All belong to JK Rowling!
23 December 1990
It was almost Christmas.
Lyra Reed could not contain the excitement she felt bubbling up inside her at the prospect of her favourite holiday. Upstairs, her grandmother's beautiful old home had been decorated with fragrant boughs of holly, mistletoe, and ivy and the wonderful smell of cookies baked by the house elves wafted through the halls. In the living room stood the enormous pine tree her uncle Soren had gifted them and at the foot of the tree lay piles upon piles of beautifully wrapped presents - most of which, of course, were for little 9 year old Lyra.
But it was not yet Christmas, and so Lyra had decided to while away the days until it was Christmas going through her grandmother's boxes of old things in the basement. Unlike the warm upstairs, the basement was nearly as cold as the frozen Norwegian countryside outside and when Lyra breathed out she could see her breath. Picking up the next box of old souvenirs, Lyra winced in pain as her fingers, red from the cold, gripped the heavy box and transported it back to the center of the room where she had set up shop.
"Well aren't you a beauty just like your mother!" Exclaimed one of the old photographs as Lyra removed it from the box. She guessed the man in the photo must have been her great grandfather but truth be told, she wasn't sure.
"Who are you?" Lyra asked the man.
"Who am- who am I!?" The man cried indignantly, "What, did my own family forget me that fast? I'm you're great uncle Dominic Greengrass. I died when you were just a baby but I remember you...you were a well-behaved baby, always smiling and laughing."
"I- I'm sorry for not recognizing you." Lyra stuttered, feeling guilt seep through her.
"Now don't be sorry. Just hand me to your mother so I can give her a piece of my mind. She always was a troublesome one."
Lyra laughed at the man's assessment of her mother and made to stand up to bring the photograph to her mother when something shiny at the bottom of the box caught her eye.
Reaching her hand into the box, Lyra picked up what seemed to be some sort of cold clear stone. As soon as she touched the stone, however, it turned a deep emerald green and a warmth hidden in the depths of the stone seeped out to warm Lyra's frozen fingers.
"What is that?"
Lyra jumped, nearly losing her grip on the stone, at the sound of a young boy's voice coming from behind her. Spinning around, Lyra stared in confusion and fear at the young boy with jet black hair who had suddenly appeared out of thin air.
"Who are you?" Lyra asked, scrambling to her feet and stumbling backwards away from the boy.
"I asked you a question first." The boy snapped, glaring at her. "Answer me."
Lyra froze at his rude tone, unused to verbal abuse in a family that was so insanely loving and kind her friends thought it was surreal and almost fake.
"Well, what is it?" The boy repeated once again, jolting Lyra from her trance.
Lyra looked down at the stone in her hands, "I- I don't know. I just found it in that box." She said, pointing towards the box filled mainly with old photographs.
The boy looked unconvinced and so Lyra cautiously walked up to the boy and held out her hands. "Here. You can look at it."
The boy hesitated, clearly unsure whether or not he could trust her, before finally bringing up his own hands and gingerly accepting the stone. As soon as the stone touched his skin it immediately began glowing a bright gold, matching the colour of Lyra's hair, and Lyra screamed. All of a sudden, she was no longer in her grandmother's basement but instead in a small, rather shabby looking bedroom.
"Shh!" The boy admonished her angrily, looking from her to the door of his bedroom and back. "Be quiet, would you?"
"Where am I?" Lyra whispered frantically, staring around herself in speechless wonder, running her fingers along the wall, bed frame and wardrobe as if to make sure they were real.
The boy didn't answer however and instead stared down at the stone in his hand with a mixture of fascination and shock.
Beginning to get quite fed up with being ignored, Lyra tried again, "Is this your house?" She asked the boy and when he still didn't answer, she let out a sigh of frustration, "Would you please answer me?"
The boy looked up at last, annoyance sketched onto every feature of his face. "Do you know anything about how to use this thing?" He asked, completely ignoring her previous questions.
"I'm not telling you anything until you tell me who you are and where we are." Lyra snapped, crossing her tiny arms in an attempt to hide how scared she was.
The boy sighed in annoyance, "My name is Riddle and we're in London."
"Is this your house? Is Riddle really your first name?" Lyra asked in confusion.
"Yes, this is my...house." Riddle replied.
