Warnings: HBP spoilers, I guess. References to violence, but, after all, this is Tom we’re talking about.
Summary: Uruz: Physical strength and speed, untamed potential. A time of great energy and health. Freedom, energy, action, courage, strength, tenacity, understanding, wisdom. Sudden or unexpected changes (usually for the better). Sexual desire, masculine potency. The shaping of power and pattern, formulation of the self.
Disclaimer: Do not own Tom. Wish I did, though. Don’t own background story, either. Or Harry Potter. Or JKR. Damn.
Author's/artist's notes: I had a really great time writing this. Thank you! What a great character study this ended up being for me!
He was five years old the first time he remembered wanting to hurt someone.
It hadn’t even been a particularly nice toy, everyone discarding it as if it was just another piece of garbage in the makeshift playground in the backyard of the orphanage. But to him, that stick – rough and worn at first, smooth and carved using one the kitchen knives he had stolen later – meant immense power to him.
He could wield it like a scepter, pretending to be King of the orphanage, or even pretend using it to punish those that ignored him every single day.
He hated them.
But until that day, he had kept all those thoughts in his head.
He’d known there’d always been something about Ralph and his group of friends. They usually ignored him more than anyone else. Why they had to change this on his birthday, he didn’t know.
“Hey Tommy!” they shouted from the other side of the now snow-covered playground.
“Don’t call me that.” Tom responded quietly, making letters in the snow covering the playground sand with his stick.
They were older than him, but he didn’t care. He wasn’t scared of them.
“Hey Tommy, you always carry that stick around! What’s wrong with you?”
Tom swallowed, gripping it more tightly. “Leave me alone.”
“Think we should take it away from him?” asked one of his stupid friends, grinning, his teeth audibly chattering from the cold.
He heard them laughing, and, before he knew it, they were stronger than him, and his stick was theirs.
“Give it back!” he shouted angrily, standing, his little fists clenching, only about half their height, but he was too proud to ask anyone for help, or threaten them with ‘telling.’ Pulling his coat around himself more tightly, he stood his ground.
“How about no,” Ralph laughed, twirling it in his hands, misusing it completely.
Tom could feel himself getting angry, and, not wanting them to see him so worked up over this, he turned around, his fists still clenched.
“It doesn’t like you,” he said coldly, walking away, “but if you want it, fine. Keep it.”
No one could explain how the stick ended up so far up Ralph’s nose that he had to be rushed to the hospital, or even how the group of friends was suddenly each missing valuables.
So sad, Tom had wondered in retrospect, he’d even thought the girl had been pretty.
Tom realized that day, on his fifth birthday, that life was disappointing.
The realization didn’t affect him all that much.
When he was six years old, he made a pretty little girl cry so much and so loudly that the people living their sickeningly happy lives next door to the orphanage complained about the noise.
He had just wanted to see someone cry, wanted to see how hard, how quickly, how loudly he could make it happen. He never cried.
He had just laughed at her.
When her crying only worsened from there, he realized how much harm could be done with laughter. When he tried it out on Gene’s painting the next day, just pointing and laughing, he knew he was right.
There was so much of it contained in other’s insecurities.
He never really understood crying. The ladies running the orphanage had told him once that he never cried, and that that made him a freak. That had been when they were still inclined to gracing him with actual conversation; more than just the generic ‘move!’ or ‘wash up for dinner!’ – things they told everyone, and just a little more harsh and belittling with him, turning up their dirty little noses at him, rag in-hand, as if they were any better than him. They were just servants.
Everyone ignored him, he glumly noted as he stared at his stick.
When he was seven years old, he learned what it meant to hate.
“Hurry up children, the Smarting family is here, looking to adopt. Look your very best!” the matron marched through the orphanage, knocking on all the doors.
Some people compared them to show dogs, waiting to be ranked.
Tom disagreed. He felt more like a mutt in a dog pound. No one wanted him because by now he wanted no one. And even if someone did want him, they were usually deterred by the matron, arguing that –
“Well, what about this one Henry? He looks just precious! And I love his hair!”
