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Mistaken History and Found Family

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Dear Heir Hadrian James Potter,

It has come to our attention here at Gringotts that you have yet to claim your heirship rings despite your thirteenth birthday having passed. If you did not know already, then you should have been given them at any time before your thirteenth birthday and it would be unnecessary to contact you otherwise, as your thirteenth is the latest you can claim your heirships by choice.

There is also more information we need to go through with yourself, regarding both your accounts and family history.  

It would be within your best interests to come as soon as you can to avoid less trouble it would cause if you do not come without valid reason.  

-Master Griphook

Potter Accounts Manager

Gringotts Bank (English Branch)  

 

Harry looked over the letter he received, again. It was hard to tell what his reaction was, but he needed to know these things. It had been less than two days he had been staying at the Leaky Cauldron because of the fact he has blown up his Aunt Marge, and the minister had taken care of any trouble that had caused so he wasn’t expelled from school.

Granted he was warned to not go many places, but the bank was the most protected place in England.

Quickly he gathered himself, making sure the room was relatively clean and locking the door behind him on his way out, shoving the key in his pocket as he rushed down the stairs and out the pub.

The entire walk he kept his head down and didn’t look around as much as he would have liked, just trying to get there as quickly as possible due to the feeling of being watched. He didn’t know how accurate that feeling was.

It was busy, mostly with Hogwarts-aged children, but still not quite the rush near the middle and late August. He didn’t run, he refused to, but he got there and Griphook was waiting for him already with a raised eyebrow.

“We’re glad you could join us Mr Potter, please, follow me.” Griphook wore an evil grin, no different to the last time they spoke.

He was taken to a room in a different direction to the tracks leading away from the vaults and down a long corridor before they came to a door with a nameplate stating Griphook’s name on it. Harry thought it was quite nice, elegant and flashy, but not overly so.

“Take a seat,” he was instructed, so Harry did as much because he knew he wasn’t just being polite. “This could take a while, so I hope you left the afternoon free.”

Harry really didn’t have any other plans except maybe peruse the stores, indulge himself, buy new clothes, but that could wait for the next day and he simply nodded.

“You said this was important?” Harry asked after some moments of silence.

“Very much so,” Griphook agreed with a nod. “Tell me, how much do you know of your family and your standing in the wizard community.”

“I know my parents’ names and my mother’s muggle family, but that’s all,” he told truthfully.

“Hm, well, first things first,” Griphook opened a draw to pull out some parchment and a decorative knife. He took the white sheathe off with it’s golden patterns, matching the handle, to reveal a black knife with a perfect point. There were some swirling patterns in gold near the hilt, but it was a simple matt black blade. “Slice open your hand and let several drops fall onto this paper,” he told Harry, handing the blade to him handle first, placing the paper in front of him.

Harry did as told with no questions asked and waited for his blood to leak into the paper, words forming in it’s steed.  

 

Name: Hadrian James Potter

Status: Pureblood

Birth: July 31st 1980; 3:17am

Parents: Lilian Mabel Potter-Riddle née Riddle (previously Evans - adopted name)(Mother - Deceased); James Charlus Potter (Father - Deceased)

Blood Status: Pureblood - Mother; Pureblood - Father

Godparents: Sirius Orion Black (Godfather); Remus John Lupin (Godfather); Alice Longbottom (Godmother); Bellatrix Black Lestrange (Godmother)

Living Relatives: Tom Marvolo Riddle (Maternal Uncle)

Inheritance(s): Potter Lord; Emrys Lord; Hufflepuff Lord; Gryffindor Lord (Father); LeFay Lord; Ravenclaw Lord; Slytherin Heir; Gaunt Heir (Mother&Uncle); Black Heir (Godfather - Sirius Orion)

Vaults Owned: 234; 283; 637; 845; 873; 938 (Father); 172; 415; 983 (Mother); 573; 374 (Godfather - Sirius Orion) 0011; 0012; 0013; 0014 (Hogwarts’ Founders)

Properties Owned: Potter Manor; Potter Chalet; SeaGrey Cottage; Mistle White Manor; Gaunt Manor; NightViolet House; Grimmauld Place; Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (70% - 30% to the other remaining Heirs, 15% for each of them)

Creature Inheritance: Sprite (via Paternal Grandfather)

 

Other:

Blocks/Restraints: Creature Inheritance (100%); Magical Core (85%); Nature Abilities (100%); Parselmouth (15% - 85% broken); Animal Communication (90%); Healing Ability (76%) Memory/Intelligence (65%)

Compulsions: Dislike Slytherins, Malfoy Family, and Severus Snape; Trusting of Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Hermione Granger, and Weasley Family; Fall in Love with Ginerva Weasley; Be Curious of the Wrong and Dangerous Things Around Person; Tell Nobody of Abuse Suffered with Dursley’s; Ignore Homework and Misbehave; Ignore What Authority Figures Outside From Albus Dumbledore Say

 

Harry looked over the list and he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Not only about his family apparently being Tom Riddle aka Voldemort, for crying out loud, but about the last things in particular. Griphook coughed, and Harry was startled out of his gawping at the page at the noise.

“I assumed there is a lot to explain?” Harry simply nodded. “Very well. First, you must understand that everything you have been told is a lie. Most things, at least, as you can see your parents were in fact married and were indeed spouse in love who died to protect their only son,” he begins, and Harry nods again. “But it was Albus Dumbledore who murdered them.” Harry swallowed. It didn’t make sense. Not at all, but that didn’t mean it couldn’t if it were explained to him. “Your mother was here after her eleventh birthday, to collect her LeFay and Ravenclaw Ladyship's, while your Uncle came around his thirteenth as well, not fully knowing who he was. The first thing we need to do, however, is give you your rings. Since you are Heir to three of them you are unable to claim the Lordships for these houses, however you may put on the Heir rings along with your Lords for the others.” Griphook then proceeded to take out nine rings, each different and unique, but all giving off the same type of power, that demanded to be controlled or else it controlled you.

“How does this work?” he asked.

“You start with your Heir rings, and they are most likely to accept you. Then you proceed to put on your Lord rings. They do have to stay in...groups, shall we say, and you better hope that none of them reject you.” Harry took that as a prompt to begin, somehow knowing which fingers to put them on without asking.

Gaunt and Black Heir, and Potter Lord all went onto the middle finger of his left hand. LeFay and Emrys Lords went onto his index finger, right hand, and the Hogwarts Founders’ Lords and Heir went onto the middle finger of his right hand also.

There were pulses of magic every time he put a new one on, and he took a moment to adjust to it, flexing his fingers or rolling his next each time a new wave rolled over him. It was a relaxing feeling, he imagines that it is what it would be like to come home to family. He supposes since his family have all worn these in the past then it makes sense, if they have all felt a piece of his ancestors’ magic.

“Well done,” Griphook seemed mildly impressed, before continuing. “Simply by thinking about it then you will be able to make it seem as though you are not wearing then, and once you take off one ring, it will become the multiple it is once more. There is something you will have to look at though, which is appointing a representative for yourself every time there is a Wizengamot meeting, as you yourself are unable to vote until you are seventeen, despite having your Lordships now. May I make a suggestion?”  Harry agrees. “The Malfoy Matriarch or Patriarch, I believe would be a good choice.” Harry raises his eyebrows, especially considering he knows her husband is a prominent member of the Wizengamot. He remembers that Bellatrix was one of his godmothers, despite hearing what she’s done. But clearly the full story isn’t known, so he agrees and makes a note to think it over later once he leaves. “Next, we must do a ritual cleansing,” Griphook says.

“What for?” Harry asks, even as Griphook stands and motions for him to follow before leading him further down the hall and turning left.

“While your rings will have gotten rid of the majority of the compulsions placed on you, and will protect you from them further, you need to take the Blocks off your magic before it restrains too much and you either lose control of them or die, maybe both.” Harry doesn’t say anything as they walk into a large room. There’s already several other goblins there.

“Drink this,” one tells him, so he takes the potion they handed him before climbing onto the bed in the centre of the room. It’s simple in design, not having a headboard or anything more than a sturdy frame though it has runes engraved into the metal.

The process is explained to him, along with why he took the potion and what purpose it serves, but he was too overwhelmed by the situation to really pay attention and just went with their instructions.

Then he was in too much pain to barely comprehend anything aside from the blinding pain he felt running through his veins. He didn’t know if he was screaming or not and he closed his eyes to keep from seeing the decorated ceiling of the ritual room, when it became brighter.

When the pain released he didn’t move more than heaving his breaths, before twitching his fingers and moving more of his body from there. When he eventually sat up, after what seemed like an eternity, to be faced with Griphook still smiling.

“Come now, Mr Potter, there are still things to discuss.” Harry followed without a word, unconsciously feeling how in tune he is with himself. The magic pulsing through his veins feels more powerful than before, understandably, but he feels more in tune with his surroundings as well, hearing and feeling more. His eyesight, he checks, is still bad but there is something else to it despite the blurriness. It feels like he is no longer holding anything back. He doesn’t know why he feels he was holding something back, because he never knew he was, but it feels like a lot has dropped from his shoulders.

“Now, there are several things that we must discuss, but most importantly, your parents’ wills,” Griphook tells him once they’re sat in his office once more.

“What about them?” Harry asks.

“They’re sealed, meaning only you or the person who sealed them can open them. However the person who sealed them was Albus Dumbledore and it is not wise, as of yet, to open them.” Harry is starting to think a lot of things in his life are Albus fucking Dumbledore’s fault.

 “What can I do then?” Harry runs his tongue over his teeth as his face sets in a scowl.

 “Your parents have left letters for you to open, prior to their wills, with or without them being sealed, place a drop of blood on each once more as they are locked by blood.” Griphook hands him the knife again and two envelopes, one with elegant curls and loops for the letters and the other slanted and neat, but not so large, each saying Hadrian James on them. He does as told for both but then opens the neat and slanted one first.

 Hadrian,

If you are reading this then myself and your father are dead at the hands of Albus Dumbledore and while I do not know what has happened he is in control of your life, is he not? I apologize for this, so much, but there is nothing we can do now.

Our secret keeper was Peter Pettigrew, he is the one who revealed where we were hidden to Albus and we paid the price. Admittedly it was both Sirius and Tom’s fault for convincing us of the change, but we listened still and Remus was out of country on a mission for Dumbledore for cover, though he was doing my brother’s work.

It would be understandable if you do not know of your history or our history, but I have diaries and letters kept away for you to read so that you can understand. They are kept in a satchel with an undetectable extension charm placed on it in Vault 415. Since the only other thing kept in there is books on shelves, and other papers from my work in the Experimental Charms Division, it should be fairly easy to find. While you are welcome to everything in that vault, I would appreciate if you gave the majority of work to Remus Lupin, who you should find if you do not already know him, as I did leave him the work in my will.

There is nothing I can say other than sorry, and that I love you. I love you so very much my precious, darling fawn. No matter what, I love you and believe in you, but please - no longer trust and believe Albus Dumbledore, or any of his closest acquaintances.

 All my love, your mother, Lily Potter-Riddle

 

Harry wasn’t sure how to react to the letter, so he opened the next one, presumably from his father.

 

 Hadrian,

If you are reading this then your mother and I are dead, most likely by murder. I do not know what has happened in your life, or how you are, or even how old you are. I am sorry that I will not be able to see you grow up but that cannot be helped now.

You need to know several things if you do not already:

1)  Do not trust Albus Dumbledore

2) Tom Riddle, Voldemort, is not evil. Not how Dumbledore says, at least.

3) Peter Pettigrew was the Secret Keeper for our fidelius charm no matter how much we didn’t want it to be. He was the only non-obvious choice who was still ‘a spy’ within the Order, unlike somebody like Lucius Malfoy or Rabastan Lestrange who Dumbledore would not be fooled by. Sirius Black was our decoy, as he was the most obvious.

4) You must not release our wills until you have gone through your inheritance, until you have a trusted amount of adults around you, also, who will be able to help protect you.

If you do not already know, then you are a Sprite. A type of Fae or Fairy I guess you could say, even though they are technically different species, but typically they are mixed into one category. You will come into your majority at sixteen if you are not already. You will be in very in-tune with nature, the ground/plants and air in particular, as well as the animals around you, understanding them in a way similar to other wood creatures such as elves. You will not be able to speak to them directly, unless they are your familiar, but you will get a general...feeling, shall we say. It will almost be as though they are making sounds of agreement even if they are not.

I can not possibly apologize enough for not being there with you, however I hope you can forgive me- us, your mother and I. I love you very much, my son.

 Your father, James Charlus Potter.

 Harry sucked in a deep breath. Nothing was explained, not really, but from his mother’s letter she said she had writing which would help him.

 “What do I do now? My dad is telling me to not release their wills yet. Not until I’m sixteen, at least.”

 “There is not much else to do, in that case, aside from go over transactions between your vaults and others without permission but it would be best if you were to visit your vaults if there is anything that you would like to have to inform you, along with money you may require for the upcoming year first, while the information on that is collected.” Harry nods and before he knows it he’s riding on the carts to his first stop at the vault his mother left her satchel in.

 It was easy to spot, as it was a clean vault with no gold in sight, just shelves of scrolls and books, with a few ornaments on a couple of shelves, and it was leaning against a shelf against the back wall on the floor. He slipped it over his shoulder before continuing to his Trust Vault, filling it with more than enough to buy his school supplies along with changing some of it to muggle money which would allow him to buy some clothes that fit. He put the pouch of money into the satchel and they returned to Griphook’s office, where there was now a thick stack of papers on the desk.

 Even Griphook raised his eyebrows as he looked at the top sheet, before handing it to Harry.

 “This is a simple review of every transaction because, as you can see, there have been many,” Griphook told him, handing the sheet to him.

 To: Hermione Granger: 483 galleons (rounded) since August 31st 1992

To: Ginerva Weasley: 850 galleons (rounded) since August 31st, 1991

To: Ronald Weasley: 946 galleons (rounded) since August 31st, 1991

To: Molly and Arthur Weasley: 274, 925 galleons (rounded) since November 1st, 1981

To: Vernon Dursley: 593, 793 galleons (rounded) since October 31st, 1981

To: Albus Dumbledore: 681, 823 galleons (rounded) since October 31st, 1981

 All transactions have been approved by Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.

 Harry was fuming as he saw the numbers. Granted he wasn’t entirely sure what the equivalent was in muggle money, but he knew that it was more money than he could comprehend as it was. After seeing the properties and list of vaults he had in his possession, he wasn’t under the illusion he was poor in any sense of the word either.

 “Who has been allowing these transactions?” Harry asked, trying to contain his anger.

 “The bank,” Griphook answered calmly, looking as though he was challenging Harry to lose his temper.

 “Why?”

 “Because there was nobody to oppose him. Your uncle is not currently around, one of your godfathers is in Azkaban, the other is on the run since werewolves are not accepted in wizarding community, typically. One of your godmother’s is in the Janus Thickey Ward, as I’m sure you’re aware, and your other godmother is also in Azkaban, for putting her there along with other reasons as I’m sure you know.” Harry couldn’t argue with those points, and though his temper was still brimming, he worked harder to keep it, and his magic, under his control.

 “Okay. Thank you for all your help Griphook, I will review the documents and choose a regent for my estate until I am of age. Dumbledore will not hear about this?”

 “As far as he is aware, the laws don’t require you until seventeen,” Griphook smirked and Harry nodded, standing. “He has no control over your actual estate or Lordships, as all your seats at Wizengamot can only be controlled by somebody you appoint. Accounts are different.”

 “I will contact you once I’ve decided what to do. And return with my regent.” Griphook nodded and motioned to the door as it clicked open, so he nodded once more and made his leave, making sure to hear the click behind him before walking back out to the front of the bank.

 He did see the Malfoy family speaking to a goblin and ran a hand through his hair as he avoided looking at them, remembering that Bellatrix is his godmother. Obviously for a reason and Narcissa is her older sister, he will need to get into contact with her and possibly take Griphook’s advice. He knows, logically, she would make a good regent for his estate since she grew up in a strict pureblooded family and will know how it all works.

 The sun was setting and it was easier to spot him, but he still went to Madam Malkin’s to get some casual robes, his school uniform, and some basic shirts and trouser combinations with shoes, since that was the only muggle clothing that was sold in Malkin’s. Typically, he didn’t really like formal clothing, finding it too restrictive, but he didn’t want to wear robes if he met Narcissa, and he didn’t want her to look down on him for wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

 Once he was back at the Leaky Cauldron, he put everything to the side and decided to sit down and begin reading the journals and letters his mother left him.

Chapter Text

Dear Diary Tom,

Today you bought stole me this journal and some glittery gel pens, Tommy, as an apology for stopping me getting adopted by accident as well as my eighth birthday last week. You didn’t do anything, I think, but you think you did. No matter how many times I tell you that I don’t want to be adopted without you! It wouldn’t be fair, and what if they stopped me from seeing you? I couldn’t live without my big brother.

 

Dear Tom,

I didn’t like how the other children were treating you, so I stepped in, but now you’re not speaking to me because you think I care what they think of me. Or because I’m your little sister by two years. I don’t care what they think. They’re mean bastards people, and you didn’t deserve that.

You want me to be adopted, soon, but I don’t want that. There was a family that was interested in me, but not you. I don’t want to go with them. I want you to start talking to me again but you only glare at me when I come so close. I don’t know why.

 

Dear Tom,

You saved me today, when I was getting picked on, just like you, and I think you understand now how I felt. I was doing something strange with the flowers in the yard. They saw and now they’re being mean to us both. Not enough that it hurts a lot, but I’m glad you’re talking to me again.

You spoke to me about how you could do some things as well, how you could do things and you showed me a snake you could talk to. I could talk too. I liked it, like our own secret language. It made me feel special, you always do big brother. You’re sure that it’s because of mother, because mother could do things as well. I don’t remember anything though.

 

Dear Tom,

Today a man came and spoke to you. He was tall and old, and wore funny clothing, and I didn’t understand. He sent me away from the room despite your protests that I was your sister. You said it was fine that I stayed outside the entire time, waiting, and then spoke to me after. He says you- and me as well, then - that we can do things. That we’re wizards. But that doesn’t make any sense.  Well, it does. But that means that you’re going to be leaving for a school, leaving me all alone all year. Until summer. I know you don’t like it here, but you won’t even be back for Christmas.

 

 

Lily,

Here at Hogwarts it’s okay. I was sorted into Slytherin. They have a tapestry there with our names on it. We’re his descendants; Slytherin’s that is. It’s hidden away at the back of the common room and nobody seems to look at it or even go near but I don’t care. Maybe it has a ward on it of some kind? That only the descendants can see it? I still don’t care either way.

I’m sorry I’m not there, and I miss you. I’ve made a couple of friends here, I think, or hope. He’s called Lucius Malfoy and he comes from a pureblood family. I told him about you and he says you seem like a good person, intelligent. I told him of course you were, you’re Lilian Mabel Riddle and my little sister. I think he liked my arrogant attitude, of asserting that we are intelligent and know where we stand. I think I might stand to gain some social standing. Especially if I find it revealed that I am Slytherin’s heir.

I don’t think I’ll be able to write often, but I will always tell the owl to wait for you to reply, since I know you have no other way of replying to me otherwise. It’s strange that they use owls to send letters to people, I think. I asked an older half-blood in Ravenclaw about why they don’t use phones, and they told me that magic messes things up with the signal, so there would be no point in having any at Hogwarts.

I’m sorry I’m not there, protecting you, I really wish I were. I love you and miss you. Hopefully I’ll see you at summer? The headmaster refuses to let me stay here, and I don’t think I would want to anyway, not without you here with me. But it’s okay because you’ll be here in two years. I’ll go back to the orphanage but I won’t like it.

Love, Tommy.

 

Dear Tom,

Some parents came today, and they seemed to take an interest in me despite the fact I ignored them when I could, and was rude to them when I couldn’t.

I don’t want to leave. If I leave that means I won’t be allowed to see you in the summer. I told them I had a brother, that I write to him, and I showed them one of your letters. Only the part where you didn’t talk about Hogwarts! I swear! But they still want me.

I said no, still. I hope they won’t pick me.

 

Lily,

I know you don’t like the idea of being fostered/adopted, but the orphanage is not good for you. You know that. It doesn’t allow you to read as much as you want and their punishments are harsh.

Professor McGonagall seems impressed by my transfiguration skills this term, which makes me pleased. Maybe I’ll be able to show you when I come back? I’ve been told about the trace on my wand, but I don’t need a wand, remember? I set that wardrobe on fire and it came out unscathed, and got the kids at the orphanage to give us their toys. I know you made me give them back but they deserved it!

Lucius is doing well, thank you for asking.

I took a closer look into our family history and we are also related to Rowena Ravenclaw, founder of Ravenclaw house here at school, and Morgana LeFay. I don’t know what this means but I will find out, and I’ll tell you once I know.

I love you and miss you,

Tommy

 

Dear Tom,

They picked me. I hate this. I hate you. If you were here then you’d be able to stop them and you didn’t. I hate you. They have a daughter who’s cruel to me. I hate her, too. They’re nice people but I hate them. The matrons are making me go. I hate them as well. I threw a tantrum. I don’t care if I’m nearly ten. I don’t care. I want you here. You barely write anymore. And I can’t write until you do because of the owl you send. I hate this. I hate you. I hate that stupid teacher who took you from me. I hate that stupid school and wish we weren’t wizards.

 

Dear Tom,

There’s a boy in their village who’s a wizard, as well. He’s nice. He’s my best friend while I’m here and he told me about Hogwarts. He has a friend who goes there, Lucius. The same one who you write about, apparently he knows about you as well. The boy seems nice. If a little arrogant about his skills. I guess if he’s worked at them then it’s okay, but it frustrates me. The Evans’ don’t know about magic I don’t think, mine or yours or his. I wish you would write more. No matter how many times I say it in my letters you never do. When I get there next September I’m going to kick your arse for it Tom Marvolo Riddle! It’s only one year and I’ll save it for after the summer. We don’t see each other enough then, and I wouldn’t want to waste my time with you.

They changed my name. I’m now Lily Mabel Evans. I hate it. It doesn’t sound right. But it’s legal because they signed the documents. As my legal guardians they can do that. I want to change it back. I want to be Lilian Mabel Riddle. I will be, I swear it that by the time I’m fifteen I’m going to be Lilian Mabel Riddle once more. I don’t care.

 

Lily,

How are you? I know it’s been awhile since I wrote but there was business to take care of over Christmas. I trust you received your gift? I’m sorry I couldn’t see you despite being at Lucius’, his father - Abraxas - wanted to discuss with me about politics half the time, and the other half I was dealing with business at Gringotts.

I got your scarf, are you sure you didn’t buy it? I wouldn’t be mad, it’s just I never knew you could knit. You never mentioned it. The green brings out my eyes though, apparently. I guess you would know that, though, since you’ll have based it on yours I presume? It’s soft and warm, cozy in a way that I’m reminded of you. It feels like your magic, you know? That thrum of energy you always had, moreso when you lose your temper. I do hope you didn’t lose it over Christmas. Petunia may not be very nice but your parents are, offering to let me stay over Christmas.

Your Hogwarts letter will be coming soon, if it has not already by the time this letter reaches you, and in summer I’ll come and take you to Diagon, or meet you there and take you with me. There is much to discuss.

I love you and miss you,

Tommy

 

Tommy,

McGonagall came today. She spoke to Mr and Mrs Evans first and then I was introduced to her. I wonder why she came on my birthday. Usually she doesn’t, right? Because then they would be missing random classes. Although, she did come over after I had finished school, so maybe she had no classes? She says she’ll pick me up on the second day of summer, the Saturday. She was very surprised to find out I already knew, and I told her I had a brother. She didn’t take me seriously, I don’t think, thinking that we were just like brother and sister, rather than biological siblings. It doesn’t matter. I guess since you have dark hair and mine is red that it sort of makes sense.

Severus keeps bringing you up. He says that Lucius is telling him about your thoughts and political ideas about what you can do for the wizarding world in their letters. Why haven’t you told any of them to me? I know that I’m not in the wizarding world yet, but surely I could understand. Or even help? I don’t know, anything. You need to explain and talk to me.

I did receive your gift. Personally I thought it was rather beautiful, the craftsmanship perfect, how perfect a peacock feather it was, but where did you get it? Surely it must have cost a fortune, I could have sworn the golden nib was actual gold. You said you grew out of stealing, Tommy, I hope you weren’t lying about that.

I love and miss you a lot, Tommy.

Happy Yule, (that is what you told me they celebrate, not Christmas, isn’t it?) Lilian. 

 

Dear Tom,

Petunia told on us today, to Mr and Mrs Evans (I still refuse to call them my parents) saying how we were abusing our magic and being ‘freakish’. I’m not a freak. I know I’m not. And neither is Sev. I just wish she would stop being such a brat. Although, with a child like her I can understand why they wanted another, who wasn’t quite as...harpy-like. Though, that may be an insult to the harpies of Greek Mythology.

 

Dear Tom,

Though I got into trouble both with McGonagall and Mr and Mrs Evans, I’m glad that you pulled me away. To learn I am a Lady of descent from those legendary people is amazing, even if I could only claim two. You deserve the others. The rings are pretty, too.

Today was fun, and it made up for a little of how much I missed you as we ran through Diagon to Gringotts. September will be better, though, because I will be there with you and we can spend time together, right? I want to be in Ravenclaw. It might be nice to be hailed as practical royalty there, the same way you are now in Slytherin. Slytherin would be nice as well, but either is fine with me.

 

Dear Tom,

I don’t understand. Gryffindor? I was sure it would put me in Ravenclaw. I swear it was going to. I’m intelligent and think logically, I enjoy doing riddles and learning and it was about to. But it didn’t. I don’t know why though. I’ll be happy in my new house though. I already made a couple of friends, but Potter has already gotten on my nerves. He and his little buddy started making fun of Sev so I used that hex you taught me before coming, when you said to use it if anybody was bothering me. He was. So I did.

Either way I hope to spend more time with you, that would be nice. In here, though, they call Slytherins names. Obviously I don’t and I’ve subtly hexed people who have so far, but I don’t like it. You’re my brother.

Huh. Maybe that’s why I was sorted here, because I’m brave enough to go against my house in my opinions even when that is a majority. So far there’s two boys and one girl who haven’t actually agreed with what’s said: Remus Lupin, Frank Longbottom, and Alice Prewett.

I’ll bet that Remus is a werewolf. I know those are real. They’re not liked. But it would make sense. His name is Werewolf McWerewolf and he is covered in scars. Of course, that could also be from being in a house similar to Severus’ own home, but I saw him with his parents and he seemed genuinely happy with them on the platform, and then he seemed sad he was leaving them. He’s become friends with Potter and Black from what I can see though, so maybe he will change his mind.

 

Dear Tom,

Potter and Black, I swear I’ll hex their bits off! They’re vile little cretins to set up pranks like that! If they even think of doing another, I swear I’ll do it.

 

Dear Tom,

Remus has disappeared four months in a row, all at the full moon. He comes back with more scars each time I think, and he seems in pain after them. His excuse is that he’s clumsy, and he disappears to visit his sick mother. I don’t know if his mother got sick since arriving, was always sick, or he just lies. But I would be willing to bet my Ravenclaw inheritance that he’s a werewolf.

He’s nice. He studies in the common room quite a lot, I’m sure making up for lost work and homework, but he gets good marks in class so it pays off at least. He also likes chocolate.

Potter and Black are still infuriating as ever. Peter is too quiet, too meek. Personally I don’t feel like Gryffindor is the house for him, but so far the hat has been right about me so who knows? He has average grades, and often lets Potter and Black goad him into doing things for them, but he seems happy and they don’t push him too far when he adamantly refuses.

Studying with you is probably my favourite time of the week, even though we have different classes and homework.

 

Dear Tom,

Potter has a crush, on me. He thinks I don’t know but Black is hardly quiet, even when Remus tells him to shut up, and he thinks he isn’t obvious either. I hope by the time summer is over he won’t feel the same. It’s annoying.

 

Dear Tom,

Classes are harder, obviously, but we still study together so it is easier. You allowed Remus to join us one time and since then he comes every few weeks. I’m glad, because Remus really doesn’t seem to like studying with Potter and Black, understandably, and he’s nice. We help each other and you do when we can’t.

 

Dear Tom,

I don’t like what your friends have been doing. I’ve told you. You try to reign them in, and you do, but some of the things they say. I swear they’ve mistaken what you said and turned it different. You let me come with you on occasion, so I don’t know where they got it from.

 

Dear Tom,

You showed me the chamber today. It’s beautiful, and so is the basilisk. I can’t believe we technically own it. It will be nice to spend time down there, I think. Do you wonder if Aristocles would allow us to travel on him. Only around the chamber of course, but it would be a wonderful experience.

 

Dear Tom,

Potter’s crush didn’t go away.

 

Dear Tom,

Dumbledore wanted to see me today. I didn’t trust him, like you’ve told me, but he tried to cast a memory spell on me. I don’t know why. I don’t know what information he would want to keep from me that I know. My rings protected me. He can’t see them because I hide them. I’m not ashamed, I just don’t want it questioned. There’s too much to tell.

 

Dear Tom,

I found a tapestry in the common room last night. I was bored but couldn’t sleep when I remembered about the one you told me about in the Slytherin room. Potter’s name is at the bottom, along with Frank’s. It seems they’re distant cousins five times removed or something. Potter’s name is higher up on the tree, with less descendants between his name and Godric's at the top. I guess that means Potter is closer related than Frank?

 

Dear Tom,

Black messed up with Remus. He went on a date with Marlene to Hogsmeade I think, and Remus is obviously upset because he likes him (though it is clearly reluctant and an unwanted feeling; especially now). It isn’t an obvious difference in Remus, but it must have been something Black typically does in their dorm room, because Remus came down looking like he would practically rip somebody’s head off if they came close to him.

Black was following him down and out of the room. They made it out of the common room before Remus obviously snapped at whatever Black did because they were yelling outside of the portrait. You couldn’t hear the words, but you could definitely hear them.

Potter still has a crush on me. Even as he tries to deny it with Black it’s obvious. Remus asked him about it on their way down the stairs once and he told him he likes me, that he thinks I’m the most beautiful person ever and would love to treat me like a queen, but he knows I wouldn’t say yes so what’s the point in trying. I’m fourteen so I highly doubt it’s that big of a deal, but it was flattering. Now if only he would stop picking on Sev, I might say yes.

 

Dear Tom,

Today you told me I had your blessing to date Potter if it was what I wanted. You weren’t going to force me into it, but if it was something holding me back from that choice.

I admit he isn’t as harsh as Sev, though he still calls him Snivellus and plays little pranks here and there. They’re harmless now, and meant more in good fun even though they never speak. Sev doesn’t see it that way, and he always retaliates harshly. I told him he needs to calm down and not let it go to his head and he told me to back off of his business and not bother him about it.

 

Dear Tom,

Potter hasn’t spoken in three weeks, right after you apparently gave your blessing to date me. Even to answer questions in class. It’s almost the end of our fourth year, six weeks and then we leave for summer. I’m sure you’ve noticed, and all the ridiculous excuses they’re coming up with. Remus even, reluctantly and with Black (also not speaking, along with Peter) prodding at him and giving him looks, refusing to let him retreat, asked if James kept quiet for a whole month would I kiss him. Request of Sirius who wants him to stop moping, apparently.

Is it bad that I miss his voice? Annoying as it was it’s strange to not hear him talk. I didn’t agree to kiss him, obviously. I don’t like him like that. He’s just less annoying that previously. Maybe it’s because he isn’t speaking?

 

Dear Tom,

I’m glad that we got my name changed back. It feels more natural, like I’ve lost weight off my shoulders honestly. I haven’t told the Evans’ because while I do dislike that they adopted me against my will, they have been good parents to me all these years. Even through discovering I’m a witch. So I’m thankful, but I couldn’t go on with that name.

 

Dear Tom,

You killed somebody. You told me it was an accident. We were yelling at each other in parseltongue in the hallway right before breakfast. At least they finally believe I’m your sister, ironically since I’m not sure I still want the position.

Granted when I went to Aristocles, he was more upset over not getting to eat the poor girl before you stopped him.

I don’t know if I’m to believe you over it being an accident, no matter what you say. Bella assures me that it was, that you would never kill anybody on purpose, that you never meant for him to get as far as he did. Bella held me while I cried. I’m glad you introduced us properly last year, she’s so nice. And understands me in a way differently to the friends I have in Gryffindor.

I don’t know if I can forgive you, though I still love you.

Dumbledore tried to use memory charms on me again, and I almost let him. I didn’t, in the end of course, but for a second I considered it.

 

Dear Tom Diary,

Potter asked me out today and I said yes. He looked so happy I briefly wondered if I should have said yes earlier. Either way, it makes me quite happy at the thought of going out with him.

Remus and Sirius finally admitted to going out to Potter, after finding them in an abandoned corridor on my Prefect rounds snogging against the wall for the dozenth time.

 

Dear To Diary,

Our date went well, and Potter asked me for another before kissing my cheek once we were back at the castle. It was oddly sweet, considering some of the crude things I’ve heard him say regarding other things. Not other girls, or guys, just...some of the things he says can be crude, as everybody knows.

 

Dear Tom,

I forgive you.

You protected me when I couldn’t protect myself. Especially when it came from somebody who is supposed to be my best friend. I already told you last month I forgave but I hadn’t. I’m sorry for lying but I hadn’t, as much as I wanted to.

But you protected me and defended me pretty well considering Black was already taking care of him. I didn’t know I was leading him on, I swear. I wouldn’t have. Calling me a ‘freak of a whore’ was insulting. I don’t know why. Maybe because ‘freak’ reminded me of Petunia calling us both that and it hit me harder. And though whore is supposed to be an insult, I don’t see how it is. But, either way, thank you. I love you Tommy, and I forgive you. I would probably forgive you come summer anyway.

You’re going to do great things in the Ministry, I know you are.

 

Lily,

Things at the Ministry are going quite well, if I do say so myself. Of course, it isn’t a guarantee that I’ll get the position within the next year or two, even with allies as powerful as mine are. We’re gathering support, even with Dumbledore trying to thwart us at every turn. That man is the most infuriating part of the job. I’m thankful that you and James took me to meet his parents this summer when you came to stay with me at Slytherin Manor so that I can have his help as well.

Your classes are going well, I presume. I know you’ll do fantastic, you have my own notes to aid your studies, so obviously do the best. I’ll be sure to make the Manor more presentable in the time between now and Christmas, so you can spend time here even if I’m not always around.

Tell Black his mother is an infuriating opponent to go against at the Wizengamot, I swear aside from Albus she’s the worst. Her and her friends are still talking about muggleborns deserving to die and werewolves being horribly infected creatures. Not necessarily in the actual meetings, but they don’t agree with what I put forward. Lucius comes, but Abraxas is still the one to cast their vote.

Lucius told me that Narcissa has most of the wedding planned out, they just need to find the right suppliers for their flowers, cake, and decorations (that aren’t going to fade with magic or possibly go wrong) etc. The wedding will be in summer, once Bellatrix has graduated and they don’t have to take her out of school at all, be sure to watch out for your invitations.

Love, Tom.

 

Tommy,

I’m glad things are going well, you’ve put so much work into being able to do this. While I don’t necessarily support the idea of having an ‘Inner Circle’ like you do, because it may make some people feel belittled and bitter (you know how purebloods can be, you spent 7 years sharing a common room with a large majority) I think you are gaining good traction amongst the people and overall have good support system for yourself. The only thing that people seem to doubt is what the papers are publishing, since Dumbledore controls the information.

My classes are going well. Charms, as usual, is the best. I also enjoy it, there’s so much potential in it. I think I want to go into something with charms once I graduate. It’s always been my highest mark.

Black says his mother can go die for all he cares, there’s a reason he ran away this summer. Though he misses Reggie, because their mother refuses to let him speak to Sirius in school I think they’ve been sending letters via school owls so they’re less suspicious.

I look forward to receiving my wedding invitation, I’m glad that they’re happy together. I understand that Lucius didn’t want to marry Andromeda, but had no say in the contract. It is eldest and eldest, usually. With Andromeda being disowned and all, Narcissa would be next in line anyway. Luckily Lucius was four years behind her and she ran off with the muggleborn she loves. Apparently they’re married now. With a child on the way. But it’s good for them, I suppose.

James asked if he could officially Court me. I was confused at first because I thought the entire first year of our relationship would have been along that line, but they’re different from what I’ve read. It will take six months, and then we can write up a marriage contract for when we’re out of school but it isn’t a proposal. It’s the lead-up to that as far as I’m aware. He told me he only remembered to ask officially since Sirius started doing it with Remus over the summer. To be fair, Sirius has been giving him more chocolate than usual and bracelet that shows the phase of the moon on it, entirely platinum and gorgeous of course. It’s better if you see it in person though.

All my love, Lily.

P.S. Have you ever considered having a love-life? One-night-stands with random muggles don’t count, though at least it’s okay to say you have a healthy sex drive. (Something I never want to even think about again.)

 

Lily,

Please believe me that you know I’m not the one killing these muggles and muggleborns! You have to know I’m not, you know I wouldn’t no matter how much I disliked the orphanage, or our father, you know I would never kill so many people. I don’t know what’s going on, but I swear I’m not behind it. It might be Albus but I have no proof, all I know is that ‘I am Lord Voldemort’ is an anagram of ‘Tom Marvolo Riddle’. It wasn’t me though Lily, I swear it. Ask Lucius! I was with him and Narcissa the entire night of the attack.

I love you, Tommy.

 

Lilian,

I can confirm that your brother was in fact with me and my fiancé on the night of the attacks. He and Lucius actually passed out from so much alcohol and I had the house elves take them to two of the guest rooms of Malfoy Manor. We were discussing cake, for the wedding. The next morning we heard about them and I was the one to work out the anagram because I thought that it was a ridiculous name, and how could one come up with it. Many of the letters matched with your brother’s name.

Please, stop ignoring your brother’s letters.

My love, Narcissa Black.

 

Tommy,

Alright, I believe you. I admit that I didn’t believe you at first. I remembered how you used to talk, Tommy, when we were both still at the orphanage, about wanting to hurt the people who hurt us. Did you see that it was one of the places attacked? I didn’t want to believe it was you who did it, but for some reason it made sense. Not that you would do the actual attack, since you haven’t been there in over a year, but it made sense if it were you to attack that place.

I apologize for being so foolish in my thoughts.

The reason I know it for a fact is because of the headmaster. He tried to use another memory charm on me. He still keeps trying to get into my head, but my rings and occlumency help to block it out. I tried to do the same back, but he shut me down after a few seconds. I don’t think he was expecting it because his walls are quite strong at full force. But I did hear maniacal laughter for that time, louder than the screams of the innocent.

I’m sorry for ignoring you for a month, forgive me?

All my love, Lily

P.S. James has finished courting me now, for two weeks. The final gift was, in fact, an engagement ring despite him saying I didn’t have to wear it. It was more of an act of symbolism, he says. I wear it on my left hand, instead. In summer you can meet with his father to agree on the contract, as head of the family.

 

Lily,

I have to leave the country for some time, with Lucius, I’ll be back by Yule I swear, but please don’t send me any letters until I send you one.

I’ll miss you, Tommy.

 

Lilian,

Have you heard anything from your brother? Lucius told me he would be back before Yule but there is a fortnight until then. Are they safe? Do you know? I know nothing of this except it required Lucius, and Abraxas is ill. He may not make it to the New Year and it would force him back anyway, by the Family Magic.

With Love, Narcissa Malfoy-Black.

 

Lily,

Your brother told me to pick you up from the station tomorrow. I know that you are worried about him, with every right, but he got back in the early hours of this morning with Lucius supporting him. Lucius is uninjured, however your brother took some damage. I know you want to see him so I will take you straight to Malfoy Manor. He will be fine, but you are still not keyed into the wards since the wedding, so I will have to be with you for that.

With love. Bella

 

Lils,

I have to cancel our plans for tomorrow, I’m sorry, it’s my father.

Love you, James

 

James,

I’ll be here for you, always, remember that alright? We’ll all help you and Sirius get through this.

Be well, Lily.

 

James,

I swear to Morgana that if you break her heart for whatever reason I will not hesitate to torture you.

However, I know you will treat her well, so I give you my blessing to propose properly.

-Tom, Lord Gaunt.  

 

Tommy,

They’re saying that it’s officially war now. With people being attacked on both sides, and your being known to have a close circle as you do.

All my love, Lily

 

 

You are formally invited to the wedding of:

 

Lord James Charlus Potter and Lady Lilian Mabel Riddle

August 15th 1978

Potter Manor

Please contact with information of if you are or are not able to attend within a month of receiving this invitation.

 

 

Tommy,

We have to go into hiding for now. Albus is after us but I don’t entirely know why. We’re using one of the properties James reclaimed when he received his lordship, it seems like he is less likely to find us. We’ll perform the fidelius charm with Sirius or Remus. I don’t trust Peter, there’s a reason he has a rat animagus. It’s actually one he took back from the Dumbledore’s. Apparently they used to live there before their father was sent to jail and their mother died.

All my love, Lily.

 

Lily,

I’ve ‘branded’ the followers I don’t trust. Sirius, Remus, James, Lucius, Narcissa etc I trust. Bellatrix took it as my right hand woman, optionally, but I branded Pettigrew as well, one of the first who was listed who didn’t offer himself to prove his loyalty. Snivelling coward that he is cried that he didn’t need it, that he was loyal. I refuse to believe him.

I love you, Tommy.

 

Bella,

I’m pregnant. I don’t know how safe it will be, and now the curse has set in. Is it safe to bring a child into this world in the middle of a war? I have no choice now, I want this child.

My love, Cissa.

 

Tommy,

I’m pregnant. James says we’ll be fine and I want to trust him, but he knows that Dumbledore is still searching for us. James knows, now, he wants to kill us. I think we should change Fidelius, but Remus is out of the country and I think you are too obvious a choice for secret keeper. I don’t want to involve Narcissa and Lucius in this with the toll her pregnancy took on her body, even now five months later.

All my love, Lily.

 

Lily,

Dumbledore has done something, I think. I don’t know what, but I want to keep myself away from both you and Hadrian until I am sure it does not affect my personality or sanity.

I love you, stay safe, Tommy.

 

Narcissa,

Despite the circumstances we’re currently in, I would appreciate if we - Hadrian and I - could come over. I know you’re still in recovery, and will be for some time, but I would like for Hadrian to have some interaction with somebody his own age.

My love, Lady Potter-Riddle

 

Remus,

Please come back. Hadrian misses you, and we need to redo the Fidelius with somebody else. There are few people we and, more importantly, Tom trust. Fooling Dumbles can wait some.  

Love, Sirius

 

 

Tom,

Dumbledore is trying to get to the werewolf packs. I was there at one of them where he sent a representative. I waited until they left and then explained to the Alpha exactly why he cannot be trusted. I think I gained their trust, but they’ll probably want to meet with you, or firecall at least. I suggest you send some people to see vampires clans and other creatures if he’s trying to get their support. Perhaps send James back to Hogwarts for a weekend, to the Forest so that they can be entirely aware of the headmaster’s actions.

I won’t be able to come back and be Secret Keeper at this moment, I need to get ahead of them.

I’m sorry.

Remus.

 

Lily,

I have added some extra...qualities, to Pettigrew’s mark. It will burn harshly whenever he thinks to betray me, in any way. If he does betray me, or my orders, to Dumbledore or anybody else, then I will be made aware and I will come for you.

With love, Tom.

 

Dear Tom,

He’s here. James alerted me the second he apparated onto the street, since our wards went off. I love you and I love Hadrian and Remus and Sirius and Bella and Alice and Narcissa and Draco. Make sure he

 

Remus,

I’m sorry, I tried to get Harry. I don’t know where Hagrid took him. I’m going for Pettigrew, he needs to die. Tom, Lily, and James. Because of him. I’m so so sorry.

Love, Sirius.

 

Lupin,

I got you access to Black’s accounts since the old fool tried to get rid of your access now that he’s in Azkaban. I cannot do anything else, I tried to get a trial and they refused to listen. I tried to get Hadrian placed with us but they assured that Dumbledore was correct Tom has supposedly killed his sister and nephew and everybody in association with them is being investigated. You have the funds, I suggest hiding before they catch you.

-Lucius, Lord Malfoy.

 

 

Harry didn’t know how some of the letters got there, but, he supposed, magic can do anything. Maybe they were charmed after some time.

Still, he couldn’t comprehend what he was reading for the most part. Everything he had known he could see flashing before his eyes except in a new light - where every manipulation was. He couldn’t believe his own mind, and felt himself a bit slow.

Instead of worrying about the fact he could see the sun rising, having spent all night reading his mother’s journals and the letters that were sent, he took some parchment and a quill to write a letter to Narcissa, trying to sound as pureblood as possible.

 

Dear Lady Malfoy,

I ask you to read the entirety of this letter and at least consider my proposal at the end, before replying - whether that be a positive or negative response.

I have, only recently, learned of my past, upon gaining my Heir and Lord rings, and Blocks have been removed and Compulsions have been reversed. As it turns out I have been horrifically misinformed, entirely blind to what should have been right in front of me.

It has been advised, by my accounts manager, that you would be a perfect regent to look over my estate for the next four years or so until I turn seventeen and upon learning the information I have, I am inclined to agree.

I am willing to show you all of the evidence I was given, as well as compare it to what I have experienced and learned.

Understandably you can reveal to your husband everything I tell you, though I would prefer to have this meeting with you alone. While I have no ill-will against him (or your son for that matter, despite what evidence may suggest otherwise) you must understand that, not only does he intimidate me, there was also the incident at the end of this school year which caused problems.

Sincerely,

Lord Hadrian Potter

 

There. That should be fine, telling nothing but the truth. Harry (though he does prefer the name Hadrian, thinking on it) attaches the letter to Hedwig, speaking to her at the same time. “I want you to wait for a reply unless she states otherwise, okay? And, either way, when you get back I want you to make sure I wake up so I can do something today.” She flies off with that, and Harry piles everything hazardously but with care, before burrowing under the covers to get some well earned rest.

Chapter Text

Lord Potter,

I am very interested in hearing what you have to say, however I request you only bring the most important evidence as there would otherwise be too much to sort through. I will listen to what you tell me and make a decision upon hearing what you say by the end of lunch, for which you will join me at Eumelia’s at one o'clock. If you do not know where this is then go past Twilfitt and Tattings and you will find it just a few stores down.

I look forward to what you tell me,

Lady Narcissa Malfoy-Black

Harry jumps up from where he was sat on the bed and checked the time, only eleven, so he runs through to the shower to make sure all of his dirt and grime are off and that he’s definitely awake.

It’s a hard decision to make, deciding what to wear since he’s never been good at it before. He chooses a green shirt, fitting to his lithe - if not skinny - body. (Though he wasn’t at the Dursley’s as long this time and didn’t lose as much weight, thankfully.) Following it with smart chinos that stopped at his ankle, with a pair of black dragonhide boots in combat boot style. Over the top he wore a plain black casual robe that had a dark green lining inside, though you could only tell it was green by standing so close.

He feels like he should have had a crash-course in pureblood etiquette, but it’s too late for that now. His rings are visible on his fingers, all of them, and his hair is...somewhat tamed compared to usual. He leaves the door at twelve-thirty with his paper evidence inside the pocket of his robe, thankful he asked for copies of the important paper.

He gets there with five minutes to spare, however Narcissa is already seated and stirring in a teacup. The lady at the front of the café smiles at him kindly and leads him over to the table Narcissa was sat at with a menu, asking if he would like anything to drink. He ordered water and they introduced themselves to the other, formally, waiting until she brought it for him to begin talking.

“Where should I begin?” he asks once he’s taken a sip, adjusting to the magical barrier around their table. He assumes she’s put some kind of charm to avoid being overheard, or possibly seen at all.

“The beginning, would be preferable,” she answers primly with a raised eyebrow.

“Yes, but would you rather hear of how I got to this point with brief background, or would you just like to hear about my trip to Gringotts yesterday?” He got out the parchment and placed it on the table between the two of them.

