There inside is a shallow stone basin with odd carvings around the edge: runes and symbols. A silver light was coming from the basin's contents, which were nothing like never seen before. A liquid like gas substance swirled about. It was bright, whitish silver, moving ceaselessly; the surface it was like waters being ruffled by the wind. And yet like clouds, they separated and swirled smoothly to look like liquid and very much solid.
Dumbledore carefully moved the pensive and placed it at his desk. Prodding the memories with his wand, he looked inside once again. The silvery substance became transparent until it looked like glass. Bending his face low until his long-crooked nose almost touched the silvery substance, when everything gave a lurch. once more
Dumbledore found himself staring at his younger self. He'd already had long hair and his beard was still auburn back down. He drew curious gazes due his flamboyant cut suit of plum velvet. In spite of himself, he chuckled at the sight of his younger self that made his way through a setoff iron gates that led into a bare courtyard. He mounted the steps to a rather grim, square building surrounded by high railings.
He knocked once, when a scruffy girl wearing an apron opened the door. "Good afternoon. I have an appointment with a Mrs. Cole, who, I believe is the matron here?"
"Oh. Um jus a mo'...Mrs. Cole!" The girl bellowed over her shoulder. A distance voice shouted something in response.
"Come in, she's on'er way," the girl said.
Dumbledore stepped into a hallway tiled in black and white. The whole place was rather shabby, but spotlessly clean. A skinny, harassed-looking woman came scurrying toward him. She had a sharp-featured face that appeared more anxious than unkind. The woman was muttering to an aproned helper, when she halted and gaped upon finding Dumbledore.
"Good afternoon," said Dumbledore, holding out his hand.
Mrs. Cole simply gasped.
"My name is Albus Dumbledore. I sent you a letter requesting an appointment and you kindly invited me here today."
Mrs. Cole blinked, before feebly saying, "Oh yes. Well well, then you'd better come into my room. Yes." They arrived in a small room that was part sitting room, part office. It was as shabby as the hallway and the furniture was old and mismatched. She invited Dumbledore to sit on a rickety chair, while she seated herself behind a cluttered desk.
"I am here, as I told you in my letter, to discuss Tom Riddle and arrangements for his future," said Dumbledore.
"Are you family?" asked Mrs. Cole.
"No, I am a teacher," said Dumbledore. "I have come to offer Tom a place at my school."
"What school's this, then?"
"It is called Hogwarts."
"And how come you're interested in Tom?"
"We believe he has qualities we are looking for."
"You mean he's won a scholarship? How can he have done? He's never been entered for one."
"Well, his name has been down for our school since birth-."
"Who registered him? His parents?"
At this point, Dumbledore took out his wand and gave her a perfectly blank piece of paper. A waver his wand caused her eyes to go unfocused as she placidly said, "That seems perfectly in order." Her dazed eyes fall upon a bottle of gin and two glasses that had not been there before. She automatically served them both, before she began to down the gin.
"I was wondering whether you could tell me anything of Tom Riddle's history. I think he was born here in the orphanage."
"That's right," Mrs. Cole muttered as she helped herself to more gin. "I remember it clear as anything, because I'd just started here myself. New Year's Eve and bitter cold, snowing, you know. Nasty night. And this girl, not much older than I was myself at the time, came in, and she had the baby within the hour. And she was dead in another hour."
"Did she say anything before she died?" asked Dumbledore. "Anything about the boy's family, for instance?"
"Now, as it happens, she did," Mrs. Cole eagerly said. "I remember said to me, 'I hope he looks like his papa,' and I won't lie, she was right to hope it, because she was no beauty and then she told me he was to be named Tom, for his father, and Marvolo, for her father .'
'Yes, I know, funny name, isn't it? We wondered whether she came from a circus and said the boy's surname was to be Riddle. And she died soon after that without another word."
"Well, we named him just as she'd said. But no Tom nor Marvolo nor any kind of Riddle ever came looking for him, nor any family at all, so he stayed in the orphanage and he's been here ever since."
"Though he's a funny boy."
"Yes," said Dumbledore. "I thought he might be."
