Easter was both excruciatingly slow and over far too quickly for the fifth-years, as their exams were set to begin only two weeks later.
True to Perenelle Flamel’s word, a pink owl flew into the Great Hall a week later, carrying a letter with all the details Hadrian needed for his apprenticeship starting in July.
Five days before the two and a half weeks of OWLs began, there was another petrification. Two more petrifications, in fact: Hermione Granger and Penelope Clearwater were found together.
And then Hagrid was arrested and sent to Azkaban when anyone with half a brain could see that he wasn’t guilty. Dumbledore was fired, too.
Hestia was the one who told Hadrian the news, watching him with sorrow on her face.
Hadrian was moving before he could stop himself, punching the wall as hard as he could, his fist shattering on the stone. He could barely feel the pain, his mind whirling.
No, not again. Not Hagrid, who talks to Luna about all the creatures she loves and lets her go with him into the Forbidden Forest sometimes and would never hurt a fly, let alone students.
The Ministry can’t do this again, not again.
They can’t do this, they can’t do this, they can’t do this.
He punched the wall again, and again, trying to get his building fury out, out, out before it could join with his magic and bubble into something truly dangerous. But suddenly something caught his fist; he looked, blinking once and then twice, at Hestia’s hand around his wrist.
“Hadrian, this isn’t going to help,” she told him gently, pushing his fist down to his side. He absently noticed the blood staining the wall. His blood. “I’m going to call Barnaby to heal your hand.”
Hestia pulled her wand out, casting her Patronus charm quietly and watching the silver cat run off. She then turned back to her friend.
“Hadrian, if we can find the actual person responsible, we can get Hagrid out of Azkaban,” she told him, moving his head so she could look him in the eyes. “You and Flora visited the Chamber of Secrets. If you wait in there, the culprit will turn up. And then you can get Hagrid out of Azkaban.”
Barnaby slammed the door open, bursting in. “Is everything okay? I got your message, Esty,” he told them breathlessly. “Oh Merlin, that doesn’t look good,” he said when he saw Hadrian’s hand. He strode over, pulling the hand up to his face to study it. “Yeah, that’s a few broken bones and there are some very complicated structures in the hands… I could try to heal it…”
Hestia turned back to Hadrian. “We’re going to Madam Pomfrey,” she told him in a tone that brooked no argument.
Hadrian nodded absently, following her through the school corridors to the Hospital Wing. He didn’t notice the people staring at his bloody hand that didn’t look quite the right shape. He didn’t hear their whispers.
Madam Pomfrey took one look at his hand and tutted, pulling out her wand to begin healing the several broken bones. She sat him down on one of the beds, drawing the curtain around it to give Hadrian some privacy.
“How did you do this, Mister Potter-Black? I’m almost impressed with the number of bones you’ve broken in this hand,” she commented as she began healing the bones one by one.
“I punched a wall,” he said distractedly.
“Now why would you do that?” the matron asked, a disapproving tone to her voice.
“Hagrid is in Azkaban but he’s innocent,” he told her. “And… it just…”
Madam Pomfrey seemed to realise what was wrong. “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t think of that. Will you need any help?”
“No-no,” he said, “I need to be able to do this myself.”
“If you say so, Mister Potter-Black. The offer is there, though, so make sure to come and talk to me if you need any help,” Madam Pomfrey told him, stowing her wand away. “Well, I’ve finished with that. Is there anything else you needed?”
Hadrian opened his mouth to reply, but there was a crash from just behind the bed curtain. “What was that?” he demanded, shooting to his feet and instinctively reaching for his wand.
Madam Pomfrey drew back the curtain to reveal Charlus.
“Do you need anything, Mr Potter?” she asked, her voice stern.
“No, thank you, Madam Pomfrey. I was just coming to… see Hermione,” Charlus said, his eyes widening as he paused, clearly wracking his brain for a convincing enough lie.
Was he eavesdropping?
