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noli mei oblivisci

Chapter Text

Hadrian Potter had an unfortunate childhood. It didn’t begin that way; he was born to Lily and James Potter on 2nd January 1977. Admittedly it was in the middle of a war, but the fighting wasn’t truly brutal until 1980.

His younger brother, Charlus Potter, did not have a similarly unfortunate childhood. He was born 31st July 1980, and loved and praised and gifted everything he desired.

The single dark stain on Charlus’ life was the prophecy made when he was born; a prophecy that sent his family into hiding, a close friend their secret keeper.

On the 31st October 1981, Lily and James weren’t there to see Peter Pettigrew’s betrayal. They were at a meeting of the Order of the Phoenix. They didn’t know what was coming.

 


 

Sirius Black was the first to see the ruined safe house in Godric’s Hollow that Hallowe’en. He appeared outside with a faint pop, having felt the wards when they fell. He raced inside and up the stairs immediately, already knowing that his friends were out.

He found two children; a bawling baby, and a silent toddler. Empty black robes lay on the ground, a pale wand beside them.

He moved to comfort his silent godson, muggle first aid training kicking in from his muggle studies. Harry clung to the front of his godfather’s dark robes, face hidden among the fabric.

Suddenly, a second loud crack filled the air, and the Potters raced into the room, quickly moving to their crying baby.

Sirius’ mind whirred. Where could Wormtail be? He wanted to find him, to get answers for what surely couldn’t be a betrayal. He must have been tortured, or imperius-d, or...

None of those were possible. The Fidelius Charm would see that as a violation of its terms. Which meant that Pettigrew had betrayed his friends.
And it was Sirius’ fault.

Sirius disappeared a second later, James turning to see where his friend had gone. He didn’t see Hadrian hidden in his robes.

 


 

Sirius reappeared on a street in muggle London, the few pedestrians looking slightly shocked at him. Pettigrew was stood only 10 metres away, clutching shopping bags as he fumbled with his keys to open his front door. Upon hearing the pop of apparition, the small man turned, his shopping bag tumbling to the ground.

               “Sirius! What’s up?” the rat squeaked, his hands trembling.

               “Lily and James were attacked. Luckily, everyone survived, but it was close.”

               “Oh no... I’m g-g-glad they’re okay.”

               “Are you scared of me Peter?” Sirius asked, stepping forward.

               “O-of course not. W-w-why would I be s-scared if you.”

               “I don’t know; everyone knows I would never hurt a friend.”

Pettigrew seemed to relax. “Of course you wouldn’t”

               “But if say, someone betrayed me, then I wouldn’t really consider them my friend anymore.”

Peter’s face tightened, and in what seemed to be an eternity to Sirius, the rat pulled out his wand, shouting an incomprehensible phrase, and the world exploded into white.

 


 

Sirius woke in a cell. Cold swirled in the air, and Sirius couldn’t help but think of his terrible mother.

Dementors.

Azkaban.

He growled.

               “Why am I here?” he asked, not expecting an answer from the seemingly empty cell.

               “I don’t know, Padfoot,” a tiny voice came from the corner, and when the now-convict turned, he saw his four-year-old godson.

               “Harry?! Why are you here? You shouldn’t be here. You need to leave, right now.”

The child seemed to shrink into his tiny black and white striped pyjamas further, which fell back to show serious burns.

Prison clothes, Sirius realised. Pettigrew’s exploding spell.

               “They didn’t see me.”

 


 

July, 1988

The Potters were famous. 7 years before, their younger son had defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, after the tragic death of their elder son by the Dark Lord’s own hand. Their elder son who was dead.

               “What are you saying, Professor,” James Potter asked, his face set.

               “I do not know, my boy. All I know is that-“ the old wizard began to explain, but was cut off by the indignant Lily Potter.

               “Our son is alive, and you didn’t think to tell us!”

               “If we may have quiet, I’m sure Albus will explain,” Minerva McGonagall interrupted, giving a harsh look to the other occupants of the room.

               “Thank you, Minerva. As I was saying, we all thought young Harry dead after his disappearance that Halloween night. However, the register for the new school year holds his name, and that register has never been wrong in all my years here.”

The Potters sat in stunned silence for a minute, before Lily began to speak.

               “Charlus will be so happy to have him back - we’ll have to decorate his old room the same, and - “ she gushed, before she was cut off by a gesture from Minerva, who was glaring at the headmaster.

               “You haven’t mentioned where the child is, Albus.”

Lily and James both looked to the old man.

He sighed. “Minerva is right. Young Harry is in Azkaban.”

Lily stared at him. James simply whispered, “what?”

Dumbledore took this as a cue to continue. “It would seem that Sirius Black stoke him away when he went to kill Peter Pettigrew, and those muggles.”

               “You mean a mass murderer has been raising my son for 7 years.” Lily’s voice was dangerously cold.

               “Unfortunately, I do.”

               “I’m going to kill Black.” James exclaimed, his fists tightening on the arms of his chair. His gaze cut to Dumbledore. “Can we get him back tomorrow, Professor?”

Dumbledore nodded.

 

Chapter Text

 

The next morning, the Potters clustered around a portkey in the headmaster’s office, the old man himself standing beside them.

A second after the three wizards placed their hands on the old boot, they reappeared on a pier just off a black island, mist surrounding them. A complex of dark buildings stood nearby.

The Potters followed their leader to the guardhouse, where they were met by a witch in a formidable grey uniform, the cut of it unlike the flowing scarlet auror robes James wore for work.

“Hello! I assume you are Miss King. I am- “ Dumbledore started cheerily, but was cut off.

“Just King will do. Cast your patronus, then follow me,” she said brusquely, striding away, a silver otter swimming after her. Dumbledore cast his own patronus, a glowing Phoenix, then the group hurried after her.

Once they caught up, James began to as questions.

“I can’t feel much from the dementors, is that normal?”

“It gets much worse towards the place we’re going. The kid’s suffered plenty, don’t you worry.”

James gaped at her. “How dare- my wife and I did not choose for this to happen!”

“I’m sure,” she replied, her tone patronising.

“Why didn’t you guards tell anyone he was here?” Lily demanded, indignant at the guard’s words.

The responding laugh was harsh, as were the witch’s words. “You think anyone cares what one of us crazies out here says? They’re lucky we could smuggle out a spare set of prison uniform for the kid, and the occasional extra ration. The magic of the prison won’t let us do anything else.”

 

Few words were exchanged until they reached a block on the opposite end of the island to the pier.

“This is the murderers’ block. Kid’s locked in here with Black and the Death Eaters, mostly.”

The guard strode into the damaged building before any of the others could say anything, so they quickly followed her in.

Almost instantly, the convicts began to shout at them.

“Mudblood” and “blood traitor” were fairly common, but mostly they heard “traitors”. Over and over again.

 

The guard stopped at a cell halfway down the wide gap between cells, and they all looked in.

It took James a few seconds to recognize his old friend, gaunt as he was, and even longer to recognize Hadrian.

 

The child had grown in the past seven years. He was sitting cross-legged, his back completely straight, his clothes ragged. Black, on the other hand, lounged against the opposite wall. His eyes shot to the new arrivals.

“Lovely of you to drop in. Fancy some tea and biscuits?” He asked, gesturing mockingly to the empty cell.

James clenched his fists. “Don’t make this any harder than it needs to be, Black,” he spat, but was taken aback when the convict threw his head back and laughed.

Even the motionless Hadrian’s mouth curved into a slight smile.

“Don’t make this any harder? You’re ridiculous, mate. You abandon your son for 7 years, and then think you can waltz back in and drag him away, no questions asked. I’ve raised Hadrian after you did such a shit job; I’m entitled to say whatever the hell I want to say.”

Lily opened her mouth, intent on responding to the inflammatory comment, but stopped when Hadrian rose to his feet. The little boy was far too small for his age, after living on a diet of slop for 7 years; his body looked seven or eight rather than eleven. His blank face, however, belonged on an adult; he had learned to conceal his emotions from the other convicts.

He stepped up to the bars, then slipped between them, before leaning against them, his back to his godfather.

“Hello James, hello Lily.”

His voice was even, but his face hardly changed.

“Shall we depart, then?”

Lily nodded quickly, shocked at the cold young boy in front of her; her son, who used to be so friendly.

Hadrian turned and followed the already moving guard, leaving the Potters and Dumbledore to make a swift retreat through the ranks of murderers, without a backward glance to their tired old friend.

 


 

The group took another portkey back to Hogwarts, Hadrian looking faintly sick when they arrived.

Lily immediately turned to her son.

“Oh Harry, we’ve all missed you so much. We thought you were dead, and I’m sure Charlus will be happy to see you again.”

James took over talking at this point. “We’ve decorated your room for you, so it’s just as it used to be in Godric’s Hollow, before you left. Oh, and it’s really close to Charlus’ room as well, so he can come and see you whenever he wants to. We think he’s lonely, as we have to hide away so no Death Eaters come to hurt the boy-who-lived. He’s only 7 - his birthday is next week - so it’s quite hard on him; he’ll be delighted to have a friend, especially one who’s always there for him."

Hadrian’s face was blank, but he was internally screaming.

 

He hadn’t left, they hadn’t bothered to look for him. A quick glance at a family register would show that he’s still alive, and even the heir to the Potter line! Even if, like Bella said, the Potters don’t follow the old ways anymore, and don’t trust or know how to use the register, there were plenty of other ways to find out if someone was dead - Rabastan had taught him about them in one of his lessons.

And he didn’t want to be friends with his 6 year old brother; he just had returned from Azkaban, where he interacted solely with adults. He had no interest in little kids!

 


 

It was only that afternoon once James and Lily finally left him alone, that Hadrian emptied his pockets. The prison clothes could hold a surprising volume of stuff without showing it; he now surveyed the presents from the witches and wizards he had grown up with, as he slipped from cell to cell.

Bella has given him a replica of a human hand, constructed from the bones of the rats in her cell; according to Antoin, it was anatomically correct.

Barty had given him a book of children’s fairy tales, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, before he left; it was tatty now, but Hadrian had learnt to read from it after one of the guards had snuck it to him.

Rodolphus had carved simple protection runes onto a pebble, then strung it on a torn piece of prison clothing. Sirius had checked it, and the runes were perfectly safe.

And finally, his pride and joy. His wand. He had carved the shape from the calf bone of the skeleton in his cell, then daringly torn a piece off a dementors cloak as it passed. He’d finished it with a drop of blood.

It was rough-looking, and Hadrian hadn’t dared to perform any spells with, for fear of having it stolen away by a harsher guard. It’s cold was reassuring and familiar, though, and he could feel the magic flowing through it.

Sirius disagreed. He found its dementor-like cold unnatural, and he couldn’t feel the tug of magic from it.

But as Hadrian now flicked his wand like Antoin had taught him, his pillow floated into the air.

He smiled.

Chapter Text

Hadrian slept little that night, which was fairly standard for Azkaban prisoners. The dementors flew between the cells multiple times every night, instead of simply hovering further away as they did for most of the days.

He had decided that he hated his room. He wasn’t 4 anymore; he wasn’t a fan of soft toys after 7 years in Azkaban, and the bright reds and yellows hurt his eyes after the greys and blacks he had grown used to.

 


 

At 6 the next morning, he decided to wander around the manor; he hadn’t been there since Charlus was born.

2 hours later, he was in the kitchen when he saw his brother for the first time since he was 4. Charlus had dark brown hair, messy like his James’, and the same hazel eyes as James, too. He was the same size as the malnourished Hadrian.

He ran into the kitchen, but stopped when he saw a stranger.

“Who are you?” The little boy demanded, crossing his plump arms.

Hadrian didn’t reply, as he was busy eating a bagel, his first real food in years. 

Had the Potters not told their son about me?

 

Charlus’ face screwed up when he was ignored, and he began to bawl big, fat tears. Hadrian just stared, unused to this sort of display of emotion. The prisoners rarely showed anything but anger and delight (and the calm manner they used when teaching him).

After a minute, Lily raced into the room, her face red as her breath came out quickly.

“What’s wrong, Charlie?” she gasped out, her wand pulled out.

“There’s a s-stranger!” the little boy wailed, pointing a fat finger at his older brother.

Lily sighed with relief, tucking her wand away in her pocket.

“That’s your big brother. Harry, remember? Daddy and I mentioned him last night at supper.”

“Oh. You didn’t say he was here,” the boy-who-lived pouted, holding his arms up to his mother.

“Well, he’s living with us now. He’ll leave for Hogwarts in September, but he’ll come back for Christmas,” Lily explained, as she picked the 7-year-old up. “Harry? Have you said hello to your little brother?”

Hadrian shrugged, then pointed at the bagel.

“You didn’t join us for supper last night. You don’t look like you’ve showered, either. And are those the clothes from that awful place?” James entered the room, his torrent of questions and statements too much for Charlus, who pushed himself down from his mother, then reached into a drawer to get a handful of sweets, which he quickly tucked into his pockets.

 

Hadrian just shrugged again, his face carefully blank. 

Of course I didn’t join you for supper, I didn’t know where anything is. And no, I don’t know how to use a shower, I’ve been in prison half my life. Also, I don’t own any other clothes; what was I supposed to do, walk around naked?

 

James’ face tightened at Hadrian’s apparent nonchalance.

“You have to ask before you eat in this house. How many bagels have you eaten?”

Hadrian held up a single finger, and glanced at Charlus scoffing sweets out of the corner of his eye.

 

“Ask next time, before you eat anything.” Lily said, taking out a plate. “Also, you should always eat on a plate.”

Hadrian shrugged again, finished his bagel, and then turned to head to the library he had discovered during his earlier explorations.

James looked at Lily, who looked as shocked at Hadrian’s rudeness as he was. He stormed after his son, and grabbed the boy’s arm. He didn’t appear to notice how much Hadrian flinched at the contact.

“Young man, you need to show the proper respect to me and your mother. You live in our house now, and you will behave as such.” James’ voice was harsh, and Hadrian’s mask slipped slightly, showing his fear for a second. Neither James nor Lily noticed.

 

You are not in Azkaban. You are not in Azkaban. You are not in Azkaban.

Hadrian repeated the words over and over again in his head, trying to convince himself he was safe. But you don’t know if you are safe. You don’t know anything about this place.

Hadrian tore his arm out of his father’s grip, his expression ice cold. He glanced between the two adults, before stalking away to the library.

 


 

Once he reached the cavernous room filled to sky with books, he called a house elf, as Rabastan had taught him. The small, wrinkly creature appeared a second later, instantly bowing to Hadrian.

“Are you a house elf?” the boy asked quietly.

“Yes, Master Potter, I am.” The house elf stood straight, not like the quivering elves Rabastan had described, but Hadrian supposed that had something to do with the cruelty Sirius had warned of when he asked.

“Are you aware of the time at which lunch is served?”

“At 1 o’clock, sir, in the dining room.”

“And dinner?”

“At 6.”

Hadrian nodded. “Thank you.”

The house elf bowed, then vanished with a faint pop.

 

Hadrian checked the clock on the mantelpiece. It was 8:15 in the morning. He wasn’t used to having three meals a day, but he supposed he would have to grow accustomed to it if he wanted to grow any taller.

With that thought, he dived into the book shelves.

Chapter Text

At exactly 12:55, Hadrian arrived at the dining room, to find four places at the table. He sat down at the furthest from the head of the table, next to one other. Then he pulled out a book from his clothes’ pocket, and continued his reading from earlier.

 

Five minutes or so later, the rest of the Potters arrived, all looking slightly surprised to see him there.

“Harry. You didn’t dine with us last night?” Lily commented as she took the seat at the head of the table.

Hadrian shrugged. Because you didn’t tell me that dinner was an option.

James frowned at him, even as he took the seat next to him. “You’re still wearing those clothes, and you haven’t changed.”

Hadrian stared at him.

“I have no other clothes,” he said slowly, as if talking to an idiot. His father flushed red.

“You should have said something. We can buy you new things when we take you school shopping tomorrow. You can wear Charlie’s clothes until then; you are the same size.”

Hadrian nodded. Lily looked as if she would say something more, but then the food appeared and she was distracted by Charlus.

 


 

Hadrian slept little that night, his dreams of Dementors chasing him to the manor flinging him awake every half an hour.

Early the next morning a set of clothes appeared on the bright red chair in the corner; he assumed that these were the clothes James had mentioned, sent by a house elf.

He took a while to dress, unused to changing clothes, then investigated his room; he found the door leading to the blindingly white room that he only vaguely remembered. He had been using it for the toilet, but now looked at the glass and metal contraption on the other side of the room.

He called the house elf, then asked what it was and how to use it. The little elf was happy to explain exactly what a shower was used for, then left him alone to use it.

After quickly washing himself, he sent the water flying off with a single thought, as he was used to doing in Azkaban, then redressed.

 


 

An hour and a half later, he was still waiting in the entrance hall, sitting in one of the armchairs. He had pulled out the book he started the day before, as he was still quite a slow reader; he hadn’t had much practice while in the most secure prison in the world. The book was about duelling, as Sirius had recommended learning how to defend himself ‘if he ever left that god-awful prison’, so he had taken his godfather’s advice.

 

It was a while before James found him - even though he was right by the front door they would be leaving from - and asked if he was ready. Hadrian nodded, tucking his book into his pockets. His wand was hidden up the right sleeve of Charlus’ clothes; Hadrian may have been the same height, but he was far too skinny for his age, whereas Charlus was rather plump, leaving the clothes baggy on the older boy.

 

“Your mother and Charlie will meet us at the alley, as he doesn’t want to get up yet,” James explained. Hadrian looked at the clock.

9:30. Charlus was only 7.

 

Hadrian followed his father out the front door, where he was instructed to place a hand on his arm.

It was only after a cautious glance at James that he complied with this request. A second later, he regretted it as the most bizarre feeling came over him, and he couldn’t let go.

You’re not in Azkaban. You’ll be able to let go in a second. You’re not in Azkaban.

Memories flooded his brain. Antoin on a bad day. Bella pinning him to the ground. Rabastan holding-

NO!

Hadrian flung himself away from James as soon as he could, breathing heavily.

Don’t let him see it. Don’t let him see. Conceal it.

In, out. In, out. In, out. In, out.

He could see a hand reaching for him through his blurred vision, and he lashed out, realising as soon as he felt his fist make contact exactly what he’d done.

No one in Azkaban would let a punch through; he wasn’t in Azkaban.

He’d just punched James. He deserved it, though.

He looked up, his emerald eyes meeting his father’s hazel ones. His angry father’s eyes.

“Hadrian James Potter. How dare you punch me!”

His voice was tight with fury, and he didn’t notice that Hadrian was shaking before he strode off, leaving the little boy to hurry behind him, until they were in front of a large marble building called ‘Gringotts’. James strode through the doors, and up to one of many high desks, Hadrian trailing behind him, where a being he could only assume to be a goblin sat.

James rapped the desk rather rudely, causing the goblin to glare down at the pair imperiously.

“I am Lord Potter. I want to meet with my vaults manager.”

The wizard’s tone was harsh, and Hadrian could barely stop himself from wincing.

However, the goblin returned to counting gold (galleons, Rodolphus has said), and a minute later another goblin led James away, leaving Hadrian standing there awkwardly.

After a minute it was clear that his father wouldn’t return for a while. Hadrian returned to the desk, trying to recall everything Rodolphus had taught him about goblins.

Address them formally and with respect. Remember, English is not their native language; Gobbledegook is. Use that if possible, no matter how slow you are.

“Um... hello?” Hadrian asked, unsure; he had rarely spoken the language with Rodolphus. Upon seeing the way the goblin’s head snapped up, though, he continued with the traditional greeting he had learnt. “May your gold ever flow and your enemies fall to your blade.

And may your enemies fall beneath your feet, young Potter,” the goblin replied, clearly waiting for Hadrian to state his purpose.

Is there a place to wait, please?” Hadrian asked, half expecting rejection; he had yet to fully shake off his earlier panic.

After a long second, the goblin replied. “There is a place you can wait, if you so desire it. Your father is likely to talk to his vaults manager for some time.

Thank you,” Hadrian replies, bowing his head.

Griphook will be here in second,” the goblin said, before another appeared beside Hadrian, his ears even pointier than the firsts.

 

“Um... May your gold ever flow and your enemies fall to your blade,” he repeated, causing the new goblin’s - Griphook? - eyebrows to raise.

And you,” he replied. “If you will follow me, I will show you to my office.

Hadrian followed Griphook away from the foyer, down a grandly carpeted corridor until they reached a door that said ‘Griphook’. He gestured for Hadrian to enter, then followed him in, closing the door behind them.

What is going on?” Hadrian asked clumsily as he sat on a fine chair, at which Griphook chuckled.

“Do not worry. You have honoured us by speaking our language, so now I will return the favour.”

Hadrian didn’t let his relief show on his face.

“Anyway, down to business. You are here due to some discrepancies between your ministry-issued file and the file we keep here at Gringotts. One notable one is that the ministry believes you to be deceased, yet our file states you as alive.”

 

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “I have been believed dead for the past 7 years by the wizards, after I was accidentally kidnapped and then kept in Azkaban.”

Griphook simply wrote this down at the bottom of the Gringotts file, then moved on to the next mistake.

 

“This document claims you as Hadrian Potter, heir to the Potter family. However, our records show that you are also the Black heir.”

Hadrian tilted his head, considering this.

“I would imagine that to be connected to Sirius Black’s status as my godfather. Has Walburga Black died in the past 7 years? If so, then Sirius Black would have been appointed as the rightful lord, and I his only heir.”

Griphook nodded, scribbling this down below the previous notes. “Lady Black died in 1985.” He looked up. “Do you bear the Black heirship ring, or do you require a copy from Gringotts?”

“I would require a copy from Gringotts.”

Griphook’s shark-like grin would have been terrifying if Hadrian wasn’t used to the occasional madness of Death Eaters.

“That will be 15 galleons, to be taken from the Black main vault.”

Hadrian nodded. “That is agreeable.”

Never negotiate with goblins.

Griphook pulled a slip of paper out of his desk. He wrote a few words on it, then pushed it to Hadrian to sign.

As soon as he did, the paper burst into flames and a black leather box took its place. Opening it, he found a dark metal ring. There was a complex design of white ravens on the front, forming a pale star. The family crest. He slid it onto his finger, delighting at the magic that felt so much like Sirius’. Like home.

He looked back to Griphook.

“Is my name now Potter-Black?” he asked.

“If you so desire; do you wish to take it?”

Hadrian considered it for a second, then nodded.

“If you will just sign this, then-“

 


 

Ten minutes later, Hadrian Potter-Black was standing in the foyer. His left hand now bore the Black family heir ring, and he had been told to return for the Lordship ring on the 31st October 1991. At that point, Sirius would have been incarcerated for 10 years, forcing him to abdicate, so Hadrian could claim the Black Lordship.

 

A while later, James Potter strode over to his older son, who was standing aginst a marble column, reading a book. He had calmed down over the past hour.

“With all this reading, you’ll go to Ravenclaw. Imagine a Potter not being in Gryffindor! There’d be shock.” His voice was joking, and he didn’t see how Hadrian’s face tightened imperceptibly.

The boy followed his father out of Gringotts, where they met Lily and Charlus, who was eating a large ice cream. Some passers-by stared at the family, but it was far too early in the year for the school rush, so there were very few people around.

 

The Potters led him around the shops. First, they bought him new, muggle-style clothes as well as robes for school, then school-books from a short list, then potions ingredients and a cauldron (James grumbled that the potions master was a slimy snake. Hadrian assumed he meant Slytherin, from what Sirius and the others had told him). Then the Potters bought him a snowy owl (Hadrian personally considered it was very optimistic of them to think he’d send letters to them, considering he’d barely said a word to them yet).

And then it was time to buy a (second) wand.

Chapter Text

The Azkaban convicts had all called Garrick Ollivander’s a blindingly Light shop; all the wand cores were for Light wizards. However, Hadrian’s parents were willing to buy him a wand, and he already had a very Dark wand for if he decided to declare that way; there was no reason to not get a Light wand as well. Also, it would be useful to have an unregistered wand.

 

Once the Potters and Hadrian entered the tiny shop, Lily sat on the tiny chair, Charlus jumping on her lap. A few seconds later, Garrick Ollivander appeared out of the stacks of wands.

“The Potters, come to see me. But I think you are a few years early?”

“The wand is for our elder son, Harry,” Lily said, gesturing towards the boy hidden in the shadows.

“Ah! Mister Potter. I heard stories of your death.”

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” Hadrian commented, his face blank.

“Ah! Mark Twain. A good enough line, and from a muggle too,” the wand maker commented, his face lighting up. The Potters didn’t seem to notice that their elder son had made a joke. “Anyway, down to business. Which is your dominant hand?”

 

Hadrian considered this. “I would go with my right hand.”

“Can you use both hands, then?”

The boy nodded. Ollivander smiled approvingly.

 

A measuring tape darted out from behind the counter and began to take measurements of his body; it took all of his willpower to not flinch.

A few minutes later, Ollivander stood in front of him with a long, thin box.

“Oak and Phoenix feather. Give it a wave.”

Before Hadrian could do anything, the old man snatched it out of his grasp. He did flinch this time, but wasn’t sure if anyone had picked up on it. By the gentle way the wand maker handed him the next box, he suspected he had.

It took 17 wands before one gave out fiery sparks when he touched it, the warmth that wrapped around him so unlike the cold of his bone wand.

 

As he set the box on the counter for the Potters to pay, he noticed Ollivander’s eyes fixed on him.

“Elder and Phoenix feather. This is not your first wand, no?” The old wizard seemed to realise that the Potters didn’t know, as he whispered this. Hadrian just shook his head in response. “Well then, I wish you luck in your endeavours, Mister Potter-Black.”

The Potters didn’t hear this, but he still glared at the culprit, who just smiled at him, waving as he left.

How did he know that? He didn’t when they had entered.

 


 

The Potters and the Potter-Black arrived back at the manor under 10 minutes later, Charlus running to the Quidditch pitch almost immediately. Hadrian made his way to his room, where he sorted his new items into his trunk, before picking out a textbook to read. ‘Magical Draughts and Potions’. It turned out, after only five minutes of reading, that Hadrian knew all of the advanced theory (and then some) already, from Rabastan, but only knew some of the recipes; Death Eaters had seen little use for a Sleeping Potion when they could instead murder the victim.

That evening, after supper, Hadrian snuck out to the Quidditch pitch he had seen Charlus use earlier; he stole (borrowed) a broom from the store (a simple Alohomora did the trick), then sat on it.

The book he had skimmed over described simple exercises you could do, but first came the challenge of getting off the ground. Hadrian held the broom firmly, then put one leg over it until he was sitting on it. With a single thought, the broom was off, gently drifting into the dark sky. Once he was about ten metres off the ground, he began to slowly circle, then sped up and attempted more complex manoeuvres once he found it easy. Within in an hour, he was zipping from one end of the pitch to the other.

Flight was strangely freeing. He was so used to his small, Azkaban world, but when he was up in the air, he could move so quickly from one point to another.

He decided that he would be back to fly the next night as he snuck back to his bed.

 


 

A week later, Hadrian attached the letter to his owls - Hedwig’s - leg, then sent her off. Perhaps Azkaban was a cruel place to send an owl to, but the Dementors didn’t affect animals. And he wanted to talk to Sirius.

 


 

Saturday 1st September, 1988

 

Hadrian wasn’t very nervous to start at Hogwarts. He wasn’t worried about making friends, he was just glad to be away from the Potter family, who seemed to think he’d be a Gryffindor. 

They don’t think it’s their fault. They think it’s Sirius’ fault. They think Sirius is a murderer.

He had his trunk packed as soon as he was given it, simply taking out books when he wanted to read them, then replacing them once he had finished them.

Hadrian arrived at the station an hour early, having set all the clocks in the house forward an hour so the Potters wouldn’t realise. He’d made them leave as soon as they said their farewell, not letting them have time wonder at the emptiness of the platform. Because of this, he had found an empty compartment and now sat there, reading a book Rodolphus had recommended in the most recent letter from Azkaban: ‘Defense for the Novice to the Master - volume 2’. There was nothing brand new in it, but the reiteration of the facts was useful.

Since his first letter, he’d been sending and receiving about one letter to the Azkaban convicts a week. It was enjoyable to communicate with those who had raised him, but he didn’t want anyone to find out; he suspected there would be hell to pay if anyone found the boy-who-lived’s brother communicating with convicted Death Eaters.

 

Just before the train left, a girl poked her head into his compartment.

“Are you a first year?” she asked cheerfully.

Hadrian nodded, then returned to his book.

“Excellent!” she said, then Hadrian saw her signal something down the corridor. A second later an identical girl appeared, this time carrying two large black trunks.

“Hello, I am Hestia Carrow,” the more recent arrival sighed, “I assume my sister did not introduce herself before she burst in?”

Hadrian could feel a smile a tugging on his lips.

“Oh yeah! I’m Flora Carrow, heir to House Carrow, etcetera, etcetera. Can we join you?”

“It seems a little too late to ask that,” Hadrian replied blandly, his mask threatening to crack as he eyed the trunks already balanced next to his on the overhead rack.

Flora Carrow laughed at this, sitting down opposite just as the train left the station. She pulled her thick brown hair out of the harsh ponytail it had been trapped in.

“As soon as we get there, I’m cutting this all off. See what mum and dad can do about it then,” she muttered. She turned to him.

“So?” she asked.

“So what?”

“Sooooo... what’s your name?”

Hadrian blinked. He’d never had to introduce himself before; everyone he knew he’d known since he was five. Which he supposed was rather sad.

“I’m Hadrian... Potter. Black.”

The twins tensed, sharing a look.

“Potter or Black?” Hestia asked warily.

“Potter-Black.”

“I only ask because the Potters are a very Light family, and ours...” she trailed off.

“Are known Death Eaters? I know.” Hadrian’s voice was unusually light. “I don’t particularly care what your relatives have done.”

Flora gaped at him. “If you’re a Potter, then why are you so accepting? Most Light wizards would have run for the hills by now, or started shooting.”

Hadrian let out a rather out-of-character snort. “I was raised a Black.”

Hestia tilted her head, curious.

“The only remaining main-line Black is Sirius Black. Currently serving a life sentence for murdering 12 onlookers in pursuit of a Death Eater, Peter Pettigrew, also killed.”

Hadrian just shrugged, remembering that night. He still had scars on his back from the burns. And Sirius would never hurt me. It was Pettigrew.

But now the twins were looking at him, with their dark red eyes, like he was an interesting creature to be dissected. He put away his book.

They didn’t seem like the kind of people he’d easily deceive but he had no interest in divulging any more information about himself. Knowledge was power, after all.

 


 

Hadrian wasn’t aware of letting anything else slip on the train journey, despite constant questions from Hestia.

 

The twins and he settled into one of the small rowing boats, joined by another boy. The little group they seemed to have formed on the train followed the other first years in the Great Hall, all of them huddling together like sheep.

Flora then Hestia were two of the first to be called up for Sorting, but despite the hushed whispers that rose at the Carrow name, neither of the twins flinched. The murmurs grew louder as both were welcomed to Slytherin, their robes turning a deep forest green that Hadrian decided he rather liked.

A dozen names later, his own was called.

“Potter-Black, Hadrian”

Muttering instantly broke out. Did she say Potter? Is he related to the boy-who-lived? I thought Hadrian Potter died. Who are the Potter-Blacks?

I am the Potter-Black. The only one.

He stepped forward, sliding onto the stall. The hat was placed on his head.

Well, well, well. What do we have here?

Trying to stay calm and not flinch in front of 300 people, Hadrian calmly - too calmly - asked “who are you?”

Why, the Sorting Hat of course! Did you not hear my song?

Breathe in, out. In. Out.

Azkaban looks painful, but I am rather insulted that I remind you of the Dementors.

In, out. Don’t let your hands shake, you’re not in Azkaban. You don’t know anyone here.

Don’t worry, I’ll be gone soon. This is an easy Sorting; the cunning and ambition is all there for Slytherin. Your family will probably be disappointed, though.

They’re not my family!

Aaah, yes. I can see that now. Better be SLYTHERIN!

Hadrian gladly pulled the Hat off, handing it to Professor McGonagall before heading to the Slytherin table, sliding in beside Flora and opposite Hestia, as his new house applauded politely.

“Hey Hadrian. Glad to see we ended up in the same house,” Flora commented.

A few dozen Sorting’s later, and a cluster of first years sat at the Slytherin table. A boy with oddly lavender eyes and pale brown hair sat next Hestia, his pale skin contrasting with her rich brown.

“Hello, I’m Felix,” he said warmly, a faint smile on his face.

“I’m Hadrian.”

“Yes, I heard. I heard the whispers, too. Are you related to Charlus Potter? People seem to think that’s important.”

Hadrian shrugged. “He’s my brother.”

Felix’s eyebrows rose. “Then why are you a Potter-Black?”

“I was raised a Black,” he said, repeating his earlier response to the Carrows.

Albus Dumbledore said a few words that he ignored, then the food appeared. Hadrian had been eating properly for the past month and half, and had grown a good two inches in that time, but was still short and thin for his age. So he piled his plate with food, then began to eat it politely, like Rodolphus had taught him and he’d practiced with the Potters.

Felix seemed to notice this, then his size. “Why are you so small?” he asked, his voice still warm. The Carrow twins also looked at him, curious to know the answer.

“I’ve been underfed for half my life,” Hadrian answered casually as he put some food in his mouth.

“Woah, didn’t expect that answer,” the boy replied, his eyebrows raising.

Hestia Carrow seemed to be calculating something in her head, looking at him intently.

 


 

The Slytherins headed to the dungeons, the first years following the prefect on what was obviously the scenic route, as they arrived to find the most of rest of the house there already, despite having left after them.

Their head of house stepped out of the shadows. Hadrian recognised the name Severus Snape from both the Death Eaters’ and Sirius’ angry rants. He seemed to be on both sides of the war.

The man seemed to try and ignore Hadrian as he told them the rules of the house, then finished his talk with:

“There is normally a King or Queen of Slytherin who would have done this talk. However, the last queen left at the end of last year, so the battle for that position has just started; they will likely be announced in a week or two. After a few hospital ward admittances.”

The prefects made to show the first years to the two dormitories, but Snape pulled Hadrian out, and to his office down the corridor in the dungeons.

He sat down behind the desk, Hadrian slipping into the seat opposite him.

“I have been informed, as your new head of house, that you have only recently been removed from Azkaban, where you lived for 7 years,” the wizard said, his face sneering.

Hadrian tensed at his words.

“Did the Potters take you to see a healer?” He seemed to know the answer to that already.

“No, sir.”

Snaps nodded as if that made sense. “That would explain your size. Your parents are both tall.”

“Do you know them, sir?” Hadrian asked stiffly.

The older wizard huffed a laugh. “I used to be friends with your mother, before a mistake in my fifth year here. Your father and I never got along. I assume that you and the Potters are not on the best of terms?”

Hadrian shrugged. It’s their fault.

“Anyway, I expect you to visit the hospital wing and see Madam Pomfrey tomorrow morning. Lessons don’t start until Monday, after all.”

 

Chapter Text

Hadrian spent a restless night in the Slytherin boys’ dormitory, but he slept a lot more than he had when he first left Azkaban.

He woke at 5, and took the two hours until the next boy woke to continue his defence book.

When Felix woke up at 7, blearily looking at Hadrian, he figured he’d be allowed out of his dormitory by this point. He quickly dressed, followed by Felix. That boy seemed annoyingly interested in him.

He went out to the common room, where he met Flora and Hestia.

“Morning, Hadrian and Felix,” the former said, wielding a pair of scissors. She handed them to the latter, then sat on the edge of the sofa.

“Good morning,” Hestia said as she began to cut Flora’s hair.

Hadrian was confused until he remembered Flora’s comment on the train the day before; Felix had no such help. Hadrian gave a small smile at the utterly bewildered look on Felix’s face. The elder twin seemed to start at it, causing Hestia to poke her.

“He’s smiling! Look Hestia, he’s smiling!”

“Oh, shut up.”

Felix seemed to find Flora’s reaction to Hadrian amusing, but was still staring at the twins. Hestia decided to take pity on him. “Our mother and father have forced us to have long hair all our lives. Flora hates both having long hair and being told to have long hair, so she’s cutting it all off, just to spite them.”

Felix started laughing, and Hadrian’s smile widened. Hestia had a small grin, and Flora was smiling with elation.

Flora’s hair was quickly but roughly cut until it was about an inch long all around. Hestia gave the scissors to Flora, who tucked them into her robes.

The quartet set out from the still empty common room, and into the dungeons. Where they quickly got lost.

“Hadrian, which way do we go?” Flora demanded, looking to the small boy.

“I don’t know, I’m terrible with directions,” he replied.

“Is it this way?” Felix asked, pointing up some stairs.

“I don’t know, don’t look at me,” Flora replied.

Hestia, who had been silent, suddenly pointed the opposite direction to Felix. “It’s that way. I’m positive.”

 

Five minutes later, they walked out of the dungeons, slightly more bedraggled than before.

“Wow, Hestia! How did you know?” Felix asked, Flora looking amazed beside him.

The other girl shrugged. “I drew a map yesterday. I just took a couple of seconds to orient it.”

They sat down at the empty Slytherin table a few minutes later; it was easy to get from the dungeon entrance to the Great Hall. As they sat down, the space in front of them filled with food, which they tucked into.

“Where is everyone?” Flora asked, looking at the also empty other house tables. “We didn’t miss something, did we?”

Luckily, their head of house stormed in from a door beside the head table at that point, yawning. He looked down at the Slytherin table, glaring at the group, before sitting and beginning his breakfast.

“I wonder what that was about.” Felix asked, looking slightly perturbed.

“I suppose everyone else could be sleeping in? It is a Sunday, after all. No one’s back to lessons yet, either,” Hestia said, causing them all to blush.

“Probably should have thought of that...” Flora said sheepishly.

After breakfast, Hadrian asked if they knew where the Hospital Wing was; none of them knew. Luckily, Snape was still at the head table, so Hadrian hurried over.

“Professor, where’s the hospital wing?”

“It is normally situated above this hall,” the professor replied grumpily. “And next time, don’t have breakfast so early.”

Hadrian quickly returned to the group, and they left the hall.

As he relayed the conversation to his new friends, Flora looked confused at the professor’s parting comment.

“Well, he clearly has to be in the hall if his students are; if we’re there early, he has to be there early too,” Hestia said, as if it were obvious.

“How in Merlin’s name did you deduce that?” Felix asked, his eyes wide.

Hestia stared at him.

“Sis, you really did some amazing detective work there, I have to admit.”

Hadrian nodded. “I agree with Flora. I wouldn’t have figured that out from those words.”

Hestia blushed, then led them to a corridor on the right, until they were right in front of the hospital wing.

“Here we are!” Flora cheered, then paused. “Why are we here again?”

Hadrian shrugged. “Snape wanted me to come for a check-up.”

“Why?” Felix asked.

“Is this anything to do with where you grew up?” Hestia asked, piecing the facts together in her mind.

Hadrian nodded, then strode in to find an elderly witch reorganising a large cabinet of supplies. She looked up when the group entered.

“Ah, are you Hadrian Potter-Black? Professor Snape told me to expect you this morning.”

Hadrian nodded, stepping forward.

“If you’ll just come through here to the consulting room...”

Flora made to follow him, clearly curious.

“You can only join us if Mr Potter-Black is fine with it, Miss Carrow.”

Hadrian turned around. “Sorry, I would rather this be private.”

Flora nodded, dragging her sister out of the room to the benches just outside. “We’ll be waiting out here!” she called. Felix hurried after them.

Hadrian sat down in one of the chairs in the consulting room. Madam Pomfrey closed the door, then bustled over to the desk.

“Now, could you explain to me why you’re here?”

“I lived in Azkaban from when I was 4 until a few months ago. The Potters did not take me to a healer. Upon discovering this last night when he questioned me over it, Professor Snape instructed me to visit you this morning for a general check-up,” Hadrian explained expressionlessly.

Madam Pomfrey nodded. “That’s what Professor McGonagall told me in July. I tried to find some research on the effects of long-term exposure to Dementors, but failed. There is no conclusive evidence; none at all on the impact on a child.

“As I don’t know what to expect from you, I’ll perform the full test on you.”

Hadrian nodded. “That is fine.”

“Good. Can you take off your robe? Just place it on your chair. Now, stand up with your arms out. Yes, like that.”

The witch started to mutter a long string of spells, which Hadrian vaguely recognised as benign.

A few minutes later, a piece of parchment on the cluttered desk glowed faintly blue, and the mediwitch stopped chanting as she picked it up and read it.

“Long-term malnourishment - bad but expected. A few broken bones, mostly healed correctly. A few cuts. Long-term sleep loss. And a... tattoo?”

Hadrian shrugged, his face blank.

“What is the tattoo? Minors aren’t allowed to be given tattoos,” Madam Pomfrey asked.

“It appears on every convict as they enter. It’s my prison number,” Hadrian explained plainly.

“That’s barbaric, to force tattoos on prisoners. Do you know if it can be removed?”

Hadrian shook his head. “They can’t be removed, so everyone knows that you’re a criminal.”

“Yet even the innocent are marked…” Madam Pomfrey muttered, before seeming to realise that she was still with a student and continuing with her consultation. “Fine. That’s all bad, but nothing too unusual. I’ll give you a Nutrition potion to have at every meal for the next two weeks. That should speed up your growth. Also eat plenty,” she said briskly, then looked at the parchment again. “Do you have nightmares and/or insomnia?”

“Both.”

She nodded. “If you ever feel very tired, if you come and see I can give you a Sleeping Draught, but not too often. They’re mildly addictive. I don’t know enough about how your mental health is affected, because of the lack of research. Normally I’d say the sun and exercise is good. If you have any concerns, talk to someone. You seem to have made some friends, so if you feel that you can, you should talk to them. If you don’t, all the members of staff are willing to listen. If you ever can’t face the day, I can lend you a hospital bed with the curtains closed, and an excuse.

“Now, do you have any questions?”

Hadrian shook his head, then slipped his robe back on over his clothes.

He quickly thanked Madam Pomfrey before heading out to find his friends.

“He seems like a lovely boy. I hope he’s okay.”

Chapter Text

Monday, June 12th 1989

Hadrian, Flora, Hestia and Felix were relaxing by the lake after finishing their exams the week before. Flora was stretched out on her back, her shirt untucked with the sleeves rolled up and tie cast off beside her. “I’m so glad it’s summer. The winter’s too cold.”

Felix laughed. His uniform was immaculate, just missing his robes, as he leant against the tree. “It’s Scotland; of course it gets cold.”

Hadrian tilted his head. “The cold isn’t so bad.”

Flora glared at him. “Yes, we all know you have skin of titanium and can’t feel the cold. You don’t have to rub it in.”

Hestia smiled, her face tilted to the sun. Her sleeves were rolled up and her tie was loose, but her shirt was tucked in. “Flora, why are you so bitter about that?”

Suddenly Hestia sat up straight, from where she had previously been lounging. She was staring at Hadrian’s arm, where his sleeve was rolled up. “Hadrian, what’s that on your arm?”

Hadrian stiffened, but it was too late; Felix had moved down from the tree and Flora had sat up.

Hestia moved over to him, grabbing his arm, and then lookedup at him for permission. He pulled his arm out of her hands, then tugged his sleeve up further.

There was blocky black writing on him forearm; it said ‘#1075’.

Flora stared at it. “Where did you get that tattoo? It’s a weird thing to have on your arm. Also who would serve a 12 year old?”

Hadrian opened his mouth, but Hestia beat him to it, her face horrified.

“Azkaban. That’s where you grew up. With Sirius Black.”

Flora breathed in sharply, and Felix just whispered, “Oh Merlin...”

 

Hadrian took a deep breath in, and then out, then nodded.

 

“When Sirius left the Potter house, he forgot I was hiding in his robes. Then, when he confronted Pettigrew and the spell went off, I was badly burnt but he fell unconscious. They shipped him off to Azkaban as quickly as they could, and I went with him. They didn’t see me. He woke up with me in prison uniform and a prison tattoo on my arm.”

They sat in silence for a minute, until Flora began to giggle.

“Sorry, I’m just imagining the Potters finding out their heir was raised next to Death Eaters.”

Hadrian smiled widely. “They haven’t put two and two together yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I’d enjoy it more if they found out about the letters I receive from Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange weekly.”

Felix nodded. “That explains why you don’t care that I’m Rosier, or the twins Carrows.”

“You were raised by Death Eaters,” Hestia finished, smiling slightly.

 

The friends sat by the lake until late that day, laughing as they then had to rush back to common room before curfew.

 


 

A few weeks later, Hogwarts broke up for the summer. All the students crowded on to the train, but the four Slytherins managed to get an apartment. The mood was darker than before; only Felix was looking forward to seeing his mother again.

The twins had a bad relationship with their parents, who wanted them to be proper Pureblood witches and marry into a noble family and have lots of little Death Eater babies.

 

Flora had cut her hair again the day before, as it had been growing, and now it was sticking in every direction.

Hestia had simply trimmed her own hair, so it fell to between her shoulder blades instead of her hips when down.

 

Hadrian dreaded seeing the Potters; he’d ignored all their letters requesting him home for Yule, and Easter (Why was that even a wizarding holiday?). While he may have been happy with his friends, he still wore a blank face when he was around anyone else; they would likely criticise his Slytherin Sorting.

 

The Express pulled into the station that afternoon, and Hadrian pulled his trunk down from the rack, Hedwig’s empty cage balanced on top; she was on a trip to Azkaban.

 

“Remember to write to us,” Flora said. “Hestia and I should have access to an owl, and you’ll have Hedwig. The summer can become very long without friends.”

Hestia and Hadrian both nodded their assent, then looked to Felix, who shrugged.

 

“Just because I get along with my mother doesn’t mean she’s interesting company.”

Taking this as acceptance, they all left their compartment, and stepped onto the platform. Spotting Lily Potter, he turned back to his friends.

“Well, I’ll see you in September.”

 

He strode off into the crowd, his face smoothing over until it was blank. He had grown a good six inches over the school year, from the nutrient potions and food and sun; he now stood at about five foot, which was average for his age. He was also healthier looking in general; his skin was now peach instead of pinkish-white.

Lily looked shocked at his appearance and she Apparated them away after a quick, unreciprocated greeting.

 

Once they were back at Potter Manor, Hadrian detached himself from her grip, then sauntered away with his trunk and empty cage, but was blocked by James at the top of the stairs.

“Why didn’t you reply to any of our letters?” Lily asked from behind him.

Is that concern I hear?

“Dumbledore tells us that you’ve been Sorted into Slytherin, and you didn’t give an explanation, or go to see the headmaster about a resorting. The Potters have a reputation, and Charlus does too!”

No, of course it wasn’t concern. Just selfishness.

“Are you finished?” Hadrian asked, bored already by the yelling.

“How dare you be so disrespectful?”

Hadrian shrugged, then slipped past his fuming father, and into the maze of bedrooms that was the second floor.

He soon lost his angry parents, then came to an almost hidden set of stairs, that led to the attic.

He strode up them, coming out in a large room. There was some clutter on one side- old furniture and the like- but the other was empty.

He cast a quick spell on the bottom of the stairs that would inform him of anyone approaching, then dropped his trunk on the floor and faced the pile of furniture, looking for a bed.

He spotted one at the bottom, and levitated it out, then fixed it with a quick ‘reparo’; he would still need to get a mattress and sheets, but it was better than needing a whole bed.

He sat on a discarded armchair, absently turning the fabric a soft grey instead of cream with pink roses.

His elder wood and Phoenix feather was hard to control at times, so he made sure to always keep his bone and Dementor cloak wand on him as well.

But he was worried that his unlicensed wand would be confiscated if discovered; it was technically made of illegal materials.

Hadrian had tried to find a way to hide his wand while still at Hogwarts; he had had an idea in the last week. He’d researched some runes that he could carve into the wand. They should shrink the wand down when touched, and he could then keep it around his neck on a piece of leather.

 

It took him the whole first week of the holidays to carve the runes (the Potters didn’t find him, and the house elves had brought him food. He’d snuck out the first night to steal a mattress and bed covers from another room, which he’d then locked very securely as a decoy).

When he brushed a finger over the perfectly carved runes, they flowed a faint grey, then the wand shrunk to about an inch long. He then attached it to a thin leather cord with a temporary sticking charm, so it hung just underneath by his shirt when he wore the necklace.

 

 

He had been communicating with Felix almost daily, but Flora and Hestia only sent one letter between the two of them, with Flora complaining about being slipped a hair-growth potion in her food, and Hestia brushing over exactly how annoyed their parents were.

 

The summers passed in a blur; Hadrian spent his days practicing duelling and his nights reading. After the blip at the start of the summer, the Carrow twins had managed to send a letter once a week. Felix had sent one every second day.

He occasionally snuck out to fly, but was so exhausted by his busy days, that he was often too tired.

Once his Hogwarts list arrived, he left the attic for a few hours to go to Diagon Alley with the Potters, and watch how to use the Floo network. They watched him carefully him the whole time; it was highly amusing.

 


 

Hadrian left for Hogwarts on the 1st September.

He left the house early, taking the Floo network to the empty platform. He easily carried his heavy trunk to the compartment, his duelling practice taking effect.

 

Once he had pushed his trunk on to the rack, he sat down and began to read the new Transfiguration textbook; it was the only one he hadn’t read yet.

Half an hour later, Flora and Hestia joined him, and he put the book away to talk to them. It was strange to see Flora with waist-length hair again; she handed Hestia the scissors she had snuck out of their manor, and Hestia began to cut her hair back to its normal length again.

 

“So basically, I need to find a way to become immune to hair-growth potions before next summer,” Flora started with, casting an incendio on the pile of cut hair once Hestia had finished. “Aaah, that feels so much better,” she continued, shaking her head around.

 

They were joined by Felix just as the train left, and then the group spent the first part of the journey talking about their summers, and then the new school year.

However, about halfway through the journey, the door burst open and a boy ran in.

