Tom woke up instantly. He was usually a light sleeper and what with the hissing in the walls and the new environment he had been more restless than ever. Rubbing his eyes sleepily, he stumbled towards the door and swung it open, only to find...
...a small, strange-looking creature staring intently up at him. Tom shook his head, attempting to reassure himself that he was indeed awake, and then spoke slowly to him. Or perhaps it was a female. He couldn't even tell!
It wasn't the most articulate greeting in the world, but between the sleepiness and shock of seeing such an odd-looking dwarf at the door Tom almost found himself at a loss for words.
"Master want you downstairs now," it replied, and then turned around and quickly headed back down the stairs.
Still dressed in his new pajamas, the pale, thin boy scampered down the stairs after the creature, his eyes wide and black hair wildly disheveled.
"Good morning, Sir --- Lucius, I mean," he said once he reached the bottom. The man was surrounded by colorful shopping bags, which the boy scanned with interest. What was it like, he caught himself wondering --- what was it like to be so rich that it was easy enough to step out into the streets and just shop, collecting more and more at every store? It would be strange...
Strange, indeed. And maybe even...
"Good morning, Tom." Lucius was back in his previous personality that he had cultured just for dealing with the boy. Somewhere between cheerful, lively, and comforting.
"I went out early this morning as I noticed that we kind of caught you on the spur of the moment and you didn't have time to pack. Figuring that you wouldn't mind if I went out and got you a few things, I bought several outfits for you. Here." He gestured to the boxes. "Got you shoes, robes, cloaks, ah, some candy, since all kids like candy. Or so I'm told. It can wait until after breakfast, of course. Got you hats, proper wizarding hats mind you. Not the crushed mogs you normally see in window stores. And a broom for you. You should start learning how to fly early on, after all. I figured we could wait for the book shopping once you know what you're interested in and can no longer find it in the library."
Lucius looked back at the boxes. During his shopping time, he had thought he purchased enough. Would it be enough now? Well, if not, he could always return and get more items.
"You won't have to wear that cheap cotton again. Sleep in it too much and it will give you hives. Satin is much better for you, lets the skin breathe."
He'll have to get a haircut as well. And shower. And get his nails trimmed to a proper length.
"So little to do, so much time," Lucius muttered.
The boy's tone was nearly incredulous. Surely it couldn't all be for---
---nobody had ever gotten him presents before, really. And certainly not like this!
Tom noted Lucius slightly disapproving gaze and tried to straighten his uncooperative hair down as best he could.
Oh! But there were so many things! Tentatively, Tom stepped up to the boxes and peered inside, his eyes widening further at the sight of the sleek silk robes and rich, radiant colors. Clothes! A broomstick! Book shopping! The boy stared at his new possessions as if they would be sure to melt away were he to reach out and touch them. Surely it couldn't all really be for him...
Tom grinned, his smile bringing a sudden sparkle to his usual pallid profile. His gaze roamed about the bags, finally settling on the one containing the sweets.
"May I have one?"
Appreciation! The boy knew appreciation!
Praise Salazar! Here was a kid after his own heart! Lucius gave him the bag. "Of course you can. But don't let it spoil your breakfast. I want you to go upstairs and shower quickly before getting dressed. The Elf will lay out your clothes for you. And do be quick as we wouldn't want your older self getting impatient. We've a busy day today."
Haircut was first. Speaking of which...
"Remember to shampoo your hair twice and then condition. Also, do use the exfoliating gel on your face. It'll help your skin in the long run." One could never look too good. "The Elf will put away your new belongings. We'll be coming back with more this afternoon."
Tom took the bag and quickly tried a piece of candy before racing back up the stairs again. He wasn't exactly sure what Lucius had meant by exfoliating gel, but the thought of a hot shower was enough to make him quite content. A hot shower! But then again, he had to hurry. Voldemort did not seem like the most patient sort of man, as Lucius had said. After all, they were the same and he had never been very patient so...
The boy hurried into the bathroom and turned the water up until it was practically steaming. Hot water! He then stepped in, only to emerge dripping wet ten minutes later, the scent of the shack replaced by that of Lucius' soaps and shampoos. Smelled good! His hair, however, was still a mess and wouldn't seem to settle for all the boy's efforts at brushing it down, so he simply wrapped himself in a towel and stepped out into the room, where his clothes, as promised, were waiting for him.
Tom paused for a minute, simply staring at them; then, having convinced himself they were indeed real and intended for his use, put them on as fast as he could. They fit well. Perfectly, in fact!
Wet hair dripping, the boy finally ran back down the stairs and stood before Lucius, his eyes sparkling with anticipation.
Lucius had called for five of the Elves to take care of the packages. They had rushed them up the stairs and into Tom's room, carefully putting the items away or hanging them up in the wardrobe while the boy was in the shower. After which, they had gone back to their typical chores.