“Thank you, Madam Pomfrey, but I’ll be fine from here,” Hadrian said, wiping the blood off his hand with a tissue from the table beside the bed. He strode out, ignoring the bodies of the petrified muggleborns.
Charlus didn’t know what to think.
He’d originally assumed that Hadrian was the Heir of Slytherin, but surely his brother couldn’t be evil? Their mum was a muggleborn, he couldn’t hate her.
Then, everyone had been even more suspicious when Hadrian was revealed to be a parselmouth. Everyone except Charlus, who had understood what Hadrian was saying. Who had found out that he was also a parselmouth. And he wasn’t evil, so why would it make Hadrian evil?
Hermione was attacked though. Hermione was petrified. Hermione could have died.
The problem was that now Hermione had been petrified, he and Ron wanted someone to blame. That idea – that they were just looking for the perpetrator, that they wanted them to pay – was barely settled at the edges of his consciousness.
And then he overheard the conversation between Hadrian and Madam Pomfrey.
It sounded to him a lot like Hadrian and Madam Pomfrey were sharing a secret. Charlus was suspicious. Why would Hadrian feel guilty about Hagrid being in Azkaban? Why would he need help? …Was Hadrian at fault? Was it Hadrian’s own actions that led to Hagrid being arrested?
Was the Hadrian the one opening the Chamber of Secrets?
When Charlus told Ron what had happened in the Medical Wing, the other boy agreed that Hadrian sounded very guilty. It was just a shame that they’d wasted the Polyjuice Potion by turning into Draco’s friends, after chickening out of using it to get information out of Hadrian.
At least they had a lead: follow the spiders.
Hadrian spent the rest of the week in a daze, able to think of little except Azkaban. Of another innocent man in Azkaban.
At least he won’t be in the Doghouse. There are more Dementors there. He should be stuck in the point nearest the guards, as there’s so little proof and they’re just doing this because they want to look like they’re doing something.
OWLs began a week later, consuming every thought of Azkaban. He had exams every single day of the first week, but had two days off in the following week, which gave him time for revision.
OWLs were… odd. He’d never done important exams before, but they seemed to go far too quickly, even though he felt like he’d done well in all of them.
“Thank Salazar those are over,” Flora exclaimed, leaving the Great Hall from her Muggle Studies exam, which was on the third Monday of exams. “I’m all done now.”
“How did it go?” Barnaby asked, walking over to her from his own desk. They were the only two in their friendship group to take the subject. “I got stuck on question four, the-”
“Barnaby,” Flora cut off with a raised hand, “I don’t want to hear it. I have finished the exams, and will forget about them now.”
“What about when we get the results?” Hadrian asked, having waited outside the exam room for them, a smile on his face.
“Hestia and I have decided that she will open the letter and only tell me if I failed,” Flora informed him, taking her robe off and stuffing it in her bag. “Did I tell you that my DADA examiner kept on staring at my scars?” she commented. “I was tempted to tell her I got hit by a Dark curse, but then thought she might mark me down for not blocking it or something.”
“I don’t think they’re allowed to do that,” Barnaby said, a sceptical look on his face.
Hadrian raised an eyebrow, looking at Flora. “I thought you were proud of your scars, Lora.”
“I am, I just found it distracting to have the examiner keep on glancing at my arms,” she complained, pulling a face.
They walked outside together, to their spot at the tree beside the Black Lake. Hestia and Luna were waiting for them.
“Save me from those two!” Hestia exclaimed, gesturing at Lucian and Felix who were kissing, entirely focused on each other. “They won’t stop kissing!”
Flora strode over to the couple, then sharply kicked Felix in the leg.
He yelped, breaking the kiss to turn and glare at her. “What was that for?”
“You’re being gross and kissing,” Flora told him primly. “If you want to do that, do it where we don’t all have to see it.”
“Sorry,” Lucian muttered, his cheeks burning deep red.
“Just because you’re single-” Felix began, a grin on his face.