Instantly, Hadrian was on his feet, wand pointed at the newcomer, spell on his lips. Flora also had her wand pointed directly at him, while Hestia simply had pulled hers out, and Felix had his held loosely in his hand.

The boy backed up until he was against the compartment door, and the group recognised him as Lucian Bole, another Slytherin in their year.

“Woah! I’m not here to attack you. I’m running from some Gryffindors who think I’m a Death Eater.”

 

“So you go to the compartment with three Death Eater children,” Felix commented dryly, causing Flora to bark a laugh. They all put their wands away, except for Hadrian, who simply moved it down to his side. A few seconds later, a harsh knocking came on the door of the compartment.

“We know Bole is in there. If you let the filthy Death Eater out, we won’t harm any of you,” a voice said from the door.

 

“No,” Hadrian replied.

 

Cursing came from the other side of the door, then it burst open, only for the three fifth year Gryffindor’s to stiffen at the sight of four wands pointed directly at them.

“Get out of our compartment,” Hadrian said harshly.

The Gryffindors clearly flinched at the tone, but were urged on by their pride. The one at the front laughed.

“You think I’m scared of a second-year? You’re a Potter; you wouldn’t hurt Light wizards to defend murdering scum.”

 

Hadrian’s mouth twisted into a savage smile. “You forget that I’m also a Black.”

He grabbed the leaders left arm, then yanked the sleeve up. He pulled his second wand from around his neck, then cast a near permanent illusion of a Dark Mark; Antoin had taught it to him.

It took a few seconds before the boy realised what had happened, by which time Hadrian had done it to the other Gryffindors too; they all screamed and ran out of the compartment.

 

Hadrian turned back to his friends (and Bole). His friends were smiling, having realised what Hadrian had done, but Lucian was staring at him in horror.

 

“Was that- the Dark Mark- but-“

 

“Don’t worry, Bole. It was an illusion,” Felix reassured, causing the boy to relax.

“Thank Merlin. When will it wear off?”

Hadrian smirked. “Never. Only I can take it off.”

Bole went back to gaping at him and his friends as they laughed.

 


 

Despite his initial shock, Bole stayed with them for the journey, then sat with them during the Welcome Feast as the new first years were Sorted. He also started to walk with them back to the common room, but then Hadrian was stopped by McGonagall.

“Mr Potter-Black, you’ve been called to the headmaster’s office.”

“Is this about the train?” Lucian asked, stepping forward.

“Yes, Mr Bole.”

“Then I’d like to go too,” he said, but was cut off by Hadrian.

“Bole is too close to the incident; I would rather Flora would be my defence, as she is a more impartial witness.”

Bole turned to look at him, his face surprised, but Flora nodded, grinning.

 

The two children followed the deputy headmistress through the school, to Dumbledore’s office.

She led them up the stairs and into a large, messy office. The headmaster sat behind a desk, and the three Gryffindors from the train sat in some chairs on side closer to the door.

 

As the door opened, the leader turned to see the Slytherins, then whimpered slightly.

“Mr Potter, Miss Carrow. Welcome, sit down,” the old wizard said, gesturing to the empty seats.

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “Actually, it’s Potter-Black, sir.”

“Ah, yes, of course. Forgive an old man’s memory.”

Flora slid into a seat, followed by Hadrian. The Gryffindors seemed to inch away from them.

 

“Now, I heard these young wizard’s explanation already, but I would like to hear yours and Miss Carrow’s.”

Hadrian glances at the ‘victims’, wondering what they had said.

Oh well.

 

“While on the train on the journey here with Flora and Hestia Carrow and Felix Rosier, Lucian Bole crashed into our compartment. He fearfully explained that he was being pursued by a group of Gryffindors who were calling him Death Eater scum; upon hearing this we let him sit with us, in case this group continued to look for him. Just a few seconds later, we heard a banging from the door and it flew open; it revealed the aforementioned Gryffindor fifth-years.

“I asked them to leave our compartment but they refused, claiming that we were murdering scum, and also threatened to harm us. I responded with what I consider to be appropriate force.”

 

The Lions seemed to disagree with this, as one of them turned to gape him. Hadrian ignored them, staring at a point on the wall just beside the headmaster’s head.

 

“That is very interesting,” the old man said, “because I had heard that you gave these young men the Dark Mark. That does not seem to be appropriate force; it seems to be reckless. A Dark Mark is permanent; it is also dangerous, and can ruin a wizard’s reputation.”

 

Hadrian’s mouth twitched into a faint smile. Beside him, Flora’s expression was savage.

“It would serve them right. They were bullying Bole,” Flora said, murder in her eyes.

“Even if they deserved it, I didn’t give them the Dark Mark; only the Dark Lord can apply such a thing. No, I simply cast an illusion,” Hadrian added.

 

Dumbledore seemed surprised at Hadrian’s reference to Voldemort, but his face seemed to relax at the confession.

“While that is still a cruel thing to do to such Light young men, I am glad that it is only temporary. Will it be removed by a simple ‘finite incantem’?”

“No. It should fade in a month or so,” Hadrian lied, secretly relishing in the boys’ horror.

 

“A month! That’s ages!” the leader shouted, his fear about Hadrian fading now he knew it wasn’t a real Dark Mark - he didn’t realise that a long-lasting illusion was complicated magic.

“Mr Kim, I’m sure it will pass in a blur,” McGonagall interrupted roughly, then escorted her lions and Flora out of the office.

 

“Now, Mr Potter-Black. We need to discuss your punishment.”

“Why should I be punished for defending a house mate? They called him Death Eater scum, and my associates murdering scum.”

They seem to like the word scum.

“While those young men may be mistaken, your associates and Mr Bole do have Death Eater relatives; many of them are in Azkaban for murder.”

That is a lie, and you know it. I grew up with the murderers in Azkaban, and not a single one of them was a Carrow or a Rosier or a Bole.

“I know what Azkaban is like, sir,” Hadrian replied coldly. “I also know that just because a person’s parents or cousins or aunt commit a crime, it doesn’t mean they will also commit that crime. Will this be all, sir?”

 

“Yes, my boy.”

I am not your boy.

Chapter Text

Hadrian met Flora as he left the headmaster’s office, and the pair walked to an abandoned classroom their group had started to frequent the year before. As soon as they arrived, they let their masks fall.

“How dare he! Those Gryffindors were going to hurt Lucian for being a Slytherin; you just pulled a prank on them.”

“The old man even claimed that he deserved it! That you deserved being called a murderer!”

“Fuck him,” Flora replied, her voice completely serious. “Fuck them all. If this is how the Light treat Slytherin, I’m done trying to join them. They can go rot in hell for all I care.”

“Merlin, what happened in there?” Felix asked, shocked at his friends’ serious tones.

Flora turned to him, her face tight with anger. “The great Albus Dumbledore decided that Bole deserved to be threatened physical assault as those Gryffindors were right that he’s Death Eater scum, just because he’s a Slytherin. And Hadrian’s the evil one, for casting an illusion.”

Hadrian growled. “I have detention for the next week, every night. With McGonagall. And he’s writing to my parents. So I will, once again, not be going home for the holidays.”

“I am sick and tired of the so-called ‘Light’ treating Slytherin like scum. Slytherin does not mean evil. Gryffindor does not mean good. Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor and he was full of shit,” Hadrian spat, his face unusually full of emotion.

 

“I agree with Flora. Fuck them, and their prejudice. They call us Death Eaters, just because we are purebloods and were Sorted into Slytherin,” Hestia agreed, her tone vicious.

 

Lucian Bole, the boy they had defended, was sat on a disused desk, listening to what they were saying with wide eyes. They all turned to face him.

Hadrian raised an eyebrow, his expression vicious.

 


 

The group snuck in an hour after curfew, Lucian tagging along. Once back, the boys and girls headed to their separate dormitories.

The other boy in their year, Barnaby Lee, was already sitting up in bed. He gave a sigh of relief when they entered.

“Thank Merlin! I was worried about you,” he said softly, he face relaxing.

“Thanks, Barnaby,” Lucian replied.

“And thank you, Hadrian and Felix. Gemma Farley told me what happened on the train, as she saw it. I was worried that you would get in trouble for helping Lucian.”

Hadrian blinked in surprise.

No virtual stranger has ever worried about me before.

“Don’t worry about it,” he responded, his tone unusually soft. He could feel Felix’s gaze on him, surprised.

Lucian blushed a deep red, but Barnaby bounded off his bed and wrapped his arms around him. Hadrian instantly stiffened, hand moving to his wand holster.

Not Bella. Not Azkaban. Barnaby. Your roommate.

He relaxed slightly after a second, letting his hand fall back to his side, but was still stiff throughout the whole hug.

 


 

At breakfast the next morning, the small group was surprised when they were joined again by Lucian Bole and Barnaby Lee.

“Hello!” the latter chirped, as he slid in next to Hestia. The former sat down opposite him, next to Felix, blushing profusely.

Hadrian tilted his head, looking at them curiously.

“We’re sitting with you because you keep the bullies away,” Barnaby explained cheerfully as he spread jam on some toast.

“He’s cute. Can we keep him?” Flora asked, turning to Hadrian, who gave her a smile.

“Only if he and Bole promise to be on their best behaviour,” Felix interjected, his eyes dancing with laughter.

Lucian flushed an even deeper red, even as Barnaby grinned.

 


 

The first term back passed by quickly, until it was the Christmas holidays.

Hadrian was staying at Hogwarts for Yule again, except this time the Potters hadn’t even tried to get him home, only sending him a howler once they heard of the incident on the train. He burned it before it could say a word.

He was joined by Flora and Hestia, and Barnaby. Felix had left, so as not to leave his mother alone at Yule. Lucian clearly hadn’t been happy to leave, but had to go home nonetheless.

 

The smaller-than-normal group spent most of the holiday in their abandoned classroom. Hadrian normally played chess against Hestia while Barnaby watched in awe at Hestia’s endless wins. Flora was working on a spell that would give the recipient immunity to a hair-growth potion, in preparation for the summer. She had already done most of the layout, but had yet to figure out the exact wording. The experiments were to begin after the holidays were over.

 

The day after Yule itself, Hadrian decided to head to the library rather than lose to Hestia at chess again. However, on the way there he noticed a little first year curled up on a windowsill.

He walked past her, until he spotted a strange object on the floor; looking more closely, he realised that it was the same as the earring he had just seen the first year wearing.

I might as well...

He turned around, and strode back to the small girl, who looked up when he stopped in front of her windowsill.

“Hello, Hadrian Potter-Black,” she said dreamily, tucking her pale blonde hair behind her ear.

How does a Ravenclaw first year know my name?

“My roommates were warned about you after you scared those Gryffindors. Penelope Clearwater says you have evil magic swirling around you.”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow, a mocking smile on his face.

“Does she now?”

“They’re silly. If you were evil, you wouldn’t be returning my earring to me,” the little girl replied, pointing to the hand the jewellery was in.

“Unless I were trying to manipulate you to be one of my Death Eater followers,” Hadrian replied dryly. The girl snorted, then tugged the earring out of his hand, slipping it back into her ear.

“My name is Luna, by the way. Thank you for giving my earring back.”

Hadrian frowned. “That makes it sound like I stole it.”

Luna snorted again.

“What is the earring?” Hadrian asked, looking at it curiously.

“A dirigible plum. Daddy and I have a bush of them at home,” the girl replied, a smile on her face.

“I’ve heard of those,” Hadrian replied, then looked at his watch. “I’m very sorry, but I have to go. I need to get my homework done in the library.”

Why am I acting so differently? So… nicely?

“Goodbye,” Luna said, smiling.

“Goodbye...” Hadrian replied, letting his smile hide his confusion, before continuing to the library.

 


 

A week later, Christmas break was over and Felix and Lucian returned with the rest of the students, but Hadrian was still puzzled over his encounter with Luna.

It was the first day back, and he was eating breakfast with his friends. Felix seemed to have had an okay Yule; Lucian mentioned a shouting match with his brother, before he clammed up.

Flora had decided to start her spell experiments, as there was now a large number of test subjects, so she would be free of suspicion.

Breakfast was going normally, until a shout came from the lion’s table; the pompous Percy Weasley, a third year, now had knee length ginger hair, and his younger brothers were howling with laughter. Another boy in his house returned the hair to normal with a wave of his wand, but the damage was done.

Flora was pouting at her failed experiment, Hestia smiling with savage glee. Felix simply laughed, enjoying an eventful first morning back at school.

Hadrian smirked.

 


 

The next day, Hadrian stumbled across Luna again. Literally.

She was stretched out on the floor of their abandoned classroom when Hadrian entered.

He had left his textbooks there the night before, along with homework he had not completed yet.

However, when he opened the door, Luna was there, stretched out on the floor. He almost tripped over her, but caught himself at the last second. He paused for a second, bewildered.

“Luna?”

“Oh, Hadrian. I didn’t realise you’d be here,” Luna said dreamily, seemingly unaware that she was lying on a cold stone floor.

“What are you doing on the floor?”

“I’m looking at the nargles. There’s quite a few in here. It’s strange, they normally stay around mistletoe.”

“What are nargles?” Hadrian asked, curious.

Luna turned her head to look at him, her eyes wide. “No one’s asked me that before. They’re mostly invisible creatures, with little wings. They go to places where important things are going to happen.”

“Can you see them?” Hadrian asked, putting two and two together.

“Yes. I’m glad that I can, but most people think me a little strange, because they can’t see them.”

Hadrian paused for a second, thinking. “If they go to places of importance, why do they cluster around mistletoe?”

Luna laughed. “Because that’s where people kiss, silly!”

I suppose she never did say what the nargles consider to be an important event.

Hadrian stepped over Luna’s body, to his normal desk, where his textbooks and homework was. He’d had a Potions essay set that day that he planned on completing. It was on a topic he’d covered with Rabastan years ago; he didn’t actually need the textbook for it.

 

Halfway through writing the essay, Luna stood up, and wandered over to him, looking down at his work.

“Is that Potions? Professor Snape sets a lot of homework.”

“Yes, but it’s easy.”

“I find it easy too. I don’t like transfiguration, though. Professor McGonagall says we need to be precise and concentrate on the spells, but it’s hard to concentrate when there are so many wrackspurts in Roger Davies’ head. He’s my partner.”

Hadrian looked up from his essay. “I could ask a friend to help you with it. She’s very skilled.”

“Oh, that would be wonderful,” Luna exclaimed, her face lighting up as she smiled. Hadrian couldn’t help but smile back, his essay almost forgotten.

 


 

Hadrian pulled Hestia away from the others the next day, and asked her to help Luna friend secretly; she smirked at him and asked what was in it for her.

After promising her an unspecified favour, she agreed to tutor Luna; the two seemed to get along well enough.

Hestia was interested in Luna’s rambling about magical creatures, but was able to keep her focused on the subject most of the time, from what he saw of their first session.

 

It was only many weeks later that Felix asked Hestia where she went on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Hadrian froze for a second, trying to keep a blank expression. Hestia’s face was emotionless.

“What will you give me if I tell you?” she asked, tilting her head.

“Undying loyalty?” he suggested.

“No.”

“Eternal friendship?”

“Try again.”

Felix threw his head down on the desk. “Fine, I’ll give you one of my grandfather’s spell.”

Lucian’s eyebrows rose, looking at Felix in slight shock. Family spells could be exceptionally valuable, and treasured; he could see the greed in Hestia’s eyes as she accepted.

“I’m tutoring Luna in Transfiguration,” she said, watching Felix’s puzzlement.

“Who’s Luna?” he asked.

“She’s a first year Ravenclaw,” Barnaby explained cheerfully. Hadrian warily looked at Hestia, who smirked at him.

“She’s Hadrian’s girlfriend.”

Hadrian fell back on the desks behind him, flopping his legs and arms out, as the group turned to him.

Flora poked him.

“Hadrian?”

He ignored her. She poked him again, harder.

“What?” he asked roughly.

“You have a girlfriend?”

“No I don’t!” he exclaimed, taking deep breaths to stop his cheeks from reddening.

“Aw, he’s blushing. You’re right, Hestia,” Flora said, sitting back on her desk.

“I am not blushing,” he denied – which was technically true.

 

Felix began to laugh, even as Barnaby grinned and Lucian snorted.

“Luna’s not my girlfriend,” Hadrian protested, his face turning even redder.

“Oh, I get it. You’re in love with her, but haven’t asked her out yet,” Barnaby said, causing Felix to laugh even harder. Flora’s grin widened.

 

Hadrian groaned, covering his face with his hands. He was never going to hear the end of it.

 

 

Chapter Text

That Tuesday, Flora followed Hestia to her tutoring session with Luna.

It was about ten minutes before the other girl arrived, her wispy blonde hair in a messy bun.

She glanced at Flora as she entered, but slipped to her seat as normal, dumping her bag on the floor.

“Hi Hestia! Hi Flora!” she said cheerfully, pulling out her wand.

“Hello Luna,” Hestia replied evenly. Flora turned to her twin.

“What did you tell her about me?” she asked, tone joking.

“Hestia didn’t tell me anything,” the little girl said.

“Luna simply knows things,” Hestia explained, smiling slightly.

“Do you know that Hadrian likes you?” Flora asked, a smile on her face.

Luna looked at her oddly. “Of course he does, silly.”

Flora wasn’t sure whether Luna had realised what she had said, but decided to go with it. “Do you like him too?”

“Of course! He’s been in my dreams for years.”

“He’s been where?” Flora asked, incredulous.

 

“In my dreams. He would talk to me when I was sad, and I would talk to him when he was sad,” Luna explained in a way that didn’t really explain anything.

 

“Luna’s unusual, Flora. As I said before, she knows things that she shouldn’t be able to know,” Hestia told her sister, who frowned in thought.

“You mean like a seer?” she asked.

 

Luna laughed. “I’m not a seer. I’m just odd.”

Hestia turned to her sister. “Anyway, was there something that you wanted to talk to Luna about?”

“How do you always know what I’m planning to do. If it’s some special twin power you have, I’ll be very annoyed that I didn’t get it too,” Flora complained, but her words were undermined by the grin she wore.

 

“What is it, then?” Hestia asked, completely ignoring her sister’s dramatics.

 

Flora turned to the younger girl who had been watching the twins.

“I wanted to say that Hadrian’s been hurt before, by the people who he loved. I don’t want him to be hurt again,” Flora said softly, her face sad.

“I won’t.”

Flora brightened. “Good, else I might have to kill you!”

Luna giggled, her blue eyes twinkling.

“Merlin, you’re too adorable. I need to threaten Hadrian too, now,” Flora sighed, standing up to find her friend.

 


 

The rest of the year passed quickly. Hadrian practiced his duelling whenever he could; his friends often joined him. Flora duelled against him almost every week, but while she was very good already, she rarely beat him. Her real skill lay in potions.

 

Hestia preferred weighted odds and mainly knew spells to incapacitate an opponent from a distance, but she was best at transfiguration.

Felix was very good at confusing his opponent with words and illusions, then beating them with his complicated charms.

Lucian was working on his aim; it was near perfect from up to 200 metres away (he practiced out on the grounds when he knew no one was watching).

Barnaby was very good at dodging; even Lucian’s sharp-shooting struggled to hit him.

 


 

The Queen of Slytherin, Ismelda Murk, was a fifth-year. She was also a blood purist. She wasn’t an idiot, though – she had earned her role through skill.

She seemed to have noticed Hadrian and his friends’ talent, as there was always at least one of her cronies watching them. There was very few incidents between the groups, though; just one slight confrontation when one of her inner circle ‘accidentally’ sent a Stinging Jinx at Flora while on the lawn one time. They backed down when Hadrian sent her flying in air - this caused a slight issue the next day, when Murk’s second, Snyde, threatened to drop Hadrian in the forest if he threatened her again; he just played the part of small, apologetic child, and she backed off.

 


 

And so came the summer holidays.

Hadrian was not looking forward to going home; neither were Flora and Hestia, or Lucian. Felix didn’t particularly care either way. Barnaby wanted to see his pet dog, Lillian; it was unclear how Luna felt.

 

The train ride back was as quiet as the year before, albeit with three more people - Lucian, Barnaby, and Luna.

 

Hadrian bade his farewell to his friends, then stepped on to the platform. He immediately saw James waiting for him, beside the Floo.

He strode over to the Lord Potter. James nodded at him, then stepped into the fireplace. Hadrian quickly followed, stepping out again at Potter Manor.

He made his way to the stairs, then darted down the corridors until he reached his attic again; it was exactly as he’d left it.

The bed was pushed against the near wall, then there was some repaired furniture against the same wall; the rest of the ruined furniture had been moved down to another bedroom. In the other half of the room, there were targets set up, with mirroring charms on them; these were for duelling practice.

 

Hadrian dropped his trunk and Hedwig’s cage on his bed, then strode over to the duelling space to practice.

 


 

Most of the summer passed similarly; Hadrian was now very good at duelling, despite having had incompetent defence teachers for the previous two years.

Hadrian sent letters to all his friends, and Sirius. And Luna, who was something more than a friend, but he wasn’t sure what exactly yet.

He did his homework at the beginning of the holiday, so he didn’t have to worry about it; he was organised like that.

 

When his Hogwarts letter came, he snuck out to Diagon Alley as he needed to visit Gringotts.

Hadrian was the Heir of the Noble House of Potter, but his father had not yet given him the heir ring. Hadrian was therefore paying for the heir ring from the Gringotts collection; he didn’t want for James to give away his birth right to Charlus on a technicality, especially as Charlus would be turning 11 the next summer.

 

‘If the Heir to a Noble House does not bear the Heir ring, the Lord or Lady of the House may gift the Heirship to another who has either reached adulthood or is obtaining a formal magical education. If the Heir does bear the Heir ring, they cannot be passed over unless they betray the House or are incarcerated for 10 or more years. Betrayal of the House will be decided by the Family Magic and not the Lord or Lady,’ the law said; Hadrian had received a letter explaining as much from Gringotts in the last week of term.

If he didn’t take the ring soon, James would almost definitely give his ring to Charlus; most already thought him the Heir.

And so the gold Potter heir ring joined the Black heir ring; this one bore an owl instead of a star.

 

The rest of the summer passed quickly.

Then, on September 1st 1990, he boarded the Hogwarts Express.

 


 

Hadrian sat in their usual carriage, waiting for his friends.

He was soon joined by Flora and Hestia, Flora’s hair reaching her waist again.

“I can’t wait until I solve that spell,” she groaned as a form of greeting, sliding into the seat opposite Hadrian. Hestia sat next to her, a faint smile on her face as she cut Flora’s hair again.

Lucian arrived next, shoving his trunk up beside to Hadrian’s as he sat down; then Barnaby, who hugged them all in greeting, before stretching out next to Hadrian.

Finally, Felix staggered in, looking rather ill.

“Those stupid Gryffindors set fire to my trunk,” he gasped; he had clearly run for the train.

“What,” Hadrian said, his voice dangerous as he sat up fully.

“I had to put the fire out, then I almost missed the damn train,” Felix explained, shoving the blackened trunk onto the rack, before turning to Barnaby.

“Move your legs,” he said. Barnaby groaned good-naturedly but moved them anyway, letting Felix slump down next to Hadrian.

“Was it the same lions as last year?” Flora asked, a dangerous look in her eyes.

“No, it was some seventh years this time. Clearly thought it was hilarious.”

Flora turned her gaze from her book to meet Hadrian’s; he gave a slight nod. She smiled, then returned to the conversation.

 


 

The rest of the journey was spent discussing more light-hearted topics, but Hadrian noticed Luna’s absence; he sent a letter a quarter of the way into the journey, and received a reply as he arrived at Hogwarts: Luna had missed the train, so was taking the Floo to school.

Sure, enough, she was sitting at the Ravenclaw table when the students entered the hall.

 


 

The year started well, and continued that way; Ismelda Murk was still an annoyance, but only vaguely. She seemed to be leaving them be for the time being.

Hadrian had new classes, as he had elected to learn Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, and Care of Magical Creatures. He particularly enjoyed Runes as he found them fascinating, especially where they linked to spells and other magic.

 

Time passed quickly and it was soon his birthday on 2nd January. While he hadn’t told anyone, Luna had somehow known, and proceeded to tell all of their friends; he was greeted by a cake and presents. They were mostly interesting books, except Flora who bought him a new wand holster. And Luna who gifted him a small, black, wooden dog, which looked remarkably similar to Sirius in Animagus form.

 

How did she know?

Hadrian had mentioned his time in Azkaban to her, Lucian, and Barnaby, but no one else knew about Sirius’ Animagus form.

He put it down to Luna’s odd gift of sight.

 

The rest of the year passed quickly. Hadrian gave Luna an odd butter beer cork necklace; each of the corks was from one of their friends, their initials stamped on the bottom. She loved it.

February faded into March, then Easter, then exams.

 

 

Chapter Text

Sunday 11th June 1991

The group of Slytherins were relaxing in their classroom the week after exams had finished. Flora lay on a few desks pushed together, her grey t-shirt plain and her jeans ripped.

Hestia was playing chess against Barnaby. She had won the previous five games that day, and was on track to win the next. Her opponent didn’t seem to mind.

Hadrian was on a chair, facing the others as he looked up a spell. Luna sat behind him, absently tying his short hair into tiny plaits.

Felix was talking to Lucian, who was twisting his hands together nervously.

Hadrian was only vaguely paying attention until he caught a few words said, and then slammed his book shut. Everyone looked at him.

“Lucian, what do you mean by that?” he asked, his tone quiet.

“The Queen wants me to become one of her followers,” Lucian replied, his hands trembling slightly.

“Ismelda Murk is a bigot,” Hadrian said, absolutely still.

 

“You think I don’t know that? Murk has heard about my family. My stupid, bigoted family. My stupid Death Eater brother. She’s heard that I’m a push over. That you five protect me from being bullied. That I’m an easy target. She told me to agree to her terms,” Lucian said, his voice quiet and trembling.

After a pause, Barnaby piped up. “She said something similar to me.”

“She’s gone too far,” Hadrian replied firmly, the others turning to look at him in shock.

“What do you mean?” Felix asked, wary.

Hadrian turned to him, a savage smile on his face. “You’ll see.”

 


 

Nothing happened the next day.

The day after, one the Queen’s inner circle ended up in the Hospital Wing with boils covering his whole body.

The day after that, her third-in-command was found crawling out of the Forbidden Forest, half-dead.

Then her second-in-command was plagued by monsters only she could see.

 

On Friday, Ismelda Murk had decidedly fewer followers. While most of the school was left confused by the ‘accidents’, the Slytherins realised what was happening. Someone was dethroning their Queen.

The Queen was visibly tense; most of the snakes were wary.

 

Hadrian smiled to himself. He planned to strike the next day.

All his friends had realised what he was doing. Flora was grinning at him, her smile as vicious as his own. Hestia was simply looking up complicated duelling spells, in order to be prepared for anything. Felix had asked Hadrian for the spell he’d used to cause boils; Lucian was also listening intently. Barnaby was absently practicing his aim, by shooting light stinging jinxes at random students; it was also a good test in control, to make sure he didn’t send a spell strong enough to make anything swell up.

 


 

When the school arrived at the Great Hall the following morning, they found Ismelda Murk stuck to the wall, her robes now a Gryffindor scarlet. She was conscious, but could barely make a sound, her face white in terror; she was 20 metres in the air.

 

Most of the student body was utterly confused, but those aware of the hierarchy saw it for what it was: the usurpation of the Queen of Slytherin. Her followers had been knocked off as a challenge, before she was humiliated.

It took half an hour before Flitwick could untangle the complex charm-work holding her up; most of the school stayed to watch, laughing or shocked.

 

Murk wasn’t a popular student.

 


 

Ismelda Murk had been dethroned.

Slytherin didn’t know what to do, as no one had stepped forward as the new King or Queen by the end of week.

It was that evening that Adrian Pucey decided to announce himself as King to the common room.

 

As soon as he stood up and took credit for his work, Hadrian snorted in disbelief.

All eyes in the room turned to him.

“Excuse me?” Pucey asked, his voice loud in the silence.

Hadrian snorted again. “I find it amusing that you claim to have defeated the previous Queen,” he replied, his tone mocking.

The older boy stiffened.

“If it wasn’t me who defeated her, then who did?” he asked, defensive.

“I did,” Hadrian replied simply.

Pucey’s mouth fell open. “You?” he asked incredulously.

“You!” he repeated, beginning to laugh.

 

Hadrian struck.

 

In less than a second, he was standing with his wand in his hand; he cast mutiple hexes in swift succession, and Pucey began to cough up blood, his eyes widening with fear. Another spell, and his was hanging in the air.

“If anyone else wants to challenge my Kingship, I’m here until 10,” Hadrian said, letting his opponent fall to the ground after a minute of two. He walked back to his smirking friends.

 


 

No one challenged him that evening, but Flora caught a mild poison in his breakfast the next day. Felix shielded him from two rather nasty hexes on his way to class; these were clearly to feel out his abilities.

 

Hadrian joined his friends and Luna in their abandoned classroom that afternoon - after lessons - to have their normal free time.

Flora was brewing a few mild poisons, to teach those who had challenged their new king a lesson.

Barnaby was practicing his Divination on Lucian and Felix; he was mostly accurate in his tea readings, but his crystal ball needed work.

Hestia was talking to Hadrian and Luna.

 

It had already been realised that Flora was Hadrian’s second-in-command, followed by Felix. Flora, as Hadrian’s second, already did most of the dirty work; she had lightly poisoned the Gryffindor who set fire to Felix’s trunk at the start of the year, among other things.

The other three (four, if Luna was included) were the rest of the inner circle. Lucian and Barnaby had both practiced their duelling even more over the summer; Lucian now had perfect aim, and Barnaby was very good at dodging while casting complex spells. Duelling matches between the two of them could become very interesting.

Hestia was highly skilled in solving problems, her brain able to make jumps most people couldn’t.

 

Luna had less of a fixed role, but she always seemed to know things she shouldn’t and see creatures that others couldn’t. Hadrian suspected she would be skilful at divination if she chose to take it up in her third year.

As a Ravenclaw, she wasn’t supposed to enter the Slytherin, but she always knew the password and would sneak into the boys’ dorm to wake Hadrian from his nightmares; she always knew when he was having them.

 

 

Hadrian was still plagued by nightmares of the Dementors and the other prisoners in Azkaban, often waking every second or third night. While he had improved, he still flinched if touched too suddenly or unexpectedly. He never rolled his sleeves up, letting the white material cover the tattoo on his forearm.

 

Hestia had once asked him why he didn’t cast one of his near-permanent illusions on the black letters. He had told her that illusions were draining and he couldn’t keep one on for too long – this wasn’t true, and Hestia clearly realised that too but didn’t comment further.

It was actually because he didn’t want to forget Azkaban, where his godfather was still locked up. He didn’t want to ignore seven years of his childhood, where he was both taught and attacked by Death Eaters.

 

The one thing that Hadrian had never shown any of his friends was the burn scars on his back, remnants of Pettigrew’s spell seven years before. He didn’t know why he didn’t show anyone, but he still changed behind bed curtains that he charmed shut. His roommates had simply taken his behaviour as an obsession with privacy – and that was fair. Hadrian was a private person normally, just not so much around his friends.

 

He just didn’t want anyone to see his scars – they brought back long buried memories of fire and pain.

Chapter Text

Hadrian gave a speech as the new king a week after he claimed the position.

 

There had been four more attempts to dethrone, mostly older students testing him and a notable occasion when a first year had tried to attack him as he crossed the common room to his dormitory.

 

He had had enough – he needed to make it clear that while he may be a third-year, he was skilled and was not going to be removed easily.

 

 

He chose a Saturday evening to address the whole house, asking Felix to set off a series of bangs to attract the attention of the Slytherins.

Everyone fell silent, turning to face him. Some seemed scared, some curious and some – mostly the older students – seemed bored, a few even glaring at him with contempt.

That’s going to change.

 

“You all know that I am your king,” Hadrian began. “I claimed this role a week ago, after my defeat of the queen a week before that.

“Since then, some of you have failed at attacking me. I would not recommend trying any more. I have given this house one week of free-for-all, which is now over. Any further attempts will be taken more seriously and will incur…” he paused, as if searching for the right word.

“My displeasure.”

Some in the room shivered at the menace in their new king’s voice, but his inner circle only grinned from their seats next to the fire.

 

“That is all I have to say,” Hadrian announced, before settling back down into his chair, conversation slowly starting again

 

However, a sixth-year clearly wasn’t happy with him or his announcement.

“Light-side Potter filth,” they shouted from the opposite side of the room, forcing the room back into silence.

 

Hadrian turned to them, an eyebrow raised. “Excuse me?” he asked, voice and posture full of concealed rage.

 

“You heard what I said, you filthy son of a mudblood. A Potter will never rule this house.”

 

The room was still, the silence deafening. Everyone’s eyes darted between the King and the challenger.

Most of the school had already realised the distaste that Hadrian Potter-Black felt for his family, but this particular sixth-year was clearly not the sharpest tool in the box; a lot of the school simply referred to him as ‘Black’ instead of ‘Potter-Black’. This was also because they had a hard time relating their saviour with the inexpressive Slytherin they recognised.

 

If they think that I’m insulted by that, they’re less perceptive than most second-years.

 

“Well I suppose,” Hadrian drawled, “it’s a good thing I’m not a Potter then.”

Felix laughed, throwing his head back as the sound filled the otherwise silent room.

“But I think that if you keep talking, you’ll discover exactly I learnt in the years that I was dead,” Hadrian finished, talking over his third-in-command’s laughter.

 

The king turned back to his inner circle, who instantly continued with their previous conversation, ignoring the rest of the common room, most of whom let out a sigh of relief.

But only a few saw the glance Hadrian directed at his second, who gave a short sharp not in response.

 

 

The next day, the sixth-year was admitted to the Hospital Wing for a week with a nasty case of swollen eyes.

 

On an unrelated note, Flora Carrow was seen checking out a Library book that taught readers how to brew the bulgeye potion.

 


 

There were few more challenges from Slytherin house after that, as they settled into a rhythm for the last two weeks of the school year.

 

Luna was soon on the protected list, as a member of Hadrian’s inner circle – this was realised after one of the second year Slytherins had taunted her. They had all of their clothes turned a vibrant red – the spell was only able to be undone after three days of work from their seventh year sister.

 

No Slytherin messed with the little blonde girl after that.

 


 

In the last week of school, Flora was staring intently at a fourth-year Hufflepuff as they ate their breakfast. That was fairly normal, though; she behaved like that once or twice a week as she tested a variation of her spell to prevent the use of hair-growth potions.

What was abnormal about this time was the fact that the Hufflepuff’s hair did not grow change, but instead remained the same length. Every previous experiment had ended in some change to the target’s hair, be it growing long by different increments or going bald.

 

While Flora did not immediately jump for joy, as was befitting a Slytherin, she did later in their abandoned classroom, as she raced around in circles whooping.

 


 

The end of the year was quick, as the Hogwarts students boarded the train noisily. The group of third-year Slytherins and Luna occupied their usual compartment, spreading out over the familiar seats.

 

Just like the previous year, the conversation was more subdued on the journey home, some of the group returning to bad relationships with their families.

 

However, Flora was far more cheerful than before, having finally completed her spell that stopped hair-growth potions working.

She wouldn’t be starting fourth year with waist-length hair again.

 

Lucian was not looking forward to returning home to his brother. He had explained to his friends over the course of year the exact nature of his brother’s crimes: he had been a Death Eater in the war, but was only sentenced to six months in Azkaban due to the lack of proof for his crimes and his age – simply bearing the Dark Mark was not a crime in itself, and nor was it proof of any other crimes bar muggle baiting; that was what he served his time for.

It also explained why Hadrian had not met Damian Bole, who had been locked in the Lesser Crimes block of Azkaban.

His brother still lived at home, only able to get a job in a small shop down Knockturn Alley, and was obnoxious to Lucian whenever he returned from school.

 

Hadrian was planning to avoid his parents the whole summer, along with his indoctrinated and spoiled younger brother. His younger brother who would be starting at Hogwarts in September, disrupting Hadrian’s safe haven from his aggravating parents. Oh well, the castle was big enough for Charlus to stay well away from his ‘horrible Slytherin big brother’.

 


 

The plan to avoid his parents failed the second he stepped through the Floo to find Lily standing right by the fireplace, James pushing though from behind him. They were both frowning.

 

“Young man, we want to have a discussion with you,” James demanded, pointing towards the main sitting room.

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “But I don’t particularly want to have a discussion with you.”

“Harry, show your father some respect,” Lily reprimanded, her face turning to an even deeper frown.

 

“I think that you’ll find that my name isn’t Harry,” Hadrian replied, his face faintly amused.

 

They gave me the name Hadrian, only to never use it. How pointless.

 

“We are your parents, so we’ll call you whatever we want to call you,” James responded, his face turning slightly red.

 

Hadrian smirked. “You can try.”

How dare he. How dare he.

“Harry James Potter, you will listen to what we have to say!” Lily shouted, causing Hadrian to turn to her, his eyebrow raised again. “Will I?”

 

Lily ignored him. “Dumbledore has informed us that you have been associating with some nasty Slytherins. Some Death Eater Slytherins. Because of this -”

“You just took his word for it? That is a lie and -”

“- James and I searched the house for anything that you could be hiding -”

“You did what? That is my private property.”

“- and discovered your attic room where you hid for the past two summers.”

Hadrian could barely hide his fury, hands balling into fists at his sides.

“We found a collection of Dark things, foul things,” Lily finished, speaking over Hadrian’s protests.

“Sure you did,” Hadrian replied tightly, clutching tightly to his trunk to stop himself from reaching for his wand and getting himself metaphorically killed by James and Lily.

James grabbed Hadrian’s arm, not noticing the boy’s flinch, and dragged him through the doors to the main sitting room, where all of Hadrian’s belongings that he’d left at the manor were lying on the coffee table.

 

His bone hand from Bella, his protective necklace from Rodolphus, his copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard from Barty. His books on duelling, and defense. Old spellbooks from the Potter and Black vaults, long forgotten by his parents. Admittedly, there were a few darker spells in one or two of the books, but none of them were particularly harmful – and they were certainly all legal, even if only borderline. Hadrian was not so stupid as to leave illegal property laying around the Potter manor.

 

“What are these?” Lily asked tightly, gesturing to Hadrian’s belongings, messily laid out. So unlike the way he’d carefully organised them on the shelves he’d found.

 

“Well, they’re some of my belongings, things which are normally left alone by people they don’t belong to,” Hadrian retorted quickly, not letting any of the rage that he was feeling seep into his voice.

First rule of Azkaban: never show weakness.

 

“How dare you be so impertinent, boy. Your mother asked you a question.”

“And I gave her my answer,” Hadrian replied to his father.

He was aware that he was becoming insolent, but he normally did when he felt threatened.

 

“I asked where you got these illegal things,” Lily said, her green eyes flashing with anger – so similar to Hadrian’s own eyes.

 

“Not a single one of those things are illegal. None of them.”

 

Potent Spells of the Dark Arts is illegal to purchase from any store,” James interjected. “As is Duelling for the Advanced, volume XII and Magic Most Awe-Filling by Edwin the Knoll of Raymars.”

 

Hadrian snorted. “That is all true. But I haven’t broken any laws; I didn’t purchase those books.”

 

“Did you steal these books? Because if you did -”James began furiously, but was swiftly cut off by his son.

 

“They were all in my Gringotts vault,” Hadrian replied, his eyes darkening with anger. While true, that’s an unspecified vault. I don’t think they should know about me claiming the Potter heirship yet, or the Black one.

That left James speechless for a moment, gaping as he thought through the implications of that statement; that his family had owned those books.

 

“Regardless of where you took these books from, the fact remains that they contain dark magic,” Lily said, taking control of the conversation.

 

“Dark magic is not illegal.”

 

“That may be so, but it is not something that we want you practicing. Also, these objects are extremely troubling – why in Merlin’s name do you have a model of a human hand? I checked it, and it is real bone. Where did you get it?”

 

“A friends gave it to me,” Hadrian replied curtly. “I also received the other objects from people I know.”

 

“This is exactly what Dumbledore warned us about, Lils – he clearly has Death Eater friends, giving him such things,” James addressed his wife, seeming to forget that said ‘he’ was right there.

 

“Actually, this isn’t human bone. It’s perfectly legal, just like the books,” Hadrian interrupted.

 

“But why -” Lily began, only to be interrupted by her husband.

“The why isn’t important, Lils. He has clearly been corrupted. Besides, the runes on this rock are unknown – they could be harmful.”

Lily cleared her throat. “Actually, that particular item is fine – those are just complex protection runes. I identified them already.”

James paused. “Oh.”

 

Hadrian wanted to laugh in their faces.

 

“I don’t see the problems with any of these object, so I’ll just be taking them and leaving,” he told his parents, moving to pick up his belongings, only to be stopped by James.

 

“Hold on a second. You don’t get to decide when this is over, we do.”

 

“What else is there to say?”

 

Lily picked up The Tales of Beedle the Bard. “What is this?”

 

Hadrian stared at her. “It’s a storybook,” he said slowly, causing her to flush red.

 

“That isn’t what I was asking,” she replied, opening it. “Whose writing is all over it?”

 

There was indeed writing all over the pages of the book, writing from Barty and later Sirius as he was taught how to read and write. Gobbledegook and French written out neatly by Rodolphus, copied out by Hadrian.

Hadrian stiffened at the implied threat to one of his most treasured belongings, flashes of Sirius’ face in his memories. A memory of Barty laughing a few months before his death.

 

“Harry, I asked you a question.”

 

Hadrian blinked to clear his mind of the visions, then turned to his mother. He was taller than her now, he noticed.

 

“It’s none of your business. There is nothing illegal in this book. Nothing wrong with it at all.”

 

James grinned triumphantly at him. “Then why won’t you tell us what’s in it, if there’s nothing wrong with it.”

 

“For Salazar’s sake, it’s none of your damn business! It’s private,” Hadrian exclaimed.

You idiot! Don’t let them see you upset.

… actually, why do you care if they know who wrote in it? It’s not illegal, but the imprisonment of a child is.

 

“I don’t care if it’s private, you need to tell us who wrote in this. We need to know if you’re having contact with Dark wizards.”

 

Hadrian began to laugh.

Having contact with Dark wizards? I grew up surrounded by Death Eaters. Apart from Sirius, they were all I knew for seven years – where do you think I got my interest in the dark arts from? Or learnt anything, like reading and writing. Sirius wasn’t the best at teaching, I couldn’t have learnt all I knew from him.

 

“What are you laughing at, young man? Show some respect. Your father asked you a question,” Lily challenged, her temper flaring.

Hadrian just laughed harder.

 

“Harry Potter, if you don’t answer my question -” James began, but was cut off by Hadrian.

 

“I was raised in Azkaban’s murderers block, you fools. The only people I knew were Dark wizards, except Sirius.”

 

Lily and James had gone white, realisation dawning on them.

Those absolute idiots are only just figuring this out.

 

“That book? It’s written in by Death Eaters. Death Eaters who taught me how to read. How to write. How to speak French, Gobbledegook. How to defend myself, how to protect myself. It’s one of the only things I have left of the seven years I spent there; of my godfather, who raised me.”

 

Hadrian’s parents remained standing in shock, so he took the opportunity to summon his displayed belongings, shoving them into his expanded pockets as he left the room. He strode up the grand staircase, then started to hurry in the opposite direction to his old attic room – the Potters had found that already, so he had to find a new hideout.

 

But as he started to walk down the hall, he crashed into an invisible barrier. He stopped, then reached his hand out to press against the wall, shown only by a faint ripple in the air. He looked down to the floor, where he could see etched runes, that run up the walls and onto the ceiling too.

He could recognise most of them from Runes class – they weren’t that complicated. That didn’t, however, mean that he knew how to counter them yet.

 

He turned to move in the other direction, only to find his way block by Lily and James, who had clearly processed the information by this point.

 

“I did the runes for that barrier myself,” Lily informed him, “and there’s one on the other side of the stairs too. The only room you can enter upstairs is your own – and your actual room, too, not the one you found.”

 

“Where is it?” Hadrian asked, hiding the panic he could feel blossoming.

They’ve trapped you – locked you inside - shut up! I can still leave. I’m not locked in my room.

 

James pointed to a room next to the stairs, directly opposite Charlus’.

Do they still think I want to be friends with him?

Hadrian managed a nod, gripping his trunk to hide his shaking hands.

 

He strode over to the room, flinging open the door to find it horribly red with gold accents.

He shut the door behind him with a soft click, blocking the impulse to slam it. He laid his trunk down gently, then pulled out the belongings that his parents had violated and laid them on the floor.

 

He then stood and surveyed the room; it was exactly the same as it had been when he first returned from Azkaban. Violently red, despite his Slytherin Sorting. Full of a child’s toys.

 

He pulled out his wand, changing the red to a more subdued forest green, the gold to a dull silver. Another flick of his wand caused his trunk to open, unpacking itself with a spell Hadrian had learnt from Barnaby.

 

If this is to be my room, then I shall at least make it my own.

 

He stuck his collection of framed pictures to the wall, showing his friends laughing. An old photo of Sirius that he’d discovered, smiling with his boyfriend Remus.

 

He asked you to find Remus for him. To apologise.

 

In truth, Hadrian had been scared to look for Remus, to find someone who might have genuine reason to criticise Sirius – the man hadn’t spoken up for his boyfriend when he was suspected of being a spy. Hadrian didn’t want that taint on his memories. But he was planning to find him – a few weeks before school had broken up, he had begun to trawl through newspapers for any mention of the man.

Of course, he knew that Remus was a werewolf, but a secret one – the newspapers wouldn’t know to say that. 

It was Remus' secret that kept Sirius in Azkaban.

He had disappeared after the attack on Hallowe’en 1981, not seen by the Potters for ten years. Hadrian only had vague memories of the smiling man, blurred by his time in Azkaban and forced down to prevent them from being used by the Dementors.

 

Sirius had only talked about Remus a few times, having the same irrational fear as Hadrian that if he mentioned him too much then the Dementors would grab hold of the memory – anything at the forefront of someone’s mind was used. But Hadrian still knew that Sirius had loved Remus very much.

 

With that thought, he sat down at the wooden desk in the corner of the room and composed a letter to Gringotts, requesting assistance in finding a man who was important to the Lord of House Black.

Chapter Text

Hadrian spent the next weeks shut up in the room that the Potters had forced upon him, searching through newspaper articles as he waited a response from the goblins.

 

The Daily Prophet, as he quickly discovered, was a trash newspaper. There was far too many articles that were written by quick quotes quills – evident from the tell-tale sign at the bottom. It was a legal requirement for all quick-quoted articles to be marked as so. Only the very back pages had interesting information – hidden changes in the werewolf laws, etc. The sort of thing that actually helped Hadrian.

Witch Weekly Magazine had little relevance – it was full of advice columns and celebrity gossip. Hadrian personally thought it was rather sexist of them – none of the girls who he was friends with were interested in celebrity gossip, and the name was very presumptuous, especially as he knew that Felix – a wizard – did in fact subscribe to it.

Hadrian enjoyed reading the Quibbler, as it reminded of Luna. This was of course because of her father was the editor, but he could see the similarities. Luna herself was out of contact, as she and her father were on an expedition to South America to search for Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, so it was nice have the magazine to read as something familiar. However, that did not mean that it was useful in his search for Remus Lupin.

 

In fact, Hadrian hadn’t found anything by the time he received a response from Gringotts, six days after he sent the letter.

The letter began with the formal greetings that the goblins favoured, then dove straight in to the facts.

… while Gringotts does, of course, not keep records of the visits of its customers, the bank can tell Heir Potter-Black that the man in question, Mr Lupin, visited this institution eleven days ago at the time of sending. This was the first time that this has bank had seen Mr Lupin in 247 days, so the bank requested a meeting with Mr Lupin in regards to his account details. When the bank enquired as to the location of Mr Lupin’s current place of residence, he informed us of the address. An institution of such esteem such as this bank could never disclose the personal information of a client, but the bank has included the address below. The bank has informed Mr Lupin that the Heir of House Black has enquired as to his whereabouts (as this was the capacity in which you addresses the bank), and he responded with concern as to the identity of this wizard. The bank then informed Mr Lupin that he would soon receive a letter from the Heir of House Black …

The letter then went on to give more entirely false disclaimers, but Remus’ address was written there. Clear as day.

Hadrian stared at it for a second, before turning to the pile of parchment beside him. He pulled a piece towards him, then stared at the blank page for a minute.

‘Remus Lupin,’ he wrote, then paused. That seems right…

‘I am writing to you on behalf of the present Lord of House Black, Sirius Black.

As his heir, I have been in communication with him in spite of his current incarceration. He requested a few years ago that I contact you in his stead, as he is currently unable to write to any but myself, as his heir.

He asked that I meet you in person, to offer his sincerest apologies for everything that occurred both before and after the night of Hallowe’en in 1981. I, of course, attempted to locate you as soon as I was able; it is only now, a few years since this request that I have found you. The Gringotts bank mailed me as soon as they discovered my interest in contacting you, informing me of the necessary information.

So, I now write to you to organise a meeting in the stead of Lord Black.

With hope of a response,

The Heir of House Black’

Hadrian read the letter over again, then sealed it in an envelope with his Black seal; he didn’t want to complicate the situation at this point by revealing his identity as the Heir to House Potter. He didn’t know Remus’ feelings about the Potters.

He called Hedwig over from her perch, where she had been for the past day after returning from the Carrow’s manor. Writing the address provided by the bank on an envelope, he attached the letter to the snowy owl, then sent her off.

Hadrian then wrote a quick note of thanks to Gringotts, returning it with the owl they had sent.

 


 

Only two days later, Hedwig returned with a response from Remus. Hadrian cautiously removed the letter from his owl, then sliced it open, pulling the letter out. Hedwig hooted at him once, then flew back over to her perch.

Hadrian slowly unfolded the letter, then read the response from his godfather’s ex-boyfriend.

Are they exes though? They never officially broke up.

