sleep. Not quite deep enough that he didn't hear the mattress creak when the new girl got up in the middle of the night, not deep enough he didn't hear her squeal a little when her feet touched the cold stone floor, but not light enough that he could bring himself to care.
The next morning, Margaret, a woman who worked for the orphanage, came around to every room, ringing a bell and summoning the children to breakfast in ten minutes. The new girl yawned and winced, the red mark from yesterday now a reddish purple and more defined, some streaks off the bulk of the bruise now looking like fingers, wrapped tight around her throat, the shadow of an action that must have taken place recently. Everyone in the room looked towards that mark, thinking up their own little stories of how she got it, until she pulled her fraying blanket up over her chin and shot each of them a glare in turn.
Turning away, Sally rolled her eyes at Billy, who'd slumped loudly back onto his bed. "You've gotta get up, stupid. If you don't eat breakfast, and you starve to death, who's gonna feed your precious bunnies, eh?"
"Oh, like you can talk, miss-still-in-her-nightie."
"At least I'm sitting upright, Billy. You can't even seem to do that!"
"LA LA LA not listening!" he singsonged back.
"What are you, three?"
"No, I'm six, as you well know, bum-head."
Sally's expression was one of absolute fury as she raised a pillow covered in strands of dusty blonde hair, and Billy had scarcely a second to duck before it was headed towards his face. When it fell off, an instant later, the hair almost made it look like he had a very long, patchy beard. Naturally, a pillow thrown is a declaration of war, so Sally had little time to revel in her victory, laughing with a wide-open mouth until the moment Billy's pillow landed in it. "It's- it's wet, Billy. Billy, did your rabbits pee on your pillow? That's disgusting, Billy."
Billy squirmed. "Yeah, well it's your problem now."
It was at this moment that the new girl, who had changed into an ill-fitting, hand-me-down school uniform under her bed while everyone was distracted, seemed to decide that the situation couldn't be left as it was, with Sally spitting out a rabbit-pee covered pillow and Billy deciding on the spot that this was just how things were going to be now. As an indication of this decision, she threw her own pillow, one handed, into Tom's face. No one could remain uninvolved.
Tom, naturally, could not let such an unprovoked attack go unpunished. He gathered both his own pillow and hers, one in each hand, and sent them flying towards her. A smile only half-full of teeth and a quick jerk of her blanket and the pillows bounced off, harmless. However, Sally and Billy had recovered from their confusion at the abrupt interruption of their argument and saw getting the girl back as their solemn duty of revenge. She didn't cover her front or her sides, only the diagonal, and was unprepared when two more pillows came crashing in.
The blanket lowered slowly, revealing a grin even wider than before. It was only when she started collecting them in her lap that the others realised, she now had control over all the pillows. Ever so slowly, she surveyed the room, raising a pillow, still indented from having landed in Sally's mouth, above her head. Eyes almost wider than her smile she sent it twisting through the air to land on the right side of Billy's face. Sally's came back quicker, hitting her straight in the chest. But Tom would not be so easily beaten. Having already folded his blanket into a compact rectangle and sent it flying by the time the girl had released his pillow back to him, he watched in satisfaction as they collided in mid-air, his makeshift pillow unravelling on contact, but neither blanket nor pillow coming anywhere near Tom himself.
All four children stared at each other for a long moment, before those with pillows brandished them, and all rushed to the centre of the room, each trying to reach the now-ownerless instruments of battle that had fallen there. Tom reached it first, a little bit taller than Sally and Billy, and a head-and-neck taller than the new girl, he managed to dive for the pillow, his fall cushioned a little by the blanket, though it still let out quite the sound.
An instant later, there was a hand in his face. He looked up in confusion, to see the new girl looking at him, eyes wide and half her bottom lip in her mouth. She tilted her head at him and stretched her arm out further. Unsure if he properly got her meaning, but very sure that if she meant something else it was unclear enough to be her fault, Tom grabbed her hand and used her to assist him in getting up. She smiled, clearly glad to have been understood, though she was quite a bit smaller than he was and tilted so far to the left that her right foot wasn't even on the ground. In fact, once Tom was back upright, she lost her balance herself. Already holding her hand, Tom tugged her up, so that she didn't fall.
"Tha-anks..." Her voice was quiet and crackly, and she winced as the word left her mouth.
"Uh, you're welcome, I guess." There was a thick awkwardness in the air for a moment, only broken when Billy decided enough was enough and hit both of them simultaneously with a pillow from close range. And then it was on again.
Mrs Cole threw open the door, expression turning from alarm to shock to fury as her eyes swept over a room in shambles, a blanket on the floor, a pillow in each hand, mattresses bunched up like caterpillars in motion, and only one kid actually dressed for school. A vein under her left eye twitched as a loud "Ahem" fairly froze the scene, apart from every head turning her way. The new girl had climbed onto Tom's back and was now hanging on using only her legs as she held a pillow aloft, right above Sally's head. Tom's fingers, now still, had been tickling Sally not a second before, as a way to hold her in position. Seeking to rescue her from the double-attack, Billy had been aiming his pillow at Tom's torso. Billy, Sally and Tom all shrunk under Mrs Cole's glare, while the girl reflected it back with all the confidence of someone who had never met Mrs Cole.
Author's Note: Hello and welcome to The Diaries of Tom! I do hope you'll stick around. This story will span a wide period, characters who are six in this chapter will be seventy-one in the final chapter, and plenty of important characters haven't even been born yet (you may have noticed it has "Harry Potter" in the characters tag, and his parents haven't even been born yet, so he's far from it). That's just a warning that this story will take a while to unfold, and I can't promise you I'll manage to write the whole thing. What I can promise is that I won't just leave it. If I ever get to a point where I no longer intend to update, I will say so. If I haven't updated in a while, feel free to remind me, but I'm not going to abandon this story without making that fact very clear, and I don't intend to abandon it at all.
Anyway, the layout for this chapter should be pretty similar to the layouts of other chapters (I don't quite know, I haven't written them yet): a diary entry at some point in the chapter (-shown by being mostly italicised and entirely underlined- edit: it turns out that doesn't accept underlines, sorry folks, guess it's just italics) (edit from writing-chapter-seven Sandy, several of the last few chapters haven't included diary entries. I'd apologise for that, but they just didn't fit), some story told outside of a diary context (mostly not italicised, never using underlines or bold), and an author's note at the bottom (future author's notes will be shorter unless I have an important announcement, and may not be present in some chapters, mostly the more plot heavy and dramatic ones, where I want to keep you in the story). Also, at the start of a part, I'm going to put a list of all the parts that have started at the bottom of the page.
This story is going to get dark; I'm just warning you now. At this point, the main character is an orphan in Great Depression London, and that wasn't fun happy times. I'm going to depict three major wizarding wars, and WWII (there are, of course, wars that took place in the muggle world after WWII, but they don't effect Tom in significant enough a way that I can say I'll depict them) which are definitely not going to be a walk in the park. Also, naturally, harm to children. It's a Harry Potter fanfic, kids are going to get hurt. Kids are going to get killed. The main character, whose eyes we see everything through, is going to kill some of them.
My tumblr: lynburnlegacy123 (I mostly post random tumblr stuff, but you might find a couple posts about DoT? Maybe? Even I don't know?)
Chapter edited to remove the underlines, which were appearing patchily.
Part One: How the Winds Howl (was Home is Where the Snakes Are, originally Three Blind Mice)