Flora kicked him again. “I am not single, and you know that. I have that date with Gemma Farley on Saturday.”
Felix let himself fall back onto the grass, laughing. “Having a date does not mean you’re dating someone,” he told her.
“I’ve made out with her twice now, so I think it counts,” she shot back.
“As someone who has… kissed a lot of people,” Felix replied, glancing at his boyfriend for a moment, “I can tell you that making out does not mean you’re dating them.”
“To be fair, Flora is now going on a date with her,” Luna said, settling down on the grass next to Lucian.
“And none of this stops the fact that you two were being gross,” Hestia said, pulling a face. “They’d been doing that for five minutes before you all turned up.”
“They’ve been dating for a month already, you’d think the honeymoon period would have worn off,” Barnaby commented, dropping down next to Hestia.
Felix just rolled his eyes.
A girl had been taken to the Chamber of Secrets to be killed.
Hadrian and Luna were the first to know, finding the message smeared on the wall.
“We need to go down there. Now,” Luna said, her voice firm.
Hadrian nodded, starting down the winding corridors to the second-floor girls’ bathroom, Luna not far behind.
Myrtle appeared as they entered, but Hadrian ran through her and straight to the sinks, ignoring her indignant squawk.
“OPEN,” Hadrian hissed loudly, pulling his elder and phoenix feather wand out of his holster. Beside him, Luna did the same. The sinks twisted downwards, Hadrian leaping down the slide.
The fall felt much longer this time, worry for the unknown victim filling Hadrian’s thoughts. He didn’t bother with stopping himself this time, instead stumbling as he landed among the small animal bones. Luna shot from the slide a few seconds later, but he was able to catch her.
They strode down the corridor together, and Hadrian opened the snake door, revealing the impressive Chamber of Secrets.
A body lay in front of the statue of Salazar Slytherin, a handsome boy standing beside her. He looked up in shock when Hadrian and Luna entered.
“Who are you?” he demanded, stepping in front of the body.
Luna turned slightly towards Hadrian, whispering to him. “Her magic is being pulled out of her and put in him,” she said. “But he’s not real yet. Wait, that black book… I need to investigate it.” Hadrian gave the faintest of nods, stepping forward. Luna began to move to the left, out of sight of the boy.
“I am Hadrian Potter-Black,” he said, his face completely devoid of expression. “The current King of Slytherin. I am Lord of House Black and heir to House Potter. Who are you?”
“I am Tom Riddle,” the other boy replied, standing slightly straighter. “The heir of Slytherin.”
Well, that was easy to get him to reveal himself.
“Why did you come here, if you are indeed a loyal Slytherin?” the boy asked, an accusatory tone in his voice.
“It is because I am a loyal Slytherin that I came here,” Hadrian responded. “You dishonour our founder and taint the great name of our house.”
“How dare you!” Riddle shouted, furious. “I do no such thing! It is people like you who taint the Slytherin name, my name.”
Hadrian laughed. “You call yourself the heir of Slytherin, yet you do not bear his name.”
“You dishonour me! You do not see who I really am!”
“Who are you really, then?” Hadrian taunted. “A sad, dead boy, taking the life of a child?”
“No!” Riddle yelled, tracing letters in the air, then rearranging them. ‘I am Tom Riddle’ slowly became ‘Lord Voldemort’, and Hadrian clamped down on his sudden fear and anger, not letting a millimetre of it show.
Not good, not good.
“You’re not the Dark Lord, you’re just a poor imitation,” he said instead, seeing Luna reach the black book near the girl. She nodded to him, beginning to slowly move back towards Hadrian.
However, Riddle caught sight of her pale blonde hair, turning suddenly to face her, his face screwing up in anger.
“You dare trick Lord Voldemort?” Riddle shouted, then seemed to realise something. “You called me the ‘Dark Lord’,” he said, a slow smile spreading on his face. “Only my Death Eaters call me that. Are you betraying your master?”