The letter was not particularly positive, expressing Remus’ knowledge of the Black family tree and who might be the heir; he suspected Narcissa Malfoy nee Black, or another cousin of Sirius. He also wrote about Sirius’ dislike of his remaining, but that he was willing to meet Hadrian anyway, as long as it was in a place of Remus’ own choosing – which was understandable. The fact that he was even willing to meet showed how close Sirius and Remus had been.

Hadrian swiftly wrote a reply, agreeing that the remaining Black family tree was rather limited and saying that he would respect Remus’ decision on where and when they would meet – as long as Hadrian was actually able to attend. He sent Hedwig off with it as soon as he finished it, just as he received his weekly letter from Barnaby, which occupied him for the rest of the evening.

 

Despite the terrible start, and the slight panic that remained in everything that Hadrian did, he decided that the summer could have been going much worse.

Hadrian was right. It could have been going much worse. And it soon did.                         

 


 

James Potter entered Hadrian’s room on the Tuesday after, knocking the door down after his alohomora failed to overpower the locking spells Hadrian had cast on it.

 

Hadrian had been writing a letter to Flora, asking about a question in their potions assignment – despite his reasonable skill with potions, he hadn’t been able to figure out the answer. As their group expert, he thought that Flora might know.

 

But as James stormed in, Hadrian put down his quill, looking across at the broken door.

“That seems rather drastic,” he commented. “You could have knocked.”

James growled rather oddly. “You, young man, are in a lot of trouble. So cut the snide comments.”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow, his face blank. “What do you think I’ve done this time? I haven’t left my room for the past two weeks.”

Lily stepped into the room at this point, glancing at the broken door as she brushed past it.

“You are perfectly capable of breaking the rules while still in your room,” she said, moving to stand next to her husband.

“That doesn’t mean that I have broken the rules,” Hadrian pointed out, standing up from his chair to lean against the desk, facing the Potters.

“You’ve turned the whole room Slytherin green!” James exclaimed, gesturing to the bed sheets and the carpet with horror.

Hadrian stared at him, trying not to laugh in his face. “I didn’t realise that showing some house loyalty was against the rules,” he commented.

“Why in Merlin’s name would you be loyal to Slytherin? It’s a house full of -” Lily began, but Hadrian cut her off.

“I think I’ll stop you there, before you start on the prejudice. Why are you loyal to Gryffindor?”

James snorted. “Comparing Gryffindor and Slytherin is like… it’s like comparing a snake to a lion.”

Hadrian laughed at him. “Creative comparison,” he commented sarcastically. “Besides, comparing Gryffindor and Slytherin is actually like comparing Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, or any other two Hogwarts houses. Because that’s all they are: Hogwarts houses.”

“That is both not true and not the reason that your father and I are angry with you,” Lily interjected. “We have discovered you sending messages under the title of ‘Heir of House Black’, which is utterly ridiculous. How can you be the Heir of such a dark house?”

Hadrian raised his eyebrow again. “Did you forget that it was you who made the Lord my godfather?”

“That doesn’t change anything; Black isn’t the Lord of the house. He’s in prison,” James blustered, his face turning red with anger at the implication.

Hadrian laughed. “That is not true. The reigning Lady of the House died in 1985, leaving Sirius as the next Lord. Incarceration does not prevent that.”

Technically not true – after 10 years, the Lordship will pass to the Heir. But I don’t want the Potters to know that I will become the Lord Black soon.

“That’s ridiculous,” Lily exclaimed, indignant. “They let criminals be in charge of Noble Houses?”

“Yes,” Hadrian responded simply, looking at her. “They do.”

“I don’t care about the legality of it, I care that a Potter is the heir to a Dark house!” James interrupted, shouting over their conversation. “I won’t have our reputation tainted by such a thing.”

“I don’t care,” Hadrian said.

James stood still for a minute, shocked by his son’s response. Lily, however, hadn’t grown up surrounded by the same notion of reputation that James had referred to, so wasn’t so shocked by Hadrian’s words.

“Well, your father and I care, so we’re intervening. Give me your heir ring.”

Hadrian stared at her. “Taking my heir ring won’t stop me from being the heir. You do know that, right?”

Lily flushed red. “I’m not listening to you, just give the ring to me.”

Hadrian moved his hands behind his back for a second, slipping his Potter heir ring off his finger and into his pocket. Out of sight. He then held his hands out to his parents.

“Take it, then,” he said, annoying his parents with his casual tone.

James strode forward, grabbing Hadrian’s hand and pulling the ring off it. It felt odd for Hadrian, having worn the ring constantly for almost four years.

“This is not the end of it,” Lily said, taking the ring from her husband and slipping it into her pocket. “You have been practicing Dark magic in this room, hidden from our view.”

“Where’s your proof?”

Lily ignored him. “Because of this, we have set up wards to prevent the use of magic in this room. They will activate as soon as we leave.”

What? They’re doing what?

They’re locking my magic away… no. No. NO!

“Wait, stop,” Hadrian protested, but the Potters were already leaving. “Please,” he called out, but they had already left, locking the door behind them.

The second they closed the door, Hadrian could feel his magic be flung away from him, out of his grasp.

No, no, no, no, no, no…

He grabbed his wand from around his neck, the first spell in his head leaving his lips.

Anteoculatia” he shouted, the horn-growing hex that should have given the cushion he directed it at antlers.

Nothing happened.

No, no, no, no, NO…

He tried again, then a reductor curse, then the simplest spell he knew – the hovering charm.

Nothing, nothing, nothing.

Hadrian barely felt himself collapse to the floor, his heart pounding in his ears.

Breathe in, breathe out. In, then out. In, then out.

You’re not in Azkaban. You’re in Potter Manor.

Not in Azkaban.

But it was hard to for Hadrian to convince himself when he had been locked up, his magic ripped away from him.

He started to retch, fragments of Azkaban racing through his mind.

Bella pinning him to the floor, her nail tearing across his skin.

Rodolphus’ magic lashing out, leaving a burn on his shoulder.

Barty slashing at his arm with a piece of glass, blood dripping to the floor.

Sirius screaming at the guards to get his godson out, out, OUT.

The Dementors-

He vomited, throwing his breakfast up.

He used the desk to pull himself up, collapsing only once before leaning over the desk. He grabbed the first piece of parchment, his quill almost snapping as he picked it up.

‘Help – can’t get out’ he wrote, the ink spilling over the paper as he folded the note, his fingers fumbling to attach the note to Hedwig’s leg.

The second the owl flew out of the room, he collapsed to the floor again, barely avoiding the pile of vomit.

 


 

It could have been hours or days later that he felt himself be pulled off the floor, held by strong arms as he felt the familiar pull of Floo travel before he black out.

 


 

Hadrian woke up quickly, immediately springing off the bed he was on, to the corner of the unfamiliar room.

He blinked, gazing around. It was a small room, the bed in one corner, a chest of drawers next to it. He had moved to the corner that was furthest from the door, and opposite him was an armchair with Flora sleeping in it.

He relaxed slightly, but immediately tensed again as the door opened.

Hestia walked in, a tray of food floating behind her. However, when she saw Hadrian staring at her, she stopped, levitating the tray to the chest of drawers before turning to face him.

“Hello, Hadrian,” she said softly, as if reassuring a little puppy. “Would you mind not pointing a wand at me?”

Hadrian blinked, then looked at his hand, where his bone wand was.

“Oh,” he said, then clipped back to his necklace.

Hestia nodded her approval. “Do you want to eat something?”

Hadrian blinked again, slowly standing up from his crouch. He glanced at the plate of food, then back at Hestia.

“Yes please,” he croaked, frowning as his throat hurt.

“You were screaming, we think from nightmares,” Hestia told him, anticipating his question.

“Oh,” he said again. “How long have I been here?”

“Two days,” Hestia informed him. “We broke in to Potter manor, using the book you lent me to get past the wards.”

“Thank you.”

There was a groan from Flora as she shifted in her chair, before she sat up, alert. She stared at Hadrian, a smile forming on her face.

“Hadrian, you’re awake!” she exclaimed, springing to her feet.

“You don’t say,” Hestia muttered sarcastically.

“Oh, be quiet you,” Flora responded without looking at her twin. She moved over to Hadrian, hugging him slowly. He tensed, but let her clasp her arms around him. She looked up at him. “I panicked when I got your note. Hestia and I left the house immediately.”

“Thank you,” Hadrian said quietly.

“What happened?” Hestia asked, staring at him. None of his friends had seen him have a breakdown like that before.

“I… had a panic attack.”

Flora frowned. “What triggered that? I thought the Potters were harmless.”

Hadrian gave a bitter laugh. “I thought that too.” He paused for a second. “They put up wards to stop me from using magic, then locked my door.”

He felt more than heard Hestia’s sharp intake of breath, taking a step backwards.

“They did what.” Hadrian looked up to find Flora’s face absolutely furious.

He ran a hand through his hair, slipping his Potter ring out of his pocket and back onto his finger.

“It… it made me feel like I was back in- in Azkaban. And then I couldn’t stop remembering.”

“How stupid are they?” Hestia asked, moving over to them. “Wards to prevent magic are known to be very harmful, especially to underage wizards and witches. That they didn’t even consider the effects of it on someone who grew up in Azkaban…”

“They’re fucking morons,” Flora agreed, hugging Hadrian again.

 


 

Half an hour later, after Hadrian had eaten the food that Hestia had brought, he was sitting on the bed while Flora sat on her chair, now moved closer to the bed. Hestia was leaning against the chest of drawers.

“What was that wand that you used earlier?” the latter witch asked, her face curious. “It wasn’t your oak and phoenix feather one, that was in your wand holster.”

“Oh, I noticed that too,” Flora remarked, looking at his necklace. “You’ve worn that necklace since second year, though. Is that a second wand, then?”

“Yes, though you could say that my oak one is my actual second one. I made this one while I was in Azkaban,” Hadrian told them, to the shock of both his friends.

“Hold up, you made a wand in Azkaban? How?” Hestia asked, surprise evident on her face.

“Well -” Hadrian began, but was interrupted by Flora.

“Wait, I want to try and guess the materials.” Hadrian stared at her, surprised. “I read a book on wand lore last week, and I found it really interesting,” she explained, then held her hand out.

Hadrian pulled his wand from his necklace again, then handed it to his friend.

She studied it for a second, before looking up. “Nope, I can’t identify either of these. What are they?”

Hadrian took the wand back but didn’t shrink it immediately, instead holding it.

“I doubt they were written about in that book. I used bone from a skeleton in my cell, and Dementor cloak.”

Flora gaped at him. “There was a human skeleton in your cell?”

“Oh, yeah. I named it Phillip when I was four,” Hadrian answered nonchalantly.

“That’s messed up,” Hestia told him. “It’s terribly unhygienic, and breaks the laws surrounding the returning of bodies to the deceased’s family.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes, before Flora seemed to remember something.

“Hadrian, we’re going with you to Felix’s house tomorrow. We can’t keep you here; our parents can’t know that we have guests, especially not the brother of the boy-who-lived.”

“Okay,” Hadrian said.

Hestia sighed. “We have to get to dinner with our parents, Flora.”

The other girl groaned, sliding down her chair. “Do we have to?”

Hestia fixed her with a look. “Yes, you know what will happen if we don’t. Besides, we’re leaving tomorrow; we won’t have to eat with them for a while after today.”

“Fine.”

Hadrian watched as his friends stood, brushing their clothes off before leaving the room.

Chapter Text

When the Carrow twins returned from dinner with their parents an hour later, Flora was fuming, Hestia watching her twin carefully.

Flora slammed the door behind her, prompting Hadrian to leap up from the bed, reaching for his wand.

“Sorry, Hadrian,” Hestia muttered, “There’s nothing wrong.” He relaxed slightly, but kept his eyes on Flora.

“Nothing wrong? There’s something very wrong! My parents have arranged a marriage for me,” Flora exclaimed, her deep red eyes flashing with anger.

“I didn’t mean that there’s nothing wrong, Lora, I just meant that there’s no immediate threat for Hadrian to worry about,” Hestia explained in an attempt to soothe her enraged sister.

“I think that I do need to worry about this,” Hadrian countered, turning to Flora. “A marriage with a boy?”

“Yes! They’re going to make me marry some prejudiced wizard and I’m going to have to have all his pureblood babies, and dress up like a pretty little wife and attend his pureblood meetings,” Flora ranted, but her trembling hands betrayed her fear.

“I forgot that you aren’t out to your parents,” Hadrian said, voicing his thoughts.

“I’ll be honest, I don’t think they would care even if they did know,” Hestia told him quietly. “They’ve arranged the marriage now, and Flora is the Heir to our house – they want to elevate our status. We may be on the Pureblood registry, but they want even more power.”

“After we leave tomorrow, I’m not coming back,” Flora said sharply, gripping her hands together. “I don’t care – you can be the Heir, Hestia. You can marry that Malfoy boy.”

“You think I want to do that? You think that I want to marry some Malfoy four years younger than us?” Hestia replied, her tone equally sharp.

“Your parents are assholes, aren’t they,” Hadrian commented. “The younger Malfoy is only starting Hogwarts this year, and they want you to marry him?”

“Pretty much,” Hestia agreed. “But Flora obviously doesn’t want to do that. That doesn’t, however, mean that she should immediately run away from home,” she added, glaring at her twin. “That would be reckless. Besides, the marriage is only set for when Malfoy is 17 years old; that’s in six years. We have time to work out a solution.”

Flora sighed, collapsing on Hadrian’s bed. She stared at the ceiling for a second, then turned back to her twin and her friend. “I could just get married before then,” she suggested.

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t marrying someone you’re not in love with undermine the idea of doing it to not marry someone you’re not in love with?”

“He does make a good point, Lora,” Hestia added. “Just… we’ll find another solution. That doesn’t involve you marrying the first girl you ever date.”

Flora snorted. “Oh, please. That’s not what I was saying, I was saying that I just need to get married before I turn 21. That gives me plenty of time to date more than one girl.” She flopped back down onto the bed, a small grin on her face.

Hadrian took the opportunity to give a despairing look to Hestia, who returned it.

 


 

The trio left the Carrow manor the next morning.

Hestia had already packed her bags, but Flora had had to stay up the night before to find all of her school books and spare clothes – the twins weren’t planning on returning to the manor before the start of the school year.

Hadrian didn’t have any of his belongings, besides the clothes he was wearing and his two wands.

 

They arrived at the Rosier manor by Floo, Felix standing beside the fireplace to greet them. He summoned a small house elf to take the luggage to their room, and then they moved to the ‘second sitting room’ to sit and talk.

 

“So, I heard that the Lord Carrow arranged the marriage of his eldest daughter and heir to the son of Lord Malfoy,” Felix began, causing Flora to groan.

“Can you just not, Felix? I found out yesterday, okay. Yesterday. Hestia and Hadrian barely managed to convince me not to never go home.”

Felix began to laugh, causing Flora to glare at him. “What’s so funny?” she demanded, at which Felix only laughed harder.

“Sorry, I get that this must suck, it’s just… do your parents really think that you’ll marry whichever wizard they want you to? Have they forgotten about you cutting your hair? Creating a whole new spell just to spite them?” he paused. “Seriously though, have they met you?”

Hestia snorted, causing Flora to turn and glare at her. “He does make a point,” she offered, covering her mouth with her hand.

Flora turned her head to Hadrian, wanting some sympathy, but he just shrugged. “I feel sorry for you; I agree with Felix that this must suck. But you have to admit that you’ve already made a plan to avoid it.”

Felix turned to her, raising an eyebrow. “Oh?” he asked, “do tell me this masterpiece of a plan.”

Flora glared at him grumpily. “I’m going to marry someone else before,” she told him.

Felix started laughing again. “See, this is why I’m not worried about you. You’ll be fine.”

She stuck her tongue out at him, but he just returned the gesture.

Hestia decided to cut in at this point. “Aren’t you likely to get a marriage contract soon as well?” she asked Felix, who just shook his head.

“Not for a few years at least. My family may be a member of the Sacred Twenty-Eight as well, but my father left the country to avoid Azkaban and my mother is only a Rosier by marriage; she didn’t have a great relationship with dear old dad, so she’s leaving it for the moment.” He turned to Hadrian, who hadn’t said much.

“I’m assuming that the Potters aren’t arranging a marriage for you?” he said, at which Hadrian gave a small smile.

“Not exactly. My grandparents didn’t arrange one for James and he loves Lily, so he decided when I was born to leave that sort of thing alone.”

Flora cracked a grin. “Besides, you’d never marry anyone except Luna.”

This brought laughs from Hestia and Felix, even as Hadrian rolled his eyes at them.

“What is going on with you two, though?” Felix asked, looking at Hadrian.

“They’re dating now,” Hestia supplied, cutting across whatever Hadrian was about to say. He turned to glare at her.

“Do you always have to do that?” he asked, to which she just gave him a small smile.

“When did that happen?” Felix cried, staring at Hadrian in shock. “You never told us about this!”

“I feel very offended that you didn’t tell me,” Flora added. “You should tell me everything.”

 

“Luna and I kissed in an abandoned classroom a few days before I overthrew the Queen,” Hadrian told them, taking deep breaths to hide his blush. “I wasn’t going to tell you yet, but it turns out that I have very nosy friends,” he added pointedly, glaring at Hestia.

“I feel like you should know that already,” Felix said, “as you have known us for almost four years now.”

“That is true,” Hadrian mused. “I should never trust any of you with anything ever again.”

“To be fair, you didn’t tell me that you and Luna finally got together. I figured it out myself.” Hestia said.

“Luna told you, didn’t she,” Flora said.

“Luna did, in fact, tell me,” Hestia admitted.

“Hey! That’s cheating,” Felix exclaimed, turning to Hadrian. “That doesn’t count, she cheated.”

“It wasn’t exactly a game,” Hadrian commented wryly.

“Besides, it’s not my problem that you don’t tutor Luna. I’ve been helping her for two and a half years now – we’re good friends. She tells me lots of things,” Hestia said, smiling smugly at Felix, who pulled a face at her.

“If only Slytherin could see its terrifying King and his fearsome Inner Circle now,” Hadrian said, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

Before Flora could respond, the door was flung open, causing them all to turn, their masks dropping into place, only to relax once they saw who it was.

Luna skipped into the room, her wispy blonde hair trailing behind her.

“That wasn’t very nice, Hadry,” she told her boyfriend, her tone strict. “You should be resting; your magic is still drained.”

“I thought you were in Peru right now,” Hadrian replied, frowning at the reference to his break down.

“I knew something was wrong, so I convinced Daddy to let us come home early,” Luna informed him, settling down on the sofa beside him, brushing a kiss to his lips before resting her head on his shoulder. “You’re more important than Crumple-Horned Snorkacks.”

Hadrian could see Felix’s soppy expression over Luna’s head, so he glared at him, even as he began to thread his fingers through her hair.

“You two are so cute!” Felix exclaimed, then paused. “But we do need to talk about what happened with the Potters.”

Hadrian frowned, staring at the part of his shirt that hid his tattoo. “I’d rather not.”

 

Flora turned to him. “We need to talk about it. And Azkaban in general. With Charlus joining Hogwarts this year, there’ll be a greater focus on your family. People will start asking questions regarding why they thought you were dead, and where you were in that time. Why your surname is Potter-Black.”

“Yes, I’d been thinking about that too,” Felix added, his expression becoming serious. “Slytherin will also be focusing on you, as the reasonably new King.”

“I know,” Hadrian sighed. “I’ve been planning to make a case against the Ministry for the imprisonment of a child, which would call for changes in the law and the process of incarceration, but I’m waiting until I’m a legal adult. At that point I’ll have been the Lord Black for a while, and also I would have more freedom. I don’t want problems to arise from the legal control the Potters have over my life.”

Felix nodded. “I get that, but I’m not sure how much you’ll be able to keep it under wraps for another three or four years. Some reporters are very good at their jobs.”

Hadrian sighed again. “I know that, my concern is just that if the news is released before I officially move out of the Potters house, there’ll be too much concern relating to the boy-who-lived living with someone who was raised next to Death Eaters. That would become the focus of the situation.”

Felix thought about this for a minute. “I get where you’re coming from, but I think you’re assuming the worst. If people see you as you are now, a child, they might be more sympathetic towards you.”

“I hadn’t thought of that…” Hadrian said, trailing off in thought.

“Okay, I know that Felix is the ‘people person’ here, but I agree with Hadrian,” Flora said. “I think that we should play it safe.”

Hadrian thought about slightly longer. “I think I won’t say anything for the moment, but if I see a good opportunity then I’ll think about it further.”

“You should publish it in the Quibbler,” Luna piped up, her eyes barely open. “Then only let the Daily Prophet have the story a month or two later. Then everyone can read about the Rotfang conspiracy as well.”

Hadrian smiled. “I’ll think about it,” he told her, pressing a kiss to her forehead.

“Why are you so tired, Luna?” Hestia asked, curious.

“There’s a six hour time difference between Peru and the UK,” Hadrian informed her, watching Luna move her body to rest her head in his lap. “Her body thinks it’s four thirty in the morning.”

“Mmm, and how do you know that, Hadrian?” Flora asked, her voice full of mockery.

Hadrian blushed, not bothering to hide it. “I looked up the places that Luna was travelling through in an Atlas.”

“What was the nickname Luna used earlier? Hay-dy?” Flora continued, a mocking smile on her face.

“Hay-dree,” Luna enunciated sleepily.

“Ah, Hadry.”

“Oh, shut up Lora,” Hadrian responded grumpily amid the laughter of his friends.

Chapter Text

The five at Rosier Manor were joined a week later by Lucian, and then Barnaby a few days after that.

The summer went by quickly, the cheerful Lady Rosier letting them do whatever they wanted.

On July 31st, Hadrian received a sternly worded letter from the Potters, reprimanding him for not giving his brother a birthday present. Of course, the day after that he received a Howler, shouting at him for accepting the Potter heirship without the permission of his parents.

Of course, he saw the anger for what it really was: the Potters had tried to give Charlus the heirship now that he was old enough, only to find that Hadrian already had it when they visited Gringotts.

 


 

Hadrian received a second letter from Remus by the start of August, having missed the original response while he was unconscious after his break down.

He met him in mid-August, at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley.

Hadrian had arrived half an hour before the time that had been agreed upon, finding a table in a dark corner and asking Tom, the bartender, to point anyone asking for ‘Mr or Ms Black’ towards him.

A three-quarters of the way into his Butterbeer, Remus had arrived five minutes late, but quickly found his way over to the table with a glass of water, only to stop at the sight of Hadrian.

 

“You’re a child,” the man said, surprise etched across his face.

“That is true,” Hadrian agreed.

“You’re James and Lily’s son,”

“That is also true.”

Remus stood there for a moment, shocked, before giving a sigh of exasperation and sliding into the seat opposite Hadrian.

“Harry, right?”

Hadrian gave him a smile. “I prefer Hadrian.”

“You were dead, we all thought you were dead.”

“An honest mistake,” Hadrian reassured him slightly mockingly.

“Merlin… where were you?”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow, his face blank. “I think I’ll keep that private for now,” he replied.

“Are you here on the behalf of the Potters?”

Hadrian’s mouth curved into a smile. “Not quite. I’m here on the behalf of Sirius Black, as I said in my letters.”

“So you are his heir, I assume because of his role as your godfather,” Remus said, his voice tired. “You wrote that you’ve been sending him letters?”

“Yes, I exchange letters with him weekly.”

“And they let you? I… tried to write to him once, but they returned the letter unread. Said that convicts can’t receive letters,” Remus confessed.

Well, that’s a good start.

“As his heir, I have certain rights to him that most don’t have. As he’s still the Lord of the house, it’s seen as important that he can still fill that role. So I can correspond with him, to stop the house being useless in his absence.”

“Merlin…” Remus repeated. “He got that role when Walburga died six years ago, right?”

Hadrian nodded in confirmation.

“I assume you were appointed as his heir soon after that?”

Hadrian nodded again. “As soon as he was given the news, he wrote to Gringotts to appoint me as his heir.”

Remus nodded, then took a sip of water.

“Alright then, what is this meeting about?” the man asked, getting down to business.

Hadrian paused for a moment, searching the words that he wanted to say.

“Sirius wanted me to apologise to you, for the things that happened during the war,” he settled on. “He said that he was a bad boyfriend, and that he wanted you to know that he’s sorry for how he treated you.”

Remus closed his eyes. “Is this about his crimes?”

Hadrian stiffened, face tightening. “No,” he replied, his tone sharper than before, no longer expressionless.

Remus opened his eyes, glancing at the boy before gazing at the ceiling. “You think he’s innocent,” he commented, his tone resigned.

“I think that I know the truth better than almost anyone,” was all Hadrian said.

“Merlin, this wasn’t a conversation I wanted to have again,” Remus said, then looked directly at Hadrian. “He can’t be released, whether you think him innocent or not. He will refuse to take the Veritaserum, you know.”

Hadrian met his gaze evenly. “Because then he would tell everyone that you’re a werewolf. I’m aware.” Remus stared at him, shocked that Sirius would trust someone else with his secret. “I am not here to discuss Sirius’ innocence or guilt. I am here to offer his apologies, because he asked me to.”

“…he really trusts you, doesn’t he?"

Hadrian shrugged, his smoothing into a blank mask again.

“Fine. Tell him that I accept his apologies. I forgive him, but will request a visit to him once he’s been there for ten years. At that point, I can do that. He’s allowed one from someone outside of his family then. Tell him that.”

Hadrian looked at Remus. “You could use me to send him a letter, if you’d like to.”

Remus gaze immediately cut back to Hadrian from a spot on the wall behind him. “Would you read it?” he asked, suspicion barely able to hide the hope in his voice.

Hadrian shrugged. “Maybe.”

“That’s not the answer I wanted.”

“It’s the answer I’m giving you.”

Remus sighed again. “You’re a Slytherin, aren’t you,” he said, resignedly. “You’re far better at this wordplay than I will ever be.” Seeing the careful blankness of Hadrian’s face, he added “I really don’t care if you are one.”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”

“I’ll take your offer to send him a letter. Thank you, by the way, for offering.”

Hadrian nodded, downing the last of his Butterbeer. “Send me the letter once you’ve written it,” he told Remus as he stood from his chair.

“Wait,” Remus called, causing Hadrian to turn back to him. “What’s your address? I’ve just been using your owl.”

“I’m currently staying at the Rosier Manor. Address it to Hadrian Potter-Black,” was all he said before going through the Floo, leaving Remus gaping at where he was.

“A Potter in Rosier manor,” Remus murmured to himself, then shook his head. “No, a Potter-Black in Rosier manor. He’s not quite a Potter – he isn’t like James and Lily at all.”

Remus wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad thing.

 


 

A week after that, a week before school resumed, Hadrian remembered that his belongings remained at Potter manor. He didn’t want to return to retrieve them, but he needed some of them for school.

“Hestia and I could break in again,” Flora offered.

“No, I’ll go,” Luna said airily.

Felix and Lucian shared a glance. “Umm, Luna, are you sure that you’d be fine breaking in to a house?” Lucian asked carefully.

“Breaking in? Of course not, I’d likely be terrible at that. No, I’ll just ask the Potters to let me collect Hadrian’s things,” the younger girl replied, standing to slip her long, pink coat on.

“Shouldn’t you tell Hadrian that you’re going to his house?” Felix tried, moving to pick up his wand to send a message to the other boy, who was practicing his duelling with Barnaby and Hestia in the room next door.

“I’ll tell him when I get back,” Luna replied, skipping out of the room. “Bye Hadry!” she called, before leaping through the Floo, leaving Felix and Lucian standing staring after her, slightly shell-shocked.

Flora snorted. “Who wants to tell Hadrian that Luna’s gone to see his parents?” she asked.

“Not me,” Lucian muttered, worrying about Hadrian’s reaction.

They all knew that Hadrian trusted Luna, but did not trust his parents to not assume that Luna was a dark witch simply because she was a friend of Hadrian’s.

“To be fair, she has the best chance of all of us,” Felix admitted. “As a Lovegood and all, rather than a Slytherin.”

“Has the best chance at doing what?” Hadrian asked, strolling into the room. “Also, do you know where Luna went? She said goodbye, but I think she went straight out after.”

Lucian froze. “Uhhhh…”

Hadrian frowned. “Flora? Felix?”

Felix shook his head silently, causing Hadrian to turn to Flora, the frown on his face growing more pronounced.

“Oh, for Salazar’s sake,” Flora muttered, then turned to face her friend. “Luna went to retrieve your things from your parents,” she informed him, watching his reaction carefully.

Hadrian froze. “She went where?” he asked quietly, his body tensing.

Felix sighed, a resigned look on his face. “To Potter manor,” he said.

Hadrian turned on his heel, striding out of the room, his face completely blank, unlike how expressive it was usually was around his friends.

 


 

Potter Manor

Luna appeared outside the wards, unable to enter without the permission of the occupants of the manor.

She skipped up to the invisible wards, then knocked on the solid air as if it were a door.

A few minutes later, she knocked again, prompting the air to ripple as Lily Potter stepped in front of her, previously hidden by the wards.

“Hello, who are you?” the older witch asked pleasantly, her red hair held back in a neat bun.

“Hello Lady Potter, I’m Luna Lovegood,” Luna told her, causing the woman’s face to brighten.

“Oh, I knew your mother,” she said, “I was sad to hear that she’d passed.”

“Thank you,” Luna replied. “But that’s not why I’m here.”

“Oh? What are you here for, Luna?”

Luna gave Lily her sweetest smile. “I’m Hadrian’s girlfriend, you see, and I was hoping that I could get some of his things for him, as he needs to pack for school. He was going to come himself, but he had a problem so couldn’t.”

Lily’s face had darkened at the mention of Hadrian, her smile falling slightly into a frown. “You aren’t one his Slytherin friends, are you?”

“No, I’m a Ravenclaw in the year below. Hadrian’s been staying with me this summer,” Luna lied, maintaining her smile.

“Oh, good. Well yes, of course you can take his things. We want him to meet us before he goes back to school, though. Tell him that once he’s done- what’s he doing?”

Luna did her best to look angelic. “Sorting out a problem, ma’am.”

Lily smiled again. “Please, call me Lily. I did know Pandora, after all,” she said, then paused for a moment to think. “Can you try to keep Hadrian away from those Slytherins that he’s been spending his time around? They’ve been a bad influence on him.”

Luna’s face fell. “I’ll try, Lily, ma’am, but they’re quite attached,” she said sadly. “I’m sorry I can’t do more, but-”

“No worries, thank you for trying,” Lily cut in, then gestured behind her. “Do you want to come in and I’ll show you to Hadrian’s room?”

“Thank you, ma’am!” Luna exclaimed, her brilliant smile returning in full force.

 

Luna followed Lily Potter through the wards and up the stone drive way to the sprawling building. Ivy crawled up the grey stone walls, the large windows framed by stone.

The pair went up the steps and through the door, to a marble entrance way, a grand staircase directly opposite the doors. To the left and right there were archways, giving Luna glimpses of various sitting rooms and dining rooms. There was even one that led to a massive library she could remember Hadrian mentioning.

Lily stopped at the bottom of the stairs.

“Harry’s room is the first door to the right up the stairs,” the older witch said. “But would you like to have a snack before you venture into the mess?”

Luna laughed. “Do you have any cookies, ma’am?” she asked.

Lily smiled at her. “I’m sure that I can find some in the cupboard. The kitchen’s just through here-”

 

Luna followed the older witch through one of the living rooms to a large, white kitchen. A man stood at the counter smiling at a small boy sat beside him.

The man’s similarity to Hadrian marked him as James Potter to Luna, meaning that the small boy with dark brown hair and hazel eyes was Charlus Potter.

They both looked towards the doorway as Lily walked in, James moving to brush a quick kiss on Lily’s lips before turning to Luna.

“Who’s this then?” he asked cheerfully.

“This is Luna Lovegood, Pandora’s daughter. She’s in Ravenclaw, but she’s Harry’s girlfriend so she’s come to pick up some of the things that he needs for school,” Lily explained briefly as she went to pick up her son.

James’ face darkened at the mention of Hadrian, just like Lily’s had, and he opened his mouth to speak but was interrupted by Charlus.

“Harry has a girlfriend? Did he pay you?” the little boy asked, laughing.

Luna frowned at him. “No, and that’s not very nice to say.”

Lily glanced at Charlus. “Don’t be mean to our lovely guest.”

“What year are you in, Luna?” James asked, frowning.

“I’m going into third-year,” Luna replied.

“So you’re a year younger than Harry?”

“Yes, sir.”

James nodded. “Well, if Harry ever bothers you too much, send us a letter and we’ll tell him off,” he said, grinning as if he were funny.

Luna played along, though, and smiled. “Well, if it’s ok, can I go and get Hadrian’s stuff now? It’s just that there’s some homework that I need to get back to-”

“Of course! Go ahead,” Lily told her, still holding her 11-year-old son.

Luna smiled and thanked the Potters as she left the room.

 


 

Luna stepped through the Floo at Rosier manor, two bags full of Hadrian’s belongings.

Felix had been walking between the two rooms that their group had been using in the days, and turned to see her.

“Luna, you’re okay!” he exclaimed, rushing forward to hug her. “We’ve been worried about you.”

Luna frowned, her fake smile falling away. “I was only gone for an hour or two. Besides, I knew that I’d be fine. Lily Potter was friends with my mother.”

“You could have mentioned that before! We haven’t seen Hadrian since you left, he walked off when we told him.”

Luna rolled her eyes. “He’s being silly. I simply lied to his parents and now they love me.”

Felix grinned. “I knew there was a Slytherin hidden somewhere in all that Ravenclaw.”

Luna placed the bags by the fireplace, then turned back to her friend. “Where’s Hadry gone?” she asked.

“He headed up to the roof,” Felix told her, shrugging. “But I don’t know if he’s still up there.”

Luna thanked him, then made her way up the stairs. They were just as grand as the stairs as Potter manor, but instead of marble they were a smooth brown granite.

There was smaller, wooden that led to the roof from the third floor and Luna took the steps two at a time, before pushing the door open.

She’d visited the roof once or twice for picnics with Hadrian over the summer, but they had mostly eaten on the grounds when as a group.

Hadrian had liked high, open spaces since leaving Azkaban. He had told her that it was the exact opposite of his cell. And the freezing winters at Azkaban had left him entirely unable to feel the chilliness of the wind.

The roof was slanted, the grey slate leading in two directions from the trapdoor that Luna popped out of. As she stood, she caught sight of Hadrian sitting on the roof about halfway along. She slowly made her way along the roof, her sense of balance excellent.

As she sat down beside him, Hadrian suddenly seemed to realise that she was there, twisting around to squeeze her in a hug.

“Thank Salazar that you’re alright. I was worried that they’d do something to you,” he said hurriedly, his voice full of worry.

“Hadrian, I am fine. I was always going to be fine,” Luna told him clearly. “And you would have known that if you had trusted me. You know that my mum was friends with yours.”

Hadrian lay down on the roof, his hands covering his eyes. “I do trust you, Lunes, I do. Anywhere else and I would have been fine. Well, almost anywhere else. It’s just…”

“You don’t have a good relationship with them,” Luna finished for him. “I know that. I also know that you now have all of your belongings back.”

Hadrian sat up, surprised. “They let you in?” he asked, incredulous. “What did you say to make them do that?”

Luna laughed. “I might have promised that I would try to get you away from all of the nasty little Slytherins that they think are corrupting you. And that you had been planning to go yourself, but had a problem come up.”

“And they bought that?” Hadrian laughed. “Salazar, they really are idiots.”

“Yep,” Luna agreed. She frowned again. “You’re right. They really were horrible. Charlus asked if you’d paid me to be your girlfriend and they barely told him off. James seemed to think that you’d been bothering me.”

“Charlus said what?” Hadrian hissed, his face furious. “And they just let him?”

Luna sighed, throwing her arms around him. “I know. I left to go to your room soon after that.”

Hadrian sighed, pressing a kiss to his girlfriend’s forehead. “Thank you for going to get my stuff, though. I really appreciate it.” Luna smiled at him.

Chapter Text

The 1st of September came a week later, the group making their way to the station an hour early through the Floo. Their time brought about a lot of complaining from the later sleepers in their group.

“Merlin, Hadrian. Did we have to arrive so early? I always arrive just before we leave, yet always manage to get the compartment that I want,” Felix complained, still wiping sleep from his eyes.

“You only get that compartment because I arrive at this time every year,” Hadrian countered, his face blank in the open space.

“You wouldn’t have had to get up so early if you’d packed last night,” Flora sniped at Felix. He made a face at her.

“And you wouldn’t have had to stay up late last night if you had packed last week,” Lucian told her, defending Felix.

 

They found their standard compartment with little difficulty, floating their trunks up to the luggage racks before sitting down; Hadrian sat by the window, Luna curled up next to him with her head in his lap. Felix sat next to her, his legs stretched out in the remaining space. Opposite him, right by the door, Lucian sat next to Flora, playing Exploding Snaps with her. Beside them, Hestia was thrashing Barnaby at chess, as usual.

Conversation bounced around for a while, before the train set off.

“Charlus Potter is joining Hogwarts this year, isn’t he Hadrian,” Lucian said, looking up from his game.

Hadrian smiled slightly. “Yes, he is.”

Flora frowned at him. “I’d have thought that you’d be more upset,” she commented.

“I’m looking forward to him realising that the world doesn’t revolve around him. McGonagall, for example, won’t spoil him like the Potters do.”

Luna laughed. “It’ll do the little bastard some good,” she commented airily. The whole compartment stopped, staring at her. It was very unusual for Luna to say such negative things about people. “You forget that I’m the only person here, except Hadrian, who’s actually met him,” she reminded them.

“Is he really that bad?” Hestia asked, curious at what he’d said to incite such dislike in Luna.

“He asked me if Hadry paid me to date him.”

“Well, fuck,” Flora breathed. “He does sound like a real bastard. I’ll look forward to seeing him put in his place.”

There was silence for a second before Felix started to laugh again.

“What is it, Felix?” Lucian asked resignedly, used to the other boy’s antics.

“Just looking forward to meeting the littlest Malfoy,” Felix replied, his lavender eyes sparkling with laughter.

“I will poison you,” Flora growled. She’d had to endure a summer of teasing from him.

“Do you think he’ll swoon as soon as he sees you? Be overcome by your stunning good-looks?” the boy asked mockingly.

“If he tries to talk to me, I’ll poison him too,” she told him. “He better not kill my chances with Eliza Hilliard. She’s been eyeing me up since the end of the year.”

“Isn’t she the one with the massive crush on Hadrian?” Barnaby asked innocently.

Hadrian looked doubtful. “I don’t think that anyone has a crush on me,” he responded, which only caused the whole cabin to break out in laughter.

“Seriously, Hadrian?” Barnaby asked. “I’m not attracted to boys, but even I think that you’re hot.”

“I am, in fact, attracted to boys,” Felix added, “and I know you’re hot.”

“Well, I don’t see it,” Flora said.

“Yeah, but you’re a lesbian, Lora,” Hestia pointed out.

“…True.”

Hestia turned back to Hadrian. “You are generally considered to be hot.”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

Luna looked up at him from her head’s place in his lap. “Hadry, you’re very hot. As your girlfriend I am completely impartial.”

Lucian snorted. “Luna, that makes you the opposite of impartial,” he told the third-year.

“Does it? Oh. Maybe I should kiss you at the feast, make sure everyone knows you’re my boyfriend.”

“Weren’t we talking about Flora and Eliza Hilliard?” Hadrian redirected, hiding his blush.

“Hadrian, you’re my friend and I love you, but you can be terrible at changing the topic of a conversation,” Flora told him, grinning.

“Seriously though, don’t try your chance with Eliza. She’s only interested in Hadrian, Flora,” Felix told her. She frowned at him.

“How do you know that?”

Felix gave her a look. “Don’t you remember when I asked her out last year?”

“Oh, I forgot about that. Did she tell you that she wasn’t interested in me?” Flora replied.

“No, but if she did go out with you she’d only be doing it to get at Hadrian.”

“That’s annoying. She’s pretty. Maybe Penelope Clearwater will go out with me instead…”

 


 

Charlus Potter had been made to leave for the train annoyingly early – his parents had said that they wanted to try and catch Harry before he left.

Charlus wasn’t sure why though – all they’d done over the summer was complain about him. Why would they want to see him? Maybe it was to talk about the heirship that Harry had taken. His dad had said that it should have been Charlus’, but he didn’t quite see why. Wasn’t Harry born first?

He had found a nice, empty compartment and dug into his collection of sweets that he’d taken from the stash in the kitchen before they left.

A few minutes before the train left, a ginger-haired boy poked his head around the door.

“Are these seats free?” he asked.

He seemed nice, so Charlus told him that there was space for him.

“Thank Merlin! I was worried that I wouldn’t find anywhere to sit, ‘cause my family arrived so late,” the other boy told him as he shoved his trunk up on the rack and threw himself down in the seat opposite Charlus.

“At least you weren’t here half an hour early, like I was,” Charlus replied.

He winced in sympathy. “Why did you get here so early?”

Charlus frowned. “I think my parents wanted to talk to my older brother.” At the confused look he received, he clarified. “He stayed at a friend’s house the whole summer, so they couldn’t do it then.”

“Oh, did he fall out with them or something?”

“I’m not sure,” Charlus answered, “but I think it’s something to do with him being a Slytherin.”

“A Slytherin! Oh, no wonder,” the other boy blurted out.

“What’s wrong with Slytherin?”

“There’s not a wizard in that house who hasn’t gone bad.”

“Oh, maybe that’s why they always argue…” the wizard seemed to remember his manners. “What’s your name?”

“I’m Ron, Ron Weasley. What’s your?”

“I’m Charlus Potter.”

“Woah!” Ron exclaimed. “You’re the boy-who-lived.”

 


 

Hadrian and his friends arrived at Hogwarts without a hitch, squeezing into a single carriage to take them up to the school.

As they followed the flood of students into the Great Hall, Hadrian nodded a quick farewell to Luna as she left them for the Ravenclaw table, before following his friends to the seats at the very end of the Slytherin table, furthest from the teacher’s table. It was traditional for the King or Queen of Slytherin to sit there with their Inner Circle, as it was far from the watchful eyes and ears of the staff.

The Sorting began quickly after they were seated, the small first-years moving in a huddle towards the Sorting Hat.

“You were even smaller than them when you were a first-year,” Felix whispered in Hadrian’s ear.

Hadrian scowled at him. “I was underfed.”

Felix smirked. “Didn’t stop you from being tiny.”

Flora turned to them from Hadrian’s other side. “What are you two muttering about?”

“I’m trying to scare the rest of the house by making it look like we’re scheming,” Felix told her, a grin on his face.

Flora grinned back at him. “I’m game for that.”

Felix’s smile widened. “You’re the scary one, too.”

“I am?” Flora asked, looking excited.

“Certainly! Everyone knows it’s you who slips poison into people’s drinks,” Barnaby told her from the other side of the table.

“I’d have thought that Hestia would be scarier, what with the serious face and everything,” Hadrian mused.

“Nah, Flora’s more unpredictable. But, you’re the scariest by far,” Barnaby replied, shaking his head.

Flora turned to frown at him. “Why is Hadrian scarier than me?”

Felix snorted. “Just about everything. He’s both unpredictable and brooding. And that look he gets in his eyes is just…” Felix shuddered, then seemed to realise Hadrian was staring at him in confusion.

“What look?”

“You know, the one you do when that you did when that kid insulted Luna,” Felix told him.

That seemed to clear things up for him. “Oh, that one. I do that one on purpose.”

Flora rolled her eyes at him. “We know, and it’s because you’re too dramatic.”

At that moment, Hestia – who had been ignoring them – turned to them, her expression exasperated.

“Charlus is about to be called up,” she told them. “Be quiet.”

They fell silent and, sure enough, Charlus’ name was called ten seconds later. McGonagall’s voice rang through the Great Hall as murmuring broke out, the boy-who-lived walking up to the Hat.

Several people in the hall glanced at Hadrian, the connection between the two forming in their heads.

“I bet you ten galleons that he’s a Gryffindor,” Felix muttered to Hadrian.

Hadrian snorted. “I’m not a fool, I’m not going to take that bet.”

“You coward, you.”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “I’m not a Gryffindor, even if my brother is,” he told his friend, a second before the Hat shouted ‘Gryffindor’ to the entire hall.

“Okay, that was nicely done. Did you plan it with the Hat earlier or something?”

Hadrian shrugged. “A magician never tells.”

“We’re all magicians.”

“Well I guess you’re just an idiot then.”

 


 

Charlus had been surprised that the first question he was asked once he sat down at his new house table wasn’t about his defeat of you-know-who, but rather about his brother.

“Are you related to Black?” a red-head who looked similar to Ron asked him, a badge gleaming on his chest.

“Who?” Charlus replied, confused. Why would he be related to a Black?

“You know, Hadrian Potter-Black.”

“Oh, yeah,” Charlus said. “I didn’t know that he was called ‘Potter-Black’ though. He’s my brother, shouldn’t he have the same surname as me?”

The older boy shrugged. “I don’t know. I just assumed he was a half-brother or something. Especially given he was considered dead for about seven years, I thought another parent was raising him.”

“No, not at all.”

“Oh, where was he then?”

Charlus paused. “I don’t know. My parents won’t tell me.”

Charlus was quickly dragged into another conversation, but he couldn’t help but wonder about his brother.

 


 

Hadrian locked eyes with Snape a few minutes before the Welcoming Feast ended, receiving a sharp nod. He stood, gesturing for his friends to follow him as they departed.

“What’s this all about?” Lucian murmured to Hadrian, curiosity in his voice.

“I have to greet the new first-years, remember?”

“Oh, I completely forgot about that,” Lucian replied.

Hadrian shrugged. “There wasn’t a ruler at the start of the year that we joined the school. I can see why you would forget.”

Lucian nodded. “What’s happening with it then? I assume you’ve planned it out.”

Hadrian shrugged. “I mailed the new Prefects, telling them to introduce the House to the first-years, then I’ll say a few words.”

The group quickly walked to the common room, settling into their normal seats by the fire.

As they waited for the rest of the house to arrive, Felix grinned at Flora, who was sitting in an armchair on the opposite side of Hadrian to him.

“I saw the little Malfoy was Sorted as a snake. Do you think he knows who you are?”

“You’re an asshole, you know that right?” Flora replied, rolling her eyes at her friend.

He gave her an easy smile. “So you’ve told me, many times.”

It was at that moment that the common room door swung open, admitting a crowd of Slytherins. They flooded in, finding their way to seats dotted around the common room as they chatted, a few sending wary looks at Hadrian. He ignored them, instead lounging back on his armchair.

A few minutes later, the door opened again and the new Prefects, Farley and Spratt, entered, closely followed by the huddle of first-years. There were nine of them, and they were almost all Purebloods, bar two or three of them.

 


 

Draco Malfoy was having a great first day at Hogwarts.

He’d met his bodyguards, Crabbe and Goyle, on the Hogwarts Express, along with the Parkinson heir and Terry Boot, and sat in a compartment on the edge of the Slytherin section of the train.

He’d visited the boy-who-lived, Charlus Potter, on the train – that had been the one part of the day that wasn’t so good; the other boy had refused him, choosing the Weasley brat over him. An insult to the Malfoy house.

The arrival at Hogwarts itself had gone smoothly, and Draco had been Sorted into Slytherin (as expected). The Feast had been interesting, and he’d introduced himself to his new house-mates.

They’d then followed the Prefects down to the common room; his father had already told him that it was in the dungeons, but not nearly as filthy as the other houses seemed to think it would be.

The Prefects – Farley and Spratt, both fifth-years – gave them the talk about being in both Slytherin and the school in general; they briefly touched on timetables, classes and tutoring, then pointed the group of first-years towards the fireplace, where they said the King and his inner circle sat.

 

Draco had had the ruling system explained to him by his father a few months before he left for school, the Malfoy Lord making it clear that he expected his son to become King one day. The rulers were normally in their sixth-year; once they got to seventh, they had to focus on their NEWTs, and in fifth they were often distracted by their OWLs.

Draco had every intention of becoming King by sixth-year.

Anyway, the group moved over to the current King, who Draco thought looked surprisingly unfamiliar – why didn’t Draco recognise him? He was obviously the heir to a noble house, but which one?

The boy beside him leapt to his feet instead, his eyes flashing in the light of the room. Lavender eyes? That’s odd.

“Welcome, itty bitty firsties,” he began, his tone mocking. “This is Slytherin house, as you may have guessed already.”

Was this wizard serious?

“Felix…” the king cut in, his voice a low growl.

“Alright, alright. I’ll be serious,” the boy – Felix, Draco assumed – muttered in response, before turning back to the first-years.

“Anyway, this is Slytherin-” he repeated, before being cut off again.

“They’ve already had this talk from the prefects, Felix,” the wizard opposite him said, brushing brown hair out of his eyes.

“I almost forgot about that. Thanks for the reminder, Lucian,” Felix mused, his face lighting up. “As you have been told already,” he started again; these words seemed directed at the boy who had reprimanded him – Lucian? “This is the King of Slytherin.” He gestured to the boy beside him. “As his third-in-command, I am introducing you to him. The other students in these seats are his Inner Circle. If you have a problem with him, you can come to see me.” There was a dangerous glint in his odd eyes as he said this, a hint of threat in his easy smile. “Just ask for Felix Rosier.”

At this, the boy – the Rosier heir! – collapsed back into his seat, a satisfied smile on his face. The boy to his left stood.

“As you now know, I am the King of Slytherin,” he began, an amused shape to his mouth. “My name is Hadrian Potter-Black.”

Silence among the first years. Was he related to the boy-who-lived, that damned boy?

“As my third said, if you have a problem with that, talk to him. I have no desire to be bothered by first-years,” he continued, the Rosier boy’s smile widening. “Because I am the king, I set the house rules. Rules that you will all follow.” There was no doubt in the older boy’s voice, only stone-cold seriousness. A threat.

“There is to be no fighting between members of this house outside of the common room. To the rest of the school, we present a united front. Do you have any questions?”

There was a round of shaking heads, as the first-years carefully watched the King’s slightly terrifying expression. His emerald green had darkened earlier, when he reprimanded his third. Draco decided in that moment that he didn’t want to have that anger directed towards him.