Lucius inspected the now-wet boy. A quick drying spell made Tom's hair dry but it was still messy. No matter. A quick trim would get rid of the split ends and once it was styled, then his hair should be able to keep the look for a bit, giving it more body. The shampoo and conditioner would aid in thickening it.
Lucius adjusted Tom's collar. "Perfect. You look superb." And he did. No longer resembling a ragamuffin, Tom was now decked out in utter finery. After the finishing touches today, he'd look like a...
A Malfoy. And one doesn't get more perfect than that.
Voldemort Apparated into the main entranceway to Malfoy Manor and strode into the room, his long black cloak trailing behind him.
Upon stepping in he looked from Tom to Lucius, raising an eyebrow inquisitively.
"Hm. I should have thought as much," he said wryly. "You have done well, Lucius. I thank you. He only lacks---"
"---this," he concluded, walking up to Tom and handing him a wand before moving back a bit to assess the results. "Hm. A remarkable improvement, really."
The Dark Lord then whirled about, his eyes narrowing. Despite his brief show of good humor, Voldemort was far from happy; that was clear enough. After a few moments of silence he turned around slowly, his expression blank, composed.
"So, Lucius: Shall we begin his lessons?"
Lucius bowed cordially as usual when the Dark Lord came into his Manor. Despite the overwhelming aura, the Manor did not change in atmosphere.
"As you wish it, my Lord. Although I had hoped to take the boy out to get a manicure at the very least. And a haircut." Voldemort didn't seem to be in such a good mood today so Lucius was careful to step with a bit of trepidation.
"However, the choice is, as always, yours." Lucius wouldn't impede on the Dark Lord's schedule. He was much smarter than that. Besides, if Tom had his lessons now, then he could just shift up the schedule by a few hours, give or take.
Lucius took out a bit of parchment where he had written his list of things to do for the day. "Yes, lessons now. And then I can take him out to lunch and after that, he'll have his haircut at around 2, which pushes up the manicure, pedicure, and those eyebrows at 3:30. That would take, oh, say two and a half hours. So then I'll just have...yes, this will work," he muttered to himself, now ignoring the presence of both Dark Lords.
"But we can't have dinner any later. No, no, that wouldn't work. Hmm, yes, and he won't need a bath or shower tonight. Need to pick him up some bathing suits and a few other miscellaneous items, yes, yes."
Voldemort frowned slightly.
"So, we shall have the lesson now. I am not concerned with what he does in his spare time so long as he keeps up with pace of the program I am going to give him." The Dark Lord paused, thinking. "I am hoping he will be able to complete the Hogwarts curriculum, combined with special training in the Dark Arts, in approximately a year. Hm. Perhaps that is expecting too much. It took me around two, working by myself. A year and a half then, or two at most." He took a deep breath, finding it difficult to stay in control so close to the boy, who was constantly projecting emotions and thoughts towards him. Oh, well...
"Hm." He turned to the boy, and then looked back to Lucius. "I suppose we shall have to start with a simple spell. Not too simple, however. But we shall see."
I want to see what you can do. I would like you to impress me. What can you do?
"Next, we're going to the manicurist. You're going to have your eyebrows waxed, your nails done, and your toenails clipped." Lucius was pleased to see that the boy had excellent posture and didn't slouch and saunter like a hulking mass of humanity. The boy seemed bright and attentive. All the better for a new addition to the family.
"We'll pick up something to eat after that. A late lunch. There's one place around here that sells the greatest hamburgers."
They soon reached the nail salon and Lucius ushered Tom inside. The lady within was an Asian witch who dressed in fine, silk kimonos along with the rest of her crew. Lucius never bothered with any British witches or wizards that owned nail salons. Beauty began and ended with the Asians and it was to them he trusted his own good looks.
The owner bowed in greeting, which Lucius imitated. The place smelled of an incense that was both intoxicating and faint. This kept out the smell of nail polish. While people were talking of little bits of gossip here and there, their voices were kept low, as though afraid to disturb other people.
The owner checked the appointment book. "Ah, here for the whole experience. Such a lucky young man. You will be getting pampered today." She smiled at Tom and beckoned over one of her employees. "You will go with Lady Tatsuha. She will do your eyebrows."
Lady Tatsuha smiled at Tom and Lucius. "Your first time here? I will go gently." She bowed politely and headed for the first door in a long hallway. Lucius followed her while keeping a hand on Tom's shoulder.
Tom followed the lady in nervously, wondering exactly what was going to happen to him. The place smelled of some sort of perfume, and Tom felt vaguely dizzy. Out! He wanted to be back out in the fresh air, and soon! But Lucius clearly felt this was both important and pleasureable, so he wasn't going to say otherwise unless absolutely necessary...