“Merely a product of my unwelcome upbringing, I assure you,” Hadrian told him, keeping his eyes fixed on the young Voldemort.
“Let’s see where your upbringing gets you against this,” Riddle smirked, turning to face the statue of Salazar Slytherin. “Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four… Let’s match the power of Lord Voldemort, Heir of Salazar Slytherin against the Lord Black… kill him!”
The mouth of the statue opened, and a snake began slither out. “The basilisk,” Hadrian murmured to Luna, who slipped the book to him. “Don’t look in its eyes, and we’ll try and blind it. I’ll try to speak to it first.”
“We need to destroy that diary,” Luna whispered to him. “That’s evil, evil magic. But it’ll be really hard to destroy, we need something truly powerful.”
He took a step forward, averting his gaze from the slowly emerging basilisk. “Hello, great snake,” he began, Riddle freezing in shock. The basilisk seemed to slow, looking more in his direction. “Would you be willing to eat something for me?”
“That dependsss…” the basilisk hissed, somehow sounding amused. “Why sssshould I betray my massster?”
“Who is your master?” Hadrian asked boldly. “Is he that dead boy over there?”
The basilisk seemed to laugh. “I sssuppossse you are right. My true massster would not want for me to follow the dead. Alasss, I cannot betray hisss ordersss, so I mussst kill you.”
“Can you do one thing first?” Hadrian asked, Riddle seeming to panic, trying to speak up, but he was drowned out by the ancient snake.
“Eat this,” Hadrian said, holding out the book.
“Alright, odd human,” the snake said, opening its mouth; Hadrian tossed the book to it, ignoring Riddle’s scream as the basilisk bit down on it. “You tricked me,” it hissed, tongue flicking out.
Tom Riddle – Voldemort – began to fade, utter fury on his face. “You’ll pay for this,” he shouted, even as he disappeared.
It was then that Charlus Potter ran in, clearly having missed the end of the conversation. He gasped, jabbing an accusing finger at Hadrian.
“It’s you!” he shouted. “You’re the heir!”
Hadrian didn’t turn around to look at him, instead focusing on the snake that was rearing to attack. “I’m little busy here,” he shouted back, pulling out his wand. “Confringo!”
The basilisk’s eyes burst, removing its deadly sight. It let out a screech of pain.
“A shame it’s attacking,” Luna shouted, “I’d love to study it some more.”
“We can’t exactly do that right now, Lunes,” Hadrian called. “The skin’s too tough to get through with a spell, what should we do?”
“Dark magic should work better,” Luna told him, pulling her wand out. “Petrificus totalus,” she incanted, making Charlus fall down, his body bound before he could get in their way with his screaming and accusations. She cast another spell, covering the whole room in an odd scent.
“Is that perfume?” Hadrian asked, stopping beside her.
“It relies on its sense of smell. If the whole room smells the same, it can’t see,” she told him. He pressed a kiss to her forehead.
“You’re incredible,” he told her, turning back to the snake. He sent a few of the darkest curses he knew at the basilisk, which was now floundering.
Its head was ripped off its body, dark green blood splattering everywhere.
“Why do I always get blood on my clothes?” Hadrian groaned, looking down at his now ruined uniform.
Luna patted his shoulder. “I’ve got blood on me too,” she said reassuringly. “And at least it’s not bright orange this time.”
There was a groan from behind them. The couple turned to see Charlus, his eyes wide with fear.
“Finite incantatem,” Luna cast, Charlus’ limbs springing free.
He leapt to his feet, pulling his wand out. “What the hell just happened?” he shouted, slowly backing away from them.
“We killed the basilisk that’s been terrorising the school,” Luna told him cheerfully, skipping over to the girl on the floor. “Oh look, she’s waking up. It’s Ginny Weasley.”
The Weasley girl flinched back, her face pale. “Wha-what’s happening?” she stuttered, her eyes darting around. “What happened to Tom? To the b-basilisk?”