 


 

Hadrian made his way to his dormitory not long after welcoming the first-years to the house, his friends following. Hestia and Flora joined them; as fourth-years there was less of a deal made out of girls in the boys’ dorms and vice-versa.

Flora immediately spread out on Hadrian’s bed, prompting him to glare at her, settling down on the sliver that she’d left him.

Hestia leant against Barnaby’s bed post, her robes off and held in her arms, revealing her trousers and dark blue silk top.

Felix was on his own bed, legs tucked under him as he unpacked his trunk.

Lucian turned to Hestia. “Why do you hate the other girls in your dorm so much?” he asked, his face curious.

Flora rolled her eyes. “All three of them gossip all the time,” she answered on behalf of her sister. “And that Derrick boy is always in there. You know, the one from the year above.”

Lucian looked surprised. “Is he the one on the Quidditch team?” he asked, curious.

Felix grinned at him, his eyes twinkling. “Is that a crush I hear?”

“It most certainly is not!” Lucian exclaimed, blushing bright red.

“Mm, that sounds like denial to me,” Felix replied, his eyes twinkling with laughter. “Why else would you be interested in him?”

Lucian turned an even deeper shade of red. “N-nothing,” he stuttered.

“Lucian wants to join the Quidditch team,” Hestia informed them, causing Felix to drop the pile of clothes that he was unpacking, staring at the boy in question.

“Hestia!” Lucian groaned, covering his face with his hands. “Do you always have to do that?”

“Really?” Barnaby asked him, sitting up in his bed.

“Oh, that’s where you kept disappearing to over the summer,” Hadrian remarked, glad at having some resolution.

“Are you any good?” Flora asked Lucian, her head tilted in curiosity.

Lucian shrugged. “Good enough that I think I have a chance at making the team.”

“Well, good luck,” she told him. “Do you want us to help you practice?”

“That would be great. Do any of you actually fly, though?” he responded sceptically.

Hestia pulled a face. “Flora sometimes drags me out.”

“I use my uncle’s old broom,” Barnaby said, a grin on his face. “Not that I’m any good at it.”

Hadrian shrugged. “I used to steal my brother’s broom.”

“I didn’t actually think any of you could fly,” Lucian commented, “but it would be great if you could help me practice.”

“Hey! I can fly,” Flora protested, only to be cut off by a snort from Hestia.

“No you can’t, Lora. You really, really can’t.”

 


 

A while later, the conversation moved to Dumbledore’s announcement at the feast.

“What do you think Dumbles is up to this time?” Flora asked Hadrian, turning to him.

“I’m not sure,” he replied, a frown on his face. “It’s likely something dangerous that’ll get someone killed, though.”

“Yeah, did you see McGonagall’s face? She is not happy about it,” Hestia added, an unusual smile on her face.

Felix laughed. “McGonagall’s face was one thing, but did you see Snape’s? He looked hilarious.”

“Furious. He looked furious,” Barnaby corrected. Felix just shrugged.

“Same thing.”

“Speaking of teachers, did you see Quirrell? He’s come back from his year off and he’s the DADA teachers now,” Hadrian commented.

“Did you ever have him teach you muggle studies Lora?” Lucian asked, unsure of the new teacher.

“No, he left the year that I started. I heard some sixth-years talking about how nervous he always was, though. It makes you wonder where he’s learnt anything about defense.”

“He’s going to be a shit teacher, isn’t he,” Hestia commented, exasperation written across her face.

“I would imagine so,” Barnaby agreed, then turned to Hadrian. “If any of us get behind, can you tutor us?”

Hadrian shrugged. “Sure, I have the time because I gave up care for magical creatures at the end of last year.”

Hadrian had taken an extra subject the year before, meaning he had had more work to do than his friends.

“It was crazy of you to do three extra subjects,” Flora told him. “Which I said to you beforehand, but you didn’t listen.”

“Hey, at least I didn’t continue with three this year,” Hadrian replied. “I considered it last year.”

“Yes, but then you realised that I would enlist you in St. Mungo’s for insanity,” Flora said, her face serious. “I’ll be honest, I’m surprised that Hestia didn’t take three.”

Hestia just rolled her eyes. “Just because I like reading does not mean that I like reading the books my teachers want me to. It’s far more interesting to read detailed accounts of certain things than to just read textbooks because I’m drowning in work.”

 

The group spent another hour in the boys’ dormitory before the Carrow twins left for their own, the boys falling asleep soon after that.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Hadrian woke up earlier than his friends – as usual – and showered and dressed before then sitting on his bed and reading a fascinating book on the Dark Arts; it took an hour before the next boy woke up and it was only half an hour after that they finally left the dormitory.

The group met the Carrows by the door to the common room, then walked to the Great Hall. Luna was already attracting some odd looks at the Slytherin table.

“Luna, did you sleep well?” he asked, sitting down next to her.

“I had some odd dreams,” she told him, “regarding Charlus and the secret corridor.”

Hadrian sighed, resisting the urge to slam his head against the table. “He’s going to do something stupid this year, isn’t he.”

“Yep,” she told him cheerfully.

“Oh, I’m sure he’ll be fine,” Flora told him, spreading butter and a thick layer of jam on her toast. “The public would murder Dumbles is anything happened to their precious boy-who-lived.”

“She does make a fair point,” Barnaby added.

“How dare you! I make more than a fair point, I make an excellent point,” Flora exclaimed in response, pointing her butter knife at her friend.

“Miss Carrow, please do not threaten your classmates,” a tired voice said from behind her; when she turned around, Professor Snape was standing there, a sneer on his face. “That could cause a lot of paperwork.”

“Oh, sorry sir,” Flora replied. “I’ll verbally threaten him next time.”

“As you wish,” the teacher told her, handing out a timetable to each of them. After that, he turned to Hadrian. “Mister Potter-Black, the headmaster requests you in his office in ten minutes.”

The boy in question frowned. “What for, sir?”

“I do not know, Mister Potter-Black. I only know that this meeting is taking away my time to set up my lessons.”

Hadrian let out a long-suffering sigh. “Yes, sir. Should I follow you to his office now?”

Snape nodded, then strode off. Hadrian stood, giving Luna a quick goodbye kiss before following his head of house.

 


 

Hadrian followed Snape up the stairs to the Headmaster’s Office, pushing open the door only to stop when he saw the Potters seated in the chairs across from Dumbledore.

“Ah, Mister Potter,” the old man said. “Come and have a seat.”

He didn’t sit.

“I think you’ll find that my surname is Potter-Black,” Hadrian responded, his face completely blank to hide his utter fury.

“Of course, of course.”

Hadrian took a deep breath. “Professor, what seems to be the problem?” he asked, his tone mockingly polite.

“I called you here to discuss some things with your parents after they voiced some concerns they have about you,” the old man told him, his tone oddly pleasant. “Please take a seat so we can all have a nice talk.”

Could he be more any condescending?

“Sir, I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” Hadrian said, fake apology in his voice.

“Oh, that’s a shame. Why not?”

“According to Article 17, paragraph 3, lines 3 to 5 of the Hogwarts Rulebook, the parents of students are not permitted to meet with students unless there is a specific reason provided and all parties agree to the meeting,” Hadrian cited, raising an eyebrow in challenge.

“Harry, we just want to talk to you,” James said, half rising out of his chair. Hadrian ignored him.

“I do not agree to this meeting, meaning that the Potters are not permitted to meet with me,” he finished, turning to exit the room, only to be stopped by the door closing. From his new angle, he could see the disapproval on Snape’s face.

You’re locked in here with them.

He turned back around. “Forcing me to stay here would be breaking the rules that were put in place at the school’s founding.”

“Surely there’s no need for such hostility, my dear boy,” the old man appealed, his eyes twinkling.

“Albus, the boy is telling the truth. Forcing him to stay here would go against the rules and risk your suspension or even removal,” the potions professor cut in, stepping forward from the shadows.

“Oh-ho, Snivellus is here. How lovely-” James began but was cut off by Dumbledore.

“This is not the time for that James.”

He just does whatever that old man tells him to. How pathetic.

“Mister Potter-Black, your parents just want to talk to you after you ran away from home at the beginning of the summer,” the old man continued, “so it would be good if you would sit and listen.”

Hadrian could feel his magic roiling under his skin in response to his building fury, reminding him exactly why he ran away from home.

No! Don’t show your anger. Keep your cards close to your chest.

“It doesn’t matter what you think would be good, headmaster. Or if the Potters ‘just want to talk’. What matters is that you are breaking the rules,” Hadrian informed the wizard, his voice cold and crisp. “So I suggest you let me out of this office.”

“Harry, we really do want to talk to you,” Lily said, her voice unusually gentle.

I. Don’t. Care.

Hadrian didn’t flinch, staring instead at the Dumbles’ beard, waiting for the door to open.

After a full minute, the old man gave a resigned sigh. “Alright, my dear boy. I shall have to abide by the rules and let you go to your first lesson.” He waved his hand and the door swung open. The man opened his mouth to say more, but Hadrian had already stormed out.

 


 

How dare they! They can’t come to my school and demand to talk to me, they lost that right when they left to rot in Azkaban for seven years because of stupidity. And Dumbledore! He’s always doing things ‘for the greater good’, but he doesn’t care about his mistakes. He doesn’t care about the people who suffer from them.

Hadrian stormed through the school, his magic bubbling like it was about to explode.

It’s their fault that I went to Azkaban. That I was locked up with all the Death Eaters. That the Dementors flew by my cell every night. That I have all my scars. That Sirius is alone in that cell, scared to think about the man he loves.

The corridors all blurred into one, stairs shifting to help him get away.

They may not have put me there, but they sure as hell didn’t get me out fast enough. Didn’t care enough to think about anything except their baby boy, the precious boy-who-lived. The Chosen One. With all that attention, who needs a second son? Why would they care enough to check whether he lived or disappeared? To get their best friend a fair trial?

Somewhere, the clock chimed ten o’clock. I’m supposed to be in Transfiguration. But I can’t go like this – my magic could blow at any second. I could hurt people.

I need to let my magic out. I need somewhere private.

He suddenly spotted a door on the left hand side of corridor that he hadn’t seen before. Pulling it open, he found a large room with lots of breakable things.

Good.

He locked the door behind him, then let his magic crash out of him.

The glass vases shattered, the old pots cracked and the wooden tables splintered as his magic burst out in a midnight blue wave of destruction, cresting at the walls before dissipating. With all of magic released at once, Hadrian fell back against the door, resting his head against it as he took deep breaths.

It’s their fault.

 


 

Hadrian didn’t end up going to his first lesson of the new school year, instead sitting in the strange room for an hour, letting his magic pulse out of him in waves as he tried to take control of his thoughts and emotions again.

When he heard the bell ring again, he stood and brushed his clothes off, then left the room. As he walked away, he saw the door disappear.

How odd. I’ll come back here later to investigate.

He made his way to his next lesson, noting the odd tapestry opposite the door so he could find it again.

Only Hestia took Ancient Runes with him, so he was saved from being surrounded by his horde of friends. Instead, his friend stared at him the entire lesson, trying to work out what had happened herself; she was had a great respect for Professor Babbling, so wasn’t going to talk in her lessons.

This was, however, very distracting for Hadrian as he was normally careful of his surroundings. He found it difficult to concentrate with Hestia watching him, even in his favourite lesson.

Hadrian would have preferred Defence Against the Dark Arts, but the school had been plagued by terrible teachers so he had had to learn everything in his free time.

 

Runes dragged by, Hadrian’s thought distracting him so much that he couldn’t focus at all, despite his normal fascination in the subject.

 

After Runes had ended, Hadrian walked with Hestia to the Great Hall. She managed to hold her questions until they met up with the others, but then the dam burst.

 

“What happened in Dumbles’ office?” Flora asked the second that Hadrian sat down, worry colouring her voice.

“Yeah, you weren’t in Transfiguration. Did the meeting really take two and a half hours?” Lucian asked.

Hadrian took a deep breath.

“My parents had talked to the old man, and arranged a meeting with me,” he told his friends.

Hestia frowned. “That breaks paragraph 3 of article 17 in the Hogwarts rulebook,” she said, her worry showing on her face.

Barnaby gaped at her. “How do you just know that?” he asked, awe filling his voice.

“Anyone who has a bad relationship with their parents should know it,” Flora told him with a shrug. Her gaze cut back to Hadrian. “What happened then?”

“Well I informed him that he was breaking the rules, and he basically said that he didn’t care. Snape told him that I was right, but he forced the door shut; I threatened him and he finally let me out.”

Hestia gave him a look. “That wouldn’t have taken so long. What really happened?”

“My magic was… about to become very out of control,” Hadrian continued. “So I found an empty room and let it out.”

Felix let out a deep breath. “Salazar, that sounds like shit. I’m sorry, Hadrian.”

“Yeah, it’s outrageous of the old man to behave like that,” Lucian added. “He should have told the Potters that they couldn’t see you, or asked you before putting you in that situation.”

“You could make a complaint to the board of governors,” Hestia told him. “They’d give him a warning at the very least, a suspension at best. He wouldn’t be fired, but he’d think twice before putting you in that position again.”

Hadrian nodded, a contemplative look on his face.

 

At that moment, Luna skipped over to them, falling into the empty space next to her boyfriend. She threw her arms around him, squeezing him tightly. She only pulled away a few minutes later, looking at him.

“I could feel something wrong,” she told him. “All the nargles moved away from McGonagall, where they normally sit. Also, there was a tremor in the magic of the castle.”

“A what in the where now?” Barnaby asked, his question echoing the bewilderment that most of the group were feeling.

“The magic of the castle is normally flows freely,” Luna told him matter-of-factly, “but a while ago, it shifted to away from something.”

At seeing the confusion that remained on the faces of their friends, Hadrian explained further. “Luna can see magic,” he said. “From the magical explosion that killed her mother when she was nine.”

Flora stared at him. “And you didn’t think to mention this?” she asked, her voice rising in pitch.

Hadrian shrugged.

“Hestia knows,” Luna informed her, “because she asked.”

“So you’re saying that Luna can see magic, and that’s what she’s referring to when she describes different creatures?” Felix asked, incredulity written across his face.

Luna shook her head. “Nuh-uh. All those creatures are real, but I can only see them because I can see magic. I mean, some of them I haven’t seen. The Crumple-Horned Snorkack, for example, lives in South America and Daddy and I have yet to find it.”

“Ok,” Lucian said, slightly shell-shocked. “Ok.”

Flora opened her mouth to say something, but was interrupted by the arrival of Professor Snape.

“Mister Potter-Black,” the professor began, his voice sharp, “Professor McGonagall reported that you were not present at your first lesson of the new school year. I informed her of the circumstances of the situation, but I fully expect you to catch up on the two hours of work that you missed.”

“Yes, sir,” Hadrian replied.

“Also, I am going to ignore Miss Lovegood’s presence at this table, but I must request that it be limited to breakfast and lunch. Dinner times must be spent with your house, Miss Lovegood.”

“Of course, sir,” the girl in question replied, smiling angelically. “I was just seeing if Hadrian was alright after his terrible ordeal this morning. The nargles were all behaving oddly, you see sir, and I was very worried that he had been hurt-”

Snape cut her off, his sneer morphing into something uncomfortable. “That’s quite enough, Miss Lovegood. I shall be seeing you tomorrow morning for two hours of potions. I’m sure you can… enlighten me then.” At that, he strode back off, his cloak billowing behind him.

Felix began to laugh, Flora quickly joining him, Lucian breaking a grin while Luna erupted into peals of laughter.

 


 

Lucian made Beater at the Quidditch at try-outs a week later, and began practicing once a week with the house team.

At a about the same time, rumours began to circle that Charlus Potter had been made the seeker for Gryffinor after misbehaving in a flying class.

“Typical,” Hadrian growled. “The precious boy-who-lived gets whatever the hell he wants. Consequences for his actions? What are those, he doesn’t know what they are.”

“I’m not so sure…” Hestia disagreed. “You know how McGonagall gets about Quidditch. I think that any one of those baby lions would have been made seeker if they showed skill.”

Hadrian frowned at her. “You are right about McGonagall. She tries to hide it, but everyone knows that she’s very competitive over the Quidditch cup.”

“Exactly,” Flora said, pointing her fork at her friend. “I think that McGonagall couldn’t care less about this boy-who-lived nonsense, but instead just wants to win the cup.”

 


 

September quickly fell into October, which before long it was the day before Hallowe’en.

Hallowe’en may have been a day of celebration for most of the wizarding world, as the anniversary of the day when the Dark Lord was defeated, but Hadrian could only ever think of it as the day that he was sent to Azkaban. The sprawling scars on his back were a painful reminder of Pettigrew’s harsh spell, and they had always seemed to ache a bit more on Hallowe’en.

However, this year was both better and worse. It was the ten year anniversary of the incarceration; Sirius had been wrongfully locked in a horrible prison for a decade. But at the same time, he could claim the Black lordship, giving him more power for the time when he would propose a complete overhaul of the laws surrounding Azkaban.

 

He had requested an entire day off school for Hallowe’en, as it was a Thursday that year. Snape had originally been sceptical to allow him, but once Hadrian had casually mentioned that he intended to annoy the Potters the professor had given him an appointment to see McGonagall about it; as the deputy headmistress, the transfiguration professor was the one in charge of absences from school.

Hadrian had visited her the afternoon on the day before Hallowe’en, making sure to arrive a few minutes early. He knocked on her office door, opening it and stepping through.

“Ah, Mister Potter-Black,” the deputy headmistress said, looking up from a pile of parchment. “Professor Snape told me that you would be coming. Take a seat.” She gestured to the two wooden chairs in front of her; Hadrian slid into one of them.

“Professor Snape said that you want to have an authorised absence from school tomorrow?”

“Yes, on Hallowe’en,” Hadrian said. “It’ll have been ten years since my godfather and I were sent to Azkaban, so I was intending to attend a Gringotts meeting about the Black family in his place and then visit him.”

“Why tomorrow and not this weekend?”

Hadrian winced. “Convicts are only allowed visitors on special occasions. Ten years there is one such event, so I’m going with Remus.”

McGonagall looked up sharply. “Remus Lupin?” she asked, something that Hadrian didn’t recognise in her voice. “You’ve been in contact with him?”

“Yes, professor. Sirius asked me to reach out to him when I left Azkaban,” Hadrian replied cautiously, unsure what his professor was thinking.

The professor seemed to notice his wariness, her face relaxing slightly. “I’m sorry if I alarmed you, Mister Potter-Black. Remus Lupin was once a dear student of mine, but I haven’t heard from him for a long time.”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “He seems to think that that he caused a lot of trouble for you.”

McGonagall laughed. “That he did,” she murmured. She looked up at Hadrian. “Him and friends, your godfather and father two of them. And of course-”

“Peter Pettigrew,” Hadrian finished, keeping his emotions locked up tightly in his chest, “he was one of their friends too.”

McGonagall gave a deep sigh, her expression tired. “Yes, he was.”

There was a pregnant pause, before Hadrian brushed it away. “That’s not why I’m here though, Professor.”

“No, of course not,” the teacher sighed. “Well, I certainly give you permission to leave school tomorrow. You can either tell your teachers yourself or ask your classmates to do so. You need to be back in your common room for your curfew, so leave a little time to inform your head of house that you’ve returned.”

“Yes professor.”

“That should be everything,” McGonagall said, then gave him a stern look. “Make sure to be careful in Azkaban.”

 

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “I grew up there, professor. I’m used to it.”

As he stood and walked out the door, he just heard McGonagall’s muttering.

“Too used to it,” she sighed, a tired look on her face. “More than any child should be.”

Chapter Text

Hadrian left Hogwarts early the next morning, dressing quickly and striding out of the school doors before any of his roommates were even awake.

He walked down to Hogsmeade, to use the Floo in the Three Broomsticks. He stepped out at the Leaky Cauldron, brushing ash and dust off his long black coat.

He ate a quick breakfast in the almost deserted pub, before making his way up Diagon Alley to Gringotts.

 

Upon entering through the grand doors, he addressed the teller behind the main desk, his Gobbledegook far more fluent than it had been when he first visited the bank.

Hello, master goblin,” Hadrian began, the goblin looking up in shock at hearing his own language. “May your gold ever flow and your enemies fall to your blade.

And may your own enemies fall upon the ground beneath your feet,” the teller responded, shock still evident in his expression. “What is your business at Gringotts, wizard?

I have a meeting scheduled with Griphook,” Hadrian told him. “Could you direct me to his office?

The goblin rang a bell on his desk, and a second goblin appeared a moment later. The two had a quick conversation, but the words were too quick for Hadrian to make sense of it.

The second goblin nodded at the teller’s words, then gestured for Hadrian to follow him.

 

They dove in the maze of corridors that was Gringotts, finally reaching the door that read ‘Griphook – account manager’.

Hadrian murmured his thanks as he moved to knock on the door, pulling it open when he heard the muffled "enter."

Griphook looked up, a shark-like grin breaking out on his face. “Ah, Mister Potter-Black. It’s good to see you again.”

“Likewise, Griphook,” Hadrian agreed, then moved onto business. “I assume you are aware of the reason for my visit.”

“Humour me,” the goblin replied, an amused glint in his eye.

Hadrian sighed. “Today marks the ten year anniversary of the imprisonment of Lord Sirius Black. This leaves his Lordship open for a legitimate successor to claim it; as Lord Black’s godson and appointed heir, I am one such person. I scheduled this meeting to claim the Black Lordship.”

“Yes, Mister Potter-Black. Keep in mind that Narcissa Malfoy is another legitimate successor, as Lord Black’s cousin,” the goblin told him. “In claiming this, you may become the target of her ire.”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “I have little concern regarding Narcissa Malfoy.”

“Good,” Griphook responded, grinning again. He pulled out a sheaf of papers, handing them over to Hadrian who untied the ribbon before looking through them. “These are the papers that you need to sign in order to become Lord Black.”

Hadrian nodded, scanning each page before signing it; the process didn’t take long, as there were only a couple of sheets.

“Excellent,” Griphook said, taking the parchment as Hadrian handed it back to him. “I assume that you are in need of a Lordship ring?”

“Yes,” Hadrian responded quickly, having already anticipated the question.

“Gringotts will supply one to you for the fair price of twenty-five galleons, taken from the Black main vault. If you just sign here-”

Hadrian signed the next slip of parchment, which vanished only to be replaced by a small box; inside it was the Black Lord’s ring. He slipped it on, admiring the design. Unlike the heir ring, the lord ring was made of a pale white metal, black instead of white ravens forming a star.

“This reminds me,” he said, turning back to his account manager. “I had the heir ring taken from me. Could I order another, for the time when I decide to appoint an heir?”

Griphook frowned, his brow furrowing. “While it is possible for you to do that, I am concerned about the previous ring. An heir ring, if worn for a more than a few years, can hold the bearers magical imprint in it; it could be used to get past any wards that you have.”

Hadrian frowned. “I have heard of ordinary belongings being able to do that. What makes the heir ring different?”

“Some wards may let in those holding an ‘ordinary belonging’, as you called it. However, this can be prevented by a few extra runes on the wardstone; no rune can prevent the use of an heir or lord ring to do this,” Griphook explained, a serious expression on his face. “Your old heir ring could be used to access any of the Black properties, and possibly the Potter properties too.”

Hadrian let out a deep sigh, leaning back in his chair. “So I need to steal the ring back,” he groaned.

Griphook looked over at him. “Gringotts is able to request the return of the ring. Do you believe that the current holders of the ring will return it if asked to?”

Hadrian shook his head vehemently. “Not at all.”

“Alright then, Mister Potter-Black. I believe that is everything you wished to address today?”

Hadrian nodded, his new ring flashing on his hand. “Yes, Griphook. That is everything.”

Griphook rang a bell on his desk, and another goblin escorted him back to the entrance hall. He strode out of it, and back down Diagon Alley to the Leaky Cauldron, where he ordered a Butterbeer and sat down at one of the tables.

 

He had arranged to meet Remus in the pub at nine thirty in case he was running late, but his meeting had ended at nine, giving him half an hour; he slowly made his way through the Butterbeer while waiting for the older wizard.

Five minutes before the agreed upon time, Remus arrived from the Alley, taking a moment to spot Hadrian at his table before making his way over.

“Hello Hadrian,” he said, a smile on his face. “How’s school?”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow in response. “Hello Remus,” he said, ignoring the question. “Are you ready to leave?”

Remus nodded, glancing at Hadrian’s empty mug. “How long have you been here?” he frowned.

Hadrian shrugged. “Half an hour or so,” he said. “I had business to attend to at the bank,” he explained upon seeing Remus’ confused face.

“Oh, was everything alright?”

“Just fine,” Hadrian replied, standing up. “Are you fine to side-long Apparate me?”

Remus nodded distractedly. “Yes, of course.”

 

The pair made their way back out to the alley, then Hadrian held Remus’ arm before they vanished.

 


 

They reappeared on the wooden pier of the dark and stormy island, buildings dotted across the rocks.

Hadrian jerked away from Lupin, taking shuddering breaths in and out.

The Dementors are worse than I remembered. And the Apparating didn’t help.

Remus reached out, about to lay a hand on Hadrian’s shoulder, but the boy spun around, straightening up. His face was completely smooth, his emotions hidden.

Remus opened his mouth to ask Hadrian what was wrong, but was cut off by a voice from behind him.

“You’re the visitors for Sirius Black?”

Remus spun around, even as Hadrian gave a long-suffering sigh. There was a witch standing on the pier in front of them, her harsh, dark grey uniform making her look like a ghost against the dark surroundings. A silver otter swam around her, moving to circle them too.

“King,” Hadrian addressed her, causing her to stare at him.

“Kid? Is that you?” she asked, incredulous. “What in Merlin’s name are you doing back here?”

“To see Sirius.”

“Yeah, I got that. I’m asking why you thought it would be a good idea to come back. Check the Ministry guidance. No one can come back here if they stayed longer than a year,” the guard told him, her harsh tone contrasting her appearance.

Hadrian rolled his eyes. “Oh please, no one is going to care. They don’t even know that I was here in the first place.”

“Fine, I know how you feel about Black. I’ll let you in,” King told them, cutting off Hadrian. “As long as you don’t tell anyone.”

Remus cut in at this point, seeming to recover from his shock. “Wait- did you stay here?” he asked, gaping at his boyfriend’s godson.

King let out a cackle. “Stay here? He grew up here!”

Hadrian shook his head at Remus. “I’ll explain it to you later.”

“I think I’d like an explanation now, actually,” Remus began, but Hadrian cut him off.

“And I know that we’re wasting time that could be spent with Sirius.” He turned back to King. “I assume that you need to guide us there?”

“Yeah, we took him to the Visitor’s Block,” she confirmed. “Follow me.”

The guard strode off, Hadrian keeping pace with her. Remus was hurrying a short distance behind.

“What’s changed around here then?” Hadrian asked, looking towards the prisoners’ blocks.

King shrugged. “Nothing much. Biggs and Carter are still here. The Doghouse hasn’t had much movement of inmates.”

“Um, what’s the Doghouse?” Remus asked, confused by the conversation.

“It’s what everyone here calls the Murderer’s Block,” Hadrian informed him, turning around. “It’s where Sirius has been staying.” The young wizard turned back to King. “Prickett left then?”

King smirked. “Retired, moved back to Wales. She was ancient, even when you were here.”

“’Even when I was here’? I’ve only been gone four years, King,” Hadrian scoffed, but King frowned at him.

“Watch your mouth kid.”

They arrived at a low, dark-stoned building a few seconds later, King shoving through the door. “Biggs? You’ll never guess who’s here!” she shouted, another guard running.

“Did the Count girl get out of her cell again? I told you-” the second guard began, only to stop dead at seeing Hadrian. “Hadrian? What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to see Sirius. We had a nine thirty appointment,” Hadrian told him, voice slightly mocking. “I thought you were the rule-abiding one, Biggs.”

“I am! Which is why I’m confused that you’re here. It goes against the rules-” the guard began, his voice nervous.

“I gave him clearance,” King interrupted, “’cause it’s been four years since he saw Black. That’s hard on any kid.” She turned back to the visitors. “We put Black in first room. He’s cuffed, so can’t try anything. Do you want to go in both at once or one at a time?”

Remus looked at Hadrian, then stepped forward. “We agreed that I would go first,” he said, following King to the rusted iron door.

 

Once they were out of sight, Biggs turned to Hadrian. “How’s your back doing?”

“It’s not caused me any trouble. That cream you gave me when I first arrived really did its job.”

“I’m glad,” the guard replied, giving a sigh of relief. “How’s Hogwarts?”

“It’s good. I… made some friends.”

“You got Sorted into Slytherin, right?”

“Yep, you guessed right. Your record is clean.”

Biggs was excellent at guessing people’s Hogwarts house; while most of the time it was after they had left and been sent to prison, he had told Hadrian his expectation when he was younger.

“I was in Ravenclaw myself. I never liked my Head of House, though. Professor Fancourt was too airy to be much good in looking after students,” Biggs reminisced.

“I’ve heard Flitwick is much better,” Hadrian offered as consolation.

“Mmm, I have heard that. He was a few years younger than me, so I didn’t know him well while in school, but my niece told me that she liked him. She graduated about ten years ago, a Ravenclaw too, so only had him for about half her time there. Preferred him to Fancourt by a mile, she said.”

Hadrian nodded at that, moving to sit down on the stairs leading to the Guards’ Quarters.

“Oh, sorry about that. We don’t really have enough visitors to warrant a waiting room, so you’ll have to make do. A shame to stain your nice coat, though.”

Hadrian shrugged. “I’m used to it.”

“Of course. I’m not used to visitors like you. They’re mostly grumpy aurors, on ‘official business’. They normally care about getting the dirt on their fancy red robes.”

Hadrian snorted. “Yeah, that sounds about right from the few that I’ve met.”

“James Potter is one of them, isn’t he?” Biggs asked, disdain on his face. “I don’t like him.”

“You’re not alone,” Hadrian murmured.

 


 

Remus was with Sirius for an hour, walking out in a slight daze, an odd expression on his face.

Hadrian ignored him, instead striding into the room that the older wizard had just left. King opened the door to leave, moving past him. He opened the door, walking in.

Sirius looked up from the table as Hadrian entered, his matted hair hanging falling limply around his face. He didn’t look much worse than the last time that Hadrian saw him, obviously using his animal form to avoid the worst of the Dementors’ effects. His prison uniform, so similar to Hadrian’s old one, was filthy, the grey and white stripes a brown colour.

 

“Harry!” he gasped, a huge smile breaking out on his face. He was the only person allowed to call Hadrian by that name. “Remus said you were here, but almost didn’t believe him!” He paused, his smile falling into a frown. “You shouldn’t be here, it’s terrible for you to be near the Dementors again.”

Hadrian rolled his eyes, moving to hug his godfather. “Sirius, I can handle myself.”

“No, you’re just a little puppy. You shouldn’t be doing anything be yourself,” the prisoner replied, pulling a face as he manoeuvred his handcuffs to be able to hug his godson. “A tiny, baby puppy who is adorable and should not be near Dementors.”

“A puppy is a baby dog already, you don’t need to add ‘baby’ to the start,” Hadrian told him. “Besides, I’m fourteen now. Almost fifteen. You don’t need to call me a puppy.”

“But you’ll always be my little puppy,” Sirius pouted. “I remember when you were this size,” he said, holding his hands ten centimetres apart. “Your eyes were your entire body, these huge green things.”

Hadrian rolled his eyes again. “I was never that size, you idiot.”

“Oh, I’m sure you were at some point,” Sirius refuted easily. “But you’ve grown so much! Last time I saw you, you were only half my height.”

“Sirius, last time you saw me I was four and a half feet tall. You remain five foot nine. That’s only a foot taller than I was.”

Sirius pulled a face at him. “Let me dream,” he whined, then settled back down in his metal chair. “Anyway, tell me everything that’s happened in your life.”

“I send you a letter every week.”

“It’s not the same, puppy. I need to hear it all.”

Hadrian sat down in the chair opposite him, and began to give a blow-by-blow account of everything that had happened in the four-ish years since he’d last seen his godfather.

 


 

Four hours later, Hadrian sat back in his seat, having told Sirius everything he could remember. He’d pulled out a packed lunch for each of them, having snuck them out of Hogwarts the day before

“Aw, your girlfriend sounds cute,” his godfather commented, his mouth full of chicken, “but also a bit weird.”

“She’s amazing,” Hadrian smiled.

“And your friends sound great too. I doubt that Flora will date that Clearwater girl for very long.”

“Yeah… we’ve made bets for how long they’ll last. I said that they’d break up by the 3rd November.”

“Mm, planning to defy her family like that though? I approve.”

“Speaking of your approval, what happened between you and Remus?” Hadrian asked, swiftly changing the subject.

Sirius frowned. “I told him that I was sorry. It was a good apology too, I practiced it.” Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “I did!” the wizard defended. “Ask that bastard in the cell next to me, he mocked me for it.”

“Rabastan mocks you for everything,” Hadrian countered. “And don’t try to change the subject.”

“Fiiine,” Sirius moaned. “Remus said that he was sorry too, then he asked if I had actually killed those muggles, very quietly.”

Hadrian winced. “What did you tell him?”

“That I didn’t do it, of course! I told him that I’d never hurt you like that worm did, and to just look at your back for proof. Of course, I then realized that you hadn’t told him about that and panicked when he asked me what I meant. I froze, and it got awkward for a bit. But he said that he believed me a while later, so that’s good!”

Hadrian covered his face with his hands for a moment. “I’m glad that you made up with your boyfriend, but did you have to tell him about my back? I haven’t told anyone yet.”

“Sorry, pup. I didn’t mean to,” Sirius said, looking genuinely sorry.

“It’s not your fault, Sirius. You didn’t know.”

 


 

Hadrian spent another few hours with Sirius, before leaving at five thirty, giving his godfather another sandwich for his dinner.

“Thanks, pup. This food is so much nicer. It explain why you’ve grown so much, if you’ve been eating this.”

“I’ll get you out of here, Sirius. I promise.”

“Thanks, pup,” the man replied, his voice weary.

 

Hadrian met Remus outside, the man reading a book while sitting on the stairs. He looked up, then stood.

“How did your meeting with Sirius go?” the man asked politely, but Hadrian only shrugged. “When we get off this island, I fully expect you to explain everything,” Remus told him, a stern look on his face.

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “Do you now?”

Remus paused, before his face crumpled into something pleading. “Please, Hadrian. I- I need to know what I’ve missed. I was supposed to be there for you, but I wasn’t.”

Hadrian sighed. “Alright. I’ll take us both to the Leaky Cauldron for dinner, and catch you up a bit.”

Remus paled slightly. “I can’t…”

“Afford it? Don’t worry, I’ll pay.”

“Are you sure?”

Hadrian smirked. “I’ll be fine.”

I am the heir to a Noble house and the Lord of another.

 


 

King escorted them back to the pier, where Remus Apparated them to Diagon Alley; they walked into the Leaky Cauldron together, finding a table. They ordered some food, before Hadrian turned to Remus.

“I was a prisoner in Azkaban from Hallowe’en night 1981 until 25th July, 1988 when Dumbledore and the Potters retrieved me.”

Remus gaped him.

 


 

Hadrian arrived back at Hogwarts at about seven thirty, halfway through dinner. He didn’t particularly want to celebrate Hallowe’en after such a hard day; Azkaban had been very difficult for him, even if he didn’t let it show.

I need to learn the Patronus charm, like the guards. To keep the Dementors away, for my peace of mind.

He headed towards the Dungeons, but kept being diverted.

Is the castle trying to tell me something? Should I go where it wants me to? Probably.

He moved along, letting the castle guide him until he was stood outside one of the many girls’ bathrooms. There was an odd grunting from inside, so he slipped in, keeping out of view.

What the fuck is a mountain troll doing here?

Hadrian stayed pressed against the wall, considering what he should do. Three first years were there, his brother included.

I could just do nothing. I’m sure they’ll be fine – the teachers will track down the troll soon enough. But the castle did seem to want me here. Why, if not to help?

He made his mind up; he sent a quick curse at the creature’s club that made it incredibly hot; the troll let out a roar of pain, dropping the club. The smell of sizzling flesh filled the bathroom, but Hadrian had mainly done it so the teachers would hear the troll so they would know where they were.

He then flung an Entrail-Expelling Curse at the troll, ripping its stomach open and sending its intestines crashing to the floor, orange blood pouring out of the injury; the troll collapsed with a bellow of pain, bashing its head as it fell, causing it to fall unconscious. A lot of the blood splashed onto Hadrian; he couldn’t be bothered to deflect it with a spell.

This was not how I wanted to my day to end.

Hadrian stared at the creature for a moment. It may not have been dead yet, but it soon would be without proper medical support.

He shrugged, turning towards the first years as he heard one of them vomiting. Their faces were all ashen, staring at him in absolute horror.

“You- you-” Charlus began, only to be distracted when his ginger friend threw up all over the floor again.

 

At that moment, the teachers burst in, wands at the ready, only to find a half-dead troll and four students, one of them covered in sticky orange troll blood.

“What is going on here?” McGonagall demanded, furious.

Hadrian shrugged. “I defeated this troll,” he informed the teachers.

I cannot be asked to do this right now.

“Defeated it? You’ve bloody KILLED it!” a screech said from behind him, the little lion girl seeming to get over her disgust.

“Oh, please. There’s no need to be dramatic about it. It’s not dead yet,” Hadrian told her, boredom in his voice.

“Mister Potter-Black, what happened here?” Flitwick asked, his face slightly green at the sight of the troll.

“I have no idea. I arrived to find a troll attacking these first-years; I defeated it.”

“Well, surely you knew you would find a troll if you went looking for it?” Flitwick asked.

“Sir, I arrived back at school about ten minutes ago. I had no idea there was a troll. I just stumbled across it on my way to my common room.”

“Mister Potter-Black has been out of school for the entire day, Filius,” McGonagall confirmed. “And he does seem to have defended these three first-years. I suggest we award him house points.”

“Minerva, surely you don’t mean to reward this boy for killing this troll?” Professor Burbage asked incredulously.

“It’s not dead,” Hadrian told her. “Sure, it will be soon, but it’s not dead yet.”

McGonagall turned to the first-years, vanishing the vomit with a wave of her wand. “And what were you three doing here?”

Hadrian could see the looks that the three exchanged.

They’re about to lie to McGonagall.

“I went looking for the troll, Professor,” the girl said with a shaky voice, “because I’ve read about them, so I thought I could handle it. If Charlus and Ron hadn’t arrived, I could have been killed.”

Complete bullshit.

“And if Mister Potter-Black hadn’t arrived, all three of you could have been killed,” McGonagall told them, her tone harsh. “Five points from Gryffindor. Each.”

“But Professor-” the girl began to protest, only to be silenced by the entry of Snape.

“Miss Granger, be thankful that it is not more,” he told the girl. He turned to McGonagall, raising an eyebrow. “I assume you shall award Mister Potter-Black points for defeating the beast?”

It was at that point that the troll took a rattling breath before growing still.

“Now it’s dead,” Hadrian told the first-years carelessly.

“Yes,” McGonagall agreed, eyeing him oddly. “Fifteen points to Slytherin for defeating the fearsome creature.”

Hadrian shrugged, then walked out of the room. His smart clothes were ruined by the troll’s bright orange blood.

And I liked this coat, too.

He made his way to the Slytherin common room, ignoring the stares he received from the few students he passed.

When he entered the common room, it was to find the entire Slytherin house cramped into the space – except for his friends. There was less staring in here and more sidelong glances, the house wary of offending their king.

He strode through the room and into his dormitory, where all of his friends were – Luna included.

When he walked in, they all turned and stared. He paid no attention to it, instead tossing his coat onto the chest at the end of his bed and striding into the bathroom.

Chapter Text

Hadrian spent a while in the bathroom, showering originally to wash all of the blood off, and then to scrub at the dirt that had covered him when he visited Azkaban. He Summoned his bed clothes from his trunk, burning the ruined suit.

I’ll have to burn the coat, too.

He was in a sort of daze, the day too much for him.

Gringotts feels like so long ago, now. But I still need to retrieve my heir ring from the Potters.

But as much as he tried to think up a plan to break into Potter manor, he could only see Sirius’ gaunt face; his dirty hair. The prison clothes hanging loosely on his body – too loosely.

He had known that seeing Sirius again would haunt him, but he couldn’t miss his one opportunity for a long time.

 

After he had finished in the bathroom, he opened the door, to the staring faces of his friends.

There was silence for a while as he moved over to his bed, water flying from his hair as set fire to his coat and then sat down on his bed, next to Luna.

Eventually, Flora opened her mouth. “Hadrian, what happened today?” she asked carefully.

 

Hadrian covered his face with his hand for a moment, taking a deep breath in, before looking up at friends.

“That was mountain troll blood on your clothes, wasn’t it,” Hestia said, her voice oddly subdued. Hadrian just nodded. “Did you kill it?” Hadrian nodded again.

Hestia shrugged. “I’m not bothered too much by that,” she told him. “That troll was a danger to students.”

“Did you know that they eat humans?” Barnaby added, tilting his head curiously. “They like them raw, but don’t care too much either way.”

“That is disgusting,” Felix informed him. “Absolutely disgusting. That reaches ‘why did you tell us that?’ levels of disgusting.”

This caused Hestia to look at him, frowning. “It’s not as disgusting as when you told me about your-”

“Alright, that’s enough,” Felix cut her off, sending a quick glance at Lucian, who didn’t notice. “It’s not a competition,” he added.

 

Amid the arguing of their friends, Luna closed the curtains around the bed then turned to her boyfriend.

“How was Sirius?” she asked quietly, concern on her face.

“He was… cheerful,” Hadrian replied, “but it was to hide how much he’s struggling. He won’t last another ten years.”

Luna pulled him into a hug, letting him press his face into her chest. “I’m so sorry, Hadry,” she murmured as he began to shake, crying for the first time in years.

For the first time in a decade.

 


 

Luna slept on Hadrian’s bed that night, curling up with him as he cried himself to sleep.

This, however, did prove slightly awkward in the morning. His friends, of course, realized that the two teenagers hadn’t done anything inappropriate; Luna was comforting Hadrian as he fell apart.

The teachers, who had been concerned about Luna’s whereabouts after the troll attack, were furious.

 

The pair were pulled out of morning lessons and sent to the deputy headmistress’s office where not only McGonagall but also Snape and Flitwick were waiting for them.

Luna and Hadrian had to sit in the wooden chairs opposite McGonagall as she shouted at them, both of their Heads of House standing next to her. Snape seemed particularly exasperated.

“I have never, in all my time here, seen such terrible behaviour!” the transfiguration professor yelled. “Such inappropriate behaviour! And right after the troll attack, as well. The staff were searching the whole night for you, Miss Lovegood, when you didn’t show up in your common room. What do you have to say for yourselves?”

Hadrian met her furious gaze head on. “Neither Luna nor I broke any rules, professor.”

“Mister Potter-Black, that is evidently not true,” Snape sneered. “You were found exiting the Slytherin common room with Miss Lovegood this morning; when we asked the paintings, they confirmed that she spent the night in your bed with the curtains closed.”

“The rules only state that a student cannot let a student from another house into their common room; Luna let herself in, meaning that that rule wasn’t broken.”

 “The door just lets me in because I ask nicely. I can also get into Gryffindor and Hufflepuff,” Luna confirmed.

“Regardless of that, Miss Lovegood still slept in your bed last night, which is very much against the rules,” Flitwick informed, a slightly scandalized look on his face.

“Neither of us can be punished for that accusation because the only evidence for that is from a painting. Due to the warping that can occur in paintings, the Hogwarts rulebook clearly states that paintings cannot be used to provide evidence for the breaking of rules,” Hadrian refuted. “Therefore there is no evidence that Luna or I broke that rule.”

“Mister Potter-” Flitwick began, but was cut off by Professor McGonagall.

“He’s telling the truth, Filius,” she said wearily. Her gaze cut to Hadrian. “Miss Lovegood was still out of her room past curfew,” she told them, but her tone made it clear that she had realised that there was a loophole in this rule too that was about to be exploited.

“The rule actually says that a student cannot return to their common room after curfew. As Luna did not return to her common room last night at all, she did not break it.”

McGonagall let out a low groan that sounded remarkably like “Slytherins”.

“Alright, Mister Potter-Black and Miss Lovegood. I have no evidence that you broke any rules, so you are free to leave,” she said instead, an exasperated expression on her face.

“Thank you professors,” Luna sang before skipping out, Hadrian following closely behind her.

 

McGonagall turned to Snape. “I hate your whole damn house,” she told him, causing him to crack a grin.

“Just be thankful the Weasley twins aren’t Slytherins.”

All three teachers joined in the laughter.

 


 

Hadrian and Luna arrived at the Great Hall for lunch a few minutes early and went to their normal seats at the Slytherin table. A short time, the doors opened again and a crowd of students flooded in, chattering loudly as they moved to sit at their tables; the couple were quickly joined by their group of friends, collapsing onto the benches.

“Hadrian!” Felix exclaimed. “You didn’t get into too much trouble!”

Flora pulled a face at him. “How’d you figure that one out?”

“He’s got his cheerful face on,” Felix replied, gesturing to Hadrian. He simply raised an eyebrow, his face otherwise utterly blank. “See?”

Flora turned to study her friend. “Hmmm… oh, you’re right. He has got his cheerful face on,” she replied, then turned to the boy in question. “Did you loophole the hell out of them, then?”

“Lora, my dear friend, I have no idea what you are talking about. I didn’t break any rules, so I wouldn’t need to use any loopholes,” Hadrian said, his voice somehow both sarcastic and a monotone.

Flora turned to Luna. “He used loopholes, didn’t he?”

“Oh yeah. He used some really tiny ones, too. But it worked, so we’re both off scot free,” Luna replied, a cheerful grin on her face.

Lucian frowned at Luna. “Not to sound rude, but don’t you normally spend the fifth lunch before a new moon with that Diggory boy in the year below?”

“I do,” Luna told him, “but Hadrian’s more important, and he had a hard day yesterday. I told Cedric that I’d see him for lunch tomorrow instead.”

“Does he even know the schedule for when you eat with him?” Felix asked, an amused smile on his face.

Luna seemed to consider this question. “I don’t think so,” she replied after a moment or two. “He seemed surprised when I told him that I’d eat with him today instead of tomorrow. I’d have thought he’d pay better attention to the moon cycle, though.”

“Luna, I love you, but you’re the only person I know who does pay attention to it,” Hestia told the girl with an exasperated look on her face.

“I’d imagine that a werewolf would pay attention to it,” Barnaby mused, skimming through a chess strategy book. He turned to Hestia, who was sitting beside him. “Can you explain this move to me?”

 

Felix looked at Hadrian, his face unusually serious. “Everyone’s saying that you killed the troll,” he told him. “Some are being… quite harsh towards you.”

“Mm, I heard some of that stuff,” Flora said, “from Penelope. She said that you were a murderer,” she continued, using her knife to point at Hadrian. “So I broke up with her.”

“Because none of us saw that coming,” Felix muttered sarcastically.

“Hey!”

“I’m just saying…” Felix said. “That witch is known for spouting garbage about Hadrian, and you’re known for poisoning people who spout garbage about Hadrian. The relationship was never going to last long.”

“He does make a very good point. You two weren’t good for each other,” Hadrian told Flora. “And now I win the bet. Everyone, pay up.”

There was grumbling as each person gave Hadrian ten sickles, Flora glaring at him all the while.

“I said that you and Penelope would break up by Monday, couldn’t you have waited another three days?” Lucian groaned, taking a bite of his food. “I mean… good on you for defending Hadrian,” he said, as Flora turned her glare on him.

“Thanks though, Lora. For defending me,” Hadrian said, tucking his winnings into the wallet that he kept in his bag. “It means a lot.”

“Ugh,” she groaned, laying her head on her crossed arms. “I liked her, too! Why did she have to be a bitch about you?” She shot Felix a glare. “Don’t answer that.”

“Would I really have done that?” Felix asked, a wounded expression on his face.

“Yeah,” Lucian answered. “You would have.”

“You are an asshole,” Hadrian agreed.

“Traitors, the lot of you. I am the nicest person in the room- nay, the school- nay, the whole country – nay-” Felix’s drama was quickly cut off by Flora sending a silencing spell at him.

“Whatever,” she said, pushing her face off the table. “I’ll get over her soon. I got over Eliza Hilliard pretty quickly.”

“You didn’t actually date Eliza,” Luna told her gently. “You’re allowed to be upset.”

 

“Anyway, enough talking about me,” Flora said. “How are you, Hadrian?”

“I’m fine now,” he replied, stiffening slightly. Flora gave him a look. “I am! Now.” He looked down at his hands. “Luna really helped last night.”

 

“Anyway, we need to talk about that troll! How tall was it? I heard it was ten feet,” Lucian exclaimed.

“It was actually twelve feet,” Hadrian told him, receiving an awe-filled gasp in response.

“I wonder how it got into the castle,” Flora mused, grabbing some food to put on her plate. “I’d have thought the wards would have kept it out.”

“They should have done,” Hadrian said. “From we learnt in Runes on last week, the wards have a special Norse rune combination that uses Eithwaz and Algiz that keep out magical creatures when put together. Interestingly-” upon seeing the confused faces of his friends, he stopped. “Flora’s right,” he simplified. “The troll was let in by someone.”

“Yes, I obviously meant that someone let the troll in,” Flora said sarcastically. “I’m definitely that smart.”

Hadrian rolled his eyes.

 


 

Two days later, Luna’s schedule dictated that she eat lunch with Fred and George Weasley, her childhood friends. Their houses were very close to each other, and they were the same age, so they had played with each other often as children. The same could be said of her friendship with Cedric Diggory.

 

She floated over to the Gryffindor table, falling into the seat beside Fred, George on his other side.

“Oh hello Luna,” Fred said.

“Nice of you to drop by,” George finished.

“Hello Fred and George,” Luna responded, nodding at each of them in turn.