“Perhaps some background, would be useful, so I know what I’m missing since that night,” she tells him, and he nods.

“Before I was eleven, I lived with my aunt and uncle, who told me my parents died in a car crash because my father was a drunk and he and my mother, his bitch, did not want me, therefore leaving me in the guardianship of my aunt. I was forced to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs until I was eleven, and forced to do any and all chores they could think of me to do. On top of that, I wasn’t allowed to be better at school work than their own son, or else I would be punished. Punishments, generally, were to be beaten and given no food for as many days as they could get away with. Once I turned eleven there was an issue with not getting my Hogwarts letter until Hagrid delivered it and explained how I was a wizard. Nothing more than a wizard, but also one who defeated the - now, supposed - dark lord. I didn’t question any of this. I had no reason to and they were the first people to tell me something good and then it end up being true.

“Obviously more did happen after that, with the philosopher’s stone, and then later with the chamber this past school year. However, if you would look at these,” he taps the folded paper. “Then you will see why my obvious recklessness and prejudices have been as prominent as they are. Once they were removed, all of these feelings, fully developed or not, disappeared.”

Narcissa reaches for them and unfolds them. So far she’s given no reaction aside from a raised eyebrow, so he still doesn’t expect one as she reads the letters or the inheritance test she’s holding.

They even ordered food as she read. Honestly he didn’t think there was all that much to read but he guesses that she’s got a different set of eyes for the information.

“I suppose that this does explain some behaviours that Draco has told us about. It also explains why you look as small as you do. Of course, that could just be the Sprite inheritance. Though I doubt it,” she determines, looking over his body with disdain. Disdain he can only hope is for the muggles, and not for him. He tried hard today, he would like to be cut a little bit of slack. Their meals come and they begin to eat, Narcissa asking about what he realised the differences were once he had the blocks and compulsions removed.

“A lot of the time, I didn’t question obvious things, such as why the philosopher’s stone was in Hogwarts in the first place. Or, at least, I didn’t question it until after. Other things such as why an actual teacher wasn’t taking me to Diagon on my first time there, if they knew I was living in a cupboard enough to write it on my initial letter, then why not send somebody to investigate that. There were other things hinting towards the money I guess, in how I was treated by both Hermione and Ron. Since the other Weasley siblings aren’t on there then I find it safe to assume they were genuine in their friendship towards me, but I’ll think more on that at another time. I have no idea what I’m going to do about Sirius and Pettigrew, considering he wasn’t able to get a trial the first time around and has since escaped. I must ask though, what is an animagus?”

“It is a process that people go through to gain an animal form,” Narcissa tells him, smiling kindly and not at all cold like her son, but he could certainly see the resemblance.

“So, for example, a large black dog about the height of my waist?” Harry asks, and her gaze turns sharp.

“Where have you seen this dog?” she asks.

“First when I ran away from the Dursley’s a few days ago after blowing up my aunt Marge, then it’s mostly just a feeling I have, but I could have sworn I saw it from the corner of my eye on my way to the bank yesterday,” he shrugs.

“If he’s risked getting out of jail then it’s because he’s found Pettigrew, somewhere and somehow from the confines of his cell. It doesn’t make any sense, not at all, but there is no other reason. He would assume you’re in safe hands, even if you’re admittedly not,” Harry knows she’s mostly talking to herself with a contemplative look on her face. She looks at him, sharpness mostly gone from her eyes and her face relatively soft. “We’re going to need a plan,” she tells him, and he nods because that much was obvious.

“Griphook told me that Dumbledore doesn’t know I have my Lordships, and he thinks I’ll be receiving them upon my seventeenth birthday. And, mother and father wanted me to withhold their wills until I come into my majority,” he adds, trying to be helpful and she nods, thinking.

“We’ll need to be discreet, we’ll need to keep this a secret as long as we can. You’re going to have to act the same way as you’ve been expected to behave up until this point, obviously with a few minor adjustments here and there where you please, but nothing too glaringly obvious. My husband will have to vote for you, only because it will be too suspicious if I suddenly went to vote with a different set of votes when my husband has been the primary voter of the family for nearly fifteen years now, occasionally taking Draco to observe once he was old enough. Obviously we will need to set something up for the monies stolen, for them all to be taken back once you hit your sixteenth, but that can be arranged with Gringotts.

“We will have to keep all of your evidence to present it as a trial against Dumbledore once you hit your sixteenth, perhaps, unless your uncle comes back and has other plans. Everything else we will discuss as time goes on. I’m not expecting anything of you in regards to my son, however I do expect you to come to the manor sometime this week and discuss with him the situation and settle the argument. To make sure you keep up a believable relationship with Draco it is best that only you, I, and my husband are privy to this information as of now.” Harry agrees, part of him expecting about having to speak with Lucius. “Hadrian, I need you to be honest with me. How bad is the abuse at your muggle home?” Harry sucks in a breath and this throat tightens, not wanting to let it back out again.

“Over the years there have been many sprained ankles and wrists, some broken fingers, cracked ribs, a broken arm or two,” Harry’s voice is quiet, not wanting to reveal the information as he looks down in shame. “Mostly it’s just malnutrition that affects me the most, rarely allowing me to build any sort of meat on my bones. There have been bars on my window, as well, but they were pulled off by the Weasley twins before second year when they came to rescue me. I left because I accidentally inflated my aunt Marge using magic, and I was so angry at her for insulting my parents, so I partly left out of anger, but I was mostly scared. Because I didn’t know what they would do after that. Apparently they’re letting me go back next summer, but it’s more like I’m being forced to go back. Judging from that, they were being paid to look after me. Knowing what I know now, I would say they were more likely paid to abuse me,” he finishes with a motion towards the papers.

He looks up when she stands, before coming around to his side of the table and crouching down to be at his eye-level, then wrapping her arms around him, placing his head on her shoulder. “Hadrian I’m sorry you’ve gone through this, because you shouldn’t have, but I will do my best to make it up to you, alright?” Harry tries to protest, saying she doesn’t have to while holding his tears back, but she doesn’t take no for an answer, stroking his hair back from his face when she pulls back.

They finish the meal not long after that and decide to go to Gringotts. It’s easy enough to avoid stares when Narcissa is so confident and shines so brightly compared to him, and the fact he was subtly trying to hide behind her. She noticed though, and her eyes were teasing for a second before hardening towards the public once more.

They arrived and asked for Griphook, only to be shown quickly into the same office as yesterday, and got down to business as soon as possible. Narcissa made that exceptionally easy for them to do since she already seemed to have a plan in mind.

“Griphook, I want for the transactions to remain as they are,” Harry balked a little at this but when she continued, she made sense. “We want to be subtle, to wait until his sixteenth birthday. I want for the money to be taken back or for the people to be put into debt if they simply do not have it.” Griphook nods his agreement and writes it into a file he puts away, before pulling out the next.

“This is for the regency and management of your accounts, both of you must sign,” he tells them, handing Narcissa a quill. She signs quickly her agreement before handing it to Harry, to also sign, then Griphook signs at the bottom to say that it was witnessed and not coerced.

They leave then, and Narcissa tells him she will send an owl with a time and date about where she was going to meet him so she could take him to the manor this week.

 

Hadrian,

Two o’clock in two days time, I’ll meet you outside Twilfit and Tattings.

With love, Narcissa.

 

Harry was there. He was also eyeing the alley from which he could have sworn he just saw a pair of eyes come from. He assumes it was Sirius, as they only looked for several moments before slinking backwards. Maybe he should do something about him, like actually speaking to him. 

He’d managed to avoid meeting up with Ron and Hermione today (not that he wanted to anymore anyway) by telling them he was finishing up homework. He would rather get the last of it done while he still feels like it, but ultimately they could go out the next day if they wanted.

She appeared from inside the store, and gripped his upper arm to pull him to the side. “I assume you’ve never apparated before?” He shook his head. “Hold onto your stomach is my best advice, then,” she says, before they disappear from the street with a pop and reappear on the front step of the manor. “The wards require for you to physically walk through the front door to become used to your magical signature so you can revisit and floo straight into the house in the future, or be apparated in if necessary.” She holds the door open for him and he walks through, feeling the magic of the manor strum with his own for a minute before calming. “There,” she sighs with a happy smile. “Come now, tea will be waiting in the Sunroom, Lucius is also there already I feel I must warn, however I showed him my memory of our discussion and everything else you showed me and he is willing to let bygones be bygones as long as you answer a few of his questions.”

Harry agreed. Partly because he didn’t mind, and also because he felt like he owed the pair of them.

Lucius was reading when they walked in, furniture all sleek and matching, though he would expect nothing less. He stood to greet them.

“Lord Potter,” he spoke with a raised eyebrow and slightly incredulous tone as he held his hand out to shake, but Harry dismisses it.

“Lord Malfoy,” he returns, shaking the offered hand. “Please, call me Hadrian,” he says. He likes the name, but still has to be used to being called Harry.

“Then call me Lucius,” he replies, smiling slightly. It’s aristocratic and slightly amused at the same time, but it’s clear he means well.

They move on once they’re all sat and they discuss the events of the last two years, as well as fully discussing yesterday and his initial trip to Gringotts and what they’re going to be doing. Harry knows everything makes so much more sense, and is less overwhelmed, than he would have been several weeks ago, disregarding that he’s already discussed it with Narcissa.

Lucius even went as far as apologising for his public behaviour giving such a wrong impression, despite that was partly the idea it was never meant to be so bad, going as far to say he’d work on it. Harry didn’t say anything that would imply he was lying, just thanking him in not so many words.

As they’re coming to the end of the meeting, Narcissa calls out, “Seren!” A small house appears in the room with a quiet pop, much quieter than Dobby’s, obviously quite young but still old enough to be doing house elf work.

“Mistress wanted Seren?”

“Seren, this is Hadrian, also known as Lord Potter,” Narcissa motioned to him and he smiled, so she smiled back. “I’m assigning you to be his house elf, and you will be key at transporting letters between the two of us over the coming years. I chose you because I can trust you to be discreet. You will also take him wherever he wants to go, understood? Notably, that will be in the summer, primarily. I trust you to watch him over the summer, which includes bringing him here when he asks.”

“Seren can do what mistress asks,” she tells them with a nod, large ears flopping around her face.

“Since Hadrian still goes to Hogwarts, whenever he doesn’t need you, you can stay here at the manor still, okay? Since Hadrian isn’t going to his own properties, yet.”

“Yes, mistress.”

“You’re dismissed,” Narcissa tells her. Seren pops out again, quietly. “Now,” she turns to Harry with a smile. “Would you like some tea before I take you back?” Harry accepts because he doesn’t want to be rude.

As they drink, Lucius asks about his thoughts on political issues (keeping explanations of what they are, brief) so that when he votes in Harry’s favour, he’s doing something that Harry would at least partly agree with.

He doesn’t know if he should be surprised with how many issues are to do with creature right or not.

Narcissa apparated with him back, telling him that if he wanted or needed to come back then he should call Seren to make sure they were in or send a letter to arrange a time. She sees him down the street, after appearing in front of the café they visited the other day and he makes sure to avoid the looks as he goes back up to his current room.

Despite knowing he doesn’t want to see Ron and Hermione tomorrow, he knows he has to so that he keeps up his appearances. But he doesn’t trust them anymore. He knows what he has to do this year, in general, aside from doing his own studying this time around and maybe getting acquainted with the new feel of himself. He would have to do something about Sirius and Pettigrew, still, but that could wait for tomorrow.  


 

They were sat outside the ice cream parlour, eating ice cream if you could believe it, when he spotted a giant dog out the corner of his eye. He knew Sirius was easily recognisable, and he didn’t want to see him quite so soon with so many witnesses. Somebody was bound to recognise him somehow.

Harry listens to what they’re talking about, being mostly inconsequential things that don’t matter. They warn him about Sirius Black: The Reason His Parents Are Dead , but Harry doesn’t listen to those, instead preferring to eat his ice cream. It’s vanilla choc-chip, and despite it being the most boring flavour in the parlour it’s his favourite. Simple with a little something. Plus, it’s the really delicious Madagascan type that is just perfect in his opinion.

Though considering the only ice cream he’s had in the past was a cheap choc ice one time at school when he was in year one, or maybe reception? Either way, compared to what he remembers of that, this is heaven.

When he’s back in his room, after listening to Ron vaguely complain about lack of money (to which he wants to yell at him for bullshitting) and Hermione saying she won’t be doing their homework this year (which he knows is a lie, even if he does it himself) he calls for Seren. “I need you to go and find a large black dog, he’s about the height of my waist,” he motions. “Tell him I want to see him and then bring him here without anybody finding out, can you do that?” She nods frantically, popping out of the room again. He takes the robes Narcissa gave him for Sirius out of the bottom of his trunk where he hid them and put them in the bathroom along with a towel.

Chapter Text

It takes nearly ten minutes for her to return with him, growling slightly until he sees Harry with a raised eyebrow. “In there,” he points to the bathroom. “You’ve been in wizard jail for twelve years, I can’t imagine that was exactly hygienic.” Sirius seems to grin before sloping in the direction he was directed, and Harry shuts the door behind him but doesn’t allow it to click. Harry also made sure to order some proper food while he was in there.

For nearly an hour.

Considering it’s probably been twelve years or so, it’s probably the most refreshing thing he’s experienced in his life. Harry isn’t sure if he’s supposed to say anything from where he’s sat, cross legged on the bed and eating cottage pie slowly. There’s a plate in front of his own, for Sirius, along with a second glass of water on the nightstand.

The robe Sirius comes out in is a dark maroon shade, and it complements him for the most part. His hair is waist-length and his face is clearly exhausted and gaunt, probably from so few meals as well as dementor treatment. He still doesn’t know the full extent of what dementors are, but he has a clear enough picture to know it’s horrifying.

“I’m sorry,” Sirius speaks first, having eaten half the food in seven minutes or so. Harry just shrugs.

“Don’t be; nothing you could do ‘bout it,” he points out.

“Maybe not try to murder Pettigrew,” he answers pointedly, almost seeming to scold himself.

“We all make mistakes,” he answers.

They sit in silence for a few more minutes before Harry speaks up again.

“Where is Pettigrew, then? Narcissa said the only reason you would break out as suddenly as you did is because you found out where he is.”

“He has a rat animagus, and I saw him on the front of the paper when the Minister came to Azkaban a few weeks ago, I decided it may be time to get myself into order.” Harry thinks back to the previous headlines that could have been and one stands out to him, before laughing slightly.

“It’s fucking Scabbers, isn’t it?” He laughs again, more in disbelief than anything.

“Language,” Sirius warns, and it warms Harry slightly, for some reason he can’t describe. “But if you’re talking about that Weasley pet, then yes. Did none of them question why a rat had lived for twelve years?” Sirius asks, pulling a face at their idiocy as he continues to eat. “Judging by the fact you were with Narcissa, and are not listening to how dangerous I supposedly am, you know the truth?”

“Since about three days ago, yes. It was the day after I got the Knight Bus.”

“Why did you do that, anyway?”

“Get the Knight Bus?” Sirius nods. “Because I blew up my aunt Marge and she flew away screeching-”

That’s what that was?!” he interrupts.

“Yeah, but then I was afraid of the consequences if I stayed. I already hate them as it is.”

“Well, after this, I don’t see why we can’t go live in Black Manor,” he suggest.

“I don’t know. I mean, I hate it there, but Narcissa agrees with my dad’s last letter that we can’t do anything until I’m sixteen,” he explains.

“What do you mean?” Harry goes across the room and picks up the papers from the dresser he left them on after the other day, before handing them to Sirius. He reads them quietly, facial expressions telling what he’s feeling at different points, before letting out a long breath.

“And Narcissa has assigned me the house elf who brought you here, so I can go there in summer when it gets really bad and I need to be healed. For the most part I think the goblin magic the other day healed any bones that hadn’t healed properly,” he makes sure to add, but Sirius sighs again. “How are you going to get to Hogwarts?” Harry asks instead, hoping it’s not too much an awkward question.

“No idea. I really didn’t think so far ahead of getting out of Azkaban and making sure you were safe. I can’t exactly ride the train, even in animagus form, and without a wand I can’t disillusion myself as it is anyway.”

“Could Seren, the house elf, could she disillusion you, in animagus form, so absolutely nobody sees you for the entire day?” he asked.

“Well, I guess. Nobody really knows the extent of the house elves’ magic, so we could ask.”

Harry had to admit that Seren was kind of adorable, with her huge - abnormally huge it would be terrifying on any other creature - eyes and floppy ears. Kind of like kittens, he thought. She easily agreed that she would be able to, and said she would come back before they left.

Summer went quickly, after that, with Harry going around Diagon with Sirius by his side in animagus form. He’s sure they just assume he made friends with a stray, since that’s what he told Tom, who he’s sure told everybody else whether they asked or not. They were afraid of the dog, but more because Sirius told him he’s a grim, not just a dog. Every night Sirius slept at the foot of the bed as the grim, telling Harry not to worry about it because he feels better this way.

Sometimes one, or both, of them will wake up from nightmares, understandably, and Harry would lay beside him or with him in his lap in animagus form and stroke his head until they both went back to sleep.

By the time he was ready for Hogwarts, he wasn’t ready for Hogwarts. Too much had changed over the summer, and he was trying to comprehend it all as he flooed to the station with the rest of the Weasley family who were still attending and their parents, from the Leaky Cauldron. It was a messy business, especially with Harry worrying to make sure Sirius was off with Seren to the station before he left.

When he got there, nobody seemed to be alarmed or speaking about a giant dog, so Harry assumed it was safe to say nobody saw Sirius and it was safe, especially as he saw his back-end getting on one of the further down carriages.

He tried to get on as quick as possible, saying goodbye to Mr and Mrs Weasley, escaping from the twins’ slippery grasp, and trying to not look like he was sprinting towards the train. He made eye contact with Narcissa and Lucius, who both nodded at him in acknowledgement and he returned the gesture, trying to be subtle (he's sure he didn't accomplish it though because of his rush to get to Sirius).

Hermione and Ron were right behind him and he spotted Sirius in front of a door, trying to stay out of others’ way as they walked past, so Harry walked up and opened the door, disregarding that they would probably find an empty one without an adult in there further up.

He scans the compartment once Sirius is in and sat at the man’s feet, walking in and putting his trunk on the shelf above them, checking the tag of the man’s - R.J. Lupin , and Harry repressed the urge to grin. No wonder Sirius came in here, could probably smell the scent of family on him. He ignored the sceptical looks that Hermione and Ron gave him before sitting down in a position that would allow Sirius to sit across the chair as well as not look suspicious like his hands were floating.

Nobody had questioned the giant dog, so he assumed Seren’s magic was doing it’s thing, but he didn’t know what “it’s thing” was, so best to avoid as many questions as possible.

They spoke, and it was fine, Sirius glared at where Scabbers was whenever he moved but Harry was content with simply ignoring him, trying to not give attention to his strange breathing patterns.

Other people came to see them, including Neville and Dean and Seamus, asking questions about who Lupin was, but Harry acted ignorant, only saying he assumed he was the new defence teacher.

When the trolley came around, Sirius’ head perked up and he looked past her before standing up and walking out, going in a different direction to the way he looked and Harry internally bites his lip as nervousness bubbles. Instead he shifts and stands up, buying a couple of pumpkin pasties to eat, since it was early morning when he last had. He may not get as hungry as everybody else, especially after summer, but being away from the Dursley’s allowed him to build a semi-normal appetite before coming back.

Ginny came around as well with a couple of Gryffindors from her own year, and she commented slyly on his boots, which prompted Ron and Hermione to notice, despite not commenting in the previous weeks when he’s shown up in the few things that fit him aside from uniform (mostly being jeans and these boots).

Soon the train comes to a stop and it grows colder, very quickly, so everybody can see their breath and the windows are frosting.

Harry can hardly breathe when he sees grossly wrinkled, grey, claw-like fingers gripping the side of the compartment door and a hooded figure with a cloak flowing like shadows entering. He can’t do anything else except look into the disgusting face of the dementor, feeling something drawn to the top of his consciousness.

He heard a woman screaming and the next thing he saw was a bright light before everything went away.

Then he was being helped to sit up by Lupin, and handed a bar of chocolate and told to “Eat, you’ll feel better,” before he left the compartment muttering about speaking to the driver. Harry didn’t know if that was true but he went with it anyway, before sitting back in his previous seat, holding the side of his head as he does.

Hermione explained, basically, what happened to him, and then she and Ron went to go see other people once the train started up again, to make sure they were okay, and they left him to his devices.

The door opened again a few minutes later and Harry looked up to see who it was.

A blonde girl was stood there, hair a dirty blonde colour and a dreamy smile on her face. “You know,” she starts with a soft voice, as though it could put you in a trance. “Wolves, especially werewolves, are very pack-oriented creatures,” she tells him, before closing the door behind her and leaving him with a confused look on his face. He recognises her, sure, from the sorting last year he’s pretty certain, putting her one year behind him.

The others come back soon though, except Lupin, and then they’re arriving at Hogwarts.

Sirius comes back once he’s off the train, nuzzling at his waist with an apologetic look on his poor doggy face, but Harry just wants to move on and nudges him to get him towards the carriages.

“Is it true that you fainted, Potter ? I mean,” Malfoy laughs harshly. “ Actually fainted?” Crabbe and Goyle behind him snicker and Harry just flexes his neck away from them to remove the stress building there. Ron yells something about Malfoy being a git and while he has to agree to a certain point, he wrinkles his nose at the insults of being slimy Slytherins and simply walks away with Sirius invisible at his side.

Before they reach the carriages, Sirius licks his hand and then runs off towards the forbidden forest. Harry stares off at him for a second, before getting into the carriage when prompted.

“What was it, Harry?” Hermione asks.

“Just thought I saw something,” he answers dismissively with a wave of his hand.

 


 

 

Harry, very much, wants to know more about his supposed powers and how in tune with nature he’s become. He gets a book on magical creatures and their inheritances out from the library when he’s left alone. Hermione oftentimes isn’t around, what with her ridiculously packed schedule, and Ron falls asleep whenever he’s in the library so it’s easy to get things past him if he goes. 

While she seems happier that he’s doing his own work, she also keep nagging if he needs any help, or telling him he’s not looking in the right book. But, frankly, at this point his grades have already improved a month into school and he really doesn’t care for her opinion. And Ron, well, he complains when Harry does the work, telling him to just let Hermione tell them what to write.

He still manages to get worse grades than both of them with what Hermione tells him.

Whenever he can get away with it he goes near the Forbidden Forest. Never going in it, in case somebody sees and he gets into trouble.

Something about the trees...calls, to him? They certainly don’t actually talk, but he feels a deep yearning. His natural herbology skills have gotten better, because he’s able to adjust to what they need without the prompting, and they seem to just like him. Even to himself that doesn’t make sense.

He’s almost as good as Neville now, if he does say so himself, though he’s still a little lower in his actual written work.

He doesn’t see Sirius at all the entire month, even when he’s near the forest at curfew. He supposes it’s better to be safer than sorry here, where somebody might recognise him.

The night he realises it’s the full moon, he stays up, sat at the window with it pushed open slightly to let in the cool Scottish air, enough to cause goosebumps but not enough to be freezing. It’s Friday, so no classes tomorrow which will be good, he knows, when he hears the wolf howls.

Again, he knows already that there are creatures in the forest already, remembers how large it was during first year when they served detention in there, but still. This one stands out to him, because he was listening to it.

There’s an answering call, and the only way he can describe it is ‘not as wolf-y’, and it makes him chuckle to himself slightly.

He thinks they’re okay- hopes it, more than anything.


 

Trelawney predicted his death via the sign of The Grim seen in tea leaves at the bottom of the cup in one of their first Divination classes. Harry just laughed because it was a ridiculous thought.

He isn’t allowed to go to Hogsmeade, but he does anyway, under his invisibility cloak with a map from Fred and George he’s sure he recognises the handwriting on, and he hears McGonagall talking as though she doesn’t know the truth. And maybe she doesn’t, but she’s saying that he has to go back to his relatives and he leaves. It’s such a stupid thing for him to be upset over when he already knew it, but still.

He finds Ron and Hermione involved in an argument with Malfoy and his cronies, so Harry shows him why not to do that. He’s not sure why, he has ill-will towards the two and nothing as much or important against Malfoy. They wouldn’t have even known he was there. Although it was fun to see Malfoy’s face so horrified and confused. It’s worth the possibility of receiving a letter from his parents about deliberately antagonising him. (A week later he stops wondering about that possibility and relaxes slightly.)

He orders a book for himself before Christmas, it’s called Fairy Tale Woodland Creatures: Fact and Fiction . The main reason being that he found out it had a large section on Spites, compared to the one-to-three pages almost every other book in the library had mentioning them. He orders another, too, which is small from what he can gather, but it’s entirely on Sprites, so he figures it would be useful.

While it is noted that he has a new penchant towards books, nobody really thinks anything of it because everybody has to mature at some point and maybe this is his term, and Ron’s will be next year.

Either way, both books arrive the same day he decides what he’s giving the Malfoys and has to decide how he’s going to get the books. He’s already written his name down to stay over Christmas break, so he just needs to make sure he isn’t caught when going to get them from one of his vaults.

He also plans to write a letter for Lucius to read about the Buckbeak situation, and hopes he doesn’t come across as rude and insensitive.

Seren takes him out of the castle, three days before Christmas Eve so that he can visit his vault and get what he wanted.

First he goes to the Black vaults Sirius left him, even though he obviously isn’t dead. Either way. He goes further back in them to decide what would be an acceptable gift for Narcissa. She was closer related to the House of Black than he, so he wanted to give her something to show for that.

Soon, he found a bracelet. It was gorgeous, in his opinion. Black gold band designed with overlapping thin strands of the metal, but with a midnight blue stone speckled with white and black spots over it. It sort of reminded him of the night sky, seeing stars and planets in Astronomy classes, and he thought it was an easy choice.

Lucius, however, was a completely different circumstance. He wasn’t about to give the man jewellery - especially family jewellery - so he had to choose an ancient book kept for safekeeping in the shelves of the Black vaults. It was hard, also, because he wasn’t sure which of these he would have; while they were rare, the Black and Malfoy families have always been close, from what he’s grown to understand and so they may have the same versions of books.

In the end he figured he couldn’t go wrong with Moyens de guérison d'un cœur impur once he looked inside and discovered a range of curses and potions written/created by Black family members long ago. The entire book was full and some of them, truthfully, seemed a little dark, but he thought Lucius may appreciate that. Not all of them were horrendously violent. There was a potion used to remove romantic feelings if one so wished it.

Mildly depressing, he guessed, but that didn’t matter.

Once he returned to Hogwarts, appearing inside of his curtains that he had previously locked and silenced with thanks to Seren, he went about putting his books away. He was only gone for an hour and a half, but that was expected of him by now. For two hours each day he had made a routine of studying when he wasn’t socialising, so it wasn’t unusual for him.

 

Dear Narcissa,

I was trying to think of a way to thank you for all of your help throughout summer before deciding what I wanted to give you. However due to school it was made more difficult to go and get it through the term. No matter, I found this is one of the Black vaults my godfather left for me (I presume because it was primarily jewels and I gathered he has little taste for such things since after courting Lupin) and thought that you would like to see it returned to a more rightful owner than I.

I hope that you find it as beautiful as I did.

Happy Yule, Hadrian.

 

Dear Lucius,

As thanks for all of your help through summer and an apology for my behaviour last year, I thought it more than proper to give a gift at Yuletide.

From what I can tell from English (because admittedly I am not well-versed in French) this contains spells and potions to go about cleaning an impure heart, though I am unsure of specifics since it gives many ways to be impure of heart. I thought that this would be better in your hands and library than in the back of one of the many Black vaults, even if you were to just keep it in your library or use it for research purposes, as I know use of potions’ ingredients can be varying upon what potion they’re used in.

Happy Yule, Hadrian.

 

Then he set about writing another letter to Lucius, about Buckbeak, since he didn’t want to taint the one attached to the book with bad thoughts and ideas.

 

Dear Lucius,

I’m writing this separate to my Yuletide greetings as I did not want to bring up any unsavory thoughts within it, however I heard of your trial to get Buckbeak put down and I must vehemently disagree and ask you to reconsider.

While, yes, I agree that it was a mistake of Hagrid’s to use Buckbeak in one of our first lessons without giving proper lessons on his species, he did give clear instructions on what not to do that Draco disobeyed for some unknown reason, instead deliberately antagonising the creature when he was warned against it. He then acted up on his injury.

I’m not saying that your son wasn’t injured or in pain, or that Buckbeak was not, and will not continue to be, a danger to the students, I simply don’t think that this was as unprovoked as a creature harming a student without reason, and it should be Hagrid facing the consequences, not the hippogriff.

All the best,

Happy Yuletide, Hadrian. 

 

“Seren,” Harry called quietly. She appeared at the side of his bed and he handed the the gifts and letters. “Take those to Lord and Lady Malfoy, please,” he asks and she bows her head slightly before popping out. He goes downstairs, then, ready but unwilling to socialise.

Luckily there was nobody there who wasn’t studying, so instead he grabbed a cloak and scarf from upstairs before walking down to the forest.

Chapter Text

There was nobody around, he checked several times, so he walked forward cautiously. He wasn’t really afraid of being caught in the forest, as long as he avoided centaur territory, and it was four days until the full moon, but he really wouldn’t like to be caught. So far he’s only gotten detentions from Snape because of the two times his potion wasn’t up to standard. Admittedly the first time was his fault because he wasn’t focused, but the second time he could hardly help when Ron adds the wrong ingredients the second his back is turned. They weren’t even prepared

He grits his teeth in frustration at the memory.

Every time he touches a tree, he feels the magic flowing through it. Every flower or other plant he passed there was something to it. Walking along the grass, if it were warmer and he wore no shoes, he thinks that he would feel energy from there, too

It’s a magical feeling, more so than the magic itself flowing through his veins, and it makes him giddy with joy. He doesn’t know why, but it feels different to his raw magic even if it is similar in some places. Part of him wants to see how far his natural abilities go, what kind of things he will be able to do when he comes into his full inheritance. He doesn’t know if what he feels is what he would feel without the blocks or just because the power all came rushing towards him, but it feels good. Freeing, almost

Once he gets back to his dorm, ready to change into warmer clothes before dinner, he noticed two parcels on his bed along with parchment on top, presuming Seren left them there.

 

Harian,

Thank you for the gifts, they were extremely thoughtful and I, for one, thought that the bracelet was astounding. I’ve never seen anything like that in the Black vaults I’ve visited previously so I really must thank you for digging out such a treasure.

While I had heard of the book you gifted to Lucius, it is one of the first variations of the book as far as I can tell and while there are later editions with refined copies of these potions and spells in Black Manor, such a rarity will make a great edition to the collection. It’s not quite a grimoire at all, because that is never removed from Grimmauld Place, however it is a good collection of what the family can accomplish.

Lucius also asked me to mention that he didn’t realise what Draco was telling people about Buckbeak, and that it actually was not his intention to have the creature murdered - especially after your discussion this summer over political views - so he will be correcting his view on this situation. He was mostly vying for Hagrid being fired, as he really is incompetent, whereas somebody else in the council called for Buckbeak murdered. I believe it was Dolores Umbridge, if memory serves me correct, and she certainly has the despicable views as bad as Dumbledore’s own when it comes to Creature Rights. (She will not be your friend in the future.)

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but Lucius is currently busy with some other families and politics and didn’t have the time to respond accordingly, but he does thank you for the book and appreciates it a great deal; this sort study fascinates him though he tries not to admit it.

I hope you enjoy your gifts, also, though I must apologize not knowing the correct size and so they may be a little bigger than intended. If this is an issue then tell me and I will get it corrected, I know the perfect person. Lucius says his would be useful for when dealing with Dumbledore but hopes you find it interesting all the same.

Happy Yuletide, Narcissa and Lucius.

 

Harry wanted to open the gifts now. They were wrapped neatly in silver foil, while Harry had seen no point in wrapping his as the book had a leather cover to be wrapped in, and the bracelet was already in a decorated box.

He really wanted to open the gifts now. But he also wanted to wait until Christmas day.

 

He opened the presents.

 

The first was chosen by Narcissa and his breath was practically taken away with what he saw. He supposed it wasn’t that much of a big deal to get a pair of jumpers for Christmas, he’d gotten one the past two years from Mrs Weasley, but the quality of these was what he imagined floating on a cloud would be like. (He makes a mental note to look up if, with magic, floating on a cloud is possible - it is magic after all.) One is green, and the other a medium grey tone. Both of them would bring out his eyes, causing them to stand out, and he doesn’t miss the slytherin colours of them and has to laugh lightly.

The second was clearly a book, and when he unwrapped it he saw a hardbacked book, simply titled Legilimens and Occlumens: The Art of Mind Magic.

He opens the book and reads the first few pages, before remembering that he was already a little late to dinner at this point. He shoved himself into other clothes and then practically ran down to the great hall.

After that Christmas is fairly uneventful, except when Trelawney predicts death as soon as she comes to the table. Harry doesn’t want to say anything about agreeing that Dumbledore will be the first to die as he left the table first, but the reason he would agree is not because Trelawny told them he would.  

He got a firebolt, too, which Lupin gives him a wink at when he’s there for McGonagall confiscating it on Hermione’s orders.

He starts his lessons with Lupin about the patronus charm the week after, and it’s almost like they both want to talk more about Sirius, about what each of them knows, about everything, fill in all their gaps, but they’re both wary and they can’t, they’re sure. So they only do the lessons with Lupin giving him a different side to stories that Sirius had already told him.


 

He goes out one night, on the full moon. More and more he’s been testing himself lately, and when it gets to March he feels sure of himself enough to go out. He runs into the blonde girl from the train again as he’s leaving, he doesn’t know if it’s surprising or not to him, unable to decide, but she speaks somewhat cryptically once more.

“Wolves don’t often break packs, not unless a member joins another. In this case that is what’s worse for that member, but don’t think they forget members. And, remember Hadrian, once somebody betrays your trust it is not easy to listen to their words once more.” She skips off after she’s finished. He’s partly reminded of Trelawny, except what she says is more riddles than nonsense and suspicion and therefore makes him trust her words more.

He climbs a tree quickly, he’s always been good at that thanks to Ripper chasing him up them every time Marge came over, but he feels like it’s made easier by his Spite-ness.

He listens as they come running out of the whomping willow, the wolf directly on the heels of Sirius, but Sirius has a slight edge of getting out earlier despite being fairly evenly matched in speed.

The wolf comes to a stop when he nears Harry, stopping beneath the tree and looking up. Sirius came back for him glaring slightly as he drags the now-howling wolf away from what it considers Harry to be his cub, already a part of his pack and scented for years.

The branch is sturdy and he naps against the tree periodically through the night, waking up occasionally.

He’s awake already when they walk through the trees as dawn is beginning to break, Sirius heavily supporting Lupin, who’s wrapped in a loose robe as Harry climbs down to come and get his other side.

“What were you even thinking, Hadrian!” Sirius scolds in a hushed voice. “You didn’t know how that would end up, and how did you even know where we were! I made sure to not be seen aside from that small incident with the Fat Lady portrait!”

“His name is Werewolf McWerewolf. Considering he’s been disappearing on the full moons, as well, that’s kind of a hint. Not to mention, I knew before I met either of you anyway.” Harry shrugs as they help him up the castle steps.

“Haven’t heard that nickname in a long time. Only Lily would call me it,” Lupin points out hoarsely.

“Hm, well, I did read it in her journal,” Harry points out.

They take their exams and another - admittedly more realistic - prophecy is given at his Divination exam by Trelawny,

On his way back to the tower, he crosses paths with the blonde girl again (who’s name he finally remembered) and she smiled. “Time is a fickle thing, Hadrian,” she tells him without stopping walking. He barely heard it, and in his mind he’s trying to consider who the dark lord’s most faithful servant was. It could be Pettigrew, he guesses, even if he was never properly trusted. It could also be Sirius or Lupin. But, then, that doesn’t make sense since they were never given a mark because they were trusted friends, if anything he read is true and the fact neither of them have the mark - they’re not servants. He knows that. But prophecy’s can’t always be literal.

He tells Ron and Hermione when he gets back, just because he needs to tell somebody, and they’re on Dumbledore’s side, sure, but they’re probably more informed than he is.

He doesn’t mention what Luna said, obviously, but both of them share a look. Two looks, actually. They look at each other blankly, if suspicious, then there’s a glint, and then it’s back to a blank face.

Ron then tells him Black must be planning something, while Hermione tells him it’s nonsense.

They move on for a few hours, until they’re outside and walking away from Hagrid’s after seeing Buckbeak be executed. Pettigrew, as Scabbers, comes into Ron’s view and Ron chases after him. With how genuine his voice is, Harry isn’t sure if he’s aware he’s been sleeping with a thirty-three/thirty-four year old man in his bed for the last three years, at least.

Hermione makes him apologize for blaming her cat for his murder and they’re going to make their way back before Harry spots Sirius. He blanches and isn’t sure how to react, especially as he grabs Ron’s leg with his teeth and begins dragging him to the whomping willow. Ron, valiantly though, keeps his tight grip on Pettigrew as Harry simply stands there in more shock than anything.

Personally he doesn’t really care since Sirius isn’t likely to actually hurt Ron more than he is right now, but Hermione was beginning to scream at him that they needed to help him.

As he’s avoiding being hit by a sentient tree who can think for itself and its branches, he contemplates how he got here in life. From what he’s told by just about everybody except the goblins, Narcissa, Lucius, and Sirius, everybody ‘knows’ his mother was killed by the Dark Lord (technically true, but not how everybody else thinks it) and when the killing curse was shot at him, he wasn’t the one to die and it instead was his uncle, so he is their baby saviour who will defeat Voldemort.

Frankly, he isn’t sure how he’s supposed to act, or react, when Ron is babbling away that he’s Black, he’s going to kill the three of them, he’s mad. So he just, sort of, stands there until Hermione accuses him of murdering his parents and says that if she wants to get to Harry then he needs to go through her.

At that point he raises his wand slightly. He would really rather not have to put up this act but he knows he isn’t going to hit Sirius.

Lupin comes in then, disarming Hermione and Harry and Harry’s certain the only thing that can make everything more confusing is when Pettigrew is actually forced to be human again. He looks like the rat of the man he’s been living as for twelve years as he rambled idiotically, quickly, grovelling for his life at Harry’s feet before being kicked away. Harry wants to make some kind of reference to Dorian Gray, except that Pettigrew is the portrait. It wouldn’t make sense, since that’s technically just a person but that was where his mind first went. Not to mention that Pettigrew was probably worse off than that portrait anyway, if you were to ask Harry.

Snape comes in then and Harry thought he was just ready to get this day over with. He’s tired and wants to sleep, he knows it’s already darkening outside, but his mind is brought back to what Luna said. “Time is a fickle thing,” he murmured to himself. Hermione’s head whipped towards him with slightly wide eyes but he ignored her.

Then they’re leaving, with Pettigrew in tow, with Sirius playing to be the good guy on their side, and Lupin was overseeing everything.

They were too far from the whomping willow when the moon came into full view. Lupin goes rigid, and then Sirius is letting go of Ron to go over to him. “Remus did you take your potion tonight?” he asks in a rush, but Harry can already see the transformation beginning to tear his skin and break his bones to the structure they desire.

This wasn’t the tame wolf that had been following Sirius into the forest every month for a night, and Harry swallowed as the transformation fully took. Sirius was leading him away, trying to get him away from them. They were stood behind Snape, his arms in front of them and cursing Lupin’s stupidity.

Pettigrew ran off, and Sirius was trying to restrain him, trying to keep him away despite the multiple hits he was taking. Harry doesn’t know why Lupin is acting like that, because he knows that he should still recognise Sirius as a part of his pack. But that isn’t happening, and then there’s another howl in the distance, coming from the forest, and Lupin takes off in that direction. Once he’s gone Harry runs after Sirius, who had stumbled away and down towards the lake, despite the protests behind him.

The rat had already disappeared, and he knew it would be dangerous to go after Lupin in this state, so he had to get to Sirius, make sure that he was okay before anything else.

But, out of seemingly nowhere, dementors start to encroach on them. Repeatedly, he tries the spell, causing wisps to come out of his wand, and then more. Nothing much else, before he realises he’s passing out. Once more, he’s faced with a bright light, and he makes out a stag somehow before his dead mother’s screams fill his mind.

The minister and a couple of other voices are talking about how Sirius was kissed and immediately, almost instantly, Harry is protesting, sitting up and getting out of his bed to explain the hows and whys of Sirius being innocent. He's ignored, of course.

Dumbledore leaves after them with some brief words to Hermione, prompting her to pull out something on a long chain she fixes around his neck as well as her own before turning it three times.

They go through the day again, from a different perspective.

Thankfully, they save Buckbeak, and Harry thinks it’s probably the best thing aside from being able to help Sirius escape. He privately wonders why they don’t just go get Lupin to drink his potion, but figures it has something to do with time being fickle as well as Dumbledore’s manipulations. Maybe they just don’t think him smart enough to know Remus is a werewolf. He’s sure that Lucius sees him this time when he’s playing his role at Hagrid’s hut but neither acknowledge the other so he couldn’t be sure.

They get chased by a werewolf and he casts his own stag patronus, though he’s sure it was about to take the shape of something else before it settled on the stag. Sirius gets seen off, and they finally arrive back at the scheduled time.

Chapter Text

 Aside from the nightmares he had, which he wrote to Narcissa and Sirius about just to be on the safe side, nothing unusual really happens in summer, since he threatened the Dursley’s with Sirius being out of prison at the same time as being his godfather, they now tended to ignore him or stay away. There were a few chores that were still expected of him, but they weren’t so much of a bother and he actually managed to smile happily whenever he tended to the flowers in the garden. It was a peaceful summer, and then he was going to the Weasley’s because they’d invited him to the quidditch world cup.

When the tickets were bought, he had received a note from Narcissa through Seren. Apparently, she had arranged with the goblins that whenever a large amount was taken out by anybody except Harry - and herself, with Harry’s written permission as proof, she would be notified as the regent of his estate.

Top box seats at the quidditch world cup, also sharing with the Minister and the Malfoys (Narcissa told him they would also be attending as honoured guests of the Minister), were pretty expensive, so while he genuinely wanted to go, he was mostly just making sure he at least got some use out of the money, since it was his and all, for what it was being spent on.

Fred and George explained that Arthur won some sort of draw that was taking place at the ministry for certain departments and that’s how they got them. Harry would admit, they were very good liars, but even they had tells. They genuinely believed what they were saying, so of course that’s what they must have been told. Percy had left this summer, having already gotten a job straight out of Hogwarts and being relatively well paid, considering he and Oliver Wood now share an apartment in London.

Apparently, he only wrote to Fred and George, and their older brothers. It was rare, when it happened, too, because apparently Molly didn’t like the fact he did, despite only last year him being pride of the family in her eyes. Neither of them gave specifics as to why, but he could think for himself a couple of reasons she might disapprove.

The match is good, Ron was ready to throw himself out of the box and towards the Veela before it even began, which Harry would have gladly let him do, but all the same he didn’t end up completing that.  Personally he was slightly attracted to it, but not to go that far.

He finds it ridiculously intense and is gripping to the edge of his seat for the climaxes, listening to the commentating done officially, as well as by the twins. He really needs to get new glasses, though, he considers while watching. Because the only thing telling him who’s who, is where they’re positioned and what ball they’re getting involved with (and Merlin isn’t that a sentence he didn’t want to think about it).

He laughed with the twins through their rightful victory on the bets, allowing them to drag him around with them as they went back to the tent.


 

Being woken in the middle of the night to Death Eaters setting fire to different parts of the camp, Harry decided, was not fun. In the slightest.

And he hated the panic. It was infuriating. Okay, yes, he will admit that they do seem to be in real danger to some extent but he doesn’t know if these are actual Death Eaters because he learned last summer that Death Eaters didn’t do this, not so publicly, if at all.

However, he also knows that some of them were quite fanatical. To a ridiculous extent. To this extent. But not the ones his uncle trusted, not the...sane, ones. It could be that they were too extreme. At the same time, knowing what he knows, he wouldn’t put it past Dumbledore to set it up.

There’s a dark mark in the air by the end of the night, and the panic is hardly over. Everybody is shaken, obviously, it’s only a natural response to what had happened, yet Harry finds himself just wanting to sleep. And question Lucius, but he also doesn’t want to sound accusing, so he might just ignore it. Especially after that encounter with Draco where Ron did all of the accusing while George tried to pull him away in the middle of it all because now is not the goddamn time Ron!

He’s lost his wand, and he doesn’t know how, but then a house elf is found with it and all he can think about is that it would be nice to fall asleep right about now. There’s a lot of trouble with this house elf and he feels a little bad for the poor thing when she’s freed.

There’s some trouble at the ministry in the next week, and then it’s time for all of them to load into taxis and go to the train station. Something that always puzzled him was why they take the muggle entrance. With so many of them it would be easier to keep them in order and accounted for by going by floo or even apparition if he’s being logical about it - which he often isn’t, got to stay in character after all.


 They’re told about the Triwizard tournament once they get to school, about how Durmstrang and Beauxbatons will both be arriving in the late October. It’s not so bad, he considers, but they’re also told that quidditch will be cancelled because of it and that is what frustrates him. The fact he won’t be able to fly, just the thought of, makes him feel restricted; makes him want to choke on all the air inside his lungs which is a ridiculous thought and it isn’t as bad as what it seems to be initially, but he can’t help it.

Instead, he finds ways to cope. It’s hard to do, what with the buzzing of the tournament all around him in seemingly every corner of the castle, but he manages to find high up places to hide. A couple of times Filch has caught him, but he’s not technically breaking any rules by being up there with a book or practising mental techniques he’s trying to master that were mentioned in Legilimens and Occlumens because it was a very useful book, but there were so many ways to do it.

He couldn’t just cause his mind to go blank, thinking of nothing and keeping it that way. It was a idiotic notion to even think that. The only way your mind can go blank is if you don’t have anything in there in the first place, if you’re asking him. He couldn’t go about making a room, or a house, for his mind to just be in, it required too much concentration and too much attention to detail. He didn’t have that kind of patience. Another technique was to constantly have some thoughts running through your mind, sort of on a continuous loop. Harry thinks that’s a bad idea too, because his childhood memories are awful and his past 3 years of memories are basically a lie.

In the end he creates a forest. In this forest he imagines different creatures running around, making sure nobody gets so far in. It’s fun, it’s nice, sort of reminds him of the Forbidden Forest in a way. He visits the animals and creatures sometimes, to make sure they’re okay. He doesn’t think they get lonely or anything, he just likes to play with them in his mindscape.

He makes friends with Luna, properly this year, within the first couple of weeks. She’s sweet, and kind, sort of a little ditsy, but he likes her. She’s a good friend, quickly becoming more like a sister when she sits with him over September-October time.

She says weird things at times, but it fits with her image. He has a feeling that she’s not actually like this. A part of her is, definitely, but that’s not all there is too her.

Unfortunately that’s all people choose to see, which is disappointing. Luna really is wonderful, even if he can’t see everything she can - perspective or invisible creatures - he still believes her and listens. He offered to ask them to stop, but she dismissed him, saying something about they’ll get what’s coming to them. A little ominous, but he goes along with it, like everything else with Luna.

Ron and Hermione question if he has a secret girlfriend he’s not telling them about, and become angry when he simply laughs them off.

No, he definitely doesn’t have a secret girlfriend. Even if Luna were his girlfriend, she’s not exactly a secret. They have been seen together in the library and around school; he doesn’t hide her, nor does he feel the need to lie about her. He guesses it’s a little suspicious when he does leave at seemingly random times to wander around abandoned corridors in the school, but he shrugs it off. If they wanted to know then they’d ask.

The schools actually arrive, and things become so much more hectic. Not just because of the acts both schools put on once they arrive, but because of the fact Viktor Krum, aka Bulgaria’s current seeker on the national team who caught the snitch at the world cup, is here. And Harry thinks that’s cool and all, it really would be cool to talk to him about quidditch and maybe get some advice. For him, he considers it an option to go into professional quidditch if he wants to, if he gets better. Getting advice from Krum would help him achieve that.

