I know Tom would never love me. Could never love me.

He would never even give me the chance, but I love him still. How could I not?

He is perfect, gentle and kind.

My father claims otherwise. Father says filthy blood makes Tom an animal.

Has he looked at his own dear son, I wonder?

Morfin was the source of all that nonsense with the Ministry and I was left alone. It was quite unexpected.

For the first few nights I jumped at every noise. Azkaban couldnít possibly hold my father. The Dementors couldnít have any effect on him. Father feared nothing.

There was nothing for father to regret. He didnít feel sorry for anything in his life. He didnít even cry when mother died, just cursed her for leaving him to raise his brats alone.

He hadnít allowed us to go to Hogwarts. He called them Muggle-loving and said the school had been defiled. He taught us at home. Sort of. When he thought of it. Mostly Morfin, not me.

But father didnít return. On the ninth day I slept until noon. Then I raided fatherís library.

I was lucky mother had taught me to read before she passed. She loved us and sang to us in serpent language when we went to bed, songs the snakes had taught her.

When she died Morfin went a bit funnier in the head than he already was.

I really should thank him for all of this. Without him, none of it would have been possible.

I practiced a few simple potions. It was easy, far more than I would have thought, but motherís old notes helped.

So I brewed a spell to make me a bit smarter.

Then I went for the advanced books.

I was eternally glad father kept a secret horde of ingredients. It did make me angry he was squandering copper on ingredients he would never use while we ate scraps.

The love potion was trickier than I thought it would be. It took five attempts, but in the end it worked.

At least it looked the same color the book described.

I needed a hair from him, but that was easy. Their manor was huge and they always needed more help. I knew theyíd never have me in the house, but they didnít deny me a place in the stables.

At least his horse was fond of me. Perhaps it had to do with the apple in my pocket.

Within the week he had accepted a drink from me after an afternoon ride.

Then he was mine.

We eloped immediately. He spent the entire afternoon telling me how beautiful I was. Me!

We had money enough for a small house. We had a small garden and meat to eat.

His house was clean, his belly was full, and his bed was warm.

I loved him. I took good care of him.

Then he was helping me clean the pantry one day and the jar of potion broke. He wondered why I sobbed so much. He took me in his arms and kissed my tears away, his face full of worry. He didnít know why I cried harder.

He claimed I must have become hysterical, like all women do when theyíre expecting a baby. I had only told him that morning.

When Tom proposed to me I snapped my wand in two. I left it on the table for father to find. I didnít take anything but the locket I was given at birth and the potion.

It may have been what killed him. I hope so.

The potion was simple. Two drops three times a day, or a tablespoon at breakfast. It was quite a large jar.

The next morning he leapt from the bed screaming.

He yelled horrible things at me, said terrible things about my family.

I couldnít refute him that.

Then he left.

He knew about the baby and he left anyway.

The next day his fatherís men arrived to throw me out of the house.

So I did what I had to do.

Until I started showing, I did odd jobs. Then no one would hire me.

Then I started sleeping in doorways.

I ended up at this place, praying I wouldnít have to birth you in the gutter, you are so far better than that, my son.

I feel the world pulling away from me. I do not think I will see you grow, but you are in a place of many children, you will have a better life than I could have given you.

I love you, my Tom, more than you will ever know. More than you could ever imagine.

Life is hard, my son, but you will rise above everyone else.

I could hear it with your very first breath in this world: you will accomplish great things.