“I will never understand how you can tell those two apart,” Lee sighed from across the table. “I always think I have it, but then something messes it up.”

A voice came from slightly further down the table. “Aren’t you a Ravenclaw? Why are you at the Gryffindor table?” Luna turned, seeing the bushy-haired girl who had begun to hang around Charlus Potter and Ronald Weasley.

“Luna doesn’t really care about houses,” Lee told the first-year. “She regularly eats at all four tables.”

Ron frowned. “Isn’t that against the rules, Percy?” he asked his prefect brother, who was a few seats down.

“Not at lunchtime,” he was informed primly. “Students are allowed to sit wherever they want at breakfast and lunchtime.”

“See, I’m not breaking any rules,” Luna told the first-year, a smile on her face. She turned back to the twins. “Do you have any pranks coming up?”

George looked around dramatically, then leaned in to whisper to the blonde. “Well, we’re going to put a potion in all the Slytherins’ food that makes that their hair turn neon colours.”

“I think Hadry would look good with green,” she told them, “as it would match his eyes.”

Fred smirked. “You know, I heard a rumour that you spent the night in Hadrian’s bed a couple of nights ago.”

“I wouldn’t know anything about that,” Luna informed him. “As he told McGonagall, there’s absolutely no evidence to prove such a thing.”

“Oh, that’s how you got away with it. Ol’ Hadrian used his patented Loophole Technique,” George said, a grin on his face.

“Did you do anything nasty?” Fred asked, a matching grin on his face.

Luna gestured for the twins and Lee to lean in closer, then whispered “no.”

They all settled back into their places. “To be honest, it would be weird if they had done anything,” Lee said. “You are still thirteen.”

“Oh please, saying ‘you’re still thirteen’ as if you didn’t only turn fourteen two weeks ago,” George scoffed. “I do agree with Lee, though. Wait a year or two before doing anything Luna.”

Luna just hummed her agreement.

 

At that moment, Angelina Johnson cut in to the conversation from beside Lee. “Did Hadrian really kill that mountain troll with Dark Magic?” she asked, her face curious. “’Cause that’s what everyone is saying, but he’s not a bad wizard.”

Luna smiled at her. “He’s not a bad wizard at all,” she agreed. “But magic is more complicated than just Light and Dark.”

“He has been good for you,” Fred commented absently. “You’re more… present than you were when we were younger.”

George nodded. “That’s good enough for me.”

“Wasn’t there that rumour at the end of last year that he was the one who attacked those four Slytherins, though?” Lee mused.

“Oh, I remember that,” Angelina said. “Three days, three Slytherins in the Hospital Wing. Nothing for a day, then the next morning that Murk girl was hung up outside the Great Hall. Wasn’t she a sixth-year at the time?”

“Fifth-year, I think,” Fred said. He looked at Luna. “Do you know anything about that rumour?”

Luna seemed to consider her answer. “I think,” she said carefully, “that you would need to understand a few things to get what happened. And you wouldn’t understand them.”

Lee frowned. “That’s not a reassuring answer.”

Luna gave him bright smile. “It wasn’t supposed to be.”

There was a slightly shocked silence for a moment, before the four Gryffindors began to laugh.

“Never change, Luna,” George told her.

“Now you’ve made us all think that Hadrian attacked some of his housemates.” Fred told her.

 

“Excuse me,” a voice piped up from down the table, “but how would a third-year have been able to defeat fifth- and sixth-years?” the third-years turned to see the bushy-haired girl.

“You’re Hermione, right?” Angelina asked. The first-year nodded. “Well, have you talked to Hadrian Potter-Black yet?” Hermione shook her head. “He’s fucking terrifying.”

The first-years listening to the conversation all looked shocked at the older girl’s language, but Lee nodded his agreement.

“Never go up against Black, kids. Ever.”

“I once walked into an abandoned where he was doing his homework, and the look he fixed me with…” Angelina shuddered. “It was really scary.”

“He’s normally alright when we prank him,” George said. “But I have seen him furious.”

Fred nodded. “Do you remember that time some ickle firsty insulted Luna last year? I’ve never seen an eleven year old become a trembling puddle so quickly.”

Luna shook her head. “You’re all wrong: Hadry is adorable,” she told them, a serene smile on her face.

“But you agree that he’d be able to take down people two or three years older than him, right?” Lee asked.

“Oh, of course. He killed that twelve-foot troll with only two spells, after all. He’d definitely be able to do it,” Luna said.

 

“Bloody hell,” Ron exclaimed, “I knew your brother was scary, Charlie, but I didn’t know he only used two spells to do all of that!”

“Oh, I forgot that Hadrian is your brother, Charlus,” George said, looking at the boy-who-lived with new interest.

“Do you have any good stories about him from when he was younger?” Fred asked.

Charlus shook his head. “He went missing when I was one, and only came back when I was seven.”

“Yeah, people thought he was dead, didn’t they,” Angelina commented. “I’ve always wondered where he was then.”

“Do you know, Luna?” Lee asked, but became very confused when the girl stiffened.

“Yes,” she replied sharply, “I do know, and it’s none of any of your business.”

All the third-years at the table looked at Luna in bewilderment.

“Lee was just asking, Luna. We weren’t trying to get involved,” George said, his voice placating.

“Oh, I know,” the Ravenclaw replied cheerfully. “I would get angry if you were.”

“…I don’t think I want to see you angry,” Lee said after a moment.

 

“Why not?” Ron asked, his face scrunched up.

“For starters, Luna is pretty good at duelling,” Lee explained. “She can do a few nasty curses. And, of course, she knows a lot of random information that would probably be really good for blackmailing. On top of all that, she has friends in just about every house. That could be scary if it’s all put together.”

“I actually don’t think I’ve seen you properly angry,” Fred commented, looking at his childhood friend curiously.

Luna shrugged.

“She didn’t seem that scary when she visited my house this summer,” Charlus said to Lee, who looked confused again.

“Why did Luna go to your house this summer?”

Luna turned to glare at the boy-who-lived. “His parents had a disagreement with Hadry, so I went to pick up his stuff before we came back to school. He was mean about Hadry.”

“Phew, I wouldn’t recommend being mean about Black when Luna is around,” George said.

“Once in first-year, she set fire to a boy who said that Hadrian was probably a bastard, which was why he went missing for so long,” Fred added. “He had to go to the hospital wing, and Pomfrey was able to remove the scars, but it could have ended up badly.”

Charlus Potter shrunk slightly under Luna’s gaze, looking slightly worried now.

“I won’t set fire to you yet,” she said in a low voice. “But if you ever say anything like that again…” She let the threat hang.

There was silence for a minute.

“Wow, have you been taking intimidation lessons from your Slytherin friends?” Angelina asked. “’Cause that was scary.”

Luna brightened. “Hestia is one of the best at being scary.”

“Doesn’t she tutor you in transfiguration?” George asked, his brow furrowing. “She is frightening.”

“Yep! She’s one of my bestest friends.”

Chapter Text

The first Quidditch game of the year came a week later: Slytherin versus Gryffindor. Tension rose quickly, stemming from the two houses’ long-standing rivalry.

 

As the new beater for the house team, Lucian was under slightly more pressure than the other players – but not as much as new player normally would be, due to his place in the King’s Inner Circle.

Similarly, a lot was clearly expected of Charlus Potter, but he didn’t seem too nervous; he’d been playing since before he could even walk.

 

The day of the match had Lucian waking up at the same time as Hadrian, for the first time ever. Although his friends were reassuring him plenty, he was still worried and ate his breakfast far too quickly.

“That was a bad idea,” Barnaby commented. “You’re looking positively green.”

“At least he’s showing his house spirit,” Felix said, grinning. Lucian blushed, hitting the other boy in the arm.

“Shut up, Felix!”

“It’s the wrong green to go with his uniform, though. Too pale and sickly, not bright enough,” Felix continued regardless of the complaint.

“Salazar, you’re asshole,” Lucian told him, shoving the last of his toast in his mouth before throwing himself to his feet. “I’m going to meet the team at the stadium.” He strode off.

Barnaby frowned at him. “You didn’t have to tease him so much, he’s really nervous.”

“Ah, but now he’s not thinking about being nervous. He’s just pissed at me,” Felix replied.

“That’s actually pretty clever,” Flora said suspiciously.

“We need to go now if we want good seats,” Hadrian interrupted, before the conversation could deteriorate.

“Yeah, the stands will be really full at the first match of the year,” Hestia agreed.

 

As the group walked towards the stadium, Luna rushed over, a large piece of fabric bunched up in her hands.

“Can you help me hold my sign, Hestia?” the blonde girl asked, her silvery eyes glittering with excitement. “I stayed up really late last night decorating it.”

“Oh, did the glitter work like you wanted it to?” Hadrian asked, giving his girlfriend a quick kiss on the lips. “I know you were worried that the charm would go wrong if it was used at the same time as the-”

“Shh!” Luna told him, clapping her hand over his mouth. “You’ll ruin the surprise.”

 


 

It turned out that Luna’s banner was big enough to need four people to hold it up, rendering her, Hadrian, Hestia and Barnaby unable to do anything but shout their support for their house team.

It was huge and it was neon green and it was glittery, with flashing writing that read ‘Go Lucian!’

Flora and Felix were seated a few metres away from them, having a short whispered conversation before they turned to watch the players fly out.

 

“How’s Lucian’s flying?” Felix asked her, curiosity on his face.

“You didn’t help out with any of his practice sessions, did you?” Flora replied. “He’s good, and his impeccable aim with his spells really pays off in his beating.”

“I didn’t think of that,” Felix said.

“Yeah, he’s definitely better than the other beater on the team,” Flora added. “But I don’t think that’s why you were asking.”

Felix sighed. “Why do you think I have a crush on him?”

Flora gave him a look. “Oh, I don’t know, just everything you say and do around him,” she commented sarcastically.

“Maybe you should get hold on your love life before you start interfering with mine,” Felix replied. “Because you liked Clearwater a lot, however much you try to deny it.”

“I did like her a lot, I’m not denying it,” she said. “I’m not like you.”

“Hey!” Felix began, but was cut off by Flora.

“But she started to talk shit about Hadrian, and you know I can’t stand it when people do that.”

“Yeah, I do know,” Felix sighed. “Just because your first relationship didn’t work out, it doesn’t mean that you won’t find someone to marry in time.”

“I’m aware,” Flora commented wryly. “Doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel weird. This is my first break-up. And I know that it was her fault, but I still feel… weird.”

“I think that’s normal.”

Flora went to say something else, but at that point the players flew out and conversation became almost impossible.

 


 

Gryffindor won the game, despite the ferocious opposition that Charlus’ broom put up. The odd bucking had unfortunately stopped right before the seeker was thrown off, meaning that he went on to catch the snitch. Lucian had got in a good shot with the bludger that thwarted an earlier attempt, though.

 

Hadrian and his friends went to their classroom instead of back to the common room, wanting to stay away from the sombre drunkenness that was sure to follow.

“You know, that Jordan boy’s right. Angelina Johnson is pretty good-looking,” Flora mused.

“I thought you were getting over your break-up,” Felix said.

“I can realise that someone is hot without wanting to do anything about it,” she responded.

“I like Lee,” Luna told them. “He’s cheerful. Angelina’s cheerful too, and she doesn’t think that Hadrian is a bad person. That’s not very common in Gryffindor – quite a few of them are mean about him, according to Fred and George.”

“Oh, that’s interesting,” Flora said. “I didn’t know that. I may have to spike a few pumpkin juices, if I hear anything bad.”

“Flora, don’t be cruel,” Hadrian told her.

“I won’t! I know what I’m doing. Potions are one of my specialties, after all.”

 

Lucian walked in then, collapsing on the desk next to Barnaby. There was a round of applause.

“You did well, Lucian,” Hestia said. “Slytherin would have lost by far more points if not for that excellent shot you made with the bludger.”

Lucian groaned, covering his face with his hands. “We still lost by 110 points. 110 whole points.”

Felix shrugged. “Considering that Potter caught the snitch, that’s not bad at all. And it is only the first game of the year.”

“Besides, Charlus is very good at seeking,” Hadrian told him. “He’s practiced almost every day since he was young.”

Barnaby gave him an odd look. “Did he not have friends?”

Hadrian shook his head. “The Potters were very careful with their precious baby boy. They hardly ever let him leave the manor, from what the house elves told me.”

 


 

November soon turned into December, and with that came the holidays. Felix offered for all of his friends to stay at his house over Yule; they all accepted.

On the last day of school, Hadrian packed all of his belongings, readying to leave for the holidays. It would be the first Yule he’d spent at someone’s house since he was three.

 

The group left on the train the next day, most cautiously excited; almost all of them would have spent the holiday at Hogwarts otherwise.

“Thanks for this, Felix,” Lucian said quietly, blushing. “It means a lot.”

“Yeah, thanks,” Flora agreed. “But are you sure your mother is alright with this?”

Felix shrugged. “She’s delighted to have more people in the house. It’s just been me and her for my whole life, so she’s enjoying finally having other people around.”

“I mean this in the nicest possible way, but doesn’t she have other family or friends?” Luna asked curiously.

Felix shook his head. “Even before my father left, her parents died and she never had any siblings. Then, a few months later, my uncle Evan was killed while resisting arrest and my aunt Druella died from a spell gone wrong. Mother’s friends all moved away after the war.”

“So basically, your mother is really lonely and our presence should cheer her up?” Flora asked, at which Felix nodded.

 


 

The three weeks at Rosier manor were fun for everyone there, and passed by very quickly. True to Felix’s word, Lady Rosier was delighted to have guests – although she insisted that they couldn’t be guests after spending the entire summer there. She had bought all of the children presents for Yule, on top of all the gifts they exchanged among each other.

Flora was especially delighted by the holiday, as she received multiple books on wand lore, which she had gained a fascination with at the start of the summer.

 

Exactly a week and a day after Yule, it was Hadrian’s birthday, for which Lady Rosier had arranged a small party; there were glimmering balloons and a large, emerald cake. It was the best birthday Hadrian had ever had.

 


 

School began shortly after Hadrian turned fifteen, and the group took the Hogwarts Express back to school, settling back into school life with ease.

Classes resumed a day later, and everything returned to normal.

 

Two weeks after the second term began, however, Flora burst into their classroom, Felix in tow.

“You will never guess what we found in the forbidden area on the third floor,” she exclaimed, excitement visible in every part of her body.

“What you found,” Felix corrected. “I was just dragged along,” he muttered.

“What did you find?” Lucian asked, playing along.

“There’s a Cerberus!”

Luna sat up very quickly. “A Cerberus in the school?” she turned to Hadrian. “Come on, let’s go and see it.”

He just turned to Flora. “Lora, why were you in the forbidden area?”

“Because I was curious,” she replied nonchalantly.

“That’s not true,” Felix said. “She wanted to impress Angelina Johnson.”

“Not just because of that!”

“Salazar, Lora. You’re going to get yourself killed one day,” Hestia groaned.

“You sneak into dangerous places all the time!” Flora protested, glaring at her twin.

“Yes, but I am excellent at sneaking.”

“Hestia makes a fair point,” Hadrian remarked. “She’s very good at finding things out too.”

“To be fair, we did notice the trapdoor it was standing on,” Felix said.

Flora nodded enthusiastically. “Yeah, it’s protecting something.”

“It’s odd,” Lucian commented. “You’d think that a Cerberus is a bit obvious.”

“Oh, oh! Maybe it’s like that move Hestia sometimes does when we play chess,” Barnaby exclaimed, “where she does something distracting so I don’t see another move she makes until it’s too late.”

“Something distracting?” Felix asked in a suggestive tone. Barnaby blushed.

“A distracting chess move. Not- not whatever you’re implying.”

“Shut up, Felix,” Hadrian told him distractedly. “Barnaby has a point. What if the forbidden area is a distraction- hiding the actual treasure.”

“Where else has been blocked off this year?” Lucian asked, his brow furrowing.

“Dungeon five is closed because it’s a safety hazard,” Flora said. “Snape said it would be out of use indefinitely.”

“And why do you know that?” Lucian asked.

“I like to brew down there sometimes. The cold air is good for more volatile potions,” she informed him. “Bloodroot poison, for example, would explode if I tried to make it in here.”

“Most people wouldn’t notice one of the abandoned dungeons being put out of use,” Felix said. “And no one else would risk earning Snape’s wrath by asking to brew in a slightly better place. Except Lora, of course.”

“It’s not just ‘slightly better’, Felix, it’s the only place I can brew half of my poisons,” Flora told him, affronted. “Now I have to go to dungeon four, which is in the opposite direction to the common room.”

“We should look around the third-floor still,” Hadrian said. “We can go up there after dinner.”

“Music subdues a Cerberus, right?” Lucian asked. “I mean, according to the Greek myths.”

“Yeah, that’s far too obvious. Yet another reason to think that it’s not the actual place to hide whatever the treasure is,” Felix said. “It doesn’t make sense.”

“Well, we can still check that Cerberus out, though,” Luna said. “Because I’ve always wanted to see one. Could we keep it as a pet?” she asked, excited.

“It’s probably Hagrid’s,” Hadrian told her gently. “And you know how he gets about his creatures.”

“So we’ll go after dinner; everyone wear clothes you’re comfortable to move in,” Flora announced.

 


 

The Slytherins sat down together in the Great Hall, Luna at the Ravenclaw table. They weren’t particularly concerned about the possible danger they would face; they were very capable for their ages.

 

Dinner passed quickly, and then the group met with Luna outside the Hall. They walked together to the forbidden corridor, behaving normally to throw off any suspicion. Once they arrived, however, Felix cast an unlocking charm and they hurried in, locking the door behind them to avoid suspicion.

They turned to face the growling Cerberus. Luna, however, was delighted to meet it and so sung it a nursery rhyme about itself – it went on about guarding the underworld.

“Daddy used to sing that to me,” she told them brightly. “He never thought I’d sing about a Cerberus to a Cerberus though!”

They went through the trapdoor one by one, landing in a Devil’s Snare.

“Oh, this is so gross,” Felix exclaimed. “It’s all slimy.”

“It’s a Devil Snare,” Barnaby told him. The plants began to constrict around the group, causing them to begin to struggle. “It’s put off by light.”

“Felix, you’re the best at charms,” Hadrian prompted him.

Lumos maxima,” Felix incanted, a bright light erupting from the tip of his wand. The tendrils of the plant quickly slithered back, letting the students fall down to the floor.

“I would imagine we go that way,” Hestia said, pointing at the corridor leading to the right.

“There’s slime all over my robes,” Felix groaned, using a quick cleaning charm.

The group strode along the corridor, hearing an odd noise from further along; they emerged into a chamber. There was a door on the other side, but when Felix tried to unlock it he couldn’t. Hadrian tried to blast it down, but that didn’t work either.

“Probably a mixture of colloportus and the anti-alohomora charm,” Felix told him. “We’ll need to find the key that fits that lock.”

“Well, it’ll be one of those ones flying around up there,” Flora told him.

“We need to fly to catch it,” Lucian said. “Unless we could use a summoning-charm…?” he asked, looking at Felix, the resident charms expert.

He shook his head. “If I were to summon a key, they would all come flying at me even if there isn’t an anti-summoning charm on them.” He turned back to the door. “The key should be old-fashioned, probably silver,” he told the group.

“Who wants to fly?” Lucian asked. “I think that I should, but who else?”

“I’ll do it,” Hadrian shrugged. “I’m not bad.”

“I’m willing,” Barnaby said. “Hadrian and I can block it off while you catch it, Lucian. You may not be a seeker, but you’re better on a broom than any of us.”

 

The three mounted the brooms, but hovered slightly above the ground before trying to catch the keys.

“That one over there is silver,” Barnaby said, pointing at one with pink wings. “Wait, it’s too new.”

“That key is the one,” Lucian told them, pointing at one with bright blue wings. “Look, it’s silver and very old-fashioned.”

The other two on the brooms nodded, approaching the flock of keys from beneath while Lucian stayed hovering. Hadrian suddenly shot upwards, the keys scattering out of his way; he chased them around so they were shooting downwards, where Barnaby was. They darted to the side, right into Lucian, who nimbly plucked the key with blue wings out of the horde.

“Is that it?” Hadrian asked, flying over to his friend.

“Yep,” Lucian replied, holding the key to prevent it from escaping.

The trio flew back down to the ground, Lucian twisting the key in the lock, the door swinging open.

“Nice flying,” Felix told Lucian, who blushed.

The group went to through the door to find a giant chessboard, each piece double even Felix’s height.

“I assume we have to play and win to get past this obstacle,” Flora said, then turned to her twin. “Hestia, you want to try it?”

“Sure,” Hestia replied. “I’m the best at chess here.”

She turned to the chess board, surveying it for a second. “I can’t see from down here- Felix, can you levitate me to the top of the King?”

The boy nodded, performing a quick “wingardium leviosa” to fly Hestia up.

“Are you sure it’s a good idea to be part of the game?” Flora asked. “The pieces do get destroyed, after all.”

“That’s why I’ve chosen the piece that can’t be destroyed without us losing the game,” Hestia informed her. “It would be stupid to do anything else.”

 

Hestia asked the white pieces to start, and then moved herself. Although the game was won quickly, the group flinched every time a piece was destroyed; the cracking sound alone was deafening, let alone the proximity of the destruction.

 

After Hestia put the opposite King in checkmate, the white pieces moved aside, letting the group pass into the next chamber. Which was empty.

“I wonder what’s supposed to be in here,” Flora said, looking around.

“I reckon it was that troll that Hadry killed,” Luna replied, “from the smell. Not many things have quite the same odour.”

Hadrian’s eyes narrowed. “I doubt it was able to escape by itself,” he said. “Which means it had help.”

“Probably Quirrell,” Flora said. “I’ve been suspicious since he returned, and he told us in one of our first lessons that he had experience with trolls.”

“He does always disappear,” Hestia added. “And I don’t think Professor Snape likes him at all.”

“We can discuss this later,” Barnaby told them. “This room stinks far too much to stay in for long.”

They walked in to the next chamber, to find a table with seven bottles on it in front of them.

Once everyone was in the room, flames sparked both in front of them and behind them. Hadrian tensed, not letting himself flinch.

Fire and pain, Sirius collapsing-

He hadn’t been good with fire since the explosion when he was four, but he normally just stayed away from it.

Aquamenti,” Felix tried, letting water spout from his wand, but the flames resisted it.

“What spell was that?” Lucian asked him, confused. “I don’t remember learning that one.”

“Oh, I read ahead in the Charms books. It’s taught in sixth-year,” Felix replied.

Flora laughed, turning to the table. “Given that your NEWT spell didn’t work, I guess we’ll have to use the correct method.” She read the note. “Well this is utter shit,” she remarked, crumpling it up. “These potions are easily told apart.” She picked up the first bottle on the left, uncorking and sniffing it.

“Oh, that is one nasty poison right there,” she commented. “Moonseed, I believe.” She spilt some onto the table, where it sizzled.

She put it back in its original place, moving onto next bottle. She examined the contents for a moment, before handing it to Felix. “You can drink some of that if you like,” she told him. “It’s just wine.” The boy shrugged, taking a sip.

“Oh, that is weak,” he complained. “I can barely taste the alcohol.”

“What do you know about alcohol?” Lucian asked. “You’re only fifteen.”

Felix winked at him. “Flora and I have got drunk a fair few times.”

Flora ignored him, moving onto the third bottle. She studied it for longer than the previous two, before finally turning back to the group. “This is Black Fire potion,” she told them, gesturing to the tiny bottle. “I read about it in a book. It should let the drinker walk through those flames,” she continued, pointing at the black flames blocking the door that would let them move forward.

 

“There’s barely enough there for two people, let alone seven of us,” Lucian said, his brow furrowed.

“Would it remain potent if we duplicate it?” Hestia asked her twin, who shook her head.

“No,” Flora replied. “I’ll need to increase its volume. The thing about Black Fire potion,” she continued, holding out her hand for Felix to return the nettle wine, “is that it works at any concentration. So I can do this,” she poured the contents of the tiny bottle into the wine, “and it’ll still work the same.”

She turned back around. “Who wants to drink it first?”

Hestia frowned. “Is it still alcoholic?”

“Barely,” Flora shrugged. “Sure, there’s some, but it won’t get you drunk.”

“Luna’s still thirteen,” Hestia said, sending her twin a stern look.

“I don’t know what you want me to say, Hestia. You either drink the potion or you don’t.”

 

Felix stepped forward, slipping the bottle out of Flora’s hands before taking a swig, his face scrunching up.

“Oh, that potion is nasty,” he said, holding the bottle out to his friends. “Want some?”

“What an enticing offer,” Hadrian commented sarcastically, taking the bottle and taking a sip. “It’s not too bad.”

“That’s because your taste buds were wrecked by the slop in Azkaban,” Felix told him.

The bottle was passed around the group, and then they turned to face the flames.

“Who wants to go first?” Felix asked. “I’d love to, but I have this thing called a body that I don’t really want to risk-”

“For Salazar’s sake,” Flora muttered, stepping through the flames and flinging the door open. “Does that satisfy you?”

“Alright, alright,” Felix said, walking through after her.

I don’t want to do that. I can’t do that.

Hadrian was panicking slightly, his face smoothing over to hiding his terror.

Not again, not again.

I just need to trust Flora. And I do, more than almost anyone.

He took a deep breath, stepping forward.

One step away from the fire… you can still turn back.

He walked through, not seeing Flora’s concerned expression, or Luna looking at him contemplatively.

Before long, the entire group was through, then went into the next room.

To find a- mirror?

“’Erised stra ehru oy tube cafru oyt on wohsi’,” Lucian read from the top of the mirror.

“Wait a second, I’ve heard of this mirror,” Barnaby exclaimed, springing forward to run his finger along the writing. “’Erised’… the Mirror of Erised. ‘I show not your face but your heart’s desire’.” He turned back to face his friends. “The Mirror shows someone their deepest desire.”

“That may be an important mirror, but it’s a mirror nonetheless,” Felix said.

“No, people can get lost in it. Lost in their dreams, effectively,” Barnaby told him. “It’s not a good thing.”

“No one should look in it,” Hadrian said, stepping behind the mirror, the others following him.

“Is this the treasure?” Lucian asked, frowning.

“No, there’s something hidden inside it,” Luna informed them dreamily. “I can see the currents of magic flowing around it.”

“Oh, there’s a lot of runes here,” Flora said. “Could that be useful?” she asked, pointing to the back of the mirror which was, indeed, covered in spindly runes, the black markings spelled on.

Hadrian stepped over to the surface, letting his hands hover just over it. “I know most of these,” he said. “Hestia?”

The girl shook her head. “I do, they’re really simple ones. I don’t know what they mean together though.”

Hadrian nodded in understanding, reading the runes carefully. “These are poorly written,” he said. “They could have used about two far more complicated ones to do the same job as all of these.”

He continued looking over them. “These hide something in the mirror, like Lunes said. But how to get it out…” He stared at them for a moment longer, then lightly touched one of them. “That’s it. You have to want the object without using it.”

“That’s simple enough, none of know what it is to want to use it,” Flora reasoned. “So we’ll get it no problem.”

“Or,” Hadrian said, “I could just do this.” He pulled his wand out, muttering a quick spell that caused all of the runes to disappear, a solid clunk on the other side of the mirror. “Whoever wrote those runes didn’t write a lock, which you always use to stop someone wiping the runes off.”

“You are amazing,” Luna told him, then peeked around the mirror. “It’s some stone,” she told them. “It’s a red stone.” She reached out to grab it, retreating back behind the mirror quickly. She scrunched her face up. “There’s almost no magic around it,” she said, disappointed.

“So this probably is the fake then,” Hestia said. “A diversion, like Barnaby said.”

“Aww, that’s a shame,” Luna said.

 

 

Chapter Text

Hadrian put the odd rock back in the mirror by re-writing the runes, except he used only two sprawling runes, the lines complicated and odd. He finished it with a small rune to prevent anyone wiping it like he had done not ten minutes before, then stepped back to admire his handiwork.

“Impressive,” Hestia commented. “But surely someone will notice the difference?”

“I don’t particularly care,” Hadrian replied. “I’m not even going to try to rewrite the mess that was here before.”

“Fair.”

 

The group left the room, walking back into the chamber with the potions. The flames didn’t spark to life this time.

Flora stared at the table for a moment, then looked at her friends. “I have a quill, does anyone have a scrap of parchment?”

There was some searching through pockets, but after a few seconds Barnaby pulled some parchment out of his sleeve, handing it to her. At the curious looks he received, he frowned.

“I always keep some there, in case of emergencies,” he defended.

Flora leant down on the table, writing on the parchment in big scrawling letters ‘Drink me!’ before attaching it to the hybrid bottle of nettle wine and Black Fire potion with a permanent sticking charm.

The group turned to move on, but Luna paused. “Wait, I think there’s a way out the back,” she said, running back through to the mirror chamber. A second later they heard a shout of “I found it!”

Hadrian turned back, finding Luna holding open a door. “It’s glamoured to look like a normal part of the wall, but I saw the magic around it,” she told him.

“You’re amazing,” he murmured to her, holding the door open.

She kissed his cheek. “Thanks, Hadry,” she told him, slipping through. The others followed, Hestia pulling a face at the show of affection.

Hadrian was the last through, making the door was properly closed behind them before scoring a line in the stone floor to show where it was. He then turned to the group, who were studying the space they were in.

 

“These are the dungeons,” Flora said. “That’s dungeon five right there,” she continued, pointing at a boarded up door.

“Do you think that it’s a coincidence that the door from the fake chamber comes out right next to the place that the real chamber might be?” Felix asked, looking at the wood that blocked the dungeon in question.

“Almost certainly not,” Hadrian replied, moving over to the wood. “There’s likely spells protecting this,” he said, studying the doorway carefully. “But any runes are on the inside.”

“There’s definitely some kind of magic here,” Luna told him. “It’s swirling all over the place.”

“We’ll have to come back another day,” Hestia told them, looking at her watch, “because it’s fifteen minutes until curfew and Luna needs to get back to Ravenclaw tower.”

“Shit!” Luna exclaimed, waving a quick goodbye before running off. The Slytherins followed Flora back to their common room, as she was used to the layout of the distant dungeons.

 

They made it back in about five minutes before curfew, joining the normal rush of students trying to get back before they got into trouble. They made their way to the boys’ dorm.

“I’m looking forward to fifth-year, when curfew is eleven instead of nine o’clock,” Felix commented.

“Luna will still have standard curfew though,” Hadrian said.

“So you two won’t be able to go on late dates. Oh no,” Hestia commented sarcastically.

Hadrian rolled his eyes.

“My robes are still covered with Devil’s snare goo,” Barnaby complained. “And the cleaning charm isn’t working.”

Felix gave a smug smile. “You should have done it earlier, like me,” he told them. “Now you’ll have to wait for the House Elves to do them.”

Flora threw her own gooey robe at Felix, flinging herself down on Hadrian’s bed. The other boy ducked the robe, letting it land by the door. “You know you’re just going to have to pick that up, right?” he asked, grinning at her.

“Asshole,” she replied, closing her eyes as she stretched out.

 


 

A few days later, it was the third day after the full moon so Luna skipped over to the Gryffindor table at lunchtime, dropping into the seat to the left of Lee.

“Hello Luna,” Fred said.

“What’s up?” George asked.

“The sky,” she replied. “How are you lions?”

 “Our attempt to turn the Slytherins’ hair neon colours was foiled by the house elves. It turns out they check the food, so the prank failed when we tried last week,” Lee told her.

“Oh, I could help with that,” Luna told them. “Just give me the potion and I can sneak it into all of their shampoo.”

“The entire houses’ shampoo?” Fred asked sceptically.

Luna nodded. “If you give me the potion, I can try.”

George shrugged. “I’ll give it to you next time we see you, I don’t have it on me right now.”

“We’ll need to make sure it doesn’t do anything until everyone’s used some, though,” Fred said.

Lee nodded. “Else only one or two will end up with neon hair as the others won’t use it.”

“We could set a timer on it… or we could send some powder towards them that would react with it…” George thought aloud.

“Let’s think about it later,” Lee told the twins, “when we’re not with Black’s closest informant.”

“Who, me?” Luna asked innocently.

“Yes, you. We don’t want to reveal any of our product secrets to you,” Lee replied.

“You are his girlfriend, Luna,” Fred agreed.

“Speaking of dating, Angelina was wondering if Flora Carrow is still single,” Lee said bluntly, causing the girl beside him to choke on her drink.

“I most certainly am not!” Angelina exclaimed once she could breathe again.

“You might not have said it, but we all knew you were thinking it,” George told her.

“If this is ‘cause I told you I’m bi…” Angelina threatened

“You keep on watching her out of the corner of your eye,” Fred said.

“You are very obvious,” Lee added. “Yesterday, I you sighed when you saw her outside Charms.”

Luna gave a bright smile. “Unless something’s changed in the fifteen minutes seen I last saw her, Lora is most definitely single. And she mentioned her interest in you a few months ago.”

Months? That’s far too long, she’s clearly moved on,” Angelina said.

“I thought you ‘most certainly do not’ have a crush on her,” George said, a grin on his face.

“Ugh, I hate you four.”

“Lora is still interested in you, Angelina. She mentioned how good you looked in your Quidditch kit when we watched the game you played against Hufflepuff,” Luna told her. “And you should also ask her out first because she doesn’t think you’re interested in her. Because lions are brave and all that, she’s assuming that you would have already asked if you were interested.”

Angelina covered her face with her hands.

 


 

Luna’s birthday was celebrated quietly with her closest friends on 13th February, before she and Hadrian went on a date the day after to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Angelina had ended up asking Flora out for it.

February became March, which quickly led to the Easter holidays. Hadrian and his friends all stayed at school for Easter, not seeing the use in celebrating the holiday of a religion that had long persecuted their kind.

It was only in May that the news spread throughout the school: Charlus Potter and his friends had lost 50 house points each, setting Gryffindor back 150 house points.

The less widely reported news was that Draco Malfoy had lost Slytherin 20 points too, for pure stupidity. The rest of the school would have seen this as less important than the lions’ loss, as it was only about an eighth of the amount.

Hadrian Potter-Black was not the rest of the school. He was the King of Slytherin, the house that Malfoy had embarrassed with his carelessness.

The Inner Circle received the news the morning after it happened, Hestia running over to them at breakfast to tell them that they were in second last place for the house cup. They moved down two places overnight. All because of one student.

Felix, of course, found it hilarious.

“Not feeling best pleased with your little fiancé, are you Lora?” he asked, a huge grin on his face.

“Shut up, Felix,” was her response. “How can you be happy when we’ve lost 20 hard-earned points because of one idiot first-year?”

“Because the lions’ lost nearly eight times as many. Look at the precious little boy-who-lived – he’s not anyone’s favourite person right now,” Felix laughed, pointing at the brunette who had a pained look on his face. “Besides, the arrogant little Malfoy is not nearly as scared as he should be. I’m sure Hadrian’s planning on changing that.”

“I might be,” Hadrian murmured, his hands clenching the table. “Of course, I might also be planning on straight up murdering him to be done with it.”

Felix laughed again. “See? That would clear up your little marriage problem in no time,” he told Flora.

“It would free me up considerably. I’ve not been sure how to explain to Angelina that I’m betrothed to an eleven year old, and him dying would mean I never have to,” she replied, her face contemplative.

“Unfortunately, that would be a crime and we could be sent to Azkaban if we did that,” Lucian told them. “Because killing is bad,” he continued, talking as if they were toddlers.

“Oh, I know how to get away with murder,” Hadrian told him. “I grew up with all the people who got it wrong.”

Lucian had a disturbed look on his face. “I hadn’t thought about that, but he’s right. I’m surprised he hasn’t already become a serial killer.”

“He might have,” Luna told them, “and you’d never know.”

Flora snorted. “He may be able to hide things from most people, but he can’t do much against us. We know him too well. Besides, we’re kidding. I’ll just poison him, like I normally do to people who get on Hadrian’s bad side.”

“Actually,” Hadrian told her quietly, “I don’t want you to do that. I have a better idea.”

 


 

Draco Malfoy was delighted with himself. He’d managed to lose Gryffindor 150 points in one night! Sure, he’d lost 20 points in doing so, but it was nothing in comparison.

He was getting quite a few murderous looks from the older Slytherins though, which wasn’t good. Luckily, none of them would dare touch him, else his father would have their heads.

The King of Slytherin, however, was looking at him contemplatively, which was somehow scarier. The Rosier boy, his third, was laughing as normal but that could mean anything.

His betrothed was Flora Carrow, the King’s second. And hadn’t that been a shock to find out. When his father had told him that he was going to marry the Carrow heir, he’d assumed she’d be respectful and quiet, like his mother. Like Pansy’s mother. Like Crabbe’s mother and Goyle’s mother.

It turned out that she was not, in fact, quiet or respectful but instead loud and bold. She was average height, with dark brown skin and dark red eyes that seemed to glow when she was angry, and short, spiky brown hair that she was rumoured to have invented a new spell to keep.

She was a terrifying figure to most of the house, second only to the King himself. Which did make sense, as she was his second-in-command. Carrow was even dating other people! While that was allowed by the terms of the marriage contract, it was frowned upon, especially as she was only dating girls. There was the implication that she wasn’t a fan of the betrothal, considering she had been dating a girl for four months now. Also, it was Gryffindor, which was horrible.

Draco wasn’t delighted about having to marry someone three years older than him, but he wasn’t going to deny that the marriage was for the good of both their houses. The idea that Carrow might actually break it was shocking to him, but he didn’t truly believe it.

 

So yeah, he was slightly regretting his loss of house points, but not much. As it turned out, he wasn’t regretting it nearly enough.

 

As he was walking to his first class of the day, he was going down a side corridor when an older student appeared in front of him. He looked up, seeing Felix Rosier.

The boy’s odd lavender eyes were glittering with laughter, his pale brown hair ruffled. He wore his usual mocking smile. He took a step closer to Draco, who shrunk back slightly. He hadn’t realised how tall the King’s third was, but he realised then that Rosier stood at least six foot high, almost a foot higher Draco.

“Hello, little firsty,” the boy drawled. “I heard that you lost us twenty whole points in a very un-Slytherin manner.” His tone was condescending, which would have irritated Draco if he weren’t so scared.

“Felix,” came a voice from behind him, the single word a warning. Draco spun, hoping to find a saviour only to see Hestia Carrow, another of the King’s Inner Circle. She was identical to her twin, the only difference their hair; Hestia’s was longer than Flora’s, reaching her shoulders. Or at least it would have done if she didn’t always have it up in a ponytail.

There was a general consensus in the school that she was terrifying, but Slytherins knew her as the witch who could be listening to any of your conversations. The witch who could puzzle a dozen comments into someone’s life story. Of course, Draco knew this was exaggeration but it didn’t stop the rumours from alarming him.

 “Hadrian said we should teach him a lesson.” Did the King’s third just whine?

Draco felt hopeful for a moment, sure that his betrothed’s sister would save him. His hopes were dashed a moment later by her next words.

“He also said to wait for him,” the witch said, her voice steady. “If you want to disobey his commands, then go ahead.”

“Don’t worry, Hestia,” said a voice from beside Rosier; when Draco turned back, the King was standing right there. His black hair seemed to absorb all the light, his eyes gleaming the colour of the Killing Curse.

 

“Draco Lucius Malfoy,” the King said, drawing out each word. “You lost some points for my house.”

“It was only 20 points,” Draco managed to say without fumbling for his words. “I lost them 150.”

“A Slytherin would have planned their action so they didn’t lose any,” the King told him, the blankness in his face unnatural. “A Slytherin would have gone to Snape because they realized that he’s going to take far more points from the Gryffindors. A Slytherin would have made the accusation before curfew so they wouldn’t take the blame. A Slytherin would have kept evidence.

“But I guess that someone who brought such shame to this house isn’t a Slytherin at all,” the King finished, his voice lowering in volume until he was almost whispering. There was something truly terrifying in his expression, something that made Draco want to run and hide.

“I- I am a real Slytherin,” Draco stuttered, his voice quiet.

The King bared his teeth in a savage smile. “Then prove it,” he spat, leaning down until he was eye level with Draco

“Run along now, little firsty,” said the wizard behind him; Draco flinched, the Inner Circle members long forgotten in his fear of the King.

“My father will hear about this!” he exclaimed in a spurt of boldness, then left.

He didn’t run, he would tell himself later. No, he walked at a normal speed, looking back every few second to see if he was being followed. The third’s responding laughter echoing in his head the whole day.

 


 

Hadrian stood up straight once the Malfoy boy had run around the corner, a satisfied expression on his face.

Felix was still laughing at the kid’s departing words.

“Sweet Salazar, he’s entitled,” Hestia said. “What does he think his daddy’s going to do, put us in the naughty corner for giving his precious baby boy a fright?”

This just made Felix laugh harder, the sound echoing in the empty corridor until it called Lucian, who frowned at the boy as he approached.

“I’m assuming from Felix’s incessant laughter that it went well?”

Felix nodded, gasping for breath. “He said- he said that his father’s going to hear about it,” he managed, taking deep breaths to stop his laughter. Hestia nodded, a rare smile on her face.

“He did, in fact, say that his father’s going to hear about the big, scary fourth-years.”

“I’m guessing he didn’t add the last part,” Lucian commented wryly.

“No,” Hestia agreed. “I think that our tactics worked, though. He should think twice before doing something so damn stupid again.”

“I’m surprised that you aren’t delighted at Charlus’ loss of face,” Lucian said to Hadrian.

“Oh, I am,” Hadrian assured him. “I’m just annoyed it came at a cost to Slytherin. It’s not just the points, although I am pissed about them. It’s that the rest of the school will now look at Slytherin and see us a snitches.”

Hestia nodded. “Malfoy just showed everyone that we can be idiotic as they are,” she said, a frown on her face. “But we need to get to DADA before we’re late.”

 


 

Charlus Potter was confused.

He’d been furious with Malfoy when the slimy snake had ratted him out to McGonagall, a smug smile on his stupid face.

But now Malfoy was mad about something? What did he have to be mad about? Gryffindor, whom he hated, had fallen two places on the House leader board overnight. Everyone in Charlus’ house hated him, Quidditch victories now ignored. His parents had also been called, but he wasn’t too worried about that as they’d never punished him before.

Hagrid had dragged the quartet into the Forbidden Forest, and then made them to split up so Charlus was alone with Malfoy (except for Fang, the scary yet cowardly dog. He’d seen him scared by a fly.)

“What’s wrong with you?” Charlus finally snapped, after Malfoy had moodily kicked his fourth tree root.

“Why don’t you ask your damned brother,” Malfoy snapped back. “He’s the one you told mess with me.”

“What in Merlin’s name are you talking about? I didn’t tell my brother to do anything, we haven’t spoken in years,” Charlus retorted.

“Then why did he come after me?”

Charlus stared at the blond. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Malfoy frowned, opening his mouth to spout more nonsense, only for the pair to stumble across the body of a unicorn.

 


 

The group of Slytherins entered dungeon five only a few days later before dinner, having been unable to find a good opportunity until that Friday. It was the day before a Hogsmeade weekend as well, so it wouldn’t be seen as too suspicious that they were stalking around the castle.

 

They arrived at the boarded up door, Felix casting a protego as Hadrian examined it, before telling Flora to throw some acid at it.

The acid ate away at the wood until there was a substantial hole in the door, which Hadrian then stepped through surveying the stone room.

Burning it would have been quicker, but I wasn’t a huge fan of that idea.

“That item over there has a ton of magic swirling around it,” Luna told them, pointing at a grubby little package on a shelf at the back.

“Are there any wards around it?” Hadrian asked.

Luna shook her head. “Not that I can see, but it’s blurry from all the magic flowing around.”

“We advance cautiously,” Hadrian said, “and stop if you feel anything odd.”

The group spread out across the classroom, moving forward in a line. They were about five steps away from the supposed-treasure when Flora stopped dead, a panicked look on her face.

“What’s wrong, Lora?” Hadrian asked urgently, gesturing for everyone else to stop.

“It hurts,” she whimpered, collapsing.

 

“Everyone move back!” Hadrian shouted, leaping back before summoning Flora’s body, watching it fly towards him. He caught her in his arms, feeling a sticky liquid soaking through her clothes.

He took another few steps back, laying her down on the floor.

“She’s bleeding,” Hestia told him, her voice a monotone.

Barnaby nodded, kneeling beside her. He pulled up the sleeve of her robes to show a swirling design of injuries, blood pouring out of them. “Episkey,” he incanted, to no effect. “Plagas illas,” he tried again, “sanandum.”

He looked up at Hestia, worry on his face. “I don’t know enough to heal her,” he said, his voice panicked. “We need to get her to Madam Pomfrey, now.”

Hadrian picked Flora up, throwing her over his shoulder as he hurried out the door, Barnaby rushing behind him to make sure she was alright.

 

They raced through the school, their friends barely keeping pace even as other students stopped and stared. The castle seemed to help them, leading them down shortcuts so they reached the Hospital Wing in five minutes instead of the usual twenty.

Hadrian burst in, startling Madam Pomfrey, who nearly dropped the potion bottle she was holding.

“Mister Potter-Black!” she exclaimed. “You cannot barge in here,” she began, only to see Flora. “Is that blood?”

“Yes madam,” Barnaby replied. “I tried episkey, plagas illas and sanandum, but none of them worked.”

“Lay her down on that bed,” the matron directed. Hadrian had placed Flora gently on the bed. ”Vulnera sanentur,” she incanted, then pulled up Flora’s sleeve again, watching the wounds close up into harsh red lines, then turning to Barnaby. “Mister Lee, get me a Blood-Replenishing potion from the store cupboard. It’ll be on the second shelf from the floor, labelled clearly.” He nodded, hurrying over to the cabinet. “Mister Potter-Black, you need to leave.”

“Ma’am, I won’t leave her alone,” Hadrian said, his face an ashen white. “Please don’t make me go.”

“I’m sorry, Mister Potter-Black, but I need to treat her. You can sit outside, if you would like to, and I can send Mister Lee to tell you as soon as she’s stable, but you can’t stay in here.” As Hadrian turned away, Madam Pomfrey gently caught his arm. “She will get better, I just need to heal her.”

Hadrian nodded slowly, walking slowly out of the Hospital Wing and letting himself slump down on the floor by the door.

 

A few minutes later, the rest of his friends ran to him.

“Is she alright?” Hestia demanded, her face pale and body tense.

Hadrian looked up at her. “She will be,” he told her, a pained look on his face.

“Thank Salazar,” she breathed, closing her eyes in relief.

“Are we allowed in?” Felix asked.

Hadrian shook his head. “Barnaby’s helping but the rest of us aren’t allowed in.”

Felix nodded, slumping down beside Hadrian. “Thank Merlin she’ll be okay,” he said. “When I saw all that blood…” he gulped, shaking his head. “We can’t lose her,” he said, his voice unusually serious.

“We’re not going to,” Lucian told him.

Chapter Text

They waited outside the Hospital Wing for four hours, until ten thirty when Barnaby walked out and turned to them.

Luna had been told by Professor Flitwick that she didn’t have to abide by the curfew, and to instead stay with her friends until they knew that Flora would be alright. She’d held Hadrian’s hand the whole time, to keep both him and her from running into the Hospital Wing.

 

“Lora’s going to be fine,” Barnaby told them. “She’s stable now, and Madam Pomfrey gave her a potion to keep her asleep until tomorrow morning.”

Hadrian let out a deep breath, clenching Luna’s hand tight.

The Slytherins slowly stood, walking quietly to their common room.

Hestia hadn’t said a word since arriving at the Hospital Wing four hours earlier, even her footsteps silent. Barnaby moved to walk beside her, grabbing her forearm just before she walked into the common room.

“She’ll be fine, Esty. I promise,” he said, looking her in the eyes to emphasize his words. She just nodded, her eyes oddly moist. He looked at her for a second before pulling her into a hug, wrapping his arms around her. “I promise,” he repeated softly.

 


 

Hadrian didn’t sleep that night, instead staring at the wall the whole night, sitting up in his bed. At about half one, Hestia slipped into the boys’ dorm, moving to sit on Hadrian’s bed with him.

She sat beside him for an hour, staring at the same place as him. At that point, Hadrian turned to wrap her in a hug, pulling her close.

“She’ll be alright,” he murmured.

Hestia began to shake, tears spilling down her face. “I can’t lose her,” she sobbed. “And I didn’t think I ever would. I can’t… I can’t.”

“I know,” he said. “But you aren’t going to. Not for a long time.”

She pulled back, looking at him. “You should listen to yourself,” she said, a small smile on her face. Hadrian touched his face, looking at the tears that came away on his fingertips.

I didn’t even know I was crying.

“Oh,” he said softly.

 


 

The rest of the dorm woke at six, dressing quickly before they all hurried to the Hospital Wing.

Madam Pomfrey was just opening the door for visitors when they arrived, prompting a loud sigh from her.

“I thought I’d see you lot here,” she muttered. “Miss Carrow is awake, she asked for you all.”

The five of them walked in, Hestia the first to arrive at Flora’s bed.

“Hestia!” she cried out, a smile on her face. “Look at my awesome scars!” Flora held up her arms, uncovered by the Hospital robes. They were covered in spiralling red lines, raised by from the skin by a few millimetres. “They’re all over my body!”

“What the fuck, Lora?” Hadrian asked, moving over to her bedside. “You get scars all over your body and the first thing you think is ‘yay’?”

“You have to admit, those scars are pretty badass,” Felix told him. “Look at them.” Flora nodded smugly, sticking her tongue out at Hadrian.

Hestia stood still for a few seconds, then pulled her sister into a tight hug.

“Oh, this is unusual,” Flora squeaked. “I was not expecting this.”

“You… I have been so worried about you and the first thing you say is ‘look at my awesome scars’.”

“Well, what else am I supposed to say? They don’t hurt or anything, Pomfrey healed them.”

“If they were healed, then why do you still have scars?” Lucian asked curiously.

“They’re curse scars; you can’t remove them even if you can stop them from hurting,” Barnaby told him.