He’s not going to, though, because he’s not a fanatic fanboy and he doesn’t want to seem rude. After being overwhelmed the way he, himself, was several years ago he would really not wish that experience upon somebody else. Even if that somebody was probably used to it by now.

About a week and a half later, when the names were drawn and his came out, he almost started crying. Not in a oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-die-doing-this way, but definitely more of a Merlin-help-me-I-don’t-want-this way. Probably also partly from the nausea which was making it’s way up his throat no matter how much he swallowed it down.

No matter how many times he said he did not do it, they didn’t believe him. Especially the other competitors. Merlin, the death looks he was receiving from them and just about everybody else he passed on his way back.

Ron yelled at him, didn’t believe him; the twins congratulated him, also didn’t believe him; the rest of the house seemed conflicted. On one hand, he did seem genuine in his refusal that he didn’t do it, but on the other, this kind of thing doesn’t happen all the time, the contract is sealed, and there’s nothing anybody can do so that he doesn’t have to compete and he doesn’t think he can handle the stress.

On top of that he found out he won’t be taking his end of year exams which he seriously has to question, repeatedly, because he’s offering to take them. He’s offering to make sure he can pass them so that he feels confident enough when it comes to his actual OWL exams, considering they’re mocks and all, but Dumbledore says there’s no way he’d be able to study for both the tournament and the exams.

He curses his luck. And then he curses Dumbledore because somehow, he’s sure of it, it is Dumbledore’s fault.

Either way, his house has abandoned him, all three school’s hate him, and he’s finding it harder and harder to not wander into the forest for some time alone.

Then Hagrid shows him the dragons and Harry thinks he’s just going to fail. Until, of course, Moody gives him hints to fly.

Considering it will be his first opportunity, he really doesn’t know why he didn’t realise it before. Luna warns him to be careful, as the only person who has actually stood by him. Malfoy made fun of them for that fact and Harry just replied that at least he had actual friends. It’s a lie, of course, because Malfoy has Zabini and Nott, regardless of his intentions to make it seem like Crabbe and Goyle are more than just goons.

He’s still been communicating with Narcissa, but less so after Lucius could do absolutely nothing about him being a part of the tournament.

He flies, and he does a ridiculous amount of stunts while doing so for the fun of it, to show off, and he’s almost laughing as he flies because of the joy it brings him. For him, he gets the egg with the minimal amount of injuries out of everybody.

He flew, and he won.

Ron comes crawling back. He sort of resents himself for it, for not telling him to stay away when it was obvious he didn’t mean the apology. But, just like Luna, he has a role to play, for now.

McGonagall tells them about the Yule ball and his first thought is Luna. Luna would be too young to go otherwise anyway, as a third year, and he wants somebody he can actually have fun with, rather than just decently tolerate.

So he does. He asks her and she accepts, but tells nobody. He doesn’t see the point in telling everybody. However it also encourages Ron to encourage him to ask out Cho. He doesn’t know why he would want to ask out Cho, when she’s obviously into Diggory, but when he sees her he does anyway. Sort of, at least, when they meet at the top of the owlery.

“Hey, I was told by Ron to ask you to the Yule Ball, however I already have a date I’m going with and I’m fairly certain you’ll go with Diggory. However I’m asking to get him off my back so at least I can say I did even though I technically didn’t, alright? Alright.” Then he walks off. He heard her laugh slightly behind him, not in mocking, and say he was adorable. He calls back to her that he isn’t adorable, and thankfully nobody is around.

Then he refuses to ask one of the Patil sisters, so Ron has to do it alone when he admits to already having a date.

A week before the ball, Harry realises he has no idea how to dance the opening dance properly, despite watching Ron’s humiliation and participating in some of his own. He asks Luna to help him, because as often as she spends pretending she’s off in her own dream land, she’s exceptionally perceptive to the point where it’s terrifying when used against you, but it’s good for knowing exactly what to do.

It makes him wonder why she wanders around the castle barefoot so much when she probably fullwell knows where her shoes have been hidden or taken each time.

She’s an elegant dancer, who takes him through step by step until he’s fluid and no move goes wrong when they dance it ten times in a row, until they’re dizzy from all the twirling and spinning they’ve done.

He visits the vaults once more when it comes to Christmas; this time coming back with a pair of earrings and matching necklace, simple but eye-catching, one of the Potters’ more dubious books he found (figuring Lucius wouldn’t have it because their families weren’t that close before Lucius and his father, now him) and a Potter bracelet. Typically, he was told by the goblins, it was worn by the eldest daughter in the family, and the eldest son would have a similar one, that they would wear to represent their status as eldest female and male child. Luna may not be a Potter, but he hopes that the sentiment is the same.

 This time he makes sure to wrap Lucius and Narcissa’s gifts this time, just because it seems like the more polite thing to do. Slightly different to last year, he got two books and clothes in response, along with a letter of thanks. Instead of two cashmere jumpers, this time, he gets a set of robes. Not robes to be worn to the Yule Ball or something similar, but they were formal enough for future events if necessary. He guesses Narcissa knows his lack of diversity. Not something he can help, and it’s appreciated, but still. These fit perfectly, this time, after last time he explained the jumpers were a little long, but he preferred them styled that way.

The books from Lucius was something he had expressed interest in over the summer visiting one time, about how he finds it interesting that so many creatures have so many variations of the same thing: Courting. He explained that he found it interesting but there were so many sources and references he couldn’t find time to look through them all. Clearly Lucius had found a way around that.

The books were incredibly rare, from what he can tell, and Lucius explained that there were so few of them made because it’s limited information that not everybody should be privy to - there are books on human Courting, so why would they need to know how a Fae Courts, or werewolves. Of course, if they do plan to Court a creature, then there are other books, but these ones in particular are passed down through family lines.

He had added, predicting Harry’s response of why give them to me then, by adding at the bottom that 1) they are family, and 2) Veela blood died out of both Black and Malfoy lines so they likely won’t be needing it any time soon, likely.

Harry mostly focuses on the first reason for it being given to him though, because it makes him feel nice. Remus sends chocolate, lots of it, while Sirius sends some chocolate along with a couple of trinkety things he got while out of the country for some time. He also got a letter explaining that he knows there’s no chance of Harry liking Luna that way (after he explained what everybody was saying and why it was getting on his nerves) because that isn’t how Sprites work, especially not if he’s following his father’s example.

Harry doesn’t know what that means exactly, so he makes a note to ask him about it at any other time in a response letter.

Chapter Text

For the ball, Luna looks gorgeous. Her long, wavy hair flows down her back like a waterfall, interspersed with small, white flower buds, and with what he is sure is a silver circlet on her head. Her dress was a light blue colour, similar to a toned-down version of a clear sky on a sunny day; it was cut to be longer at the back than the front, but underneath you could see the the small layers of petticoats also decorated with flower buds like her hair. It didn’t gain any more volume, but gave it some sort of floating effect at the back. On her feet are round-toe small-heeled pumps, silver, but more sparkling than shiny. Luna’s robe is a more silver colour than her dress, but in the same style of being shorter at the front and longer at the back, with sleeves tight to her arms.

He met her stood at the bottom of the stairs and off to the side, leaning against them. Luna comes down with Padma and Parvati in tow, looking more confident than usual. Maybe because she knows nobody will question her being there, or being there with Harry, but she doesn’t have such a far-away look in her eyes.

As they’re waiting for everybody else to go in, and all the champions to arrive so they can do the opening dance, she looks over his outfit to deem if it’s suitable with a teasing eye. The formal clothes make him feel a little awkward, and the robe over the top even more so, simply because when he imagines formal wear, it still isn’t with a robe over the top, no matter how long he’s been in the wizarding world now.

Still, they look nice, he thinks. She looks at his tie though and tuts a little, running her fingers over it with a crease between her eyebrows. “Couldn’t add a little bit of colour, could you Harry?” She sounds slightly scolding but he just shrugs with a grin, looking down to see she’s made it a subtle blue colour. He’s known she can do this kind of thing for a while now, at least a month and a half, when she fixed his quill nib without reaching for her wand once he broke it, figuring it was just one of the many things she was good at.

Soon, everybody is ready, and nobody is more surprised than him to find Krum’s date is Hermione.

As the youngest, they’re at the back, and it’s all he can do but wish everybody would stop focusing on them specifically. Part of him understands that they would all be looking anyway, because they are the eight to start the entire Yule Ball, but another part of him questions why his name had to come out of that Merlin damned cup yet again.

It was easy to say that they were the best couple there, and not because he has a large ego. But while Fleur and Michael were probably the most attractive couple, and Viktor and Hermione were the brightest (how can you not be when one of you is wearing bright red robes, nice and traditional as they are), Harry and Luna were the most elegant. And he realises that he uses that word a lot when it comes to Luna, but she is. Somehow, probably magic, she makes him elegant as well. They’re both slight, and he’s at least three inches shorter than Fleur with Luna currently a couple of inches smaller than him.

But they have the smoothest moves, and he’s sure the others are worried at least a little despite their smiles and how much they practiced, but he and Luna are so sure in their movements, so aware of everything they’re doing at the same time as not even paying anybody else a spare glance that it doesn’t make a difference how the others look, because they’re the best, simply put.

By the time that the dance is over, he’s thankful to no longer be in the spotlight quite as intensely, and offers to get something to drink for Luna. She accepts and comes with him, before they go to sit down at a table along the edge of the hall. They like to sit observing the others, something they found they both had in common sometime in September.

It’s calm, until Ron comes over to them and starts complaining to Harry how Hermione is with Krum and not him and Harry tells him he should have asked first. That starts Ron on a tangent of why he couldn’t ask her that the both of them could ignore as they continue to point out different things about their schoolmates.

“Oi, mate, are you even listening to me?” Ron demands.

“Not really,” Harry answers truthfully, bored voice, and Luna laughs airily before suggesting they go talk to people. “Oh do we have to, Luna? You know as well as I do that there’s little point in it,” he complains playfully, standing up anyway, gulping down the last of his drink as Luna stands, linking their arms together.

Luna hums along to the song, because they’ve not yet introduced anything else and it’s still slow, classical ballads. Both Luna’s humming and the song itself are peaceful, calming him immensely the further they walk away from Ron, until they’re leaning against a wall out of his sight.

“You know you really should stop tolerating him,” Luna tells him. “You know you will eventually anyway.”

“I know,” he sighs. “But it’s not even my plan, so I have to do it. It’s awkward using house elves to communicate. It’s not as though I can do much more until my inheritance comes anyway.”

“I know,” she replied sadly, because she did, had already heard it three times before at least, but she understood that they couldn’t change anything yet. Naturally she’d still listen to him complain, the same way he listened to her telling him about what the other Ravenclaws did this time, or the nargles and wrackspurts.

Conversation moved on from that, and they did actually make rounds to speak to a couple of people - Neville, and Dean and Seamus. Dean and Seamus didn’t seem all that surprised with his choice, saying it made sense, whereas Neville was apparently completely blindsided. Honestly Neville has never been one of the most observant people when it came to certain things, even if he is more observant than most. Ginny, his date as a favour to Ron/peer pressure on Ron’s part to make him feel guilty so she could come, was also shocked by it, making friendly chat with Luna that she heard rumours about them but never actually suspected. Luna didn’t seem the type, apparently, and she didn’t seem his type either. Though Luna brushed it off and only smiled in response, he pointed out that they’re still not dating and pulled her away to get another drink.

Ron had disappeared from the table when they walked past to get a drink, so they figured it safe to go and sit back down again for five minutes .

The box in his inside robe pocket pressed against his chest, causing him to suddenly remember it was there, since he’d forgotten somewhere between the dancing and the talking to Luna.

“Hey, can we go outside for a minute?” he asks her, and she looks at him confused before nodding with a smile, walking with a skip in her step past small group of Slytherins and tugging on his wrist. He only smiles with a shake of his head because what could he really do to stop her?

Once they’re outside, they stop for a moment, looking around before Harry takes her away a little so they’re unlikely to be overheard, this is really something he would rather not hear about in tomorrow’s gossip.

“Um, so, I’m not exactly sure how to say this, but you mean a lot to me Luna. You’re probably the best person I know,” he runs a hand through his hair self-consciously, before reaching into his pocket for the bracelet and opening it to reveal a silver band with an aquamarine crystal stone, engraved with the Potter family crest. “This is generally worn by the eldest Potter daughter. And the eldest son tends to have a matching one. It is a sign that they are the eldest siblings in the family. I know I haven’t truly known you very long Luna, but you are the person I trust the most, and you are the person I consider closest to me. It infuriates me when people don’t see how wonderful you are, because you are . And you know this but sometimes I feel you need to be reminded of it again. You’re so smart, and funny, and you always know how to make me feel better. I love you, because you’re my sister, as far as I’m concerned,” he finishes.

She’s looking up into his eyes with such wonder and affection that he doesn’t have to doubt if he went too far with this gift despite the short amount of time they’ve properly known each other. A tear slips down her face before she throws her arms around his neck and he quickly wraps his arms around her waist once he closes the box with an easy snap.

Once they let go of each other, Harry opens the box again and holds it out for her to take. “It’s beautiful,” she whispers, picking it out of the box and slipping it onto her wrist with care, allowing it to magically resize itself on her thin wrist. He closes the box again and puts it back in his pocket. “I love you too, Hadrian, you’re my brother as well.” She smiles and they wait a couple more minutes in the cold winter air before going back in, calm and only red-cheeked from the cold and not too much emotion.

When they’re back inside, The Weird Sisters are playing and while both of them enjoy the music and the change of pace, neither feels the need to join in, so they stand at the wall once more and people watch with a drink in their hand until they’re all called to sit for the meal.

Percy already apologized beforehand for the amount of ass-kissing he has to do here. He’s not even supposed to be here, technically, it’s not his job, since he’s supposed to represent the minister when the minister isn’t around, not make show for other officials as he is when they’re all present and perfectly capable of doing that themselves, but no matter. He’s here and he’s being a bore and Harry’s having a hard time at not laughing at what Luna keeps whispering to him about in regards to Percy, or comparing him to different creatures.

Even when everybody else goes back to the dance floor, Harry and Luna do not. Instead, Luna rests her head on his shoulder and continues to talk and hum occasionally. “Look at Moody,” she giggles.

Harry hums as he looks over to the professor, his head leaning on hers, still dressed as he usually would be at the side of the room drinking from his flask every so often. “Yes, what about him?”

“Nothing really. Do you think he’s a good dancer? Looks can be deceiving after all.”

“Shouldn’t you be the one telling me that, little moon?”

“I guess,” she nods as much as their position allows. “All I know is that circumstances are as they are, and I wouldn’t be alone with him.”

“I already know he’s a little bit off his rocker, the whole school does after the stunt he pulled with Malfoy.”

“Well, yes, but not for reasons you see. Some people simply don’t like to be controlled.”

Luna yawns for third time in short succession sometime after that before Harry suggests they go back to their separate dorms and walks her to Ravenclaw Tower to see her inside with a kiss to her forehead before making his way back across the school to Gryffindor Tower.

Unfortunately for him that means walking past the entrance to the hall again, where Hermione, it turns out, is yelling at Ron and Harry really didn’t want to walk past that but she locks onto him and starts partly screaming at him too, criticizing him for being so secretive and if he has a girlfriend to just tell them. He says again, that she isn’t his girlfriend, but Hermione clearly doesn’t care and yells at them to go back to their dorm.


 

The next morning all three of them are in a bad mood again and don’t speak, Harry leaving the second he gets the chance to go sit in an empty classroom by himself.

Mostly he’s looking at the different creatures that appear commonly in ancient myths, deciding if there’s any that belong in his mindscape. After some time Luna joins him with fresh parchment and a graphite pencil he knows she favours to copy some of the images from her Herbology book.

“You know, Hadrian, certain people might question how you got this from the main Potter vault,” she says, flicking her eyes to the bracelet on her wrist.

“Who cares?” Harry shrugs, putting the book in his hands down. “As far as I’m aware, purebloods are allowed this sort of thing.”

“Yes, but you’re not supposed to be a pureblood. Squib lines are hard to predict. Who knew they’d all come out in two people. It makes sense though, since your grandmother was a witch anyway. It’s easier to marry squibs off when they come out of such pureblood families as theirs at least, because it’s a surefire way to keep magic lines together because it has to build up somewhere. And, there’s been studies that show squibs are drawn to other squibs, just like how wizards are drawn to other wizards - when they don’t know they’re wizards, I mean. It’s really fascinating.” She hasn’t taken her eyes off her work as she shades in some petals the entire time she was speaking, soft with some dreamy tones to it but factual nonetheless. “You’re not supposed to know anything about who you as it is anyway.”

“Well I’m not going to tell you to not wear it,” Harry raises an eyebrow in challenge, almost daring her to take it off.

“And I’m not going to take it off,” she says, looking up and raising an eyebrow in return. “May cause arguments, of course, I’ve already had Padma ask me where I went with you and why; she seems to be of the same opinion as the rest of the school. Your fanclub is going to become more forceful,” she laughs a little at that. “Speaking of which, we should really go and get ready for dinner.”

“I’m not ready to be alone with them,” he says with a whine, jumping off the table regardless.

Harry goes straight to the hall once he’s gotten changed, green jumper he got last year from Narcissa keeping him warm with jeans and converse. Already sat with Neville is Luna, who’s showing him some sketches from what he can tell and they’re talking about it intensely. He goes to sit beside her with little notice to everybody looking at him. Part of him realises that it’s probably because the green of his jumper is almost exactly the same colour as green on the Slytherin emblem. He doesn’t pay attention to that though, as Ron stalks into the hall looking thunderous to say it’s Christmas day and Harry really wishes he could shrink into nothing but Ron spots him and comes over immediately.

He only half listens to Ron talking about Hermione, who’s sat with the other Gryffindor girls and talking about what Krum is like. It sounds like a sickening conversation that he’s thankful to not be a part of, but she had fun at least.

Ron’s rant is interrupted by Ron practically yelling, “You’re Courting her?” once Luna reached for her drink. Conversation stopped around them immediately as they stared and silence spread like a wildfire as Harry grit his teeth.

“No, Ronald, I’m not, actually, as I’ve told everybody who asks, repeatedly . If you really must know, that bracelet is more often than not given to the eldest Potter daughter as a sign that they are the eldest female child of the Potter family. As far as I’m aware, most pureblood families actually have them even if they’re not necessarily used anymore,” Harry explains with an edge to his voice, making sure his voice is loud enough for people still listening to hear without being shouting. “Me giving this to Luna for Yule was me telling her that no matter what she is my sister , because that is what I consider her to be to myself. Maybe you would know that if you paid attention to pureblood traditions, since your family is the entirely pureblood family.” A couple of people raise their eyebrows at the obvious insult, but he ignores them and goes straight into conversation with Neville and Luna.

Dinner, otherwise, is nice and calm, with festive spirit cheering everybody up and causing any awkwardness to disappear with the atmosphere.

Chapter Text

It’s a few weeks before the second task and Harry still hasn’t worked it out, he can’t make the egg stop screaming at all. He complains to Luna while they’re in their most used abandoned classroom, so she tells him to open it. He pulls a face at her but does it anyway.

“Oh! It’s mermish,” she says after a moment of listening, hardly distinguishable from the egg’s screeching so he closes it and asks her to repeat what she said. “It’s mermish, I’ve heard some before, but it’s so difficult to translate and mine isn’t very good as it is anyway,” she tells him, going back to the magazine she was reading.

“Mermish. As in, mermaids. As in, like, the mermaids that live in the lake?”

“Most likely, I presume. I suggest putting it in water and listening to it.”

Cedric comes up to him later and gives the same suggestion - in a roundabout way, telling him to take a bath in the prefects bathroom as well as giving him the password - in return for Harry telling him about the dragons, saying it was only fair. It wasn’t, because what he gave was a riddle, and not even a good one. At least Harry just told him what was going on.

Since he has the option, he goes, and listens, and feels uncomfortable around Moaning Myrtle but that’s not the point. He tells Luna the next day and she simply hums, not commenting on what may be taken while he tries to come up with a list of his most valuable possessions, on top of how to breathe underwater for an hour. Briefly he considers a scuba diving kit, but dismisses that because of the hassle it would cause to get one into the school and goes about thinking of magical ways.

Dobby, surprisingly, is the one who gives him the solution, once he fell asleep on his most recent pile of books in the library the night before and he’s got to hurry to get changed for the task, making his way down there as soon as possible.

The task starts just as he half-jumps, half-falls into the lake because he’s struggling to get the gillyweed down his throat when Moody pushes him.

Developing gills and webbing between his fingers and toes was a strange experience and he still doesn’t know what he’s looking for, but Myrtle shows him the way and for once he’s thankful for her presence for the first time since meeting her second year. It sounds harsh but she did get her name for a reason, no matter how bad he feels about her being killed.

Ron is tied at the bottom lake, causing Harry to suddenly realise what it meant. Especially when he sees Hermione, Cho, and a younger girl he’s fairly certain is Fleur’s younger sister Gabrielle, which makes sense. What doesn’t, is why Luna is not the one there. It should be her there, because she’s the person he trusts and loves the most in the school.

Either way, Cedric gets Cho while he’s working out how to untie the damn nots, giving Harry the idea to use his wand as well, followed his example quickly after showing Viktor to use use a stone to get the bindings off of Hermione rather than the fact he was about to possibly severely and permanently injure her.

Ron starts to float upwards before Harry grabs him, but he does and he keeps him there. Fleur was nowhere in sight, and something told him she wasn’t going to be there soon. He knows - hopes, most likely, with knowing Dumbledore - that Gabrielle wouldn’t be stuck there forever and she wasn’t going to be left for dead. However he didn’t want Fleur to have to worry about her little sister like that. So he gets Gabrielle too, and starts to take them towards the surface before the mermaids attacked.

Luckily they both carried on floating upwards, leaving Harry pretty much free to fight off the mermaids attacking him. He’s not quite sure what he’s done to offend them, but he needs to get away, quickly because he can feel his gills disappearing and his fingers are becoming more finger-like again.

After a moment he manages to cast a spell and get back to the surface quicker, coming up not long after Gabrielle and Ron; Fleur comes over and kisses both of his cheeks and he smiles at her kindly, Gabrielle kisses his cheeks as well before going with her sister to help her regain warmth.

He gets his results and Ron seems to think they’re made up properly now, when Hermione says that the person they’d miss most was in the lake, but Harry was already walking off so that he could get back to the castle and change by the time she was saying it and didn’t bother to refute it if it gets the two of them off his back.   

For a while, he sat in front of the fire in the common room in his warmest jumper and some heating charms before everybody else came back and he didn’t feel like celebrating. It doesn’t matter if he’s now tied for first with Diggory, in his opinion, because he never wanted to be in this tournament in the first place and the only reason that they’re celebrating is because he was in top spot. If he weren’t then they’d think him a waste and still be on his ass about how he even managed to get in.

He leaves and goes to the usual room, finding Luna already there with the most recent issue of the Quibbler. Something - likely a combination of frustration and anger - bubbles inside of him as he paces with his fists clenched, muttering to himself.

“I don’t get it Luna!” Harry yells, after several minutes. “Everybody knows you’re the person I’d miss most! It should be public knowledge at this point! I really don’t understand! With how much Skeeter’s being a fly on the wall I’m surprised there aren’t at least three articles about it! But no! And yet there was one about me and Hermione ?!” She glances up from the paper for a second to look at his distraught face, practically in tears for some reason she can’t fully explain but at the very least understands.

“Many people are easily manipulated. I suppose he- meaning Dumbledore, thought that you would be too, upon seeing your best friend so relieved at your friendship being back.” She shrugs nonchalantly, turning a page. It’s the word manipulation that affects Harry, she knows, deliberately causing him to become angrier in the moment so he won’t allow it to keep  building.

Of course, he doesn’t disappoint.

“Dumbledore needs to stop getting involved with other people's friendships and relationships, I swear to Merlin and Morgana! He’s only going to make his death more agonising, because I’ll be the one to do it. He’s ruined so much already! Sirius going to Azkaban, Remus being on the run; he killed my parents and uncle for crying out loud!” Luna simply hums along with his agreements, letting his temper run it’s course. “Left me on the doorstep of abusers - who he was likely paying to abuse me - and in the middle of the night as well! In October-slash-November! Who does that? Bastards, that’s who! And you know what else?”

“Harry,” Luna interrupts when there’s the faint sound of footsteps outside. He looks at her and she nods towards the door. Scrunching his face for a moment, he goes to see what she’s motioning at, opening the door and coming face to face with Theodore Nott, who looks like he was just caught trying to steal a cookie from the cookie jar.

“Uh..hi. I’ll just be going, shall I?” For a Slytherin, that was surprisingly uneloquent, when he’s heard Nott speak in class before and he sounds almost like he was a perfect pureblood son, from the way he acted around school.

“Hold it, Nott,” Harry said with a sigh, reaching out to take him arm and pull him into the room.

“What is it?” At least there was no stumbling and he regained most of his mask, only looking vaguely suspicious of Harry instead.

“How much did you hear?”

“About from the time you said you want to murder Dumbledore,” he admits with a shrug, face straight even though there’s a slight blush on his cheeks at being caught. “Which I have to say I don’t exactly disagree with.”

“Well, we need to figure out how much history you actually know then,” Harry says lightly, before sighing and jumping up onto a table and crossing his legs, then motioning for Theo to get comfortable as well.

“What do you mean?” he asks, placing the book he help beside him and swinging his legs a little.

“There are many things about my past which I discovered after my thirteenth birthday. Things that made sense, things that didn’t, and things that, looking at them now, are obvious. I would show you the whole list but I can’t imagine you would care for it so much. The thing I need to know is, what are your thoughts on Tom Riddle?”

“Is there a right and wrong answer here?” he asks nervously.

“Not really, you tell us-” Luna coughed. “Fine, you tell me what you think, and I either give you corrections and actual facts, or I fill in gaps,” Harry explained.

“Well, I don’t agree with Dumbledore,” he starts, looking at Harry as though he isn’t sure what reaction expects. “But I’m not sure who to believe of my father or Lucius Malfoy.” Harry prompts him to continue. “I prefer what Mr Malfoy says because it agrees with my own views more, but on the other hand I’ve heard my father’s for longer so it’s the one I’m more used to hearing. Mr Malfoy says that Riddle was in his year, that he was heir of Slytherin and had a sister he loved very much, that they made their own family. He was quite popular because he wanted to improve education for younger witches and wizards. He said that muggles aren’t always safe when it comes to magical children, can’t always be trusted with them. He said we need to make sure that they’re safe, or around their own kind at least. Father just says that muggles and muggleborns are disgusting and deserve to not live,” he explained and Harry nods with a smile.

“Good, because what Lucius tells you is the truth,” he says.

“How would you know?” He narrows his eyes suspiciously. Harry doesn’t say anything at first, instead willing his rings to be visible once more, unlike the rest of the time in school.

“Because I’m the Slytherin and Gaunt heir, and I can prove it aside from the rings. But, long story short, my entire life has been manipulated to the point where I had to have compulsions and blocks removed not long after my thirteenth. Everything he does, and is doing, is to gain complete control over the wizarding world.”

Nott snorts. “You say that like he hasn’t already got just that,” he points out before smirking. “So, you’re not really the Gryffindor golden boy everybody believes then?”

“Not really. I’m supposed to keep an act up until I’m sixteen when my parents wills can be unsealed because I’ve had my inheritance by then. Narcissa became my regent the summer before third year and Lucius holds all of my votes,” he shrugs. “I just need to bide my time. Now, I’ve told you a lot and you’ve done the same in return. However, you can’t tell anybody. Especially not Malfoy, because his parents are involved and we’re trying to keep it as under wraps as possible.”

“I vow to not repeat anything that Harry Potter has told me tonight without his explicit permission, with Luna Lovegood as witness,” he says easily, and there’s a small glow around his body to seal it and Harry thanks him while Luna raises an eyebrow across the room but says nothing.

“Great, don’t worry about anything, honestly, and if you ever want to talk to anybody aside from me then I suggest Lucius, I’m going to be telling Narcissa about this anyway. Which brings me to my next question: why were you even around here?”

“Ah, you see, a couple of weeks ago I was wandering around here because I like finding quiet places to read and study alone, and while you can find solitude in Slytherin, it is sill not necessarily quiet or to say the least it’s a stifling silence if there is one. On this fateful day a couple of weeks ago I ended up hearing a shrieking noise, honestly it was terrible. I had no idea what it was and, not trusting Dumbledore, I decided to not immediately find out what it was. Now that you’re here I’m going to assume it was that Merlin awful golden egg?” Harry nods. “Until now I was just wondering what it was really, because there was absolutely no evidence of there being anything, and I was just going to go back to studying or reading alone when I heard you yelling that you’re going to kill Dumbledore,” he finishes with a shrug.    

“Makes sense, I guess. Really need to start remembering to put up silencing spells,” he mutters to himself. “Anyway, any other questions?”

“Is it okay if I come and study in here sometimes?”

Harry shrugs, “Sure, don’t see why not.”

“What are you going to be telling Narcissa?”

“Just the basics, and if we can bring some other people in on this. That might not happen until next year, but if we get them to swear oaths and whatnot then I don’t see a problem with it. Obviously I’m not the one in charge of the entire operation, unfortunately, but once I get to sixteen then that will hopefully change.”

“Is there anything else I should know?”

“No idea, I’ll ask Narcissa.”

They move on after that, with Theo reading the book he initially brought in his hand, Luna making markings in the Quibbler issue she was reading once she had read through the article once (what she marked, Harry didn’t know - or question, for that matter) and he simply laid on one of the hard tables to stare at the ceiling, occasionally casting different charms that had no real effect than to look pretty.

He sent a letter to Narcissa with Seren that night, right before he went to sleep.

 

Narcissa,

After the task yesterday I went to find Luna who, as you know, is my confident and closest friend. My sister in every sense of the word. I made the mistake of losing my temper as soon as I was in the room rather than casting a silencing spell. As a result of this, Theodore Nott overheard some of what I was saying before Luna realised he was outside and got me to open the door. I explained things simply to him in as basic as I could so I wouldn’t reveal too much.

On the other hand, I feel as though he will be a great asset as well as friend, as he can help me be aware of what goes on in Slytherin. He willingly swore a vow to not reveal what we spoke to anybody without my explicit permission. I thought it would be best to tell you and you can advise me where to go from there.

I think that a good thing may be to have a list of allies you trust so that I can begin to think about possibly approaching them in school over the next year and a half. Even if it is a small list, of, say, five people, that would still be useful.

With love, Hadrian .

Chapter Text

It was fairly easy to sleep that night, quick and somewhat early, and he vaguely woke up when Seren brought back a reply letter, senses alert to her magic and the soft pop she made but didn’t wake up enough to even consider reading it.

In the morning when he woke up, he got dressed and ready for classes ahead of everybody else as usual before closing his curtains again to read the reply left on his pillow.

 

Hadrian,

I can’t exactly say I disagree with your reasons for getting mad, but you really must learn to curb that temper of yours if it is so bad that you forget to do simple spells that will prevent issues like this, although I do admit it could be much worse.

You’re right about Theodore, he will be a great asset and friend for you and I do believe you are able to trust him with this information. As for allies, I believe if you are to approach anybody other than Theodore this year then it should be Blaise Zabini. As far as I am aware, he is Theo’s confident, with a relationship similar to yours and Miss Lovegood’s. Not only that, but Blaise’s mother remained neutral in the last war, officially, and so it will not be seen as so disruptive, I guess you could say, if you are seen to be together or found out to be communicating. I think it would also be helpful for Theodore, so that he is not keeping information you discuss bottled to himself with only being able to talk about it to yourself and Miss Lovegood.

Any others I would have to get back to you on, once I have measured how useful they will be prior to your sixteenth birthday.

My love, Narcissa

(P.S. Congratulations on your success in the second task and being noble enough to rescue the young Miss Delacour, despite knowing nothing would happen to her if you didn’t.)

 

The day went along as normal, with Harry sending a note to Theo via one of the school owls about being given the okay to talk to Zabini if he wanted, or he could bring him to Harry in one of the old classrooms so that he could explain everything to them both instead, with evidence if they wanted it.

Theo wrote back saying that they could wait a few days, and he’d bring Blaise, he also thanked Harry for allowing him to tell Blaise which made Harry frown slightly. He didn’t think on it too much and just agreed with the time, day, and classroom Theo had suggested by nodding at him from across the hall in breakfast. Theo was staring at him intently, biting his lip out of nervousness, Harry presumed. Immediately he had turned to Blaise, who had been half-heartedly listening to another conversation while eating before nodding his confirmation, causing him to quickly fix Harry with a burning stare, as though trying to work out ulterior motives from just one stare, but Harry simply held his gaze with a blank expression, tilting his head just slightly before they broke eye contact.

That was when Harry went back to his breakfast, eating mostly while trying to ignore his other housemates who were partially berating him for missing the party last night. Part of him wanted to snap, but Narcissa’s letter had reminded him about not losing his temper.

Instead he visited his forest mindscape and made sure his creatures were in working order, protecting where they were supposed to and not getting into fights. Honestly he doesn’t know how his own mindscape works, whether the memories and protected thoughts were deeper into the forest, or if each of his creatures represented parts of his knowledge and memories by what they represented or were maybe used for.

He didn’t bother thinking to look into it, because either way he was rarely alone with the headmaster this year for it to be causing an issue of some sort.

By the time it came for him to meet with Theo and Blaise after a few days, he felt sick. He hadn’t really allowed himself time to think when it came to Theo last time because Theo just turned up and there wasn’t really anything he could do except listen and tell. Supposedly it would be the same this time, and Narcissa has said that it would be okay for him to tell Blaise, but there was just something making him nervous.

It was this same nervousness that had him in there two hours waiting, reading the original Latin of The Aeneid. It was something he had done originally when he was nine, maybe ten. Hiding in the library when at Privet Drive was an easy solution to a few problems whenever he had free time, and so when he had stumbled across some basic books for Latin, he had read them and learned as much as he could.

Truthfully, he hadn’t thought to pick it back up until right before last summer due to his inability to get away from Hermione and Ron, but now he could so he did. It was interesting, and he liked to compare some of the phrases, or phrases’ synonyms in both English and Latin.

Luna had given him this copy and some other Latin texts for Christmas and he was making his way through them slowly. Granted, he still stumbled at some points since it had been nearly four years, but still.

 

He had not dared to do anything,

He could not. Heaven's my witness, and the stars

That look down on us, all he did was love

The wrong friend too much.

 

Truthfully Harry was partially choking as he read, trying to not let his emotion get the better of him at Nisus sealing his fate, showing that his relationship with Euryalus was not based entirely on his young lover’s looks. He remembers reading it the first time, the entire book, and finding it entirely beautiful, the sacrifice he made when going to face all the Rutulians once Euryalus was already dead.

Granted, he was already dead so it was essentially pointless, even if he did get his short-lived revenge, before dying himself. But the sentiment was sweet since he never would have left alive anyway, best to go down fighting and all that.

He closes the book and leans his head down on it, sniffling a little as he finishes reading, before leaning up on his forearms when he heard a voice in the hall outside. “Just go in Blaise, he isn't exactly going to hurt you or anything, you can trust him,” Theo was saying, but he didn’t hear Blaise’s cut-off response before the door opened and he shut up with a slight scowl on his face.

“So, what is it you two want to know?” Harry asks with a slight smile, sitting up and pushing his book to the side after he set locking and silencing charms on the door.

“Why are we allowed to know, if you’re going to tell us,” Blaise asked immediately.

“Narcissa said you could know,” Harry shrugs as though it’s simple. “I will ask that neither of you speak of it with anybody other than each other, myself, and Luna however.”

“Lovegood?”

“Yeah.”

There was a minute where Harry thought Blaise would say something or object, but instead he sighs and gives a simple oath before Theo does the same once more.

“One thing I’ve been wondering,” Theo starts. “You said that you only found out just after your thirteenth about your...status, and relatives. That Dumbledore has been manipulating your entire life, what do you mean by that?” he asks, jumping up and then settling down onto the table in front of Harry.

“It’s not all that complicated, once you hear the full thing,” Harry assures. “Long story short is that Dumbledore controls the media of this world, and so he could essentially have whatever slander or lies against my uncle he wanted printing, printed. Even though the Potters hold quite the investment in the Prophet, we can’t control all the reporters and what they write, only fire them. But if too many were fired, it would become suspicious. This means that, really, only people who went to Hogwarts at the same time as my mother and uncle would know that they were, in fact, related, and that was only if you actually paid attention, which most outside of Slytherin did not. Because of this, it was painted as though my mother and uncle are not related, and there was a prophecy made so my uncle supposedly tried to kill me. He did not. Dumbledore is the one who killed my parents - whether he intended to kill me I do not know - and then placed me with magic hating muggles in the middle of the night before hailing me saviour of the wizarding world and whatnot. Don’t actually know how he got away with it, but honestly it was probably something to do with the attacks he had done to muggles and muggleborns. It only served to incriminate my uncle more because he burned down his and my mother’s orphanage. He admits to killing their father, my grandfather, however, which again makes him look the more so guilty party.”

“So Lily Potter and Tom Riddle are siblings and Riddle isn’t as bad as everybody thinks because Dumbles is a manipulative coot, I already knew that because of Lucius," Blaise comments.

“And did you know he left me out on a doorstep to magic hating muggles I wasn’t even related to under the lies of a blood ward? Did you know that nobody was sent to check up on me in my entire ten years living there, despite the fact they knew I was being abused? I had compulsions keyed to specific people, about specific things. I couldn’t tell anybody about the abuse no matter how many broken bones I got or how many times I was thrown and locked in my cupboard under the stairs without food or water for days at a time in some cases because I either messed up a chore or used accidental magic,” Harry told them blandly, like he was simply discussing the grey weather outside.

It was something he had gotten better at, talking about the abuse without letting it affect him in that moment. Sometimes he would go back to it later, but not always. It was helpful, for situations like this, something advised to him by Luna and Narcissa both, giving the reason that it wouldn’t be the last time he had to talk about it with somebody else. Neither of them said anything, so he figured it okay to continue.

“I didn’t even know of the existence of magic until the very moment I turned eleven. Actually, the entire conversation about magic of any kind, even books that involved wizards weren’t allowed; not that Dudley read much anyway,” he scoffed.

“Do you have evidence of this?” Blaise asked, clearly more than halfway to believing him entirely, but he was still a Slytherin afterall.

“As a matter of fact I do,” Harry brightened. “For the most part, most of my medical history exams were kept in Gringotts once the rituals were done, but this should be enough to prove I am not lying.” He handed over the two sheets of paper he had gotten at the beginning of his summer before third year, still kept neat and with multiple copies in various places. “It should also be noted that Dumbledore, at the very least, knew about my abuse because my first letters were addressed to ‘cupboard under the stairs’ before my uncle went off the rails and moved us out to some random hut on a rock in the middle of nowhere,” he added as Blaise checked over the ink on the parchment and what was written.

“So everything we’ve always believed is true, except now you’re caught in the middle,” Blaise raised an eyebrow.

“Essentially,” answered Harry. “I have not been given permission to release my parents’ wills until my sixteenth birthday, because by that point I am supposed to have gained at least a semi-stable support grounding for myself as well as my creature inheritance. At the same time I despise everything I am surrounded with day-in-day-out in Gryffindor.”

“No wonder you took to spending time with Lovegood,” Blaise snorted and Harry’s eyes narrowed at him as he sat up fully.

“I spend time with Luna because she is intelligent, enjoys my company just how I enjoy hers, was the first person to treat me like a person with no ulterior motives, and more. Besides maybe Neville that is. Luna is my sister for all intents and purposes, as everybody by now should know, so I would be wise to keep your tongue in cheek about her Zabini,” he warns.

Despite being at least five inches taller than him and with a lot more muscle mass than Harry himself, Blaise coughed and looked down sheepishly muttering his agreement.

“Anymore questions?” Harry asked, still tense but trying to keep the atmosphere light.

“I want to hear about the basilisk. Obviously it was real because people were petrified, but what did you actually do down in the chamber?” Theo asked.

“Aristocles, is not much of an interesting story if I’m honest. Ginny was down in the chamber and Ron refused to let me be the reason she was dead since I was the only person who could speak parseltongue, so obviously I had to go into the chamber and we took Lockheart with us because, you know, he was the fraud of a Defence teacher so why not? He tried to obliviate us but it backfired because he used Ron’s crappy and broken wand - you remember how it was taped together that year? Anyway, then we got separated and I went to go find Ginny. Had to destroy this diary Lucius had planted in Ginny’s cauldron. I couldn’t reason with the basilisk, though I’m unsure why, now, since I’m Slytherin’s heir - technically. Young Tom Riddle was there, though now I’m wondering how real that was considering what I know now. I had to fight with Aristocles and ended up stabbing through his brain and getting a fang embedded in my arm.” At this he pulls up his sleeve to reveal the scar still there despite mostly healing. “Fawkes had brought me the Sorting Hat and I pulled Gryffindor’s sword out of there, which is technically mine anyway. Then they healed my scar with their phoenix tears.” Harry explained.

“You say all of that like it’s no big deal,” Theo tells him.

“Yes, well, my first Samhain here I helped to knock out a troll, Quirrell trying to make me fall to my death in my first quidditch game, saw Quirrelmort in the forest drinking unicorn blood while I was trying to ignore the pain in my scar and Malfoy ran off, kind of understandable but he really had a girly scream, then there was Fluffy the Cerberus, Devil’s Snare, catching that goddamn key to open the door, then there was the actual getting of the stone from the Mirror of Erised which was easy really, followed by Quirrell trying to kill me via strangulation, before going back to the muggles I’m not related to so I could suffer with them as well. Honestly, facing one basilisk wasn’t all that big of a deal for me. I mean, aside from the acromantulas in the forest, nothing else tried to kill me so I think I did okay in the end that year,” he explains briefly.

“And you didn’t think any of this was important to tell people, like the governors maybe?” Harry just shrugged at Blaise’s question.

“Doesn’t matter now, does it, I have the memories of what happened so I can get my uncle to look them over and tell me how true they are once he comes back.”

“You’re sure he’s going to come back?” Theo asked dubiously.

“Last year Trelawney gave a prophecy - I was the only one around because it was right after my Divination exam. Anyway, point is she basically made it about the Dark Lord’s closest follower escaping and Remus and Sirius don’t count because yes while Sirius escaped he was friends with my uncle, he was trusted by my uncle. Pettigrew escaped in his stupid rat form and is now Merlin knows where and he has the dark mark on his arm,” Harry explained.

“What does that have to do with Riddle coming back?”

“Pettigrew is a lot of things: worthless, slimy, a creep; but most of all he’s a goddamn coward. I know that Dumbledore knows he’s still alive, however he just lets Pettigrew do whatever he wants to, as evidenced by the fact he was a rat in the Weasley household for twelve years or so. Pettigrew, however, knows my uncle would not hesitate to kill him if he were to come back and Pettigrew were not the one to do it. He’s still going to be killed, but Pettigrew can prolong his pathetic life by a few months, maybe a year or year and a half, if he brings my uncle back.”

“Seems like a lot of effort. Couldn’t he just stay with Dumbledore, or just not bring your uncle back?”

“Dumbledore also doesn’t care about his life because he served his purpose thirteen years ago. However somebody will be bringing my uncle back and he’ll believe he’s safe if he does it.”

“Alright then, that seems fair enough.”

“Alright,” says Harry, and just like that he opens his book back to the page he was on after some flipping of pages and carries on from where he left off.

Neither of them move, though, and Harry looks up again. Their faces are both confused but curious.

“Something I can help you with?”

“That’s the original Latin,” Blaised said, and Harry wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be a question or not.

“Yes? Luna got me a copy for Christmas along with other texts and one on the origin of spells, because obviously different countries have different spells that could do the same or similar things to our own. Not all languages derive from Latin, naturally, however Latin is one of my favourites,” he explained, not expecting Zabini to move and come sit beside him sideways on the chair he pulled out.

“Really now?”

“As much as it may be perceived, I am not an idiot of any kind. It obviously helped once the blocks were removed, but some of them were only applied right before coming to Hogwarts and were made to make me less studious. Before I came to Hogwarts I enjoyed spending time in the library near the school and enjoyed history the most if you must know. However, I enjoyed hearing about the battles that the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Carthaginians all participated in. As a side-hobby I ended up finding some books that taught Latin and gradually improved my skill over around three or four years before Hogwarts. I’ve understood Latin properly since I was around nine with a little struggle and I’ve been refreshing my memory over the past few months.”

“Well, now we’ve established he’s a fantastic actor, I’m going to go, you coming Blaise?” Theo asked, though it was clearly formality as he only rolled his eyes when Blaise waved him off.

“What do you want Zabini?” Harry asked cautiously.

“Do you know the issue with having only two friends not interested in anything to do with culture that isn’t wizarding?” Harry felt this was a rhetorical question but answered anyway.

“Nobody will listen when you talk? Do you talk all that much anyway, no offence, but you only seem to answer when picked on, or when nobody else will give an answer.”

“Both of your points are true, but I’m good with Theo. Worse with Draco of course.”

“Of course,” he answered, slightly sarcastic, as though there wasn’t another answer.

“Well, at least three times a week there’s a conversation where your name comes up every other word it seems,” Blaise told him, causing Harry to snicker.

“Wow, I didn’t think I was that popular down in the dungeons,” Harry rolls his eyes. Blaise nods while humming.

“Especially this year, you should have heard him muttering once your name came out. It was obvious enough you clearly didn’t want it to have or didn’t even know it would happen, and after that it was more about how you get to be the centre of attention even when you don’t want to be. It’s actually quite funny.”

“Truly fantastic information to have found out, Zabini,” Harry drawls. “However if you’re going to continue talking I suggest it be something remotely interesting,” he tells him, causing Zabini to begin talking about the places he’s visited in Italy with his mother (Harry doesn’t ask if the rumours about her are true, because it doesn’t matter when she clearly adores her son) both muggle and magical. He spoke a lot more than Harry had ever seen or heard, even in the hall, and it was a little surprising, but mostly left him amused. Apparently there was a lot of information that he was not telling to anybody.  

“There’s always been wizards involved with battles in the ancient world in some way, whether they’re mentioned by names or not. A simple example, is Aeneas, he was a wizard even if it is not so obvious. Often, figures regarded as demigods are wizards in some way. Not always, necessarily, but a lot of the time. It’s not proven that the gods had children with mortals, but stories made it seem that way if the child was magical. It made sense, right? Because that’s where magic comes from, the gods. So, obviously, the gods must have had some hand in their creation - i.e. they were the parents to these wizards. It was easier to do that especially when they were the children of creatures, so they sometimes looked human while having elemental powers or something of some kind and could be identified as a child of a certain god. If they were not recognised as the children of their creatures and living in that society that is. You get the idea. Nobody knows exactly where wizards come from as it is, whether the gods gave us magic via procreation or as a gift, or if our magical cores developed from creatures and we became so interbred that magical cores developed as a way to store all of this power from so many different lineages that could do so much but all of it different and therefore is a general source to control their powers.”

“That makes sense. I’ve not really read up much on much of that to be honest, simply because I feel that would be too obvious in school. Luna tells me of things time to time about the gods and about patron gods. She’s warned me I need mine by my sixteenth birthday because of my inheritance, but for the most part I have to keep everything I do or read quiet, and I doubt I would be able to if I began reading about them.”

“Makes sense.”

They don’t stay much longer after that, because it might become too suspicious and it’s getting late as it is.

Every so often, a combination of the four of them can be found in their usual room. Harry even managed to set up a ward with Luna’s help once they decided which one to use, asking the castle for help in maintaining and strengthening them as the castle’s heir, so now anybody other than them would remember they forgot something before not remembering going down that hallway at all.

Chapter Text

As champions, they were given warning about the final task, given time to prepare spells for themselves in both attack and defense, though were warned not everything would rely on magic.