“Oh, Mrs. Thompson, you don’t want him, I really wouldn’t recommend it. The boy is just strange. Doesn’t get along well with the other children, scares them…” she muttered in hushed tones, as if he couldn’t hear. “…and wouldn’t you rather have a baby, anyway?”
And then they were led – the few that actually came there to adopt a child – into the baby room, where the cooing and doting and baby talking made him want to tear his ears off.
He hated babies.
They were frail and small and innocent, and, more than anything, helpless. Tom knew he could never, would never be like that. He didn’t understand what people found so appealing about that.
When he was eight, Tom understood.
He’d wanted to try it again.
He wanted to hurt people.
Billy and them were insignificant. They didn’t believe him when he said he was special. And when he took them to show them, back in that cave on the beach…
Everyone was scared of him.
It hadn’t even been his fault. He had done nothing. It was never his fault. It was their fault for being so stupid. That rabbit, hanging from the rafters.
He’d just been angry.
He’d seen Jillian getting angry, and Billy, and Ted. But no animals ever started obeying their commands.
“You’re a freak!” they’d scream and shout and look back at him, fear shining in their eyes as they ran and he just stood there.
He wasn’t a freak. He was special.
Special people didn’t need anyone.
He turned nine by himself.
Well. He wasn’t entirely alone.
He’d sneaked out back to sit in the snow in the dark when midnight struck, writing himself a birthday wish into the snow with his new stick. They kept taking the old one away from him.
He’d stolen the snake from the vacation place. It wasn’t as if the snake wanted to stay in captivity. She told him that she’d rather come with him and be released there. But she hadn’t left yet, and there they were, he sharing his birthday with her.
He didn’t know her name, or try to give her one. Their bond went unnamed. He hadn’t told her his name either.
Tom was a stupid name. Just the other day they got an orphan named Tom in.
Common. Filthy. Used.
He was special.
Not like some everyday person off the street.
He decided to let her go and go back inside when it started snowing.
Winter was his favorite season. It reminded him of himself. Cold, placid, unforgiving, harsh.
But there was something beautiful about him, too, that no one else saw. Like the snow that only he was seeing right now. No one else.
Tom looked up at the sky and closed his eyes at the sensation.
All alone to enjoy this. It was only fair.
None of them deserved this.
They didn’t deserve to see his beautiful side, either.
On his tenth birthday he could feel something stirring within himself.
It wasn’t long now.
The apocalypse was coming.
He knew it even more when the little Christmas lights he hated so much shattered spontaneously and no one had any explanation.
Rumors, whispers about him. That’s all they had.
They didn’t deserve to know the truth.
When he turned eleven he knew he was closer than ever.
“You are special, aren’t you?” that one girl had asked him. She was insignificant, too, and he had a thimble of hers in his box.
He had just looked up at her blankly in hopes that she would realize that he wasn’t only special, but that she was stupid.
She didn’t move.
“I think you should talk more. I would be your friend, you know. I don’t want one of my animals to die. You can do things. Can’t you?”
He never asked her her name.
He didn’t reply, and she took it as a yes.
“Well, fine, you don’t have to talk to me. But I think that the others are stupid to not pay any attention to you.”
She had been older. Watching him be a loner for days now.
Finally he said something, looking her in the eyes. “You’re not special. Why would I waste my time on you?”
She just rolled her eyes. “Everyone is special.”
“So no one is.”
“Everyone is special!” she repeated, making him grate his teeth. “I’m special, too.”
“No you’re not! Tell the truth!” he yelled at her, standing up and walking away from the bookshelf he’d been reading in front of, backing away. She was being nice and stupid and it was all very frustrating. “Why are you even talking to me?”
It was a good reason to talk to someone, Tom had to admit that she had a point there.
And when he shook Professor Dumbledore’s hand for the first time, he realized in retrospect that he had done it for exactly that reason.