At this point, Angelina burst in, her clothes a mess as she ran over. “I heard you were in the Hospital Wing, Lora. Are you okay?” Luna followed her; she was clearly the one who told Flora’s girlfriend that she was injured.

“I got some awesome scars,” Flora replied cheerfully, “look!” She waved her arms in front of her girlfriend, who stared at her then gave Luna a look that clearly meant ‘what the fuck’.

“What happened?” she asked after a moment, her question much slower than the previous ones.

“Basically, we broke into a place that we shouldn’t have and then I got hit by a nasty curse. I could have died if Hadrian wasn’t so fast at running. Madam Pomfrey had to give me three blood-replenishing potions,” Flora told her, a huge grin on her face. “And now I have these cool scars.”

Angelina covered her face with her hands, taking deep breaths. “Why did you break into a place you shouldn’t have?” she asked the group, an exasperated tone to her voice.

“We wanted to know what was there,” Felix told her.

“And you got really injured by one of the defences,” Angelina said, addressing her girlfriend.

“Yeah,” Flora replied frowning, “we’ll have to take precautions for that next time.”

“There won’t be a next time,” Hadrian said sharply. “We’re not going back there.”

“What do you mean?” Flora asked, her brow furrowed.

“He means that we won’t try again,” Hestia told her. “Not after this,” she continued, gesturing at Flora.

“Why not?” Flora asked, a grumpy expression on her face.

“Lora, you… weren’t in a good state last night,” Barnaby told her softly. “None of us were in a good state, either.”

“You just admitted that you almost died, Lora,” Hestia said, an unusual wobble to her voice. Hadrian only then noticed the huge, purple bags under her eyes. He probably had the same. “You have- you have no idea what that was like for me. For us. I can’t- I can’t do that again. Not when we know there’s that danger and have no idea what triggered it. No idea how to stop it.”

“We were only looking out of interest. We don’t need to get it, so we’re not trying again,” Hadrian said. “And that is final.”

“Ugh,” Flora groaned. “I hate it when you get all preachy,” she told him. “But fine. If you insist.”

At that moment, Madam Pomfrey bustled back over, the students parting around her. “Miss Carrow, you should be fine to leave now. Do you feel able-” the matron began, only for Flora to leap out of the Hospital bed. “- to move,” she finished, narrowing her eyes. “I need to complete the check-up first.”

“Oh well, you can see that I’m fine,” Flora said, leaping from side to side. “Where are my clothes?”

“They’re in the cupboard beside your bed,” Barnaby told her. “We had the house elves wash the blood off them.”

“Good,” Flora said, grabbing the bundle of clothes and moving to the small bathroom to change.

“Miss Carrow-” Madam Pomfrey began, only for the door to shut. “That girl…” she muttered, then turned to the group. “You can all wait outside,” she said, “except for you, Mister Potter-Black. I need to give you a check-up following your one four and a half years ago.”

Hadrian frowned. “Why?”

“To check for any further signs of problems, now that you’re in puberty,” Madam Pomfrey informed him as the others left. “Now, come into my check-up room.”

 

Hadrian followed her in, sitting on the small stool in the centre of the room. As it was a Saturday, he was wearing his own clothes so didn’t need to remove a robe.

Madam Pomfrey performed the diagnostic spells efficiently. After a few minutes, she sat down in the other seat in the room, facing Hadrian.

“There seems to be little change to your health; you’re above average height for your age, and you’re growing normally. Your scars are not causing you any pain, I assume?” Hadrian nodded in confirmation. “There does, however, seem to be something odd with your magic. Would you mind letting it out into the room?”

Hadrian slowly let his magic out from under his skin, letting it drift freely around the room. Madam Pomfrey muttered a quick spell under her breath, a frown appearing on her face.

“Have you been under the effects of a magic-repressing ward since I last saw you?” she asked.

“Yes, ma’am,” Hadrian replied. “I was, about eleven months ago.”

“Your magic core seems be behaving oddly,” she said, “pulsing with an odd energy. I haven’t seen this before, even in students who had had their magic blocked for whatever reason.” She fixed him with a look. “Have you suffered any odd effects since then?” she asked.

Hadrian thought about it for a moment. “I don’t believe so, ma’am,” he paused for a second. “Actually, I had an incident at the start of the school year where my magic burst out of me uncontrollably.”

“Hmm… I’m going to contact one of the Healers specialising in Magical Cores at St. Mungo’s. I’ll send for you when I receive a reply,” Madam Pomfrey told him, standing. “That should be all for now.”

 

Hadrian thanked her and then left, joining his friends and Angelina outside the Hospital Wing, at the same time as Flora. She had dressed in her clothes, but left her robe off to reveal her battered black jeans and a grey t-shirt that read ‘Star Wars’. The short sleeves left her new scars on full display.

“What’s Star Wars?” Hadrian asked, studying her top. “I don’t think I’ve seen you in that t-shirt before.”

“It’s a muggle thing. I went shopping in muggle London a while back to piss of my parents and liked the design. I normally wear it under my robes,” Flora replied, then turned to her girlfriend. “Angelina, do you mind if I cancel our date later?”

The Gryffindor laughed, pulling Flora in for a kiss. “That’s fine,” she replied. “I’m sure I’ll understand if you’ve had something come up.” She walked off, joining her fellow Gryffindor third-years as they walked into the Great Hall, looking at the Slytherin fourth-years curiously.

“The rumours are already going around about you, Lora,” Felix said, laughing. “I just heard a wizard saying that you dove into the lake and were attacked by the Giant Squid.”

Flora grinned. “Do they think the Squid has knives for hands or something? Where would I have got the wounds from?”

“If they think the Squid is dangerous, then they clearly aren’t a very bright wizard in the first place,” Luna said. “It’s very friendly.”

 

The group walked to the Great Hall to eat their breakfast, ignoring the whispers and stares directed at them from all around the room. They left, Flora paying no heed to the eyes fixed on her new scars.

Flora led them down to beside the lake, lying spread-eagle on the ground, staring up at the clouds. Felix sat down beside her, letting her toss her shoes off before throwing her feet into his lap. The rest of the group sat around the pair, Luna resting her head in Hadrian’s lap.

“That cloud looks like the Cerberus,” she exclaimed, pointing to the sky.

“I think it looks more like a witch’s hat,” Flora said.

“No, you’re thinking of a different cloud,” Luna said. “I’m thinking of that one.”

“Oh, I see what you mean,” Felix said.

“I don’t see it,” Flora replied.

“If you look at those as the three heads…” he pointed out, “… and then that’s the body…”

“Oh yeah,” Flora said. “You’re right, Luna, I was thinking of a different cloud.”

 


 

Luna was sitting at the Gryffindor table that lunch, looking up from the twins’ usual seats as they walked over.

“Hey, Luna,” George said.

“Hello Fred and George and Lee and Angelina,” she replied, a grin on her face.

Angelina dropped into the seat next to her, a sigh escaping her. “Wood is working us way too hard,” she groaned, then turned to Luna. “How’s Lora?”

Luna grinned. “We cloud-spotted for a few hours earlier and then dove into the Black Lake and played with the Giant Squid.”

“Did her scars hurt?”

“Not at all, they’re completely healed,” Luna replied, helping herself to a couple of sandwiches.

 

“What actually happened to Flora?” Fred asked.

“’Cause we heard a rumour that she was mauled by a werewolf,” George finished.

“Don’t be ridiculous, last night wasn’t a full moon,” Luna told them.

“I heard that she tried to sneak into the kitchens but got stopped by goblins,” Fred said.

“Everyone knows that it’s house elves who work down there, and they’d never hurt a student,” Luna replied, laughing.

“I heard,” Lee said quietly, “that it was Hadrian who hit her with a Dark curse.”

Luna laughed even harder, getting a few odd glances from the people around them. “People think that Hadry attacked Lora?” she gasped.

Angelina grinned. “I know you guys haven’t really met Lora, or Hadrian, but the idea he would attack her is… ridiculous.”

George frowned. “You’d be surprised by how many people think it’s true,” he told them.

“That’s because people are morons,” Luna informed him knowingly.

 


 

Charlus and Ron and Hermione left for the forbidden area of the third-floor corridor the evening of the day after, worried that the Philosopher’s stone would be stolen by Snape.

They snuck out under the Invisibility Cloak and Neville was the only person who tried to stop them, but he was quickly taken care of.

They got past the three-headed dog easily enough, and the Devil’s Snare was fine once Ron reminded Hermione that she was, in fact, a witch who was capable of producing fire with her wand. With some of his fancy flying, Charlus caught the right key with ease, the wings already crumpled from someone grabbing it.

“Snape’s already been through,” Hermione said worriedly, slotting the key into the lock. The trio hurried onwards, coming out in a large room.

“Is that a chessboard?” Charlus asked, incredulous.

“It’s already been used,” Ron said, looking at the stack of broken pieces on the side, only a few white pieces remaining and considerably more black pieces. “Snape must have won already.”

They ran across the board, then through the smelly, empty room.

“This is where that troll was,” Hermione told them. “Remember, that one Black killed.”

“Oh, I remember it alright,” Ron replied, his face going green again.

They moved on, and into the final chamber, flames sparking to life behind and in front of them. They spun around, seeing their way blocked, before looking at the table with six bottles on it. There was a crumpled piece of paper on the floor that Hermione picked up, frowning.

“Does that bottle say ‘drink me’?” Ron whispered to Charlus, eyeing his friend carefully.

“I think it does,” Charlus replied, stepping forward to stand next to Hermione. “Shouldn’t we just drink this one,” he said, picking up the large bottle. He removed the lid, holding it up to his mouth before Hermione stopped him.

“It might be a trick,” she said. “But there’s something wrong here. There’s supposed to be seven bottles in a row, but they’re all over the table.”

“And there’s only six,” Ron added helpfully.

“I’m aware of that!” she snapped, looking at the paper carefully. “Could Snape have messed it up for us?”

“It doesn’t seem quite his style,” Charlus said. “Surely he’d bring his own potion to get through the fire.”

Hermione sighed. “We’ll have to try our luck with that bottle,” she said, eyeing it warily.

“Well, bottoms up,” Ron said, tugging the bottle out of Charlus’ hands and drinking a swig. “That is disgusting!” he exclaimed, his face scrunching up with his distaste.

He turned to the fire and walked right through it, waving at his friends from the other side. “It worked, guys. You try!”

They found the thief in the next chamber, except it wasn’t Snape at all. It was Quirrell.

 


 

Charlus woke up in the hospital wing three days later, his parents at the foot of his bed.

“Mum and Dad!” he exclaimed, letting them hug him tightly.

“Charlie, I’m so glad you’re alright,” James said, a proud look on his face.

“You stopped Quirrell from stealing the Philosopher’s stone,” Lily told him. “We’re so proud of our brave little boy.”

“Mum,” Charlus groaned, ducking his head in embarrassment. “I’m eleven now, I’m not little.”

She pressed a kiss to his forehead. “You’ll always be my little boy,” she said.

“Ugh,” he groaned, falling back on the pillows. “Ow, my body hurts,” he complained.

“Madam Pomfrey said that that’s normal after everything you’ve been through,” James said, a smile on his face.

Shouldn’t they tell me off for putting myself in danger?

 


 

Hadrian heard about Charlus’ little adventure and shrugged.

“If he wants to get himself killed, it’s not my problem,” he told Hestia, who rolled her eyes.

“I never thought it would be,” she replied. “I thought you should know that the decoy stone was destroyed with Quirrell, the thief.”

“Which means the real one is still in the dungeons, waiting for someone to get themselves killed like Lora almost was,” Hadrian continued. “But Quirel was tricked too.”

“Also, I thought you should know that your parents are here,” Hestia said.

“So what?” Hadrian asked, stiffening.

“They might come and look for you,” Hestia told him. “Given that they tried to talk to you at the beginning of the year.”

“I doubt it,” Hadrian replied, “considering I made it perfectly clear last time that I want nothing to do with them.”

“Except for stealing your Black heir ring back,” Luna pointed out.

“Except for stealing the Black heir ring back,” Hadrian repeated in agreement.

“How are you planning to do that?” Flora asked.

Hadrian shrugged. “Use my Potter heirship to get past the wards when I know they’re out, use my Lordship ring to tell where it is, take it, leave. Easy.”

“Good plan,” Flora replied, rubbing absently at her scars, “want me to come?”

“If you want to,” Hadrian shrugged.

 


 

A few days, it was the end-of-year feast, Hadrian sitting at the end of the Slytherin table, his friends around him.

Felix was laughing at the downcast faces of the rest of the school, admiring the green banners that let everyone know that Slytherin had won the house cup for the seventh year in a row.

Flora was grinning too, Lucian smiling with Felix’s unusually contagious joy.

“Slytherin has won the house cup with 472 house points,” Dumbledore announced to muttering from some of the students.

Hadrian smiled, looking around at his victorious friends.

“However,” Dumbledore continued.

No. Is he going to try to…?

“We must take into account some last minute events.”

The whole school seemed to take a deep breath in, probably wondering what the hell the old man was doing.

“I now award Ronald Weasley-” Dumbledore began, only to be cut off by Hadrian shooting to his feet, Flora beside him letting off a huge bang with a whispered spell.

Muttering broke out, people staring at Hadrian.

“Headmaster, for a moment it sounded like you were going to award house points on the day the house cup is awarded,” Hadrian said loudly, his voice ringing out. “But I’m sure that isn’t true, as you’ll be aware of the Hogwarts Rulebook stating that no points can be awarded or taken away after midnight the day before the end-of-year feast.” He remained standing, staring directly at the old man, muttering breaking out up and down the Slytherin table.

A shout came from the Gryffindor table. “You just want us to lose!” a lion called out, bravely remaining seated.

Hadrian didn’t deign the challenge with a response.

“We’ll discuss this later,” McGonagall said after a too-long moment where the headmaster didn’t respond to Hadrian’s accusation. “For now, we’ll award the house cup to Slytherin.”

The normal cheers were hampered by the confusion. The Slytherins were annoyed that they could have their hard-earned house cup taken away from them; the Gryffindors were annoyed that they were stopped from winning the cup by a snake, as most of them saw it.

 

The end-of-term feast didn’t go very well, the staff quickly leaving at the end to discuss the house cup and the rules around it.

“Well, he fucked up,” Flora snorted, gazing at the now-empty Headmaster’s podium. “Thinking that no one would challenge him for breaking the rules so out rightly.”

“It’s almost embarrassing,” Lucian agreed.

 


 

It was announced the following morning that Slytherin had, indeed, won the house cup and no more points would be awarded.

The students had a proper celebration on the way back, with far too much underage drinking done by the sixth- and seventh- years who hadn’t felt able to do it the previous evening.

This led to a few close calls at King’s Cross Station on the way out.

 

Hadrian followed his friends to Rosier manor, the group celebrating together there for a few hours before leaving for their respective houses.

 

 

Chapter Text

Hadrian spent the first week of the holiday at the Black townhouse, 12 Grimmauld Place. It was run down, the previous owner having passed away seven years prior and the house elf, Kreacher, being generally unhelpful.

After a week of convincing, he finally got Kreacher to start cleaning the house, but the process was slow so he decided to leave the unhelpful elf to it.

 

Instead, he went to Rosier manor, joining Lucian, who had escaped his family the day before. Flora and Hestia arrived a few days later with Barnaby.

They had another great summer together, despite missing Luna in South America. They spent their days duelling and playing Quidditch and reading; they had fun.

 


 

On the 31st July, Hadrian felt the tiny rune he had placed on the Potter manor wards dissolve, which told him that all of the Potters had left the house.

He put his book down.

“Does anyone want to visit Potter manor with me?” he asked his friends; most of them shook their heads, but Flora leapt up, smiling.

“Absolutely. Are we going now?” she asked, slipping her wand out of the holster on her arm. Her scars were still a prominent red, and they were expected to remain that way for at least three or four years.

“If you’re ready,” Hadrian replied, his black trousers and shirt flexible enough to sneak around in.

Flora nodded, her faded black jeans and t-shirt equally flexible.

 

The pair left via the Floo, Hadrian holding Flora’s hand to ensure that she would also be let into the wards of the manor; they arrived successfully, stepping out into the pale marble entrance hall.

“I’ve never seen your manor before,” Flora said, running a hand over the polished wooden mantelpiece, “but it’s really fancy.”

“You saw it when you rescued me last summer,” Hadrian reminded her, examining his Black Lordship ring. “If I just draw this rune…” he muttered to himself, running a finger over the crest. He pulled out his wand, tracing a single rune in the air above the ring. It glowed for a second before darting off; he jogged after it, Flora following him, until they arrived at the Potter’s master bedroom, the door closed. The rune pressed against the door until they heard the lock click and the door swung open.

The pair strode in, ignoring the Potter’s belongings in favour of following the rune to a chest of drawers opposite the bed; the rune pressed into one of the drawers, which pulled open. Hadrian rummaged through the pieces of jewellery for a minute before he found his old heir ring, the familiar magic settling against his as he slid it onto the same finger as his Lordship ring. He took a deep breath in, feeling more grounded.

“What was that rune?” Flora asked, studying the lock on the drawer.

“It allows the lord of a house to locate their heir,” Hadrian explained. “It unlocked the door and this drawer for us because it’s old, old magic – far older than this house and the locking charm on the door.”

“Could my parents use it to get through the wards at Rosier manor?” Flora asked, concerned.

“Not through the wards, no. If they were able to get into the manor, you couldn’t hide from them, but I doubt they know the rune. I found it in a Black family magic book,” Hadrian told her. “As it’s so old, I think most families lost it to time.”

“You’d be surprised at some of the stuff my ancestors kept,” Flora murmured.

“Anyway, we should probably get going,” Hadrian said, “before the Potters return.”

 

The pair hurried back to the entrance hall. Flora was about to step into the Floo, but Hadrian caught her arm.

“Wait, there’s somewhere else where I want to go first,” he said, walking out the front doors and down the drive. Flora caught up with him quickly as they walked along a path through a small wood before emerging in a small town.

“Where are we?” she asked, looking at the old Tudor buildings.

“Godric’s Hollow,” Hadrian told her, “where Charlus defeated the Dark Lord.”

“Why are we here?”

Hadrian didn’t reply, just striding towards the old church steeple in the centre of the town. It took a few minutes, but they reached the building soon enough, the grey stone warm in the summer sunlight.

Hadrian pushed through the gate of the churchyard, holding it open for Flora, then looking at the gravestones.

“One of these is my grave,” he told her quietly. “From when they assumed I was dead.”

“Oh, Hadrian…” Flora said, unsure what to say. “Which one?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’ll help you find it,” she said, walking up and down the rows until she saw him stop, looking down at a tombstone she’d already gone past. “Is that it?” she asked, walking back over.

“They didn’t do my name right,” he said, staring at the headstone.

It read ‘Harry James Potter, 2nd January 1977 – 31st October 1991, beloved son and brother’.

“I guess Harry Potter did die that day,” Flora told him, half hugging him from the side. “Hadrian Potter-Black is someone else. Someone the Potters don’t know.”

“They haven’t even tried.”

“If you want them to try, you’ll have to tell them that. They thought you’d be the same boy they knew. It’s a stupid, stupid mistake, but it’s a mistake they made. They didn’t know how to react, I think. It’s not often your son comes back from the dead.”

“I don’t think I want them to be my parents anymore. They left me there, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being angry about it. They locked me in my room, took away my magic. Rifled through my belongings like they were theirs.”

“Then tell them that,” Flora said. “I have a terrible relationship with my own parent, I know. I can’t exactly talk about making amends. But I also know that the Potters are inherently people who want to be good, no matter how they may seem. They’ll keep bugging you, thinking they’re doing the right thing, not realising that they’ve ruined their relationship with you. They’re Gryffindors, and they can’t read people like you can. Salazar, most Slytherins can’t tell what you’re thinking. If you want them to know something, you have to tell them it.”

Hadrian turned to look at her, surprise on his face. “When did you get so good at advice?”

“I’ve always been this good,” she replied primly.

“You asked Felix about it, didn’t you?”

“Oh yeah. He explained it all to me. It took ages to fully get as well, as I don’t have a good relationship with my own parents. It turns out that parents are supposed to be supportive and kind. I did not know that.”

“Are they?” Hadrian frowned. “That might explain why we’re all so messed up.”

“True,” Flora commented. “There’s you with the Potters, me and Hestia with our parents, Felix with his father,”

“Lucian’s parents love his Death Eater brother, so they can’t be great,” Hadrian added. “Barnaby never talks about his parents, which can’t be a good sign.”

“And Luna’s dad is… absent. Since her mum died, he hasn’t exactly been great,” Flora finished.

“Everything makes sense now,” Hadrian commented, staring at the headstone again. “You know what, I’m going to change this.”

He pulled his bone wand from around his neck, pointing it at his grave. He murmured words under his breath, the engraving smoothing over to be flat stone. He then murmured another incantation, letters carving out of the stone.

“‘If Hadrian were still alive, he’d tell his parents to go fuck themselves’?” Flora read, looking at her friend as he stood, a grin on his face. “That’s going to freak someone out so much,” she said, looking over her shoulder at the church. “It’s great.”

Hadrian shrugged. “If the Potters didn’t want me to do this, they should have had it removed when they found out I was alive.”

“I mean… they can’t have known that you’d do this,” Flora reasoned, gesturing at the offensive headstone.

“Eh,” Hadrian shrugged, “are you ready to leave?”

Flora nodded, walking with Hadrian back to the gate. “Should we go back to Potter manor to Floo or do you know a better way of getting back to Rosier manor?” Hadrian asked her.

“We could catch the Knight Bus but I don’t have any money,” she frowned. “We could ask Lady Rosier to Apparate us back, but she might be busy and I don’t know how we’d get the message to her.”

“I know,” Hadrian said. “Expecto patronum.” A silver lynx erupted from the tip of his wand, running down the road.

 

“What spell was that?” Flora asked, looking in the direction that the lynx had run.

“The Patronus Charm,” Hadrian told her. “It protects against Dementors.”

“Ah. I guess you’re expecting to visit Sirius again, then.”

“Yes, I’m planning to visit next time I’m able to, which will be the fifteenth anniversary. That’s not why I learnt it though. It gives me peace of mind, knowing that I can protect myself against them.”

 

Lady Rosier appeared a short time later, delighted to be helpful; instead of side-along Apparating them back, though, she just used her Ladyship ring which turned out to also be a Portkey.

“Was the lynx Patronus Hadrian’s?” she asked once they had arrived back. “It didn’t seem like Flora’s.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

She smiled to herself.

 


 

August passed quickly, and they soon had to go to Diagon Alley to pick up their school supplies.

“This list has an odd number of books by Lockhart on it,” Flora mentioned. “I heard his books were trash.”

“No, he’s pretty,” Felix told her.

“So you’re only interested in his books because you think he’s pretty,” Hadrian commented dryly.

“That is very true,” Felix replied. “Flora’s right, he’s a really bad writer. But he’s won Witch Weekly’s Most Charming Smile award five times, so there’s that.”

Hestia winced. “Defence is going to be terrible this year.”

“As always,” Lucian reminded her. “Have we ever had a good teacher?”

“Hadrian is a very good teacher,” Barnaby pointed out.

“Yeah, but he can’t teach us all the time.”

“If they get too bad, I could just knock the teacher unconscious and take over the class,” Hadrian mused.

Hestia rolled her eyes. “Too obvious,” she told him. “They’d remember as soon as they woke up.”

“Aw, I was excited for a moment there,” Barnaby said. “You shouldn’t have got my hopes up, Hadrian.”

 

They arrived in front of Flourish and Blotts at that point, only to find signs proclaiming that Gilderoy Lockhart was doing a book signing.

“Sweet Salazar,” Flora said. “Whose decision was it to come school shopping today?” she asked, eyeing the long queue.

“Felix’s,” Hadrian said distractedly, walking right past the line and into the book shop. “Luckily, they’re only here for the Lockhart, so we’re fine to come in.” The others followed him in, but he’d already disappeared into the book shelves.

A moment later, he reappeared, clutching a thick book titled Wandlore for Experienced Witches and Wizards. He handed it to Flora.

“I thought you’d like this, it’s the new book by Ollivander.”

“New? If that’s new, I’ll eat my hat. It already has dust on it,” Felix exclaimed.

“I didn’t realise that this had come out yet! How did you know?” Flora said, extremely excited.

“I asked the shop to mail me when they got it,” Hadrian told her.

“Thank you!”

 

Despite their initial ease at finding the books they wanted deep in the stacks, they soon realised that they’d have to join a much longer queue for the Lockhart books. It was while waiting in this queue that the Slytherins heard the announcement: Lockhart would be teaching Defence at Hogwarts.

 

“Does he have to?” Flora groaned.

“No, this is bad,” Felix said.

“I thought he was your celebrity crush,” Lucian told him, blushing slightly.

“First off, no. Thinking someone is pretty does not mean they are my crush. Second of all, having him as a teacher will ruin that! I can’t have someone be my teacher and still think he’s pretty,” Felix said, dramatically clutching at his chest.

“Flora had a crush on her muggle studies teacher for the entirety of third-year,” Hestia supplied.

“Ah, but Professor Burbage is more than just pretty. She’s hot,” Felix deflected.

“There’s a difference?” Hestia asked, raising her eyebrows incredulously. “I will never understand people.”

 


 

The group arrived at Platform 9¾ as early as the previous year, finding a compartment. Luna joined them later, having been in South America for the entire summer.

“Hello Hadrian and Flora and Hestia and Felix and Lucian and Barnaby,” she chirped, skipping over to Hadrian. She leaned down to kiss him, before shoving her sunflower-yellow trunk on the luggage rack. She then fell down into the empty spot on Hadrian’s right.

“Hello Luna,” Hestia said amusedly. “I trust you had a good time in South America?”

“Uh-huh!” Luna exclaimed. “I got all of these bracelets there.” She waved her arms around, showing the few dozen string bracelets tied around her arms.

“They’re very colourful,” Felix commented. “It’s like a messed-up rainbow.”

“I also had time to knit myself this jumper,” Luna continued, “but it took ages. And I ran out of blue wool.”

Her jumper did, indeed, start out blue but quickly morphed into an array of neon colours, the bright yellow and pink and orange and green clashing horrifically. Hadrian hadn’t seen anything that he thought suited Luna better.

“It’s very you,” he told her. “I really like it.”

“Aw, thanks Hadry.”

The train set off then, jolting slightly. Angelina popped her head around the door.

“Flora!” she exclaimed cheerfully. “Do you want to come see me in my carriage?”

“That sounds great,” Flora replied to her girlfriend, standing up.

 


 

Draco almost missed the train, the damned house elf having been nowhere to be found, meaning he couldn’t get his trunk.

Another house elf had finally found it, but they’d had to leap into the Floo at two minutes to eleven and Draco had run for the train; he’d only just managed to haul his trunk on before the train had left.

 

It was then that he realised that he was in the Gryffindor section of the train.

Obviously, the House divides weren’t definitive; many people had friends in other houses. But he was deep enough in the lions’ territory for it to be a problem.

He began to make his way up the train to the part of the train where he knew his fellow Slytherin second-years would be.

Halfway there, he was stopped by two Gryffindor fifth-years, their smiles wide enough to spell trouble.

“Oh, look here Towler. It’s a baby snake, wandering the train all alone,” one of them said, looking at Draco. “Whatever shall we do with it?”

“We could tie it up in an empty carriage, wait for its fellow snakes to find it,” the other – presumably called Towler – replied.

“Or you could realise that you’re both in a crowded corridor with people walking up and down it,” a voice said from behind the boys; they both turned to reveal Flora Carrow, her short-sleeved top revealing the furiously red scars that, rumour said, covered her whole body. “And you’re really fucking loud.”

“C- Carrow,” one of them stuttered, “we aren’t scared of you!”

Flora snorted. “You may be idiots but I’m not. Now, let go of the second-year go or I’ll make you.”

 

This was the closest Draco had ever been to his betrothed, and she wasn’t even acknowledging that fact.

“Towler already told you that we aren’t scared of you!” the other shouted, reaching for his wand but he was on the ground before he could even touch it, Towler tripping over his fallen friend a second later.

Carrow stood there, a savage smile on her face. “Warn your little lion cubs not to mess with the snakes,” she told them. “Run along, firsty,” she said, turning to Draco.

“I’m a second-year now,” he told her numbly, still shocked from the older girl’s incredibly fast take down of her opponents – by purely muggle methods, too.

“I don’t really care,” she told him, striding past him. “Just go meet your little friends or whatever it is twelve year olds do.”

Draco watched her walk away, then hurried to find the compartment with his friends in.

 


 

The train arrived at Hogwarts on time, as always, by which time Flora had returned from going to see her girlfriend.

Hadrian gave the thestral pulling the carriage a quick stroke before they climbed in, moving swiftly up to the school.

“Sparkly is pulling our carriage again this year,” Luna told him cheerfully. “He’s my second favourite thestral.”

“I thought I recognised him,” Felix said. “It’s the ears that gave me the hint.”

“I don’t like Sparkly that much,” Barnaby said. “He tried to eat my hair last year.”

“I preferred the one from third-year,” Hadrian said. “She was faster than all the thestrals so we got to the castle first.”

“That was Juniper,” Luna said. “She’s my fourth favourite.”

Only the Carrow twins and Lucian couldn’t see the thestrals.

 

“I forgot earlier Luna, but which OWLs are you doing?” Lucian asked, changing the subject.

“Care of Magical Creatures and Divination,” she told him. “I’m really good at divination.”

“I thought you weren’t a seer?” Felix said, tilting his head curiously.

“I’m not,” Luna agreed, “I am, however, good at making things up on the spot and pretending to know what I’m talking about.”

Felix laughed loudly enough to attract attention from other carriages.

 


 

The Welcoming Feast was fairly standard, the first-years being Sorted with little difficulty.

“I heard you defended your dear little fiancé on the train,” Felix said to Flora, a grin on his face.

She rolled her eyes. “Some lions tried to make an example of him so I made an example of them instead. I was defending Slytherin.”

“Yeah, but why were you even in the Gryffindor part of the train?” Felix asked, a knowing glint in his eye.

“To go and see Angelina.”

“So you could say-” Felix began.

“You’re an absolute asshole,” Flora told him.

“- you ran into your future husband on your way to see your secret girlfriend.”

“Please, there’s nothing secret about their relationship,” Hadrian said. “They’ve been dating for nine months now. If anything, she ran into her secret future husband on her way to see her girlfriend.”

“You haven’t told her about Malfoy yet, have you,” Barnaby said, something knowing in his eyes.

“I don’t know how to tell her,” Flora admitted. “Especially as she’s not from a noble family. She doesn’t know anything about arranged marriages. I don’t think she’d understand, especially not for me keeping it secret for so long.”

“I mean, that’s not going to change. If anything, it’s going to get worse,” Lucian told her. “You should tell her soon.”

“Maybe,” Flora said.

 

 

Chapter Text

The school year began with the teachers piling on the work, giving long lectures about the importance of their OWLs that year.

It was incredibly boring.

 

It was only on their second day that they had a lesson with Lockhart, which was… underwhelming.

They were given a test on Lockhart himself, with fifty four questions ranging from curious to absurd.

Felix got fifty three out of fifty four, only tripping up on the Professor’s favourite species of bird.

 

“Only three of you scored above fifty,” the teacher said, disappointed. “I really expected better; you should have read your textbooks before entering fifth-year. How do expect to get your OWLs if you can’t remember simple things about a celebrity such as myself?”

Hadrian exchanged a look with Flora, who was sitting next to him.

“Professor, are you actually going to teach us anything this lesson?” Flora asked bluntly, an exasperated expression on her face.

“Of course! I’ve taught you all about the career of an accomplished adventurer: myself,” Lockhart preened, brushing an imaginary piece of lint off his robes.

“I meant anything useful,” she replied. “Anything that will get us through the OWLs you just mentioned.”

“How dare you! My life story is incredibly-” the Professor began, his face red, only to be cut off by the bell. The class stood as one, bustling about and generally preventing the teacher from saying anything else.

 

“So that was utter shit,” Flora said as they walked out. “You’re going to have to tutor us this year, Hadrian.”

“I have an idea…” he replied contemplatively. “Just wait until next lesson.”

 


 

Luna ate lunch with Cedric Diggory that day, leaping down into the seat opposite him.

“Hello Cedric,” she greeted. “How was your day?”

“It’s been pretty good, how was yours?” he replied, a smile on his face.

They’d known each other since they were two, living as close as they did.

“It’s been sunny so far,” she told him.

“How was your summer?” he asked. “You and your dad went to South America, right?”

“Yes,” she replied cheerfully. “We didn’t find any Crumple-Horned Snorkacks, though.”

“That’s a shame.”

“How was your summer?”

“It was good, but I didn’t do much. Just finished my homework and met up with friends a few times,” Cedric replied, shrugging. “How’s your friend Flora? Her scars look pretty painful.”

“They don’t hurt,” Luna reassured him. “Madam Pomfrey healed them fine. The scars just remain because they were caused by a curse.”

“People are still saying that your Hadrian did it to her,” Cedric said, shaking his head. “I told them off, but there’s only so much I can do.”

“Thanks for trying, Cedric. Hadrian’s not too worried about it because he knows it isn’t true,” Luna said.

“I’m glad,” the boy replied sincerely.

 


 

Hadrian received a note from Madam Pomfrey the following morning, telling him to visit her in the Hospital Wing.

He stood from the Slytherin table, quickly explaining where he was going before striding to the Hospital Wing. He entered quietly, knocking on the Matron’s door when he couldn’t see her.

“Ah, Mister Potter-Black,” she said, holding open the door. “I’m glad to see you came so quickly. If you’ll just follow me into the check-up room, I can explain what my colleague at St. Mungo’s told me.”

Once they were sitting in the other room, Pomfrey pulled out a sheet of parchment.

“As I told you at the end of the last school year, I detected some oddities in your magic. I suspected that this was from both the childhood exposure to Dementors and the Magic Suppressing ward you said you had been placed under for a short time,” she said, then looked down at parchment. “I wrote a letter to one of the Healers at St. Mungo’s who is considered an expert in the field of magical cores. She took a while to reply, busy as she is, but sent a response a week before the start of term, asking to meet you to get a better idea of the problem. I said that I’d be seeing you shortly, so she could meet you then.

“She responded, saying that she’d like to meet you as soon as possible to check you over. We agreed that she would visit on today. Is that okay with you?”

“When will she be here?” Hadrian asked, ignoring any nervousness.

My magic has been fine, what can she tell me?

“In ten minutes.”

 

Ten minutes later, an elegant witch strode into the check-up room, wearing a lime-green silk shirt.

She’s showing that she’s a Healer by wearing their colours, even if she doesn’t do standard healing work.

“Mister Potter-Black, am I right?” the woman asked, a tinge of emotion in her expression that Hadrian couldn’t quite place. “I’m Andromeda Tonks, the healer that Poppy mentioned.”

Andromeda Tonks? Isn’t she Sirius’ cousin? She used to be a Black, before she was disowned.

And sure enough, Hadrian’s magic seemed to recognise the witch, a sense of familiarity flooding through him.

“Lovely to meet you, ma’am,” Hadrian offered politely.

“Would you mind leaving the room, Poppy?” Andromeda asked, turning to the mediwitch.

“Of course not, Healer Tonks. I’ll be in my office if you need me.”

“Madam Pomfrey,” Hadrian called before she left, “would you mind sending a note to Professor Snape to tell him that I’ll miss the start of his lesson?”

“Of course, Mister Potter-Black.”

Andromeda turned to him, a professional smile on her face. “Call me Andy,” she told him. “If this situation is what I think it is, I may be spending more time with you, and Andromeda is far too long.”

“Alright.”

“Can I call you Hadrian then? It’s easier than Mister Potter-Black.”

“Of course,” Hadrian replied.

 

“So, Poppy said that you’d been through magical trauma when you were younger, before you were put under magic suppressing wards. What was that trauma? I’ll need to know the specifics to properly help you,” Andy started, sitting down in Pomfrey’s vacated seat.

Hadrian hesitated, unwilling to discuss Azkaban with a virtual stranger, even if she had once been a part of the same house as him.

“Under the Healer’s Vow, none of your medical records can be shared with people outside this room,” Andy reassured him.

“I grew up in Azkaban,” he told her, clamping down on any emotion. “From when I was four until I was eleven.”

“Ah,” Andy said, “that’s not quite what I was expecting.”

Hadrian didn’t reply.

“The long-term exposure to Dementors at a young age is undocumented, for fairly obvious reasons, as I’m sure Poppy told you. However, there is some research into the effects on an adult’s magic which I could try to extrapolate. When I look at your magic, I should be able to tell what is caused by the magic suppressant and what is caused by the Dementors,” she continued professionally, clearly trying not to let the new information phase her. “Could you release your magic into room please?”

 

Hadrian obliged her, letting his magic slither out from under his skin until it was a swirling, grey sphere around them. Andy stood, prodding parts of it with her wand.

“This is very interesting,” she told him. “I read what Poppy wrote, but I didn’t quite believe it. I haven’t seen magic pulse like this before. Most people’s magic flows randomly; yours seems more purposeful. It’s almost like a heartbeat.”

She continued to study it. “Magic forms a sphere around a person, and there are rings to it, rather like a tree. A Healer such as myself is able to study each ring to recognise how a person’s magic grew that year. Growth can be dependent on many things; age, interactions, etc. From your magic, I can see when you were magically suppressed, for example.” She pointed to a place in his magic, which seemed more stretched thin than the rest. It was also a darker shade of grey. “The reason that magic suppressing are harmful to children is because they cause rapid growth of magic after use, as the body attempts to catch up on what it missed. However, the body almost always overcompensates, leaving it weak and tired. Long-term, this can also cause the child’s magic to behave more erratically, growing in bursts rather than continuously.”

Hadrian studied the darker section pulsing with the rest of his magic.

“However, your magic had an earlier trauma in your time at Azkaban,” Andy explained. “As you can see, your magic here is forming odd patterns, instead of flowing freely. This begins at about the age of four, when there’s a sudden, very strong burst. Were you exposed to strong magic at that age?”

“I was the recipient of a very strong curse,” Hadrian told her, “which led to a severe injury when I was in Azkaban.”

“Yes, that could explain it. However, I’m not clear on what this caused, as I don’t recognise these odd patterns. I’ll have to search the archive to see if this bears any similarities to other people’s magic.”

Hadrian nodded. “Is that all for today, then?”

“Yes,” Andy told him, “but I should be back on Monday. If you come to see Poppy at the start of lunch, I’ll provide a sandwich or something to give us the full hour so you don’t miss any more lessons.”

“Thank you, Andy,” Hadrian said, standing and pulling his robe on.

“Wait,” she said suddenly, a tired expression on her face. “You grew up in Azkaban? Did you know Sirius Black? Was that why you were there?”

“Yes, ma’am. I lived in his cell in the Murderer’s Block.”

“Did you also know Bellatrix Lestrange?” she asked, a deeply sorrowful look on her face.

“Yes,” Hadrian replied, his words clipped. Memories of her sharp nails tearing through his skin flashed through his mind, quickly shoved back down.

“Was she still… insane?” Andy asked quietly, holding a hand over her face.

“Yes,” Hadrian replied. “But she had good days and bad days. She taught me everything she knows about duelling and defensive and offensive magic.”

“That’s not a good thing,” Andy laughed. “Bella is not a Light witch.”

“Nor am I,” Hadrian said sharply.

“I could see that from your magic,” Andy informed him. “I’m not either, I grew up a Black. But there is Dark magic, which is as ambiguous as Light magic, and there is Black magic, which is evil.”

“Ironic that our family was name Black,” Hadrian said.

“You’re the Lord Black, aren’t you?” Andy said, staring at the ring on his finger. “I know that ring, my uncle wore it.”

“Yes, I’ve held the title for almost a year now. Sirius lost it after spending ten years in prison, as the law dictates. I took it so Narcissa Malfoy wouldn’t.”

“It wouldn’t have been Cissy who took it, it would have been her son. Lucius Malfoy is a bastard, who wants even more power for his family.”

There was a pause.

“Is Sirius insane?” she asked, even more quietly than before. “Did he get the Black madness too?”

“No. He was as sane as he always was when I saw him less than a year ago.”

“Then he didn’t kill those people, did he.”

“He did not,” Hadrian told her.

 


 

A few days later was the fifth-year Slytherins’ second DADA lesson.

Lockhart greeted his students as they entered, most sending him contemptuous looks. However, as soon as he opened his mouth to start the lesson, a small rock flew into his head, sending him falling to floor unconscious.

“Oh no,” Flora said in a monotone. “I didn’t mean to do that. Whatever shall we do now.”

“I know,” Felix exclaimed, leaping up dramatically, “Hadrian’s the best in our class at DADA, he can teach!”

“Thank you for that glowing endorsement, Felix,” Hadrian replied, standing up. “I’ll be happy to help.”

Luckily, their class was a Slytherin- Ravenclaw one, so no one complained as he strode to the front.

 

“I’ll assume you’ve all understood the course material from the previous years,” he began, placing a stack of parchment on the teacher’s desk, “because you’ll need to know that in our OWLs. I’ll be focusing on chapter 1 of the Standard Book of Defence and Duelling today, which covers the use of defensive charms in duelling. I would recommend you purchase this book if you can’t borrow it from the library.

“The standard shield charm is protego, which will defend against most jinxes and hexes, simply absorbing any offensive spell. Despite its simplicity, many wizards and witches remain unable to perform this spell effectively. Because of this, it is important to learn it in case you need to defend others as well as yourself.”

He looked at the desks, nudging one with his foot. “Felix, can you move the desks to the side of the room?”

Felix nodded, flicking his wand, causing all of the desks to slide to rest against the walls.

“Okay, so we’re going to practice a base protego today, with the aim of it building it up to more complicated shields next lesson. Everyone pair up, find a space.

“I want you to take turns sending stinging jinxes at each other, using protego to protect yourselves. The wand movement is a simple slash downward, for those of you who don’t know.”

“Why should we listen to you?” one of the Ravenclaws asked crossing their arms over their chest.

“If you want Lockhart back, be my guest,” Hadrian replied, gesturing at the unconscious body by the blackboard. “I don’t particularly care, I already know all of this stuff.”

The Ravenclaw paled, their classmates glaring at them. “No, I’m good.”

“Alright, so if you practice in pairs, I’ll walk around the room. If you have any questions, just ask me,” Hadrian continued.

“How do we know that you actually know this?” another Ravenclaw asked, interrupting.

Protego,” Hadrian incanted, a shimmering silver shield erupting from the tip of his wand. He gestured for Flora to attack.

She nodded, sending a barrage of spells at the barrier, becoming increasingly nasty until an Entrail-Expelling curse was absorbed by it.

“That was a sufficient demonstration,” the Ravenclaw said.

 

The class paired up, taking it in turns to defend against Stinging Jinxes.

There were quite a few yelps of pain at first, as people were hit by the jinxes, but after fifteen minutes of practice, most people were improving.

Hadrian began to walk around, correcting sloppy casting and stance, as well as one notable case of mispronunciation. After another ten minutes, everyone in the class had successfully produced a shield charm.

Hadrian whistled loudly, causing everyone to stop and turn to face him.

“I’ve seen everyone perform the charm now, which is excellent progress. However, being able to cast the charm in a controlled environment doesn’t mean you’ll be able to cast it when you actually need it. Everyone, no matter how confident they are in their shield, should practice it in their free time

“Alright, now we’re going to look at when you can’t use a simple protego. Can anyone give me an example?

“The Unforgivables,” one of the Ravenclaws called out.

“Exactly,” Hadrian agreed. “No shield charm can defend againt an Unforgivable. If someone is casting Unforgivables, duck and run. Any other examples?”

“Physical attacks,” Flora said. “If you use protego it won’t do anything.”

“Indeed. A simple protego alone won’t stop a physical attack. Instead, you’ll use the incantation of ‘protego duo’. If this spell is successful, you’ll product a shimmering bronze barrier that will defend against both physical and magical attack.”

A Ravenclaw threw his hand up, prompting Hadrian to call on him. “How often is someone actually going to try and punch us? I mean, we’re all magical here.”

“Some magical beings use physical attacks precisely for that reason; it’s unexpected and therefore the victim won’t be able to defend against it.”

 

The rest of the two hour lesson continued in a similar fashion, Hadrian teaching a spell and then showing how to cast it. They moved quickly through his lesson plan.

At the end of the lesson, a Slytherin girl stuck her hand up. “How do we know you’re actually teaching us what we need to know for our OWLs?”

“The Ministry releases a specification every year,” Hadrian told her, “which is a list of everything they could ask you in the exams. I’m following that.”

She nodded, appeased.

 


 

Defence lessons continued in the same way for the rest of the term; someone would knock Lockhart out and then Hadrian would teach.

Lockhart was far too proud to admit that he had been repeatedly bested by fifteen and sixteen year olds, so eventually stopped turning up to the lessons.

 


 

That lunchtime, Hadrian went straight to the Medical Wing, knocking on the door of the check-up room. Andy answered it, gesturing for him to enter. She gave him a ham sandwich, settling down into her seat. He released his magic.

“I looked up odd patterns in the records,” she told him. “And searched through the memories I could find.”

She pointed at the ridged section of his magic, which stretched from when he was born to the very edge. “This,” she said, “appears when someone can understand a magical language.”

“I’ve learnt Gobbledegook,” Hadrian offered.

Andy shook her head. “That wouldn’t do it. A magical language is innate, something that someone can understand and speak without needing to study it. Parseltongue is one such language. Mermish is another.”

“Are you saying that my time in Azkaban gifted me a magical language?” Hadrian asked, unsure how he felt about that.

“I don’t think so. You seem to have been born with this.”

“I was born able to speak a magical language? Neither of the Potters are able, though,” Hadrian said incredulously.

“I’m not an expert on it, but this sort of thing can sometimes skip a generation. Particularly given your mother was a muggleborn; magical languages can lie dormant in muggles but eventually be passed on to muggleborns, where they can activate a generation or two later.”

 

Hadrian sat back in his seat, letting his face smooth over until it was completely blank.

“Which one?”

“I don’t know; there’s very little differentiation in the magic between magical languages, I’m afraid. I would recommend trying to find out; if you hear strange voices, especially ones no one else can hear, you should follow them and find out what creatures was speaking. That could give a hint.

“However,” Andy continued, “none of this explains the pulsing. I have a theory, which would need to be tested, that the continued bursts of magic growth, combined with the early stress put on it, have tied your magic to your heartbeat.”

“What?” Hadrian asked, his surprise overriding any attempts to keep his face blank. “My magic is connected to my heart? Surely that would mean-”

“That if your magic were suppressed again, you’d die,” Andy finished, a grim look on her face. “Your heart would stop beating, and you would die.”

“Well, shit,” he said.

“So I would suggest telling whoever suppressed your magic before that they cannot do it again,” Andy told him.

Hadrian was silent.

The Potters wouldn’t listen to me if I told them that, they’d likely think I was lying.

“That’s everything I found. Do you have any questions?”

Hadrian shook his head.

“Alright then, that’s everything I can do. Remember to listen out for voices,” Andy told him, picking up her bag and standing to leave.

 


 

A few weeks later, on Hallowe’en, Hadrian had decided to spend the night in his dormitory and skip the feast. He always remembered Azkaban especially vividly on the anniversary of the day he was sent there.

However, at about seven he heard an odd, whispering voice from the walls.

Kill… rip… tear… kill…

He sat bolt upright in his bed, remembering Andy’s words.

That’s not normal.

He followed the hissing voice with his eyes as it moved across the wall, then began to go away; he leapt out of bed, running to catch up as it travelled out of the common room and then the Dungeons altogether, until he turned a corner on the second floor.

There was writing on the wall – blood red, tacky – reading ‘The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir… beware.’

To the side hung the stiff body of Mrs Norris, a pool of water spreading under her.

Obviously petrified. Nothing else would make her so stiff; if she were dead or asleep, she’d be floppy.

Behind him, he heard footsteps and then a gasp, and he turned to find Charlus and his little lion friends, gazes flickering between him and the scene behind him.

I probably do look quite suspicious.

 

“Did you did this?” Hermione said, fear in her voice.

Hadrian rolled his eyes.

As if I would get caught in the act.

“Were you the one saying all the stuff to me, stuff that only I can hear?” Charlus demanded.

He heard it too? Interesting. This may be to do with my magical language, then.

 

At that moment, the students who had just finished the Hallowe’en feast flooded down the corridor, turning the corridor to see Hadrian, in his trousers and black shirt, the trio of second-years a good few metres behind him.

 

The entire school fell silent, staring at them. Someone shattered the silence with a shout.

“Enemies of the heir, beware! You’ll be next, mudbloods!”

It was the Malfoy boy, shoving his way to the front of the crowd. Hadrian raised an eyebrow at him, a reminder of their little encounter the year before. The boy immediately paled, stepping back slightly.

Hadrian turned, catching Flora’s eye in the crowd. She gave a slight nod, turning to whisper to Felix.

 

Filch shouldered his way through the crowd, no doubt drawn by Malfoy’s inane shout. “What’s going on here?” he repeated, until he caught sight of the dangling cat. “My cat! My cat! Mrs Norris is dead!” he shouted, whirling to face Hadrian. “You killed my cat, I’ll kill you!”

Can I never have Hallowe’en off to mourn in private?

“I’d like to see you try,” Hadrian smirked in response.

“I’ll have your head! I’ll-”

The caretaker’s threats were cut off by the arrival of Dumbledore, other teachers following behind him.

“Argus,” the headmaster said, removing the cat from where she was hanging. “We shall investigate this when we don’t have the entire school watching.” He turned to the four students who had been found with the body. “Mr Potter-Black, Mr Potter, Miss Granger, Mr Weasley, follow me,” he instructed them.

“My office is nearest, Albus,” Lockhart said, eager for the spotlight to shine on him. “We could go there?”

“Thank you, Gilderoy.”

 

Lockhart followed Dumbledore through the crowd as it parted around him, Snape and McGonagall behind them, then the Golden Trio, then Hadrian sauntering behind them.

 

When they reached Lockhart’s office, Dumbledore laid the cat out on the desk, examining her carefully.