Theo helped him the most when it came to spellwork, while Blaise would occasionally talk about previous tasks with any remote similarity to this one, and Luna would talk about creatures (the ones he couldn’t see usually) that he had to watch out for and make sure didn’t confuse him or mislead him.

He made sure to still spend a sufficient amount of time with Hermione and Ron, begging off not spending time in the library though because he was bored of it and so did a lot of it alone, “but don’t worry though, if you have anything for me while I’m not there then you can tell me later.”

He offered for them to join several times in the room, giving directions and everything, but they weren’t one of the four allowed past the ward, so when he ran off away from them they never found him, claiming they had forgotten all about it. Understandable, of course.

Still, he wasn’t feeling very prepared when it came to the actual day of the task, especially when he was talking to Mrs Weasley right before. It was a little uncomfortable for him, honestly, especially when she hugged him.

He went in with Cedric, taking the opposite route to him after giving each other a nod.

He still didn’t know why he was in the tournament, or who had entered him. He had asked Lucius and Narcissa and they claimed not to know, so he believed them when they say that.

First he’s attacked by a blast-ended screwt, something he’s sure attacked Cedric not long ago, followed by answering a riddle for a sphinx after saving Cedric from being attacked by Viktor before parting ways again.

For a while he wanders around, trying to avoid as much as possible, making sure that nothing jumps out at him or tries to grab him.

When he’s faced with acromantulas at the same time as Cedric they work together. As the only two left, and both fighting for the Hogwarts victory, it doesn’t really matter.

Cedric insists he takes it, and he wants to - he deserves being able to win this after being thrown in entirely against his will, but he puts up some fight and they take it together.


 

Aside from the obvious nausea caused by the portkey, Harry feels worse considering they’ve ended up in a graveyard. There’s a cauldron stood in the small open space, with somebody hunched over and lowering something into it.

Harry isn’t listening to the things Cedric is saying, whether accusations or simple questions, just trying to shush him instead and he gets quieter but that doesn’t stop him talking. They’re a bit away from the figure and he doesn’t know if he can hear. Harry doesn’t have the breath to answer them as the figure straightens up, turning to them with an ugly grin.

Wormtail .

Harry almost throws up right then, but gets caught up trying to hold Cedric back from questioning him but he couldn’t, and Pettigrew only grinned wider as he shot the killing curse at Cedric, who was entirely unaware of how to react when it came at him in an instant and died.

Harry was choking, he couldn’t move from what he just saw. Pettigrew, however, forced him to move and got him into the harsh restraints around a grave marker. He strained to see whose it was but got distracted by Pettigrew speaking.

“Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son.” He drops in some bone, though he isn’t sure how much. Harry concludes that they are Tom Riddle Sr that they used to belong to, his grandfather.

“Flesh of the servant, willingly given, you will revive your master.” Pettigrew cut off his own hand for it to be dumped into the cauldron and Harry can’t watch anymore so turns his face upwards, because that’s a more peaceful sight than the rest of the graveyard.

“Blood of a relative, you shall resurrect your family,” he says finally, and Harry looks back at him to see him already halfway towards him, knife in his hand that he simply slices into Harry’s arm with, not caring for finesse or cleanliness, and Harry doesn’t want to scream because he’s faced pain before, but this is different because he’s never had anything sliced open on purpose, especially so deep and with such little care for the injury.

Pettigrew walks back to the cauldron with the blood covered knife and drips the blood into it drop by drop, and Harry is disgustingly transfixed by it.

They watch the cauldron as it bubbles more, waiting. Truthfully Harry doesn’t know what is going to happen or what to expect except the fact his uncle is going to come out of that cauldron somehow.

The fleshy body raised above the cauldron as the cauldron itself melts, no longer in sight or existence, and Harry couldn’t look away, as revolting as it truly was to watch.

At least the skin was pink, and hair formed - light brown waves, surprisingly thick and luscious for somebody that was just, basically, made in a cauldron. Or reformed, reborn? Harry isn’t sure of the difference in this case.

Pettigrew is ready with a robe as soon as he’s finished, and Harry is certain he could have done without seeing his uncle’s backside right now, though he wasn’t really paying attention to anything and was sort of in a state of shock. Every so often he was glancing towards Cedric’s body, swallowing the lump in his throat as somewhere in the back of his mind his uncle was scolding Pettigrew for not bringing shoes, therefore conjuring some of his own.

He turned around while Harry was in the middle of a particularly long stare at the body with a smile that dropped from his face the minute he saw what had happened.

Immediately he walked over to the statue Harry was tied up at and released the bindings before catching Harry when he fell down, legs having gone limp at some point. His breathing was harsh, sucking in breath he didn’t really realise he was missing until he was free from the ties and allowed his uncle to lean him against the statue.

Pettigrew was on the floor on his knees, practically begging, crying over his hand and asking for another through a heaving breaths almost with tears rolling down his face.

Tom sneered at him before giving a response. “You tie my nephew to a statue so tightly he is in pain after murdering an innocent student who had no part in this, and you expect me to repay you?!”

“He owes me a life debt already,” Harry adds quietly, almost a whisper, causing his uncle to whip around to him with bright green eyes that match his own but with a red circle around the pupil, before turning back to Pettigrew with a furious look in his eye.

“Wormtail, you are already walking on thin ice, I hope you realise,” Tom said, warning clearly in his voice. “Do not give me a reason to end your life in front of my nephew, he does not deserve that.” He waved his wand in the direction of his arm and it formed a stump where his hand once was, not bothering to put the effort into giving him something he does not deserve. Pettigrew is already a whimpering fool on the ground.

Tom grabbed Pettigrew’s wrist then, and touched the dark mark with his wand. Pettigrew cried out in pain and tried to writhe away while still on the floor. Harry figures his uncle is purposefully making him suffer, but Harry finds he doesn't mind so much.

It took a few moments, but one by one the Inner Circle arrived in the graveyard and Tom brought Harry to stand beside him. “Honestly, you look like a mess,” he whispers kindly, dragging his hand through Harry’s hair.

“You try completing this maze task and come out of it looking like your best,” Harry huffed, looking away.

“I always look my best, thank you, that much is obvious.” He motions to himself before turning to the entire group. “Good, you’re here. Let’s see,” he looks around the entire group. “Lucius, where are Bella and the Lestrange brothers?”

“Azkaban,” Lucius answers calmly. “Arrested for torturing Frank and Alice Longbottom a couple of weeks after you disappeared.”

“Frank and Alice?!” he chokes, clearly confused, and Lucius hums.

“Yes, nobody’s sure what actually happened, truthfully, because all three of their minds were nothing like the days before. Barty Crouch junior went with them, as well.”

“Right, that makes sense,” he muttered. “Where’s Crouch if the other three are in Azkaban?”

“We...are not entirely sure,” one of the others pipes up honestly, but nervous.

“How can you not be sure, Parkinson?” Tom sighed.

“He is no longer in Azkaban or within custody at the ministry, despite them saying he died - but there are rumours and suspicions, whispers,” he answered. “But we don’t know where to look for him without his father’s blood, which none of us are able to get without being suspicious, especially since he turned up in the Forbidden Forest a while ago completely out of his mind.” Harry was looking around at the mostly-masked faces, but he looked at Pettigrew once more who was shifting uncomfortably, in more than just being knelt on the floor.

Harry nudged his uncle who looked at him, but he didn’t look back and only nodded towards Pettigrew.

“Wormtail, what do you know?” His voice was low and dangerous, and they could see Pettigrew swallow.

“H-he’s at Hogwarts, m-master,” he stuttered out.

What ,” he hissed, not asking, along with a few of the other members who made similar noises at the idea.

“H-he’s u-using polyjuice to be M-m-moody,” Pettigrew cringed and looked down while others gasped or simply looked disgusted, which was Harry’s own face.

“No wonder he went and got permission to use Unforgivables on us,” Harry got out. "And I'm wondering if Dumbledore already knows." 

“It wouldn't surprise me," his uncle comments, clicking his tongue furiously. "Wormtail, I told you to get somebody responsible to get Hadrian here. Is this why he was in the tournament?” Harry could feel his uncle’s magic causing static around them, so gripped his uncle’s sleeve and tugged lightly.

“I’m okay, uncle,” he says calmly, if quiet. He feels much more secure about calling Tom that than Vernon, but he doesn’t know how his uncle will react.

“Putting you in a dangerous tournament where you might die is not what I consider a conductive plan if you need to get him here alive,” Tom says. Harry shrugs.

“Not like I’m not used to it. There was the troll and Fluffy in first year, Aristocles in second. Third year was pretty quiet of course, nothing to do really until it was time to confront that rat,” he nods at Pettigrew.

“We are going to be discussing your recklessness at a later date,” Tom tells him with a pointed look and Harry only nods. “Hadrian, when you get back to school you cannot - and I mean cannot - be alone with Crouch, no matter what. Understand? Because of his father he’s always had very...strange boundaries, especially when it comes to following instruction. His stay in Azkaban, on top of whatever his father would obviously do to him since he’s got to be the only reason he was out, I don’t know what he would do to you.” Harry nods, biting his lip. “Okay, you should get back to Hogwarts, and make sure your other champion gets the rites he deserves,” Tom looks over at the body with a face full of regret.

“I will finish some business here and wrap up some loose ends.” Harry nods once more and looks over at Cedric’s body.

Looking, his breath catches in his throat and tears automatically cloud his eyes; this wasn’t supposed to happen, he wasn’t supposed to die at all, he should have just taken the damn portkey by himself.

“Do not blame yourself, Hadrian,” his uncle whispered as he walked Harry over to his body and moved them onto their knees. “It is not your fault at all, please do not think that.” Harry sucked in a breath to control himself as Tom floated the trophy over to the pair of them. “Tell them that Voldemort is back if you must, but I would rather you don’t so that the papers don’t call you a liar and try to discredit you. If anything, tell them it was Wormtail. It’s somewhat more believable.”

“Okay, I’ll see you in a few weeks?” Harry asked quietly.

“Of course,” Tom reassured. “I’m sure you’ll be able to find me, and if not then there is always Lucius.”

He lowered the trophy so it was nearly in Harry’s hands. “Hold on tight.” Harry made a noise in the back of his throat and gripped Cedric’s shirt, then the handle of the trophy.


 

There was a familiar tug at his navel and he was sucked out of the graveyard and reappeared back at the beginning of the maze, shock setting in for real at the sudden noise of celebration and bright light, and it only took a minute for everybody else realised that it wasn’t quite right. Already Harry began muttering under his breath, ignoring everybody until somebody asked him what happened.

“He’s dead. Pettigrew killed him.” His voice was almost toneless as he spoke to only the nearest professors and he couldn’t move from where he was, staring at nothing. Amos came down running and red faced with tears welling in his eyes before he landed next to Cedric’s body.

Harry was pulled up just before that, though still wasn’t paying attention to the person or what they were saying, still muttering under his breath. When he finally looks up after some minutes of walking and sees it’s Moody, or fake-Moody, he stops in his tracks and yelps, digging his feet into the floor as much as possible.

Fake-Moody growls at him and pulls harder, much to his body’s protests. “You will come with me ,” he threatens and Harry shakes his head.

“No,” he tells him loudly, just as footsteps begin to echo down the hall.

“Harry!” A voice behind him yells and he looks to see Blaise and Theo coming down the hallway, rushing but trying to not look like they’re rushing. Somehow they make it work and Harry tugs himself harder towards the two until Theo sends a stunner at fake-Moody and he releases Harry with a flinch so that Harry trips with the force of pulling his own weight and Blaise is there to make sure he doesn’t end up on the floor, before making sure he’s stuck with a petrificus.  

“You okay?” Blaise asks quietly, and Harry repeats his earlier mutterings a little louder.

“He’s Barty Crouch junior, Uncle told me because he was revived or reborn or something in the graveyard right after Pettigrew killed Diggory for no reason and sliced my arm open. Then Uncle called the Inner Circle and asked them the most recent things before sending me back saying he has to wrap up loose ends,” Harry explained, but he was still shaking and some of his words were stuttered.

“Alright, okay, come on,” Blaise made quiet noises with the aim to shush him before manoeuvring them so he can pick Harry up bridal style. Theo throws another spell at fake-Moody, whose face and hands were starting to become jerky in movements, making sure he stays frozen and then follows after them as they walk down the halls and away from where all the commotion is happening outside still, slowly making it’s way inside. The pair make sure that they’re all long out of the way before thinking where to go.

Harry was looking exhausted as he gripped Blaise’s robes tightly but rested his head on his shoulder with his eyes half-closed. His entire face was still in shock, and they exchanged a look of worry at how long it may take before he’s okay again, if ever. They had been told about his nightmares of previous years some time ago, but if he’d just witnessed Pettigrew kill Diggory and then be restrained against his will to have blood taken, it could be too much for somebody who was not even fifteen yet.

Once they were sure that there was nobody looking for them, they made their way to their usual classroom, thankful they had made improvements to the room by transfiguring the desks and chairs into more comfortable chairs and a couple of loveseats for the four of them.

With Harry still not relenting his grip on Blaise, Blaise sat down with him on a loveseat and rubbed a hand over his back with the other placed on Harry’s knee. Theo took his arm gently and applied his somewhat advanced knowledge of healing charms to his arm where it had been sliced, forgotten as soon as it was over, numb to the pain until pointed out now. Not two minutes later Luna walked in with a sad smile with a fresh set of clothes for Harry. She first cast a simple cleansing charm to make him not so covered in dirt and sweat, before also using a switching charm so he was no longer wearing his champion’s clothes, instead he was only in a jumper (the grey one from Narcissa last Christmas - he had only grown maybe an inch in that time) and jeans with socks.

He felt a little better, but he couldn’t help but imagine all the questions he’s going to be asked by everybody; he had dropped his wand once he returned with Cedric, so if they really want to check his wand for the killing curse that killed Cedric then they can go ahead. He’s not the guilty party in this at all.

Luna was perched on the arm and ran a hand through Harry’s hair soothingly as he still rested against Blaise, now with his eyes closed and legs stretched out over Theo as well. “Do you want to talk about it, Ri?” she asks simply, not condescending, and using a nickname she gave him some time ago, though it’s rarely used.

“I don’t...know. It’s hard, I think,” he whispers quietly, not opening his eyes.

“How do you feel?”

“Too much, but it was disgusting.”

“I didn’t see too much, it was clouded, how does he look? It could have gone one of two ways. You being close family helped.”

“A little pale, I would guess, not grey or grossly translucent, brown hair. Wavy, but not messy. Had a go at Pettigrew as soon as he realised Pettigrew forgot to provide shoes - we were in a graveyard for crying out loud. Called the Inner Circle.”

“And his nose?”

“It’s there.”

“Eyes?”

“Green, like mine, with a little bit of red.”

Harry’s breathing is under control, more than it was before, as Luna questions him, allowing her voice to soothe him and make sure he follows Blaise’s breaths that are slow and steady.

“They will probably draw their own conclusions, you know, from finding Barty in the halls. It can’t have been that long and it can be assumed he was frozen by you and you got away to protect yourself. You don’t have to tell them where, not really. But go back when everything is quiet. They have your wand I grant you that, but you are innocent.” She placed a kiss on the crown of his head before hopping up. “I must be going, I’ll send you a note with Dobby if anything extremely important comes up.” Luna gives her final goodbye for the night and it’s just the three of them left in the room, silent for everything except their breathing.

Right before Harry drops off to sleep, he feels the rush of adrenaline and the feeling of being dropped and abruptly sits up.

“What is it?” Theo asks, worry etched onto his features.

“I just realised that I should go back to the tower. Or talk about getting my wand back. Or..something. I’m exhausted and I want to sleep.”

The pair looked sceptical, understandably, but they walked him as far as they could towards the tower without being suspicious, making sure he had his balance and was walking properly before leaving him be.

Because of his small stature and everything currently going on within the past hours, he found it surprisingly easy to sneak past with keeping his head down and not stand out so much, especially with the help of a disillusionment charm. It also would make him appear more innocent, if he did not immediately collect his wand, thereby saying he had nothing to hide. That morning he had already shut his curtains, so there was little disturbance as he shucked off his jeans and snuggled under his duvet for the night, casting the appropriate silencing charms, as well as a shield and an alarm in case people came too close, all wandless, just as a precaution, he didn’t want to know the reactions until morning.

Chapter Text

He’d tossed and turned all night, predictably, and in the morning he sat in bed from the early hours since not getting back to sleep, waiting until everybody was gone.

His heart was pounding in his chest as Neville called out to him, “You can come out now, they’re not coming back for a while at least.” Harry swallowed, cheeks stained pink, then pulled his jeans back on before coming out, casting a cleaning charm as he did.

“Sorry Nev,” he smiled sheepishly, looking down as he went to his trunk and pulled out a grey shirt with navy sweater he received from Narcissa at his last birthday.

“Listen Harry, mate, I don’t know what’s going on right now with you, but I trust you. You can tell me when you’re ready, but I’m always here for you. You’re hardly around anymore and I’ve seen you working on essays that you don’t hand in usually, instead writing another one that’s worse. Just, don’t bottle it up yeah? Dumbledore wants to see you in his office as soon as, but nobody knew you were up here except me.”

“Thanks Nev,” he almost teared up before hugging Neville tightly. “I promise I’ll tell you, but it may be after summer. I’m not sure,” he admitted with a shrug, getting his cloak as well as draping it over himself before walking out of the dormitory and out the common room.

Making his way to Dumbledore’s office was easy, and the stairway was already open with no need for a password.

Knocking twice on the door, he heard Dumbledore call for him to enter after putting his cloak away.

“Harry, there you are my dear boy.” Harry resisted snarling at the nauseating nickname and faux-grandfatherly look, instead sitting when directed to. There were two aurors stood at the desk as well, small, encouraging smiles on their faces. “We were worried where you had disappeared to after you returned from the task, you disappeared with Moody- well, as it turned out he was Barty Crouch junior if you could believe it,” he said with a small laugh as though he couldn’t believe it himself. Harry knows he must have known though, simply because Moody was supposedly his long-time friend, or acquaintance at least, he should have known it wasn’t him.

“Mr Potter, we’ve checked your wand for any signs of the killing curse or anything that could have caused Mr Diggory’s death in a similar way and have found nothing. So we can at least be mostly positive it was not you who killed him. However we would like to bring you to the Wizengamot to have an inquiry with you under veritaserum where we ask you questions and just confirm your innocence one hundred percent.” The first auror spoke with a deep voice and he was tall and large-built, whereas the woman stood beside him was small but seemed strong.

“Okay, I’m fine with that,” Harry answered, though it seemed as though Dumbledore was displeased.

“Harry my boy, are you sure? It may not be the best option…” he trailed off, and Harry gritted his teeth.

“Headmaster, if it will assure my innocence to the public then I am willing to do anything,” Harry stated bluntly. “I will not be blamed for Cedric’s death in any way if I can help it.”

“Very well, come on then,” the female auror says, starting towards the fireplace.

“Would you like me to accompany you, my boy?” he asked and Harry shook his head.

“The only person I could even think of accompanying me is Luna.” Dumbledore gritted his teeth, because he knew he would never be able to cast any compulsions on Harry while he was there because of the aurors, who would detect the magic and question it - if they didn't recognise it immediately - causing him to be questioned as well.

“You can call for her or go get her, if you like,” the female offered and Harry smiled gratefully before asking to borrow her wand so he could conjure his patronus and send it to her. It was strange to use another’s wand, and he had to put more power into it, but he managed.

Something told him she was already on her way there, but she arrived some minutes later with a pleasant smile on her face, the dreamy type she had as a facade most of the time.

“Good morning professor, aurors.” She nods towards the two parties who all smile, but Luna and Harry see how much he dislikes this.

The female auror goes through the floo first, followed by Luna and Harry going together and then the man.

Harry feels terrified as he walks into the courtroom with his hands wrapped around Luna’s tightly, holding her close even as a woman walked over to them.

“My name is Amelia Bones, Harry, and we’ve got the smallest amount of witnesses necessary for this inquiry. This is merely a formality to prove to everybody you are in fact innocent. Afterwards we will be able to give our guarantee that you told the truth when it is published in the paper. I’m sorry about that, but we also don’t want anybody to say anything against you if we can help it.” Harry nodded his confirmation, but he was numb.

“I forgot to introduce myself before, I’m Auror Rivers,” the female from before told him as she led him over to the booth. “Don’t worry kid, you’ll do great,” she told him, stepping away to give Luna and Harry a moment.

“Luna, I’m scared,” he told her honestly, and she hugs him.

“Don’t worry Ri, the fligglewigs will help you. Just think, in the grand scheme of things this will be better,” she says.

“Alright,” he nods. She smiles and then skips away. Somebody walks over to Auror Rivers before then coming over to Harry with her.

“Harry, this is Warren Tress, he’s a potions master who has both the veritaserum and its antidote. He’ll be administering both of them to you before and after we ask you the questions.”

“Please, hold out your tongue,” he said, holding a dropper out. Harry felt slightly demeaned by the actions, yet tried to ignore the witnesses of fifteen members of the wizengamot, as well as a few reporters, as well as Cedric’s parents. Amelia called everybody to order as the third drop was placed.

“We are here this morning for an emergency report as the sole witness to the death of Cedric Diggory after the third task of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry Potter,” Amelia announced to the room. Everybody was staring at him but Auror Rivers stood in front of him calmly and smiled encouragingly.

“As I’ve explained to you I’m going to ask you some questions while you have the truth serum within your body,” she says, clear voice so everybody can hear her as she stands diagonally facing both the audience and him. “The first questions are to make sure you are speaking the truth, and then we’ll move onto the ones we are required to. First, what is your full name.”

“Hadrian James Potter,” Harry answers calmly. A couple of the audience members raise their eyebrows or narrow them, but Harry doesn’t care.

“What date were you born?”

“July thirty-first.”

“Alright it’s working perfectly. Did you kill Cedric Diggory?”

“No.”

“Who did?”

“Peter Pettigrew.”

“How is that possible?”

“He was masquerading as the Weasley’s pet rat for about twelve years, as far as I am aware. At the end of my third year when Sirius Black escaped Pettigrew was there at the end with Black in the Shrieking Shack and he admitted what he’d done, grovelling and whimpering like a pathetic little-” Rivers coughed and Harry stopped and looked down sheepishly. “Anyway, he confessed what he had done and who he was, how he framed Sirius for everything but then he escaped when we were outside again and distracted momentarily, he transformed into his rat animagus and ran away, we lost him before we could catch him He had Barty Crouch jr in the school posing as Moody, our defense teacher, who entered me into the triwizard tournament against my will, binding me to it, and then kidnapped me at the end via portkey that was the cup,” Harry explained. Harry could see Luna from the corner of his eye sitting on her own near the back and she had her head in the palm of her hand.

“Moving on, I believe we can look into that later,” Amelia said with a pointed look at Rivers before writing something on her scroll.

“Right,” Rivers coughed. “What was Pettigrew doing when you first arrived?”

“Making a potion, or doing a ritual. I’m not entirely sure,” Harry bit his lip nervously.

“That’s okay, we don’t expect you to know everything about that kind of thing, you’re still quite young,” Rivers reassured. “What happened after that?”

“He shot the killing curse at Cedric."

“Did he do anything to yourself?”

“He used magic to tie me to a statue, then came over and sliced my arm open,” Harry moved his sleeve up to reveal the raw scar, despite Theo’s magic being used. “He dropped some of my blood into whatever he was making.” He rolled his sleeve back down.

“How did you get away?”

“My bindings were released,” he answered truthfully.

“What happened after that?”

“There was talking, threats were made, more talking, and then I got over to Cedric’s body and grabbed the cup at the same time as his body and arrived back at the school.”

“Harry, Dumbledore said you claimed You-Know-Who had risen and that’s what Pettigrew was doing, is this true?”

“No.” Technically. He’s not Voldemort.Or You-Know-Who. He’s Tom Marvolo Riddle. ”Once I got Cedric’s body and the portkey to go back to the school, I told people in the near proximity that Pettigrew killed him and then I was being dragged away by Moody, consequently dropping my wand.”

“Can you tell us why you were not found anywhere within the castle when people were looking for you?”

“Something started happening to Moody, in his actions and he was being slightly rough when he was taking me to- wherever it was he was going to take me. I didn’t like that and was struggling. Two of my friends turned up and stunned him because I was so obviously struggling and they froze him before he realised what was going on. They took me to a classroom where another friend helped to calm me down sometime after we got there. Once I was calm I returned to my dorm and went to sleep. This morning one of my dorm mates told me that I was needed in Dumbledore’s office and then I was brought here.”

“Final question: do you have any reason to believe that Voldemort has, or will be returning in the near future?”

“I do not have any evidence to support Voldemort’s return in any way.” Because Voldemort never existed, not how you mean.

“Thank you, Mr Potter, that will be all. Tress, administer the antidote.” Tress walked up to Harry as everybody else began talking and told him to swallow the whole potion to counteract what he was given originally. He nodded at Tress before stepping down and walking over to Luna with Rivers by his side, who handed him his wand.

“Ri, you were great,” she smiled. “Would you rather get brunch here or when we return to school?”

“When we get to school,” he glances around anxiously. “I would really rather avoid public eye until it is proven I had no hand in this and cannot be discredited.”

“That makes sense.” Luna nods. “Come on then, Ri, while I’m sure breakfast is over I’m sure the house elves will be happy to get us something,” she says and begins walking out of the courtroom with Harry and Rivers behind her closely, avoiding everybody else that seemed to want to speak to Harry, mostly reporters from what he could tell, but there were a couple more people from the group of witnesses.

As Luna said they would, they went to the kitchens after giving Dumbledore a brief explanation of what happened without mentioning what questions were answered. Harry expected them to have a story published by dinner tonight and if not, the morning. It would be easier for them to stay out of the way and so, once they finished eating, they went to a secluded corner of the library not known by many people and simply stayed there reading for the day, quietly asking Dobby to bring them some food as discreetly as possible.

By the time it was dinner, Luna reassured him he would be fine, before pushing him in Neville’s direction when they came into the hall. Everybody was staring at him, at least it felt like, and Harry kept his head down as he walked swiftly.

“How you holding up mate?” Neville asked with a sad expression, but voice quiet enough that nobody could hear them.

“About as well as you could expect,” he answers, leaning his head on Neville’s shoulder for a moment before sitting up and putting food onto his plate. He didn’t feel very hungry, if anything his stomach was revolting, but he knew he needed to eat something, so put a small pile of mashed potatoes with two sausages and some gravy on and began to eat slowly.

The paper came about ten minutes before the end of dinner, expected to most it seemed but some still looked confused. Harry didn’t want to even look at it, only having gotten through half of his meal so far, it made him sick to look at the front page.

At least, he could say, that he was not the one the article was aiming directly at.

 

Albus Dumbledore: Claiming Lies With No Proof

Yesterday, as it has been reported that Heir Cedric Diggory, Hufflepuff seventh year attending Hogwarts was murdered. However when Dumbledore claimed shortly after Harry Potter was taken from the scene by Barty Crouch jr disguised as Moody as he had been all year as the Defence professor, that You-Know-Who was the one to do this to the boy, it turns out that in fact is not what Harry said.

While he was entered into the competition he had shown clear distaste for it before and throughout, he still went ahead and participated. When he returned after the third task with Diggory’s body he dropped his wand - which was soon checked for if he had cast the killing curse himself - and was led through the halls until two of his friends came and found him struggling against fake-Moody’s grasp before taking him to calm down from the panic he was, understandably, in.

He was not found again until this morning when he voluntarily walked into the Headmaster’s office because his dorm mate told him nobody knew where he had disappeared to and then arrived at the Ministry with Heiress Luna Lovegood (as pictured above with Harry just before his statement was given) for support.

Under veritaserum he was questioned extensively and he told everybody there what happened. Peter Pettigrew, assumed to be dead for ~~fourteen years by the general population, is the one who committed this heinous act. He went on to explain that he did not know what he was doing aside from the fact the man killed Diggory before taking some of his blood; though for what he did not know. Furthermore he told the court, when prompted, that he framed Sirius Black for the crime he committed of revealing the Potters’ location before their death before going into hiding as the Weasley family’s pet rat.

Disregarding all this extra information he gave us under the veritaserum which needs more investigation looking into, Hogwarts’ Headmaster Albus Dumbledore claimed and assured that Harry said it was You-Know-Who that committed the murder, which we now know is a lie, and yet he was willing to feed Harry Potter to the crows, so to speak, under false information he knew to be a lie. When asked if he had any reason to believe of You-Know-Who’s return, he said “[He has] no evidence to support Voldemort’s return.”

This, on top of the new information, is prompting the DMLE to look into other claims that Dumbledore has made yet have not being looked into or corrected if they are wrong.

Regardless of all of this information, may Heir Cedric Diggory’s soul rest in peace.

-Sarah Williams

 

As most of the people had finished reading the papers that had arrived, everybody was beginning to talk. A few people spared glances at him, but more were focused on the headmaster, whose mask was clearly beginning to slip to some extent.

From across their tables, Luna and Harry look at each other and simultaneously decide that they are to leave to go somewhere more private.

Harry stood first, followed by Luna and waited for her to catch up once he was stood in front of the main entrance before walking towards the forest

“You got lucky,” she tells him sternly once they’re into the thick of it.

“I got out on a technicality. Nothing special. Technically Voldemort never existed, he was made up. It was Dumbledore doing those things, not uncle either, even if he did kill my grandparents. My bindings were released, they just never asked how . And we technically were talking, and threats were made, and I did get over to Cedric’s body and come back here. It’s technicality I was getting away with,” Harry huffed, leaning down to run his hand through a patch of wild flowers as they continued to walk.

“I know. You did surprisingly well, considering.”

They say nothing else as it gets darker, instead moving to sit under a tree. There’s something inside of him that makes him feel so at home here, outside and with nature. It’s something so deep in his bones that it could never be out, something like when he flies his broom and has his entire freedom that way but so much more intense, filling him with energy so that it feels as though his skin in vibrating. And yet, at the same time, it’s calming him. As if allowing him to breathe, almost.

Harry’s fairly certain that they take a nap accidentally during their time there, but it was fuzzy and he isn’t quite sure. They never have to worry about any creatures finding them because, according to Luna, “You are family to them, to this forest, to everything here, the aucclers made sure of it, and so am I.”

Harry thinks he knows what that means, but he has no idea what an auccler is since Luna hasn’t told him anything about them aside from they help make family known. She said he’d had a few encounters with them since third year as well.

They wait until they’re sure it’s past curfew before going back into the castle, both of them managing to get back to their individual towers without being caught; Luna, simply because she’s lucky, and Harry having to duck out of sight every so often when coming across a prefect or teacher doing the rounds.

Harry feels lucky to not be getting grilled in the morning as soon as he’s awake, even if that’s because Ron isn’t actually awake yet when he showers and gets dressed. Neville was awake once Harry was ready and already getting a shower of his own, so he decided to wait for him and wrote to Narcissa asking her opinion/advice on talking to Neville about everything, mainly asking if it was actually okay for him to tell his dorm mate.

Ron was beginning to stir once Neville was finished and Harry had Seren pop in and out to deliver the letter, and once they realised this they grabbed their bags, rushing out of the room while tying off their ties - Neville because it was his last piece of uniform, Harry because he didn’t like wearing them at all.

Either way, once they were down in the hall, they sat opposite Dean and Seamus once the pair arrived not long after them, more towards the lower end of the fourth year part of the table. There was some random third year he couldn’t place sat beside him on the other side, which he was perfectly fine with when Ron scowled at not being able to sit beside him. That suited Harry just fine, especially as he heard him complaining to Hermione about how unfair it was for them to have printed what they had with regards to Dumbledore, claiming him to be an outright liar when, obviously , he isn’t.

But Harry really didn’t care for him or the words he was saying.

There had been no classes yesterday, both for mourning Cedric and because it was planned that way anyway once the victor was announced, and it was the same today, but many students knew that with exams in a fortnight they would have to study at least a little.

It would be the weekend next, and then classes began again.

Chapter Text

Despite him asking, once more, if he could sit the exams he was rejected, told he wouldn’t do as well because he witnessed the murder of a close friend . He wouldn’t say that Cedric was a close friend in all honesty. They spoke maybe four times the entire year, hardly what one would call close . Aside from that, while he was suffering from the occasional nightmare (though not many thanks to Occlumency) he made sure he put the time he was awake to good use by studying.

Before he knew it they were going home for summer and Harry was only wishing he could see his family again, but he couldn’t get away often, even on the threat of his godfather.

He’s in the park, swinging on a lonely, old, creaking swing when Dudley and his friends come for him.

They’re taunting him, asking where his mother is, and why he calls out for Cedric when he sleeps. They make fun of him, and he threatens them. He wants to rip them all to shreds if he could, and he probably could if given the right spells.

Except then the darkness starts encroaching and even with how his temper is currently flaring he knows it is not himself doing it and so he and Dudley begin to run.

As much as he wished he could leave Dudley once he discovered dementors, chances were that it would still go after him unless he got rid of it.

So he did.

And he was promptly expelled from Hogwarts not ten minutes later after trying to get his point across to Vernon and Petunia that he just saved Dudley’s miserable life despite the fact that, in Harry’s opinion, he does not deserve it.

So, he storms up to his ‘room’ and and portkeys to Malfoy Manor with the necklace he was given earlier in the summer for when it was unsafe or unnecessary to call Seren. He has a bedroom there, of a sort. It isn’t often used unless he’s too tired or it’s so late, but it’s in a separate part of the manor where Draco is unlikely to go and Narcissa and Lucius are alerted to when he comes in so they can either come to see him for themselves, or house elves can attend his most basic needs.

Lucius arrives not long after and settles on the couch at the other side of his room opposite his bed.

“Yes, Hadrian?” Harry says nothing and simply shoves the letter at him as he begins to pace. Lucius makes a slight noise. “What actually happened?”

“I was in the park, they began starting on me and then the dementors came. We - well, I, tried to run. Frankly I didn’t care if they got him but they would have come for me afterwards anyway so I had no choice. I used the patronus charm and a squib saw me. Figg, I mean. Anyway, she helped me take Dudley home and then I came here as soon as I received that because I don’t know what to do. Why were there dementors in Surrey? Where I live, to be more specific,” Harry ranted.

Lucius sighs before saying anything after a moment's pause. “I can probably get you out of this. When is the Order going for you?”

“How am I supposed to know. The only letters I get are either from Sirius through Seren, and that’s only happened twice, or ones telling me that everything’s ‘good’ and to hang on but they’re ‘sorry’ they can’t send letters more often. It’s complete bullshit if you ask me.” Lucius tutted slightly.

“They'll probably be coming for you tonight you know. Once Dumbledore hears of this he’ll probably try to get his precious Golden Boy back under his wing. Frustrating for all of us, including you I imagine. He will probably try and get out of you more of what happened in the graveyard.”

“What about the dementors? They obviously can’t have gotten out of Azkaban on their own without orders. There’s so many people in power that would want me out of the way.”

“Would you like me to investigate that?” Lucius raised an eyebrow at him and Harry thought for a moment.

“Not yet. It may be too suspicious for you to become involved, especially so soon. I know that we can’t reveal much until next year, but I want to start by getting the ones willing to do this out first. I want them discredited slowly and subtly. However it may be done. Unless it’s something huge it should not make it to the front page of the paper.”

“If that is what you wish.”

“It is.” There was a lull in conversation for a few moments. “I’m going to call Blaise on the mirrors and tell him to not worry if he hears so soon that I’ve been expelled,” he tells Lucius, who nods and walks from the room as Harry goes to pick up the mirror that resides on the shelf in his room. It was an idea he got from Sirius, who said he would give him one once he found his own at the end of summer. Blaise agreed to hold the other since it was less suspicious than Theo, and he managed to put it into his room once when visiting the manor earlier in the summer.

“Hey, what’s up?” Blaise answered immediately and Harry sighed.

“I’ve been expelled from Hogwarts because somebody sent dementors after me and I protected myself.” Blaise blinked at him for several moments.

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah. So Lucius says he’s going to do something about it in case Dumbledore leaves me to suffer through that.”

“And the chances of that happening?”

“No idea. On one hand, he could see it as payback for me basically calling him a liar. On the other hand he could do it so that I feel indebted to him.”

“Well either way you remain, he doesn’t get control back, and one of the options might mean he ends up looking bad when you’re found innocent.”

“Alright, yeah, but whoever set them on me is going to be powerful in the ministry. What if it’s the minister himself?”

“Then you get your wand snapped when you’re expelled, move to live with your uncle, release everything a year early, and move on with life and a new wand.”

“But I like my wand,” Harry murmured.

“Well it’s not as though they don’t know your wand. It’s registered. You know that. And it’s something you should prepare for. If it were Fudge, for whatever reason, Lucius will probably be able to put it off at the very least. You were given veritaserum the minute you consented just weeks ago, you can ask for it again if they refuse to believe you. If they refuse then they come out looking like the bad guys anyway. So, I mean, either way you win Harry,” Blaise sighed.

“I know, but you think about your wand getting snapped and how would you feel?”

Blaise closed his eyes for a moment. “I get where you’re coming from, I really do, and I would be devastated if somebody did that to me as well, but you have the worst luck ever. You have to be prepared for that outcome.”

“I know.” Seren popped in after a moment of silence.

“Order members walking towards the house Harry,” she told him and he nodded.

“I’ve got to go, I’ll see you when school starts once more.” Then added as an afterthought, “Maybe.”

“See you then. It will be fine, you’ll see. Don’t worry about it.”

“Yeah, whatever, see you later.” He hung up without waiting for a reply and took the hand Seren was holding out for him to be popped back to Privet Drive.

It was a couple of minutes later that he was taken on his broom to Grimmauld Place; that he already knew because of some loophole he found in Dumbledore’s words about giving him the secret.

All of it, the entire process of riding on brooms to get there, was highly illogical. It was easier to track brooms than it was apparition, honestly, but the Order did seem to be relatively incompetent as a whole so whatever works in his uncle’s favour.

Mrs Weasley immediately dismissed him when he got near to the meeting room and Harry played along with a slight smile though he really just wanted to talk to Sirius. He was sure the man was going more insane than he had with the Dursleys, even if only because he could leave every so often.

Instead, he was ambushed by Hermione and Ron. Already he wanted to go and kip with the twins. He didn’t even care about a lack of room if that was an issue, because anything was better than sharing with Ron. He could easily ask Sirius for another room later.

He ignored the way Ginny was trying to press up against him when he was attempting to listen in on the meeting at the idea of the twins.

Harry’s first thought upon the meeting coming to an end was to jump across the rail and down the couple of flights between them. Not just to escape the others, aside from the twins, but because despite visiting Malfoy Manor and seeing Lucius and Narcissa, speaking to Blaise every so often, truthfully it wasn’t the same as Sirius. Especially since Sirius was the only one who of the two of them who had contact with his uncle.

Instead, he ran down the stairs to jump at Sirius, who only almost fell when Harry was in his arms and he began laughing.

“I missed you so much,” Harry whispered to him.

“I missed you too,” Sirius replied, before Harry let him go, giving a final squeeze and moving on to hugging Remus; not jumping into his arms but hugging tightly nonetheless.

“Missed you too, Remmy.”

“You as well cub. You hungry?”

“A little,” Harry nodded as he let go.

“Meal or snack?”

“What’s the difference to me?” Harry joked self-deprecatingly as he was led into the kitchen  by Sirius with the twins following close behind them.

“What do you fancy?”

“What is there?”

“Leftovers. Some stuff for sandwiches. Eggs. Toast. The usual I guess you could say.”

“Any porridge? And cocoa powder?”

“Let me check,” Sirius answered before going through a different cupboard. “You’re in luck, we have both of those things,” he announced before starting to make a small bowl for Harry.

“So what’s up with that?” Fred and George asked simultaneously.

“What’s with what?” Harry answered innocently.

“The whole-”

“Domestic thing.”

“Don’t get us wrong-”

“It’s sweet, but how-”

“Do you work so well?”

“I don’t know what answer you’re expecting, boys, just for the record.”

“So you’re just naturally like a small family?”

“Who knows quirks and are comfortable with each other by the looks of it.” George pointed out.

“Does it matter?” Harry smirked at Sirius’ answer as he put his first spoonful into his mouth.

“Thank you Siri. Hey, if I forgot something, then do you think I’ll be able to tell my uncle where we are? If I take Remus with me?”

“You could ask,” Sirius commented as a smirk crossed over his face.

“We’re missing something,” the twins stated together.

“How good is your Occlumency?” Remus asked them, speaking up for the first time.

“Decent,” they said.

“So not enough.”

“No way are they good enough.”

The twins narrowed their eyes at the slight insult, but Harry immediately cut them off.

“Even if I were to tell you, I wouldn’t know if I could even properly trust you. And I don’t mean offence at that, but there is more than you think.”

“Does it have to do with why you looked like risking death as soon as you saw Sirius?” Fred asked.

“Course.”

“But that was more to get away from the other three,” George commented.

“Naturally.”

“How will you know when we’re finished.”

“I’ll know.”


 

Arthur came and told him there was two days until his trial, and Harry nodded before turning back to Sirius about being shown the house.

“You wanna see the library?”

“Sure. But I won’t be there all the time if Little Miss I-Rule-Libraries is there constantly,” Harry told him.

“Oh, don’t worry about that. Only ones of Black blood can see the room upon first glance unless keyed into the wards. They can’t get in if we don’t want them to. You and I because we’re the Lord and Heir of the family. Even if they can see it they can’t get in. And, she will not be getting keyed into the wards. Not only because of who she is, but also because at least half of the stuff in there contains something illegal. Have anything in particular you want to look up?” he asks as they walk into a room.

Harry nods. “I want to begin looking into the pagan gods and rituals and stuff like that. Blaise has spoken to me about it briefly sometimes but I didn’t want to get all of my information from him.”

“Have you decided if you’re going to have a patron god yet?” Harry just tilted his head in a confused manner from where he was scanning the books along the shelves. “You know how most people respect and pray to Magic?” Harry nods. “Well, a lot of old pureblood families often pick a god - not necessarily pagan, since that’s gods and goddesses of Nature - from a religion and they act as a sort of...protector, especially if you win their favour. There should be a few books on it. Essentially you pray to and perform rituals to with this god in mind. Sometimes families still choose pagan gods, but often they let each individual member choose. Sometimes they keep to one religion, though.”

“Who was yours?”

“Loki.” Harry grinned at that.

“Who were the rest of your family’s?”

“Egyptian, mostly, since that’s where our family originated, unless they married into the family and then they would keep their own and join when their spouse held rituals too, but they weren’t expected to uphold them in the same regards as their own patron. As you know, however, Blacks intermarried often. So there were very few who weren’t either a Black already or descended from the Blacks.”

“Who were my mum and dad’s?”

“Your mother’s was Persephone, Greek goddess of Springtime. She really was rather fond of the stories surrounding her. How her name was changed from Kore and all that jazz. Your dad’s was also Loki. He chose his first, and then I did. The Potter family never really stuck to one particular religion, and your dad wanted to try a religion none of them ever had. He thought if we could win his favour we’d be better at pranks and stuff. I mean, there were obviously other reasons as well, but for us that was an added bonus of praying to a god nicknamed The Trickster if you ask me. Mostly I wanted to choose something away from my family, away from their gods and religion, but I didn’t want to do it alone.”

“That makes sense I guess,” Harry agreed. “And Remus?”

“He chose Mielikki, a Finnish goddess of forests and the hunt.”

“Sort of like a Finnish Artemis?”

“I guess. Except Mielikki was married and Artemis was a virgin goddess of other things as well.”

“Do you know if my Uncle had one?”

“I never asked, to be honest. Usually you do your rituals and prayers alone unless it’s Samhain, because then it’s a ritual for Death only. While not necessary to do it alone, as most families don’t, since the prayers spoken out loud are to Magic herself and all the ones you speak yourself to your god are done internally, it can be a very personal experience for a lot of people and so they choose to do it alone. Except at Samhain as that works best with multiple people. Three, seven, or thirteen most of the time.”

“How many of these rituals are illegal?”

“The majority. And the tradition of patron gods is rarely spoken about anymore because of so much Light propoganda. I assume you already know what makes a blood traitor?”

“It’s when you or your entire family turn your backs on the pagan gods and sacred rituals especially, but in general just forgetting or not acting on our traditions, instead having Christmas and not Yule; Halloween instead of Samhain, completely ignoring Beltane, Lughnasadh , Litha, and the multiple equinox’. The Weasley’s haven’t continued on the tradition of patron gods since Arthur became so fascinated with muggles and just completely ignored the idea, and Molly found it too tiresome and boring despite her brothers continuing on the tradition when they were still alive.”

“How did you know?”

“A combination of Luna and Theo.”

“Well, they’re right. They completely disregard anything pureblood and followed Dumbledore when he said it was all evil and bad and should no longer be done. Even before that it was beginning to become a taboo subject since Dumbledore began trying to get them outlawed.”

“Why though? Having a patron god, and overall respecting the gifts given to them and us by Lady Magic seems like a pretty good thing to me? Not to mention that that if, like you said, they can protect you in some way, no matter what that way may be, then that’s also a good reason to continue the tradition.”

“I honestly couldn’t explain it to you pup. Now, come on, I’ll help you get the books you’ll need and then take you to your room.”

“Do I have to share with Ron?” Harry wrinkled his nose.

“No, I refused to allow you to share a room, saying you deserved your own space to feel safe after seeing Cedric die. It’s up to the others if they want to share or not, but there’s plenty of room so it’s hardly an issue,” he answered as he piled some books into Harry’s arms. “You should know, Kreacher - that’s the house elf - he refuses to listen to me because I hated my mother. With good reason mind you. But he won’t listen to me and we hate each other. However he should listen to you as you are the heir but it’s entirely debatable.” Sirius rolled his eyes and checked the stack of books that was weighing Harry down before taking half of them himself and showing him to his new room. It was Regulus’ room and the Heir Suite so it was still kept in good condition despite some of Regulus’ clothes still being there.

Harry thanked Sirius before he left to do other things, choosing to stay and read his new books describing what a patron god does and how to choose one. Normally he would have until his seventeenth birthday, however he was gaining most of his magical inheritance at the end of this year when he turned sixteen, he would need to choose and have performed the ritual by then. Hopefully at least a month before so he could perform the ritual in the room of requirement.

Chapter Text

“Harry, there you are mate!” Harry withheld a sigh when Ron burst into his room without knocking. He should have expected it, but he didn’t think to put a locking charm on the door.

“Yes?”

“Just wanted to come see you so we could hang out,” he said.

“I don’t want to Ron, how did you even find my room?” Harry knows it’s two floors away from the others, aside from the twins’ which is on the floor below, and Remus and Sirius’ room on the same floor.

“I asked Tonks, since Sirius would only say you were in the Heir suite. Why are you in here, anyway? I thought you’d want to share a room. Although,” he says, looking around with a greedy interest. “I could move up here if you want.”

“Yes, well, I don’t want that. I want to be in my room by myself and not have another person in the room while I sleep. It’s bad enough at school. Not to mention, this room has only one bed. It’s mine. And I’m in here because I am the heir to the family. Frankly I find it hard enough to share with so many people at school.”

“What’s up with you mate?”

“Nothing, nothing is ‘up’ with me, now can you leave?” Ron hesitated for a moment before Harry added, “Please?” It wasn’t polite, how he spoke, but it made it obvious he had to leave, so Ron pulled a face before he walked out. He waited several moments after he left before calling for Kreacher.

“Yes, nasty half-blood heir?” Harry took a deep breath and recognised that he would need to treat this house elf how the other house elves he met expected him to treat them, at least for the time being.

“You will address me properly, elf . My name is Hadrian James Potter and I am pureblood Lord to the Potter, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Emrys, LeFay, and Ravenclaw lines, while being Heir to Gaunt, Slytherin, and Black lines. You will listen and obey me as you would the Lord of the house unless there is a conflict and then the Lord takes priority. You will treat and address me as such or else you will not go upon the wall with your ancestors,” Harry told him sternly, imitating the pureblood Lord he is and should act like. Sirius had told him previously about how elves that served the family got their heads up on the wall and it was a sign of honour. He will be the proper Lord soon, after his sixteenth. “Do you understand? I do not ask your to resolve yourself with Sirius but you will learn your place with me and you will obey me.”