“Hadry and I killed them both,” Luna informed her, a grin still on her face as she helped the eleven-year old to her feet. “That was very reckless of you, selling your soul to Voldemort like that.”
The girl burst into tears, clutching Luna tightly. “I-I didn’t mean to,” she sobbed. “Th-thank you for killing them.”
“You’re welcome,” Hadrian said, sheathing his wand. “In the future, don’t do that.”
“What’s going on?” Charlus asked, his wand still aimed at his brother. “Aren’t you the heir?”
Hadrian let out a laugh. “Why, because I’m an evil Slytherin? Grow up, Potter.”
“I overheard that conversation in the Hospital Wing,” Charlus told him.
Hadrian’s face twisted into something angry. “That was a private conversation, one you had no business hearing.”
“Which one was that?” Luna asked, patting Ginny on the back.
“After I broke my hand,” Hadrian replied, rubbing the offending knuckles. “After I punched that wall, remember?”
Charlus gaped at him. “Punched a wall? I-I thought you…”
“Broke it doing something evil? I realised,” Hadrian said, then turned to Luna. “We should get the Weasley girl to the Medical Wing, so Madam Pomfrey can check her over.”
Luna nodded, turning to the door they’d come in through. “That way has been blocked,” she said, frowning.
“We’ll just go out the other door,” Hadrian replied, turning to the archway with the door set into it.
Charlus coughed awkwardly. “Um…”
“What is it?” Hadrian asked, exasperated.
“Ron and Lockhart are on the other side of the cave in. They can’t get out,” Charlus said, a little sheepishly. Hadrian rolled his eyes.
“Fine, we’ll go back that way.”
They walked through the corridor to the pile of rocks.
“Charlus? Is that you?” a voice called from the other side, sounding suspicious.
“Ron!” Ginny shouted, taking a step forward and then collapsing, likely from the huge drain on her magic.
“Ginny?” the voice called again. “You’re alright?”
Hadrian rolled his eyes again. “Step away from the cave-in,” he instructed, raising his wand. “Reducto,” he incanted, the rocks falling into dust to reveal the Weasley boy and Lockhart, who looked on in wonder.
“Ginny!” Ron exclaimed, running towards her. “What’s wrong? Why are you on the floor?” he caught sight of Hadrian and Luna, who waved cheerily. “What have you done to her?” he asked, his voice full of accusation.
“Saved her from certain death,” Hadrian told him, scooping the Weasley girl into his arms. “But now she’s weak from her own stupidity, so I have to waste energy carrying her.”
Ron gaped at him, even as he looked up the slide.
Hadrian turned to Luna. “Lunes, could you fly us up there?”
She nodded, gesturing for them to all stand together. “Wingardium leviosa!” she shouted, all of them beginning to float. Luna directed them up, up the slide until they came out in the girls’ bathroom. Myrtle was waiting for them.
“Oh,” she pouted. “I was rather hoping you’d die and come and live in my bathroom forever,” she told Hadrian.
“Fortunately, I already have a girlfriend,” he told her.
“I assume it’s that blonde girl,” Myrtle sighed, floating away. “Come back if you ever want to talk!”
Hadrian led the others out of the bathroom, where they were found by Snape, who was storming down the corridor.
“Mister Potter-Black! All students are supposed to be in their dormitories,” he said, surveying the group with distaste. “Unless…?”
“This is Ginny Weasley,” Hadrian informed him. “Luna and I defeated the heir of Slytherin and his monster in the Chamber of Secrets. Charlus Potter and Ronald Weasley were also there. I do not know why Professor Lockhart is sitting on the floor crying.”
“It’s just so wonderful!” Lockhart sobbed into his hands.
“Well, in that case, if you would all follow me to the Headmaster’s office, you can tell the full story there,” Snape sneered. “I’ll leave the great monster hunter here to fend for himself.”