The lady gestured towards a chair and Tom sat down and took a deep breath. No reason to be afraid of them. Lucius was there and besides it was utterly ridiculous to be afraid of people for no reason at all. Silly, silly, silly! The woman left for a moment and then returned again with a tray full of small jars and bottles. Tom took another deep breath and leaned back.
She'd be done soon. Hopefully.
The woman began by creating a small batch of hot wax. Lucius held onto Tom's hand as the woman came over and rubbed the wax into the bottom lining of his eyebrow and covered it with a thin slip of wax paper. Her fingers pressed the paper into the wax and after waiting for a few seconds, she ripped it right off him, taking out many of the hairs on Tom's right eyebrow.
"Now the left!" The woman went through the same motions for Tom's left eyebrow as she did the right, shaping both brows so that they brought out a natural arc.
When it was done, the woman placed a bit of cream on the red areas for the pain and to bring down any swelling. "All done."
Lucius helped him up. "I know it hurt but it's worth it. See?" He conjured up a mirror and gave it to Tom.
Tom leaned forwards and looked at his reflection, cocking his head slightly. His eyebrows were smooth and neat. Hm. He supposed it looked nice.
"It looks nice and neat," Tom commented. "Thank you."
The lady then returned and motion Tom over towards another chair. He followed, sitting down quietly.
"Place your hands here," she said softly, pointing to a wet towel. Tom did as he was told, sitting very still as the lady scrubbed off his fingernails and put various lotions on them. Unused to the smells, Tom sneezed twice and then sat up straight again. She'd be done soon...
He just wasn't used to having people so close to him. Tom reminded himself to breathe slowly and deeply. If he didn't he'd get dizzy. It wasn't a big deal. Why was he making it such a big deal? They'd be done soon and he'd be outside. Free to move about as he pleased!
Tom looked up towards Lucius, careful not to move his hands.
Lucius made sure that the woman used the clear nail polish on Tom's nails. While he normally wouldn't begrudge the boy his choice of colours, it would be best to have it be transparent for the first time. After which, Tom could do as he pleased.
While one woman was dealing with Tom's fingernails, another came over and took off the boy's socks and shoes, laying them down by the side and placing his feet in a small bucket of warm water.
"This is a manicure, Tom. And that is a pedicure. They'll shape and form your nails and make them stronger. After this, we'll grab something to eat."
Lotion was placed both on Tom's feet and hands and the two women set to filing them down.
Tom nodded, still staying as still as possible as the women put away the files. Then the lady near his hands began painting them with a thin, clear liquid while the one by his feet massaged them slightly. Tom squirmed a bit; it felt funny! Almost...
Unable to restrain himself, the boy moved slightly and began to laugh. Tom did not laugh often, but when he did he sounded very young indeed, though he tried his best to wipe the goofy smile off his face and go back to sitting still.
"Sorry," he managed to gasp out at last, coughing a bit and then sitting up again. "That just felt, hee, funny!"
The lady finally stopped and began putting the clear liquid on his toenails as well. Phew!
"It's fine. They're used to it." Lucius ruffled Tom's hair, careful not to muss it. That was the first time he heard Tom laugh. Childish as he supposed it would be. But at least he could laugh. Lucius doubted the Dark Lord could do so.
It wasn't long before both sets of nails were painted twice over and a drying spell was cast.
"You can put your socks and shoes on now, Tom. Meet me at the counter." Lucius moved away from Tom and the two women and over to the counter. He quickly paid for Tom's treatment and scheduled an appointment for himself.
After lunch, he'd bring Tom back to the Manor and instruct him on the use of wards.
Tom scrambled into his socks and shoes, thanked the women, and met Lucius at the counter. They were going to get food! He was hungry, too! Tom then followed Lucius out the door into the street again.
The boy walked quickly, his eyes glimmering with excitement as he surveyed his surroundings. So much energy and activity! It wasn't at all like the part of the city he was used to, with its dark, decaying grays and browns. There was life here!
Tom paused for a second, suddenly feeling the image of the crumbling building and screaming people flood back through him. Why had he done that? What had the point been? To become more powerful? To demonstrate his power? Tom shuddered and then hurried to catch up with Lucius, shaking his head as if to dispel the memory. He could always ask but...
Lucius slowed and turned towards a shop, opening the door.
"Good boy." The child was seeming more and more comfortable within the Manor and from the vibes of the Manor, the house seemed to be taking quite well to this new addition.
Always a positive.
Lucius headed out into the dining room, speaking to the Head Elf as to what dinner would consist of. Steak would be pleasant, not too rich and something that Tom could be familiar with. Gradually, the boy would be given a steadily improving diet of better foods as well as introduced as to the culinary world of the French. It was the only way to eat.
The table was quickly set for two, with Tom's place sitting right next to Lucius'. Tonight, Lucius would instruct him on table manners and which silver piece went with which entree.
"Do be sure to serve the salad first and not the soup. I won't tolerate any mistakes."