“Yes Master Hadrian.”

“Good. Now, tell me, are House Elves able to get around fidelius charms?”

“To other elves, master. Not to people. The elf we tell can then tell people.”

“Alright. So, say I told you to tell an elf where we are, would that elf be able to tell somebody else?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Now, make sure that none of the blood traitors can come up to this floor. Don’t make it obvious by making a barrier. Make it like a confundus charm,” he tells Kreacher, remembering the effect the wards Luna and he made have on others.

“Yes Master.”

“Go,” Harry commands, and the elf pops out of the room to allow Harry to continue reading more about the basics of patron gods. He thought it would be easiest to start with the smallest book and work his way up slowly.

He wasn’t finished with the book by the time he decided to go to sleep, but he was a good three-quarters of the way through at least, so he felt pretty confident about going to sleep with a good grip on what he’s read.


 

When Harry wakes up in the morning, it’s to Sirius knocking on the door and then walking in. It’s the best sleep he’s had in a long time - since before the final task - where he hasn’t woken from nightmares.

Sirius sits against the headboard as Harry turns to face him. “So, mind telling me why Hermione and Ron tried to get you three times at least before me and each time they came down they couldn’t remember what they were even doing?”

“Kreacher put up a ward to stop blood traitors coming to this floor,” Harry yawns, sitting up and stretching.

“You got him to listen to you?”

“Just barely. I think it was when I threatened to not let him on the wall when he died. I probably won’t need to use him all that much, because of Seren, but it’s still good to have him on my side, you know?”

“Alright, well it’s already nine. I checked on you in the night and you weren’t doing okay, so I cast a sleeping spell on you. Do you mind?”

“No, I didn’t even know. Just that I’d slept longer than usual and not woken up. Is it safer than dreamless sleep?”

“Yes, and no. When you cast it on yourself it can be dangerous because of how your want to sleep interferes with how powerful the spell is meaning you could sleep for a couple of days straight or do other arm to yourself mentally. There is less of this risk when somebody else casts it on you, however these are still risks. I used to cast it on Remus in school so I got good at practising it.” Sirius shrugs.

“So no casting it on myself?”

“Absolutely not. I would rather get you a supply of dreamless sleep which you only take three times a week than anything.”

“Alright,” Harry nodded. “Now leave so I can get dressed,” he says, shoving Sirius from the bed.

“Alright alright, I’m going,” Sirius laughs, standing from the bed and walking from the room with a last comment to hurry up. Harry went to the bathroom attached to his room and got a shower quickly, before dressing in plain jeans he had Seren bring from the Malfoys along with a plain t-shirt and hoodie over the top and then going downstairs after putting a book on Norse deities on the desk so he knows where it is.

“Morning Harry,” Hermione greeted as he sat down.

“Morning,” he answered, reaching for some toast and some fresh fruit that Sirius probably had Kreacher buy.

“Are you wearing new clothes, Harry?” Ginny asked as he began to cut the fruit up.

“Yes.”

“When did you have the chance to buy them?”

“You all know my relatives don’t give a shit what I do in summer. They let me do whatever I want as long as I’m not seen by the neighbours. Where else am I not going to be seen if I don’t go to London?” Harry shrugged, lying easily. True his relatives didn’t care, but it had been Narcissa that bought his clothes since he had not a lick of fashion knowledge. She refused to let him keep it at his relatives after how they treat him, but she let Seren bring his clothes as soon as she heard from the elf he was at Grimmauld.

“Well where did you get the money?” That was Ron.

“My vault?” Harry answered as though confused. Well, it was true, where else would he get the money? Though in this case he’s sure she had his uncle fund the trip - something he was happy to do upon hearing his current wardrobe state.

“You realise that your trust vault is all you have, to last you all of school and then after, you really shouldn’t waste it on clothes. You had perfectly fine clothes before.” Hermione pointed out snidely, and Harry simply scowled at her saying the awful pieces of cloth he is yet to throw out were decent for him to wear.

“There was plenty of gold left in my vaults. I only took out a hundred galleons, that’s around five hundred pounds which is more than plenty enough.” Another lie, he’s sure that a lot of his clothes are designer and one pair of jeans was at least one hundred, but it wasn’t him buying the clothes and Narcissa accepted nothing but the best. “I don’t even use that much for school each year including robes. I’ve got plenty,” Harry added, shrugging as he speared a slice of banana on his fork along with a piece of strawberry.

“Not to mention that he has his main family vault and mine as well. Even if he can’t access them until he’s seventeen, I can and I would happily give him the money,” Sirius inputs.

“Sirius you know you can’t leave, it’s too dangerous.”

“First of all, the entire wizarding world knows that Gringotts is neutral ground and nobody is allowed to be arrested in the building. They also don’t arrest people unless they’ve committed crimes against the goblin nation and are to be trialled by the nation, which I have not and therefore I’m safe. Secondly, how did you think I got money for Harry’s firebolt in third year? Thirdly, Remus could go and do it because he’s been on the list of people accepted into the vault since I was there in third year, so even if I can’t, Remus always can until Harry comes of age or I die. And in the case that I do die, I have everything in order for Harry to inherit when he comes of age. Not to mention the Black Heir’s vault. He has access to that currently as well so. Really, money is never going to be a problem for Harry. He could literally do nothing except have a couple of kids in life and none of them would have to work,” Sirius explains to them.

Harry can practically see the galleon signs in the four’s eyes, but thankfully not Fred and George, who had arrived halfway through the conversation, sitting to Harry’s left.

“What are your plans for today, Harry?” Sirius asks, as though he didn’t just make a speech about how much money they have.

“Reading, mostly.”

“Did you finish the book from last night?”

“Not really, but I was mostly just reading the stories it had recorded about other people. I’d read a few of the accounts, so I feel I don’t need to read them all. So moving on to the first of the other books.”

“What are you starting with?”

“Norse,” Harry answered, swallowing his final bite of fruit before moving onto a slice of toast with strawberry jam spread on top.

“Really?” Sirius seemed surprised.

“Yeah. I remember in primary school, year three I’m pretty certain, we did a project on the vikings. Personally I really enjoyed it when I got to look at the different aspects. It was one of my favourites. We later looked at Egyptians, but it didn’t hold quite the same fascination for me,” he shrugs. “I’ll probably move onto other Slavic gods before Egyptians and then Greeks and Romans, so on and so forth.”

“That’s fair, always start with something you know and work from there,” Sirius nods his approval and Harry grins around the toast going into his mouth.

“We’re going to be having a meeting later, so you lot will need to clear out once you’ve finished.” Harry almost choked in his rush to swallow and ask his next question.

“Will Dumbledore be coming?”

“Yes, why?” Molly answered.

“I have a question.”

“What question? Dumbledore is a very important man you know, Harry, you can’t be wasting his time with small issues.” Harry refrained from rolling his eyes. “Tell me and I shall ask him.”

“It’s okay, if I can’t ask myself then Sirius already knows what I want to know,” he told her.

“You can’t trust Sirius to ask him,” she says simply, disapproving. “Tell me and I will make sure to ask him,” she insists.

“No, I know I can trust Sirius to ask him. Either way it doesn’t matter,” he tells her with finality before standing and going up to his room.

He’s barely three chapters in when there’s a knock at the door.

“Yes?” he calls out, closing the book, raising an eyebrow when Fred and George walk in. “What can I do for you boys?” he asks.

“We were just wondering what all that was about downstairs,” Fred shrugs.

“I answer your question if you answer one of mine,” Harry told them simply, smiling when they nod. “Which gods?” he asks.

“Excuse me?” George questions, barely letting in his shock through aside from widening eyes.

“You heard me. I had Kreacher put up wards to not let blood traitors through. You two must have a god or pair of gods that is your patron,” he sits up and leans forward in interest.

“You called them-”

“Blood traitors?” Harry finishes George’s question. “Yes,” he shrugs. “Does that bother you?” He doesn’t wait for an answer. “So, who?”

“Hermes,” Fred says.

“Mercury,” George says, and Harry tilts his head in consideration.

“The same god, different name and culture, however. It works, I guess. I mean, you’re magical twins after all. Not exactly the same but similar enough to be considered the same by some people. At least in how people have come to view you. Yes, I do think that works for you.” Harry nods. “Now, what is your question?”

“What did we walk in on that Sirius was ranting about this morning that he was so furious with our mum for?” Fred asks.

“We’ve seen her side of the fallout before because she comes home in horrible moods. She really hates Sirius,” George tells him.

“Oh, well, you see my new clothes?” They nod. “They thought it a good idea to question how, when, why, and where I got the money for them from. I explained how I got it from my vault and because my relatives wanted me out of the house as long as I wasn’t seen by the neighbours. Hermione lectured me on how I shouldn’t waste my money on such frivolous things,” Harry scoffed. “I assured her I had plenty of money, and Sirius jumped in explaining how we have plenty of money and exactly why it was in fact safe for him to go to Gringotts.” Harry explained.

“Well, we’re glad-”

“You finally stopped wearing those things.”

“Honestly you would personally be able to use them as a parachute if you were falling.”

Harry laughed at the comments.

“Have you chosen a god, yet?” George asks.

“No, I’ve been told what other members of my family had, but I’ve only just begun looking. My dad and Sirius had Loki, my mother had Persephone, and Remmy has Mielikki. Like I said, I am looking at Norse first, and then Slavic, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and so on. I need to ask who my uncle’s is, though, in case that helps me. There’s a lot of minor gods and goddesses to consider, on top of what religion to choose.”

“Uncle?” They asks together.

“Didn’t you know? My mum had a magical brother. She was adopted into the Evans family. I’m not going to tell you who, though. Not yet. If you work it out then I’ll tell you, but you’ll have to use your resources for it.”

“Alright. We’ve got a few other things going on though.”

“Understandable. Just work on your occlumency, that’s most important. I advise reading some books on it while here, they’ll probably help. I have one that I used if you want to borrow it,” he offers.

“There’s rarely any books on it without it being shady though.”

“And? It was a gift. Not from Sirius. Not from my uncle, either. Plus, what does it matter if it works? The only way that somebody would get into my mind was if it was sudden and they immediately began tearing my mind apart. Otherwise I could sense and block them. You never know, you may find it more useful,” he offers again, before shrugging. “It was just a suggestion.

They take a moment to look at each other and have a silent conversation, before agree to read it. “Just return it when you’re done,” Harry tells them as they leave. Remus comes to see him just before lunch and after the meeting is finished.

“Are you ready for tomorrow?” he asks once Harry smiled and put his book down.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to be prepared for. Lucius apparently was going to get it under control if Dumbledore doesn’t pull through, but I really have no idea,” he sighs.

“Well you can always do what you did last time and take veritaserum.”

“If I can get a word in edgeways. And even then they might not let me.”

“Try not to dwell on it just yet. Anyway, Dumbledore gave his permission for your uncle to be told the address.”

“Really? Just like that?” Harry asked skeptically.

“He didn’t agree to it at first, he was very against giving a muggle the address, but Sirius pointed out that he’s a muggle who despises magic so why would he have any need to know other than in the case you forgot something of great importance or need. So Dumbledore reluctantly agreed.”

“That’s great, I’ll call Seren tonight and have her take me. I could have gone to him anyway via the house elves, but I thought if I got permission for my uncle to come it would hold me less accountable. It’s his fault, he gave me permission.”

“Yes, yes it is. And I’ll be taking you after the trial as well. We have to be back within fifteen minutes of the trial ending however.”

“More than enough time. Shall we go down?”

“Sure.”

“What’s for lunch, anyway?”

“Sandwiches.”

“Alright.”

Later that night he called Seren and had Kreacher tell her the secret before taking him to see his uncle in Riddle Manor.

A house elf met him when he entered and offered to show him to the office. Harry agreed as he looked around.

It was clean and somewhat modern, a little sleek with sharp edges and matching colours. Greys, grey-blues, and white. Some black as well.

Harry knocked on the door to the office he was led to before walking in when the door opened without more prompting.

“Hadrian,” his uncle greets, not looking up from the file in front of him.

“Uncle,” Harry smiles.

“What can I do for you Hadrian?”

“I just thought you would like to know where the Order is currently hiding,” Harry tells him innocently, and there’s a silence where you could hear a pin drop before he looks up.

“Excuse me?”

“I can tell you where the majority of the Order is hiding. Or at least meeting if they don’t stay there. I don’t actually know who stays there aside from the Weasleys.” Harry rolls his eyes.

“And how, exactly, do you plan on that?”

“Easy. It’s Twelve Grimmauld Place.”

“How did you get around the fidelius? Sirius proved it to me when he tried to tell me but couldn’t despite being Lord Black.”

“Because Dumbledore is, quite frankly, an idiot. We knew this already but I feel it necessary to point out with the fact Sirius simply asked him if I could tell my uncle what the address was. Not only that, but I had a backup plan anyway.”

“And what was the back-up plan?”

“Get Kreacher to tell Seren, who could tell you,” he shrugs.

“House elf magic can do that?”

“House elves can get around the majority of wards wizards have and do, I’ve found. They can reverse charms and spells, or perform ones, that wizards cannot. I simply asked Kreacher if he could tell another person the secret, and he said he could tell an elf, who could then tell a person not already in on the secret,” Harry explained.

“Fascinating,” his uncle murmured. “And he didn’t even consider that you actually know the past?”

“Apparently he hesitated, but eventually agreed.”

“He really is an idiot,” Tom shook his head.

“He is.

“How have you been, anyway?”

“I mean, I assume Lucius told you about the dementor attack?”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, so you haven’t heard?” Harry pulls a face out of awkwardness.

“No,” his uncle states, with a look that tells him he needs to start talking.

“Well, yesterday, I was at the park and my cousin and his friends were starting to gang up on me, the usual, but this time I had my wand pointed at him - stupid, I know, but he’s terrified of it even if I won’t actually use it. Anyway, it became colder and darker and all of his friends scattered, when out of nowhere these dementors came and began to chase us. Dudley got most of the effect, thank Merlin, but I had to use the patronus. As much as I would like him to have his soul sucked out, it would have come after me and it was better to not get in trouble with his parents at the same time. Mrs Figg then came and helped me take him home. I got a letter explaining I’m expelled but some of the Order managed to pull some strings and I’m getting an inquiry. Either way I’d have thought Lucius would have told you already because I went straight there after I got the letter and he said he would do something if Dumbledore didn’t. I spoke to Blaise for a while before Seren came and told me Order members were walking towards the house so I went back and they took me to Grimmauld.”

Tom leaned his elbows on the desk and began to rub his eyes with a sigh.

“What I want to know is, why were dementors even there? Who would have sent them? And why? It isn’t as though you’re spouting the same crap as Dumbledore.”

“Could it be the minister?”

“I suppose. It has to be somebody high up in the ministry either way. Depending on who it is and who is running the inquiry, you could end up having your wand snapped, you realise?”

Harry sighs. “Yes, I realise this. I don’t like the idea of my wand being snapped, at all, but it isn’t as though I can’t get another, either from Knockturn or another of the magical districts.”

“You’ll need a new wand anyway. What is it currently?”

“Phoenix feather from Fawkes and Holly wood. Apparently a brother wand to yours but I don’t actually know.”

“Do you have it on you?” Harry rolls his eyes at the test of a question while pulling his wand from his hoodie pocket before handing it over. Tom ran his hands over it while humming and then setting his own wand beside it. They let a few sparks out and seemed to charge with electricity before Tom hummed again, handing Harry his wand back. “Yes, it does seem to have the same source of feather. They’re brother wands. It does make sense, in a way, that you ended up with that.”

“How come?”

“These wands can never fight each other. They would only lock and keep pushing until one put more force into it and the other’s spell got pushed so it rebounded to the caster.”

“So, what? It’s my wand telling me to not fight you even if I’d never found out in the first place the truth.”

“Essentially.”

“Fair enough,” Harry says after a moment. “One last question before I leave, because it’s late and I need to be up tomorrow, what is your patron god? I’ve got the books to read through about all the different deities to decide, but I was wondering about others. Siri told me his and dad’s was Loki, mum’s was Persephone, Remmy’s is Mielikki, Fred and George have Mercury and Hermes.”

“Makaria, minor Greek goddess of blessed death.”

“Why did you choose her?”

Tom sighs. “Do you know what Voldemort means?” Harry shakes his head. “It means ‘flight from death’ in French. I know you already know I did not come up with it but I have a feeling that Dumbledore chose it because when I was younger I was horribly afraid of dying. Mostly because at the time I never wanted to leave your mother on her own, always wanted to protect her. And it was no secret I felt this way. I had already begin research when I was fourteen into ways to not die as easily but they were all horrible magic, disgusting, honestly. So I gave up that endeavour almost as quickly as it started. I was aware of all the things regarding a patron god and decided to go in that direction instead. I figured if I couldn’t put off my death, at the very least it could be blessed. Hence where I found Makaria.”

“There’s something you are not saying there,” Harry comments idly, not pushing the issue.

“You’re right,” Tom admits without shame. “However that story is not for now, you should be getting help. If you need any help, with anything, all you have to do is ask.” Tom stands up when Harry does and pulls his nephew into a hug. “Anything you need help with, just ask,” he presses a kiss to Harry’s crown before he calls for Seren to take him home.

Chapter Text

Harry manages to sleep without nightmares without help for the first night that summer once he gets back to Grimmauld, and thinks that maybe everything will be okay.


 

The next morning, Harry was fine, and he was still fine while he was waiting for Arthur Weasley to show up, despite growing agitated that they may not make it on time no matter what the balding man had told him. He had a bad feeling, and wanted to be there as soon as possible.


 

As it turned out, he was right to have a bad feeling, because he was almost late after it got turned into a full-blown trial as well as moving rooms (and if Sirius hadn’t forced a small dose of calming draught in him, he may have lost his temper) and now he was hardly able to speak. The minister didn’t even seem to be making his own decisions - though that’s hardly a surprise - and his undersecretary kept butting in with unnecessary comments.

Frankly he was ready to tear his hair out in frustration, constantly sighing before Dumbledore burst into the room and had even brought Mrs Figg with him. He was gone as soon as the trial was over and Harry was led from the room with quick succession, Remus meeting the pair of them almost as soon as Arthur’s patronus left along with him, saying he had to go to work now.

He was tempted to cast a disillusionment charm but there were very few people who were actually looking at him as most were doing work or going there. Either way not all of them were looking at him and overall it wasn’t worth it as he waited for Remus, who led him to the floo and then to the Leaky Cauldron.

“We have about fifteen minutes, and Sirius gave me this letter to take to Gringotts just in case,” Remus tells him as they walk towards the bank. “Where do you want to go afterwards? We’ll probably still have some time. Also, you’re the one who has to hand this in.” He hands Harry the letter.

“Why?”

“Apparently he wrote on the inside you would be delivering it with me with you, so it has to be that way.”

“Alright,” Harry sighs and they walk up the steps. “Do I need to speak to any in particular?”

“Head of the Black accounts.”

Harry did as asked and was faced with the goblin and and Narcissa had visited two years before, who she has continued to see from time to time on his behalf.

“I’ve been told to give you this letter to read, it is from my godfather, Lord Black,” Harry tells him simply before they are both dismissed. “Ice cream? We can take some back for Sirius, it must have been years since he’s had some.”

“Actually I think he had some the other week when we were all out and visited Narcissa. She asked if he wanted anything and I’m pretty sure they ate ice cream together,” Remus tells him.

“Fine, so we go get ice cream and then make him jealous when we don’t bring any,” Harry says with a nod while they walk to Fortescue’s. He orders strawberry for himself while Remus gets chocolate, and then he gets a scoop in a cup for Sirius, vanilla, just so he doesn’t whine, before flooing back to Grimmauld with barely a minute left of their time limit.

Sirius jumped up when he saw then enter, thanking Harry when he was handed the ice cream, and then giving him a pout when he saw how much there was. Harry only laughed at him before they moved on.


Before he knew it, they were being taken to Kings’ Cross for the new school year with Sirius as Padfoot and Harry hugging him a little too much for what one would usually hug a pet, but he doesn’t care, before hugging Remus just as much and then being forced to hug the Weasley Matriarch, which makes Harry want to burn his clothes, truthfully, as well as making him feel like he’s about to be apparated because he was squeezed so tightly.

He’s honestly thankful that he wasn’t made a prefect, aside from the fact he doesn’t want to be, but it means he has less responsibilities to the school and therefore doesn’t have to spend time with people he doesn’t really care about at all.

Furthermore, because it was Ron and Hermione chosen to be prefects, then he can speak with Luna and Neville in private, relative privacy anyway. Because he didn’t want to look suspicious when Hermione and Ron did eventually come around again, they could only put up a silencing charm.

He had spoken with Narcissa about it, as well as his uncle. Really, Narcissa only had to tell him if he could tell Neville - which she said yes to, as long as he knows occlumency. She says it’s most likely he will because he’s from a proper pureblood family (i.e. somebody not like the Weasley family).

His uncle he had asked, more because he wanted his advice about it, about how he should approach it. They had a very long conversation about why Harry wanted to tell Neville in the first place, before going on to discuss what Harry knows about his views and opinions, then his uncle actually gave him the advice he wanted in the first place.

“Hey, Neville,” Neville looked up from the herbology book he was reading with a questioning hum. “What’s your opinion on magic?”

“Magic? What do you mean?” He closes his book and sets it to the side to listen more to what Harry is saying.

“Magic, you know? Just. Not in regards to muggles and the fact we have it and they don’t. You see, Neville, I’ve been doing a lot of research - a lot - and come to a conclusion, somewhat. So, tell me, what are your thoughts on Magic?”

“Magic is...pure. Magic itself is pure and we should respect and worship that in all of it’s forms. Light, Grey, Dark, it really doesn’t matter.” Harry’s lip curled up into a smirk.

“I’m so glad we agree. It is all about intent, is it not? There is no good or evil, not when it comes to Magic, there is only power, and those who wish to seek it,” he says, repeating the words he heard from the Voldemort on the back of Quirrell’s head in first year. Harry’s hands are clasped on his lap and, truthfully, he feels very pleased with himself. “Where did you learn this Neville? No offense at all, it’s just, well, I’ve met your grandmother, and she doesn’t seem to be anything but Light.”

“Well, my mum was a Prewett - Molly Weasley’s cousin, actually - but her mum was a Burke, and, well, they’re quite the dark family. It’s true that my grandmother is all for preaching the Light, but my mum had some of her mum’s old books that got handed down when she died. My grandmother hid them away, not wanting me to read them but I found them a few years ago and read them. A few of them were dark, but not curses and all about death and torture, it was more about blood magic and it’s protection, things like that.”

“So you’re Grey yourself, then?” Harry checked.

“Oh definitely. I don’t really lean towards one or the other, mostly because I refuse to let myself be Light, but I’m already not inclined to the Dark if that makes sense?” Harry nods in understanding. “I don’t want to be limited by one area of magic. This way I can dabble in both, so to speak.”

“Makes sense. Now, my next question, how talented are you at occlumency?” Harry asked.

“I like to think I’m the average for a pureblood my age,” he said nervously. “It was the one thing I was able to do without being magically induced as a child, you know, so I was pushed towards it slightly more at times when my magic would refuse to show.”

“Good, because when we get to school then I will take the time to explain what you wanted to know last term. I’ll show you the tests I got from Gringotts before third year.” Neville nods his agreement and the door slides open once more to reveal Hermione and Ron, so Neville moves to sit beside Harry on his other side, beside the window rather than the door.

Immediately they start talking about the responsibilities of a prefect as if the three non-prefects actually care and Harry simply reads The Quibbler while resting his head on her shoulder.

When the door slides open again, it’s to Draco standing there with Crabbe and Goyle on his right, and Blaise on his left looking like he would rather be lost in the Forbidden Forest at the moment because at least there’s different and interesting things in there he may run into, rather than the same repetitive crap constantly. Seeing as how every single year Draco comes to find him on the train just to make a comment of some sort.

His eyes slide their way over each of them until he makes prolonged eye contact with Blaise, whose eyes glinted with amusement before going back to their regular bored expression.

“Well well well, Potter, how does it feel to be the only one of your trio to be unworthy for once?” It’s a rhetorical question of course, but Harry simply turns to Luna.

“Luna!” he gasps, scandalised, sitting up as he does. “Why didn’t you tell me they made you a prefect a year early!” She simply smiles at him, and he smirks before looking back at Malfoy. “Just piss off Malfoy, I’m not in the mood.”

“Manners, Potter, or I’ll have to give you a detention,” he drawled, clearly trying to imitate his father. In Harry’s opinion, Lucius did it much better, and had a more natural, slight sarcasm to it. “You see, I, unlike you, have been made a prefect, which means that I, unlike you, have the power to hand out punishments.”

“Yeah,” said Harry. “But you, unlike me, are a git, so get out and leave us alone.” Harry couldn’t help the way his lip curled up into a vicious smile, and even if he could stop it, he probably wouldn’t anyway. From the way Blaise was smirking, Neville was clearly biting his lip to stop the laugh escaping, and Luna was doing nothing to hide her shaking shoulders, he felt a strong urge to be proud of himself. And maybe tell his uncle while he’s at it.

He left quickly after that and Harry settled back into his seat. Hermione reprimanded him a few times, saying that Malfoy could make his life difficult, and he only muttered a retort, not bothering to argue with her. If he really became so much of an issue, he’s sure he can tell Lucius to tell him to tone it down just slightly. Even if not all the way, simply enough to not overdo it.

At the feast, they were introduced to the new Defense teacher and Harry really didn’t like the look of her as a teacher - never mind that she was a ministry official as well as the one who completely tried to block him off during his trial at the ministry in the summer. Aside from that, she really gave him an odd feeling. Sort of like a niggling in the back of his head which he doesn’t know how to get rid of. Like Quirrell in first year minus the sting.


Soon he learnt he had reason to hate her - they were doing nothing practical! They weren’t learning anything at all and it took all Harry had to not question it, not to ask her why they weren’t doing anything. At the same time he did not want to be yelled at in class by her when Ron and Hermione questioned it almost every lesson. And every time they did, they grilled him about it after class.

They took it too far in class though, and they asked him in class. He hissed at them to shut their traps but that only brought the attention back to him.

“Do you have anything to say, Mr Potter? Apparently you do. Would you like to tell the class?” Her voice was so sickly sweet it was grating on his nerves - at least when they were reading and making notes in silence then she wasn’t speaking either.

“I have nothing to say on this subject manner,” he told her, jaw set and daring her to challenge his words.

“Now now, Mr Potter, there is no need to lie to the class. Tell us your real thoughts on what they are saying.”

“I’m not lying. Voldemort is not back, and the only person who was there aside from myself and Cedric was Peter Pettigrew, who murdered Cedric for no reason with no kind of warning,” he answered, gritting his teeth.

“Lies!” she shrieked, and he had to resist the urge to cringe away and cover his ears at her voice. “Do not tell lies , Mr Potter! Detention! My office, seven this evening.”

“But I didn’t do anything!” he protested, unable to help himself. No matter how much Hermione and Ron spouted bullshit off, probably simply fed to them through Dumbledore, they had yet to receive detention or be yelled at, whereas the first time he does something in two and a half weeks and he gets one.

Something tells him she has it out for him. He remembers, vaguely, what Narcissa told him about Umbridge. How she hates all creatures, of any kind, would rather see them all dead, especially centaurs. He’s fairly certain that she has no idea he’s a creature, but he automatically falls under that category anyway so it makes no difference whether she wants him dead for that or not because she clearly hates him for some reason.

The rest of the day goes on, for the most part, aside from completely ignoring Ron and Hermione; usually at least he would attempt to humour them, in some way just to pacify them that he wasn’t completely abandoning Dumbledore’s two pets, but now he wasn’t even going to bother quite frankly.


“You, are going to be writing lines for me, Mr Potter,” she says, as though speaking to a child and Harry has to resist the urge to snarl at her. He knows this quill- well, type of quill.

“There’s no ink,” he tells her calmly, just to play his role.

“You won’t be needing ink, Mr Potter, this is a special type of quill,” she tells him, almost gently, and that thought makes him want to throw up. “Now, you are going to be writing lines for me of course - ‘I must not tell lies.’ As many times as it takes to sink in Mr Potter.” Then she gives him a pointed look and he starts his detention.

“Blood quills are illegal.”

“I received special permission from the Minister, to help keep naughty children in line. Carry on Mr Potter. It is not as though there is anybody to tell.”

How about any of the other staff members? Or, perhaps, Lucius, his uncle? Either of those. And isn’t she supposedly fighting for the Dark? Harry internally scoffed. Yeah, right, she could never handle equal rights, as is what we want.

He wrote for five hours, not making a whimper or other sound as he wrote, ignoring the way the blood seemingly flowed from his hand with no stop.

When she finally let him go, telling him he was to return for the rest of the week, he refused to show his light-headedness until he was down the corridor and out of her sight before leaning against the wall, breathing heavily and trying to retain the contents to his stomach. He was leaning down, curled over his stomach and trying to not throw his light dinner back up, internally glad he listened to Luna when she said to not eat much and she’ll have Neville give him food later.

When he finally looked up there was a figure stood in front of him. A figure who didn’t look like they belonged in this era, never mind the castle.

“Er, hi?” Harry looked around for a moment and there was only the two of them and a faint trail of blood from where he came.

“Good evening, Hadrian, how are you feeling?”

“Like Death,” Harry answered dryly, uncaring to be wary of who the man was and why he was in this school.

“Funny you should say that, actually.”

“Oh, don’t tell me I died from the blood loss, I’ve suffered worse,” he sneered. The man smiled sadly.

“You have, unfortunately. As for the question, no you are not dead, however you are close enough to dead that I can visit you. I am Veles.”

“As in…”

“One of two gods you are considering as your patron? Yes, exactly him. Come, Hadrian, we shall walk back to your dorm as we talk.”

Harry eyed the man warily. He was seemingly wearing some sort of ceremonial robe - at least, he assumed. The quality of fabric seemed too expensive to be a simple piece for everyday wear. He had a trimmed beard of brown hair, and the hair was shaved close to his head, as well as being the same shade. He had a good build, but was clearly taller than the average tall male, so around six-foot-nine at least.

“It is only a short message I pass along Hadrian and will take no time at all. You see, Death favours you.”

“Death? He’s an entity like Magic?”

“Of course. No, he favours you, for reasons I cannot go into just yet. But Death has decided to grant you one favour, until you later retrieve what is rightfully your own. His favour is granting you a god who has power within his domain - so myself, in your case, however had you favoured Hades or Osiris, you most likely would have had one of them. Anyway, he has granted you to be allowed two patron gods. This is rare, as I’m sure you’ll know most who marry into families do not give up their own patron and merely respect the family’s they married into. They do not have two. It’s more like they have one and a half. So, for example, if a wife is in danger and her own god cannot protect her, then her husband’s god extends to her. Understand? Well, you will have to set up two offerings, however they will be done in the same night.”

“So, instead of choosing between you and my other, then I can simply...have you both?”

“Essentially, yes. Do you accept this responsibility?”

“Of course,” Harry answered, almost indignant that the god thought he would say no.

“Very well. I look forward to seeing you again Hadrian. Death will visit you soon, I’m sure, so do not be frightened. Even if you were to have died beforehand, he will not take you yet.” Veles smiled at him and Harry smiled back, before the god waved his hand and the portrait to Gryffindor tower - and just how did they get here without him noticing or being caught - opened without need for a password and he walked in, leaving the god as he vanished at the entrance.

Harry stumbled his way up to bed, he probably would have fallen asleep if Neville weren’t sat there reading with a soft light.

Chapter Text

“Nev?”

“Hey Harry, Luna came to me earlier and said that you would need this,” he holds his hand out to show it contains a jar reading Murtlap Essence sat on top of a pile of folded bandages. “And also this.” He put down the bandages and murtlap to reach to the bedside table where he pulled a simple sandwich for Harry to eat.

“Thanks Nev,” Harry told him easily, and then Neville offered to clean his wound and bandage it for him, something Harry was thankful for since his hands were shaking. When he was finished, he ate quickly and then Neville made his own way back to his bed and they were both asleep within minutes.

The rest of his detentions that week went very much the same, except only lasted three hours instead. He couldn’t exactly say he enjoyed it to say the least, and what was worse was that she kept finding more (completely insignificant) reasons to give him detention. So far he was in detention with her for the next two months.

And, now, he had Hermione complaining to him whenever she saw him alone or when she snagged the seat across from him at dinner, telling him how they were learning nothing and he needed to do something about it.

Then she started bugging him when he was walking with Luna and Neville the next weekend. Luna simply gave him a pointed look before wrapping her hands in the crook of his elbow and began to lead him away. “Come, Neville, you can help me escape the wrackspurts, there’s simply too many around right now,” she told him, and he was used to her by now - thankfully - so didn’t say anything or even look at her funny, unlike Hermione.

They were almost out of earshot when Hermione decided to speak up, with an almost incredulous tone to her voice. “I don’t know how you can stand to be around her,” he’s sure he heard a slight scoff as well.

“Because she’s my sister,” Harry told her bluntly.

“You may think so,” Hermione whispered conspiratorially, “but isn’t she a bit, you know.”

“As I’ve told multiple people repeatedly, do not insult Luna in front of me. Frankly she doesn’t care one lick what you say about her and brushes it off easily, but I will not accept that shit, am I understood?” He didn’t wait for her to reply before speaking again, “Now what did you want?”

“I want you to consider-”

“I’m not starting a so-called defense club to teach the younger years, and those in our own. Tell them if they really desire my help then they can come to find me in the library and I will help them individually, but I refuse to teach a class of people. I don’t know why you want me to so badly as it is. If it bothers you so much, start it up yourself. But then, don’t, because I don’t want to hear about innocent children being given detention because you were too stupid to let a pathetic idea go.”

He walked away without another word, hoping that she wouldn’t take it into consideration to start it just her and Ron, maybe Ginny if they really wanted to push it.

When he got to their room, it was to Theo and Neville talking quietly and Luna drawing invisible patterns in the air with her wand.

He had waited, to bring Neville here and tell him everything despite their initial conversation on the train and then how much Neville has helped him so much when he comes back from detention, even if it’s only by having something to eat there by his bed, since now he got used to dressing his own wound. This meant it was a slight surprise to see Neville and Theo talking so actively, although he does recall a couple of herbology projects in the past where they worked together - they made a good team, since Theo was studious and liked to do his work to the best of his ability, while Neville had the passion, talent, and natural ease around plants for it. Their work was always the best in the class when they worked together - though Neville’s always has been anyway.

He had the papers in his bag just in case Neville wanted solid proof, but he doubted it somehow.

Harry took his usual seat on a table, sitting cross-legged and getting comfortable as he faced Neville on the couch.

“So, I’m finally going to tell you what is going on with me. Though I’m sure you can make some educated guesses.”

Neville nods at the implied prompt.

“I can tell you’re Grey with a strong inclination to Dark, and that’s mostly because I’ve seen how much you cannot stand Dumbledore and Hermione and Ron now, and they always preach for the Light.”

“Correct. Now, what do you know about the Dark Lord?” Harry asked as the door opened for Blaise to come in, throwing him a blueberry muffin as he sat down in the arm chair after giving the others their own snacks as well. “Thanks,” he smiled, peeling off a part of the wrapper.

“Well, as much as my gran preaches the Light herself, she knows that Dumbledore lies about him - about his origins at least.” Harry nods and hums his agreement. “Because Dumbledore tries to claim he’s from the forties, but he isn’t. She says she once went to visit the Potters - your grandparents - with my dad, and they were laughing over James’ distress that Lily wouldn’t come to ball despite being invited, if her brother - Tom Riddle - wouldn’t come as well, even though he was invited too. I believe they were in their third year, meaning Riddle was in his fifth? I think, something like that.”

“Ah good, so you figured my mum was adopted,” he says happily, after taking a bite.

“I figured as much, but I don’t know how it all links together.”

“Oh, that’s simple. From what I know, my grandmother - Merope Gaunt - used love potion on Tom Riddle Senior for several years, until she became pregnant with her second child - my mother - and, thinking he still might love her anyway, or stay married to her out of obligation for their children, she took him off of it when she developed too much guilt. Unfortunately he kicked her out along with my uncle and they went on trying to survive until my mother was born, where my grandmother Merope died giving birth to my mum. My mum was then adopted while Tom was at Hogwarts. She changed her name back to Riddle as soon as she could since it was changed without her permission when she didn’t want it to be as a child. My uncle didn’t kill my mum, naturally, but Dumbledore did because my uncle wanted to change the wizarding world. Spread views that actually mean something and such.”

“That’s...an impressive goal."

“You’re probably wondering where the Death Eaters come into this. My uncle did have a group, but they were called The Knights of Walpurgis, a silly name but they were easily recognisable and more of a political group initially. When Dumbledore spread lies about Voldemort, claiming it to be Tom, he also had a group of his own people go around as Death Eaters, basically pretending to be the Knights. I still don’t know what fully happened because my uncle is yet to tell me in regards of the few years leading up to my birth and then my parents’ death. As far as I can tell, the Knights and Death Eaters became synonymous so to speak.”

“That’s pretty bad,” Neville says, and Harry almost wants to laugh at how awkward he looks and sounds, unknowing what to say. Instead he hums before speaking.

“I mean, Dumbledore has done some bad things as well. And my uncle really isn’t as bad as he’s made out to be at all. Plus, I support his policies and what he wants to do. I would understand if you didn’t want to necessarily join or anything, but I think you should know the truth about the situation at the very least,” he shrugged, then hopped off the desk to go and sit on the arm of the chair Blaise was sat in, still eating his muffin. “You’re free to leave whenever you wish to,” Harry adds after a moment.

“Yes?” Blaise asked after a minute passes and he’s only reading over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow as he looked up at Harry.

“Have you received your invitation yet?” he asks, picking a piece of his muffin off and offering it to Blaise, which he accepts.

“For the Malfoy Yule Ball?” he checks once he’s swallowed. Harry hums his affirmation through his bite. “Not yet. Mind you, it’s only the beginning of October. They probably won’t send it out until the week of Samhain.”

“I guess,” Harry sighs.

“Why do you want to go so badly? You’ll probably find it boring and it’s not like it will be easy for you to go - you’ll have to stay at school for the benefit of fooling Dumbledore, probably, and then you’ll have to get out of the school without either him or Umbridge finding out,” he points out.

“I actually think I might be able to go to Headquarters for Yule, if only because thanks to Sirius. That means it will be a lot easier to get out unseen. Sirius will happily cover for me. And I want to go because, firstly, I’ll get to see my uncle in public and spend time with him without hiding. Plus I’ll get to put all my recent learnings and stuff into practice for once. Not to mention I don’t want to be locked up all Yule. I mean, neither does Siri, but it’s not like he can’t leave either. As long as he’s brought back before anybody notices he’s missing he’s all good,” Harry explained with a wave of his hand.

“Fair enough. But how do you expect to not be recognised there? Or, for people to keep their mouths shut about it. Not everybody who goes there is on the Dark Lord’s side, and a lot of ministry workers are going. Who’s to say they won’t spread it around that you were there and it manages to get back to Dumbledore or his Order?” Harry sticks his bottom lip out involuntarily.

“I wouldn’t worry about that,” Luna pipes up as she looks up from her parchment momentarily, looking back down before continuing what she was saying. “You’ll be testing it out in a few weeks.”

“Why? What is it?” Harry asked, perking up. Luna simply laughed airily.

“Do not worry, big... brother .”

Harry didn’t feel necessarily nervous per se, because he trusted Luna to not put him in immense danger or pain for any reason, but the emphasis on brother is what worried him, if only slightly. She knew all of his secrets before he even was fully decided upon something or not, and while it worried him slightly, he knew Luna wouldn’t betray him in any way. And was most likely able to tell them to him, or at least hint towards it if he was having trouble.

“That doesn’t sound ominous or anything,” Harry instead remarked sarcastically.

“You will like it, do not worry. If you must know, the twins have something they are working on at my request,” she added without glancing up.

“That’s not helpful!” Harry cried in alarm. “That’s worrying!” Blaise and Theo simply laughed.

“Do you really think I would let something happen so horribly to you?” She gave him a pointed look.

“Well, no,” he admitted, somewhat reluctantly. “But it’s the twins! You can understand my slight worry.”

“You’ll be fine,” Theo assured, smiling, even though it was obvious he didn’t know what she was talking about either.

“If they know it’s for you then they’re mostly unlikely to do anything you wouldn’t approve of,” Neville adds hesitantly, drawing everybody’s attention back to him. “I mean,” he continues nervously. “You’re their brother, and they love you - where they find Ron, their biological brother, to be the most annoying cretin they’ve had to set their eyes on. I mean, they only reason they ever pranked Percy was to get him to loosen up, right? They never did anything on the scale they do to the rest of the school; because they actually like Percy to an extent. And you’re their favourite, they’d never do anything to actually harm you in any way.” Harry thought for a moment as Neville’s voice trailed off, before a smile formed on his face.

“You’re right, Nev! They will probably only do something that could be mildly humiliating at the worst, and it’s not like other people haven’t experienced that before at their hands,” Harry agreed, feeling immensely better about the situation.


 

Harry had left Luna, who was going to the forest to see the thestrals, before making his way to the usual room. He passed the wards and instantly heard some clattering coming from their room, his eyebrows scrunched and he quickened his pace, opening the door to find it empty - initially.

Then he heard a choked noise from behind one of the desks and walked to find Theo sat there a little more dishevelled than usual.

His hair was a mess, frankly, like he had pulled on it and ran his hands through it for at least twenty minutes straight. His tie was anywhere but on his neck and his shirt was undone for the first buttons, and his shoes were not on his feet - but that was what he usually did when they were in the room. His face was streaked with tears and around his eyes was red and blotchy.

There was a book thrown to the right of where he was sat simply staring forward with a glazed look in his eyes. His wand was in front of him, but several feet as if having thrown it.

Harry sits beside him with a tentativeness he never really used before before wrapping an arm around the taller boy’s shoulder to bring his head to lay on his own shoulder.

There are several moments before Theo turns to him, pulling them closer together and Harry can feel more of Theo’s tears soak through his jumper. Harry doesn’t say anything, simply holds one hand against Theo’s back and the other smoothing out his messed up locks to something of a resemblance of their usual neatness.

“You remember what I told you?” Harry asked, two weeks after the initial incident. He hadn’t spoken of it to the others at Theo’s request, but he offered to help him learn the patronus. “It’s not the same as going up against a dementor, or even a boggart of one, but there’s still no guarantee that your biggest fear will be a dementor so…” Harry trailed off, but Theo nodded in understanding, closing his eyes for a moment. “Once you can get the hang of doing it though, it will be easy enough to replicate for a real dementor if you get so used to the feeling when you cast the patronus.”

Theo steeled himself and focused, raising his wand in front of himself. He closed his eyes and thought of the memory with as much as he could, allowing it to fill him.

“Expecto Patronum!” He cast, not daring to look despite a white light forming in front of his lids. They hadn’t practiced it yet, but Harry had explained and described what it felt like for him, and how he did it.

Theo holds the spell for almost a minute - which is really saying something about both his own determination for it, and Harry’s capabilities as a teacher to be able to teach him as well as he did.

He’s panting harshly when the spell releases and he slowly opens one eye, and then the other, blinking at the bright smile adorning Harry’s face.

“That was amazing Theo!” Harry tells him happily. “You did really well! Especially for your first time!” Ignoring when you didn’t have any instruction from somebody who could already do the spell, they both know he doesn’t say. “You didn’t get it corporeal, but that takes a lot to manage that, and the fact you got a shield itself is pretty amazing. It took me a few weeks of trying to get that.” They ignore that Theo has been trying for over a month already.

 

Another couple of weeks passed before what the twins were working on was ready, and in that time he had served more detentions - though thankfully not every night was writing lines with a blood quill - and Neville had come to their study room a couple more times. He was still nervous, and seemed more twitchy in the room, but he was attempting to get along with Blaise and Theo and that was what mattered to Harry.

He thought it probably helped that Blaise and Theo weren’t the terrifying and cruel slytherins they were often made out to be.

Luna had brought him to the Room of Requirement, where Fred and George were already waiting. She had two bags with her - her usual one, and one that looked eerily similar but was obviously made for Harry to use once...whatever was happening here was over and finished with.

“You’re going to love it Harry, don’t worry,” she assured as the twins were discussing something quietly.

“You’re sure?”

“Do you know why you have chosen your second god?”

“O-of course,” he stutters, a little caught out by the question and not knowing if he actually wants to hear what she has to say. He had never discussed it of course, not yet, he had never discussed why he wanted this god for a specific aspect so to speak.

But, like he said before, Luna knows things without him telling her and she knows when to push him towards it gently.

“We’re not gonna tell you what this does beforehand,” George says, snapping Harry from his reverie to find them standing in front of him.

“Because that would ruin the surprise,” Fred tells him, passing the bottle to him.

“You’ll like it,” said Luna. “You’ll feel more relaxed than you have in days.”

Harry looks at it hesitantly, but uncorks it and smells it.

It’s not...too horrible a scent, though nothing can be said for the taste yet.

“You guys tested it, right?” Harry asks nervously.

“Obviously, Harry,” Fred rolls his eyes.

“We wouldn’t not test it before giving it to another person,” George adds.

Harry takes several deep breaths and closes his eyes before lifting it to his lips and downing it in one.

His body feels strange, and the main thing he feels is his hair grow, and then a spell being shot at him to make his clothes looser.

When he opens his eyes, he’s not exactly looking like a he anymore, from what he can see in the mirror the room provided on his behalf.

And Luna was right - as always - and he knew it - but he , she felt more comfortable like this. It wouldn’t always be like this, she knew some days she was a boy. But it was nice to look and feel like a girl, the way she sometimes felt.

Not much has changed aside from the fact her hair got longer, now reaching to the bottom of her back, and her facial features seemed to be softer still - though that’s hardly saying something considering how she already took after her mother’s willowy frame in her usual male body.

And breasts. She had breasts now. Truthfully they weren’t all that impressive in her opinion, but she supposed they were proportional for her body as well as her body’s physical state - while getting better and always improving, there were some things that were unlikely to be fixed with potions - like height. Thankfully she didn’t lose any height.

Also thankfully (probably) her previous...manhood, was missing.

“My dick’s gonna come back, right?” Harry asked in slight alarm.

“Yeah, don’t worry about it,” George assures.

“It only lasts twenty-four hours, no need to worry about it ending too soon or lasting too long,” Fred adds.

“Okay, alright, yeah. Okay. Well. How long does this take to make and what’s it’s shelf-life like?”

“It takes about five hours to make and it’s shelf-life is a month.” Harry considers this for a moment before humming.

“Every so often I’ll pay you to make me a batch, including money for the ingredients, deal?”

“You don’t have to-”

“I insist. This is a personal request for my...comfort, so to speak. Let me do this. It’s only fair after all. I mean, it is one of your products right?”

“This was done on Luna’s request, only saying it was for you, so not really.”

“Oh...well, you should consider getting it patented, and if possible make a more permanent one you know? I know that this isn’t exactly your field, but I’ve never seen anybody look into anything like this. And it didn’t taste horrible so, you know, bonus points with everybody who would use it I’m sure,” Harry rambled. They exchanged a look as if they were contemplating it.

“Fine, we’ll consider it.”

“If, you be our long-term tester for this version and tell us anything that goes wrong or weird you have to tell us immediately.”

“I’ll make sure to,” Harry assures them.

Chapter Text

“Come on Jasmine,” Luna sing-songs, pulling her away from the twins and towards a divider that would allow her to change into clothes Luna was pulling out for her.

“Jasmine?!” Harry still manages to splutter.

“Of course. You can’t go around declaring you’re Harry James Potter when you’re trying to keep your identity a secret. Jasmine Noir Riddle should do the trick, don’t you think?” Harry grumbles a little as she shimmies into the grey jeans Luna brought for her, before feeling more awkward than she ever has about her naked state despite having showered around the quidditch team for years now, even if not openly. Maybe enhanced by the fact she has to put a bra on for the first time? And now has a vagina as well?