Both dramatic and unnecessary.

The second-years were glaring at Hadrian where he was leaning against the door frame, Lockhart muttering nonsense as he paced back and forth. Filch was sobbing.

 

“She’s not dead,” Dumbles finally said, shutting Filch up.

“But… but…”

“She’s merely petrified. I fear I do not know how, though…”

“It was them!” Filch shouted, pointing a finger at the trio then at Hadrian.

The little lions looked horrified and indignant, but Hadrian just snorted.

This really isn’t a good night. I’m not in a good mood at all.

 

“We found Hadrian there,” Ron blurted out. “He didn’t reply when we tried to talk to him.”

Have I ever talked to you?

“A second-year couldn’t do this, the Dark magic is far too advanced,” Dumbles refuted, his gaze fixed on Hadrian.

He thinks I did it?

“I’m flattered, sir,” Hadrian said, voice mocking.

“Mr Potter, Miss Granger, Mr Weasley, you can go,” Dumbles told them, without looking away from Hadrian.

He’s acting like I’m a threat.

The trio left quickly, staring at Hadrian as they walked past him.

“He did it!” Filch cried.

“Mr Potter-Black, why were you at that particular place on the second floor?” Dumbles asked.

At least he gets my name right now.

“My private business is none of your concern. To answer that question, I’d have to divulge some very personal medical information. In asking me to do so, you could break the laws surrounding the protection of patients.”

Technically true, considering I only found out about my magical language in a session with a Healer.

“Why weren’t you at the feast, then?” Dumbles asked instead.

“Today is the anniversary of the day I died,” Hadrian told him harshly. “Forgive me for not celebrating.”

“No, forgive us, Mister Potter-Black,” McGonagall stepped in, giving Dumbles an angry look. “For accusing you when there is no evidence of wrongdoing on your part.”

“Innocent until proven guilty,” Snape added in a silky voice.

Filch looked on in horror. “My cat has been petrified! I want to see some punishment!” he exclaimed.

He always wants to see some punishment.

 

“Argus, Mrs Norris will be cured by the mandrakes that Professor Sprout is growing in just a few months,” Dumbles told him gently.

“Albus, Mister Potter-Black has done nothing wrong, and today has already been difficult for him,” McGonagall said firmly.

“Of course, of course,” Dumbles said, “Mr Potter-Black, you are free to leave.”

 

Hadrian stalked out, his face betraying none of his thoughts.

Every Slytherin had heard of the Chamber of Secrets, Salazar Slytherin’s last act at the school. They all knew of the monster that lurked within it.

 

Hadrian made his way back to the Dungeons, students whispering as he passed. The rumour had clearly spread that it was him who opened the Chamber. Despite this, he got into his dorm unchallenged, finding his friends sitting around the room as normal.

 

Luna was sitting on his bed, a pale green fluffy blanket wrapped around her. He flopped down next to her, tired.

“What did they say?” Flora asked as Luna tossed half of her blanket over him.

“The old man thinks I did it,” he told them. “The little lions were let go very quickly.”

“It was petrified, wasn’t it,” Barnaby said. “I recognised it from some stories I’ve read.”

“What do you think did it?” Lucian asked, glancing at Hestia, who was pulling a thinking face.

“Not many things can cause something to be petrified,” she said slowly. “There’s the Statue Curse, a Gorgon’s gaze and a Basilisk’s gaze, if it’s seen in a reflection.”

“Dumbledore seemed to think it could be cured by mandrakes,” Hadrian informed her.

“Then it wouldn’t be the Statue Curse. Besides, the stories talk about the monster in the Chamber, so it wouldn’t make sense if it were a spell,” Hestia replied.

“Didn’t someone die last time the Chamber was opened?” Barnaby asked. “Surely that would indicate a basilisk, considering that Gorgon’s can’t kill people.”

“I mean, they can. They have hands, right? They can hold a weapon,” Felix said.

Hestia gave him a look. “We’ll assume it’s a basilisk for now, as a Gorgon couldn’t have lived since Slytherin’s time.”

“It could have been a mummy Gorgon and a daddy Gorgon with lots of little Gorgon babies,” Felix replied, a grin on his face. Flora smacked his arm, hard enough to make him wince. “Ow!”

Hadrian contemplated this for a moment. “I suppose that now would be a good time to mention that I think I’m a Parselmouth.”

This caused a chorus of voices, all talking at once.

“Shut up!” Flora shouted, then turned to him. “What makes you say that?”

He shrugged. “I told you that Healer Tonks said that I could speak a magical language, and to listen carefully for any voices other people couldn’t hear or understand. I was only in that corridor because I heard a hissing voice in the walls and followed it. It talked about killing; if that was a basilisk, then it would make sense that I heard it on its way to attack Mrs Norris.”

“You did mention that before,” Luna said, looking at him speculatively. “Your magic has always seemed weird to me, but I just assumed that was me being subjective.”

 

“There is a simple test we could do to see if you’re a parselmouth,” Lucian told him. “We just summon a snake and see if you can speak to it.”

“Hestia, as the resident transfiguration expert, would you like to do the honours?” Hadrian asked.

She nodded, pulling out her wand and pointing it at the centre of the room. “Serpensortia,” she said, a large snake appearing in front of her.

It began to hiss, but Hadrian couldn’t hear words. “I can’t hear anything but hissing,” he said.

“It’s not a real snake, so it can’t talk,” Hestia told him, “just like how I couldn’t conjure a talking human. It should, however, respond to parseltongue. Try it.”

Hadrian turned back to snake, staring it in the eyes. “Turn left,” he hissed; it turned to the left.

“It worked,” he said. “I am a parselmouth.”

“I just heard hissing,” Felix told him. “Try something else.”

Hadrian rolled his eyes. “It’s not a circus animal,” he told his friend, pulling out his wand and

banishing the snake.

“Aw, you’re no fun,” Felix replied.

“You should get a pet snake,” Flora told him, “if only to see the teachers’ reactions.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“How did you not figure this out when you were younger?” Hestia asked, slightly incredulous.

“There’s not exactly a lot of animals in Azkaban,” Hadrian told her wryly. “In fact, the only living things there are humans. And Hogwarts and Potter manor don’t have many snakes. There are hardly any snakes in the UK.”

 

Luna had to return to her common room shortly after that, taking her fluffy blanket with her. The Slytherins went to bed not long after, Hestia and Flora leaving for their own dorm.

Chapter Text

Hadrian was the subject of much whispering the next day, even in the Slytherin common room.

He was already seen as unusual within the house, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to assume that he could be the Heir who petrified Mrs Norris. Of course, this left out a crucial fact: if it were Hadrian, he wouldn’t have been so stupid to be found at the scene of the crime.

 

Not many people had realised this as he strode into the Great Hall, ignoring the stares. There was no proof that he’d done anything, so he had no reason to worry. Even if someone found out he was a Parselmouth, which was unlikely, it didn’t prove anything.

Not that the Ministry had a good track record for sending innocent people to Azkaban.

 

School continued as normal, on the whole, for the next week until the first Quidditch match of the year, which was Gryffindor versus Slytherin.

 

“Malfoy’s bought his way onto the team,” Lucian complained a few days before the game in early November, “but he’s absolutely shit.”

“He did give you all Nimbus 2001s, though,” Flora pointed out. “Can you compensate for his terrible playing with those?”

“No, because he’s the fucking seeker.”

“Why did they make him seeker if he’s terrible? Surely they could just stick him as chaser and ignore him,” Barnaby commented.

“He wanted to be seeker because he and Potter have this weird rivalry,” Hestia told them. “He wants to beat him.”

 


 

A few days later, it was the game.

Flora, who was dating one of the chasers on the opposing team, wasn’t sure who to support at first, but Angelina had quickly reassured her that she wouldn’t be offended if Flora supported her own house.

 

The game was a mess. There was a bludger that wouldn’t stop following Charlus Potter, no matter how much the Weasley twins hit away from him. This made things easier for Lucian, who only had to worry about one bludger.

In the end, though, Potter caught the snitch, even as a bludger hit him and broke his arm. Gryffindor won 150 points to 60.

 

Lockhart was one of the first to rush down to the pitch, but he was closely followed by Barnaby, who was skilled at healing spells and occasionally trained under Madam Pomfrey. When the useless DADA professor tried to ‘heal’ Potter, Barnaby pushed past him, mending the broken bone with a quick “brackium emendo”.

“Well, yes, I was just about to do that,” Lockhart claimed, fumbling for the right words.

“It’s such a shame that I did it first, then,” Barnaby said, a sad expression on his face. “I would have loved to see the legendary healing skills of Gilderoy Lockhart that were discussed in Gadding with Ghouls!” he turned to Charlus, who was flexing his repaired arm experimentally. “I’m sure Charlus wouldn’t mind us re-breaking his arm to show your immense talent off, sir.”

Charlus looked up, an extremely alarmed expression on his face. “No!” he exclaimed.

“See, Charlus just said he doesn’t mind,” Barnaby cheerfully said.

“I’m not sure that this is a good idea,” Lockhart began, pausing to think of an excuse, “because we wouldn’t want to put the dear boy through unnecessary pain, no matter how momentary it would be.”

“I really would mind!” Charlus shouted. “If you break my arm, I’ll- I’ll-”

“You’ll do what?” Hestia asked, appearing at Barnaby’s side. “Barnaby just wants to see Lockhart’s healing skills, which are well documented in his books. Barnaby is training to be a Healer under Madam Pomfrey, you see, but it would be great to watch the work of a true master.”

“I wouldn’t say that-” Lockhart began, only to be cut off by Hestia pulling out a copy of Gadding with Ghouls.

“Gadding with Ghouls, page 117, line 34,” Hestia said, then cleared her throat. “‘I would describe myself as a true master in the field of healing’.”

“Well, Madam Pomfrey is even better than I, if you can believe that,” Lockhart exclaimed, a huge grin on his face.

“Holidays with Hags, page 51, line 49. ‘My skills surpass even the most skilled Healers; I once healed a fellow student before even the renowned Madam Pomfrey could’,” Hestia countered, pulling another Lockhart book from her bag.

“The- the Matron’s skills have grown since I was a student.”

“Madam Pomfrey, however talented, is incomparable to the ‘most skilled Healers’,” Hestia replied, moving her fingers in quotation marks.

“Er- well-” Lockhart was clearly stumped.

Luckily for him, McGonagall strode across the pitch to meet them then.

“Mr Potter, are you well?”

“Yes, professor,” the boy replied. “But-”

“Good, you can join your team in the changing rooms,” McGonagall continued, turning to Hestia, her best transfiguration student in a good few years, and Lockhart. “What seems to be the problem here?”

“Professor Lockhart refused to show me his famed healing skills, ma’am,” Barnaby told her, clutching onto Hestia’s arm. “Hestia was trying to convince him.”

“The girl was asking me to re-break young Charlus Potter’s arm!” Lockhart told the deputy-headmistress. “I, of course, refused, but-”

“That’s a lie, ma’am,” Hestia cut in. “I was just quoting his books at him and seeing how he would respond. It was a fun experiment.”

 

“Gilderoy, I refuse to believe that a diligent student such as Miss Carrow would ask you to break another student’s arm. Perhaps you simply misunderstood?” McGonagall said, a hint of amusement in her eyes.

“Year with a Yeti, page 366, line 3, ‘I am an extremely perceptive wizard. I rarely misunderstand things’,” Hestia said, pulling a third book out of her bag.

“Unfortunately,” Lockhart said, a wide smile on his face, “‘Rarely’ does not mean always. Even celebrities such as myself make mistakes.”

“Well that’s odd, because every quote I’ve just used is fake and yet you didn’t notice. Year with a Yeti doesn’t even have two hundred pages, let alone three hundred and sixty six,” Hestia informed him.

Lockhart gaped at her.

 

“Actually, I would be curious to know the explanation for this as well,” McGonagall interrupted, turning to face the adventurer. “I’m sure it’s fascinating.”

“After all, you are ‘excellent at explaining things’, according to Gadding with Ghouls,” Hestia added.

“That is not a quote! I never wrote that. You thought you could trick me twice-”

Hestia showed him a page in Gadding with Ghouls, which said exactly that.

“Oh,” he said. “Well, I’ll be off now.” He walked away very quickly, looking back every few seconds.

 

“Ten points to Slytherin, Miss Carrow, for always checking your sources,” McGonagall said, a faint smile on her face, “and another ten points to Slytherin for Mr Lee’s excellent healing spell.”

“Thanks Professor!” Barnaby exclaimed, then turned to Hestia. “Esty, that was amazing, you played him like a fiddle.”

Despite their loss in the match, Hestia smiled back at him.

 


 

The next morning, a student was found petrified: Colin Creevey, a Gryffindor first-year.

 

Hadrian was called to the Headmaster’s office at lunch, a trembling second-year carrying the note to him.

 

“Ugh, the old man want to see me,” Hadrian complained, crumpling the note up in his hand.

“Do you think that he thinks you did it?” Luna asked him, a curious expression on her face.

“When people see you going to Headmaster’s office only a few hours after the second petrification, after already seeing the old man accuse you the first time, they’re going to assume that you’re the culprit,” Felix told him, a smile on his face. “They don’t seem to realise that you’re not a fucking moron, and you wouldn’t have done anything again in the exact same way.”

“It’s true,” Flora nodded, “even when you de-throned Murk you took down each person differently. And you weren’t even a suspect then.”

“Doing something multiple times in the same way makes people prepare to deal with that method. If you do something different each time, they have no idea what to expect, which is scarier in many respects,” Lucian added.

“This doesn’t stop me from needing to visit Dumbles,” Hadrian replied, standing from the bench and slinging his bag over his shoulder. “I’ll see you later.”

He strode off, the whispers louder than they were before.

 

Hadrian knocked on the door of the headmaster’s office, walking in when he was prompted to. McGonagall was standing there, an annoyed expression on her face, as was Snape, who was sneering.

Dumbledore was sitting at his desk, a serious expression on his face.

“Mister Potter-Black, please take a seat,” he said, gesturing towards one of the armchairs in front of him. Hadrian moved forward warily, perching on the very edge of it. “Have you heard about the student who was found petrified this morning? Colin Creevey, a first-year. He was just trying to take some photos of the castle when he was attacked. He was excited to arrive at Hogwarts. It’s a shame he’ll miss the experience.”

Is he trying to guilt-trip me?

“He’s not dead, sir,” Hadrian said, a hint of amusement in his voice.

“Yes, but he’ll miss his entire first year of school. Don’t you remember your first year? Weren’t you excited?” the old man replied.

Definitely trying to guilt trip. Time to lay a few of my cards on the table.

“I try to forget my first year. It took me a while to recover from Azkaban, which put a bit of a dampener on the whole time,” Hadrian said, raising an eyebrow.

Dumbledore’s face flickered with regret. “That’s what I wanted to talk about, my dear boy.”

Uh-oh.

“You grew up around some of the worst people in the Wizarding world,” he continued.

“I’m aware,” Hadrian replied coldly, straightening in his seat. “I had to live with them.”

“For which I am sorry. But, I wanted to ask: did you ever hear any of them say anything, mention anything, about the Chamber of Secrets?”

Is he serious?

“No.”

“Nothing? They didn’t talk to you about any Dark spells?”

Hadrian snorted. “There’s a big jump from ‘Dark spells’ to ‘the Chamber of Secrets’.”

“So you did learn Dark magic when you were growing up,” Dumbles said, as if it were a revelation.

What else did he think I would do with seven years in Azkaban? Stare at the walls, waiting for the Dementors to come closer?

“What is it to you?” Hadrian asked.

The old man sighed. “Your parents contacted me a while ago, worried that you were involved it Dark, Dark magic. I told them that I was sure it couldn’t be true, but…”

“What is it to you?” Hadrian repeated, an edge to his voice now.

“I was informed towards the end of last school year that a friend of yours, Miss Carrow, had been the recipient of Dark curse, permanently scarring her,” the headmaster said, changing course slightly. “Do you know what caused this?”

Hadrian laughed, the irony of situation hilarious.

It was a ward you put up, you old fool.

 

“Mister Potter-Black, you may find this situation funny, but I assure you that I don’t. You were seen with the witch shortly after the incident,” Dumbles said seriously.

“To answer your question, yes, I do know what caused Lora’s scars,” Hadrian responded, amusement still in his voice.

“And? What was it?”

“It was the wards you placed around the philosopher’s stone,” Hadrian revealed, his emerald eyes sparkling with mirth. “The real one, of course. Not the fake that Quirel and Potter destroyed. No, it was the one in dungeon five.”

Dumbledore seemed gobsmacked, having likely never suspected that anyone had found it.

 

“My friends and I broke into the forbidden area remarkably easily, but were disappointed to only find a fake,” Hadrian continued. “So we used our brains and searched dungeon five. Unfortunately, Lora was affected by the wards surrounding it and began to bleed all over body. I ran her to the Medical Wing and saved her life.”

“Miss Carrow’s injuries were caused by sneaking into a forbidden area?” Dumbledore asked quietly, sorrow in his voice, but Hadrian could only hear the mistake in the question.

“Ah, ah, it wasn’t a forbidden area,” he corrected, a smile on his face.

“I fail to see the amusing part of this conversation,” McGonagall spoke up at last, a slight frown on her face.

Hadrian turned to the transfiguration professor. “Lora is very proud of her scars,” he told her. “She thinks they look ‘badass’, to quote her. So I don’t find it serious in that respect, if that’s what you are asking. What I actually find amusing, though, is the irony of the situation: Professor Dumbledore called me here to accuse me of opening the Chamber of Secrets, trying to use Lora’s injuries as an example of me using Dark magic, but instead has realised that it was him who had the ward created which hurt her.”

Snape had a faint, satisfied smile on his face.

“Mister Potter-Black, I did not intend to accuse you of opening the Chamber-” Dumbledore began, only to be cut off by the potions professor.

“Albus, don’t treat the boy like an idiot,” he said, sneering. “He is one the brightest members of his year.”

“Alright,” the headmaster said after a pause. “That is fair,” he said, then turned from Snape back to Hadrian. “I need you to give me a yes or no answer: did you open the Chamber of Secrets and/or petrify Mrs Norris or Mr Creevey?”

“No,” Hadrian replied. “I didn’t.”

Dumbledore sighed, possibly with relief. “I’m glad,” he said next, which could have been a further indicator of relief or it could have been a lie to hide the fact that he still suspected Hadrian.

“I would like to know, though,” Hadrian said, “who died last time. And where.”

Dumbledore sighed again. “Myrtle Warren died in the second floor girls’ bathroom in 1943,” he told Hadrian. “I believe she is now commonly known as ‘Moaning Myrtle’, but I think that name is cruel.”

I’ll look there first.

“Who did they think killed her?”

“Rubeus Hagrid was blamed and later expelled, for keeping a dangerous creature on the school grounds, despite most people realising that he wasn’t the heir,” Dumbledore explained sadly. “So he now works as a groundskeeper.”

So he was a scapegoat. And will probably be the scapegoat again if this continues.

“Is that all, sir?” Hadrian asked after a moment. “I have to attend class.”

“Yes, my dear boy. If you have any more concerns, you can always ask Professor Snape,” Dumbles told him.

“Actually, I’d like to speak with Mister Potter-Black in my office,” Snape said, stepping forward. “I’ll be… happy to write a note for you take to your next class. What is it?”

“Defence Against the Dark Arts, sir,” Hadrian replied.

What’s this about?

“Ah, just the class I wanted to talk about,” Snape replied, a glint in his eye. “If would accompany me to my office, Mister Potter-Black, we’ll discuss a few things that have come to my attention.”

Hadrian nodded warily, bidding the headmaster and deputy-headmistress farewell as he followed Snape to the dungeons, and into the office opposite the potions classroom.

 

“Mister Potter-Black, it has come to my attention recently that you have been teaching your class Defence in the place of… Professor Lockhart,” Snape began, staring at him intently. “I heard two of your fellow fifth-year Slytherins discussing their plans to knock out the teacher.”

“I wouldn’t know anything about that, Professor,” Hadrian replied smoothly. “Professor Lockhart has simply stopped attending our classes. I couldn’t say why.”

Snape raised an eyebrow disbelievingly. “Even so, why not tell another teacher, to request he return?”

“Sir, we’d learn more staring at a blank wall for an entire lesson that listening to Lockhart,” Hadrian told him. “No disrespect intended, of course,” he added at the end, amusement tinging his voice.

“Why teach the class yourself?”

Hadrian shrugged. “I’m good at the subject, so I’ve been tutoring my friends through the terrible teachers for a few years already. I enjoy teaching other people.”

Snape watched him for a few minutes. “Fifth-years have their career talks after Easter, normally,” he told Hadrian, “but if you have an interest in becoming a teacher, I would be happy to give some advice now.”

“Is there anything special I would need to do? I was under the impression that it was a standard career path,” Hadrian replied, frowning.

“If you wanted to become a Defence teacher, you would need experience. If you want to be able to apply for the role within a year or two of leaving school, you should start getting that experience soon,” Snape explained.

“What would you recommend, sir?”

“Try to get an apprenticeship under a Defence Master this summer,” Snape told him. “To do that, you’ll need to have other achievements; I would recommend trying your hand at duelling. Rumour says you’re good at it.”

Hadrian thought about this for a moment. “Thank you, sir,” he said. “Will that be all?”

“Do you need a note for your next class?” Snape asked, his eyes full of amusement.

“I think I’ll be fine in DADA,” Hadrian replied, a smile tugging on his lips. “Considering I’m teaching it and all.”

 


 

No matter that the Headmaster realised him to be innocent, most of the school thought that he was the one running around and petrifying people. Hadrian ignored them, like normal.

 

The day after the first student was petrified, he investigated the second floor girls’ bathroom, sneaking in with Flora in the late morning, when most of the students were visiting Hogsmeade.

“So this is where the student died?” Flora asked, looking around the bathroom.

“Excuse you, you don’t have to be quite so rude!” a voice shrieked, a ghost flying out of one of the cubicles.

Hadrian shared a glance with Flora. “Are you Myrtle Warren?” he asked.

“I might be,” the ghost said, suddenly shy. “If you tell me your name, I’ll tell you mine.”

Hadrian stared at her, startled by the sudden change in behaviour. “I’m Hadrian, and this is Flora.”

“Oh, are you Hadrian Potter-Black? I’ve heard all sorts of things about you,” the ghost squealed, draping herself on top of the sinks. “You really are as handsome as they say,” she giggled. “I also heard you were brooding.”

Hadrian stared at her some more. Why is she telling me this?

 

“Hadrian, she’s flirting with you,” Flora told him, a grin on her face. She turned to the ghost. “He’s had the same girlfriend for a year and a half, you see. He’s completely besotted with her, I’m afraid. He doesn’t see anyone else in a romantic sense.”

“Why, are you interested?” the ghost asked, suddenly grumpy.

Flora laughed. “No, I’m a lesbian.”

Hadrian finally recovered his sense, moving the conversation away from the odd topic. “We told you our names, you said you’d tell us yours.”

“I am Myrtle,” the ghost cried, “Moaning Myrtle, they call me. Because I’m always… moaning.”

“That doesn’t sound very nice,” Flora said, as Myrtle clearly wanted them to.

“It isn’t. Everyone’s always so mean to me, even before I died,” she squealed, draping dramatically across the sinks.

Flora and Hadrian exchanged a look.

She’s even more dramatic than Felix.

“Could you tell us more about your death?” Hadrian asked.

“Ooooh, it was dreadful. Olive Hornby had said nasty things about my glasses, so I locked myself in that cubicle right there,” she said, pointing at one of the cubicles. “Then someone came in and starting talking in a different language, and they were a boy, so I opened the door to tell him to go away, but then… I died.”

“What did you see?” Flora asked eagerly.

“These big, glowing eyes, from that sink right there,” Myrtle told her, pointing down at one the sinks below her.

Hadrian strode over to it, crouching down to inspect it. “There are snake carvings on the tap,” he told Flora. “Are there any on the other taps?”

“No,” she replied. “Do you want to try talking to it?”

Hadrian nodded, focusing on the little snake.

Hello, little snake. How do I get into the Chamber of Secrets?” he hissed, waiting for a response.

“That’s exactly that language that awful boy used!” Myrtle exclaimed, floating away. “He didn’t say as much though.”

A hissing came from the pipes, Hadrian straining to hear it.

Tell me to open…

He nodded, shrugging, leaning back down to the sink. “Open,” he told it; with a soft click, the sinks moved down and aside, forming a tunnel. Hadrian looked to Flora, who grinned.

“Might as well,” she told him, diving into the tunnel.

“Salazar, she’s going to get herself killed,” he muttered. “Has she learnt nothing from last year?”

Despite this, he stepped into the tunnel after her, falling onto the side; he slid down until he saw the ending approaching, when he cast an “arresto momentum”, leaving him hovering a few feet above the ground, then dropped down the last few feet, landing on his feet.

“That was amazing!” Flora exclaimed. “Can we do it again?”

“Once we’ve searched down here,” he replied, casting lumos to be able to see. There were a lot of bones scattered across the flood, but that was expected; they were looking for a giant snake, however magical it might be.

They moved down the only visible corridor, both their wands lit up. They quickly found an old snake skin, clearly shed a while ago, as the basilisk would probably be about fifty feet long at this point, whereas the skin was only thirty odd feet long.

“This is really valuable in potion-making,” Flora murmured, crouching down beside the skin. She pulled some scissors out of her school bag, snipping through the skin and pushing into a glass vial. “I charmed these scissors to be able to cut through any potion ingredient,” she told Hadrian in response to the curious look he gave her.

“We can always come back later,” he suggested, but she shrugged.

“There’s very few potions that actually use Basilisk skin, because it’s so valuable. I won’t be using it up quickly enough to worry about that,” Flora replied.

 

They moved on once Flora had sealed the unbreakable vial, dropping it back in her school bag.

Hadrian told a door with snakes on it to open; one slithered around the outside, the others snapping back as the locks clicked until it swung open.

 

Flora walked forward, Hadrian beside her, gazing around in awe at the revealed chamber.

It was dimly lit, but they could see pillars with snakes wrapped around them, rising to an unseen ceiling. There was water lapping somewhere, probably due to flooding.

“We can hardly see anything,” Flora complained, trying to squint past the edges of her lumos.

Hadrian thought for a moment before shouting “lux ignes.” A stream of fire blew out of his wand, separating as it flowed towards previously unseen sconces. It ended a second later, the room far better lit, the flames turning to a bright green.

Will I always flinch when I see fire?

“That was impressive,” Flora told him, extinguishing her wand in favour of looking around in awe.

The ceiling was far, far above their heads, snake sculptures twining across it. There were arches, but the ground was completely flooded except for the place they were standing; this had probably happened when a pipe was redirected or something similar.

 

Inundationem subsisto,” Flora said, slashing her wand towards the water. It began to move to one of the archways, flowing into a crack on the wall, but quickly began to pour out again. She quickly said “signo,” which caused the stone to smooth over the crack, stopping the flooding.

“There are books in those archways,” Hadrian exclaimed in horror, rushing to the nearest one, which had a shelf fitting to the curved stone. The bottom half were ruined, covered by the metre of water, tattered paper stuck to the floor. “They’re ruined,” he said, trying to use reparo, but they weren’t broken in the eyes of the spell.

“At least the ones in the top half are fine,” Flora said, trying to console him. “And look, these are all first editions from centuries ago.” She caught sight of some of the books. “Oh Salazar, these are all about potions.”

“Only take one,” Hadrian told her. “In case whoever the heir is notices a missing book.”

“We probably should have thought about that before we cleared the entire place up,” Flora pointed out, panic crossing her face.

“We couldn’t leave it like that, though. We’re Slytherins; this is our founder’s chamber. We couldn’t leave it as a dark gloomy cave,” Hadrian replied, but he looked worried. “We should probably look around quickly, before the Heir comes to visit.”

Flora nodded, tucking a single book into her bag.

“Do you think there’s a back door,” she mused, looking around. “I would imagine there’s an entrance in the Dungeons somewhere, to be close to the common room.”

 

How can I get out?” Hadrian hissed loudly, directing his question at the snakes in the ceiling.

The third arch on the left…

He relayed this to Flora, who looked impressed, striding over to a door set into the wall. Her scars were odd in the flickering green light, seeming more raised than usual.

“Does everything in this room need a parselmouth?” she complained, stepping back to let Hadrian open it. The door led to a narrow passageway, which they started down. Only a few minutes later, they came out in the Dungeons, stone sliding back into place behind them. “Huh,” Flora said, looking around. “We’re less than a minute away from the common rooms.”

“It’s not even lunchtime yet,” Hadrian replied.

They began to laugh, shock at what they had seen erupting as amusement.

 

 

Chapter Text

A Hufflepuff second-year called Megan Jones was petrified a week later, sending the school into a panic. There were fears that the attacks would continue at the same rate, but Hadrian personally thought that the heir had been spooked by the renovations he and Lora had done to the chamber.

 

“We should probably feel bad,” Flora told him, “considering that this is probably our fault.”

“Probably,” Hadrian shrugged. “She’ll be fine.”

 

School continued as normal, apart from the teachers instructing them to be careful.

Hadrian sent an application to the National Duelling Competition for Underage Wizards and Witches, which would be held over Christmas; he soon received a response with the date of his first duel, and the location of the event. It didn’t require a set standard or prior attainment, unlike most competitions, which was why Hadrian had chosen it.

 

November became early December, and soon most of the students were preparing for the holidays.

A week before school broke up, Hadrian and his friends were eating breakfast at the Slytherin table as normal.

“Are you going home for Christmas?” Barnaby asked Felix, who shook his head.

“There’s so much going on here, that I don’t want to miss anything. Besides, my mother reached out to a distant cousin of hers, so she’s planning to spend the holiday with them, so I don’t feel like I have to keep her company.”

“Yeah, I think more people are going home for the holidays than normal because of the attacks,” Flora said. “It’s crazy! Things are just getting exciting.”

“You aren’t a muggleborn, though,” Hestia reminded her. “They’ll be a lot more worried.”

“Dear Malfoy is constantly saying ‘mudblood’,” Felix said, a more serious look on his face than normal when discussing Flora’s betrothed. “He’s like a toddler who’s learnt their first word.”

“I keep on telling you that he’s an asshole,” Flora said, wearing a satisfied expression.

“Come now,” Felix said, grinning. “Is that anyway to talk about your dear fiancé?”

There was a sharp gasp from behind them, causing Flora to turn to see her girlfriend.                                                                                                                     

“Your what?” Angelina asked, shock on her face.

“Angelina, wait-” Flora said, leaping to her feet, but Angelina had already run off. She turned to Felix, fury in her eyes. “You’re an asshole,” she spat, before sprinting off after her girlfriend.

“Fuck,” Felix swore, running his hand through his hair. “I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

“You shouldn’t tease her about it all the time then,” Lucian told him.

Hestia had a pained look on her face. “Lora should have told her sooner,” she said. “I know exactly why she didn’t, but she should have told her sooner.”

“Why didn’t she?” Luna asked, tilting her head in curiosity.

“If she tells her girlfriend, she’s acknowledging it,” Hadrian replied, wearing an angry expression. “Acknowledging that it’s a real thing. She doesn’t want to do that.” He paused for a moment. “Salazar, I hate your parents,” he told Hestia.

“Same here,” Hestia replied. “Our parents are horrible.”

Felix dropped his head on to the table. “This doesn’t stop the fact that I told Flora’s girlfriend, when she didn’t want her to know. As much as I tease her about it, I get that it must be shit to be told she has to marry a boy.”

“Tell her you’re sorry next time you see her,” Lucian advised. “She may be mad, but she will forgive you.”

 


 

None of them saw Flora for the rest of the day.

The next day, Hestia woke to find her fast asleep in her bed, still dressed. She’d presumably come in just before curfew, not bothering to change.

She shook her twin awake, ignoring the intrigued gazes from the other girls in the dormitory.

“What do you want, Hestia?” Flora groaned, turning over. “I’m tired.”

“It’s eight thirty in the morning and we have lessons today,” Hestia informed her. “You need to get up in the next five minutes or we’ll be late for our first lesson.”

Twenty minutes later, Flora dragged herself out of bed, her eyes red and puffy.

“What happened with Angelina?” Hestia asked softly.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Flora murmured, wiping her eyes with the back of her arms.

Hestia sighed. “Alright. But you need to get dressed, we’re already going to be late. We’ve missed breakfast.”

They left the dorm five minutes after that, rushing to get to Potions before the bell rang; luckily, they slipped in just as it rang, sitting in their normal seats. Flora next to Hadrian, and Hestia next to Barnaby.

“What happened?” Hadrian whispered to Flora, concern on his face as he chopped the porcupine quills for their Draught of Peace.

“I couldn’t get up this morning,” Flora muttered.

“I realised that,” Hadrian replied. “I meant yesterday. I was worried about you, we all were.”

Flora paused in measuring out the syrup of hellebore. “I waited outside the Gryffindor common room for the whole day.”

“And?”

“She didn’t come out,” Flora snapped under her breath. “You need to cut it more finely, if you’re going to powder it properly,” she told him, pointing to the knife he was holding.

“I’m sorry, Lora,” Hadrian murmured.

“As I told Hestia, I don’t want to talk about it.”

 


 

Luna was, coincidentally, eating lunch with the Gryffindors that day; she dropped into her normal seat next to Lee, opposite Fred and George.

“Hi Luna,” Lee said, slightly less cheerfully than normal, a worried expression on his face.

“Hello Lee,” she replied. “Is Angelina here?”

“No,” Fred said, a slight edge to his voice.

“What happened with her and Flora?” George asked.

“She came into the common room crying yesterday morning, and we haven’t seen her since,” Fred added.

Luna’s shoulders slumped. “I was hoping to explain some things to her.”

“You could start by explaining some things to us,” Lee told her. “Like, what happened?”

Luna sighed. “Angelina overheard Felix teasing Flora about some things that are out of her control.”

“That doesn’t explain-” George commented.

“Flora’s engaged,” Luna said, cutting her friend off. “To a boy.”

“I thought she was a lesbian,” Fred said, frowning.

“She is.”

“Well, shit,” Lee said, letting out a sharp breath. “Is it arranged?”

“Obviously,” Luna replied, giving him a look. “She’s known about it for… a while, but wasn’t sure how to tell Angelina.”

“Did she know about it before she started dating Angelina?” George asked after a moment.

“Yes, she’s known about it for a year and half.”

“She should have told her,” Fred said. “It’s not fair to Angelina.”

“It’s also not fair to Lora to be engaged. She’s been scared of telling Angelina because if she does, it becomes real. It becomes something she has to deal with,” Luna explained. “Because she’s been ignoring it. She’d deny this, but she won’t talk to her fiancé. Won’t acknowledge that they’re engaged.”

“Does he go to our school?” Lee asked.

“It’s Draco Malfoy, in second year.”

“I swear he’s three years younger, almost four, than her,” George said.

“That is accurate,” Luna told him.

“He’s the one who called Hermione a mudblood, isn’t he?” Fred asked, a dark expression on his face. “Her parents are making her marry him?”

“They’re trying to make her marry him,” Luna corrected. “She thinks she’s found a way out of it. She’s planning to marry someone else before he turns seventeen, when the contract will be finalised.”

“She was expecting Angelina to marry her at twenty?” Lee asked incredulously.

“Not necessarily. Remember, if they were still dating at that point, they would have been together for five years,” Luna reminded him. “That would be a normal point to get married at. Lora also fully recognised that most teenage relationships don’t last that long.”

“So she was just dating her to get out of a marriage contract?” George asked, more curious than accusatory.

“No, she genuinely likes Angelina,” Luna said.

 


 

Flora was missing at dinner, instead lying face down on her bed.

“Lora, what’s happened?” Felix asked from the doorway, worry on his face. He had been intending to apologise, but it was clear that something else had occurred since he last saw her. “I thought you were waiting outside the lions’ common room, I looked for you there first.”

She muttered something into her pillow.

“What was that?” Felix asked, stepping over her school books strewn on the floor to the bed, where he sat beside her.

“I said that Angelina broke up with me!” Flora shouted, pushing herself up. “Are you happy now?”

“Of course not,” Felix replied, appalled at the suggestion. “You know that I would never want this to happen. I made a mistake, and I am so, so sorry for it.”

Flora groaned, letting herself fall back down to the bed, this time turning her head to face Felix. “I know you didn’t want this to happen. It’s just… I really, really liked Angelina. And I know it’s my fault for not telling her sooner, but it hurts so much.”

“This is not your fault,” Felix said sharply. “This is your parents fault, for arranging the marriage, and mine for not being careful where I talked about it.”

“Angelina said she couldn’t date someone who had hidden something from her for so long,” Flora said, covering her face with her hands. “That sounds a lot like it’s my fault.”

“It is not your fault,” Felix told her sharply. “She has every right to be angry, yes. She doesn’t know what it’s like to have an arranged marriage. But if she thinks that it means anything then you weren’t going to work out together. If you had told her six months ago, the same thing would have happened, because she wouldn’t understand what it means.”

“It wouldn’t have. I’d have been able to explain and she would have listened,” Flora disagreed.

“Fine, we disagree. We don’t know what could have happened. What we do know, is what has happened,” Felix said. “You’re allowed to hurt. Just… don’t blame yourself.”

They stayed like that for an hour, until Flora sat up and stretched. She looked at him, an odd expression on her face.

“What’s happened with you?” she asked softly. “Something’s wrong.”

Felix sighed. “It’s nothing in comparison,” he told her.

“I want to take my mind off Angelina, so spill,” Flora replied.

He sighed again. “Lucian’s dating someone else.”

Flora did a double-take. “What?!” she exclaimed, shock on her face.

“It’s some Hufflepuff boy.”

“Why hasn’t he told us?” Flora cried. “How do none of us know?”

Felix gave her a look. “I know.”

“Also, he really obviously has a crush on you! Why would he go and date someone else?”

“I don’t know,” Felix replied, shrugging his shoulders.

“I’m sorry Felix,” she told him. “I know you’ve been in love with him for a year or two. He’s probably going out with someone else because neither of you can pine forever.”

“I know,” he replied quietly.

“How long have they been going out?” Flora asked.

“A week,” Felix said.

“A week?” Flora exclaimed. “He’s been dating someone for a week and didn’t think to mention it?”

Felix gave her a look. “Sorry, not helpful,” she muttered.

“I don’t know what to do about it,” Felix said, falling back onto Flora’s bed.

“I don’t there’s anything you can do about it, unfortunately,” Flora replied.

“Ugh, being in love sucks,” Felix groaned.

“That it does,” Flora replied.

 


 

The Polyjuice Potion was almost ready, Hermione having stewed the lacewings for nine of the necessary twenty days.

Charlus was nervous; he and his friends were intending to infiltrate the Slytherin common room to get some answers from his brother, disguised as his friends.

Hermione thought that it was a terrible idea, as everyone knew that Hadrian Potter-Black was perceptive and Polyjuice couldn’t make them act like his friends, only look like them. Ron had pointed out that Hadrian had been found at the scene of the crime, and was called into the Headmaster’s office only hours after the second petrification.

Hermione had told him that if Hadrian were truly guilty, then he would have been found out by the Headmaster.

“Not necessarily,” Ron told her. “Didn’t you hear about the time he wriggled out of trouble for having his girlfriend in his bed overnight? I heard he was going to get expelled.”

“Oh please, he would have gotten a week of detention at most,” Hermione snapped.

Charlus wasn’t sure what to think about the whole Heir of Slytherin thing.

 


 

Two days later, a bulletin was put out about a duelling club. Hadrian checked it over; despite being very skilled at duelling, he had a national competition the next week, and wanted to see if he could pick up some last minute tips.

Flitwick had been a master dueller, after all, and it could be useful if he was running it.

He wasn’t. It was Lockhart.

Hadrian would have walked out, if it weren’t for Flora grabbing his arm.

“Snape is here too,” she whispered to him. “He’s supposed to be really good at duelling.”

He sighed. “Alright, I’ll stay,” he said. “But if this is a waste of time, I’m going to curse Lockhart’s hair so it turns neon orange permanently.”

Flora grinned at him. “Please do that even this is really interesting.”

“Seriously though, there are first- and second-years here. They aren’t going to teach anything we don’t already know,” Hadrian muttered. “They could have organised it into skill levels, at least.”

Lockhart began by failing to demonstrate a basic expelliarmus, instead being flung backwards by Snape’s.

“Er, yes, of course, I let Professor Snape get in such a hit on me,” Lockhart claimed, flustered.

Snape’s sneer grew, hatred clear in his eyes.

“Anyway, everyone should pair up to practice this spell,” Lockhart announced, beginning to move through the crowd of students and put people together. Hadrian and Flora were quickly put together; they were both glad for this, as they were very good duellers.

“Now, the incantation is expelliarmus,” Lockhart called out. “Try it against your partners.”

Hadrian had Flora’s wand in his hand before she could even blink, fixing her with a disappointed look.

“You can do better than that,” he told her. “What’s distracting you?”

“Angelina is here,” she muttered to him, discreetly gesturing towards her ex-girlfriend, who was clearly doing her best to ignore Flora.

“Ah,” Hadrian said.

Finite incantatem,” Snape shouted, stopping all the spells going wrong in the room – chaos had ensued while Hadrian and Flora were talking. Hadrian tossed Flora’s wand back to her, turning to face his Head of House. “Perhaps we should teach the students how to block spells,” he continued, his lips curling, “Gilderoy.”

“Of course, of course Severus. An excellent idea; I was just about to suggest it myself. Perhaps we could have some volunteers?” Lockhart replied, searching the crowd. “Mr Potter-Black and Miss Carrow, perhaps? Some fifth-years to show the way?”

Hadrian exchanged a look with Flora, slowly moving up to the podium, starting on Lockhart’s side. He faced Flora, a slight smirk on his face. He tilted his head in question.

Should we demonstrate what he wants us to or have a proper duel?

Seeing Flora’s responding nod, he readied himself for a real duel – one that consisted of more than just protego and expelliarmus.

“First you bow,” Lockhart told the crowd; Hadrian and Flora bowed deeply to each other.

Tenebris incendio!” Flora cried, a jet of black flame rushing at Hadrian from the tip of her wand.

Protego duo,” Hadrian incanted, the dark flames parting around the shimmering bronze barrier that appeared in front of him. He didn’t let himself flinch at the fire in front of fifty students he didn’t know, but it was hard.

Then, the flames parted and Flora was right in front of him, only for her fist to crash against the shield, sending her staggering back.

She always does that.

Hadrian cut off his shield the second after she made contact with it, casting a quick, “expelliarmus,” her wand flying into his hand.

“I believe I win this one,” Hadrian told her, a smile on his face until he saw how she glanced at Angelina in the crowd from the corner of her eye.

I’d hoped proper duelling would distract her from her break-up.

“Well, er, yes,” Lockhart stuttered, gaping at the demonstration that was over in seconds. “That was, er, very good example of both protego and expelliarmus from Mister Potter-Black and Miss Carrow there.”

“Indeed,” Snape said. “Perhaps it was over too quickly for the students to see properly, though. I suggest we use some… less skilled students. Mr Potter and Mr Malfoy, you can go next.”

Hadrian leapt down from the platform, joining Flora at the centre of the platform.

“You’re still distracted,” he told her.

“I know,” she groaned. “You wouldn’t get it, you’ve never had a break-up.”

“I haven’t,” Hadrian agreed. “So I don’t understand. I’m not saying you have to be over it already; it’s only been a week or two. I’m saying you shouldn’t let it affect the rest of your life. That’s when your parents win.”

“Speaking of the devil,” Flora murmured, looking at where Malfoy was standing beside Snape, the teacher standing back disdainfully. The second-year had an odd glint in his eyes, smirking at Charlus.

“He’s about to do something foolish, isn’t he,” Hadrian muttered. “I thought I already made it clear to him that he shouldn’t be embarrassing Slytherin.”

True to form, Malfoy shouted, “serpensortia” as soon as the duel started, not even bothering to bow. A large snake appeared in the centre of the duelling platform, less than a metre away from Hadrian. It hissed, unfurling its body.

“What’s the vanishing spell? I can’t remember it,” Hadrian hissed to Flora, who shook her head. He turned to look at Snape, but the Professor clearly wanted to see how things would turn out.

Lockhart shouted a spell dramatically, but it only sent the snake flying into the air, angering it. It hissed nonsense, beginning to slither towards some Hufflepuff.

“Fuck it,” Hadrian murmured, then turned to the snake. “Back off,” he hissed, the students around him recoiling from the odd language. “Go back to your summoner’s wand.” The snake turned to him instead.

I suppose it did back off that second-year.

I told you to vanish,” he said, annoyed that his instructions hadn’t been followed. The snake did do as commanded this time, falling into dust.

There was muttering throughout the room, people staring at him.

“You- you were egging it on!” the boy who had been targeted by the snake shouted, running off.

Hadrian stormed out, Flora beside him.

“They’re going to call you a Dark wizard now,” she told him. “People will think you’re the next Dark Lord or some nonsense like that.”

“They’ll call me the Heir of Slytherin,” Hadrian said.

 


 

The next day at breakfast, there were open glares directed at Hadrian, whispers following him everywhere.

“They’re all saying you’re the Heir of Slytherin,” Felix confirmed. “There’s also a come-back of saying that you’re the one who cursed Lora. And more rumours about your childhood.”

Hadrian gave a savage smile. “What do you think we should do about the little Malfoy?”

Felix glanced at Flora, clearly trying to be careful about his response.

“Go ahead,” she told him, her eyes closed. “I don’t care anymore.”

“Little baby Malfoy received a little message, reminding him about shaming Slytherin with his failure to perform proper duel etiquette,” Felix replied, a grin on his face.

“Oh, I saw that,” Lucian said, smiling. “Foot high, glowing letters saying ‘Malfoy is a fucking idiot’ on the common room, right?”

“Yes,” Felix replied, not bothering to look at Lucian, whose expression became hurt.

“Nice,” Hadrian replied. “How long until they come down?”

“A month until they can be cleaned off. I did it with my second wand, as well, so it won’t be able to be traced back to me,” Felix said, his grin widening.

“And why is there lipstick on your cheek?” Flora asked, an amused glint in her dark red eyes.

“Because he made out with Elora Dunn in the broom cupboard,” Hestia replied, prompting Felix to groan.

“Why do you always spill my secrets?”

“I didn’t mention Robert Hilliard from last week,” she replied.

“You just did!”

“Whoops,” Hestia said in a monotone.

Flora glanced between Felix and Lucian worriedly, but Felix ignored it, just eating his breakfast.

 


 

That afternoon, a Hufflepuff second-year was found petrified, the Gryffindor ghost in front of him.

 

A Gryffindor sixth-year tried to hex Hadrian in the corridor outside Charms, shouting that he should go to Azkaban for his crimes. Hadrian blocked the hex, laughing at the girl.

I already did.

 

No one else tried to attack him after the Gryffindor was transfigured into a toad at lunch, but the muttering had become full on conversations.

 

Chapter Text

The day before Christmas, Hadrian left school to attend the National Duelling Competition for Underage Wizards and Witches. He took the Floo from McGonagall’s office to the small arena.

He joined the nineteen other competitors for a speech from the Chair of the National Duelling Association, and then had his first match. The first two rounds were one-on-one duels, and defeat resulted in being knocked out.

 

He won his first match within about five seconds, throwing him off the duelling platform right after they’d bowed, with a Knockback Jinx, which instantly disqualified his opponent.

His won his second match in the same amount time, but this time he simply disarmed his opponent, defeating her.

There was a break before the next round, as twenty participants were knocked down to five.

Then, a melee was announced; all five would fight each other at the same time, and the top rankings would be announced by order of who was defeated.

 

Hadrian had realised by that point that the competition wasn’t very serious. Only one or two of the remaining wizards and witches had actually trained, the others simply wanting to have some fun.

 

So in the final, he decided to try and pick off the stronger opponents before turning to the weaker ones, surprising the people who’d be expecting him to want a dramatic final duel.

There’s a reason I’m a Slytherin. Drama is overrated.

Indeed, his main competitor, a girl with pale brown hair, immediately went for the weakest link, but this gave Hadrian the opportunity to send a Stunning Spell; she fell to the ground unconscious as he brought his shield up in time to block the Disarming Charm from another wizard.

The target of the brown-haired girl’s spell had been knocked out of the ring, leaving Hadrian with another wizard and a witch.

He dropped his shield for a moment, darting past the stupefy sent his way by the wizard; he got close enough to step through the witch’s shield charm, knocking her out of the ring with a Knockback Jinx. He turned to his final opponent, sending a stupefy which was dodged, but the boy stumbled, letting Hadrian knock him out with a murmured, “everte statum.”

A few seconds later, he was announced as the winner, the small crowd politely applauding as he shook hands with the Chair of the National Duelling Association.

“That was a very impressive display, Mr Potter-Black,” the tall witch told him. “As the winner, you can go to the European round at Easter. Would you like to submit your name?”

“Yes, ma’am, I was intending to,” he replied.

She nodded. “I’m excited to see what you do next.”

 

He left after that, taking the form from the Chair’s assistant that would allow him to enter the European competition.

He was back at school by one o’clock, meeting his friends for lunch.

 


 

“How did it go?” Luna asked as he sat down beside her, giving her a quick kiss.

“I won,” he replied, helping himself to some food. “Easily.”

“That was expected, though,” Lucian told him. “The competition is a bit of a joke.”

“The only reason you went was to get the form to enter the European competition,” Flora added. “Because you want to be the DADA teacher once we graduate, for whatever reason.”

“You have to admit that he’s good at it,” Barnaby said. “I’ve learnt much more from him than I have from the past five teachers.”

“I wish I could be in your class, Hadry,” Luna said with a disappointed tone to her voice. “Lockhart is somehow even worse than the previous teachers.”

 


 

The next day was Christmas, and Hadrian celebrated with all of his friends. They spent the morning in their abandoned classroom, then had Christmas lunch at the almost empty Slytherin table, before going outside for a snowball fight.