The Head Elf nodded its disgusting head and quickly sped off.
Tom sat down beside Lucius, looking slightly perplexed by the sheer quantity of silverware on the table before him. Why were there so many forks and spoons? What need had they of them?
It wouldn't matter, though, so long as the food came soon. The boy had worked hard and was very hungry indeed. Yawning, he then leaned fowards slightly, resting an elbow on the table and rubbing his eyes.
Lucius stopped himself from wincing when Tom's elbow came into contact with his neatly polished table.
"Tonight, you'll be having lessons involving table manners. During dinner, I shall instruct you as to which accessory you are to use with your current course. This will be most beneficial to you when dealing with the upper class of Purebloods. You want to have them on your side as they are the ones with money and influence. If you can impress them not just with your power, but also your manners and civility, they'll be more inclined to believe you to be their superior. However, if you lack on manners, they could just as easily shun you and 'accidentally' forget to invite you to any soirees, no matter how powerful you are."
Lucius appraised Tom swiftly. "First off, sit up straight. Don't slouch. You wish to make a good impression and slouching implies that you do a lot of bowing. You are Tom Riddle. You bow to no one. Next is to keep your elbows off the table. You look bored when you're doing so and you never want to appear to be bored."
Tom shook his head quickly and sat up straight before looking back down at the neatly arranged cutlery. He liked Lucius' logic; if a certain level of civility was required in order to gather a following among the upper classes, he would be more than willing to attain it. Besides, Tom thought, his cheeks reddening with embarrassment, he didn't want to seem like some orphan out of the London slums. He was Tom Marvolo Riddle. He was the Dark Lord!
Tom glanced back towards Lucius inquiringly, hoping his new pose was proper enough to meet his standards. The boy was soon distracted, however, by the arrival of a plate of salad. Impulsively, Tom reached out and grabbed a cherry tomato from the top of it and put it in his mouth before freezing and once more blushing in shame. He didn't have to grab his food here. And, from the amount of cutlery available, he was pretty sure he wasn't supposed to be using his hands...
"Erm, sorry," he mumbled, reaching out towards the forks. "Which shall I use?"
Lucius didn't dare say anything about the tomato grabbing. His own father had put him through etiquette training and Lucius had never been given a word of explanation as to why. He had done the same thing Tom had; grabbed a tomato off from the top of the salad and his teacher had pinched his cheeks painfully and told him to spit it out. He had spat it straight into her eye.
"The little fork to the very left of your plate is the salad fork. The tiny prongs are good for spearing through, well, think of your forks as mini knives. The small ones are only good for thin things, like salad leaves. While the larger one is better for spearing harder items, such as meat. Never pick at your food with your fingers unless you wish to appear eccentric and eccentric people don't get much respect these days."
Tom carefully picked up the smallest fork and began to eat, careful not to allow the salad dressing to drip down onto his new clothing. After finishing his salad, the boy took a long drink of water, set the glass back down on the table, and promptly began to sneeze. Automatically, the boy sniffled and then went back to scraping the last bits of salad from his plate. Hopefully he wasn't coming down with a cold...
Appropriately enough, the next course then arrived --- soup!
Lucius didn't bother in eating his salad. Throughout his years of wining and dining with the upper class, he had learned to have a sore disposition when it came to the greenery. This gave him plenty of opportunity to watch Tom.
He made a mental note to get the boy an engraved handkerchief.
"When you drink, delicately lift the glass up, keeping your small finger extended. Hold the glass by its stem, trust me, it won't break. If the person is serving wine, always take a delicate sniff as though you're judging the person by whatever they're serving. Also, and this might sound a bit foolish to you, never finish what you're given. Always leave a few bites left. You can go out for dinner afterwards or, when you come home, eat as you like. But devouring everything on your plate will make the host think you're piggish and only came about for the free food. Never let on to anyone that you're only there for the free food."
Because, after all, free food was the original meaning of life.
"As for soup, use your soup spoon. That's the biggest spoon there. Yes, next to the small spoon on your far right. Your small spoon will be used for dessert. And watch that elbow."
Tom frowned. He was supposed to leave food just to project a certain appearance to others? For all the boy's resistance to the supposed "lessons" the orphanage claimed to teach, the fact that one simply could not waste food was perhaps the one idea he had absorbed. What a strange concept! Wasteful, too. But if there was enough, after all...
Finally, Tom nodded in agreement and began eating his soup, once again taking care to sit up straight. The soup was just the right temperature, and had a subtle, savory taste. It was going to be hard to leave some of it, but if he had to...
Tom then took another drink of water, careful to try and hold it as he had been instructed. Unfortunately, however, the boy sneezed again just as he was putting the glass back down, making him move suddenly and drop it onto the table, where the thin glass shattered at once. Tom gasped. What more could he possibly do wrong?