A light breeze danced across the pebbled streets, whipping one small blonde girl’s hair around her face as she danced merrily in circles. Small giggles escaped her as she sang lightly, her cherub like face shining with happiness.
“Ring around the Rosie, A pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down . . .”
Her sweet voice carried across towards the old, slightly run down building behind her where several other children stood outside playing. One small boy stood off to the side by himself, his dark eyes trained on the innocent child.
“Tom!” The matron called out, her voice strict, yet uneasy.
He waited so long to turn around she almost called out for him again, before he slowly tilted his head in her direction.
“Yes?” He inquired quietly, his eyes cold as they fixed on hers.
She stuttered for a moment, losing her bearings - as always - when he stared at her like that. Recovering herself, she finally spoke. “You didn’t perform your chores this morning,” she replied with what she hoped was a sufficiently authoritative tone.
Tom blinked slowly, his expression blank. “I know.”
She stopped again, recognizing the fact that she should have been used to the boy’s behavior by now. Her eyes narrowed as she studied him. “You know the rules, Thomas,” she continued tightly. “If you don’t do your chores you won’t receive dessert.”
A small smirk formed on his face, one that left so quickly she almost thought she had imagined it. “I understand, Mrs. White,” he responded quietly, a note of derision laced within his polite tone.
She frowned unhappily as he turned back towards watching the blonde girl across the street who was still playing happily outside her home. She shifted uneasily. Something about Tom always staring at the girl made her nervous. Dolly Kent’s parents were very influential members in their town, her father being a doctor and her mother a teacher. The last thing their orphanage needed was for her parents to remove their support based off of one very odd child’s strange observing of their own.
Just as she was about to call out to him and force him to come inside, another matron’s voice called for her. “Gretchen, could you come here please!”
She sighed, sending one last look at Tom before striding towards the staircase. She would make sure to talk to him about it later.
Dolly let out another peal of laughter as she fell the ground, taking down her small doll, Angelina, with her. She smiled at the light haired porcelain doll, hugging her tightly to her chest. “And we all fall down,” she murmured quietly, a small smile on her lips.
She scooted to her knees, prepared to jump up and play all over again when she saw a tall, older boy with dark hair standing over her.
She cautiously stood up, smoothing down her skirts like she had seen her Mummy do many times. “Hello,” she said shyly, hugging Angelina a bit closer.
He stared at her until she shifted, turning slightly away from him before speaking. “Hello.”
His voice was very cool, but quiet. Almost like the breeze that was ruining Angelina’s perfect curls.
She smiled timidly at him. “I’m Dolly and this is Angelina.” She proudly showed him the present her Daddy had bought for on her birthday.
He looked at the doll, his eyes slowly running over it. After a moment, he gently reached out a hand, his eyes going back to hers. “May I hold her?”
She immediately took a step back, the grip on her doll becoming protective. She frowned as he took a step forward, his expression kind, but his eyes still hard.
“Just for a moment?” His voice was smooth, persuasive.
She stared at him with round blue eyes, but then slowly - reluctantly - handed over Angelina.
His face remained blank as he gently held the doll, one finger running over the porcelain wrist lightly. “Was that Ring Around The Rosie you were singing?” He inquired quietly, his eyes still fixed on the dolls skin.
Dolly nodded, her face lighting up at the mention of the rhyme. “Do you want to play?” She asked eagerly, the idea of having found a new playmate causing her eyes to brighten.
He still didn’t look up as he began speaking. “Do you know why they started singing Ring Around The Rosie, Dolly?”
She frowned, her brows scrunching together. “Because it’s fun,” she replied with another bright smile, hoping he would play with her now.
He smiled, but she didn’t think it was very nice. “No, Dolly, that’s not why.” His usually flat eyes gleamed as he finally looked up, holding her stare. “Would you like to guess again?”
Her lips formed into a small pout as she grew impatient with his game, a small part of her feeling nervous. She wasn’t really supposed to talk to strangers. “I don’t want to. Give me Angelina.”
He ignored her request, instead holding the doll out of her reach. “The reason they sang it was because of all the people who died.” The gleam grew to a glow the seemed to illuminate his whole face. “They’d get sick and die and then all the children would sing that song …”
Slowly he began spinning, holding her doll out and gently singing the song. “Ring around the Rosie, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down …”
Dolly watched in horror as he held her doll in the air and then let her drop, her face heading directly towards the road. She shrieked as Angelina’s head hit the ground, a sickening crack following.
“No!” She cried out, tears already building in her eyes as she grabbed her precious doll, only to see a crack running all the way across her face. “You killed her!” Her face began streaming with tears as she looked up at him, her expression torn between misery and hate.
He smiled then, a cold, twisted smile that had her slowly moving away. “Just like all the people,” he replied, his eyes still unnaturally bright. Then, abruptly they turned bitter. “I’m sure your parents,” he spat, “will buy you a new one.”
He paused for a moment, as if suddenly remembering something else. “Oh and Dolly?” He waited until she had looked up before continuing. “If you tell your parents about this,” his voice lowered as he bent his face towards her, his eyes boring into her own, “all your dolls are going to fall down.”
She stared down at her doll with horror as he glided away from her, his expression serene, as if nothing had happened. Slowly, she raised off the ground, cradling Angelina and turned back toward her house.
As she walked up the staircase and reached the door she paused, turning around and stopping short at the sight.
He was staring at her, a small, evil smile on his face as he glanced down at the cracked face. His eyes grew bright again, that gleam returning as he sent her a short wave.
She felt a thrill of fear run through her at the sight and abruptly spun around, pushing the door open and slamming it behind her. The tears that had formed in her eyes were replaced with a dry, cold terror as she glanced out the window and still saw him staring at the house.
She waited until he had walked into the orphanage, out of sight, before sinking down towards the floor and tightly cradling Angelina against her chest.
“We won’t ever play that game again,” she whispered reassuringly, her fingers running along the crack as new tears once again formed in her eyes.
She had to make sure they didn’t fall down.
AN: My first attempt at a Tom Riddle fic.... It was a lot of fun to do and hopefully you guys enjoyed it a bit :) In case anyone was wondering around the rhyme, Ring Around The Rosie was actually born from the Bubonic Plague otherwise known as the Black Death where one of the symptoms was a red circle forming on peoples skin. The ashes part was in reference to the bodies that were cremated and the falling down was in reference to their death. I had always found the reasons behind that childhood rhyme to be incredibly disturbing so I decided to make it into a fic with Tom Riddle as a child. Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed it and if you have the time a review is always great! Thanks everyone!
By the way for all those wondering I'm hoping to get chapter 2 of MC out tomorrow! I have been incredibly sick the past couple days though so I'm not going to make any promises.
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