“Thank you, sir,” Luna exclaimed, keeping pace with the potions professor as he strode off. “You should have seen the monster, sir, it was huge and beautiful, and-”
“Miss Lovegood, I believe I will be there when the story is told in the Headmaster’s office. I’m sure I can wait until then. Walk with your… boyfriend,” Snape told her, his sneer growing.
The group arrived at the Headmaster’s office before long, walking up the staircase single file.
Snape entered the office first, holding the door open for Hadrian, who was still carrying the Weasley girl.
McGonagall, as the acting Headmistress, looked up from the desk, shock on her face as she caught sight of the girl she thought was dead. It took her a moment before she could speak.
“Miss Weasley, you’re alright, thank Merlin. Mister Potter-Black, put the girl down in one of these chairs,” she instructed, relief flooding her face as Hadrian dropped Ginny in one of the chairs in front of the desk. Charlus and Ron took the other two, leaving Hadrian and Luna standing to one side, Snape moving behind the desk to stand near his colleague.
“What happened?” McGonagall asked. “Did you enter the Chamber of Secrets?”
“Yes,” Charlus said, exchanging a look with his friend. “Ron and I found the entrance in the second floor girls’ bathroom and I used parseltongue to enter it with Lockhart. The fraud tried to make us forget everything with some spell-”
“-obliviate-” Ron added helpfully.
“- but Ron’s wand backfired on him and he forgot everything and the ceiling fell down. I was on the side of the Chamber, so I went on and found Hadrian and Luna facing a basilisk as a boy I met in a diary disappeared,” Charlus continued, looking at the couple, who were holding hands. “They cast petrificus totalus on me, and then killed it.”
McGonagall turned to Hadrian and Luna. “Could you tell a more complete version of events?” she asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” Hadrian nodded. “Luna and I were the first people to find the message on the wall, so we ran to the second floor girls’ bathroom, where we knew the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets was. I used parseltongue to open it, and then we entered.
“We discovered a boy standing beside Ginny Weasley, who was lying on the ground. Luna realised that her magic was flowing into the boy, who wasn’t alive yet. She also saw a black book on the ground which she identified as containing very harmful magic. I distracted the boy, who called himself Tom Riddle.” McGonagall gave a small gasp at this, turning to Snape, whose sneer was even more pronounced than normal. “He then told us he was a version of Lord Voldemort.”
Ginny whirled in her chair, utter panic on her face. Hadrian ignored her, continuing with his account.
“At that moment, Riddle noticed Luna sneaking back to me, holding the black book, and called for his basilisk, who emerged. I spoke to it before it could attack, though, and tricked it into eating the black book. When it did so, Riddle faded away, at which point Charlus Potter entered and saw me communicating with the basilisk. I then blinded the basilisk, nullifying its killing abilities. He accused me of releasing it, but Luna realised he was going to get in the way – as he’s young and inexperienced – and cast a body-bind curse on him, then she spread a scent around the chamber to counteract the basilisk’s sense of smell. While it was struggling, I killed it with a curse.”
There was silence, only interrupted when Luna sadly said, “it was such a shame to have to kill it, I would have loved to study a basilisk.”
Snape recovered his voice before his colleague. “What did young Miss Weasley have to with all of this?” he sneered, the eleven year-old shrinking in her chair.
“I- I wrote in the diary and T-Tom he told me to do all of those things. I- I was the one who opened the Chamber and petrified those people, and- and,” she began to cry again here, “he showed me how to tell the basilisk what to do and I tried to get of the diary but I couldn’t and- and…”
“That’s quite enough, Miss Weasley. Your parents will be arriving shortly to speak to me, and I’m sure they’ll be relieved to hear that you aren’t dead. You may leave, now,” McGonagall said, gesturing to the door. “I’m sure Mr Weasley will be delighted to escort you to the Hospital Wing so Madam Pomfrey can check you over.”
Ginny nodded tearfully, stumbling to her feet at the same time as Ron.
“Perhaps you could help your sister there, so she doesn’t fall over, Mr Weasley?” McGonagall suggested, a hint of exasperation in her face.