"What's your first name?" Lyra pressed.
The boy positively glared at her, "Tom." He snapped with such disgust that Lyra thought it almost sounded like a swear word.
"I was in Norway." Lyra said tentatively in an attempt to diffuse the tension she seemed to have created, "This stone is like a portkey without all the spinning!"
"A portkey?" Tom asked, and Lyra realized for the first time that perhaps this boy was a Muggle.
"I- I mean it's like a...so I once watched this movie where they had these things called portkeys that let you travel great distances very quickly and it reminded me of this." Lyra muttered quickly, trying to cover up her mistake. If this boy really was a Muggle she could get into a lot of trouble for telling him about magic.
Tom eyed her suspiciously, "You're lying." He snapped, "Don't think you can fool me because you can't."
"I'm not lying!" Lyra exclaimed loudly, prompting Tom to look anxiously towards the door and shush her angrily.
Lyra shut her mouth abruptly and looked towards the door, wondering why the boy seemed so afraid of someone hearing them. It was then that her gaze fell upon a Muggle newspaper lying on the bed with the headline "Edward VIII returns from visit to India".
While Lyra was not very interested in the British monarchy, she did know enough to know that Edward VIII was no longer the king of the UK in her own time. Lyra snatched up the newspaper, ignoring Tom's protests, and stared in shock at the date: November 23rd, 1936.
"That's mine." Tom snapped, finally succeeding in wrenching the paper out of her hands and Lyra turned to stare at him.
"It's 1936?" She asked incredulously.
Tom gave her a strange look, "What year did you think it was?"
"1990." Lyra replied, her eyes lighting up with excitement as she rushed to the window and stared out at the world of nearly 60 years ago. She could see old fashioned cars driving down the street between buildings that may not even exist in her own day. Excitedly, she turned back to look at Tom, a boy who must have been her grandmother's age in her own time. Now that she noticed it, his clothes were very old fashioned indeed.
Tom was staring down at the golden stone in his hand as if it were made of literal gold and had just made him rich beyond belief.
"Why me though?" He muttered under his breath and Lyra frowned.
"Why you what?" She asked.
Tom looked up, "Why did this stone bring me, specifically, to your basement?"
Lyra shrugged, unable to figure out a possible answer. "And why did it bring me to your room?" Lyra continued, "It's as if when I hold it you are brought to me and when you hold it I am brought to you."
Tom stared at her for a moment as if suddenly seeing her for the first time, before suddenly thrusting the stone back into her hands. Immediately, Tom's bedroom disappeared and they were back in Lyra's grandmother's basement. In her hands, the stone glowed a dark emerald green.
"Fascinating." Tom muttered under his breath.
"I know what to do, I'll ask my grandmother about the stone!" Lyra exclaimed, already edging towards the staircase.
"No!" Tom cried sharply, stepping forward quickly and holding his hand out for the stone. "Don't be stupid, if you tell her she'll take away the stone."
"No she won't." Lyra replied, "She's so nice, I know she would never take it away. She'll probably know what the stone is for."
"No, don't you get it? She'll think it's dangerous or too powerful and she won't let you hold it anymore." Tom replied somewhat frantically, "Here, give it back to me. I'll figure out what it's for."
Lyra backed away from him slowly, unwilling to give the stone to the boy and be forced back into the 1930s again for god knew how long.
"No, I'm going to ask my grandmother." Lyra insisted, "It's hers anyway."
Tom glared at her and Lyra felt the stone begin to move in her hand as if being pulled towards Tom by some invisible force. Lyra gripped the stone even harder, staring at Tom in surprise. Perhaps he wasn't a Muggle after all.
"Are you...?" Lyra asked, trailing off as the look on Tom's face confirmed her suspicions.
"If you don't give it to me I'll make you." Tom warned, and Lyra felt a flicker of fear; perhaps this boy's magic was stronger than her own...there was no way to tell at this point.
"I'm sorry." Lyra apologized, figuring that if she dropped the stone he would disappear and she would be free to bring the stone to her grandmother. "I promise I'll come back."
"You won't." Tom snapped bitterly.
"I will." Lyra promised as sincerely as possible before letting the stone slide from her hand and drop to the ground.
In an instant, Tom was gone and she was alone again.