Either way she managed to put everything else on without much hassle.

Where Luna was wearing an almost-silver skirt with white tights, a cream jumper that had the collar of a lilac shirt sticking out and dark blue doc martens on her feet; Harry - for now Jasmine - had a light blue jumper and washed out grey jeans with black knee-high boots.

She stepped out from behind the divider to find the twins gone and Luna waiting for her happily staring into the distance while humming.

She turned to- Jasmine, and smiled brightly. “Ready to go?” Jasmine smiled back and nodded, readjusting her glasses momentarily and pulling her hair over her shoulder to one side. All in all, style wise it hadn’t changed much - still dark, thick, and messy. Incredibly so, but it still managed look artfully done after running her hands through it several times. Her fringe had grown a little more straight and covered the scar even more than when she deliberately styled it that way.

“You can’t be seen in the school,” Luna says as they walk towards the door of the Room, stopping right before they get there to hand her the forest green bag that didn’t really go with her outfit but it didn’t really matter to either of them. She opened the bag and pulled out her invisibility cloak.

“How did you get this?” she asked. It’s not that she didn’t trust Luna, no, it’s that even she knows Luna hasn’t been in Gryffindor dorms before and she’s sure she left it in her trunk a few days ago.

“A wrackspurt had it,” Luna tells her seriously. Jasmine doesn’t need to have any kind of Sight like Luna to know she means Ron (or Hermione) took it from his trunk without permission and Luna got it back (most likely) before they could use it.

Jasmine slipped it over her head and walked out after Luna, walking behind her until they parted, Luna promising to meet up with her in Hogsmeade.

Jasmine got there before her, not only due to the shorter walk, but also because Luna has to go through the process of not looking suspicious. People rarely pay attention to her, the sad truth of the matter, but it wouldn’t do for somebody, anybody really, to see her acting a little odd - even for her.

When she reached the cellars, it was a lot cooler than the school halls; probably due to the automatic warming charms the castle often had as it got closer to winter. However because of this she hadn’t really noticed she was cooler until she had already been in it for some time. Instead of casting a warming charm, she looked inside her new bag and looked until she found a cloak, a deep midnight blue colour with a hood.

Listening for several moments to see if anybody was considering coming down, she then whipped off her invisibility one and put on the warm blue one, then pulled on her invisibility cloak once more, breathing a sigh of relief that nobody managed to catch her.

She looked in the mirror she had pulled out briefly and decided, on a whim, to change her eye colour - they were most known for being Harry Potter’s eyes, the same ones his mother Lily had. So she changed them to light crimson colour. She knows that only two types of people have red eyes: those that ‘dabble’ in the Dark Arts (meaning they become either extremely talented or lose themselves), or a vampire who lives solely on human blood, and is therefore a Dark Creature. Because of the stigma towards these ideas, having red eyes is therefore bad and frowned upon so it will probably make people wary to approach her. A good thing when she’s like this.

Another deep breath and she walked up and out of the store, going into the alley beside it to take off her invisibility cloak and blending into a group of students momentarily before going to the Three Broomsticks to wait for Luna. They’d never agreed on a meeting spot, but Luna would find her easily enough.

She ordered her drink quickly and found a seat near the back of the pub to wait patiently.

She had no idea where Luna was, but by the time she had finished half of her drink there was no sign of her. Instead, she sees Draco Malfoy walking up with Theo and Pansy Parkinson. Theo clearly seeing the resemblance between her (now) two versions of herself, and trying to work out if he’s right or not, while Draco looked annoyed, to say the very least. Pansy just looked mildly interested.

“You’re sat at our table,” he says, as if he expects her to simply move. Instead she takes a sip from her bottle of butterbeer and levels him with a look .

“I wasn’t aware your father paid for you to own this table, Malfoy,” she says, silently cursing herself for saying his name, but outwardly shows no reaction to her own stupidity.

“Who are you? And how do you know who I am?” he asks, not sitting down when Pansy slides into the seat across from her.

“Jasmine Noir Riddle, Lady of the Houses Ravenclaw and LeFay,” she tells him with a sweet smile, holding her hand out to him to shake while showcasing the rings. “And simply because I do not attend Hogwarts, does not mean I have not heard of you, ferret boy,” her grin is sharp and cutting as he takes her hand with a sort of bewildered look. Granted she hadn’t felt he deserved to be turned into a ferret all that much when it happened, and still feels that way, she knows it is something that would humiliate him.

“Why don’t you attend Hogwarts?” Pansy asked with a raised eyebrow as Draco sat down beside her, while Theo took the seat beside Jasmine herself. “Surely you can’t be a squib, squibs are unable to inherit such titles. Are you muggleborn ?” She says it with more curiosity than scathing so Jasmine doesn’t begrudge her at all.

“I’m a pureblood. My parents were both purebloods, however my maternal grandfather was a squib from the LeFay and Ravenclaw lines. My titles were inherited from my mother. However I currently use my mother’s maiden name since it is the same as my uncle’s, whom I’m currently residing with,” Jasmine says. It’s mostly truths and half-truths so there is nothing wrong per se. Her occlumency shields are tight despite knowing all of them are only months older than her and unable or unlikely to use legilimency correctly at all. She spies Luna come in from the corner of her eye and keeps her smile, she’s walking over to the bar and speaking with somebody who is obviously Blaise despite his back being turned, before they pick up the drinks served to them and walk over. “As for why I don’t attend Hogwarts: Dumbledore teaches there. My uncle doesn’t want to allow it until I’m of-age where I can take up my responsibilities as Heir to the Ravenclaw House, however my birthday is not until July so it won’t be until my seventh year at a push.” Jasmine smirks, then but glances at Luna in thanks when she slides another drink to her. “Then again, my uncle said something about coming in sixth year maybe. One year isn’t enough to get to know the school you will run.” She turns to Luna and Blaise, who both pulled chairs up at the end of the table.

“And how are you this fine day, Jas,” Blaise asked her after taking the first sip of his drink.

“I am fine, thank you Blaise. And yourself?”

“It just got better,” he answered with a smirk.

“You know her, Blaise?” Draco asked.

“Of course. I am taking her to your Yule Ball after all.”

“Really?” Jasmine asks drily. “This is the first I’m hearing of this,” she raised an eyebrow. “I expected you to at least ask me before announcing it to others. What if I said no?” Her face adopts an innocent expression.

“Are you going to say no?” he challenges teasingly.

“You’ll just have to ask, won’t you?” She smiles before looking at him sternly and holding up a finger to wiggle at him. “But don’t even think of trying it here, mister, I’ll reject it on principle.” Then she turns to Luna. “And here I thought I would have been joined earlier, something hold you up?”

“Wrackspurts,” she answers flippantly.

“Ah, those are annoying little buggers aren’t they? What did they want?”

“They’re trying to find something they lost for the so-called king.”

“They gonna find it any time soon?”

“No, but the queen finally began to make her move. Proper moves I mean.”

“How exciting,” Jasmine’s eyes glittered at the ideas she could now, possibly, put into play. “But aren’t there supposed to be two queens?”

“The other queen was destroyed beyond repair two games ago.”

Jasmine simply nods, ignoring the incredulous stares they’re getting from Pansy and Draco.


“Uncle, I can go to the ball undetected, almost at least. Only people who know me with excruciating closeness could recognise me,” Harry tells Tom excitedly over the mirrors. It’s just a few days after Harry went out as Jasmine, and the wins supplied him with more of the potion after he gave them a list of things he liked about it.

“Oh? I thought you disliked glamours?”

“Oh I do,” Harry nods enthusiastically in agreement. “They feel disgusting to wear on my skin. But the twins made this potion,” he holds up one of the vials. “It changes your gender, and I saw Malfoy jr when I was out and he had no idea! I only stuck to half-truths because otherwise I might have gotten caught in them later, but he didn’t seem to suspect a thing!”

“You’re the girl Blaise is bringing to the ball?”

“What?”

“Draco sent a letter the same day you were in Hogsmeade,” his uncle sighs. “He said there was a mysterious girl he knows nothing about but she knows Blaise but Blaise never said anything Father, why have we not heard of somebody supposedly so prestigious ,” he mocks, causing Harry to giggle. “I was there when it arrived, and he only said your name was Jasmine and that she was the Lady to two important, didn’t mention which ones mind you.”

“I told him my name was Jasmine Noir Riddle, something Luna came up with which is similar to my name but different enough to not be explicitly noticed, and I was Lady of the Houses LeFay and Ravenclaw. That I used my mother’s maiden name and my uncle’s, because I reside with him. I don’t attend Hogwarts because my uncle doesn’t want me to because of Dumbledore,” Harry explains. “He didn’t seem to put it together at all.”

“Yes, well, he’s not the only one who can be dense when there is something staring him in the face,” his uncle allows.

“I also changed my eye colour to red, as well, since my eyes are normally so recognisable.”

“Red?”

“There is a stigma against those with red eyes to be considered Dark, which they are, but still. Anyway, I thought if I made them that colour then it would subconsciously warn people from coming near me,” Harry explains.

“Smart, Hadrian.” Harry tried to not preen at the praise. “I imagine that, if this is the look you are going for, you are going to keep up with the appearance as Blaise’s girlfriend?” Harry sighed.

“His date, at least,” he rolls his eyes. “He didn’t imply we were in a relationship, just that he knew me and would be taking me to the ball. Besides, I imagine it would be a little awkward if he were to say I were his girlfriend, only for me to be- well, me, and a boy.”

“And are you?” Tom raises an eyebrow, but not condescending. “A boy that is,” he clarifies when Harry tilts his head in confusion. Harry turns his face away and doesn’t answer, instead looking down for a moment before clearing his throat.

“I- I don’t know. All I know is that sometimes I want to dress in pretty dresses and skirts and have long hair and simply be a girl even if that's not all there is to it, because I know that that's not all there is to it even if that's how I personally want to express myself as a girl, or sometimes I just don’t feel like anything with regards gender, but other times I like being...me. Not- that is to say, not publicly. I don’t like what comes with my name, but I like my body and the way I am perceived as a boy at a boy at times. It changes most days and I've never really thought about it, but that's more because there's not much I can do while here, just yet, at least.”

“And you wanted another name so?” Tom prompts, after a few moments of silence.

“Luna suggested I need one for the time being so people do not suspect any easier,” Harry shrugged. “When it is more known about me and Jasmine being one in the same, then I would not being called my name in both. Or Hadrian or Hadria, one letter difference is not hard to remember. Already Luna, Theo, and Blaise call me Ri anyway, that doesn’t exactly have a gender,” Harry considers, before shaking his head. “Point is that Jasmine isn’t permanent as it has no need to be,” Harry shrugs.

“Well, it’s up to you anyway,” his uncle smiles across the mirror. “It’s getting late, you should probably go to sleep,” he suggests.

“Alright, goodnight uncle,” Harry says.

“Goodnight Hadrian.” Harry cancels the connection before setting it on his bedside and   


Over the passing days, Harry hears about study groups forming in various empty classrooms as to not get caught by Umbridge so that they can study defense spells for when exams come at the end of the year; he also hears about Hermione trying to get together a large group on one of the Hogsmeade weekends, though nothing came of it in the end apparently because nobody showed up - instead deciding to form their own with people they like themselves.

Plus, Harry considers, it is easier to not get caught with smaller groups; especially of friends who it is not uncommon to see together.


“I want to do this by myself - I have to,” Harry tells Theo, who once again was offering to do the Samhain ritual with him rather than do it in the dungeons with the Slytherins (all of whom participate it in various chambers and groups themselves).

Theo looks reluctant to agree, but Blaise cuts him off. “Theo, he’ll be fine. And it would be suspicious if we weren’t at ours. If Ri wanted company, he would ask Luna or Neville. Draco already glares at me occasionally when we speak,” he points out, referring to their own friendship. Theo sighs and tilts his head backwards.

“Fine, but we’ll come and find you if you aren’t there tomorrow at breakfast,” he says, daring Harry to argue.

“If there are any problems then I’m sure Luna will find a way to tell us before it actually happens, alright?” Theo nods again and they take their leave from the study room, Harry following his own route up to the seventh floor to visit the room of requirement.

He paced the three necessary times and was presented with a ritual room, and walked in, calling for Seren. “Can you bring me the basket I prepared, please?” She pops away and returns with a woven basket for him to lay the contents out in preparation.

There’s a small setting for a fire, so he sets down some kindling in the middle, then duplicates it to create more, and casts incendio , watching as the flames grow and rise, but not to an overwhelming amount, almost as if it were merely a small campfire if anything. There is truly no need for him to have a bonfire in here as much as the thought is appealing.

Then he arranges the herbs in front of him; Allspice, Catnip, Nightshade, and Mandrake.

Three apples are laid out, two for his parents, and one for Death.

He lays out a total of five pictures, all of them of his parents and he himself is in three of them. He had asked his uncle for copies and they were happily given, since there were so few in the album given to him in first year.

He takes a small bottle of mulled wine Lucius - apparently - provided him with, since he was providing wine for all of their rituals taking place within their group and was also giving some to Draco. He pours it into a white-gold, jewelled chalice, giving a crimson sheen to the remaining half of the chalice that went unfilled as the firelight torches above it.

He takes his invisibility cloak and covers himself with it, draping it over his shoulders and then pulling the hood up - this is said to be made by Death, and will bring him closer to the veils to the other side easier.

Finally, he lights some incense with the fire, smelling of nutmeg and part of it smells like home, in a way he doesn’t fully understand, then leaving it to simply burn away on the stone circle enclosing the fire and keeping it from spreading.

Hadrian takes several deep breaths, closing his eyes briefly, before deciding to start.

“The veils between the worlds grow thin,” he spoke, clearly and with confidence as shivers ran down his spine. “The Western Gates stand open. Here, as the year ends and a year begins, we pause in our daily rounds to remember those who have been parted from us - but who are never gone. Light a fire to a blessed memory forgotten, lift a cup in parting to meet again,” here he lifts the chalice to his lips, not drinking yet but still touching. “Remember those you have loved in this lifetime, and those who wait to love you, still, again. For Who holds open the gate to this world, will welcome you gently home, and Who will see you through the times to come.” Hadrian tilted his head back and drank the entire amount of liquid in the chalice in a few small gulps.

It wasn’t until he had finished burning all of the herbs and was onto the third apple that he began to feel light headed and faint.

Without even realising it, he had exerted the majority of his magical energy calling out for the dead, for the love of his parents once more, except when he looked up, he was not faced with his parents but a being larger than all - he would imagine - dressed in nothing but dark veils that wafted slightly to an invisible breeze.

Chapter Text

“My Master,” the figure spoke. The voice was deep and he could see no face, no hands despite them likely being between the sleeves that the being was holding in front of itself.

“Death,” he greets, barely managing a polite nod.

“My Master I know that Veles has already visited you, and you expected my presence, did you not?”

“To an extent,” Hadrian answered. He knew it was not a question, no matter how much it was phrased as one and the tone indicated as much. Death knows all, Death sees all. It is a simple principle so Hadrian assumes it is merely for politeness.

“And yet you do not know of my visit here.”

“No.” Hadrian sees no reason to beat around the bush.

“Do not worry, My Master, you will get to see your parents soon enough. Merely I am here to tell you.” Hadrian waits. “You know of your ancestors - many times great-grandfathers and equally as many great-uncle. You are heir to two of these lines from the original family as you know; one from your mother, the other from your father. Cadmus’ treasure currently resides with your uncle and there is no need for him to return it to you yet. You already make use of the cloak and there is no need to explain it to you. However the wand. It is still yours, though it is not in the family. Antioch had no family to speak of but his brothers, had no want for such a thing, and so the wand made its way across Europe by various hands and families, never staying for more than one generation. The longest owner is it’s current - Albus Dumbledore. Already the wand recognises you as it’s owner and you can take control of it whenever you wish to. It is merely your choice when to take that power back. It will always be suited for you, whether you use that wand or not. The choice is there. When you take it however, there will be consequences. If you wish I will explain them to you when the time comes, I fear it may be too much to handle right now. And instead I will leave you to your parents.”

“Thank you. That is agreeable. Do you have advice for when you wish for me to take back the wand?”

“By your eighteenth, though preferably some months before that. Not yet though. Do not start until seventeen, no matter what you choose to do with them or what else leads you to doing it.”

“Very well. Happy Samhain, Death,” Hadrian grins, at the irony of the farewell.

“Happy Samhain, My Master,” Death nods, sounding equally amused, before disappearing. In his place, two figures form. His parents. Looking as young as the day they died, but grinning happily as if that never happened.

He does look like a replica of his father, he has to agree, to some extent, even if he has his mother’s influence to soften the sharp edges his father may have given him just two years ago.

Aside from looking slightly transparent, his parents look as real as they would the day they died. Eternally looking youthful, watching all of their friends grow old - brothers, in Sirius and Tom’s case. Even when they all eventually die, they will forever be older than his parents. It’s a sad, piteous thought and he knows his parents see that flicker on his face, so he, instead, reaches his hands out to each of them, letting his surprise show in his gasp when they each take a told of him.

Hadrian’s eyes crinkle, then, and tears began pouring down his face as quickly as they proceeded to pull him into a three-way hug, holding him tightly between them as he begins to hiccup sobs, trying to pull himself closer to the both of them.

More than his mum, he hears his dad croon in his ear, a more soothing noise than anything that allows Harry to calm down his sobs, even if not the tears leaking.

“Always was a daddy’s boy,” Lily whispers fondly.

“Don’t be jealous Lil,” his dad retorts, just as fond, pulling Harry into his arms with a little force and turning him so they were both facing her with matching grins, Harry bursting a little laugh at them. “Always did prefer my singing to yours,” he murmurs, pressing a kiss to Harry’s hair before leaning in it and taking a deep breath. “Not quite the same smell as a baby,” James laughs. “Mintier.” Lily simply watches the pair of them with a smile, before pulling Harry forward into her own arms, Harry relaxing just as much with her.

“My precious baby,” she whispers to him, stroking her fingers through his hair. “So much stress, and trouble, and danger. What did that vile woman do to you? All of them, everybody?” she asks rhetorically, and Harry knows this, but shrugs as much as he can in her grip anyway. “But so much good is coming for you baby, so so much. You may not like it at first, but I promise you, you will not be alone,” she tells him. “So precious my darling, but we do not have all the time in the world as much as I would wish it. At a later date, you will have more time, but not now.”

“We love you Hadrian, so so much,” his dad says from behind, putting a hand on his hip and turning him so that he is between him again, as his mother nods enthusiastically.

“So much, Hadrian,” she agrees. “Death is always watching over you.”

“As are we,” his dad adds. “We must go now, but we will always be with you, okay?”

“Do you have to go?” he asked, slightly desperate as he clung to their bodies, even now as they began to fade from this world.

“Yes, Hadrian,” his mother says softly.

“We’re sorry, sweetheart.” His dad’s grip fades from feeling as well as his mum’s. The last thing he felt was a phantom feeling of two kisses being left, one on his temple and the other on his cheek. He still felt their warmth even when he knew they were gone.

He did nothing more than crawl into a bed that the castle created for him, not bothering to put out the fire, falling asleep with tears falling once more and the smell of nutmeg still drifting around him lightly as the incense continued to burn.


The next morning Harry has red eyes he does not care about, and hair such a mess that he does not bother to try and tame. Instead he calls Seren to bring him school clothes and gets ready for the day, using what the room provides for him as a way to get ready, leaving for breakfast via a tunnel that the castle created for him to make sure he arrives on time with no need to rush.

He truthfully doesn’t care how he looks, or how his magic feels - as he can tell it feels like Death’s magic to both himself and others because he was visited more personally than others, a surefire way to tell if he did the Samhain ritual. Others look at him, and the older students give him looks of knowing, though some are disapproving - unable to tell if the ritual he did was banned or not because they all leave different feelings depending on the person’s magic.

It was banned.

It’s unknown to him whether he’ll admit it with a ministry official who doesn’t like him and Dumbledore, who already suspects something is wrong with him not following plans watching him, he isn’t sure he wants to admit to it.

Neville is already at the table, something Harry is thankful for as he slips into the seat beside him. Luna is not at her table at Harry had already been told to not expect her there by the girl herself so he does not worry.

“Are you okay?” Neville asks gently, and Harry wants to nod and say he’s fine, assure his godbrother that everything is okay, but at the question he simply wants to start crying again - his eyes welling up as proof of this. Instead he shakes his head and rubs at his eyes, only proceeding to make their redness more obvious.

“I- I saw them, Nev, I spoke with them ,” he says, trying to whisper, his voice only containing raw emotion. Harry looks at the empty plate in front of him and pushes it away as a sob tries to make it’s way up his throat and he shakes his head once more before standing and walking out of the hall, again not caring who watches after him, aware of the fact that Neville is just steps behind him carrying a slice of toast for each of them to eat.

Harry could only tug at his hair, ignoring the students that he was passing or that were passing him, also ignoring the aura of Death flowed around him easily, almost able to ignore the way he knocked shoulders with Malfoy when he forced his way between him and Theo. He knew Theo wouldn’t take it personal, but unfortunately Malfoy did.

“Watch where you’re going, Potter!” he spat, then smirked at his distraught face. “What’s the matter, Potter? Your little sister nowhere to be seen.” Harry couldn’t control his reaction if he tried, quite frankly. A burst of his magic, of his anger, of the aura Death has given him, forces it’s way forward and knocks Malfoy back several feet so that he falls.

“I would keep my shut if I were you, Malfoy. And if you simply must know every inch of my business ,” Harry spat back. “Then I imagine that after seeing your parents for the first time since they died thirteen and a half years ago on the anniversary of their death would have you would be finding every single one of your perfect pureblood picturesque masks falling as well. That enough of my business for you Malfoy?” The oppressive magic that had been holding Draco in place came back to Harry, and Harry used something that felt less oppressive to bring Draco back to his feet before stalking up to him, leaning up slightly to whisper in his ear, threatening, “Even think about talking bad about my family after this, Malfoy, and I certainly won’t be one to go easy on you. That was only a small fraction of my power.” Then he turned, confused in his emotions, snatching the piece of toast Neville was still holding for him and walking down the hall with a nonchalant Neville beside him, who was already almost finished with his own, seemingly amused by the confrontation that just happened.

Nobody else in the corridor moved until Harry was out of sight.

They walk outside and Neville still doesn’t say anything until Harry has almost finished his own slice as he paces, still with magic rolling down his body.

“I think you should go home for the day,” he announces.

“I’d never get away with it,” Harry counters with a wave of his hand.

“Have your uncle sent a golem in your place until you return. I’ll just tell people you worked yourself up to so much hysterics wise that you threw up and can’t attend classes. I’ll say you took a dreamless sleep too, so nobody is surprised when they can’t wake the golem - it only begins to wear off after eight hours, plenty of time,” Neville explains patiently. Harry considers it for several moments, turning his head this way and that as he thinks it through. It’s not an airtight plan, but it should work well enough.

“Alright- okay- that’s-” Harry takes a deep breath. “Thank you, Neville,” he manages to get out, and then swallows the final piece of toast before nodding decisively and walking back up the steps to make his way inside to the dorms, Neville, again, not far behind him. Once there, he calls Seren, telling her to make sure his uncle knows to receive him before he arrived.

Chapter Text

Seren has taken him to the floo room of the Malfoy House, where his uncle was waiting for him with fond exasperation.

“I need a golem to send back with Seren in case somebody actually checks to see if I’m there,” he says as introduction.

His uncle’s response is to raise his fingers to pinch the bridge of his nose and sigh deeply. “You’re lucky Luna sent a letter several days ago warning me,” he says, looking up, before directing Seren to where the golem is to bring it to them so Harry can add a drop of blood to look like him, then sending her off with it to place in his bed. “You look like a mess,” his uncle told him with sad eyes and Harry moves forward to embrace him tightly.

“There’s gonna be another letter of complaint,” Harry murmurs.

“Yes, I imagine looking worse than this in front of Junior is going to trigger a reaction which would provoke you. Come, you may sit in on the meeting once you change and put on a mask.” Tom pulls his nephew from the room and takes him his room to change into a jumper and jeans, then hands him a potion, delaying him from putting on his boots. “Luna sent this with her letter, I presume you’ll want to take it at some point?”

Harry didn’t have to ask what the potion was, despite only having used it once since he was introduced to it - when he went to Hogsmeade with Luna. But he wasn’t about to easily forget it. Harry considered for a moment and then decided yes, therefore allowing her hair to grow out, her facial features to soften further, and her male privates to exchange themselves for female ones.

She wrinkles her nose at the lack of weight between her legs initially, shifting her hips to get used to the feeling once more, smiling at her uncle when he chuckled at her momentary discomfort.

“When we finish the meeting, we can discuss why you were so hysterical you needed to come here. I doubt it was your idea, and I doubt it was just Draco’s words into such a state that you needed to come.” Harry- Jasmine- Hadria, she wasn’t sure of a current alias, but she hummed, slightly content and admittedly world’s calmer than she was earlier as she walked out of the room with her boots in her hand, dangling from the laces as she followed her uncle.

They got to the main meeting room and Tom presented her with a mask. Unlike the normal silver Death Eater masks, this one was dark grey-silver, with green vines twisting an intricate design over the full face. She took it and put it on before glamouring her eyes to be red once more, and her uncle rolled his eyes at her slight theatricality, and she was grinning, even if he couldn’t see it under the mask firmly hiding all of her expressions and staying in place no matter what, even when she tried to stick her tongue out, going cross eyed in an attempt to see if the mask was moving at all at her actions.

“What am I to do, in this meeting, uncle?” she asks, slightly belated she realises, looking over the bookshelf so small it almost isn’t there in the back of the room.

“Whatever you like,” he says. “You can sit there and read something if you like, you can listen, take notes if you really wish it. Or, you don’t have to be here, I simply thought it would be a good idea for you to be introduced so that they know when you are around, you are to remain untouched,” Tom explained, and she nods once more, getting Dante’s The Divine Comedy from the shelf as the only book that looks remotely interesting, then walks back over to the head of the table where her uncle had placed another chair - smaller than his own but no less obvious in her position as above everybody else.

“I’ll stay,” she answers, sitting down to pull her boots on before pulling her feet up to get comfortable, eventually just putting them over the arm of the chair so they almost touch her uncle’s when he sits, too. She pulls the book to rest in her lap and looks at him once more as he comes to sit, shooting her a slight look of disdain in how she is sat. “Who will be coming?”

“All those not in Azkaban,” he says, clearly frustrated that so many of his best are there. “Except Barty, we’ve had him with the Healer’s who are helping him to recover. He should only be with them a few more days until his entire treatment is finished.”

“He will be okay then?”

“According to our Healer’s, yes. Only when he is put to the test will we get concrete proof that he is better. I guess we are lucky that he was still powerful and sane enough to get out of the castle when young Misters Nott and Zabini froze him to get you away. A smart decision on their part, and still allowing me one of my best to be here,” her uncle tells her. Something about the way he runs his tongue over his teeth almost unnoticeably and she wonders what one of them has done, if anything, to gain her uncle’s ire, as mild as it is at the moment.

Very soon, people begin entering the room, looking at her with intrigue and curiosity, none of them wearing masks as she is. None of them say anything, waiting patiently for everybody to arrive. Vaguely she notices a rat in the corner of the room, but ignores Pettigrew for the meantime.

Once everybody arrives, Tom clears his throat slightly before beginning to speak. Truthfully she isn’t paying attention, despite the fact she maybe should, and instead simply reads the book in her lap. When her uncle sends a mild stinging hex, barely enough to do more than get her attention, she looks up again and listens to what is being said.

“This is my niece. You will call her Jasmine if you must speak to her at all, and you will show her as much, if not more, respect as you show me. If I hear one bad word about any of you from her then there will be consequences, because I know she simply would not lie over something regarding any of you. Is that understood?” There were answers of ‘Yes, My Lord,’ and they moved on to the final topics before they were all dismissed but Lucius. Snape hadn’t been at the meeting, thankfully.

Narcissa came in briefly, saying goodbye and hugging Jasmine when Tom said he would be taking her to the manor for the rest of the day, and then they were in the floo room and coming out the other end, Tom making sure to catch his niece before she fell on the floor.

He led her to the sitting room and she sat cross-legged on an armchair facing the currently unlit fire while her uncle crossed one ankle over his knee in his own chair, waving a hand at the fire so it began roaring almost instantly, warming Jasmine up indescribably and making her feel the heat as if it was pouring through her veins.

“So, the need to leave school so urgently? It can’t be a coincidence that Samhain was last night.” Her uncle stated it as fact, because he already knew it was, but instead she looked down and twisted her fingers anxiously.

It was a long while before she spoke, and in the time her uncle had not pushed her to speak but had ordered for a glass of firewhiskey anyway, as well as a butterbeer for her which was left to her side away from the fire on the small table that rested there. “I was visited,” she says at last. He still says nothing, as it is not exactly uncommon to have some form of communication with the dead on the night last, but it depended on how powerful you were, how you had proved yourself to either your gods or Magic herself, or Death, mostly. There were many variables when it came to the possibility of being visited so there was no need for her uncle to answer. “I am favoured, essentially. I am His Chosen, His Master, he said, he called me. I am to retrieve the wand by my eighteenth birthday, and he will explain to me more then. Then He left and my parents came. They could hold me and hug me and stroke my hair,” she choked a little laugh before taking a drink, trying to not choke on that too but needing something for her throat because it felt so dry. “It did not feel real.”

“Yes, I cannot imagine how Death visiting you can feel anything but surreal,” he told her. “Hadria, look at me,” he told her, and she did, a little off-balanced with the name change, but it felt different to Jasmine - more herself, if she had to guess. “What happened after?”

“I cried, a lot. Then went to sleep. I tried to go to breakfast this morning but could not take it. I had much more magical power surrounding me, presumably residue from Death though I am truly not sure. But mostly it was just...overwhelming. There is no way to truly describe it. I left and Neville followed. I walked down the hall and between Draco and Theo, because they were taking up the main part of the hallway and I had truly no effort to go around. Then he mocked me for Luna not being there this morning - presumably he did something or had somebody do something to her because he seemed overtly smug, but I know she can take care of herself. I may have threatened him, but that’s unimportant,” she waved a hand.

“Of course it’s not,” her uncle cracked a smile, causing her to do the same. “Well, truthfully I don’t suppose there is anything I can offer you aside from comfort right now. Yours was a much more intense experience than my own since I did only a simple one myself.”

“I don’t mind, uncle,” she said, looking into the fire, taking another short drink. “But this is nice. No Umbridge, no blood quills detention,” she breathed out, utterly sated and relaxed in a way she did not expect, momentarily causing her slip in mind that her uncle did not know of what she spoke.

He had gone still in his seat and turned his head to her slowly. “Excuse me? Did you just tell me that toad is using blood quills on you?” Hadria herself froze at her own slip.

“Noooo?” Hadria tried, before wincing at the look he gave her; I’m not stupid, it said. “Fine, yes, she has been using blood quills on me - and a variety of other students if the kids I’ve seen rubbing their hands. Some first years as well, she’s a despicable and disgusting woman,” Hadria said with a fervour not unexpected towards Umbridge.

“And why have I heard nothing of this, or any of the other parents?”

“Presumably she doesn’t give slytherins detention, or anybody whom she considers to come from a Dark family. Meaning most, if not all, of the slytherins. Any she may give detention to, either won’t use a blood quill or don’t have influential contacts to be confident to say something about it,” she shrugged.

“And you haven’t told anybody because…?” Tom raised an eyebrow. Hadria - she liked that name while with family in private, she decided - simply shrugged again. “You have, probably, the most contacts who could stop her interfering and yet you say nothing?” She could hear in her uncle’s voice that he was judging her on her decision, and she admits she hadn’t fully though through the consequences of her actions. He sighed. “Fine, see if Mcgonagall will do anything about it first, because presumably you haven’t told her?” Hadria’s lack of answer was enough for her uncle. “If she continues to do nothing then tell me immediately. Presumably Dumbledore knows she has the quill, since it’s a dark artifact it would have appeared on the wards - although, saying that, he may have simply ignored it. Or tampered with the wards so much over the years to make them so weak.”

“It doesn’t surprise me. I can still control wards inside the castle, but I haven’t checked the outer ones yet,” she tells him. “Inside he cannot check or be alerted to new wards being put up or taken down, but outside he would be. Most likely at least. He probably doesn’t even know that you can channel the castle magic to create wards inside, instead just putting up his own,” she said to his unspoken question from the look she got.

He hummed in answer before standing, “Come, we should have lunch since it is near time,” he offered, and she stood with him to follow him to the smaller, family dining room.


The rest of the day passed fairly quickly after that, with Hadria doing some extra reading to make sure she doesn’t have much to catch up on when she gets back to classes tomorrow, but mostly reads books on other topics, such as Dark Arts theory. It’s more useful to read it now so that any questions she has can be answered immediately, rather than writing them down and forgetting where she puts the paper when the time comes to actually being able to ask them, because she also isn’t able to remember her questions without them being messed up in recollection and crossing over each other.

 

She falls asleep on the settee of the study they were in, and Tom makes sure to make her comfortable because they can’t send her back quite yet, not if there’s a chance of somebody other than Neville possibly being awake in their room, though he knows it’s unlikely from what Hadria has told him, most of them going to bed midnight at the latest but falling asleep as soon as their heads touch the pillow.


Tom stays awake until around two a.m, then calling Seren to take Hadria back to her bed before going back himself.


Yule approaches quickly, and Harry does as they said they would when speaking to their uncle, and goes to speak to Mcgonagall after seeing no relenting from detention with Umbridge, if anything she increases it as some twisted form of a Yule gift.

Harry knocks on her office door three times, sharply, before standing back to wait for the door to open or for her to call them in; the latter of which occurs.

“Mr Potter. This is unexpected. I wasn’t expecting you here until next week when we have meetings to discuss your future,” she raises an eyebrow inquiringly, but doesn’t phrase her words as a question.

“I have something of importance to discuss with you,” they say, standing with back straight and rigid.

“Well then, sit, please,” she offers a hand to Harry in the direction of the deep red, cushioned seat. It wasn’t quite the hard chairs from classes, but it wasn’t exactly a comfortable armchair either. Understandable, really, a good compromise in their opinion.

“It’s about Umbridge,” Harry starts, only to be immediately cut off just by Mcgonagall’s facial expressions alone: her face closes off and her eyes become sharp, narrowed, before she speaks.

“I don’t want to hear what you have to say about Professor Umbridge, it is not your place to say anything on her. Just keep your head down and do your work.” Her voice is harsh, her words don’t sound like her own, however, no matter how much they sound like they come from her mouth with her own tone of voice.

“But it’s not me I’m worried about-!”

“Anybody who serves detention with Madam Umbridge has obviously earned it in some way and they will serve the detention they are given.”

“But the first-!”

“Enough!” She doesn’t shout as she cuts Harry off, but it’s raised enough that they don’t bother trying to raise any more protests before nodding their head and tilting it downwards in an uncommon show of submissiveness to show they are giving in and conceding to her superior position.

“Very well, good day Professor,” they say, standing and walking out of the room without waiting for a dismissal of some kind. Lucky for Harry, they know more powerful people who can easily take care of the small Umbridge problem they have here at the school.

It’s something they bring up with their uncle as soon as they get back to their dorm that night, making sure to help plan her torture. It’s not something Harry had ever given much thought to, the fact that their uncle could probably cause her worlds of pain enough to make up for all the hurt every child had gone through - and, what’s more, for her to be alive and conscious at the end of it.

They’d alluded to Tom’s past, never going into much detail past what he shared with Harry’s mother, his own sister, but nothing about what he did when it divest into a war. Because there is no denying that it did, even if it is denied or unknown as to who truly started it. Sometimes people needed to be tortured, Harry could admit, and they could admit to their own failings at being completely pure in never wanting to harm another person.

They’d wanted to harm lots of people, in lots of ways, but mostly his mother’s adopted sister and her family. Harry thought it was truly justified in wanting to hurt them worse than they’d hurt them, and held no illusions of it, since there really was no denying that if presented with the opportunity to do the damage.

Since being presented with the very real opportunity of being able to escape the Dursley’s before finishing Hogwarts, they have considered it more and more. What would three missing muggles be of issue to the magical world? Nobody knows that they have lived with them since their parents’ death aside from the fact that he is with their mother’s ‘family’ (though that’s an insult to their mother). While, on the other side of it, muggles wouldn’t even begin knowing where to look to try and find the trio made up of a horse, a pig, and a whale. Not if they’re gone physically but there was no real sign of struggle or damage to property. Even more confusing is if the car is still there. Where could they have gone, when did even leave ? The many confused reactions of various people - Dudley’s gang, the neighbours, the police - would serve as a large amount of amusement for Harry quite frankly.

But, back to the matter at hand, Tom will probably punish her, and Harry will no doubt feel a twisted sense of sadistic glee if they decide to watch Umbridge being tortured and no doubt eventually killed, because what else would they do? She has no purpose and her title is practically worthless. No doubt she did something as equally disgusting as her face to get into her current position, just beneath the minister - and isn’t that a train of thought Harry doesn’t want to even consider.

Chapter Text

The day before they left for Yule break, Blaise found Hadria in the kitchens, where she was mixing muffin batter together with chopped raspberries and white chocolate chips.

“Hey,” she smiled at him as soon as he came in her line of sight. They’d worked out a system for how they addressed her as a group since she couldn’t use the potion all of the time or continuously while in school just yet, and sometimes she didn’t even want to use it but they would still need a way to know what not to call her at the very least. Mostly they just call her Ri, like she has told her uncle previously, but it’s still nice as a way so that they don’t misgender her that day.

Instead she had gotten golden chains, easily replaceable though not likely to be lost, when down in Hogsmeade one weekend, each of them with something different on the bottom of them. They’re not the only ones she has, but those are the most commonly worn ones admittedly, but they weren’t her favourites either - because if she wanted to wear it just as an accessory then it was a useless system to be honest, in her opinion.

And Theo’s, since it was his pointing it out that made her realise that using her favourites would enable confusion in some cases.

For when she was male, it had a stone of deep blue colour wrapped in wire to keep it in place and so that the chain did not go through the actual stone and damage it, but there was something decidedly ugly about the patterns that had naturally - or not - formed within the stone. She couldn’t quite tell what it was, but it was decent enough, pretty enough, to not be ugly all of the time.

The one she wears when she doesn’t care - although, that’s a horrible way of putting it, she knows; when she simply doesn’t care about her gender or simply doesn’t have one at times - a weird concept when she tries to explain it out loud to the others, but she knows what it feels like and means to her, and they know all they have to do is refer to her with neutral pronouns if they need to refer to her at all. This one, however, is a crescent moon. It’s silver and it’s pretty, in her opinion, but not something she would wear on a regular basis, probably if she did not have use for it.

The final one, that she wore today, was a piece of rose quartz, set in a metal base that had a hook, attaching it to the chain around her neck. It was undoubtedly her favourite of the three, though not of the other few she had collected from her many wanderings into the store with Luna at her side.

The position of favourite goes to a black lace choker with a pendant on: again of a crescent moon, however this time a more bronzed colour and with a pearlescent gem beside it, reminding her of the full moon. Granted at school there wasn’t much she could wear it with, but she wore it nonetheless, usually with her uniform if nothing else.

“So, how do you feel about going back?” Blaise asked, bringing her attention back to him as she wafts a few hairs from her face before beginning to scoop out the mix into the muffin into the paper cups already placed inside the baking tin.

Hadria shrugs. Blaise has picked up a spoon of his own and is helping her with the batter, already having two done before she speaks. “I’m conflicted,” she admits. “I want to go home and see Sirius and spend time with him, and Remus. I want the chance to visit my uncle at times, but likely it will be at night, even if it is a little earlier. I’m also looking forward to the ball, as I’m sure you already figured. Uncle says he’s going to make sure between the three of them I’ll have suitable attire to wear of course. Something to represent my house and my family,” she rolls her eyes affectionately at this. “Something green, I’m sure. I’m only really representing my uncle and our family. I guess one could argue Ravenclaw or LeFay as well, but Uncle is known for his Slytherin connection.”

“I’m sensing there’s a but,” Blaise hesitates.

“Well, would you like sharing your house and your time with thieves who work to probably murder you once your supposed task is done?” It’s a rhetorical question, they both know, but he answers anyway.

“No, I can’t suppose I would.” They work in silence for the next couple of minutes until Hadria takes the pair of trays to the oven, wary of the various house elves milling around their feet. “As much as your muffins are delicious, that is not the reason I came to find you.”

“Oh? What is it then?” She rests a hip against the metal counters as she finishes the wand motions for the dishes to tidy themselves up and away.

“I was only going to give you this,” he says, before reaching for a box that Hadria had failed to notice when he first walked in. She tilted the soft blue lid cautiously open as he continued to talk, “It’s a Yule gift, technically, but it is also a portkey to mine and my mother’s villa in Italy. I thought it might come in handy with getting you to arrive so we can go to the Ball. Also, if you want to leave there for an hour or two in general. I already confirmed with Mother and she is aware of this if you agree and happen to turn up when either of us are out, or both of us. She’s also told the house elves. All you have to do is be wearing it and say Zabini Manor.”

Hadria looks up from the gold cuff laid in the velvet and smiled softly, eyes shining with emotions she could not express. It reminded her of something she’d once seen in a book about Cleopatra, and it certainly looked as though it could be something owned by her, if not for the sheer amazing quality it has been presented to her with. It is lovely though. “Thank you, Blaise,” her voice is barely a whisper but judging by the smile he gives in return it is enough.


There was a disturbance in the middle of the night.  Mcgonagall had come to fetch all the Weasley children at some point late, and Harry woke up briefly for it, as did most of the house, but Harry wasn’t taken with them and so didn’t want to think about what was going on until they woke up once more.


“Are you sure that you dreamed of nothing, my boy?” Dumbledore asked. Harry had been called up to his office this morning and asked about anything to do with Voldemort, asking if anything was occurring through their mental connection.

Harry gained a puzzled facial expression when he said this. He doesn’t remember ever saying he has a connection to Voldemort through anything. He tilts his head slightly with a creased eyebrow.

“I don’t have a connection with Voldemort, do I? And, even if I did, I have been working on occlumency so that he cannot get through.” That was definitely the wrong thing to say, as it turned out, going by the glinted in the headmaster’s eyes.

“Well, since you brought it up, I feel we should talk about occlumency. As this is a worry of mine, I have...taken it upon myself to request Professor Snape teach you the intricacies of occlumency for your own protection, and your classes will start after the Christmas holidays.”

Harry sits there shocked for a moment before regaining himself.

“I’m sorry, Headmaster, but I believe that I have a very firm grasp on occlumency alone. I have read several books on the theory of it and put them into practice effectively, especially if you consider that myself and Voldemort have a connection and yet I have felt nothing from him,” Harry objects.

“Professor Snape is a master occlumens, Harry, I would feel much better for your safety if you were to have these lessons. They are obligatory anyway, and will be known as Remedial Potions.”

“I do well in potions! It isn’t my fault if Snape is a bias prat against my family!” Harry almost-yells. “That isn’t fair! If you’re going to make me go to the lessons, then it should be known what they are actually for!”

“We can’t risk that, Harry,” Dumbledore tells him with a faux solemn expression. “If any of the children of his followers find out and tell him then he will find a way around it or try to interfere, that is something we cannot risk.” That’s a lie, Harry knows. But whatever Snape does he won’t be able to defend against it. Even Harry has to admit that the Potions’ Master has his talents, and unfortunately this was one of them.

“May I leave, Headmaster? I still have some packing to do.” A simple but necessary lie at this point, he thinks, blank faced and giving away no other emotions.

“Of course, my boy, off you go.” Harry took the dismissal as it was and rushed from the office as fast as he could without being suspicious, running away as soon as he was out of sight.


Harry was greeted by Remus and Tonks, as well as a couple of other Order members he didn’t care enough about to even listen to their names. Harry’s mood hadn’t improved any over the train ride, especially when Hermione was with them and retelling what Ginny had told her about the situation when Hermione had left her own dorm to help the girl pack since she’d left it all to last minute as was planning to do it the next day before the train actually left.

Remus apparated him, thankfully, and they were at Grimmauld much faster this time and Harry was trying to hold back from running up the steps, despite being ready to practically vibrate at being away from the school. As much as the castle is and always will be his first home, and he feels as such there no matter what, the Headmaster had tainted her and that is something that Harry could not be around, not at this moment in time.

Plus he had much to discuss as it was.


There was a meeting for the Order first, unfortunately, probably discussing what happened to Mr Weasley - which Harry still didn’t know about, and where things Harry couldn’t be involved with were otherwise discussed as well, which was fine with him, so instead he holed up in his room and made sure he had all things he needed for his ritual New Year’s Eve.

It wasn’t until dinner that night when he finally got the chance to see Sirius properly, but even then he couldn’t speak much because of Dumbledore still being there. Obviously the old man disliked their close relationship and couldn’t understand how they were so close.

But Harry digresses, as Dumbledore stood beside Sirius as he was sat at the head of the table, clearly trying to not make it obvious he was gritting his teeth in irritation.

Harry wasn’t doing anything of his own to hide the action, but really he had no real need to, even if the members here firmly on Dumbledore’s side were looking at him funnily or with suspicion, he owed them no answers.

“As I’m already sure those in the Order are already aware, Arthur was attacked last night while watching over the Department of Mysteries as a protective barrier for something I believe Voldemort may be working to steal.” Harry worked hard to not roll his eyes at those who cringed, flinched, and shivered at the name, but his ears perked up upon being able to hear something of what the man had planned. “Unfortunately, I am very sorry to say, he was attacked last night, bitten several times by a snake who managed to get into the department while he was unable to pay attention to the entrance. He is currently in St Mungo's where we are hoping he will make a full recovery, however for now we are firstly trying to find an antidote to the venom. I suspect strongly that it was Voldemort’s familiar Nagini, but we will not know more until he wakes up.” Ginny and Molly burst into tears again. Harry felt bad for Arthur, he truly did, he couldn’t help it if his wife and daughter were manipulative shrews, but he knew that Nagini would not have done this. “Harry, I will ask you again, are you sure that Voldemort did not give you a message of some kind that this would have happened, using your scar and connection to taunt you with it perhaps. He may know already that the Weasley’s are like your family.” Dumbledore’s words were solemn, but he had to control his breathing and his magic so it doesn’t come pouring out of him.

“No, Professor,” he says, voice calm but cold and steely. “I knew nothing of the events that happened and had I known I would have tried to prevent it in some way.” It’s an honest answer, he truly does like some of the Weasley’s as family. Most of the family, actually, even if he doesn’t know Bill and Charlie that well, he’s certain that they’re better than Molly and the the youngest siblings.

“Very well,” he sighed. “I may not see you again for another meeting, enjoy your Christmases, everybody. Harry, Professor Snape will send you a message about remedial potions when the new year starts.” Harry grit his teeth as the headmaster left.

“I thought you were doing well in all your classes, pup? I mean, I know that Snape’s a git and lowers your mark, but is that necessary for him to torture you?” Sirius asks as soon as dinner is beginning to be served. Across the table, Hermione snorted, as if there was no other answer than that he was terrible at the subject. Sirius and Harry pointedly ignored her.

“Dumbledore wants Snape to teach me occlumency,” Harry says stonily.

Professor Dumbledore, Harry,” Molly interjects before Sirius can say anything.

“But you already know occlumency,” Sirius pointed out, again ignoring Molly.

“I said that as well but apparently I wouldn’t be good enough - despite keeping my mind clear of any and all intrusions for the past year and a half.”


Sirius and Remus visit them in their room later that night, spending time with them since not seeing him since summer, and teaching them as much as they could to make sure his most vital information would be kept locked away, almost like diversion techniques since it was obvious that Snape would not be going easy on them.

Before they left for the night, Sirius went into his pocket and pulled out something metal which clinked together - assumedly keys even if Harry couldn’t see what it was.