Ron nodded, letting Ginny drape an arm around his neck as they left the room. McGonagall exchanged a look with Snape.
“Miss Weasley seems to have been possessed by a Dark artefact,” Snape told them, his usual sneer on his face. “As such, the situation flew out of control. Let this be a lesson to you: don’t put your trust in magical objects.”
“I believe some points should be awarded for this,” McGonagall said. “For Mister Potter’s bravery, fifty points to Gryffindor. Two hundred points to Ravenclaw for Miss Lovegood’s resourcefulness and two hundred points to Slytherin for Mister Potter-Black’s defeat of a basilisk. To Mister Potter-Black and Miss Lovegood, I’m also going to give a Special Award for Services to the School.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” Hadrian said.
Suddenly, Mr and Mrs Weasley burst into the room, their clothes ruffled and faces panicked.
“Minerva, we got your message, what’s wrong with Ginny?” Molly said, breathing heavily. They’d clearly run from the nearest available Floo, which was all the way down in Hogsmeade, in the Three Broomsticks.
“Arthur and Molly!” McGonagall said. “Your daughter is in the Medical Wing, but we believe her to be perfectly alright now.”
“What was wrong before?” Arthur asked, calming down slightly. “It was clearly something, else you wouldn’t have sent a Patronus charm.”
“Miss Weasley was taken into the Chamber of Secrets, and she was going to be killed, but Mister Potter-Black and Miss Lovegood here rescued her before any harm could be done,” McGonagall explained, gesturing towards the students in question. “Mister Potter also attempted to help.”
The Weasleys turned to them, extremely grateful looks on their faces.
“Thank you, Charlus,” Molly said, pulling the boy into a hug, then turning to the couple. “Luna Lovegood?” she asked, recognising the blonde girl as her neighbour, and a childhood friend of the Weasley twins.
“Yes, Mrs Weasley,” Luna replied, a dreamy look on her face. She seemed to enjoy the hug that she was pulled into, a smile on her face. Finally, Mrs Weasley turned to Hadrian.
“I don’t know your name, I’m afraid,” she told him, the question clear in her voice.
“I’m Hadrian, ma’am,” he replied, his face blank.
“Thank you for helping to save my daughter, Hadrian,” she said, throwing her arms around him. Hadrian hadn’t been hugged by a stranger… ever, and he wasn’t sure what to do, so just stood there awkwardly for the duration of the hug.
“We’d best go and check on Ginny, then,” she said, taking a step back.
“Professor Snape would be happy to escort you to the Hospital Wing,” McGonagall told them. “We’re not allowed to have unattended parents, you see.”
“Well, in that case, lead the way, Professor Snape,” Mr Weasley said cheerfully.
Snape shot a look at McGonagall, who shrugged her shoulders slightly, a hint of a smile on her face.
“Yes, I’d be…happy to show you the way,” Snape said flatly, slowly walking towards the door.
McGonagall turned back to the students, her gaze focusing on Charlus. “Mister Potter, perhaps you should check on your friends,” she told him. “You may leave.”
“Oh… uh, thanks Professor,” the second-year said, glancing back as he walked out of the room.
“Did you wish to talk to us, ma’am?” Hadrian asked, his voice polite.
McGonagall gestured to the now-empty seats. “Please, take a seat,” she told them.
Hadrian moved forward, gracefully sitting down. Luna flopped into the seat next to him.
“I wanted to ask about Tom Riddle,” McGonagall said. “And you-know-who. You mentioned that he said he was you-know-who. Did he mention anything further?”
Hadrian turned to look at Luna, who seemed to think about the question for a moment. “It seemed to me,” the girl said slowly, “that he was a memory, trapped in that diary. A memory from a long, long time ago. So no, you don’t need to worry about Voldemort coming back to life like that. Because we destroyed that diary.”
McGonagall’s expression was full of relief. “Thank you, Miss Lovegood.”