"He was a funny baby too. He hardly ever cried; you know. And then when he got a little older, he was. odd."
"Odd in what way?" asked Dumbledore gently.
"He scares the other children," Mrs. Cole rushed.
"You mean he is a bully?"
"I think he might be," said Mrs. Cole with a frown. "But it's very hard to catch him at it. There have been incidents...Nasty things."
Dumbledore didn't press further as Mrs. Cole rabbled on, "Billy Stubb's rabbit.well, Tom said he didn't do it and I don't see how he could have done, but even so, it didn't hang itself from the rafters, did it?"
"And then on the summer outing, Amy Benson and Denis Bishop were never quite right afterwards all. We never got out of them was that they'd gone into a cave with Tom Riddle. He swore they'd just gone exploring, but something happened in there, I'm sure of it.'
'I don't think many people will be sorry to see the back of him."
Dumbledore proceeds to explain that Riddle will return every summer, before Mrs. Cole got to her feet rather steady, despite drinking two thirds of the gin. She knocked twice and then entered a room. She left Dumbledore with the boy in the bare room. There was an old wardrobe and an iron bedstead. A handsome boy, dark-haired and pale, was sitting on top of the gray blankets, legs outstretched out in front of him reading a book.
Professor Dumbledore introduced himself, but Riddle was wary. He shouted at him to tell the truth, like a command, but nothing happened. "Who are you?" Riddle warily asked.
Dumbledore proceeded to explain who he was. Riddle's reaction was surprising as he thought it was a joke or worse an attempt to lock him up in an asylum. Riddle's cheeks became flushed with excitement upon being told it was a school of magic.
"I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want them to do, without training them. I can make bad things happen to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want them to."
Dumbledore was no longer smiling at this juncture as he intently studied the young boy. Riddle requested that he prove he was a wizard and Dumbledore caused the wardrobe to burst into flames. Riddle was furious, but then he found the wardrobe was fine except for the rattling coming from within. Riddle knew exactly what was inside as Dumbledore asked that he open it and return the items to their owners with an apology.
Perhaps that should have been the first sign, the older Dumbledore sadly thought to himself. For Riddle did not look remotely abashed, but rather cold and calculating.
The younger Dumbledore proceeded to explain on how to get to Diagon Alley as Riddle did not wish to be accompanied by him. Riddle seemed quite annoyed at sharing the same namesake Tom with that of the barman at the Leaky Cauldron. He was fairly convinced that his father must have been a wizard not his mother as she had died.
Before Dumbledore left, Riddle said, "I can speak to snakes. I found out when we've been to the country on trips they find me, they whisper to me. Is that normal for a wizard?"
Dumbledore explained that it was unusual but not unheard of. The two of them parted ways with a handshake, and the older Dumbledore pulled himself out of the pensive. He furrowed his brows as he recalled the last order meeting.
Moody was convinced that Tom Marvolo Riddle and Lord Voldemort were one and the same. He pointed out the fact that at the very same time that Riddle disappeared, Lord Voldemort came into existence. And those same friends of the self-proclaimed Dark Lord had been in the past dear friends of Riddle, and they were: Dolohov, Mulciber, Rosier, Avery, Nott, and Lestrange.
Further proof is that the two Lestrange sons were associated with the Dark Lord. Dolohov was seen in the Lestrange's company and that of the reactions of the purebloods. Rosier seemed to have developed a pure hatred ever since the death of his firstborn, his son for the so-called Dark Lord. It would make perfect sense if Rosier had begun to pull away from his influence.
The same could be said about Mulciber, Avery, and Nott for all three families were rather pointedly considered neutral at this point. And were even siding with the Prince's. If the former friends of Riddle were pulling away it would explain his wrath and anger against them with Rosier only being the first.
Dumbledore begins to write a letter. The Order of the Phoenix was busy as it was, and he'd have to fill in the gap himself. Once finished, he had Fawkes deliver the letter as he stared long into the night lost in thought. It wasn't until early morning when he finally retired for bed. His old bones weren't what they used to be. For once upon a time he'd been able to stay up without any side effects. But alas, age gets the best of us all.