 


 

Charlus and Ron chickened out of using the Polyjuice Potion to find out more about Hadrian, instead turning into Crabbe and Goyle to follow Draco. Hermione refused to go with them, saying they were being ridiculous.

 


 

The holidays passed quickly, Hadrian’s sixteenth birthday a few days before school began again. There weren’t any more petrifications for a while.

January soon became February, which meant Valentine’s Day.

Lockhart announced to the entire school on the 14th February, while wearing bright pink robes, that he had arranged for twelve dwarves to run around with golden wings delivering Valentine notes. The Great Hall was covered in huge pink flowers as he said this, rose petals falling from the ceiling.

“Sweet Salazar, what has he done?” Felix asked, horror in his voice as he gazed around the once-elegant Great Hall.

“Doesn’t he realise that some of us are getting over break-ups?” Flora moaned, letting her head fall to the table.

“Yeah,” Lucian agreed, shooting a glare towards the Hufflepuff table. The boy he had been dating had dumped him the week before, with no explanation.

“Valentine’s Day is an overrated holiday,” Felix said.

“Well, I think it can be nice,” Barnaby said, smiling at Hestia as he ate a heart-shaped chocolate.

Hadrian shrugged. “I normally celebrate it with Luna on her birthday instead,” he told them, tucking the pink daisy that his girlfriend had given him into the lapel of his shirt.

Luna was looking at a map of the Forbidden Forest, a large sack on the floor next to her.

“What’ve you got there, Luna?” Flora asked, looking over the table to see the map.

Luna gave her a huge grin. “Hadrian found the place the thestrals live in the Forest, so we’re going to go and see them at lunchtime.”

“How… romantic,” Felix said, an odd expression on his face.

 


 

After Valentine’s Day, February passed by with little fanfare except for a Quidditch match against Ravenclaw at the end of the month.

By the end of March, there weren’t any more cases of petrification, so the school began to relax. There was almost no whispering as Hadrian walked through the school.

By April, everything was almost back to normal.

“Felix is getting worse,” Flora told Hadrian, dropping down to sit beside him. They were alone in their normal abandoned classroom. “And it’s breaking Lucian’s heart.”

“I assume you’re referring to the increasing number of people he’s… liased with in the broom cupboard,” Hadrian replied, looking up from his DADA lesson plan with a pained expression.

“Yeah, he’s just ignoring Lucian as well now.”

“I’d noticed,” Hadrian said.

“He doesn’t seem to realise that Lucian only dated that Hufflepuff boy to make him jealous, does he?” Flora groaned, covering her face with her hands, rubbing her eyes. “Salazar, I want to interfere, but if they actually want a relationship they need to be able to work things like this out.”

“We need to do something,” Hadrian said. “Felix is not himself, and neither is Lucian.”

“I guess I’m just worried that if they have a relationship and it ends badly, then it’ll be terrible for the rest of us,” Flora said.

“More terrible than it is right now?” Hadrian asked, raising an eyebrow.

“True,” Flora replied, pushing herself to her feet. “Thanks Hadrian.”

 


 

Flora strode into the abandoned classroom again an hour later, finding all of her friends there. She pointed at Felix and then Lucian, who were sitting on opposite sides of the room to each other.

“You and you,” she told them, “are going to go into that closet,” she pointed at the door to a small closet that may have once been used for supplies, “and talk about the fact that you are in love with each other for an hour.”

Flora disarmed them both in less than a second, knocking them into the cupboard with another spell and then locking the door.

There was silence.

Inside the small closet, Lucian turned to Felix, his cheeks burning red. They were pressed against each other due to the size of the space.

“So…”

 


 

Sure enough, the two boys began officially dating later that week, Lucian blushing every time someone asked them what had happened in the closet.

 


 

The Easter holidays began at the start of April, which fewer people observed than Christmas.

Of course, this also caused the fifth-years to begin frantically revising for their upcoming OWLs. In that time, Hadrian had to take three days off to attend the European Duelling Championships for Underage Witches and Wizards, or EDUW as most people called it.

He had a small room provided for him in an estate in the countryside of France, where the competition was also held.

Contestants were expected to arrive the night before the competition, during which time Hadrian realised he was probably the youngest to make it to EDUW out of the ten attending, the others mostly having only a month or two before they were adults. Most had taken their parents; he invited Luna.

The entire competition had everyone duelling everyone, as there were only ten involved.

On the first day, Hadrian had to duel a very short wizard from Germany, who he beat with a few quick fire spells, and a red-haired witch from Spain who took slightly more effort to beat, but was beaten all the same.

Luna was whooping unashamedly from the side-lines, waving a glittery banner that said ‘Go Hadrian!’

The second day, Hadrian had to face four opponents, who he had some difficulty with but beat all the same; growing up in Azkaban, he had learnt a few very rare spells which he could use to surprise his foes. Of course, he could only actually use about a third of them without breaking the law, but that still left a fair number.

 


 

That night there was a ball for all of the contestants to attend, with their guests and experienced duellers and such.

Hadrian dressed in his black and charcoal grey dress robes, Luna in a shimmering silver dress with a neon pink fringe on the hem, which was just below her knees.

“You look beautiful,” he told her as they entered the ballroom, repurposed from its earlier use as a duelling chamber.

“Thanks, Hadry,” Luna replied. “You look beautiful too.”

He laughed, giving her a quick kiss, letting her lead him to the drinks stand.

“Two Pumpkin Juices, please,” Luna asked brightly, taking the offered glasses and handing one to her boyfriend. "Thank you!"

They moved to the edge of the dancefloor, about to join it when a twenty-something looking man ambled over to them.

“Hadrian Potter-Black, am I correct?” he asked. “You’ve won all of your six matches so far.”

“Yes, sir,” Hadrian replied.

The stranger glanced at their glasses. “You do know that you can get alcohol, if you want. It’s being offered to everyone.”

“No thank you, sir. I don’t drink,” Hadrian replied. “Even if I did, it would likely give me a headache for the remaining matches tomorrow.”

“And you, young lady?”

“I’m only fifteen,” Luna chirped. “And if I drink then my vision goes funny.”

“I’m impressed,” the man said, a smile on his face. “Some of your competitors don’t show your restraint.” He faintly gestured at a witch and wizard chugging Firewhiskey.

Was that a test?

“I’m sorry sir, was there a particular reason you wanted to talk to us?” Hadrian asked, his polite tone disguising the weariness he felt creeping in.

“Yes, actually,” the wizard replied. “My wife, who is a Dark Arts specialist, was very impressed by your duelling style. She’s considering asking you to apprentice under her this summer.”

“Thank you, sir,” Hadrian replied, exchanging a look with Luna. “May I ask for her name?”

“Perenelle Flamel,” was the response, the smile remaining on the man’s face.

Hadrian accidentally let out a laugh, the irony of the situation catching up to him. “I’m sorry, sir, I’m extremely grateful for your wife’s praise; she is a renowned Dark Arts specialist. It’s just that… Luna and I have some experience with your Philosopher’s Stone from its year at Hogwarts.”

The man, now revealed to be Nicolas Flamel, raised his eyebrows. “The stone on display behind Albus’… obstacle course, the one that was destroyed, was not the real one.”

“We’re very aware, sir,” Luna interjected. “Hadrian was the one who dismantled the rune work to remove it from its mirror. We were actually talking about the real stone, which was hidden in dungeon five.”

Nicolas Flamel looked at them for a second. “You were what, fifteen?”

“Most of my friends and I were fourteen and fifteen. Luna was thirteen.”

“Well, consider me impressed. I do have to ask though: why are you participating in this competition? Most of the contestants want glory, but it doesn’t seem to me that you do.”

Hadrian smiled. “I want to be a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher,” he replied. “I’ve been teaching my class recently, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I was told that if I wanted to become one, I’d have to get experience, so I signed up for duelling as I was already skilled at it. I was hoping to use it to get more experience this summer.”

“Well that’s interesting,” Mr Flamel said, “because my wife has been impressed with you, as I said earlier. If you can stay for slightly longer tomorrow, after the EDUW has ended, then she can talk to you to see if she thinks you’d be a good fit for the apprenticeship.”

“Thank you, sir,” Hadrian replied. “It’s an honour to even be considered.”

The rest of the ball went smoothly, Luna and Hadrian dancing until quite late and then walking back to their room together.

However, once they got there, Luna turned to him.

“Hadrian, I need to talk to you about something important,” she said, her voice unusually serious.

“What is it?” Hadrian replied slightly warily.

Luna sighed, pulling him to sit on the bed beside her. “Why are you scared of fire?”

Hadrian stiffened.

I knew this conversation had to happen at some point.

He closed his eyes, rubbing the palms of hands against them.

“On Hallowe’en 1981, the Dark Lord attacked the Potters’ safe house in Godric’s Hollow,” he began slowly. Luna let him speak, despite having heard this part many times before. “But failed. Sirius arrived first, and picked me up. However, he quickly realised that Peter Pettigrew had betrayed the Potters and so Apparated, accidentally taking me with him before the Potters could see me. When he confronted Pettigrew in London, the man cast a powerful curse –the one that they thought Sirius cast, that killed all those muggles. I don’t know what it was, but there was- lots of fire and it hurt so much. Next thing I knew, I was in Azkaban.”

Luna reached out to grasp his hand, pulling it into her lap. “Did you get burnt?” she asked softly.

Hadrian nodded, then pulled his dress shirt off, quickly turning to show Luna his back. It was a mess of spiralling burnt skin, lines following where the spell had been.

“I was huddled in Sirius robes, so only my back got hit,” he told her, his words barely a whisper. “And now I can’t see fire without thinking of it.”

Luna pulled back around to face her, hugging him tightly. “I saw you flinch earlier when that wizard cast incendio maximum. I’ve seen it happen before, but I decided to ask you this time.”

She looked at his bare chest.

She’s the first person to see all my scars.

“What are these from?” she asked, pointing at the various scars across his chest and upper arms.

Hadrian took a shaky breath, then pointed to four raised, red lines over his heart. “I went into Bella’s cell on a bad day. She pinned me to the floor and- and scratched me with her nails. She said that she want-wanted to rip my heart out.”

“Those are quite some nails,” Luna murmured. Hadrian gave a faint smile.

“She sharpens them on the bars of her cage. Sharpened them. I don’t know if she still does.”

Luna ran her hand over the scratches, then pointed to Hadrian’s left arm, where a thick, white scar ran from his shoulder to just before his wrist. “How about this one?”

Hadrian stared at it for a moment. “Barty snuck a knife in, I’m not sure how. He cut me all the way down my arm, before I was able to get away,” he told her, running a gentle finger along it.

“And this one?”

Hadrian looked at the oddly circular purple mark. “Rabastan punched me at the same time as he had an accidental magic burst. Whatever curse it was left this.”

Luna brushed her hand over it.

“That- that’s most of them. The major ones,” Hadrian told her, his voice shaky.

Luna seemed to consider her next words. “I get why you haven’t shown me these before,” she told him, “because I would imagine they bring back awful memories. But I’m glad that you’ve trusted me to show them to me when I asked.” She tilted her head back slightly to look at his face. “But you’ve forgotten one.”

She turned over the hand that she was still holding in her lap, revealing the black tattoo on Hadrian’s right forearm. It was the same as the last time that she saw it, reading ‘#1075’ in blocky letters.

“This is scar too,” she told him. “It may not have hurt when it appeared on your arm, but it shows your suffering and pain. Years and years of it.”

Hadrian pulled her forward, pressing a kiss to her mouth. “I love you, Luna,” he told her.

Luna smiled. “And I love you, Hadrian.” She pulled him down for another kiss.

 


 

The third day of the competition began with Hadrian’s most difficult match, which ended up being a full hour of spells thrown back and forth, his opponent a highly skilled witch.

His remaining two matches, however, were against people who had woken up with huge hangovers after drinking far, far too much firewhiskey the night before. Hangover Relief potions were forbidden by the competition rules, as they could enhance physical ability beyond normal levels; this led clumsy and poorly-performing opponents. Hadrian beat them both with one or two spells, which was absolutely shocking for an international competition.

“They won’t be making that mistake again,” Luna murmured to him as the awards ceremony began. Hadrian had won, shaking hands with the host of the competition and then the chair of the European Duelling Board. He was awarded a silver, spherical pendant that he later strung on some black thread and hung around his neck to join his bone wand.

He thanked them for their time, then went to meet Luna, who was standing with a witch who looked to be in her mid-twenties with tanned skin and dark hair.

“Well done, Hadry,” Luna exclaimed, pulling him into a tight hug, then turning to the witch beside her. “This is Hadrian!” she exclaimed, pointing to him.

The women gave a rich laugh. “I had realised that. I have been watching him in the competition. I’m Perenelle Flamel,” she added at Hadrian’s curious look.

His eyes widened. “I’m huge fan of your work, ma’am,” he said, an awe-filled look on his face.

“My husband told me. He was quite impressed after your encounter yesterday, you know. That’s not an easy feat,” Perenelle Flamel told him. “He said that you want to become a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Hadrian replied. “I’ve enjoyed the subject for a long time, and I’ve been teaching my class this year due to… unforeseen circumstances.”

“I’m afraid you might have misunderstood my work,” she told him. “I specialise in performing the Dark Arts, not defending from them.”

“I’m aware, ma’am. I use the Dark Arts myself. I’ve found that the line between Light and Dark is somewhat blurred in Defence, though,” Hadrian replied.

Perenelle frowned. “You attend Hogwarts? They are normally harsher towards the Dark Arts than some other schools.”

“Yes,” Hadrian agreed. “But I grew up surrounded by people who used the Dark Arts, so I don’t hold the same prejudices.”

“Alright,” Perenelle told him. “I’ll discuss an apprenticeship with you. I just have a few more questions first.”

“Of course, ma’am.”

“You would be spending the entire month of July learning from me, and you would stay at my manor with only one or two opportunities for guests. Would your parents agree to this?”

“I don’t live with my parents, ma’am,” Hadrian replied, stiffening slightly. “So it wouldn’t be a problem.”

“Alright. We would be mainly staying in France. Would you be comfortable mostly being around people speaking French?”

Hadrian gave her a small smile. “I’m almost fluent in it, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Ah! That’s useful, as I often switch between languages for ease of meaning,” Perenelle said happily, clearly not expecting that response. “Final question: do you have any medical conditions that I should be aware of?”

Hadrian frowned. “I can’t be under the influence of magic suppressing wards,” he told her.

“Oh?” she asked, an interested expression on her face.

“I… due to some events that occurred when I was younger, my magic is tied to my heart. It beats in time with it, and if my magic is cut off the-”

“- your heart will stop beating,” Perenelle finished, looking at him in a new light. “I’ve only heard of that happening once before in my very, very long life.”

“I’d rather keep the circumstances of it private, ma’am,” Hadrian said tightly.

“Of course, of course. Just because you’re my apprentice does not mean that I should know the details of your private life,” she said, waving it away. “Now, I’ll be in contact with you in the next week, so keep your eyes peeled for any letters from a pink owl.”

“A pink owl?” Luna asked, delight in her eyes.

“Yes. I rather stupidly left some potions out next to her perch, and she drank them. She is now pink forever. We can’t reverse it,” Perenelle said, a smile on her face.

“Thank you, ma’am,” Hadrian said. “But I need to leave now. My OWLs start in two weeks, you see, and I need to do some revision.” He turned to his girlfriend, who was grinning at the thought of meeting a pink owl. “Do you want to come back with me now or stay longer?”

“I’ll go with you,” she replied, waving goodbye to Perenelle.

 

Chapter Text

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.

I’m lissstening…

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.”

“True.”

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.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Hadrian returned to his dormitory alone later that evening, as Luna had to get back to the Ravenclaw common room. The entire common room was full, with every student had been required to return to their dormitories packed in and waiting for news.

People stared as he walked through the common room, still covered in the dark green basilisk blood.

Hadrian ignored the sixth-year who was brave enough to try to get some answers from him, instead going straight to his dormitory, where all of his friends sat, worry on their faces.

“Hadrian!” Flora cried as soon as he walked in, jumping up from his bed to squeeze him in a hug. She pulled away a moment later, looking at the substance now covering her clothes. “What’s this?” She wrinkled her nose.

“Basilisk blood,” Hadrian told her, removing his ruined robes before sitting down on his bed.

“So you killed it, then,” Lucian said, relief on his face.

Hadrian nodded. “It was remarkably easy.”

“Well, thank Salazar it’s all over now,” Barnaby said, relaxing back onto his bed. “They were probably going to have to close the school down, if a student had actually died.”

“When’s Hagrid getting back?” Hestia asked, eyeing Hadrian carefully.

“McGonagall said it would probably be another day or two before the Ministry processes the forms,” he said, his fists clenching. “Because they’re fucking useless.”

Flora gave a sigh of relief. “At least he’ll be out. It was terrible, how long he’s been locked in there, and it hasn’t been doing you any good.”

“I assume Ginny Weasley is fine?” Felix said, raising an eyebrow. At the curious looks from everyone, he shrugged. “I heard a rumour saying she was the one who was missing.”

“She’s fine,” Hadrian said. “I had to carry her to the Head’s office, because she couldn’t walk. She’s in the Hospital Wing with her parents now. Charlus tried to save her, but he arrived a bit late and accused me of being the heir of Slytheirn.”

Felix laughed.

 


 

Hagrid returned two days later, and Luna was one of the many to greet him. Hadrian just felt the anger that he’d been feeling since the groundskeeper’s arrest fade, and he finally relaxed after his OWLs.

Dumbledore also returned, retaking his post as Headmaster with ease. Lucius Malfoy was fired from the Board of Governors, making Malfoy look a little less smug as he strutted about the castle.

The Weasley twins, whom Hadrian had never interacted with before except from through Luna, had both given him a hug and thanked him for saving their baby sister.

 


 

Luna had her regular lunch with her Gryffindor friends two days after she and Hadrian went into the Chamber of Secrets, and they were impressed by her adventure.

“Thanks again for saving Ginny,” Fred said, a frown on his face. “I don’t know what would have happened if she died.”

“And we don’t need to know, either,” George added, grimacing.

Lee nodded, then changed the topic by turning to Luna with a grin on his face. “So, how big was the basilisk?”

“About fifty feet long,” she told him, looking absolutely delighted, “and a metre thick. Its teeth were as long of my forearm. They were huge!”

“Merlin!” Lee exclaimed. “That is big. How did you defeat it?”

“Well, Hadrian blinded it and then I took away its sense of smell and then Hadrian ripped its head off,” Luna said. “It got blood all over our robes, though, which was annoying.”

“Hadrian… ripped its head off,” Fred repeated slowly, trying to make sense of it.

George frowned. “With a spell?”

“Yep!”

“I thought most spells can’t get through a basilisk’s skin,” Lee said, curious.

“They can’t.”

“So did he use a… a special spell?” Fred asked.

“I don’t know if I’d call it a ‘special spell’,” Luna mused. “But it was a very unusual spell. Very Dark, too.”

The Gryffindors froze.

“A very Dark spell?” George asked, suddenly wary. “Like…illegal Dark?”

“No, no,” Luna reassured them, and they relaxed a little. “Hadrian just knows a lot about the Dark Arts from his childhood.”

“The childhood you won’t tell us about,” Fred said wryly.

Luna gave a large grin. “Yep, that one.”

Lee shook his head, then changed the topic again. “I heard you got a Special Award for Services to the School.”

She shrugged. “I’m more pleased by the two hundred house points I won.”

George gaped at her. “Two hundred house points? Charlus only got fifty.”

Charlus didn’t kill a basilisk,” Luna reminded him, a smile on her face. “Charlus was too late to help us.”

 


 

The school year came to a close not long after, with the petrified students being woken up the day before the end of year feast.

Slytherin won again, Hadrian’s two hundred points giving them the boost they needed to beat Hufflepuff. Ravenclaw came a close second, but Luna’s points weren’t quite enough to tip them over the edge.

The students piled onto the Hogwarts Express, Hadrian and his friends settling into their usual compartment.

“You have that apprenticeship starting in two days, don’t you Hadrian?” Lucian asked his friend.

Hadrian nodded, a smile on his face. “Yes, it’s for the whole of July, with Perenelle Flamel.”

“You said I could come visit on your day off, right?” Flora said, an excited smile on her face.

“Yes, on the twenty fourth.”

Felix sighed. “It’s going to be odd not having you at my manor for the first month of the holidays,” he said. “At least you’ll be there in August.”

“And I’ll be there this year,” Luna said cheerfully. “I didn’t see any of you for two whole months last summer.”

“It will be nice to see you this year,” Hestia agreed. “But I’ll still be weird to not have Hadrian there. We haven’t been away from him since that week at the beginning of last summer. That’s a whole year.”

“Speaking of not seeing people,” Felix began, a grin on his face, “how’s your girlfriend, Lora?”

“I already told you that Gemma and I didn’t work out,” Flora said, exasperated.

“I thought you were dating?” Lucian said, confused. “That’s what you said originally.”

“First of all, that was over a month ago,” Flora told him. “Things change in a month. We did go on a few dates, but nothing really came of it.”

“Did Malfoy mess things up again?” Barnaby asked quietly, and was surprised when Flora shook her head.

“It was actually her relationships that messed things up a bit,” Flora said, an exasperated tone to her voice. “She kept on talking about her ex.”

“Speaking of exes,” Hestia said, amusement on her face, “I heard that Elora Dunn slapped Felix for not replying to any of her owls.”

Felix groaned. “I don’t tell any of you about these rumours, and then Hestia goes and does it anyway. I’m the people person, not you.”

“But you clearly aren’t telling us all of the rumours,” Hadrian said, his eyes dancing with laughter.

“What happened with her? You kissed her a few times, right?” Flora asked. She always delighted in teasing Felix.

Felix gave a dramatic sigh. “Yeah, and she seemed to think that I’d say yes if she asked me out on a date, despite the fact that I was already with Lucian at that point. I said no, then ignored the messages she sent me. Elora found me a few days ago and I let her slap me.”

“I’m sure,” Flora said. The words were practically dripping with sarcasm.

“I did! I knew she’d stop bothering me if she slapped me, so I let her,” Felix said, his eyes widening defensively.

Lucian laughed, then pulled his boyfriend down for a long kiss on the lips. “You’re ridiculous.”

“Why do you always have to kiss?” Hestia complained, looking away.

Felix pouted at her. “You don’t complain about Hadrian and Luna kissing.” The words were practically a whine.

“Hadrian and Luna,” Hestia told him, “rarely kiss on the lips in front of us, and even when they do it only lasts a second or two. You two are always kissing.”

“They slept together on his bed that time, remember?” Felix said, grinning. “Lucian and I have never got into trouble for something like that.”

“That wasn’t anything inappropriate, and you know it,” Hestia said.

Felix thought for a second. “They shared a bed at that European duel thing that Hadrian won,” he said triumphantly.

Hadrian just rolled his eyes.

 


 

Hadrian stayed at Grimmauld Place for the first day of the holidays, before Flooing to the address that Perenelle had given him in France.

When he stepped out of the fireplace in a grand entranceway, Perenelle was reading a book on a nearby armchair. There were odd black lines tattooed on her fingers, catching Hadrian’s eye as she turned a page. She looked up when she heard him.

“Ah, Hadrian. Comment était l’école?”

“L’école était intéressante,” Hadrian replied.

“Excellent French,” Perenelle praised. “Do you speak any other languages?”

“I can speak Gobbledegook and also Parseltongue,” he said.

Perenelle’s face lit up. “You’re a Parselmouth? I haven’t met another for a few years now.”

Hadrian raised an eyebrow. “You’re also a Parselmouth?

Yes, don’t the markings give it away?” Perenelle asked, waving her hands towards him. On each finger, there was a thin, black line parallel to the finger.

I’m sorry, I don’t know what you mean,” Hadrian said, looking at the tattoos curiously.

Perenelle frowned. “Didn’t you know? These tattoos show that I’m a Parselmouth. People like us are often seen as evil and therefore persecuted. The tattoos are a way to let others know that you’re like them without having to confess to it.

“Also they look cool,” Hadrian added in English, a smile forming on his face. “How do I get them?”

Perenelle smiled back at him. “They do look pretty cool,” she agreed. “You can ask anyone to do them; they’re simply normal tattoos, in a certain design.”

Hadrian thought for a moment. “Could you do them, please, ma’am?” he asked, looking at her hopefully.

Perenelle considered it for a second, before nodding. “I wouldn’t normally agree to tattoo a sixteen-year-old, but I think I’ll make an exception,” she said. “Follow me, I’ll show you the lab. It’s where you’ll spend most of your time while you’re here this month.”

Perenelle led him down some stairs to a basement, where there was a large room. Books were haphazardly strewn across the multiple surfaces, papers scattered everywhere. There were scorch marks on the walls, and stains across old, wooden table. Multiple half-empty mugs were forgotten on desks.

Perenelle ignored it all, moving to sit down at a chair, pulling Hadrian’s left hand towards her.

“You sure about this?” she asked, looking up at him. He nodded. “Alright, then.”

She muttered a string of words under her breath, tracing her nail down each of his fingers, black lines a few millimetres thick left in their wake.

It tingled slightly, but didn’t hurt.

Once she was finished with his left hand, she moved on to his right. Hadrian flexed his hand, admiring the tattoos.

“Now any Parselmouth can tell that you’re also one,” Perenelle told him, a smile on her face. “If anyone asks though, it was not me who gave tattoos to a sixteen-year-old.”

Will Charlus get these when he’s old enough? He is a Parselmouth, after all.

“Now that I’ve given you those tattoos, you need to practice your Parseltongue,” she continued. “Practicing increases the speed at which you talk and means you can switch more easily between Parseltongue and another language. So, I’m going to talk to you almost exclusively in Parseltongue.”

Hadrian nodded.

Now, I need to show you where you’re going to sleep, so you can drop your bag off.” Perenelle strode back out of the room.

Hadrian followed her out of the basement and across the entrance hall to a small room with a bed and a chest of drawers. He set his trunk down on top of the drawers.

You’ll stay here for the whole month, so feel free to spread out your belongings,” she told him.

Thank you, ma’am.

Perenelle frowned. “I’d rather you call me Nell. It’s what most people do, especially if you’re staying for a whole month.

Then thank you, Nell.

Nell looked at him for a moment. “Is there a nickname that you go by?” she asked. “I once met a Hadrian who was called Harry.

Hadrian tensed. “I’d rather not be called that,” he said. A decade and a half of practice let him sound calm and collected. “Almost everyone calls me Hadrian.

‘Almost’? What do some people call you?” Nell pushed.

My teachers call me Mister Potter-Black,” he offered. “And Luna calls me Hadry.

Luna was the girl you went to the EDUW with?

Hadrian smiled softly. “Yes.

She was weird. I liked her,” Nell said bluntly. “I like you too,” she added, “because you’re hiding things. And you don’t try to hide that you’re hiding things.

Hadrian didn’t let his confusion show.

 


 

Hadrian’s apprenticeship properly began the next day, when he spent the day testing variations of a spell that Nell was creating.

The spell I’m creating is supposed to be cast, sending a spell to hit a shield, and congeal there; only on the fourth time of casting will it trigger, shattering the shield,” Nell explained, showing him various runic diagrams. “I need you to test each of these, using the incantation ‘quartum fortuna’.”

Hadrian repeated it a few times in his head, making sure to remember the words.

The incantation should only have to be said on the first time for all four of them to work. Do you know how to interpret runic patterns?

Yes,” Hadrian said as he checked the first diagram. “They show you the wand movement to use.

Great. I’ll have a simple protego up, and you can cast it on me,” Nell said, then moved to the other end of the workshop.

Nell cast a wandless protego, then Hadrian incanted, “quartum fortuna,” swishing his wand in the pattern dictated. A spell flew from his wand and hit her shield, but once he had done four, they simply pulsed, then dissipated.

Oh,” Nell said, frowning. “Well, better try the next one.

Hadrian spent the rest of the day casting the spell with different patterns, stopping only for a sandwich at lunchtime. Unfortunately, none of them were successful, but Nell had made improvements to the diagrams. She fully expected them to have solved it by the next day.

 

Hadrian ate dinner with Nell, still talking exclusively in Parseltongue.

Nicolas will be home in a week,” she hissed to him. “So there’s no reason to talk English until then.

Alright,” Hadrian said. “What about spells?

Nell shrugged. “You have to use the proper incantations for that, and they aren’t English anyway. So it doesn’t count.

 


 

It was on the sixth day of Hadrian’s apprenticeship that he went out into the grounds, to practice a particularly explosive spell with Nell.

Why are you still wearing a long-sleeved shirt?” Nell asked him, looking curiously at his dark grey shirt. “It’s wasteful to use a Cooling charm constantly.

Hadrian shrugged. “I prefer having my arms covered.

Why?

I have some scars I don’t like seeing,” he told her, thinking of the tattooed Azkaban number. It was so different to his new Parselmouth tattoos; every time he saw them, he was reminded that other people shared the same ability as him. That he wasn’t alone.

Every time he saw his Azkaban number, he was flooded by memories from his childhood.

Why don’t you like seeing them?” Nell asked, her brow furrowed.

Hadrian took a deep breath. “They bring back memories I’d rather forget.

I have some scars of my own,” Nell told him seriously, “and I may want to forget the event that caused them, but covering them up doesn’t help. If anything, it makes you more aware of them.

Hadrian thought about it for a moment. “I’ve only ever shown them to a few people,” he told her. And it was true; only his friends and the Azkaban inmates had seen his Azkaban number. Only Luna and Sirius had seen the scar down his arm from Barty.

I wouldn’t tell anyone,” Nell said, an honest look on her face. “And sharing always helps. Always.

Hadrian did, strangely enough, trust the deceptively-old witch despite knowing her for only a short time. So he rolled his sleeves up to his elbows, gazing down at the marks.

Nell stared at the Azkaban tattoo, its blocky numbers reading ‘#1075’, then the end of the thick, jagged scar he was given by Barty’s knife.

I’ve seen those tattoos before,” she said slowly, “on people imprisoned in that barbaric British prison you have. What’s it called?

Azkaban,” Hadrian hissed quietly, pushing down the memories that tried to rise up with the tattoo.

Were you imprisoned there? You can’t have been, even the British Ministry for Magic wouldn’t expose an underage wizard to those foul Dementors,” Nell said, looking him in the eyes as if daring him to say more.

I was with my godfather when he was wrongfully imprisoned twelve years ago. I was freed when the mistake was realised five years ago.

Nell stared at him for a few seconds, utter horror in her eyes. “They let a four year near Dementors?” she whispered. The English was jarring to him after almost a week of solid Parseltongue.

Hadrian simply nodded in response.

Nell closed her eyes, taking a few deep breaths before looking at his other arm. “What’s this one from?

I was in the same block as some Death Eaters, who taught me most of the time. However, they sometimes had bad days, when they attacked me. Bartemius Crouch Junior was one such Death Eater, who snuck a knife a few months before he died. He cut me from my wrist to my shoulder,” Hadrian said. He kept his voice even and spared some of the gory details from the story.

Like how he tried to struggle, but it only made it worse. Like how Barty let me run back to my cell crying, a grin on his face. Like how Sirius had to scream for the guards because the bleeding wouldn’t stop. Like how they only had dirty bandages to bind it with, because the Ministry doesn’t care about the inmates of Azkaban.

And the guards let this happen?” Nell asked, quiet fury in her eyes.

Hadrian violently shook his head; the idea was nearly repulsive to him. “There were only four guards for the whole island, as the Dementors are seen as the ‘proper’ guards. As soon as they heard what had happened, they did what they could to help.

Nell looked at him, her fingertip hovering just over the thick scar, white with time.

Leave your sleeves rolled up,” she said eventually said. “It’s good to get used to your scars, and the painful memories.

 


 

Nicolas Flamel arrived home the day after, his arrival announced when he cheerfully bustled into Nell’s lab.

“Hello, my beautiful wife,” he exclaimed, pulling her into a deep kiss. Hadrian averted his eyes a little awkwardly; it was one thing to see his friends kiss, and an entirely different thing to see two adults he respected. “And you, my wife’s apprentice. Hadrian Potter-Black, the impressive one.”

“Yes, sir,” Hadrian replied, the English fitting awkwardly in his mouth after continuous use of Parseltongue.

“Oh, call me Nick. I’m too old to bother with all those niceties,” the man said. “I trust Nell isn’t working you too hard?”

“No, it’s been great,” Hadrian said with a small smile. He’d learnt so much in the last week.

Nell flicked her husband on the forehead. “You can’t come in here and occupy my apprentice yet, wait until dinner to ask him all the questions.”

“Alright, alright,” Nick replied, his face amused as he backed out.

Five minutes later, he returned.

“What do you want this time?” Nell asked, looking up from a book she had written on Dark shield magic.

“It’s dinner time,” Nick told her, pointing to the large clock on the wall, a grin on his face.

Nell squinted at it suspiciously, then checked her watch. “Oh.” She turned to Hadrian. “We’d better go to the dining room.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Hadrian followed the Flamels to the dining room, which was on the ground floor near to his bedroom.

There was only a small table, possible of seating six people at most. Nick sat beside Hadrian on one side, Nell on the other. House elves appeared a moment later, bringing plates of fish and chips.

“I’ve been in England, so I got takeaway,” Nick said to Hadrian. “I figured you’d be missing it.”

“I think I’ve only actually eaten fish and chips once,” Hadrian said, slightly confused. “At a friend’s house. It turned out another friend of mine hated it, so we didn’t have it again.”

Nick and Nell both looked at Hadrian in horror, their eyes wide. That was another odd thing about Nell: how expressive she was. Hadrian was used to people who said one thing and meant another, or who tried to tie you up in word games even as you laid your own trap around them.

That was his only experience of people for the entirety of his childhood.

“You’ve only had fish and chips once?” Nell was aghast. “Well, you have to eat it now. Fish and chips are delicious. You’re British! This is appalling.”

“Now, down to questions, Hadrian,” Nick said, having wolfed down his food already. “How old are you?”

“I’m sixteen,” Hadrian answered.

“So you did your OWLs a month or so ago?”

“Yes,” Hadrian said. “They were a few weeks after the EDUW.”

“I notice you’re wearing your trophy still,” Nick said, gesturing to the small silver sphere on a string around Hadrian’s neck. Hadrian brushed his hand against it, the orb unfamiliar compared to his bone wand. “What’s the other pendant?”

Hadrian tensed minutely. “It’s a… talisman from my childhood,” he said.

“I only ask because I can see the runes for shrinking, which implies there’s more to it than seems,” Nick said, looking at it curiously.

“I… carved those runes in, so I could carry it around inconspicuously,” Hadrian admitted. “It’s actually a wand I made when I was young.”

Nick’s eyebrows shot up. “Can I see it?” he asked. Hadrian considered it for a moment, before shaking his head.

“I’m sorry, it’s something…” Hadrian trailed off, unable to express his reasons.

“No, I get it. A wand can be a dangerous thing to give to someone else,” Nick waved off. “May I ask what you made it off?”

Hadrian paused, unsure whether his answer would ruin the cheerful atmosphere. “Human bone and Dementor cloak. And some of my own blood,” he said, pulling the wand in question off the necklace and expanding it.

Nick stared at him in shock, while Nell had a sad expression on her face. “Why were you near Dementors?” the ancient wizard asked. “And a human skeleton?”

Hadrian shrugged.

Nick had clearly figured something out, but didn’t say anything, just moving onto his next question. “When did you get those Parselmouth tattoos? I don’t remember you having them last time we met.”

Hadrian flexed his fingers, looking at the thin lines on his fingers. “Nell gave them to me a week ago.”

“Nell, you shouldn’t tattoo children,” Nick said. There was an exasperated tone to his voice now, and it sounded, oddly enough, like they’d had this conversation before.

Nell frowned at him. “He’d never heard about it before and he’s a Parselmouth. It’s my responsibility to the educate him, and he specifically asked for the tattoos.”

Nick frowned back at his wife. “Fine, I’ll move on to the next question.” He turned back to Hadrian. “Are you related to Charlus Potter, the boy-who-lived in Britain?”

Hadrian straightened. “Yes, he’s my brother,” he said, keeping his voice bland as his instincts whispered to not show weakness.

“Then are you Hadrian Potter-Black, the boy who was said to be dead for seven years?” Nick asked.

“Yes.”

Nick tilted his head. “I read an article about your grave recently. Was the message your work?” he asked, the corners of his mouth curling up into a smile.

“It was,” Hadrian said, a small smile on his face. “I… don’t get along with my parents.”

Nick let out a snort of laughter. “I figured that.”

 


 

Hadrian fell back into his routine with Nell, spending the day in the workshop or on the manor’s grounds before dining with her and her husband.

He learned many new Dark spells, and was also involved in the creation of a few.

True to Nell’s word, he was becoming more comfortable with his Azkaban tattoo, and the long scar on his other arm, but he still winced sometimes when he caught it out of the corner of his eye and old memories reared their ugly head.

And then, three and a half weeks into the apprenticeship, Flora visited for a day and stayed the night.

 

She cheerfully bounced through the Floo in the morning, her short-sleeved shirt and shorts much more appropriate for the hot weather than Hadrian’s dark trousers and shirt – but at least he had rolled his sleeves up.

“Hadrian!” Flora exclaimed as she wrapped him in a hug and then looked him over. “I’ve never seen your forearms before,” she commented, investigating his thick, white scar. “But your scar isn’t as impressive as mine are.”

Hadrian laughed. “You haven’t seen all my scars yet.”

At that moment, Nell strode over from the staircase, where she’d been letting her apprentice have a more private greeting with his friend.

“Hi, I’m Perenelle Flamel,” she greeted, sticking her hand out.

Flora grinned at her, shaking the witch’s hand vigorously. “I know, Hadrian’s a huge fan of your work. I’m Flora Carrow.”

“Those are quite some scars you’ve got,” Nell said, gesturing to the swirling red lines visible on Flora’s arms and legs.

“Thank you so much!” Flora said. “I got them trying to steal your stone.”

“Oh my,” Nell gasped. “What wards did Albus put up?”

“We have no idea,” Hadrian said.

Flora looked at her revealed skin again, smiling. “They’re awesome scars, though.”

Hadrian rolled his eyes; Flora punched his arm.

“It’s lovely to meet you, Flora,” Nell said, grinning.

“You too, Lady Flamel.”

“Please, call me Nell. Everyone I know does,” Nell told her.

“Okay,” Flora said, then turned to Hadrian. “When did you get new tattoos?” she asked, picking up his hand. “They’re identical to Nell’s.”

“They show that we’re both Parselmouths,” Nell said.

“Felix is going to mock you for having secret society tattoos, you know,” Flora said, grinning at her friend.

Hadrian rolled his eyes again. “Felix mocks everyone.”

“He’s finally getting past mocking me about Malfoy, though. He has to find somewhere to release all of his teasing, or he’ll explode,” Flora countered, her dark red eyes dancing with laughter.

“Who is this Felix?” Nell asked, a curious expression on her face.

Flora grinned. “Felix Rosier, he’s a friend of ours.”

“Is he the son of Julian Rosier, the accused Death Eater who fled to France?” Nell asked. “I’ve met his father and that man is obnoxious.”

“Yes, but Felix hasn’t seen his father since he was young,” Hadrian said. “He doesn’t talk about him much.”

“Lady Rosier is quite different to her husband,” Flora added, “so he wasn’t raised like a Rosier, despite being the heir.”

“Yes,” Nell said, frowning. “The Rosiers don’t have a great track record, do they? Julian Rosier fled the country to avoid imprisonment. Evan Rosier was killed trying to resist arrest. Druella Rosier was the proud mother of Bellatrix Black. Their father was one of the first Death Eaters. I’m glad that their family is finally returning to their former glory.”

“Did they use to be an important house?” Hadrian asked, a little curious. Felix so rarely discussed his father’s side of family, and when he did it was mostly to complain.

Nell smiled, a reminiscent look on her face. “Oh, yes. They used to be great. My best friend growing up was a Rosier, but she died a long time ago. They’ve slowly turned to prejudice over the centuries, joining Grindelwald and then, later, Voldemort.” She turned to the teenagers. “You’re both part of families in that Sacred Twenty-Eight document, aren’t you? Just like your Rosier friend.”

“Yes,” Hadrian confirmed, looking down at his Black Lordship ring. Flora also nodded, her own Carrow heirship ring glinting on her finger.

“Don’t put too much stock in it,” Nell told them. “It was written by a biased fool, and is exclusively written about Britain.”

Flora sighed. “It’s my parents who care about it,” she grumbled, thinking of her marriage contract.

 


 

Hadrian spent the day with Flora, lounging around the grounds and then they ate dinner with Nell and Nick.

“So, Nell tells me you got those curse scars from some wards Albus placed around the stone,” Nick said, gesturing towards Flora’s bare arms and legs.

“Yes, I did,” Flora said. “They didn’t really hurt or anything, they just look cool.”

“You almost died,” Hadrian disagreed, a sharp edge emerging in his voice.

Nell exchanged an unreadable look with Nick. “We didn’t expect Albus to do anything like that,” Nell said, disapproval in her voice.

“I like my scars,” Flora shrugged. “They’re cool.”

Hadrian rolled his eyes. “Lora is a fan of them,” he assured the Flamels.

“Anyway, what do you want to do when you’re older, Flora?” Nell asked, changing the topic.

Flora shrugged. “I like learning about wand lore, but I don’t know if I want to actually do it as a job. I’ll probably do something to do with potions.”

“Oh, do you have an interest in them?” Nick asked.

Flora nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, I brew every day. I’ve been reading a book I found from the tenth century recently, and it’s absolutely fascinating.”

“Where did you get one of those?” Nick had an interested look on his face. “I’ve got one or two, but I’ve kept them for a few centuries. I assume it’s a family book?”

“It’s actually not,” Flora said. “I picked it up when Hadrian and I went into the Chamber of Secrets.”

Nell’s eyebrows shot up, and she leant forward with a new interest. “You found the Chamber of Secrets?”

“Yes,” Hadrian replied. “Hogwarts had some problems with the heir of Slytherin and the basilisk inside last year.”

“Oh, I heard about that,” Nick said.

Nell ignored her husband. “Where is it? Salazar Slytherin was one of the greatest Parselmouths of all time, and the Chamber of Secrets is said to contain his entire work on the subject. He invented the tattoos we both bear, and showed that a Parselmouth can be more than just that.”

“Didn’t he want to kill all muggleborns?” Hadrian asked, raising an eyebrow.

“It was more complicated than that,” Nell said. “He did want to remove muggleborns from Hogwarts, yes. But you have to remember that he lived in a time when muggles were persecuting witches; historical texts often say that his sister was killed by muggles because she was a witch. Some historians believe that he was afraid muggles would attack the school if they let muggleborns in.”

“I thought he created the Chamber of Secrets to kill muggleborns,” Flora said, but her face was more curious than doubtful.

Nell shook her head. “History changes with perspective and time. A descendant of his later said that Salazar Slytherin wanted them to kill the muggleborns using the monster, but if that’s the case, why didn’t Slytherin do it himself? He was definitely prejudiced against muggleborns, I can’t deny that. But events must always be put into context. We should not celebrate his prejudiced views, and should also take everything he did with a pinch of salt. But we can – and should – respect his other work.”

“That’s interesting,” Hadrian said thoughtfully. “I did wonder why Slytherin put a library in the Chamber if it was only intended to house the basilisk.”

“Would you be able to show it to me?” Nell asked. “It’s supposed to contain so much forgotten Parseltongue knowledge.”

Hadrian considered things for a second. “You could ask Dumbledore to visit on a weekend, and I could show you to it,” he said.

Nell nodded, excitement on her face. “I’ll write a letter at once!”

 


 

Flora slept on a conjured bed in Hadrian’s small room that night, but when they woke up the next morning, there was a surprise in the newspaper.

“‘Escape from Azkaban’,” Flora read aloud, frowning. “Hadrian, I think… I think Sirius has escaped from Azkaban.”

Hadrian froze on his bed, his mind whirring.

Why now?

Why didn’t he tell me?

I need to find him as soon as I get back to England.

I need to write to Remus.

Hadrian pulled a piece of parchment out of his chest of drawers, grabbing the first quill he could find.

Have you seen the paper? If you see him, tell him he’s an idiot. I’ll be at Rosier manor from the first - HPB

He whistled for Hedwig, and the owl flew over from her perch to let Hadrian attach the scribbled note to her leg before she took off.

 


 

The last week or so of the apprenticeship flew by after that. Hadrian said a long farewell to Nell and Nick on the last day, before taking the Floo to Felix’s manor in the evening.

“Hadrian!” Felix exclaimed as he walked into the living room they normally used. “How was the apprenticeship?”

“It was fascinating,” Hadrian said, letting himself fall onto the sofa next to Luna. He brushed a kiss to her forehead as she shifted position to curl up around him with her head on his shoulder. “I learnt a lot of magic, and even helped to create some new spells.”

“I see you’ve got some tattoos,” Hestia said, gesturing to his hands.

Hadrian smiled, looking at his fingers. “Yes.”

“Is that a new scar?” Lucian asked, pointing at the thick scar made visible by Hadrian’s rolled up sleeves. “I don’t think I’ve seen it before.”

“No… no, I’ve had this since I was five,” Hadrian said, wincing. “I just… normally keep it covered up.”

Luna’s hand came to rest on the scar, rubbing his forearm gently.

“Have you seen the newspapers, Hadrian?” Barnaby asked, worry in his voice. “They’re looking everywhere for Sirius.”

“I know,” Hadrian replied. “He’s an idiot. He could have written to me, at least.”

Luna frowned. “He didn’t tell you he was going to escape?”

Hadrian shook his head.

 


 

August went by quickly, and soon enough it was September 1st, and the group of Slytherins (and Luna) arrived at platform 9¾ to board the Hogwarts Express. They quickly found their normal compartment, throwing their trunks onto the luggage rack before settling into their seats.

“I swear we arrive earlier every year,” Felix moaned, spreading his long limbs out.

Flora made a face at him. “It’s the exact same time as last year.”

“It’s still too early.” Felix made a face back at her.

The train left an hour later, the whistle blowing faintly.

“I heard dearest Malfoy’s daddy got kicked off the Board of Governors,” Felix said suddenly, grinning. “Due to blackmail and bribery.”

“Bellatrix Lestrange says that he’s not normally found guilty of his crimes,” Hadrian said. “I’d be surprised if that rumour were true.”

“Bellatrix Lestrange hasn’t met Lord Malfoy in twelve years,” Hestia pointed out.

“She’s also insane,” Flora added bluntly. “Besides, Malfoy still has the Minister’s ear.”

Luna sprang to her feet suddenly, her eyes gleaming wide and unfocused. “Wrap up warm,” she said in a dreamy voice – much dreamier than when she was playing it up for divination.

She collapsed like a puppet with her strings cut, and Hadrian leapt up to catch her, laying her down on the seats, her head in his lap.

“Luna?” he asked, worry in his voice.

Luna blinked, her pale silver eyes coming back into focus. “What happened?” she asked, sitting up and beginning to shiver.

“Do you not remember?” Hestia asked, pulling her coat off and throwing it to Hadrian, who wrapped it around the fifth-year.

“You stood up and said ‘wrap up warm’, then collapsed,” Lucian told her. “Your eyes went really unfocused too.”

“Oh,” Luna said, frowning. “I don’t think that’s happened before.”

Hadrian pulled her into a hug, his body warm. “We can ask Madam Pomfrey when we get to school.”

Little else happened for the next hour, Hadrian watching Luna carefully to make sure she was alright.

Then he felt it.

“No,” Hadrian said, the tinge of familiar – too familiar – cold at the edge of his conscience. “No, no, no.”

“What is it, Hadrian?” Flora asked, moving to brush his arm. He pulled away as if burnt, backing up into the corner of the compartment.

Flora exchanged a look with Luna, then Felix. “Hadrian, I need you to tell me what’s wrong,” she said, even as she took a step back to give him space.

“No, no, n-no,” Hadrian moaned, burying his face in his hands, his legs cradled against his chest.

Frost began to grow on the glass, spider-webbing unnaturally quickly. Hestia looked at it, her eyes narrowing.

“‘Wrap up warm’,” she murmured softly. No one heard her, everyone else focused on the panicking Hadrian.

They said I’d be safe here. They said I’d left for good. They said I’d gone.

Whispers of memories began to pool in Hadrian’s mind, memories he’d spent five years trying to forget.

They said I’d be safe here, he repeated in his mind like a mantra that would make everything stay as it was. They said I’d be safe here.

Flora began to shiver then, the cold beginning to affect her. She turned to Luna. “Do you know what this is?”

Luna silently shook her head, shifting closer to Hadrian.

“Can you see something through the window?” Lucian asked, standing to peer through the frosted glass. “I think there’s something out there.”

“D-d-dementors,” Hadrian murmured. He could only faintly hear his friends’ voices behind the crashing in his head. “The Dementors are here.”

“What?” Barnaby asked. He was the only one who heard Hadrian. “Guys, Hadrian just said that there are Dementors.”

Hestia leapt to her feet, casting, “expecto patronum,” but there was only a sliver of silver mist from her wand. “Shit,” she swore. “I can already feel their effects, it’s stopping me from casting the spell.”

A bony hand pressed against the door, sliding it open. A creature in a black coat.

 

Bella pinned him down as her nails tore through his skin.

“I’m going to rip your heart out, little Harry,” she whispered. “Rip it out and give it to my Darkest Lord, wrapped up all pretty.”

 

Rodolphus grinned savagely, his fists hitting Hadrian’s chest. They seemed to light up, glowing purple.

“Harry Potter,” he snarled. “Filthy half-blood, thinking he could come into my cell.”

 

Antoin’s teeth were bared, his hands gripping the bars of his cell- of his cage.

“Come a little closer, Potter,” he spat. “So I can tear your traitorous tongue out.”

 

Barty was on him before he could blink, silver flashing as the blade sliced through skin like it was paper.

“Do you bleed black, like me?” the man sang. “Or red like your mudblood mother and blood-traitor father?”

 

Hadrian screamed, the feel of the Dementor’s bony fingers on his cheek. All he could see was the cold stone walls of Azkaban.

They said I’d be safe here.