“We also wanted to give you your first Yule gift. Usually we would wait until it is actually Yule to give it to you, however we believe it is best to not give you these in front of the others. You will have smaller gifts then, but this one nobody else should know about unless you trust them.”

As Harry predicted, it was a set of keys placed in their hands.

“There’s a house, quite large, in a town in West Yorkshire. Slightly secluded but not enough that nobody could reach it. It’s muggle, so nobody would presume anybody but a muggle would be living there. There are basic wards set up however we thought it best not to draw attention to it from the ministry. The keys are also a portkey. If you link your blood to them then all you have to do is think of the house while holding them. Until then, as long as you say ‘home’ while holding them then that works too.”

“H-how did you manage this?”

“That would be me. I brought everything for Siri to look over and then went to do the business in person in case somebody recognised him in either world.”

“Well, thank you, this is amazing,” Harry told them.

“I suggest waiting until tomorrow to visit. Molly keeps trying to insist all of you need to clean again, but I said that you won’t be, meaning you’ll be left alone while the others do that. Most of the adults won’t be here, so you can easily skip away to check it out,” Sirius explains.

“It’s already furnished, and everything in there that you find counts as the Yule gift so you are free to use it all, though there’s no food in for obvious reasons,” Remus assured them, and Harry nods again before wrapping their arms around the pair of them.

“Thank you,” they whispered reverently, then letting them go so that they could leave and get ready for bed themselves.

Remus, first however, pulled out another package from his pocket and unshrunk it.

“These are for your outfit your uncle put together, he thought it be best to have them a few days before the ball so that you can practice in case you have trouble with them,” he explained.

Harry had opened the package and was staring a little in awe but also confused as they backed their way from the room.

Chapter Text

The house has a lot more land than he expected definitely, since he landed just inside the tall, dark gates.

There was a long and winding path to the house, with gardens spread on either side of it. From a quick look through the gates it was easily accessible from a side road of some kind.

The house itself wasn’t too imposing, something he was thankful for.

The cobblestone path looked fresh as he walked up the steps to the front door, pushing the first key into the lock and twisting it around, hearing the click of it coming unlocked.

Inside, the entrance hall’s walls were white, and he immediately noticed the cool temperature. The floor was of cool-grey limestone, that his boots seemed to sound a tap with every step he took further.

The first room he came across was small, still with the grey limestone flooring, but it held coat racks and shoe cubbies, no door but burnt oak coloured frame.

The next room was a toilet and sink, coloured with white limestone flooring and teal walls, two rows of tiles, mostly in dark blue and white a few inches above the skirting boards.

The wood throughout the kitchen was cinnamon coloured, making the cupboards and any accessories, which took up more of the room than he was expecting. A lighter brown was the general shade of the marble countertop that took up the centre of the room, while the draws and holdings allowing it to stay there were, once again, cinnamon colourd.

Looking inside the cupboards, he finds the ones that are empty and those which have plates, bowls, mugs, and glasses in them and tries to remember which ones they are in, along with where the cutlery drawer is.

Looking into one of the two full-sized doors, he finds one to be a pantry, but the other had stone steps leading downwards. Initially it looks somewhat imposing and slightly creepy, but once he is down there, he sees the slight comfort of the room.

It was all grey stones laid on the floor, there was a large table in the far corner of the room. It didn’t meet the corners at all, since it was round, but it was not overly large. There was a large fireplace, too, where the wall stuck out and pushed forward, a surprisingly large space. It was empty for any kind of standard protection, only having a small grate towards the back of it, though it was surprisingly deep. Thankfully, when Harry looked under, it did in fact get taller too, which would allow for him to stand underneath if necessary. All of this was leading Harry to the conclusion that this was a ritual room since everything else was bare.

Harry found his way to the living room once coming back up from the cellar, where the floor had turned to a light shade of brown, with a large yet comfortable-looking sofa sat in a darker shade. Harry took the opportunity to jump onto it, almost moaning at how soft it was as he burrowed down into the cushions, but resolved himself to nap on it later maybe.

He could see what Remus was talking about when he said anything else there was free to use, as there was a video-player and a large stack of videos on either side of the large television. There was also a coffee table lined with coasters already, and a glass chess set on the shelf about halfway to the floor.

The stone stairs placed between the living room and kitchen leading upwards are the same cool-grey colour as the entrance, even though the material is slightly different, and the banisters are the same burnt oak colour from the cloakroom earlier.

Harry rushes up them once taking off his boots, careful to not slip with just wearing his socks.

The landing is wood panels, with a grey rug stretching almost the entire span.

He walks to the left-hand side first, finding two bedrooms, both comfortable with nicely sized beds, matching in their white and cream decór, with cream carpeted floors, the only difference being that the first he entered had a picture of a boat framed on the wall with an ensuite attached, while the second had a canvas photograph of a brown and well-used, but still in good condition, teddy bear with buttons for eyes but no ensuite.

On the right-hand side is the master bedroom, which had dark grey carpeted floors that even with his socks felt incredibly soft and fluffy, enough that he crouched to play with his hands in it. The bed was larger than the others, and directly in the centre of the room with it’s dark grey with silk and shiny duvet, with white sheets and pillows, a couple of various grey throw pillows.

The nightstands were black on either side, and each with a cream lamp on top, while only one side held a digital clock stating the time as being 10:07am , along with the black wardrobe to the right side of the bed, taking up almost the entire wall. Two of the doors had a mirror each. To the left of the bed was two chests of drawers that sat just under the windows, which gave him view of the gardens he walked through on the way up, letting in the little light from outside illuminate inside, along with a skylight to do the same.

There was an en suite attached, but it was mostly white titled and gleaming with dark grey accents instead.

The final room was the master bathroom, and it was coloured like the one downstairs; white limestone floors with teal and dark blue accents. The bath was large and the shower was separate, but it was all the most modern that Harry could imagine.

There was an attic as well, judging from the string and outline to a trapdoor he was sure, but didn’t bother to go up into.

Once he went back downstairs he relaxed on the sofa for about five minutes before going to browse the selection of videos he was gifted. There were a lot of Disney ones, and he wasn’t sure if that was Sirius trying to make up for his own childhood, or for Harry’s.

Either way, he took out the one he was most familiar with; Cinderella.

In primary school they had gotten to watch it as a ‘treat’ one afternoon and Harry had, honestly, related to her quite a lot at the time, understandably.

In a way he still did, except instead of a ball where he met a handsome prince, he met a man who wanted to kill him and/or keep his family separated, and his real family.

(There are pros and cons to every situation.)


He made his way through Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Robin Hood, by the time he realised he should eat something. It was just after four in the afternoon, so he still had some time. He called for Seren and asked her bring him some food to eat as well as a tub of mint chocolate ice cream.


He watched Sword in the Stone and The Legend of Zorro before he decided it was time to go back at last. They lit the Yule log in the library fireplace upstairs, since they were unable to do as much in the main living room, with the correct prayers and blessings said before they went to sleep sometime after one in the morning.


The next night was Winter Solstice, which was the night Hadrian had chosen to do the rituals for his chosen gods, a fitting choice in his opinion.

All day he spent working to make sure he had everything he needed, all things to make an offering, to appeal to his chosen gods. He will have to work quickly but thoroughly with sincere meaning because he has two sets of rituals to do tonight.

Both of these gods mean something to him and he can- not necessarily relate, because you don’t relate to a god if you yourself are mortal, but he can empathise at the very least.

According to Remus, who had left with him that morning, he had been in muggle London all day with Remus searching for last minute Christmas gifts. A lie of course, but that was the cover which he had to stick to.

Really he had been with his uncle, who had brought him to all the places necessary to pick up everything before going to his house in Yorkshire to set up.

First he had to put in an appearance at dinner, and for most of the rest of the evening until it was deemed too late for them to be up, even in the holidays, and they should all go to bed.

It was just after eleven when this happened so most of the others were complaining, but not Hadrian. He didn’t have the time or the reason to complain otherwise and simply set about getting ready to sleep - seemingly, of course. He had showered and dressed and spoken briefly with a couple of the others from downstairs, but he had retreated to his room at eleven forty to change his clothes quickly, something warm and comfortable, but still good enough to be formal and not show disrespect either.

He closed his eyes and used his portkey after calling out his goodnights to Sirius and Remus, knowing the others could still hear him.

The walk up to the house was quicker than the previous day, partly because he was rushing from anxious energy, needing to get it out and feeling the magic thrumming harshly under his skin, practically begging to be released somehow.

He arrived in the ritual room just after eleven fifty, moving to the table in the back where he had left the majority of his offerings.

He was doing Veles first, since his would require more work for the offerings.

For Veles, he had three medium sized logs, cut perfectly and accurately just hours ago.

The first was Ash, a sacred Druid wood which is often associated with sea magicks, ocean rituals, and magical potency among other things as well. He thought that it fit well with Veles as he was a god of waters and magic, among many other things as well.

The next was Holly, like his wand but with less foreign magic to have tainted it. The Holly was to represent death and rebirth, a slight nod to Veles’ underworld connections of which he is a god. In spells it is said that Holly wands can be used to ease the passage to Death.

Yew was the final wood, another, surer, nod towards Veles in the underworld. Again it is said to represent reincarnation, rebirth, eternal life, and immortality; it is supposed to be somewhat important to all deities of Death to say the least.

On top of those three logs, lined neatly in a row, was a large slab of cattle meat. It had been slaughtered and prepared today as well, still fresh and relatively bloody from how Hadrian had been storing it fresh all day, and he pours any remaining blood on top as well. Veles is a god of cattle, so it made sense.

He poured a small amount of sea water they fetched from the south coast today, from the English channel. As a god of the sea it would not be good to leave that out, he does not think

All the while he had been humming, allowing his magic to infuse the sounds that come out of him, though he does not like to brag for his voice - it is entirely subjective if it is considered he has a nice voice, but Hadrian does like to think he does; it was one of the few things of comfort that the Dursley’s could not take no matter how hard they tried. Again, as a god of music and magic it should help to infuse the ritual.

In flowers he lays a cyprus down before the logs, meaning Death. A yellow poppy to represent Wealth. A witch-hazel, just meaning ‘a magic spell’.

Once it is all laid out before him, he carefully raises his wand and taps the flowers individually, not needing words to ignite the fire which begins to spread slowly. He places a tap to each of the logs as well, making sure to cast a small silencing spell around so he has no need to hear when the slab of beef begins to cook, though allows the crackling of the logs to be heard as they are more calming than not.

There’s a spell in place to protect him from the fire growing too large in that inevitability, so he sits close, watching as the items burn enough so he can close his eyes to make a small prayer. Having already met Veles he suspects his offering and few words will be enough, even if he has practically been given confirmation already.

Veles is a god of snakes, too, so it makes sense when he begins to speak in parseltongue, aside from it being more well-connected to the earth. .

Hear me Veles, god of many, god of the Underworld, I ask to seek your protection, to be taken in, and to be heard, to be able to honour and respect you in the few ways I can. I ask you for your help and guidance in any way you see fit when I am in need of a helping hand. I ask you to bless me and my ways of trickery, of cunning and manipulation. I know I am of one of your realms but not another, I ask that you guide me in any way you wish, help me to understand that of which I do not know but could learn. A god of autumn means you must see change more than myself, but I ask that you help me with my own when the time does come. Wind changes always, but there is always a specific way as the transition seasons come and go, and I will work to go with your changes once I am more myself, more in tune with my body and the way it will move, always different, always changing, just like an autumn wind.

As if on command a freezing wind, a winter one undoubtedly, spread through the room and caused goosebumps to appear on his skin. The fire had gone out as it was so strong, but there was an ultimate feeling of contentment and approval settling within himself, a feeling of acceptance of his gifts.

Hadrian smiled before standing. He lit a harsher fire for the offerings now half-burnt, increasing the power to turn them to ashes quicker than they would have in an otherwise normal burning fire, and waved his wand to cast a small breeze over the now-ashes to send them down the grate, before going over to the table to begin preparing his second offering.

Chapter Text

It was still the witching hour, when this would be the most powerful, added to it being the solstice, but he knew he had to keep his pace when making his offerings to Loki.

First were the woods he put down again: Again he was using Ash and Yew, but for a different reason. While Ash is what is more commonly known for the Yggdrasil being of the species, the world-tree in Norse mythology, an argument was originally made for it to have been Yew. By that point, it made sense to use them both, because either could be right, or either could be wrong and it be something else entirely.

He also had a log from an Apple tree, as well an an apple, as another representation from Norse mythology, as well as Black Elder - which was a much harder wood to find a supplier for. Though neither of them is necessarily related to him directly, Harry thought it would be worth something. The Black Elder tree, in general, is poisonous; the leaves, the roots, the stems, though he is not calling him a poison with any harsh intention, more that there are similarities between Black Elder and Loki in various ways when he thinks about it.

There was not much which could be said for offerings to Loki aside from typical ones, so Hadrian thought to appeal to showing he knew of his children too.

As a wolf’s common food, Hadrian had found the largest buck he could to be able to make something of it, but only used a smaller amount of the normally-eaten meat, while also presenting the heart, moving it from the silver platter it was laid upon to the crevice between two of the logs, simply so that it would not lose it’s balance and roll away sometime soon.

Hadrian was unsure how insensitive this would possibly be; on the one hand he birthed Fenrir, a wolf, however Vali was transformed into a wolf and set to kill his own brother, Narfi, whose intestines were then used to tie Loki to a rock with a snake dripping above him as a punishment.

It took a lot to convince his uncle, but Hadrian convinced him for them to take a portkey (illegally, of course) to Scandinavia so that he could retrieve a glass of the Barents Sea, to the North of the country. Hadrian felt this would be better than simply using water from the English Channel again, but Hadrian explained that while Jormungandr was said to be dropped in the ocean, it made sense to get some of the sea closer to where the myths came and evolved from. This was much more sensitive than is uncle suggesting he simply use a snake skin, to which Hadrian hit his arm.

His final pieces were two mental ornaments. One was the Rundkvist, two snakes circling together to create an ‘S’ shape, biting each other’s tails. It is often used to represent Loki. It was metal and quite shiny, as it had been finished making just the day before. The second was simply an Oroboros, this time made in wood, a somewhat accurate way to view Jormungandr if Hadrian had to guess.

The final things to include were simply to be poured over the main offerings.

The first of these were Dragon’s blood, followed quickly by mulled wine and mead.

The fire he cast this time came more from instinctual magic, and he didn’t pick up his wand at all, instead just allowing the flames to rise as they pleased in accordance to how his magic felt flowing from him, the antsy feeling still there and yet rising and coming differently, as Loki was once thought of as a god fire. Whether he was still considered as such today was not quite as common from what Harry gathered from his research, but there must still be something to it if he was once known as one more commonly.

“Hear me Loki, Trickster God and Shapeshifter. While I have no real control in your elements, I pray you hear my words when I ask for protection, for aid with my plans and my cunning, help me seek the answers I need in whatever ways I need it; grant me a look into your knowledge and manipulation. I also,” Hadrian hesitated a moment in what he was saying, before gaining the confidence to continue. “I also pray that you grant me the magicks, someway, somehow, to be able to shift my form naturally. Not to your own extent of course, but simply as a way to be more comfortable within myself. I will honour you in any way I can, your children too, respect their memories. Though I cannot relate to you, you are a god after all, and I a mere mortal, however I consider and admire, in several ways, what you have achieved and how you managed to do so. And I ask that you hear me and grant my prayers.”

It was not a necessarily conscious decision to recite his prayer in parseltongue like before, but, like before, he knew it would be more powerful, more natural, because it was an Earth Magick.

There was a momentary buzzing, foreign to his own magic, and Hadrian realised he was standing, still with his eyes closed tightly, if not tighter than before.

“You may open your eyes,” a voice told him, slightly amused but Hadrian could tell more curious.

Hadrian did as instructed, blinking open his eyes one at a time to a much brighter room than he expected.

Before him stood a man; tall, black hair down to his shoulders, bright green eyes, slender build. Honestly if Hadrian didn’t know better then he would think that this man was related to him somehow, except he is almost-unnaturally pale, where Hadrian’s skin is darker like his father’s - if not quite as dark. He was wearing black pants in a leather-like material, and green shirt. Over the top were a type of robe or basic protective armour, again in the leather-like material with accents of green and gold.

Immediately he felt the sheer amount of power coming from him and simply said nothing.

“You say you are a mere mortal,” he starts, voice smooth like honey and British accent somehow, that Hadrian didn’t want to begin questioning. “And yet you know that you will not be for long. And the amount of power you have, even as a mere mortal , as you so put it, needed barely a boost, more direction as to where to go to bring you here.”

“And, where is here?” Hadrian asks, trying to not be rude as he glances around the room.

It is rather plain, but everything inside has a specific richness about it not seen on Earth if he had to be sure of anything.

He smirks, “My room, of course. For such a smart person you really ask obvious questions,” he raises his eyebrow.

“Right,” Hadrian says slowly. “And how would I get back to my ritual room from here? I doubt this is like apparation.”

“Yes, that is true. It is helpful that back on Earth it is still the Winter Solstice, as I doubt even you would manage to make your way to Asgard with so little help were it not such a powerful night to have an affect on your mortal magicks.” Hadrian tried to not choke on his spit too much at hearing he was properly on Asgard. “You are very interesting, I have to say. You respect me for different reasons than your father did, and yet you still chose me partly as homage to him. I can understand why of course, it merely interests me so.” Loki, because it so obviously was of course, and that made sense - Loki walked closer and Hadrian refused to move, hardly even breathed as the god came closer.

Hadrian imagines this is what muggle teenage girls his age feel at the prospect of meeting the Backstreet Boys or something (he hears they’re big and rather popular now, from what he can tell of the TV when it’s on).

(That’s beside the point, however, he reasons as the god walks closer.)

“A strong mind, cunning, willing to do what is necessary if you really must. Not much for playing practical jokes of any kind, merely preferring to watch the chaos,” Loki begins to circle around him until he is stood behind him with his hands on his shoulders. “Manipulation, hiding in the shadows, those are much more your style. Though there is a reckless part of you that comes out when emotions get the better of you, as rare as those moments are now. All this power you are to gain, to be above even the gods in some ways, and yet you only wish for one specific power, yes?”

“Yes,” Hadrian answers, knowing not to question how the god knows so much.

“You and your father are surprisingly similar in the most unexpected ways. Choose to believe me or not, but I do keep a track of those who pray to me more often than not, and your father was a favourite of mine, always trying to think his ways around it, though your mother was better at it; not as honest in her childhood, but both of them blunt as anything when it came to speaking the truth often enough. I assure you they would not be easily so forgotten by those of us who paid attention.” Hadrian held his breath. He did not know how closely gods they prayed to watched them, but even then Loki said his father was a favourite.

“Thank you,” Hadrian whispered, before being completely winded by the amount of power surging into him at that moment, causing stars to be seen behind his eyes as he closed them tightly, trying to stay upright even with Loki’s hands holding him in place.

“I will send you back, as the power you are currently adjusting to is adjusting to your own, potentially making you unstable. The magicks, once settled, will be dormant until you do a blood ritual with somebody who comes from a family with your own types of shapeshifter. You have some currently but it is not enough for the power to have simply manifested and therefore may reveal some cards you are wanting to hold close to your chest. Do you understand?” Loki had walked back into his eyesight when he opened his eyes, chin tilted upwards in the grasp of elegant fingers while the other hand remained on his shoulder.

Hadrian nodded, repeating, “I have to do a blood ritual with somebody from a family who had shapeshifter in their blood.”

“Good, now I suggest you close your eyes.” Hadrian simply did as he was told, not having the time to right himself before falling unconscious back in the ritual room, thankfully the fire still burning and the room warmer than before, but he could hardly acknowledge it.


 

Hadrian woke a few hours later, fire still burning despite a lack of fuel to burn, and he could feel the foreign magic coming from it that he didn’t see a need to put the fire out. It also confirmed that he didn’t dream his meeting with Loki. Well, he could have, but he doubts it more.

He calls Seren to bring him some food to eat before the fire, basking in the warmth it gave off and appreciating the greasy food Seren brought to him so he could pig out.

It was almost five in the morning, however, when he was finished, and while he had to go back, he did not really want to, so felt content to simply go to the living room after having Seren bring him a change of clothes, and start watching a couple more of the videos in the piles.

Chapter Text

Then Yule actually arrived a few days later of doing much the same as the morning after Solstice and she was more excited for the ball tonight than actual gifts, but she was also looking forward to seeing people’s faces at their gifts.

Arthur had arrived back last night so she was very happy to see him well enough to join them. Supposedly it had been an almost miracle that they found out what type of snake (Dumbledore ordered) to attack him. She still doesn’t know how he did it, since he wasn’t a parselmouth, but maybe it was just a case that he let it loose there and left it to do it’s business. Either way it did not matter, as long as he was okay.

There was a large pile of gifts under the tree, though one of them was leaned against the wall, incredibly obvious in what it was, and she was looking forward to them being unwrapped, even having to suffer through the disliked Weasley family members.

Molly was trying to get everybody organised and sat down, ready to hand out presents.

“Well, let’s start making our way through these, shall we?” she asked rhetorically, hands clasped together as she starts handing out the first presents, all of which are Weasley jumpers. She reluctantly puts her own on along with everybody else, but sees George and Fred swap theirs around and shakes her head.

Hermione gets new books from most people, and Hadria was a little shocked when she was genuinely thanked for the gift with no sense of irony, considering she had given the book How To Research Accurately: For The Modern Witch to try and point out a few things to the girl. Maybe once she starts to read it she’ll find it insulting?

Ron got almost entirely sweets, except for a couple of more mild pranks from the twins, which will probably fire back on himself.

The twins were given some old relics from Bill, while Charlie gave them a necklace with a dragon tooth each, each a different species which he thought Fred or George reminded him of the most, and sweets from their younger siblings, while Arthur had gifted each of them a book in their favourite subjects, and Molly had given them a book each on history of wizarding Britain - something they knew and still hated. Hadria couldn’t help but sigh at the thoughtlessness. Hadria had given them books about how to best invest money and how to build a business from scratch - even if they were doing pretty well already she was sure that there was more they could use to refine everything so far. Her more personal gifts were not to be given until later.

Ginny received several beauty products as well as a couple of books and jewellery.

Hadria had received the most variety of gifts, it was safe to say. The first that she had opened was the large one with the obvious shape that was leaned against the wall. It was a bike, it was grey with a brown basket on the front. Hadria turned to Sirius with a grin and said, “You realise I don’t even know how to ride a bike, yes?” with raised eyebrows.

“Well, I get to teach you that, then, before moving onto a motorbike, yes?” Sirius grinned back.

“Yes!” Hadria agreed enthusiastically, bounding over to him to give him a hug.

Molly then started protesting saying that Sirius wouldn’t be able to go outside and that putting ideas into Harry’s head about motorbikes was not a mature thing to do, and Hadria suspects if she hadn’t stopped it from escalating further then some very unforgivable things would have been said.

From Remus she received a walkman and a various collection of tapes, of music she both liked to listen to and that she had been meaning to. Some others she hadn’t really considered, too, but she was sure she would like and trusted Remus’ judgement.

The actual walkman had runes enscripted on it which allowed for it to be used around magic.

She was also handed gifts from Neville and Luna, which had apparently been mailed to Remus the other day, something that clearly surprised him.

Luna had gotten her even more tapes, clearly knowing what Remus would get her and making her own suggestive choices with music from out of the country and various soundtracks. Neville had gotten her several small succulent plants, at least one of them fake, and one purple orchid, with a little card attached saying: Purple flowers often represent royalty, respect, admiration and dignity and the same is true for purple orchids.

From the twins she received various pranks and a choker necklace; it was a gold chain which clasped behind the neck, and at the front were several green gems, they matched her eyes and she grinned and thanked them.

From Molly she received several homemade sweet treats, and Arthur a book on dragons.

From Charlie she received a small Hungarian Horntail statue she was told would animate for about five minutes when she stroked it a certain way and demonstrated, and she watched as it stretched it’s wings and moved its feet on the stone platform, and even yawned. She couldn’t help but coo at the sweet little thing, more adorable than the ferocious, yet still magnificent, beast she had faced last year.

Bill got her a book of accurate goblin history and where their customs came from, and not what they’re taught in school, which was really thoughtful in her opinion.

Everything else she received was sweets and more pranks from Hermione, Ginny, and Ron.

The rest of the day went passively well, and Sirius took her upstairs to the training room which took up the entire floor above their own and made sure there was clear enough space for her to ride the bike he had bought for her.

“I swear to gods if you do that thing where parents are like ‘I’m right behind you kiddo’ and then you let go of this fucking bike I am going to slaughter you,” Hadria hissed, swinging one leg over the grey frame and sitting somewhat comfortably, one leg still touching the floor to keep her balance.

Sirius laughed loudly in her ear as he held the back and the middle of the handlebars.

“Alright, I won’t.”

He holds her steady as she pedals, helping her take several laps of the room on her own so she gets the hang of it and then warns her.

“Okay, I’m gonna let go now, alright?” he checks. She nods shakily and speeds up slightly so it’s easier to keep her balance and momentum, humming slightly in distress when she’s sure that he definitely not holding onto her anymore and being almost shaky in her control. .

She kept going for a couple more laps before breaking steadily when coming up to Sirius and putting her foot down to stop from going over onto her side.

“That’s it! I did it right!” She grinned happily, and he walked the remaining few steps and held the bike steady despite then having both feet on the floor.

“Sure did,” he answered, then his face turned a little sad and apologetic. “We can’t really go far today, but before you go back to school we’ll take it out to your new house, alright?”

“That sounds really good!” Hadria reassured as they began to leave the room, leaving the bike instead of taking it.

Hadria took the time to dress into something more day-appropriate, rather than simply jogging bottoms and a t-shirt as pyjamas, going down half an hour later after a shower and changing to leggings with a large red jumper and sneakers, thick socks bunched at the top of them.

There was still some time until lunch, so Hadria took the time to start reading the book gifted to her by Bill, almost not wanting to put it down by the time she was called to ‘Christmas’ dinner, also having to put away the walkman which had been keeping most of the racket out with.

Dinner was loud with lots of mess and talk about anything and everything, lasting nearly two hours in total, unsurprisingly, and then another hour for desserts.

It was only four when they finished and they still had to clean up, which Harry did with most of the others in the living room while Hermione, Ginny, and Ron helped Molly in the kitchen to package leftovers and wash up the dishes.

It went a lot quicker to say the least when she was working with Fred and George, but by then she was too exhausted, feeling bloated from all the food (and mostly unhealthy in some way at that) so went upstairs declaring she was taking a nap. And she was going to, but only for a couple of hours before an alarm would tell her she needed to get ready for the ball. It started at eight, and she would be with Blaise from about seven-thirty, but thanks to having perfect skin there wasn’t really anything Hadria needed to do with regards to her face.

Chapter Text

Her dress was already on her bed in her box, as well as another box on top of it, white and nondescript compared to the black dress box with a golden bow tied around it, left there by Remus or a house elf she’s sure, but now she just moves it to rest atop the box containing her boots for later as well, conjuring a glass of water to drink, half of which ends up on her face, before then crawling into bed with a yawn, barely remembering to set an alarm as she wraps the covers around herself.


 

Remus has to come and wake her in the end, since she overslept her alarm by ten minutes or so and so she starts running around, trying to remember where she put the potion before kissing Remus on the cheek, grabbing all of her boxes and her portkey keys and running up to house, thankful that her sneakers are solid and not slipping beneath her, even as she runs over muddy grass as a shortcut. Luckily she could use magic behind these wards so the boxes she needed were floating along behind her at a fast rate.

Once inside she ran up to her room and had the boxes placed on the bed messily, before jumping in the shower for a rinse and to wake her up more than the adrenaline already had, mainly to make sure she looked and smelled fresh after her nap.

She brushed her teeth thoroughly and took the potion, deciding this time to watch herself transform in front of the mirror.

Though it hadn’t felt like it, it sort of reminded her of how she changed in the mirror when taking polyjuice during second year.

She dried her hair, towel now wrapped around her body. 

The shampoo/conditioner set she used earlier when she had her proper shower meant that now her hair was in soft ringlets halfway down her back after the transformation meaning all she had to do now was style it.

Thankfully the nondescript box was from Narcissa, who had helpfully included several hairstyles she might like - as a ‘suggestion’ - each coming with simple instructions on how to do them labelled clearly, as well as make-up (also with instructions and any cheat-spells to help) and a thin circlet, one that reminded her mostly of laurel wreaths which were given to victors in the original Olympics, except thinner and gold.

She focused hard and concentrated on creating a perfect waterfall braid she hardly notices the passing of time except for the vibrations her wand gives off every ten minutes or so to help her keep a track of the time.

It had passed the second vibration and was coming dangerously close to the third by the time she was finally happy with it.

Then she pulled the make-up from the box and inspected it, along with the cards she was given.

They had never really spoken about make-up before, aside from when Hadria commented on hers, but the way it was written, again, was simple to understand and there were very few ways she could mess it up.

Her skin was clear of blemishes, so she ignored the foundation like the instructions told her to, and moved straight to concealer once applying primer like she was told to, under her eyes to hide the dark bags. Narcissa has obviously been told of her dislike for glamours.

She already wore many of them as it was and eventually they just begin to feel like congealed soup or something over her body, but worse somehow. So avoiding them when able is helpful.

She sets it as she has been told to, then adds more primer along her cheekbones to use the rose/bronze coloured powder along her cheeks. It doesn’t show up easily against her dark skin without there being a certain angle to the light, but it’s written down that that’s the point of it.

Hadria really hopes she isn’t going to be making a fool of herself.

For her eyes, there are more instructions than for her hair, along with a few more items she would have no idea what to do with. It’s a simple look, Narcissa had written, and Hadria scoffs. But requires quite the steady hand. If necessary then I’m sure Priscilla, that is, Madame Zabini, could easily touch it up for you she had added. Just for that comment she was determined to get this right.

The colours were labelled for where they were to go, and thankfully with some help from spells to not let the make-up stray further than what she would like, she was able to get a light base, with then various shades of light metallic browns and bronze colours to go in the directed places for the look. Finally she got a shimmery gold one that she was told to apply to most of her lid but to fade out to bronze as to not completely cover it.

She went through her eyebrows with a light layer of gel, or something, to neaten them up slightly and keep them in the desired shape - something she was now thankful for letting Narcissa take her to do this summer, even as painful as it was to suffer through. Now it was easy to keep her eyebrows in somewhat relative neatness, no matter what anybody else in the dorm said about the fortnightly habit.

The layer of pink was so close to her actual lip colour that she didn’t know if she’d actually put it on if she hadn’t watched herself do it in the mirror. Also, it feels so velvetine that she can’t tell when she presses her lips together and they just feel like normal? It’s a good feeling since, if anything, they feel softer than normal, but wow.

When her wand buzzes again she jumps up and makes her way over to the box with her dress in.

It’s something she still hasn’t looked at, untying the ribbon holding it together with shaky fingers then lifting the lid with the same trepidation.

The dress is emerald green and silk, which she had predicted, however she had not predicted the style.

It was spaghetti strap, with a sweetheart neckline. The waist pulled in tight but with an a-line skirt which went down to just above mid-thigh.

Truthfully, she had expected something slightly more...conservative, from her uncle.

Upon hearing another buzz from her wand, she rushed to drop the towel after making sure she was one-hundred percent dry, before then stepping into the dress which zipped up at the side with a zip she almost didn’t notice because of how it was covered on the outside.

Then she pulls out her boots.

They were grey and thigh-high heeled ones, they were incredibly daunting to look at initially, but after a couple of days practice they weren’t so bad.

Next comes the jewellery, though there wasn’t much. There was the choker from Fred and George, followed by the cuff from Blaise; though that was more for practicality of getting to Zabini Manor, it suited her outfit tonight and she likely would have worn it anyway. The final piece is simply her LeFay and Ravenclaw Ladyship rings, along with her Slytherin Heir ring as well, making them visible.

Under the layer of tissue paper that the dress was laid upon, was a cloak. It was the same grey as her boots, however they had gold patterns designed in thread upon the entire lining of the cloak, including the hood. There’s a golden clasp to match with a leaf design over the front of it.

She wraps it around and lets it sit nicely on her shoulders, just barely touching the ground once there.

Finally she gets her circlet and brings her hair around one shoulder as much as she can while holding it as delicately as she can manage, threading it through and then following the way up until the front of the circlet sits gently about half an inch or so into her hair.

She cannot truly help the way she goes to admire herself in the mirror.

She does not think there has ever been a moment more in her life that she has looked put together, or so good in general.

She may possibly talk about this moment for the rest of her life.

A person cannot blame her if she walks around her room and admires herself from several angles.

She eventually stops when an actual sound comes from her wand, a final warning that she needs to leave.

There was her own bag that she had with gifts in, for Blaise, Theo, the Malfoy elders, and her uncle.

She spoke clearly, “Zabini Manor,” once her hood was up and quickly felt the world disappear around her, immensely thankful that there seemed to be cooling charms in the entryway at least, but she quickly took off her cloak as a tall woman with tanned skin and caramel hair walked in with a smile on her face.

Chapter Text

Hadria herself smiled back at her, if not more awkward and nervous.

The woman, presumably Priscilla Zabini if going by her similarities to Blaise, walked up and gave her a welcoming hug with a kiss on each cheek.

“Welcome Hadria, I’m so happy to finally meet you, you’re all Blaise seems to talk about in his letters, I swear to Hedylogos, either way he’s currently not ready as you’re a little earlier than he expected I think. He’ll be finishing up. Come, I’ll show you to the main room, would you like anything to drink?” she asks, almost as if it just occurred to herself that he might possibly be being rude right now. She wasn’t, in Hadria’s opinion.

“Just water, thank you, Madame Zabini,” she answers, both their heels clocking on the floor but out of time.

“Please, call me Priscilla, or Celia,” she laughs. “Madame Zabini makes me feel so old.”

“Alright, thank you Celia,” Hadria smiles. “And I’m sure Blaise doesn’t mention me often,” she adds belatedly, laughing again, broken and a little awkward.

“Oh he does, sweetheart, and understandable why. You’re a gorgeous girl, and I’m sure you’re just as handsome when not taking a potion to change your gender,” she assures with a kind smile before calling a house elf to bring water, asking if she would like ice at all, to which she answers positively. She looks closer at Hadria’s face and tilts her head after a crease forms between her eyebrows and Hadria almost breaks out into sweat. “Did Narcissa not include eyeliner in what she sent you?”

“Ah, well, yes, but I didn’t trust myself to get it correct. It’s one thing to do eyeshadow for the first time, but that looked much too…” She trailed off her sentence, unsure of the right word to fit.

“Understandable,” she nods in agreement, “it took myself several attempts when I was first learning. It’s much easier once you’ve had the practice. If you would like, we can go and do it while waiting for my son to finish up?” Hadria instantly nods at her question, if only to give her something to do other than awkwardly sip ice water through a straw while answering questions. Celia smiles at her and takes her arm as she guides her through the villa. “You would think, with how much he complains about myself getting ready and possibly making us late, that he would learn to hurry up,” Celia shakes her head but she’s smiling and Hadria giggles slightly, presumably they’ve just walked past his bedroom, but she wouldn’t know since there are many doors.

They turn down another corridor which only has two doors, and she’s lead to the one on the right of the hall and when the door opens it reveals a clean and cool room where she is lead to a dressing table with make-up scattered across - in an organised mess, it seemed like.

“Come, sit,” Celia instructs, and Hadria does as she is told while Celia herself opens the top drawer and pulls out a small pot while going a drawer below and pulling out a very fine brush to dip it in the pot of gel-like blackness. “Close your eyes and hold still dear,” she murmured, holding her chin gently before raising the brush to Hadria’s now-closed eyes and taking several moments to sweep along it several times, careful with every movement. Then she moved to the other eye and copied the same motions. It was only a minute at the most, but it was a surprisingly relaxing minute.

Hadria blinked her eyes open somewhat slowly before looking in the mirror at how her eyes had changed. Now they were less soft than before, the long, sharp point making sure of that, while also being a defining point of her face.

She turned to Celia and smiled once more, however less awkward than previous attempts, somethin she is thankful for. “Thank you,” she said, and Celia smiled back before ushering her from the room once more and leading her back to the living room.

“Now, tell me my dear, about yourself,” she said. They were still waiting for Blaise to arrive.

“Anything in particular?” Hadria asked, feeling nervous once more.

“How your Yule holidays have been thus far,” Celia suggested gently.

“They’ve been...touch and go I suppose. Good points and bad points, and of course Yule itself has been exciting to celebrate itself. It’s my first proper Yule and it certainly lived up to my expectations, going beyond them even,” Hadria smiled, growing more comfortable as she spoke. “I have loved seeing Paddy and Moony, and I’ve visited my uncle a couple of times, though of course I’m sure you understand I cannot visit him very often due to the Order residing in my house, which admittedly is the largest downfall. Luckily for me, I convinced the house elf to obey me in the summer and he keeps wards on the upper floors so that blood traitors cannot come through and they often get confused and forget what they were doing there. It certainly helped with celebrating Yule even if we could not have the Yule log burning in the main room, an unfortunate circumstance,” Hadria sighed.

“That sounds so hard dearie, I honestly couldn’t even think about not being able to celebrate in the open. My family has always done so. It was your first time, was it not?” she questions with furrowed brows, and Hadria nodded slightly.

“Yes, I performed the ritual to my patron gods on Winter Solstice as well. It was...enlightening, to say the least,” she chuckled lightly, then took a sip from the water.

“Oh? And did you say gods? Plural?”

“Yes. I’m not...sure exactly, why or anything about it, but one of the gods I was considering - Veles - he visited me before Samhain and told me I could choose. I really don’t understand it, but I am favoured by Death apparently, and if I need a god of Death of some kind. I could choose two because of this. I chose Veles, a Slavic god, for this...duty, so to speak.”

“And your other?”

“Loki,” Hadria answers, and she gets a hum in return.

“And how did the rituals go?”

“They went well, very well,” Hadria smiled proudly, before biting her lip. “I’m not sure if I’m allowed to discuss it, or if you would even believe me if I tell you,” Hadria starts, then takes another drink.

“I won’t judge you,” Celia assures, and Hadria considers for a moment before nodding to herself.

“I got transported to Asgard and met Loki. That is what he told me at least. It was too much and I was too aware for it to have been a dream or hallucination I’m sure,” she explains. “I also- I felt his power, it was so so much,” she breathes, almost exhilarated. “It felt different from our type of magic, but it was just so,” she sighed.

“Well, you have always been a special one from what I’ve heard,” she tells Hadria reassuringly. “Whatever this means you are in no trouble. Just be sure you know and trust those you would tell. I’ve met my god, just in case you were wondering,” she adds after a moment, and Hadria looks at her pleadingly, almost begging for the tale with her eyes. Celia laughs slightly and waves a hand. “It was no big deal. My god, as you may have heard me mutter earlier, is Hedylogos, and he is a Greek god of sweet talk and flattery. He isn’t depicted in literature, but there is art and pottery. He was a winged god of love, part of the group called the Erotes,” explains Celia, giving her background. “You may or may not know of my background and my...nickname,” she glances at Hadria questioningly, who nods. “Well, it was a simple matter that a man tried to do the same to me, tried to gain my amassed fortune via the murder of myself, and Hedylogos appeared just before he brought a knife down on my heart and struck him down. He smiled at me and wished me well, and I am still alive thanks to him,” she smiled brightly, and she was simply beautiful, and Hadria felt the breath catch in her throat at the pure delight and happiness practically oozing from her person. Hadria gulped and smiled back.

“I, for one, am very happy that you are still around,” Hadria grinned. “I have no doubt that Blaise would not be the same otherwise, as unbearable as he can be at times,” she joked, just as footsteps were heard down the hall.

“Yes, my son is quite horrendous at times. Such as when keeping an evening date waiting for more time than appropriate, with no kind of warning,” Celia says, directing it at Blaise as he walked into the room with one hand going over his styled hair. “I have enjoyed our conversations this evening Hadria, feel free to visit whenever you wish to and perhaps we can have tea or a light meal on the terrace, however I will leave you in the capable hands of my son, as I myself am yet to get ready for tonight.” Smiling once more, Celia pat her hand that was resting on the sofa, before standing and leaving. Hadria could only watch her go, not sure how to react to the offer.

“And you’re in love with her,” Blaise comments.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” she denies, because it’s true. It’s not that it’s lust either, it’s just an instant like. The woman has a presence that nobody else can match she’s sure. Hadria shakes her head slightly and stands, smoothing her hands over her dress before reaching into the small bag she brought containing the shrunken gifts and finds Blaise’s, resizing it before holding it out to him with a smile. “Happy Yule,” she greets.

“Ri, you didn’t ha-”

“Yes, I did,” she interrupts. “Aside from the fact that it would be rude for me to accept the gift you gave me,” his eyes flick to the cuff on her arm momentarily before going back to her eyes, “without one to give to you back, you mean a lot to me Blaise and I probably don’t tell you, any of you, often enough.” She shrugs, almost self-conscious. “Besides, it’s Yule, it’s a time for giving gifts.” He looks at her for a moment longer before his head tilts to the left and a lazy smile works its way onto his face, soft and sweet almost as he simply looks at her, taking the gift with another moment’s thought and opening the gift. It’s in two parts, really, there’s the simple leather bracelet, something inconspicuous but of fine quality, a portkey to her house in Yorkshire, since he returned the same. But she also got him a book on Demon Magicks.

Well, ‘got’ isn’t so much the term as, she found it, had little interest in it, but knew he may enjoy it. If not for the language and the age, then for the different Magicks style.

“This is amazing,” he said, looking over the book’s cover and there’s a gleam in her eyes that tells her something. What that something is she has no idea, but it will come out soon. Only when he wants it to, though. She supposes she’s okay with that. He takes the bracelet and looks at it oddly for a moment before slipping it onto his wrist and grinning brightly.

Her heart skipped a beat and she almost choked on her breath at the look on his face, before she couldn’t help her own smile in return.

Oh yeah, she could see the similarities between Blaise and his mother.

“It’s a portkey,” she tells him after a moment, before she turns behind her and picks up her cloak, putting it around her shoulders once more. “It’s to my house in Yorkshire - a gift from Paddy and Moony,” she adds as casually as she can manage. “The trigger is Rosevale. Don’t say it now,” she rolls her eyes.

“Got it,” he nods assuredly, then holds his arm out to her. “Shall we?” Hadria reaches her hood up to cover her hair and keep it safe because she knows that they’re travelling to floo to the Malfoys’. She picks up the bag of gifts and wraps her hand into his elbow as he leads her to the floo room for them to step through together, him making sure she keeps her balance as they come out the other side.

Chapter Text

There’s violin music floating through the air, is the first thing that really hits her once they step out, aside from the sweet smell of Yule deserts and the smell of wood burning coming from the ballroom and the sitting room repsecitively.

Lucius is waiting to greet them when they arrive out and smiles at them as she huffs out a breath and removes her hood with slight over-dramatic flaire, if Blaise’s grumbling is anythigng to go by. She grins at Lucius and moves forward to greet him politely and then hugging him tightly. “Good evening, Lucius,” she tells him, before removing her cloak.

“Blaise, be a dear and hold this would you?” she says, holding out her cloak, he does so and she resizes Lucius’ gift to hand it to him. “I felt it more appropriate to hand it to you in person since I had the opportunity this year,” Hadria explains.

“Thank you, Hadria, it’s very much appreciated. I’m certain Narcissa is being the natural socialite that she is in the other room. It should be easy enough to find her.”

“Thank you, come on Blaise,” he rolls his eyes at her but listens as she takes his hand to lead him through to the ballroom to do as Lucius said.

It took a moment of looking around to find her, but when she saw Narcissa she began walking over, making sure she was in her eyeline so that she wouldn’t have to awkwardly wait or interrupt conversation while they finished much.

“Jasmine, I’m glad you could make it,” Narcissa smiled brightly, turning away from the conversation she was holding before slightly.

“I’ve decided that people here can know my true name,” Hadria told her gently. “So from now on it’s Hadria, Cissa, though I appreciate you remembering. It’s only in...certain crowds that I’m not Hadria yet. But this is a wonderful group of people I’m sure and no need for me to hide who I am,” Hadria grinned brightly. “But I still have to give my uncle his Christmas gift, so I’ll have to give you yours now,” she resized it as she said to do as much. “And then I have to go and find Uncle, he is here, yes?”

“Of course, he was speaking with Lord Parkinson last I saw him, but you’ll know him when you see him of course,” she smiled, then turned her eyes to Blaise stood behind her and raised an eyebrow. “And I’m sure young Zabini will not mind following.” She smirked slightly. “But it was good to see you, and thank you for the gift, my dear,” Narcissa pulled her in a for a hug which Hadria gladly accepted, walking away with a hum that didn’t match the music as she took Blaise off to find her uncle.

“Isn’t that your uncle over there?” Blaise asked with a nod in the direction of three men, one of them most certainly her uncle. “He’s stood with Lords Greengrass and, I think, Larricks.”

“Yes, yes it is, thank you Blaise,” she beamed, before taking off towards them and continuing to hum. Tom turned towards her as she walked up, to see who it was, and smiled brightly - for him in a public setting, she guessed - and his eyes gleamed. They locked eyes for a second.

“Hadria, you’re here,” he said, and then pulled her in for a short hug. “I’m glad you were able to come, how have you been?” She can’t help the face she pulls at the question.

“How do you think? They’re deplorable blood-traitors whom I hate, Uncle, how do you think it’s going,” she repeats with a dry look.

“If I didn’t have to send you there then I wouldn’t, you know that. But your godfather is also there, and you love him,” Tom points out.

“Of course I love Paddy, no questions asked. I just wish we didn’t have to reside there. And it’s his house, they have no right to be there!” Tom simply sighs and turns back to the two lords he was previously conversing with.

“Barnabas, John, this is my niece, Hadria. Heir to my titles and Lady of the ones her mother and father passed on,” he introduced.

“A pleasure to meet you,” each of them said, taking turns to kiss the back of her hand. It was nice, to be treated this way.

“You as well,” she smiles. “Uncle I wanted to give you your Yule gift as well, and I figured since I was staying at the family home tonight I could simply give it to you now? And then you open it once we return? I feel you will have questions, and I have a story,” her smile turned slightly sad but she shrugged herself off. “Anyway, I must go and find Blaise,” she said. “I met his mother this evening and she is such a lovely person, absolutely unbelievably nice? I mean, I get her reputation and whatever, but wow, stand-up lady, ten out of ten, would meet for the first time again if I had to,” Hadria tells him.

“You fell in love with her didn’t you?” he asked.

“What, pft, no,” she scoffs. … “Okay maybe a little but you try hard to not fall in love with the woman!” Hadria huffs, hands him the shrunk package to him, and walks off, stopping a few steps away. “Also I’ll bring Blaise to meet you, since it’s only fair that I met his mother.” She couldn’t wait to see Blaise’s face at the prospect of meeting the big bad Dark Lord who would completely harm Blaise if necessary, but otherwise will just loom.

It took her a few minutes to find him, but with some help from Pansy she found him and Draco much quicker.

“Well well well, look who it is,” she said, and he froze. “What? Not want to meet the family?”

“Ha-Hadria, it’s not what you think,” he tells her as she turns, and she narrows his eyes.

“I spent time with your mother while you finished getting ready and, lovely a woman as she is, it was kinda sorta forced upon me. Don’t get me wrong, your mother is a wonderful person and she is so fricking kind, but don’t you dare try to get out of meeting my uncle next time,” she threatens with a pointed finger.

“I thought your name was Jasmine?” Draco asked from where he was behind Blaise slightly.

“Fake name, Uncle didn’t want me saying my real one,” she shrugged. “Nothing personal, don’t worry. Anyway, you will be meeting him later Blaise. I already told him so.” Blaise gulped as she snatched her cloak from his waiting and clenched hands before calling for a house elf to take it (to her room, but nobody needed to know that). “Moving on, hi Draco, how’ve you been?” She knows of course, from seeing him at school and hearing from Blaise and Theo, especially, when they talk about him. But he’s not supposed to know that yet.

“I’ve been good,” he says.

“You don’t sound sure,” Hadria grins, and he clearly rolls his tongue over his teeth before shrugging.

“I don’t know just...I don’t know, you know? School’s good, classes are good, Potter’s acting weird but at least he finally ditched the mudblood and the blood traitor,” he sighs.

“And Theo?”

“What about him?” he asked sharply.

“Well, I thought you too were...you know...getting along and...stuff? I don’t know!”

“Why would you think that?”

“Uh-” Yeah, why would she think that? “Theo’s letter’s of course, and Blaise’s as well. But I would mostly trust Theo’s since Blaise over here has a tendency to lie.”

“Since when?”

“Well, not really, but I wouldn’t trust you to report on other people’s love lives if my life depended on it. You’re too much of a romantic - which, considering who your mother is, I really wonder where that came from.” He stuck his tongue out at her. “Real mature.”

“Well, there’s nothing going on between me and Theo,” Draco told her.

“Oh, really. Oh, please let him down easy,” she said, eyes widening. She knew Draco was lying when he said there was nothing going on between them, he refused to maintain eye contact, instead staring past her shoulder, and fidgeted minutely as he spoke. Even if he believed Theo felt nothing was going on, then he certainly didn’t feel that way on his end.

“W-what?”

“Well if you’re saying there’s nothing between you then obviously he’s been misinterpreting things, meaning that you have to let him down easy before it gets too out of hand,” she smiled sadly.

“Theo does not like me that way.”

Hadria shrugs, “If you say so.”

“I do say so.” He didn’t look too sure of his answer but oh well, it’s his own personal dilemma. And so early in the evening as well, she almost laughed aloud. They stood in silence for a few moments.

Hadria was the first to break it, something about the fact very few people knew who she really was made her giddy, and in turn that made her feel confident. “Where is Theo anyway?”

“Not here yet,” Blaise said. Hadria hums in response.

“Alright, well I saw Pansy so we could go talk to her? Have either of you spoken to her yet?” They shook their heads so she led them off to find Pansy with Daphne Greengrass and Tracey Davis to make friendly conversation.

“What song do you keep humming?” Tracey asked Hadria after a while.

“Hm? Oh, Come and Get Your Love by Redbone, do you know it?” Hadria grinned, she knows Tracey is a half-blood so it’s entirely possible.

“Is that the one that’s like,” she thinks for a moment. “If you want some take some, get it together baby,” she sings, voice not half bad and in-tune. Hadria grinned wider if that were possible.

“Yes! It is! For Yule I was given a magically adjusted walkman and so many tapes it’s going to take me at least a month to listen to them all I swear,” she laughs. “Maybe a little bit less than that. But I’ve made good progress today so far I like to think. So far my favourites include Come and Get Your Love, Southern Nights by Glen Campbell, September and Boogie Wonderland by Earth Wind and Fire, Wham, Bang, Shang-A-Lang by Silver, and Brandy You’re A Fine Girl by Looking Glass,” she listed off. “Oh! And Escape, The Piña Colada Song, of course, who could forget about that of course,” she asked rhetorically, since she could acknowledge that to most of those around her would think they were insane.

“Okay, I’ve heard a couple of those, not all of them granted. But they sound good. Remind me of the Brandy one again?”

“Brandy, you’re a fine girl/what a good wife you would be/but my life, my lover, my lady, is the sea,” she says.

“I thought you said you were a pureblood?” Pansy asked.

“I am,” Hadria said, looking at her confused. “Just because I do not like muggles after their behaviours when I was raised by and around them, does not mean that they are not intelligent or that their music is bad. I’ve found I prefer their music to music played on wizarding radio,” she sniffed. “Frankly, their intelligence is precisely why we should take precaution with them. However, I refuse to discuss such dastardly behaviours on Yule ,” she looked pointedly at the group. “If you wish to know more then I will get books,” she added.

After that they moved on with the conversation. It was easy to do so, especially when she moved with Tracey to talk more about the muggle world in part and debate over good and bad things. Pens and notebooks were a good thing for example, while the muggles’ penchant for doing experimental science on unknown things was a bad thing, and so on. Hadria had never been to the cinema before, so Tracey told her what that was like, while Hadria told her of all the movies she had been gifted with earlier in the Yule holidays.

“Hadria, do you want to dance?” asked Theo, and she turned to him with a smile.

“You know I can’t dance Theo.”

“I thought you did pretty well last time,” he shrugs, remembering the Yule Ball last year. She purses her lips, considering.

“Fine, but don’t blame me if I end up stepping on your feet,” she shrugged smiling at Tracey and promising to catch up somehow at a later date as she goes with Theo to dance.

It’s a simple waltz that they begin to do, neither wanting to try anything more than that.

“So, how’s it going with Draco?”

“Fine,” Theo averts his eyes.

“Hm, well, he doesn’t think that anything is going on between you, thinks you would never feel that way,” she informs him.

“What? Why?”

“No idea, I’d really rather not  begin looking into his self-worth issues - I have enough of my own thank you,” she shrugs, as much as possible while being spun. They move on from conversation after that, and dance to the next song as well as they continue.

“Hey, can I cut in?” Blaise asks after walking over to them, and Theo nods his affirmation and takes Hadria’s hand instead. “So how has your evening been?” he asks her as Theo walks away.

“Good,” she smiles. “I really like Tracey. Yours?”

“Also good, although I’ve been to multiple of these already.”

“I like the atmosphere they bring, it’s relaxed and calming somehow. I think it’s because there are rarely any secrets here aside from gossip. At the same time it isn’t terribly stuffy and uncomfortable like I originally expected,” she tells him.

“Yes, I can imagine why you would think it may be like that,” Blaise agrees.

They dance one more full song before Hadria grins at him. “Time to go meet my uncle!”

“Right, and I’m not fucking terrified of this happening,” he mutters under his breath as she half-drags him away from the dance floor to where her uncle is talking with Narcissa and Lucius.

“Uncle,” she grins. “May I introduce, Blaise Zabini, Heir to the House of Zabini. Blaise, this is my uncle, Lord Slytherin.” She pushes Blaise to stand a little ahead of her as her uncle looks him over appraisingly.

“A pleasure, Heir Zabini,” he says, holding his hand out.

“You as well, Lord Slytherin, a pleasure to meet you.” While it’s obvious he does believe the words he is saying, he is too nervous for it to come across confidently. Hadria tilts her head slightly in confusion, she knows her uncle is the Dark Lord, but he isn’t truly that scary is he? Her uncle smirks slightly.

“Truthfully I expected you to arrive with Hadria, since I spoke to your mother earlier and she told me you both came through together.” Hadria knows the slight jab is there and rolls her eyes.

“He did escort me here, Uncle,” she says, because she can see Blaise floundering slightly even if it doesn’t initially appear that way. “But he decided to come and see Draco when we first arrived when I came to find you. I don’t think he knew he was expected to follow.”

“Very well, I suppose. It is always good to greet one of the hosts I suppose,” he says, a calculating eye on Blaise.


“You must write me when you’re back at Hogwarts. Just give the letters to Blaise or Theo and they’ll send them with their own, no use sending multiple owls all going to the same destination when you’re all in the same place,” Hadria tells Tracey as the evening is coming to a close and people are beginning to leave. She can’t exactly have the same owl that Tracey sent arriving in the great hall the next morning perhaps, that just wouldn’t do.

“I will, don’t worry,” the girl assures.

“You as well Pansy, it has been good seeing you again,” Hadria tells her as Pansy watches her closely. She knows that Pansy has suspicions about who she is, but she will also not call her out in front of so many people when they know who her uncle is - he may not have killed all the people that Dumbledore said he did, but he was still a force to be reckoned with.

She kisses each of them on the cheek as they do with her and then hugs Theo and Blaise each with a kiss to their cheeks as well.

Kissing others on the cheeks does make her uncomfortable slightly, she’s not used to the actions, but went along with them anyway; she’d get used to them eventually.

Chapter Text

“Now, do you wish to tell me the story behind the gift you’ve given me before or after you’ve given the story behind it?” her uncle asked when they were back home and in the main sitting room with the fire on beside them. The gift was on the coffee table between them, back to it’s usual size.

“Probably before, I believe the context is more necessary. I don’t fully understand what happened on the other side of it or how it actually happened, but it started on Samhain my second year,” she started, going on to explain the message written on the wall, and the investigation she and Weasley did, how Ginevra was taken into the chamber at the end of the year, forcing Hadria to slay the basilisk with the Sword of Gryffindor. Now, Hadria regretted her actions as a naive twelve-year-old which led to her killing the poor creature.

She had been stuck for a gift to give her uncle, and Luna had hinted that she may find something down in the Chamber of Secrets of extreme value. While she could understand that all of the books down there would also be valuable, as well as incredibly rare if they were journals, it could probably be said that her uncle had read through them and there was no use giving a gift of something he had already read. She could retrieve them for him at a later date.

A basilisk, however, was rare, and valuable, and rarely allowed to be raised as it is with permission. So she had asked for help from the elves when it came to help harvest the magically preserved creature. She had separated the ingredients and placed them into a magically-expanded case to make it easier to give as a gift.

Not only could many parts be used as a potion ingredient for various, also rare, potions. She included the skin in case he wanted robes to be made from it - it would be impervious to the majority of spells that way, however also kept some for herself because a) there was more than enough, and b) she wouldn’t mind some personally tailored robes using basilisk skin once she had fully grown.

Her uncle had yet to speak since opening the case now, staring at it with a sort of bewilderment in his expression though he tried to mask it.

“I am sorry for killing them, but at the time I had no idea about my true heritage or anything like that. Plus they were attacking me, it was self-defence,” she felt the need to point out.

“I understand my dear, don’t worry about it. I’m sure if we wanted we could always raise a new basilisk or two,” he told her with a smirk, and she grinned at him. He handed her his own gift to her. “But thank you for this gift, I especially appreciate it.”

It was a case, similar to the one she gifted him first, but smaller and more shallow. Opening it she revealed two curved daggers. The handle was curved at the end and dark grey, almost black in colour, with a bronze colour for the hilt. The sheathes they were a matching colour to the ridged handle, and she picked one up with a growing smile to unsheathe it.

The dagger was an incredibly reflective silver and internally she felt excitement at the clear sound it made upon being revealed.

“It’s beautiful,” she breathed, grin growing. “Will I learn to use them?”

“If you wish to, if not then they can simply go on display,” he told her.

“Of course I wish to learn how to use them!” She laughed.

“Very well, we’ll have lessons in the chamber on weekends if you wish?”

“You can get into the school unseen?”

“Most ex-students can because we’re still registered by the wards. I won’t even be noticed by Dumbledore’s personal wards because I’m an heir and protected by the castle. It will be simple, don’t worry,” he assured her, and she nodded, re-sheathing the dagger and placing back in the case to close it up, revelling in the sound it made.

“Now, I’m going to go and put these away safely, and while I do that, I’m also going to pretend I don’t feel you exiting the wards.” He stood up and walked to her side, leaning down to place a kiss on her forehead as she wrapped an arm around his waist to hug him momentarily before he picked up the case and walked in the direction she knew the potions lab was. She herself then walked through the house until she reached the entrance to portkey to Zabini Manor, where she knew Blaise had returned to.

It would be very unlikely she’d get to visit him anymore through the holidays, so it was better to visit now.

A house elf greeted her and asked if she knew where she was going, but Hadria nodded and walked to where she knew Blaise’s room was, knocking on the door and waiting for him to grant her entrance.

“Come in,” he called, and she opened the door and ignored him getting changed as she flopped onto the bottom of the bed, legs dangling and not reaching the floor as she did so.

“I’m so tired,” she groaned as she raised one leg and went for the zip while he finished changing into (probably pure) silk pyjama bottoms.

He came to a stop in front of her half-crunch form trying to pull the zip down further.

“Would you like some help?” he asked.

“Would you?” The question was rhetorical as he’d already batted her hands away to pull the remaining length of the zip down and pull her boot off, before moving onto the other one.

“So, what did you think of your first gala?” he asked once he’d placed the pair at the bottom of the bed and moved her legs so that she was curled on her side at the foot of his bed while he sat in the middle.

“Good, I really did like it,” she said, before covering her mouth with her hand because she yawned. “I gave Uncle his gift, he seemed to really like it. He got me a pair of daggers,” she grins.

“Did he?” She nods. “And does he know you’re here? I can’t imagine him being happy about it.”

“He’s pretending he didn’t feel me leave the wards. He knows I need more interaction than just a few hours when I’m with those people,” she shrugs, eyes closing involuntarily.

“Come on, let’s get you changed,” Blaise tells her, tugging her arms up.

“No,” she whines, dragging the word out, trying to make herself as heavy as possible as he continues trying to pull her up. It doesn’t do much as she’s so light anyway, but it’s the thought that counts, she believes. “Rude,” she tells him once she’s got her feet on the floor. “Everything you have is too big for me.” He pulls her over to his walk-in wardrobe anyway, before placing a shirt in her arms and a pair of boxers.

“Get changed,” he tells her sternly, but still nice, and she sticks her tongue out at him, even as she wavers tiredly on her feet.

She searches for the zip of her dress with half-closed eyes and unzips it, not caring if he’s fully left the room or not, sliding the straps off her arms and stepping out of it when it pools on the floor. She pulls the shirt over her arms and buttons up the majority of the middle buttons, leaving the bottom undone and the first two as well, then pulls the boxers he gave her on. For a moment she considers just sitting down and falling asleep there but figures it wouldn’t be good of her to do so, so manages to stumble her way from there to the bed where Blaise held the covers up for her.

She tugs on his arm when he pulls away and he gets in beside her, where she releases it.

“Wake me before eight,” she mumbles.

A snort and, “that’s ambitious,” is the last thing she hears before sleep overcomes her and Blaise both.

 

Chapter Text

Hadria wakes because they become acutely aware of another person behind them in bed sitting up, it wakes Hadria much faster than before.

“Well, I told you eight was ambitious,” Blaise snorts as they shot up, while Blaise stays where he was. Their hair was a mess, tangled and knotty as they ran a hand through it.

“Time is it?” they ask groggily, yawning right after.

“Almost ten,” Blaise answers after casting a tempus, and Hadria groans, throwing themselves back down because somebody was bound to find they were missing soon if they hadn’t already, and her head caught the edge of Blaise’s arm and they hissed at the pain it caused.

“What time did I get here?”

“About an hour after you left the party, so about half one.”

They turned to face Blaise.

“You were doing better than me, why was I so tired?”

“Because you’ve never been to something like that and didn’t realise how much energy it would actually take to interact with so many people, not to mention the amount you danced as well. It was more than me,” he smiles.

“I could hardly turn them down, I’m just thankful both Pansy and Daphne offered to lead since they’re taller than me.” They close their eyes for a moment and stretched out along the bed while Blaise doesn’t move. “I should change and then go back to my uncle. Or Paddy. Either one. If I go straight there then I won’t be lying by saying I went straight there. He doesn’t need to know,” Hadria contemplated out loud. “Godric my body aches,” they complain as they sit up, moving towards the edge of the bed.

“You make it sound like we spent the night together,” Blaise tells them and they send him a scathing look.

“Say that in front of my Uncle or godfather and see how well your claim holds up,” they say with a sweet smile.

“Please, I’m not suicidal, they’d both take turns torturing me. I’m not sure who’d get the pleasure of killing me.”

“Oh they wouldn’t kill you, probably. Not unless you seriously fucked up. They’d allow you to live I have no doubt,” Hadria smirks as they stand and walk to the ensuite bathroom.

It’s slightly painful and a little messy but Hadria manages to get their hair better than it was before before conjuring a hairtie and tying their hair back before running the warm water to begin clearing their face of remaining make-up.

In the room behind them, they hear Blaise making their way out of bed slowly and into the wardrobe to dress. He leaves the room, they hear, and comes back a few moments later as Hadria is finishing their teeth with a conjured toothbrush they banish once they’ve finished rinsing.

“I know that any of my trousers would be much too long for you and not fit even if they were shrunk down, so I went to my mother’s room to get some, is that okay?” Hadria looked away from inspecting their teeth and smiles brightly at the pair of leggings he’s holding.

“Perfect, but why didn’t you just summon one of my elves to collect something?”

He stops moving for a moment.

“Nope, no, too early for thinking,” he declares, tossing the fresh clothes including a shirt and underwear at them before turning away. Hadria laughs and gets changed anyway. “You’re already late getting back, do you want breakfast anyway?” Hadria sighs, but nods, so Blaise leads them from the room and to the dining room, where fresh fruit and other food is being served. “So, we have a variety of fresh fruit, bagels, sausage, bacon, fried eggs, omelets, french toast, normal toast, and also various toppings and-or sides,” Blaise said as he pulled out their seat for Hadria sit down in and moved around the table to sit opposite them.

Hadria makes up a plate of sausage, baked beans, french toast, and then a bowl of multiple fruits.

Celia makes her way out halfway through their meal with a smile but looking perfect nonetheless.

“Good morning dears,” she greets them, sitting at the head of the table and beginning to make up her own plate.

“Good morning Mother,” Blaise greets at the same time as Hadria says, “Good morning Celia.”

“I didn’t get to see you much last night dear, how did you enjoy everything?” she directs at Hadria.

“It was very nice overall,” Hadria says once she’s swallowed her current mouthful. “A lot more relaxed than I expected, but it felt nice because I wasn’t expected to do anything if you know what I mean?” they question. “When I’m at school, most people expect what they expect, but there, people knew who I was, sure, but all they wanted me to be was polite and make interesting or semi-interesting conversation, maybe dance with them or something along those lines. It wasn't as though everybody was staring at me. Or, if they were then I couldn’t feel it, which either way relieved a lot of pressure. It exhausted me though, and I certainly wasn’t expecting that,” they explain.

“Understandable, it takes a lot of mental energy, and I did see how often you were dancing with those in your year,” Celia nods, before taking a delicate bite. “When are you expected back?”

“I don’t actually know,” Hadria shrugs. “Uncle said he would pretend I didn’t leave the wards when I left last night, but I was never given a time to return back to Sirius. Preferably it would be before they realised I was missing, but I’m truly not all that fussed about it. I have wards up so that nobody can get onto our floor if they’re a blood traitor and considering most of the family is, nobody will get up. And Sirius and Remus won’t have to answer questions if they stay there,” they decide.

“Only most of them?” Celia raises an eyebrow.

“I was shocked as well, I put it up intending to keep everybody except Sirius and Remus from being able to go into my room because I didn’t want any of them bothering me or invading my privacy - the youngest male actually thought he would be sharing the Heir suite with me,” they snorted. “So I had the house elf put up the ward and the twins managed to come up while all others were left confused and not knowing what they were doing in the first place. I asked them to make sure that the wards weren’t faulty but their gods are Mercury and Hermes,” Hadria explained. “It was surprising, I’ll say, but all the more people likely to agree with us the better. I know for a fact that Percy Weasley follows the Old Ways as well because there have been many arguments with his family over it since summer apparently. I suspect he was taught by his older siblings and they taught the twins but could never get to the youngest because they’re so against everything like that.”

“Yes, I can understand why you would think that,” Celia nods.

They continue to make small talk for the remainder of breakfast - which Celia points out is actually more like brunch.

It’s almost an hour later when their food has settled and they’ve all finished their drinks that Hadria it’s time they best head back and announces as much.

“Missy,” Blaise calls.

“Master be wanting Missy?” the elf asked.

“Fetch Hadria’s dress and boots please,” he orders, and the elf pops away.

Hadria turns to Celia, “I’ll return these-”

“Oh don’t worry about it dear, keep them. And Blaise’s shirt too, I’m sure.” Blaise just nods as Missy hands Hadria their dress and boots once she pops back into the room. They twists to their side and pulls the boots on, zipping them up easily and standing, making sure to have their balance before turning their attention to her hosts.

“This has been a wonderful morning, better than I’m used to lately, at any rate,” Hadria laughs lightly. “I don’t think I’ll be able to make it before we go back to school and then I’ve heard Paddy and Remmy making plans for summer they’re not letting me be privy to. I go through my inheritance so I suppose it makes sense that they don’t want me somewhere Dumbledore can easily reach me. I’ll be sure to tell you once I know what I can say. Something tells me it’s something to do with a Spanish-speaking country.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Luna gave me a lot of tapes for Christmas with a surprisingly overwhelming amount of various Spanish songs more than anything,” they shrug. “Either way, I’m going to start learning Spanish because I need something else to do. But, like I said, this has been wonderful, but I best not keep Paddy waiting any longer or else he’ll start worrying all over the place and doing something stupid.”

“Come on, I’ll walk you to the entrance,” Blaise tells them as they all stand.

“It’s been very nice to see you dear, send a letter with Blaise’s every few weeks would you?” Celia says as she draws Hadria in for a hug, and Hadria nods into her shoulder when they receive a final squeeze and pulls back, and Blaise offered his arm while waiting beside the pair of them. Hadria picks up the dress and takes it, allowing him to walk them to the entrance.

“This has been fun,” they tell him. “Just what I needed. I’m sure Italy is even better in summer.”

“You’ll have to visit, even if you do get shipped off to a Spanish-speaking country for the summer,” he says, but they simply hum in response. “Or I’ll come and find you and visit you.” Hadria grinned this time as they arrived at the entrance hall.

“I’ll see you back at school, yes?” they ask.

“Of course,” he grins back, releasing their arm and wrapping them in a hug. They keep one arm by their side and holding their dress, but the other goes around his neck. He kisses their cheek before releasing them, and they almost linger for too long in that position.

“Kreacher,” Hadria calls, and he appears with a pop. “Take me back to Grimmauld,” they tell him, and he grips their arm before they both pop away, one last smile aimed towards Blaise.

“You’re in love.” Blaise almost jumps from the sound of his mother’s voice and turns around sharply.

“Don’t do that,” he hisses. “And so what if I am?”

“Do you plan to court Hadrian?” she asks simply.

“Of course. I already asked permission,” he tells her.

“And the answer?”

“Not until they go through inheritance, at least.”

“Understandable I suppose,” his mother agrees. Blaise rolls his eyes and begins walking towards the library. “Don’t forget to pick out a good gift! You have plenty of time to make it perfect!” Celia calls after him.

Chapter Text

“You are so late home!” Sirius says, bursting into their room a minute after they touch down in Hadria’s room.

“I know I know,” Hadria sighs. “I was just so tired last night. Then this morning we didn’t wake until almost ten, I had to sort out my hair and face since I just crawled into bed last night, and Blaise invited me to stay for breakfast-slash-brunch. We just got finished ten minutes ago at the most,” they explain.

“You were with Blaise?! Did you sleep with him?”

“Well yeah,” Hadria shrugs.

“You slept with him?!”

“Platonically,” Hadria adds with scrunched eyebrows as they hang their dress back up.

“You can’t just sleep with somebody platonica- Well I guess you can since me and James did because we wondered what it was like-”

“Wait you think I had sex with Blaise?!” Hadria yells wide-eyed. “We didn’t! I was too tired so I crawled into his bed and pulled him with me so I wasn’t making him move rooms, and that was TMI about dad, Paddy!” Hadria tells him. They sigh, moving on. “Are we able to go to Gringotts today?”

“Sure, may as well since we told them all we were spending the day together. Best get it done with before you go back, right?”

“Right,” Hadria agreed. “I can get Kreacher to take us to the main entrance, it’s likely to be pretty empty, but I still want you in animagus form until we get into the office, alright?”

“Yes sir,” Sirius says, sarcastically saluting before changing into Padfoot.


Name: Hadrian James Potter-Black

Status: Pureblood

Birth: July 31st 1980; 3:17am

Parents: Lilian Mabel Potter-Riddle née Riddle (previously Evans - adopted name)(Mother - Deceased); James Charlus Potter (Father - Deceased); Sirius Orion Black (Blood-Adopted Father - Alive)

Blood Status: Pureblood - Mother; Pureblood - Father; Pureblood - Blood-Adopted Father

Godparents: Sirius Orion Black (Godfather); Remus John Lupin (Godfather); Alice Longbottom (Godmother); Bellatrix Black Lestrange (Godmother)

Living Relatives: Sirius Black (Father); Tom Marvolo Riddle (Maternal Uncle); Narcissa Malfoy née Black (First Cousin Once Removed); Draco Abraxas Malfoy (First Cousin Twice Removed)

Inheritance(s): Potter Lord; Emrys Lord; Hufflepuff Lord; Gryffindor Lord (Father); LeFay Lord; Ravenclaw Lord; Slytherin Heir; Gaunt Heir (Mother&Uncle); Black Heir (Godfather/Blood-Adopted Father - Sirius Orion)

Vaults Owned: 234; 283; 637; 845; 873; 938 (Father); 172; 415; 983 (Mother); 573; 374 (Godfather - Sirius Orion) 0011; 0012; 0013; 0014 (Hogwarts’ Founders)

Properties Owned: Potter Manor; Potter Chalet; SeaGrey Cottage; Mistle White Manor; Gaunt Manor; NightViolet House; Grimmauld Place; Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (70% - 30% to the other remaining Heirs, 15% for each of them)

Creature Inheritance: Sprite (via Paternal Grandfather)

Other

Abilities: Shape-Shifting/Advanced Metamorphosis 


 

“Get in, Potter,” Snape snarls at him once Harry knocks on the door.

It’s the first week back in school and Harry got a letter yesterday to say that he had ‘Remedial Potions’ Thursdays at seven after dinner.

It takes a lot of restraint to not pull a face at the professor.

“Look, you don’t need to do this, sir ,” he stresses, to be respectful. “I already know legilimency and occlumency so there’s nothing to even teach me. I’ve read books on it for several months when I was in third year when I received them as a gift,” Harry tries to explain.

“Shut up,” Snape snaps at him and Harry almost recoils at the venom in his voice. “Just do as you’re told for once and clear your mind.” Harry closes his eyes and does as he’s told as best as he can. “Open your eyes!” Snape tells him.

“But you said-!” Snape gave no warning as he began ripping through Harry’s mind and he couldn’t help the scream that came out briefly before he gained control over his actions.

“That was a pathetic attempt, did you even clear your mind?” Snape sneered at him, and Harry didn’t have a chance to recover before Snape was trying to rip through his mind again. Harry did all he could to stop Snape from getting into the forest his mindscape was, by throwing extra memories at him, ones that were unimportant and day-to-day, while also hiding his friendships with Theo and Blaise. He was also trying to build a wall - or a fence at the very least - to surround his forest.

Snape didn't give him any rest more than thirty seconds before he was casting again and trying to get into his mind.

This wasn’t legilimency training, Harry knew that much.

Sirius had told him that the best way to learn was to read through the theory first and go through it with your mentor/tutor who was teaching you, and you went through various techniques to clear one’s mind next, finding the one which worked best. Then you worked on creating your mindscape and organising your thoughts, before they begin testing it and help you with making it stronger.

This was nothing like that and Harry could easily acknowledge that this was wrong. It was breaking down his walls more than anything.

They ‘trained’ for an hour, until, eight, and then Harry was released into the halls and back to his dorm with the ‘advice’ to clear his mind and in desperate need of a headache potion.


“Potter, we need to speak,” Pansy Parkinson spoke, having approached him when he was alone in the library for once, near the back.

“About?”

“The fact that you are Hadria Riddle,” she said bluntly.

“Fine, but not here,” they told her, walking out of the library after packing their things up and not checking behind them to see if Pansy followed. When approaching the corridor with their room in they walked beside the wall and drug their hand over it so that Pansy would be admitted to the ward they had set up.

Harry sat themselves on one of the tables and simply looked at her. “What would you like to know?”

“How do you become a girl - you’re not a metamorphagus, we’d have found out by now and it isn’t something you can keep from the press. Especially not the likes of Rita Skeeter.”

Harry sat there as the shadowy glow travelled down their body, making their hair long and their body more feminine. “A gift, from my patron god. But also, Fred and George made a potion which works for twenty-four hours to change your gender,” Harry explained, putting their body back to how it was before.

“And Blaise knows this,” she checks with a raised eyebrow.

“Of course,” Harry shrugged.

“Then I see no issues as long as he knows. Presumably Theo as well?” Harry just nods. “Can I tell Daphne and Tracey?”

“Have they gotten close to figuring it out?” Pansy shrugged one shoulder. “Fine, but don’t tell Malfoy. Blaise and Theo are in a bet with Luna to see when he’ll figure it out. Also, only tell Daphne and Tracey, they can’t tell anybody alright?” Pansy nods, before looking around, settling herself on one of the chairs.

“So, this is where you all disappear to?” she asks.

“Yeah, although sometimes me or Luna are in the Forest. But Theo and Blaise do come here a couple of times a week, they like it, it’s a good place for us to not be caught by others so we’re not accused of fraternising with the enemy or whatever, and it’s peaceful. Plus it’s more comfortable to study in - you get the quietness of the library, but the comfort of the common rooms y’know?”

“Would we be able to come here? The girl's and I, I mean,” she clarifies.

“Well, me or Luna or Neville would have to key you into the wards we’ve put around this corridor since we’re the only ones who can get in contact with Hogwarts’ sentient for wards, but sure. Luna will probably find you when you want to,” Harry shrugs. “If that’s all?” Pansy nods, and Harry makes their way from the room and back to the common room to drop off their things. They have another night of writing ‘I must not tell lies’ with Umbridge unfortunately ahead of them.

Chapter Text

“-need to straighten- up more,” Tom panted as Hadrian kept on coming at him with his knives, Tom defending himself with a pair of his own; not exactly the same, but similar.

Their training sessions were progressing well so far to say there had only been three of them so far.

Their first one was mostly a disaster, since Tom simply attacked Hadrian after warning him, being careful to not do any real damage, but wanting to see how Hadrian would react to the attacks more than anything, to see where they could start and improve from.

Hadrian had the good stamina he always had, but he had little finesse in what he was doing, just...slashing and jabbing and trying to cut off Tom’s own attacks.

It was a good place to start at least, once they’d gone over safety before all of it.

“Hold it!” Tom stopped them, both out of breath and sweat dripping down both their faces after almost an hour of continuous fighting, he saw when he cast a tempus.

Hadrian seemed thankful for the break and went to get his water for a drink.

“You’ve been working on your general fitness as well, yes?” Tom checked as he came to sit beside Hadrian against the chamber wall with his own drink.

“Yeah, every morning at least. I go to the RoR and it presents me with equipment more often than not,” Hadrian answered. “Sometimes I’ll go in the evening as well.”

“And how’s that going?”

Hadrian shrugged a little before taking another drink. “Good I guess? I suppose I can notice a difference. I usually work on technique and quality in the morning, you could say. On evenings I usually go for as long as I can before outright passing out.”

“You’ve been taking rest days, yes?”

“Of course,” Hadrian wrinkled his nose.

“Good then, keep working at it. This week work on keeping your attacks firm while accurate, alright? And we’ll work more on it next week. If you have any questions you know how to reach me.” Tom stood up and sighed before stretching, groaning when his back cracked and Hadiran chuckled.

“Getting old, Uncle?” Hadrian asked with a smirk.

“Shut up you impertinent little brat, I’m barely middle-aged for a wizard,” Tom scoffed.

Hadrian simply nodded solemnly. “Of course,” he said.

“I’ve just turned thirty-eight, wizards can live up to two hundred years, I’m essentially the equivalent of a muggle twenty year old thank you very much.”

“And your back clearly has no objections,” he grinned.

“I’m going to leave before I want to curse you,” said Tom with a mock serious look at Hadrian, which Hadrian knew and it only caused him to grin wider as he stood up himself before hugging his uncle tightly.

“Love you,” Harry murmured. It was still strange, to be able to say that, to his Uncle, Paddy, Moony, even Narcissa and Luna, and have them respond in kind.

“Love you too, brat,” Tom replied fondly, hugging him back and placing a kiss on his forehead. Then he apparated out of the Chamber and Harry was alone once more. He sighed, bending to pick up his bottle before making his way to the exit.


Hadrian sighed happily, sliding a bookmark into place and putting it to the side as he looked out over the room they were in. He was sat at a table further to the back since he wanted to work without being necessarily interrupted but he also didn’t want to be away from all of his friends.

Luna was talking to Tracey, Theo, and Blaise, if the look on Blaise’s face was anything to go by. Blaise always said to Harry he only humoured her by listening, that he didn’t want to hurt her feelings by completely dismissing her words out of mouth, but it was obvious he didn’t believe anything she said.

At first, Theo was also extremely sceptical, but her passion and the way she spoke about them won him over, causing him to listen with an incredible intensity even Hadrian didn’t always show. She had many sketches of the creatures she sees as well as descriptions about them, and Theo loved every one of them. Tracey was still rather new to all of it but she did show some interest, especially in Luna’s drawings, which she often asked to copy for herself to add to her own sketchbooks with names of them.

Daphne and Neville, currently, weren’t here, but Pansy was, sitting closer to the group and doing her homework - or supposedly.

What she actually seemed to be doing was watching Luna with a type of intensinsity Hadrian recognised if only because Luna told him when he wore that same expression when looking at Blaise.

He quietly slipped from his chair, book in his hand, and moved into the seat beside her, which caused her to jump since she hadn’t noticed him moving alone in the first place, which was unusual for her.

“You know,” he said quietly. “She would accept if you asked her on a date.” Pansy looked uncertain. “I’m pretty sure she already knows about your feelings - and reciprocates - and is just waiting for you to be comfortable enough to ask her.”

“No, I have to do it properly if I do it at all,” answered Pansy firmly, determined look in her eye. For several moments they sat in silence, Pansy turning back to the group and then back again. “What’s even a good gift? I could make sure she never wants for anything, and still I don’t know what to gift her.”

Hadrian hummed in agreement: Luna was a difficult person to give gifts to.

“I guess you could listen to a place she wants to go hunting for her creatures that she hasn’t already been to, and fund the trip,” he suggests. Pansy looks at him in consideration.

“Not a bad gift, Hadrian,” she admits, smiling slightly. “I’ll see about it later. Maybe over Easter? Summer at the latest, but I know she already has plans with her Father.”

“I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” Hadrian assures her.

“What’re we talking about?” Blaise asks as he walks over, jumping up on the desk to sit next to Hadrian’s arms.

“Good Courting gifts,” Hadrian answers with a flippant wave of his hand, not seeing the short panicked look Blaise sends Pansy. “I suggested Pansy fund one of Luna’s trips on a hunt for one of her creatures and go with her.”

“Oh?”

“Well, usually I would simply suggest some form of jewellery maybe, but Luna is difficult to buy for I suppose. It’s likely that she’d love and appreciate whatever Pansy would give her and make sure to wear it all the time, but I also know that Luna likes making her own jewellery, so,” he shrugs. “Isn’t the first gift supposed to be something that the person will wholly appreciate and enjoy or like the look of? Later gifts can be jewellery and books, because I think Luna would appreciate this much more,” he told them decisively.




Uncle,

As much as I would like to handle this situation on my own, I know I cannot. I have another session with Snape tomorrow, my fifth one, and he will not stop being brutally invasive and mind raping me during our ‘lessons’. I can say with absolute certainty that they aren’t helping me. If anything, they make it worse.

This week I began having dreams of a hallways. It’s rather dark, but the tiles are very glossy. Sometimes there are orbs around me, on shelves. I don’t know what this place is, I’ve never dreamt of it before or seen it person.

It worries me because before the Yule holidays Dumbledore coincidentally asked me if I was having any strange dreams at all, as I’ve told you. It was the same night that Arthur Weasley was attacked, so I feel like these events are connected? Tell me if I am wrong at all, but I thought you should know at least.

I’m also going to tell you that you should tell Snape to lay off in our lessons. I don't care how you say you found out about them, but if the threat of you as Voldemort (presuming he doesn’t know it’s Dumbledore?) gets him to back off then please. For the past two weeks I’ve been taking headache potions for two days after the session because he causes so much pain it is, quite literally, as though my forest is on fire. I fear I’m going to do something drastic if he does not stop insulting me and causing me so much pain.

Love, Hadrian


They were in History of Magic when it happened. He and Neville were sat in Professor Binns’ lesson taking down notes when they could be bothered, but mostly reading books of their own choices. It wasn’t as though Binns ever paid attention to them and what they were doing, and Umbridge wasn’t there to judge them - though Harry had expected her to be.

“Is that Hedwig?” Neville questioned as he stared out of the window absentmindedly. Harry turned to what he was looking at.

“We’ve just had breakfast, why would she-” then he noticed; she was flying funny, almost lopsided.

“Oh I’ve always loved her,” Lavender comments from behind them as she looks in the same direction after overhearing their conversation.

“So gorgeous,” Parvati agrees. Harry ignores them both however, and goes over the window she’s coming towards and opening it, disregarding the Ravenclaws in front of him as he did so. She landed on the desk and hopped towards him despite the obvious pain.

Binns still wasn’t paying attention so Harry went unseen as he rushed back to his seat with Hedwig in his arms.

“What’s wrong with her?” Neville asked quietly.

“I’m not sure, something with her wing,” Harry answered as he ran his hand over the ruffled and mottled feathers. She made a sound of protest and Harry quickly glanced up to see that he still went unnoticed.

“How would she get injured? It’s never happened before right?”

“Never,” Harry said tightly.

“Was she carrying anything?” Harry shakes his head to Neville’s question.

“I’ve been sending all my letters with Seren or Dobby,” he explains. “I’m going to have to take her to be mended, I’m not going to let somebody get away with this.”

“You think somebody did this?”

“There’s something around her, I can feel the foreign magic - only because I’m so used to how she feels and how she’s usually wrapped in my own magic if any. There’s only one person who would even think to do this.”

“Umbridge.”

“Exactly. Look, we’ve still got over an hour left in here, cover for me if Binns actually manages to notice I’m gone. I’m going to take her to be healed,” Harry tells Neville, who packs Harry’s things into his bag for him and helps him put it over his shoulder while still maintaining hold of Hedwig with one arm.

“Where?”

“Home, it’s the only place I trust,” he says, and then makes his way out of the classroom from the back door, thankful that the room had two doors he could easily duck out of.

The hallway is thankfully empty. “Seren,” he calls. And she pops beside him to take him to his Uncle.

They appear with a crack in the entrance hall and Harry rushes to where he can hear voices coming from, using magic to open it since he didn’t have the use of his hands and ignoring the many pairs of eyes - more than he expected to say the least - on him and simply looked at his Uncle, who didn’t know how to react obviously.

“She hurt Hedwig,” Harry tells him, rage barely restrained. For a moment his uncle has to think of who he means, but then his eyes widen and he snaps to attention. For Harry, this is the last straw. It’s one thing to purposely injure him multiple times a week for hours at a time, but to attack his owl, his familiar, is completely another thing. He’d never thought of her as a pet, it would be disrespectful and she’s much too intelligent to allow him to call her that. It wasn’t something he really thought of until he came across a book on familiar bonds in the Black Library over the holidays that he really put the name of familiar bond to the relationship he shared with her.

“Barty, come with me,” Tom says sternly, and walks towards Harry and directs him from the room with, Harry presumes, Barty Crouch jr behind them.

Harry is led to a room, almost like an infirmary, in the castle.

He reluctantly gives up Hedwig to be inspected and watches as Barty casts magic over her, telling Harry his every intention before he does so because he can clearly see that Harry is tight as a bowstring. His uncle is stood behind him, stroking the hair at the nape of his neck as Harry tries his best to not be affected by what he’s seeing. Barty gets a potion and gives it to her, it’s a pain reliever, and Harry watches him feed it to Hedwig. She gets drowsy after that, and Harry watches her close her eyes to sleep and while he doesn’t feel like he can breathe easier, he does feel himself relax minutely.

“Now, explain to me what happened and why you’re not in classes right now,” Tom instructs him, careful to keep his voice calm and not set off Harry’s anger.

“I was in History of Magic when Neville saw her flying towards the window - it was awkward flying because of her injured wing - and I went to let her in. I hadn’t sent her off with any letters so I don’t know what she was doing other than hunting. I could feel the foreign magic around her as I cradled her as I sat back down and didn’t know if there would be any other effects. The only person who would have any want or need to check Hedwig is Umbridge. Perhaps Dumbledore at a push, but I doubt it, unless he’s thinking to frame Umbridge. I don’t care either way, she needs to be gone,” Harry declared hotly, blinking as two tears trailed down his face.

“Alright, alright that’s fine,” Tom soothed. “We already have a plan, but it would be good to get that well and published before you end up doing something to Snape. Though I can’t blame you for that,” Tom tilts his head in consideration.

“Feel free to do what you want with Snape, but do not get caught, understood?”

“Perfectly,” Harry agrees. “Can I put on a show?”

“Are you going to get caught?”

“Not if I do it here and present it at the ministry.”

“Oh? Who is the show for?”

“Anybody that is here. Call a meeting for the next few Thursdays after this article comes out, I’m sure it’ll be one of them. Or don’t, and just wait until I get tired of him,2 Harry shrugged with a smirk. “It’ll be gruesome, not a spec of magic used past the need to bind him. Wandless magic wouldn’t come up as my magic would it?” Harry asks curiously.

“No, but make sure that either it’s extremely strong, or you incapacitate him some other way as well.”

“Perfect,” Harry smiles. “I trust she will be alright here until she is better completely?” he asks, turning back to Hedwig.

“Of course. I’ll send her over as soon as it is safe for her.” He cast a tempus and sighed. “You may as well stay for half an hour until your class ends so there’s no chance for her to catch you out of class at all,” he says, and Harry nods, before going to the bedside of Hedwig and getting out a book to read.

Chapter Text

Students Given Unjust Punishment With Ministry Permission!

That’s right Readers! It was brought to my attention that the Ministry-appointed official who is currently teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, more commonly nicknamed DADA, Dolores Jane Umbridge - Undersecretary to the Minister himself! - has been punishing children as young as eleven with a blood quill ! This has, in fact, started within the first two weeks of the current school year and nothing has yet to be done about it.

After asking a few students if they wished to make a statement - but remain anonymous, they are, after all, underaged, some agreed.

As it turned out, Umbridge has something that she calls an Inquisitorial Squad made up of a majority Slytherin House students, though some Ravenclaw also, who she has given permission to punish students or bring them to her for punishment if found doing something against one of the numerous decrees covering the main entrance hall walls at this moment in time.

If you don’t know what a blood quill is, allow me to inform you: it is a Dark object created by Undersecretary Umbridge herself sometime in 1994 which, when you write with it, requires no ink as it cuts open the back of your hand to write the words in, you guessed it, your blood. When invented, the object was immediately banned for common usage or to sell and only given permission to be used in binding contracts when ministry approved.

While the goblins do have something similar for their own usage, they are never used on minors unless absolutely necessary to do so, and they keep them all safely locked up tight.

In fact, a statement from Harry Potter himself states, “I tried to tell Professor McGonagall but she dismissed me, not even hearing out what I had to say. Instead I was told to keep my head down and attend detentions. On several occasions I’ve been on the verge of passing out in the halls simply because she kept me for so long or gave me so many detentions so many days in a row.”

I investigated further myself, and it seems that few purebloods are being given detentions such as these, mostly only half-bloods and muggleborns. Why? Simply because they cannot do anything about it and she is able to keep using her punishment as she wishes because their voice isn’t going to be heard.

A third year Gryffindor wrote me, when asked, saying, “If they’re not going to listen to Harry Potter , then why would they listen to anybody else? He’s still the most famous person in the school.” And that is a point, isn’t it; if they weren’t going to help Harry Potter then why would anybody else get help?

Several students even told her that they would tell the Board of Governors, but she simply smiled or some variation of and asked who would believe them?

Even further into my investigation I found that Minister Fudge signed off on these punishments! What sort of a world do we live in where the Ministry and its employees, the person who is supposed to be running our country, wants to see our school children tortured?

Until next time my readers, we can only hope that something is finally done about this incredibly serious issue and soon.

Rita Skeeter

 

Well, Harry never said those things to her , or in that exact order, but he can’t exactly blame his Uncle, or Lucius, for telling her what he wrote.

The last few nights of detention would be worth it, he thought, as he grinned into his cup that morning at breakfast.

Two pages after that was about a mass breakout from Azkaban which Harry knows is at least two weeks later than it should be announced, and he doesn’t remember it being front page news before.


“Firstly, considering the abomination of a teacher you’ve had before now, I’ll be testing you all in practical work for this year group to see how far you’ve been coming along by yourselves. Does anybody have any objections?” Lucius asked from the front of the classroom. “Yes, Miss Granger?” Harry could swear that half the class sighed.

“We weren’t given the same book by Umbridge that contained the same practical work as what we actually needed for the OWL examinations,” she says matter-of-factly.

“But you still had your original books, yes? To learn from so you could do self-study on your own? You’re supposed to be smart, Miss Granger,” Lucius said lightly before turning back to the rest of the class.

The list of spells they were to be trying were on the board, and they got harder to the point where some of them were optional. If they could do them non-verbally they would gain extra points.

The list started with the last spells they learnt in fourth year, with some beginning early sixth. Harry can name them all, truthfully.

“Not everybody might be done today, so you’ll just have to be patient, depending on how much each of you knows,” he continued. Class started then, and they were going in alphabetical order so all Harry had to do was sit there.

Neville did well on his turn, since Harry had been tutoring him for the past few months and helping him. It also helped that he had a new wand. Soon after that class was dismissed.

So far, Lucius was being perfectly fair and not saying a bad word about anybody or their blood status. Possibly because his every move would be scrutinised if he wasn’t, but he was overall being a very good teacher overall.

“I can’t believe Lucius bloody Malfoy of all people is our professor,” Ron grumbled from beside Harry, who sighed while looking at Neville.

Harry hadn’t actively partaken in a conversation with Ron - or Hermione, for that matter - since well before Yule.

“Frankly I think that Professor Malfoy is the most competent we’ve had so far,” Harry said honestly. “He’s being entirely fair, not saying anything wrong against any of the students at all, and not even showing favoritism towards anybody at all, including his own son. Last year Fake-Moody was a good teacher, albeit a bit enthusiastic, and Remus was a good teacher however we mostly focused on knowledge of - supposedly - Dark Creatures. Professor Malfoy is actually testing us on our knowledge and abilities - the abilities part being the key factor I would say.” It seemed that only Draco and Millicent, from the Slytherins, and the Gryffindors aside from Neville, were shocked at what Harry was saying, but it was all true.

 

Chapter Text

I honestly really hate to say this but this story just.....I can't recognise the way I write this anymore, I don't even remember what I was properly wanting to write and I've kept putting this off but I simply can't do that anymore. It has been over a year since I wrote anything for this, never mind publishing anything, which was kinda shitty to those who were bookmarked/subscribed and I never really wanted this to happen because I always was disappointed when it happened to fics I was reading. I still am but now I have a much more comprehensive understanding of why this sort of thing happens. 

I remember when I started writing this I wanted to write a story that focused on the religion and how it fitted into their lives and I really liked reading overpowered Harry at the time and I also like writing about characters who are GNC so I figured "hey I'll combine these two things I enjoy reading and writing" but I lost all motivation for it and it wasn't even the occasionally rude comments I would get since those were rare, i just lost interest in what i was writing and since then my way of writing and interests have evolved so much that I couldn't continue this even if I did want to, and for that I'm sorry. 

If you want to know how it ends, it was going to be a cliche happy ending where Harry and Blaise lived together, Tom being happily in charge, Dumbledore and most of the Weasleys being discredited and ruined etc. 

I also realised that in the end I didnt like the way I was portraying the characters. Looking back on it I feel like maybe they were too cliche or like I was trying to be "I'm not THAT type of..." etc, and I just. I dont know. I just cant reconcile with this piece anymore. 

I know I'm not OBLIGATED to give an explanation, however I feel like I owe it to you after so long. 

Recently I've been working on more original works than anything, and I'm hoping to evolve it more and more as time goes on and possibly publish??? I'm unsure but yeah. If you want to hit me up at all then you can message my tumblr at interplanetarygirl or my Instagram at freya_ziabeth 

So long and farewell my guys 😙

- Freya ♡♡